Magnus Carlsen - Teimour Radjabov

Round 1
Corus 2009
Wijk Aan Zee


The first round of the Corus chess tournament begins at 13:30 CET. will provide live commentary. The other featured games are Volokitin - Caruana and Nijboer - Wesley So. During the last year Magnus Carlsen turned into the biggest attraction in every tournament he takes part in, so it seems logical that the first featured game from the main event to be his game against Radjabov. The duels between those two young GMs are always uncompromising and provide quite a show for the audience.

1.e4 In his games against the Azeri, Carlsen goes for this move - perhaps prudently evades theoretical discussions in King's Indian Defense.

1... c5 2.Nf3 e6 Well, that is a surprise.

3.g3 ( Carlsen lack practice in the Palusen system. Perhaps that is the reason that such move is played instead of the traditional 3.d4 - he wants as fast as possible to go away from his opponents preparation)

3... d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 Nc6 6.Bg2 Bg4 There goes intense battle for control over the central squares. Now Magnus has a very interesting option - 7.O-O - sacrificing a pawn for significant lead in development.

7.O-O Without any hesitation!

7... Be7 After a prolonged consideration Radjabov decided that going after the pawn would give White ample compensation.

8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qe1+ Preparing Qe1-c3 with a double threat on 'c5' and 'g7'.

9... Be7 10.Ne5 The other benefit of the Queen check - Nf3 is no longer pinned.

10... Be6 11.c4 Nf6 12.Nc3 Rc8 Black defends with natural moves but white position is preferable.

13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.Bh6 ( Such move is far from obvious. The majority would stick to the calmer 14.Bh3 Rc7 15.Bf4 with positional advantage.) ( After 14.Bh6 the line 14... Nxe5 (14... gxh6 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Rd1 is simply bad.) 15.Bxg7 Nd3 16.Qd2 Nxc3 17.Bxh8 Nxa2 is critical for the evaluation of that move.)

14... Nxe5 15.Rd1 A solid move. Obviously the possible complications didn't satisfy Carlsen.

15... gxh6 (15... gxh6 16.Qxe5 Bf6 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.Bxd5 Qe7 19.Bxe6 Qxe6 may greatly simplify the position.)

16.Qxe5 Bf6 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.Bxd5 Qe7 A forced series of moves was made. It's a pity that this time is no exception of the rule for problematic 1st round transmission from any major tournament - the server at coruschess is down for more than 15 minutes.

19.Qb5+ Qd7 20.Qb3 Rc5 21.Bxe6 Qxe6 22.Qa3 b6 23.bxc3 O-O 24.Qxa7 Rxc3 25.Rfe1 Qf6 26.Qa4 Rc5 27.Re4 Rf5 28.Rg4+ Kh8 29.Qb4 Rc8 Radjabov is in time trouble - 3 minutes to the time control, alas, can't tell how it happened - and Carlsen is trying to use this fact constantly creating problems but the Azeri defends well.

30.Rc4 Re8 31.Re4 Rc8 32.Re2 Rfc5 33.Re4 Rf5 34.Rde1 White of course doesn't plan to draw by a threefold repetition.

34... Rg8 35.Re8 Rfg5 36.R8e4 Rf5 37.R1e2 Qa1+ 38.Kg2 Qf6 39.a4 Qc6 40.Qb2+ Qf6 Radjabov made it to move 40 with only a couple of seconds left.

41.Rb4 Qxb2 42.Rexb2 Ra8 43.Rxb6 Rxa4 44.Rxh6 Kg7 45.Rd6 This ending should be draw - and if a pair of Rooks is traded it would be very easy - but the Norwegian will be looking for chances to win till the very end.

45... h6 46.f4 Rfa5 47.Rdd2 Ra6 Protects the main weakness - the 'h6' pawn

48.Kh3 R6a5 49.Kh4 Ra6 50.Rbc2 R6a5 51.Rf2 Ra6 52.Kh5 R4a5+ 53.f5 The only chance of White tomake progress.

53... Rg6 54.g4 Ra3 Threatening mate in one.

55.Kh4 Rb6 56.h3 Rbb3 57.Rh2 Rf3 58.Rcf2 Black Rooks became too active so the draw is inevitable.

58... Rfe3 59.Rf1 Rab3 60.Rfh1 Rf3 Draw agreed. 1/2