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Magnus Carlsen - Wang Yue

Round 9
Mtel Masters 2009
Sofia

The Mtel Masters live commentary is brought to you thanks to Chess Cube and the Ikaros Chess Festival. Good day everyone, welcome to the Chessdom live coverage of 2009 Mtel Masters. Carlsen and Shirov are still leading the race with 5 points each, while Wang Yue is standing on 50% score. The Chinese is not overly sharp player, but he can react to opponent's aggressiveness and dive into complications, as Carlsen already experienced in their encounters at Corus and Linares. Enjoy the game!

1.c4 Interesting! Is Carlsen trying to sidestep Wang's rock-solid Slav defence? We shouldn't forget that Carlsen used to beat Topalov with English opening...

1... c6!? 2.d4 d5 Nope, it is Slav after all...

3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Wang Yue likes to use Chebanenko variation 4...a6, but he also plays Slav defence proper with 4...dxc4.

4... a6 No wonder that Wang is repeating Chebanenko, a defence that he used to beat Carlsen in Linares earlier this year.

5.c5 Bf5 5...Nbd7, which prepares pawn breaks e5 and b6, is also popular, as well as 5...g6.

6.Nh4!? But this is rare! Carlsen forces Black to determinate Bishop's position. On the other hand, White is losing some of the central control, particularly over the important square e5. Most common was developing 6. Bf4.

6... Bg6 7.Bf4 Nbd7 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9. e3 looks like a normal continuation. Then, 9...Nh5 is met by 10. Bg5 and White preserves the Bishop (10....f6? 11. Bd3!), and 9...e5!? 10. Bxe5!? Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 12. e6!? might be strong, as Black pawn structure is not that great (g6).

9.h3 White spends one tempo to secure a retreat square for the Bishop. 9...e5 10. dxe5 Nh5 11. Bh2 does not look good for Black, so maybe 9...b6.

9... b6 Most likely White has to take on b6, as 10. b4?! bxc5 11. bxc5 and now 11...e5! is very powerful, the point being that Nc3 is not protected anymore, and then 12. dxe5 Bxc5! 13. exf6 Qxf6 and White pieces are hanging badly.

10.cxb6 Qxb6 11.Rb1 The safest option, but Black won't have any problems to prepare and push c5. Sharper was 11. Rc1!? and if Qxb2, White continues 12. Qa4!?.

11... e6 12.e3 There were not many alternatives, White has to strengthen the center as Black will almost certainly continue with c6-c5.

12... c5 Wang Yue is now walking around... Carlsen was first to divert from the known variations, in what we believed to be his home preparation, but surprisingly he is now burning his clock in a relatively harmless position.

13.a3 With idea to take on c5 and expand on the queenside. Also, there will be no Bb4+ in some lines.

13... Bd6 Also possible was to slip cxd4 in, but this isolated pawn will not be much of a weakness and perhaps it is better to wait for White to take on c5.

14.Na4 Qc7 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.Nxc5 Nxc5 17.dxc5 Qxc5 After a forced sequence, the players have reached an approximately equal position. Immediate 18. Rc1 allows Qa5+, and then 19. Qd2 Qxd2 20. Kxd2 Ne4+ with Kd7 is perfectly safe for Black.

18.Qa4+ This is the best move if White wants to prolong the fight. With next Bd3 and 0-0, he completes the development and can hope for a small longterm advantage thanks to the queenside majority. Black, however, won't be without counterplay, particularly with all the heavy pieces on the board.

18... Ke7 19.Bd3 a5 20.Ke2!? Small surprise, 0-0 was expected. Maybe Carlsen is already counting on Queens' exchange after next b4 axb4 Qxb4...

20... Rhc8 Wang Yue replied instantly, he didn't have much of a choice either, as all forces should be concentrated on the queenside.

21.Rhc1 21. b4 would have been wrong, Black trades twice and slips a nasty Ra2+ check in. Now Wang can give the Queen for two Rooks?

21... Qxc1! Correct decision, otherwise Carlsen would have seized some advantage by inserting Rxc8 and then pushing b4...

22.Rxc1 Rxc1 23.b4 Black Rooks should be able to block White passed pawn, but will his King remain safe enough?

23... Kf8 Wang immediately takes precautionary measures to secure the King.

24.bxa5 Kg8 e6-e5 is also an option.

25.a6 Rc7 The question now is how can White increase the pressure. Maybe he should first force Black to actually put one of the Rooks on a7 (if possible). Then, depending on Black's choice which Rook, he can try something against the King with Qb8+ or to force opening of the center and somehow use the Bishop to attack Ra8 (with other Rook on a7).

26.Qf4 Rca7 27.Qd4 So now maybe White is planning Bb5 and Bc6?

27... Ne4!? Active defence is the best. Taking on e4 is out of question, or White loses all the advantage. meanwhile Black is planning Nd6.

28.Qb6 Which Carlsen now prevents...

28... e5!? Surely unexpected! Nf6 with idea Nd7 was sensible idea. Bb5 is not possible as of yet, because Black has Nc3+, but what is Wang planning against 29. f3?

29.Ke1!? Very nice, steps away from possible Nc3+. Bb5 and a4 are certainly in agenda.

29... Ng5 30.Bb5 Ne6 31.a4 d4 32. a5 should come strong, with idea Bc6, and if Rxa6, the Queen is protected.

32.a5! Rc7 A mistake under pressure. More resisting was to play a neutral move, then 33. Bc6 Rxa6 34. Bxa8 Rxb6 35. axb6 Nc5 with idea Nd7. White is probably still winning, but at least Black is fighting.

33.Bc6 Next a6-a7 and game should be over. Update: Wang resigned! Once again, Carlsen was very smart to create unbalances in the position and then press until his opponent collapses. Wang played very well until he (correctly) gave the Queen for two Rooks. From then on, he appeared to be lazy in calculation and played passive. Carlsen moves into sole lead with +3, at least until the game Dominguez-Shirov finishes. Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live commentary, see you again tomorrow at 15:00 CET! 1-0