Alexander Grischuk - Magnus Carlsen

Round 13
Tata Steel 2011


Note: To follow this game with computer analysis by Stockfish 2.0.1 click here. Today we will be joined in the commentary room by the young talent from Switzerland FM Jonathan Rosenthal, as well as FM Guntram Hainke.

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 FM Rosenthal:2. ... Nc6!? Black is offering white the possibility of playing a Chigorin, a rare opening.

3.c4 FM Guntram Hainke: Besides 3.c4, the database gives 3. Bf4 and 3.g3 as alternatives, the two latter can be countered with ..Bg4, Qd7, O-O-O with interesting play. FM Rosenthal: this is the second time Carlsen has plays the Chigorin after 2010 London Classic against Kramnik.

3... Bg4 4.cxd5 A classical Chigorin includes moves as 3.cxd5 Qxd5 4.e3 e5 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Bxc3 or another possibility 3...Nf6 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 e5 7.d5 Nb8

4... Bxf3 5.gxf3 Qxd5 6.e3 The theoretical reply here would be ...e5

6... e5 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.bxc3 Jonathan Rosenthal: After the possible continuation 9. .. Qd6 10.Rb1 b6 Kasparov introduced the temporary pawn sacrifice 11.f4!? ef 12.e4 in his 1984 match game vs Smyslov. It might be surprising Carlsen chose the Chigorin, of course there is a certain risk involved, but black also has his trumps, no weaknesses, a lead in development and possibly a safer king

9... Nge7 This clearly comes from Carlsen's kitchen. Very few games are available at grandmaster level.

10.c4 One thing is sure, Carlsen cannot be aiming to hide opening preparation, something that would be logical for Grischuk, Kramnik, or Aronian who are part of the Candidates matches, so this must be well prepared and rather surprising for Grischuk and all chess fans. Third round in a row Carlsen brings full excitement to the chess board.

10... Qd6 11.d5 Forcing the knight back to b8, it's initial starting square.

11... Nb8 12.Rb1 b6 13.Bb4 ...c5 will come handy. In case of dxc4 then black will find the needed space for organizing the knights pair. If the bishop retreats to b3 instead then 13. ... c5 14. Bc3 O-O 15. Rg1 Ng6 and all is stable. FM Jonathan Rosenthal: Grishuk prefers a pawn on c5 over a knight on c5

13... c5 14.dxc6 That move is solving a lot of Carlsen's opening problems. Exchange of queens plus Nbxc6 and all looks fine for black. Given the wrecked pawn structure for white, the bishop pair should be fully compensated.

14... Qxc6 Carlsen has another thing on his mind though. An optimistic move by the young Norwegian, but the white queen is not moving from d1. How about Bd6 now? This is what all top engines, including the currently number one Houdini, suggest. 15. Bd6 Nf5 16. Bxe5 Nd7 17. Bc3 Nf6 18. Bxf6 Qxf6 19. Qa4+ Positional moves like 15. Rg1 and Bd3 should not be excluded though, as they improve white's coordination, something that might be key in later stages.

15.Bd3 Qe6 A nice wrecking of black's structure can come with 16. Rg1 Nbc6 17. Bxe7 Kxe7 18. Rxg7 or the similar 16. Be4 Nbc6 17. Bd5 Qg6 18. Bxe7 Kxe7

16.c5 Allowing immediate castle and safety for black's king. After the correctly found Bd3 and multiple plans for pressure, Grischuk lets Carlsen take good defensive position. Careful calculation is required though 16. ... O-O 17. Be4 Nbc6 18. cxb6 Rad8 19. Qb3 Qxb3 20. Rxb3 Nxb4 21. Rxb4 axb6 and a possible draw ahead with skillful play after a battle on the a file. 16. ...Nbc6 is of course playable, then 16. ... Nbc6 17. cxb6 Nxb4 18. Rxb4 axb6 19. Bb5+ Kf8 20. Ra4

16... Nbc6 17.cxb6 Nxb4 18.Rxb4 axb6 FM Rosenthal: Black has managed to get rid of one of white's dark square bishop, but with the position opening up the other bishop retains superiority over Carlsens knight

19.Qb3 A passive move from Grischuk yet again, and this leads to a balanced position. A draw was logically agreed. A good tournament for Carlsen, except for the shaky start he was always close to the leaders and showed exciting chess. Grischuk got a good test against strong opposition and we will be seeing him soon for live action from the Candidates matches on Thank you for following Tata Steel 2011 with us, see you soon again for more live commentary, reports, and analysis. 1/2-1/2