Magnus den store


Yurtaev,L - Carlsen,M [B92]
Aeroflot open (2), 18.02.2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.f4 b5 10.Bf3 Bb7 11.fxe5!?

I found only one game with this move in the Megabase database. Clearly, Yurtaev is playing in accordance with the aforementioned motto. However, White's scoring percentage in other continuations is simply appalling.

11...dxe5 12.Qxd8 Rxd8 13.Na5 Bc8

In case of 13...Bc6 White does not need to take on c6, helping his opponent to develop. Better is 14.Be3 b4 15.Nxc6 Nxc6 16.Nd5 with a small advantage.

14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Bc5+ 16.Kh1 Bb6 17.Bd2 Bf5

Another idea is 17...f5 when White could apply pressure with 18.c4! e4 19.Be2. Play could continue: 19...Bd4!? 20.Bc3 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Ra7, and even after 22.a4!? Black has problems. The whole plan with 11.fxe5, not only looks justified from a psychological point of view, but also objectively sound.


This is very natural, but not the best continuation. Yurtaev could seriously test his young opponent with the unexpected 18.Rae1! Take a look at the following line (by no means forced, of course): 18...Re8 19.Nb7! Bxc2 20.Nd6 Rd8?! 21.Nxf7 Kxf7 22.Bd1+ Kg8 23.Bxc2 with a big advantage for White.

18...Bd3 19.Rfe1 Nd7

The tempting 19...bxc4 20.Rxe5 Bd4 was no good in view of 21.Re7 Bxb2 22.Rae1 Nd7 23.Nb7 Bf6 24.d6! Bxe7 25.dxe7 Re8 26.Nd6. Magnus does not go for suspicious material gains and utilizes his chance to connect his Rooks.


Stronger is 20.Nc6! Re8 21.d6. If 21...Bf2, then 22.Nxe5! Bxe1 23.Rxe1 Nxe5 24.Bxa8 Rxa8 25.Rxe5 and wins. On 21...e4!? there is 22.Ne7+ Kh8 23.Bxe4 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf6 25.Rf4! (a precise move that freezes Black’s knight) 25...Rad8 26.cxb5 axb5 (26...Rxd6 27.Bb4) 27.Bb4, with a decisive advantage. Despite the early Queen trade, the position is very rich in combinations. Maybe Yurtaev underestimated that.


The rook goes to e-file to support a pawn advance. It is possible that Magnus has already foreseen his 27th move.


A lazy move that allows Black’s following combination. It seems White should have tried 21.Be2 Bxa5 22.Bxa5 bxc4 23.Bd1! (planning Ba4), where he would have had compensation for the pawn, for example, 23...Nc5 24.b3.

21...e4! 22.Be2

Surprisingly, White is still kicking after 22.Bg4 Ne5 23.Bh3 Bf2?! 24.c5 Bxe1 25.Rxe1, but what makes the difference in this line is 23...bxc4! 24.bxc4 Bf2 25.c5 Bxe1. Now Black has c4 for his knight and the b-file for his rooks and this is an easy win.

22...Bf2 23.Rf1 e3

Playing 23...Bxe2 would be inconsistent: 24.Rxf2 Bd3 25.Be3 with small advantage for White.

24.Bxd3 exd2 25.Rcd1 Re1!

An unexpected blow! Magnus is a very good tactician.

26.Rxd2 Rxf1+ 27.Bxf1 Be1

Winning a piece and the rest is technique.

28.Rd1 Bxa5 29.cxb5 axb5 30.Bxb5 Rd8 31.d6 Kf8 32.g3 Nf6 33.d7 Ke7 34.a3 Nxd7 35.b4 Ne5 36.Rxd8 Bxd8 37.a4 Kd6 0-1

I have prepared a small quiz to finish this report. It is based on the Movsesian - Korobov game to test your logic and sense of danger. With Black to move, what is the evaluation of the position and which of White’s pieces is the most dangerous for you? What are Black’s candidate moves?

/Misha Savinov,[ChessCafe]