Magnus Carlsen's Best Endgame Wins

Magnus Carlsen's Best Endgame Wins

| 32 | Endgames

Last week, we dissected Magnus Carlsen's positional mastery by examining two of his finest strategic victories. However, modern chess demands universality, and it is impossible to become world champion and attain the highest rating in history through positional prowess alone. 

Indeed, Magnus complements his strategic finesse with tactical precision and, most important, with matchless endgame technique. 

I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to follow Magnus live at the 2013 FIDE Candidates Tournament in London. In the penultimate round, he faced Radjabov with Black and they quickly reached an ostensibly lifeless minor-piece endgame. Bored, I switched off the broadcast and only checked the result a few hours later...

As you can imagine, this game is no fluke: Magnus routinely outplays super-GMs in objectively equal endgames as if it were a matter of course. His magisterial endgame performance in game six of the 2013 world championship is a case in point. 

Simply incredible. Most of us would have probably taken a draw in the initial position, but Magnus found one improbable resource after another to keep his winning chances alive.

via wikipedia

Understandably enough, Vishy was unable to keep his composure forever, and eventually allowed a gorgeous tactical sequence that decided the game in Black's favor. This time, I will compare Magnus' performance with Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard "beast mode" run in the 2011 NFL playoffs.

When deep and accurate calculation is required to reel in the point, many players are tempted to use their intuition and simply go for it. Yet a true endgame virtuoso will only rely on intuition as a last resort. In the following game, Magnus undertakes a Herculean calculation task and emerges victorious.

An amazing display of tactical precision. Finding 26...d4 and following it up with a flawlessly calculated 10-move tactical sequence -- is he superhuman or what?

I am tempted to analyze all of his endgame wins, but as I mentioned in my last article, even Magnus should be taken in moderation. I will leave you with yet another specimen of the Norwegian's breathtaking endgame ability.

Hopefully, the next time you see an (equal) endgame in one of Magnus' games, you will find yourself smiling rather than yawning. I, for one, certainly will! 


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