Analyzing Magnus Carlsen's Endgame Technique (Part I)
Magnus Carlsen

Analyzing Magnus Carlsen's Endgame Technique (Part I)

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It's well known that our current world champion, Magnus Carlsenpossesses impeccable technique in the endgame. He knows all theoretical endings by heart, studied all of the technical masterpieces of Rubinstein and Capablancaand can find every little practical problem to squeeze his 2700+ elo opposition, inducing them to err.

Lasker vs. Rubinstein
In this series of blogs, I shall be reviewing Hungarian IM Tibor Karolyi's ground-breaking work: Endgame Virtuoso Magnus Carlsen: His Extraordinary Skills Uncovered and Explained. I will show some of the books' resplendent examples from Magnus's games with full explanation on how Magnus puts psychological pressure, time pressure, squeezes his opponent, and how to implement his deep ideas in your own games. There's no wonder that this received 4.5 stars out of 5 on amazon!

You can purchase the paperback, or do what I recommend: get the interactive e-book on Forward Chess for a cheaper price. For more info: Forward Chess Improves Your Opening Study and Forward Chess Improves Your Endgame Study. Both Grandmasters and amateur clubbers alike shared their opinion here.


The book is divided into 5 Categories and spans from the years 1999-2017: Junior Years, The Young Superstar Rises to the Top, World-Class Player, World Number One, The World Champion. 

Today, let's dive into an educative example from Junior Years.


Conclusions:

  • 30...Rh1+! Magnus finished off his opponent as cleanly as possible, minimizing counterplay.
  • Magnus slowly squeezed white on the kingside with f6-g5-h5
  • Magnus prevented any of white's counterplay on the queenside. 24...g4! was a powerful prophylactic move.
  • 18....Bb4! the key decision of the game, Magnus exchanged his seemingly good bishop in return for white's decent knight. But in the process of the exchange, white's only minor piece left was a dead dark squares bishop unable of generating meaningful counterplay.
  • 16...Nd6!? Magnus kept his options open, forcing white to worry about both Nc4 and Nf5.
  • 20...Rde8!! Magnus doesn't mindlessly play Rhe8 to place his rooks on the 2 central files because there's no concrete use to keep the rook on d8. Instead, Magnus's move keeps the rook "undeveloped" on h8 as there's a concrete use for it: to facilitate the kingside break h5-h4.