Learn From The Masters: Carlsen-Caruana Preview #2

Learn From The Masters: Carlsen-Caruana Preview #2

EOGuel
EOGuel
Nov 5, 2018, 6:37 PM |
3

What's up, guys and gals?

Ready for another swashbuckling game between the two Cars who will certainly collide come Friday?

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This game dates back to Zurich in February 2014. This was only Carlsen's second classical victory over Caruana. I really like what I saw from Magnus Carlsen. We know Fabiano Caruana to be a very technical and principled player who will play the absolute best move if he can work through the variations. Guess what? Carlsen is no different! Maggie took a shot in a complicated middlegame that many amateurs may struggle to justify. We will skip the opening, and you will get to see what I mean in the decisive phase of the game:

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"I felt that this was the time to strike and I wouldn't be in any danger of losing. I'm getting some pawns and the initiative."

-Magnus Carlsen 2014

Wow... what a quote by a young World Champion! If I naturally got this position, I'd be seeing ghosts like, "Can he put a Rook on the open f-file and create counterplay?", "Could my hanging c2-pawn be a decisive factor?", "Is my undefended Bishop something to fret over?", and on and on and on!

I believe as a chess player, it is important to play what you truly believe is the best move, rather than a move that "might be bad because of _____....". If a move is attractive, and you can't calculate a clear refutation for your opponent, then odds are it is the right move to play! 

Let's look at the position after Caruana takes everything.

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What are White's strengths?

  • Control over the 7th rank
  • Playing against a naked King (and a safe one of your own!)
  • Superior Queen
  • Central majority
  • A Bishop, when coming to f4, is better than any of those lousy Rooks.

Black's strong points?

  • MAYBE some counterplay against White's King.
  • Material

All of White's points should convince the user that 22. Rxf7 was the absolute best move... not only because the World Champion played it! 

Fellow blogger @damafe has a very interesting post on how to know if you should sacrifice or not (using math!). I will confess that I have not read the post in depth yet, though the Galacian blogger definitely put some work in teaching us, and I would highly recommend that blog.

Back to the game. Fabi spends the rest of the game defending.

I thought that this game was entertaining... I hope the WCC games will be exciting as well!
Have a good evening, and until next time. Thanks for reading, and feel free to suggest more Car Collisions in the comments for me to annotate.