Learn From The Masters: Carlsen-Caruana Preview #2

Learn From The Masters: Carlsen-Caruana Preview #2


What's up, guys and gals?

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


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:



"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.


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.