In this position, Magnus Carlsen missed a clear chance to play for a win.
18..Nxg2 is a candidate move
White has two possible answers.
Variation A) 19 Kxg2 accepting the sacrifice
Variation B) 19 Bxe6 attacking the queen.
This is what GM Kotov asked us to do, work out the variations tree with candidate moves.
On 19Kxg2 Bh3+ is the logical follow-up. after all, Carlsen set up Qc8-Be6 battery himself !
21... ♘f3+ Double Attack
23... ♕h3+ with checkmate
To sum up 20 Kh2 is forced and 20..Nh4! is extremely strong threatening a fork on f3. White has no defense as per the variations shown above.
It is possible Magnus rejected the line because of variation B 19.Bxe6
But here's the fantastic resource Black had : 19 ..Ne1!!
lets see the diagram White to play
If White proceeds with Bxc8, Black has Nf3+! which wins the queen back on d4. If White takes on e1, Black takes on e6.
So the intermediary move (zwichenzug) Bxe6! is met by Black's zwichenzug Nxe1!!.
That is all, Nxg2 would have brought Magnus a win if he played this move.
The italian opening can still bring fascinating games and positions !
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