Carlsen-Nakamura World Blitz Playoff Game 1 Annotated

Carlsen-Nakamura World Blitz Playoff Game 1 Annotated

before Carlsen and Nakamura face off again tomorrow in rapid for MCI finals, here's a recent high-stakes blitz game they played at the December 30th World Blitz Championship :

1. d4 ♘f6 2. ♘f3 d5 3. ♗f4 c5 4. e3 e6 5. ♘bd2 ♗d6 going straight to exchange bishops

5... ♘c6 Typically Black plays ..Nc6 and ..Be7 as in this line 6. c3 ♗e7 7. ♗d3 ♕b6 8. ♖b1

5... ♕b6 more usual, in the London system the white b2 pawn is weak 6. ♖b1 ♘c6 7. c3 ♗e7 8. ♗d3 ♘h5

6. ♗xd6 ♕xd6 7. dxc5

7. c3 ♘c6 8. ♗d3 e5 Black is close to equalize

7... ♕xc5 8. c4 Brings game close to a queen's gambit accepted line, without the dark bishops

8... dxc4

8... O-O 9. cxd5 ♕xd5 10. ♗c4 Carlsen-Anand 2017

9. ♗xc4 O-O 10. ♖c1 gaining a tempo on the queen

10... ♕e7 11. O-O b6 12. ♕e2 ♗b7 13. ♖fd1 ♘bd7 White has a slight pull. Typical of Carlsen, trying to exploit the smallest advantages. Black hasn't equalized

13... ♖d8

14. ♗a6 White will gain access to c-file if the light squared bishops are exchanged.

14... ♘c5

14... ♗xa6 15. ♕xa6 ♘c5 This was better for Black 16. ♕e2 (16. ♕c4 ♕b7 ) 16... e5 17. a3

15. ♗xb7 ♕xb7 16. ♘e5 White will try to play b4-b5 and maybe put a knight on c6

16. b4 ♘ce4

16... ♘cd7

16... ♖ac8 17. ♘dc4 ♕c7 18. ♘d6

17. ♕f3 White wants to gain access to c6 and c7 squares with knights and rooks being more active than their counterparts.

17. ♘c6 ♘c5 18. ♘d4 ♖ac8 19. a3

17... ♕a6 the first mistake by Nakamura. Black queens is targetting a2 but white pieces are centralized. it was better to play 17..Nd5 or even exchange Queens

17... ♕xf3 18. ♘dxf3 ♘xe5 19. ♘xe5 ♖fd8 20. ♖xd8+ ♖xd8 21. ♔f1 ♘e8 22. ♔e2 f6 Black holds

17... ♘d5 18. ♘xd7 ♕xd7 19. e4 ♘f6 20. ♘c4 ♕b5 21. g3

18. ♘c6 ♔h8

18... ♕xa2 19. ♘c4 ♘c5 (19... h6 20. b4 ) 20. ♘d6 ♕xb2 (20... e5 21. ♘xe5 ♕xb2 22. ♘c6 ) 21. ♘e7+ ♔h8 22. ♘xf7+ ♖xf7 23. ♕xa8+

19. ♘c4 ♕xa2 20. g4 very spirited play by Carlsen. He is targetting the f7 pawn, Ne7+ and the black knight on f6 after g4-g5 has no good squares.

20. ♖d3 Idea was Ra3 capturing the queen

20... ♘c5

20... b5 this was the best try as it blocks the c4 square which could be used for a rook lift by White. 21. ♘d6 ♕xb2 22. ♖b1 (22. g5 ♘d5 23. ♘xf7+ ♖xf7 24. ♕xf7 ♖f8 ) 22... ♕c3 23. g5 ♘d5 24. ♖bc1 ♕b2

20... ♕b3 21. g5 ♘d5 22. ♘d6 ♕xb2 23. ♖c4 ♘c3 24. ♖h4 ♕c2 25. ♖d2 ♕g6 26. ♕g3

20... h6 This loses on the spot 21. g5 hxg5 22. ♕h3+ ♘h7 23. ♖xd7

21. ♘d6 ♘b3 second mistake. Black had to play 21..Qb2 to try to bring queen back to the rescue to defend the kingside

21... ♕xb2 22. ♘e7 h6 and here White can play Rb1-c1 with draw, but not clear if Carlsen has more than a draw. 23. ♖b1 ♕c3 24. ♖bc1 ♕b2

22. ♖c2 ♕a4

22... h6 23. g5

22... a5 23. ♘e7 ♖ab8 (23... a4 24. ♘xf7+ ♖xf7 ; 23... ♖a7 24. ♘xf7+ ♖xf7 25. ♖d8+ ) 24. g5 ♘d5 25. ♘xf7+ ♖xf7 26. ♕xf7

23. ♖c4 Rook lift with tempo: very precise play by Carlsen

23... ♕a6 24. g5 White is winning

24... ♘d7 25. ♖h4 Black pieces are not coordinated and White is mounting a crushing attack against the king. Nakamura grabbed a pawn on the queenside but paid to high of a price as his pieces were not yet developed

25... ♘bc5 26. ♘xf7+ this wins but Carlsen missed a beautiful finish 26 Rh7+ with checkmate in 3 moves !

26. ♖xh7+ ♔xh7 27. ♕h5+ ♔g8 28. ♘e7#

26... ♖xf7 27. ♕xf7 ♕e2 28. ♖xd7 ♘xd7 29. ♕xd7 ♖f8 30. ♖f4 and there is no perpetual for Black. Nakamura resigned and Carlsen wins the Blitz World Championship in 2019, after winning the World Rapid few days ago. The Classical World Chess Champion is #1 in all speeds: regular, rapid and blitz. Even Garry Kasparov didn't manage to be so dominant.

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