Kindred’s Doubleheader: Caro Kann Delight & Pawn Grab in the Thompowsky Attack-A Lust to Expand ala Nimsowitch

The GM C group was won by thirteen year-old Magnus Carlsen with a score of 10.5-2.5, achieving a GM norm as did two others: Sipke Ernst with 10.0 and Jan Smeets with 9.0. Ten years have passed and the now GM Magnus Carlsen just conquered the world chess title from Anand. Here is a game from the 2004 Corpus which illustrates the hope of Norway and future for the Norwegian wunderkind.

White:  Magnus Carlsen   vs.  Black:  Sipke Ernst

Opening:  Caro-Kann Defense

1. e4  c6   2.  d4  d5   3.  Nc3   d x e4   4.  N x e4   B-f5   5. Ng3   Bg6   6. h4   h6   7. Nf3  Nd7   8. h5   Bh7   9. Bd3   B x d3   10. Q x d3   e6.

A worthy alternative is to play 10. … Qc7 with a general plan of castling Q-side.

11.  Bf4   Ngf6.

Black can choose 11. … Qa5+  12.  Bd2  Qc7  cuts down square count influence by the Bishop going to f4.

12. O-O-O   Be7   13. Ne4   Qa5  14. Kb1   O-O.

One can hardly say castling here is a mistake but going into this type system with pressure by White on the K-side perhaps points to a positive for Qc7 at move 10. Just very tiny differences in planning can effect a game’s future course.

15. N x f6 +  N x f6    16. Ne5   Rad8   17.  Qe2   c5.

Black misses the point of Qe2 which prevents for the moment a normal looking pawn push to c5. 17…Qb6  18. c3  c5 protecting the e6 square by the Queen.

18.  Ng6!!

This shot leads to a positional edge for White as Black must now allow the exchange of Knight for Bishop.  Best is probably  18… Rfe8 19.  N x e7+ R x e7  20. d x c5  Red7  21. R x d7  R x d7  22. Be3 or even 22. Bd6  b6  23. g4 gives  a boost and edge in square count that equals space +.  However, Black is taken as if in shock and decides the inferior idea…..

18. …  f x g6?   19. Q x e6+  Kh8   20.  h x g6  Ng8   21.  B x h6!

The walls are coming down.

21. … g x h6   22.  R x h6+ !   N x h6  23.  Q x e7  Nf7   24. g x f7!  Kg7  25. Rd3   Rd6  26. Rg3+  Rg6  27. Qe5+  K x f7  28. Qf5+  Rf6  29. Qd7 checkmate.  (1-0).

White:   GM Bruzon   vs.   Black:  GM Nijboer

Opening:  Thompowsky Attack

1. d4  Nf6   2.  Bg5   c5   3.  d5   Qb6   4.  Nc3   Qxb2.

This pawn grab has been explored in earlier columns featuring different openings which led to a like danger: creating a half-open file, gaining square count due to the Queen being harassed early on with gain of tempi.  The wisdom of such a decision depends upon how greedy one is to take a pawn and indicate to the opponent that “a pawn is pawn is a pawn.”

5.  Bd2  Qb6  6. e4  e5  7. f4!

Logic tells us that open lines should favor White and you gotta push’em to expand square count space.

7. … d6  8.  Nf3  Nbd7   9.  f x e5   d x e5

Black has allowed a passed d-pawn.  The question is: How dangerous is it?  Patience is a virtue.

10.  Bc4   Be7

This normal defensive strategy to e7 forecasts the White Queen Bishop landing on g5 so it seems correct to avoid a pin.  But better is …Bd6 to block the passed pawn.  If you have MY SYSTEM by Dr. Aron Nimsowitch, he gives a classic read on the need to block a passed pawn (preferably by a Knight) but one cannot be choosers.

11.  Rb1   Qd8   12. Bg5   h6  13.  d6!

This tactical shot is very effective with the Bishop on c4.

13.  h x g5   N x g5   14. N x g5

It reminds me of the tactics seen in a sister game called Chinese Chess where there are few pawns to contend with to limit piece action and sharp tactics.

14. … O-O   15. O-O !

The Bishop is not going anywhere so White hurries to develop pieces for attack and puts the King in the castle out of danger.

15. … Nb6  16. d x e7   Q x e7   17. R x b6!

White does not stop to protect the Bishop and feels that the Rook is expendable and not needed in the overall attack.  Speed is of the essence.

17. … a x b6   18.  Nd5   N x d5.

White has a mating attack on 18….Qd8  19. N x f6+  g x f6  20. B x f7+  Kg7  21. Qh5  f x g5  22. Qg6+  Kh8  23. Qh6 checkmate.

19. Qh5  Q x g5  20. Q x g5  Nf4  21. Q x e5  Be6  22. R x f4  B x c4  23. Qh5  R x a2  24. Rh4  Ra1+  25. Kf2  f5  26. Qh7+ Kf7  27. e xf5  You bully you!  (1-0).

Despite the ten years absence of these forces in combat, one of the beauties of chess (where those games have been recorded) is the lasting tribute to both players and their skill in the time machine of life.  The joy of such combat is seen in picture form– all the plans and plots taking place on those wonderful 64 squares that make up the field of battle.

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