This opening has retained its value as a weapon from the earliest days of chess sport. Today it is still seen at the club level and in blitz play, even at the highest level.
GM and World Champion Magnus Carlsen adopts it here against GM Vishy Anand at the Leuven rapid tournament, 2016.
l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Currently all the rage since the Berlin Defense has somewhat defanged the aggressive Ruy Lopez. Carlsen chooses a quiet line that suggests no real problem for Black.
3. … Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6. Kramnik, Anand and Giri each chose after 5. …O-O 6.c3 d5 7. e:d5 N:d5 8. a4!?
6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Na3 Ne7 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Be3 B:e3 11. N:e3 Ng6. Perhaps 11. …a5 to stop the pawn advance and gain Q-side space was more appropo.
12. a5! Ng4 13. h3 N:e3 14. f:e3 Qe7 15. Qb3 c6 16. d4 Be6 Like many of Carlsen’s games, equal is relative. Here, sq/ct. shows itself as White has more space and the placement of the two Knights tend to favor White as well. Microscopic things like this are a byproduct of Carlsen’s depth of understanding.
17. B:e6 f:e6 18. Rad1 Rae8 19. Qb4! Adding pressure on square d6.
19. …e:d4 20. c:d4 e5 21. d:e5 d:e5 22. Q:e7 R:e7 23. Rd6 Nh8 24. Nd2 A strong idea here is 24. Rd3 > Rfd1 >Nd2, which cause Black more problems.
24. …Nf7 25. Rd3 Ng5 26. Rf5 h6 27. h4 Nh7 28. Nb3 Nf6 29. Nc5! Finally reaching its destination which reduced Black to passive defense.
29. …Rff7 30. h5 Perhaps an Alekhine would have dreamed up a King journey to the Q-side here but Carlsen’s idea is also fruitful.
30. … Kh7 31. Rd8 Black suddenly finds himself in a position of zugzwang where he is forced to play the crippling …g6.
31. … g6 32. h:g6 K:g6 33. Rd6!! Kg7 34. Ne6+ Kg6 35. Nd8 Rf8 36. g4!! c5 37. b3 Ree8 38. N:b7 Resigns (1-0). A typical Carlsen style victory!