I am glad that I do not play at this super chess level. Examining this Giuoco Piano opening starts out as a mild mannered positional struggle with the ancient idea that one should not push too many pawns in the opening stirred a historical view of opening practice of olden time literature to witness the revolution toward pawn structures in conflict with itself.
White: Magnus Carlsen vs. Black: Sergey Karjakin Opening: Giuoco Piano
l. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 O-O I call this the positional line (d3) where the plan is to avoid sharp aggression but known for a century or more.
6. a4 This square count sally was played against me by club member and my mentor Rev. George Switzer in the early 50s. It was a practice game where I had introduced to him my concept so we agreed to give it a try. Now I see it actually played in a world championship contest! The usual idea of the Giuoco pattern is c3 but allows the central thrust d5?! immediately if he so chooses, bucking up against the center for freedom.
6. … d6 7. c3 a6 8. b4 Having said A, white proceeds with B, again eyeing s/c.
8. … Ba7 9. Re1 To support the advanced e-pawn.
9. … Ne7 With the intention of resettling and finding activity on the kingside.
10. Nbd2 Ng6 11. d4! It is important to counter his perceived black action and broaden his central space. Perhaps the genius of Carlsen shows itself here to entice black to force play in the center via 11…e:d4 and the important e-pawn is erased from it’s defensive task — the bulwark for defense in most KP openings. For example, 11…e:d4 12. c:d4 d5 13. e:d5 N:d5 black must weigh the consequences of 14. b5 or even 14. Ne4 emphasizing again s/c tactics.
11. … c6 12. h3 e:d4 The alternative here would be 12…Re8.
13. c:d4 N:e4 14. B:f7+!! An excellent idea. White gets a pawn plus on the Kingside and better King protection. This all is very double-edged and over my ability to suggest who is better at this point. Carlsen must have not liked any alternative thought. The idea seems logical and long term.
14. … R:f7 15. N:e4 d5! To prevent the white isolated pawn from advancing. Lessons from MY SYSTEM by Nimsowitsch.
16. Nc5! h6 17. Ra3 A typical Carlsen type move where the Rook will be well positioned on the 3rd rank. Black finds a good response if one thinks s/c. Also, his forces are eyeing the King position which poses serious problems for white.
17. … Bf5 18. Ne5! A necessary strike into enemy territory in order to achieve some exchange buffering the enemy assault.
18. … N:e5 19. d:e5 White envisions the a and c pawns holding up the black q/s majority. His hope probably rests with creating some k-side pawn activity where he stands better.
19. … Qh4! 20. Rf3 B:c5 This helps white because usually when you have the better attacking chances, you want to avoid unnecessary exchanges of pieces.
21. b:c5 Re8 22. Rf4 Qe7 23. Qd4! Ref8 24. Rf3 Here doubling on the 3rd rank with Re3 is worth a look see.
24. … Be4 25. R:f7 Q:f7 26. f3 Bf5 27. Kh2 Be6 28 Re2 Qg6 29. Be3 Rf7 30. Rf2 Qb1 31. Rb2 Qf5 32. a5 I was always aware that pawns should not be on the squares of the Bishop and seems to hold true here. The advantage is that at least the b7 pawn is now dead in the water.
32… Kf8!! The King must be activated.
33. Qc3 Ke8 34. Rb4 g5! With this move Black gets a s/c edge 9/12.
35. Rb2 Kd8 36. Rf2 Kc8 37. Qd4 Qg6 38. g4 s/c 8/10
38. …h5 39. Qd2 Rg7 40. Kg3 Rg8 41. Kg2 And now White just needs to avoid falling into a mate.
41. … h:g4 42. h:g4 d4 43. Q:d4 Bd5 44. e6 Q:e6 45. Kg3 Qe7 46. Rh2 Qf7 47. f4 g:f4+ 48. Q:f4 Qe7 49. Rh5 Rf8 50. Rh7 R:f4 51. R:e7 Re4 Draw agreed to here.