Carlsen Takes Early Lean in Baden-Baden

The world champion Magnus Carlsen took an early lead at the Grenke Super tournament after defeating Michael Adams in a typical, positional style. Mickey was Magnus'second at the recent WC match in Sochi, which did not prevent the Norwegian from surprising him in the opening. The novelty promised Carlsen slight, but durable positional advantage:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "GRENKE Chess Classic 2015"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.03"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2865"]
[BlackElo "2738"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:37:54"]
[BlackClock "0:28:40"]

1. c4 e5 {The reversed Sicilian that is.} 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 {The
reversed Rossolimo line.} 5. Nd5 (5. Bg2 {is considered the main line but the
move in the game scoes better for White, at least by percentage.}) 5... Bc5 6.
Bg2 d6 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 ({Adams has experience in this line. A couple years
ago he drew comfortably against the current number three in the world after} 8.
e3 a6 9. d3 Ba7 10. Nxf6+ Qxf6 11. Bd2 Qg6 {Grischuk,A (2785)-Adams,M (2752)
Warsaw 2013}) 8... Nxd5 9. cxd5 Nd4 {Mickey trades the second knight, thus
freeing his position a bit.} (9... Ne7 {is the other option.}) 10. Nxd4 exd4 {
The idea is to create counter play against the backward pawn on e2.} ({The
other capture is also possible} 10... Bxd4 11. e3 Bb6 {Next both the sides are
trying to grab space on the kingside with f2-f4-f5 for White and f7-f5-f4 for
Black!} 12. Kh1 Bd7 13. Bd2 Qe8 14. a4 a5 15. f4 f5 16. Re1 Qf7 {and
approximate equality in Grachev,B (2705)-Mchedlishvili,M (2626) Tashkent 2012})
11. Bd2 {Magnus wants to expand on the queenside, but Black is alert.} a5 12.
e4 {Naturally, the World Champion does not want to wait and see the black
heavy pieces piled towards his pawn.} dxe3 13. fxe3 Qg5 14. Rf4 $146 {A
novelty, technically speaking. All of this has been seen previously with White
continuing} (14. d4 {first and only after} Bb6 15. Rf4 {After} Bd7 16. Qc2 a4
17. Raf1 Qe7 {Black seemed very stable in Kiselev,V (2505)-Garakov,M (2412)
Lugansk 2007}) 14... Bd7 ({Perhaps it made sense for Black to avoid the game
continuation with} 14... a4 $5 15. Qc2 Bd7 {which would most likely transpose
into the previously played game after} 16. d4 Bb6) 15. a4 $1 {Diagram [#] In
fact this is the actual novelty in comparison to the game Kiselev-Garakov from
above. Magnus' idea is to fix the pawn on a5 and attack the queenside later
with b2-b4.} Rae8 ({Looking into the future it made sense for Adams to keep
the queenside rook where it was to anticipate White's play there} 15... Rfe8 $5
) 16. d4 Bb6 17. Qb3 $1 ({The immediate} 17. b4 {does not give much after} Ra8
(17... axb4 18. a5) 18. Qb3 Qe7 19. bxa5 (19. Qc4 $2 axb4 20. Qxb4 Ba5 $15)
19... Bxa5 20. Bxa5 Rxa5 {as White does not have time to win the pawn} 21. Qxb7
Qxe3+) 17... Qd8 18. Qc4 {[%cal Gd1b3,Gb3c4,Rb2b4] The point behind Carlsen's
maneuver. The queen is optimally placed and actively supports the queenside
attack.} Re7 ({The queen is not as good a defender as the rook} 18... Qa8 19.
b4 axb4 20. a5 Bxa5 21. Bxb4 b6 22. Qxc7 {is advantageous for White.}) 19. b4
axb4 ({White also has a pull after} 19... Qa8 20. Qc3 axb4 21. Qxb4 $14) 20. a5
Ba7 21. Qxb4 $14 {[%csl Ga5,Gd5][%cal Ga5b6,Gd5c6] The opening strategy of the
World Champion succeeded. The advanced pawns on a5 and d5 squeeze the black
forces and White has annoying pressure on the queenside. Mickey tries to free
himself at once.} c5 $1 (21... Bc8 22. Rc1 {looks grim for Black.}) 22. dxc6
Bxc6 23. Qb3 Bxg2 24. Kxg2 Qd7 {[%csl Ya5,Yb7,Yd6,Ye3,Gf1,Gf4][%cal Gd2a5,
Gd2e3,Ga1f1,Gf1f7,Gb1b7] The situation had changed. The doubled d pawn is gone
and the black b and d pawns were separated, thus they became clear targets. On
the other hand, the white bishop is seemingly not the greatest piece ever, but
so is his counterpart. White keeps pressure thanks to the fact that his
heavy pieces are more active and exert pressure. They are actively assisted by
the "poor" bishop that effectively shuts both the a and e semi-open files for
Black.} (24... d5 $4 {is positionally sound but tactically wrong} 25. Bb4) 25.
Raf1 Rc8 26. Rf5 {This prevents d6-d5 and prepares rook transfer along the
fifth rank.} h6 {Adams did not feel the danger. Correct was} (26... g6 27. Rb5
(27. Rf6 d5) 27... h5 {which would have stopped White's activity on the
kingside. The pawn weaknesses on b7 and d6 are very close to each other and
can be defended relatively easily.}) 27. R1f2 Bb8 28. Bb4 Qc6+ 29. R2f3 {The
queen swap will lead to a draw after} (29. Qd5 Qxd5+ 30. Rxd5 Rxe3 31. Bxd6 Rd8
32. Bf4 Rxd5 33. Bxe3 Rxa5 34. Rb2 b5 35. Kf3 $11) 29... Rcc7 30. Be1 Qe8 {It
was not too late to go for} (30... g6 $1 31. Rd5 h5 $11) 31. g4 $1 {Diagram [#]
Now the bishop can be actively used on the h4-d8 diagonal. Magnus also intends
to further advance the pawns on the kingside and open the game there. Thus, he
will create one more weakness- the black king and thanks to the extra space he
can be much more effective in maneuvering on both sides of the board.} Re4 32.
h3 Rce7 33. Bf2 R4e6 $2 {A blunder. However, White was making progress after
both} (33... Rc7 34. Rb5 Ree7 35. Rb6 Red7 36. Qd5 $16) ({Perhaps,} 33... Ba7 {
was the lesser evil} 34. Rb5 Qc8 35. Qd5 $14 {Although White is better here as
well.}) 34. Rb5 Bc7 {The pawn cannot be saved} (34... Qc8 35. a6) (34... Qc6 $4
35. d5) 35. Rxb7 Qa8 {Adams decided that this is the lesser evil in comparison
to the absolute pin after} (35... Bxa5 36. Rb8 Bd8 37. Bh4 Rd7 38. Qb5 {[%csl
Rd7][%cal Rb5d7]} f6 39. Qd5) 36. Rb5 $16 {Diagram [#] The long grinding was
effective as usual with Magnus. He won a pawn and now starts converting it.}
Re8 37. Qd5 Qxd5 38. Rxd5 Rb8 39. Bg3 g6 40. h4 Ra8 41. Be1 Re4 42. g5 h5 {A
strange decision. The defender should trade pawns as a rule} (42... hxg5 43.
hxg5) 43. Rb5 Ra7 44. Kf1 Re8 45. Ke2 Rea8 46. Rf6 Ra6 (46... Bxa5 47. Rxa5
Rxa5 48. Bxa5 Rxa5 49. Rxd6 {leads to the same.}) 47. Bb4 {Magnus correctly
evaluated the rook endgame as won.} Bxa5 48. Rxa5 Rxa5 49. Bxa5 Rxa5 50. Rxd6
Kf8 51. Rf6 Ra3 52. Kf3 Ke7 53. Ke4 Ra5 ({Or} 53... Ke8 54. Rf4 ({Worse is} 54.
d5 Ra4+ 55. Ke5 Rxh4) 54... Ke7 55. d5 Kd6 56. Rf6+ $1 Ke7 57. Rb6 Ra4+ 58. Ke5
Rxh4 59. d6+ Kd7 60. Rb7+ Ke8 61. Re7+ Kf8 62. Kf6 $18) 54. Rf4 $1 {[%cal
Gd4d5,Ge4e5] Diagram [#] The rook defends the fourth rank and enables the
further reinforcement of the position with d4-d5 and Ke4-e5. The game is
decided.} Rb5 55. d5 Rb3 56. Kd4 Ra3 57. e4 Rb3 58. Ke5 Rd3 59. Rf1 $1 Rh3 60.
Ra1 Rxh4 61. d6+ Kd7 62. Ra7+ Ke8 63. Ra8+ Kd7 64. Rf8 {A nice positional win
for the World Champion who takes the sole lead.} 1-0


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