Carlsen has 2.5/3 points after today’s fighting draw the ever-dangerous Alexander Morozevich. Carlsen attempted to play a Grunfeld, however had to switch gears after Moro’s 4. Bg5. Carlsen emerged from the opening with a space advantage and pawn storming attack against white’s king. While Morozevich is reknown for his attacking prowess, he is also an experienced and cool-headed defender. He reduced black’s pressure by sacrificing a pawn with 33. d6!? and exchanged pieces while winning back the pawn on c4 (39. Rxc4). It seemed that a draw was likely as the players reached the time control at move 40, however Morozevich attempted to push forward due to his good knight vs Carlsen’s bad dark-squared bishop. Carlsen defended accurately and Morozevich forced a perpetual check, ending the game in 52 moves.
Carlsen Regroups to Attack – Position after 22. …Bf8
Shirov Explodes Caruana from Bishop’s Opening
Alexei Shirov is one of my all-time favorite players, continuing Mikhail Tal’s tradition of playing creative, exciting, and above all – attacking chess. His “take no prisoners” style has backfired lately, as he has been in a slump with poor results. During this game, I was amused by Hikaru Nakamura’s online commentary about Morozevich and Shirov:
“Moro is brilliant and knows how to set a fire on the board without pouring endless gasoline on his own position. Shirov on the other hand… He pours endless gasoline and eventually it all explodes”. – Nakamura
Shirov, as white, opened calmly with the Bishop’s Opening against Caruana – aiming for a positional middlegame instead of a sharp opening struggle. Caruana aimed to attack with 11. …Ng5 12. …Bg4 and 13. …Qc8 – and Shirov welcomed the complications 16. d5 and 17. f4!? Many pieces were exchanged and the resulting position was roughly equal until Caruana jettisoned his protected past d-pawn with 31. …d3?! Shirov quickly surrounded and won the pawn – resulting in a Q+B Vs Q+N endgame where white had an extra pawn but a scattered pawn structure. It seemed that Caruana could hold the position, however he played inaccurately and inattentively – allowing Shirov to first consolidate his position and relocate his king to the healthy queenside, then launch a decisive attack against black’s kingside. Shirov finished the game with a simple tactical shot on move 63 to dispatch the young Caruana.
Shirov Vs Carlsen – Final Position After 63. Bg6+
Original article with interactive PGN’s on the Biel Chess Festival available on William’s site.