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Magnus Carlsen vs Peter Svidler – Road To World Chess Champion [chess24]

Magnus Carlsen – Road To World Chess Champion

Magnus Carlsen’s impressive rise to the very top of the chess world rightfully drew a lot of attention. At just 22 years old, Carlsen became the second youngest World Champion in history, just five months older than the legendary Garry Kasparov had been when he’d become champion. It set up years of domination, as in the next year, he retained his title against Anand, won both the 2014 World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship, and reached the highest peak rating in history at 2882 Elo.

What must have made the victory all the sweeter was that the road to becoming the champion by defeating Vishy Anand in Chennai had not been an easy one! In fact, Magnus Carlsen almost didn’t make it through the Candidates tournament when he faced some stern opposition.

In this video, chess24 favourite presenters IM Anna Rudolf (Miss Strategy) and IM Sopiko Guramishvili (Miss Tactics) sit down to analyse one of the crucial games in Carlsen’s road to becoming the champion.

It was the 2013 Candidates Tournament, and a round 6 game against super grandmaster Peter Svidler. During the tournament, Carlsen had 4 games as Black out of 6, and still managed to score a very impressive 4.5 points!

In this game, Peter Svidler tried a very nice idea in the Ruy Lopez, playing a novelty on move 15 with Bc2. This move leads to some very dynamic and complicated play where White wants to focus an attack on Black’s kingside even at the cost of a weakened pawn structure, and the cost of a pawn (no small sacrifice at this top level!)

In this exclusive preview at iChess.net in collaboration with chess24, Anna and Sopiko will explain all the ideas and variations behind this novelty, and indeed the full game, explaining clearly how the Norwegian managed to eke out a sublime victory as Black and gain a crucial point in his road to becoming the World Chess Champion.

Magnus Carlsen vs Peter Svidler, Candidates 2013

Magnus Carlsen vs Peter SvidlerLet’s take a look at the start of the game. Peter Svidler played the White pieces, and Magnus Carlsen the Black. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 and we have a very popular chess opening, the Ruy Lopez. 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 b4. Black also has the option to play …Rb8 or …Bd7 here. Carlsen opts for …b4.

9. Nbd2 0-0 10. a5 Be6 11. Nc4 – Nc4 is the point of playing a5. By playing this move, not only does White place a knight on an excellent square, but cuts off any pawn support for the b4 pawn. Additionally, this move keeps the light-squared bishops on the board.

Magnus Carlsen vs Peter Svidler Candidates 201311…Rb8 12. c3 bxc3 13. bxc3 h6 14. Re1 Qc8. So far, all these moves are theory, but now Svidler plays a novelty, 15. Bc2, surely surprising Carlsen. See the position on the left. The usual move in this position would be 15. Ba4 in the main line. So, what is Svidler’s idea? It is interesting that Svidler is not worried about sacrificing a pawn, nor the resulting weakened pawn structure (doubled pawns) that most of us would avoid at all costs. He wants to play actively on the kingside and this price is acceptable to him. For example, one continuation could be 15…Bxc4 16. dxc4 Qe6 17. Nh4 where suddenly White is playing very actively with good counter play. 17…Qxc4 18. Nf5 and White’s knight hits an extremely good square. 18…Rfe8 19. Ra4 to kick the queen away, 19…Qe6 20. Qd3 and the queen threatens two things. First, Black’s pawn on a6 is under attack, and secondly the queen can swing over to the kingside with a dangerous looking initiative. You can see this position in the diagram on the right.

This is why Carlsen responds with 15…Rd8 instead. 16. Qe2 Bf8 17. Ne3. Ne3 is a move that it may have been better to wait a little longer before playing. Why? You’ll have to watch the video! You’ll get expert analysis of the rest of the game, seeing how Carlsen dealt with the position and converted it into a full point.


In the full course, Magnus Carlsen: Road To World Champion, IMs Rudolf and Guramishvili closely examine sixteen of the most important and thrilling games from the World Champion from 2013 and 2014. There is certainly a lot to learn from one of the greatest players of all time! Get instant access with a 35% discount here.

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