Magnus Carlsen’s Best Chess Tactics – GM Damian Lemos
GM Damian Lemos is an absolute expert in tactical aspects of the game. He has already produced plenty of videos on these topics. This time, he analyzes the tactical skills of the World Chess Champion himself, GM Magnus Carlsen.
Magnus Carlsen’s chess career is full of great achievements. He was only 13 years old when he earned his grandmaster title in 2004. In 2009, Magnus Carlsen reached an impressive ELO rating of over 2800 and just one year later, he became the world’s No. 1 in the FIDE rankings. Three years later, Carlsen defeated the reigning World Chess Champion Vishy Anand in a match of twelve games (Carlsen even ended the match after 10 games) and became the new World Chess Champion.
In the following year, he retained his title in a rematch against Vishy Anand and won the 2014 World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship. In the same year, in May 2014, he reached a peak rating of 2882 – the highest rating in the history of chess. In the year 2016, he successfully defended his title a second time against the Russian Super-GM Sergey Karjakin.
Over the years, Carlsen has developed a universal playing style. He is a strong tactical and positional chess player and he uses a variety of openings which makes it hard for his opponents to prepare and play against him. Today, GM Damian Lemos takes a closer look at two of Magnus’ games and points out his strong tactical abilities. Let yourself be inspired by Magnus’ resourcefulness:
Bilbao 2008: Carlsen, Magnus (2775) – Aronian, Levon (2737)
In this game, GM Magnus Carlsen plays against GM Levon Aronian, another Top 10 chess player. We take a closer look at the game after Black’s 14th move – 14…a5 (see the diagram on the right). The position at hand arose from one of the main lines of the Semi-Slav Defense, the Meran Variation (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.a3 b4 10.Ne4 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 bxa3 12.0-0 Nf6 13.Bd3 axb2 14.Bxb2). White sacrificed a pawn in return for some other advantages:
- – White is better developed – He already castled and most of his pieces are on decent squares
- – White has a solid pawn structure, having one more pawn in the center and open files on the queenside
- – Black has weak pawns on a5 and c6
In essence, White has more than enough dynamic compensation for the pawn. Here, Magnus remembers one of the golden rules in chess – When you have the initiative, a temporary advantage, which can quickly disappear, you have to pose concrete problems to your opponent. Considering this rule, Magnus comes up with a novelty – 15.d5! (see the diagram on the left).
He sacrifices another pawn in order to open the a1-h8 diagonal for his bishop.
One key tactical idea is that Black’s most logical move – 15…cxd5 – loses to some nice tactics. White has 16.Bb5+ Nd7 (forced) 17.Ne5 Bc8 (forced) 18.Tc1 (see the diagram on the right) – with the unstoppable threat of 19.Rxc8 and Black loses a piece.
Another tactical justification for the move 15.d5! is that after 15…exd5, White has tactical ideas like 16.Nd4 (trying to bring the knight to f5) 16…Be7 (Black tries to bring his king to safety as quickly as possible) 17.Nf5 0-0? 18.Nxg7! (see the diagram on the left). Black is in trouble. 18…Kxg7 loses after 19.Qg4+ Kh8 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qf5 with the unstoppable threat of Qxh7 mate.
In the game, GM Levon Aronian took back with the knight – 15…Nxd5. Thereby, however, he removed an important defending piece from the kingside.
Magnus Carlsen’s Best Chess Tactics – Conclusion
If you want to see how Magnus did the job, you’ll need to watch the video and let yourself be inspired by Magnus Carlsen’s best chess tactics. Again, it wouldn’t have been one of Magnus Carlsen’s best chess tactics if he hadn’t some more brilliant tactical shots in the store which GM Damian Lemos explains you in the video.
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