Magnus Carlsen’s Singapore Simultaneous Exhibition – an astounding show of speed and precision!

Magnus Carlsen's Singapore Simultaneous Exhibition - an astounding show of speed and precision!

PGN Magnus Carlsen in Singapore
[Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.06"] [Round "?"] [White "Magnus Carlsen"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A22"] [Annotator "Goh,Kevin"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] { It was a tremendous privilege and honor to have the opportunity to face the reigning World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, even if it was only a simul exhibition. Before the game, almost all the chess friends that I spoke to said that there is no point preparing against the guy - he simply plays everything under the sun as a quick search on Megadatabase will tell you. Still, I checked a few trendy lines that I thought Magnus might try and by sheer luck, one of them actually appeared over the board... } 1.c4 Nf6 { This was an attempt to transpose to Anti-Grunfeld lines which may arise after 2.Nf3 g6. } ( 1...e6 2.Nc3 { , } ) ( 1...g6 2.e4 { and } ) ( 1...c5 { were other possible options. } ) 2.Nc3 e5 3.e3 { True to his style, Magnus cannot be bothered to go into the absolute mainstream stuff. This was not a difficult move to predict given that he has played 1.e3 at the Baku Olympiad against a reasonably strong Grandmaster! } ( { A recent game I played with another strong Norwegian player continued (by transposition) } 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Bc5 { A trendy line popularised by Fabiano Caruana } 7.O-O O-O 8.d3 Bb6 9.Bd2 Bg4 10.Na4 Qd6 11.Rc1 Rad8 { and the game Tari - Goh, Barcelona 2017 eventually ended peacefully. } ) 3...Bb4 ( 3...Nc6 { was my main preparation but here, Magnus had played } 4.g4!? { against MVL during one of the Grand Chess Tours, winning in brilliant style. I see absolutely no reason why I should try to defend a position that MVL couldn't.... } ) 4.Nge2 O-O 5.a3 Be7 6.Ng3 ( { My very brief preparation continued } 6.d4 exd4 7.Qxd4 { (Controlling the d5 break is logical) } ( 7.Nxd4 d5 { leads to comfortable equality. } ) 7...c6! ( 7...Nc6 { is an automatic move but after } 8.Qd1 { , Black is running the risk of entering a slightly passive middlegame since the ...d5 break will be almost impossible to achieve. } ) 8.Nf4 Na6!? { with interesting play. } ) 6...c6 ( 6...d5 { was also possible and could have been a slightly smarter choice since I ended up taking on d5 with the knight anyway. } 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qc2 Be6 ( 8...c5 9.Bc4 Nc7!? ) 9.Be2 ( 9.Nf5 Bf6 { is fine for Black } ) 9...c5 { and Black has equalised with chances of fighting for the initiative } ) 7.d4 ( { After the game, Magnus and I briefly discussed } 7.Nf5 d5 8.Nxe7+ Qxe7 9.d4 exd4 10.Qxd4 Rd8 { and now the threat of ...c6-c5 gives Black good play in the centre. } ) 7...exd4 8.exd4 d5 9.cxd5 { Right around this moment, the guy sitting next to me was checkmated with Qd1-h5. I then realised that this was going to be a more difficult evening than expected... } 9...Re8!? ( 9...Nxd5 10.Bd3 Re8 11.O-O Be6 { was maybe also fine for Black but I thought that I should cleverly try to prevent Bd3 if I could. Magnus's next move took me, and a lot of other strong players by surprise. } ) 10.Bd3!? { Ignoring the discovered check. Regardless of the objective strength of the move, many players, including former National Champion and Olympian IM Hsu Li Yang, considered this to be remarkable especially given that this was played under simul conditions. } ( 10.dxc6 { was my main worry, where I calculated } 10...Nxc6 ( 10...Bc5+ 11.Be3 Bxd4 12.cxb7 Bxb7 { was also possible but I didn't really believe that such a dream could materialise. } ) 11.Be3 Ng4 { followed by vague ideas of ...Bf6 or ...Bg5. } ) 10...Bxa3+ 11.Nge2 Bf8 { It was difficult for me to decide an appropriate retreat square for my bishop. } ( 11...Bb4 { is one of the engine's top choices, but I didn't see what the bishop was doing on a square which my queen's knight wanted for herself. } ) ( 11...Bd6 { is logical but it reduces my control over the d5 square } ) ( { while } 11...Be7 { has the idea of regrouping with ..Nd5 and . .Bf6 but it also temporarily blocks the e-file. In the end, it was a matter of weighing the various pros and cons. } ) 12.dxc6 Nxc6 13.O-O Nb4 14.Bb1 Bg4?! { A natural but pseudo active move. } ( { On hindsight, } 14...Be6!? { with the idea } 15.Bg5 Bc4 { was strategically desirable especially since } 16.Ne4 { can be met by } 16...Be7 { followed by exchanges. } ) 15.Bg5 ( 15.f3?! Be6 { was my intention but Magnus was never going to give away squares without something concrete in return. } ) 15...Qb6 16.Qd2 Bxe2 { An important decision but perhaps overtly hasty. I should also add that Magnus graciously allowed me to "pass" when I asked for a bit more time at this juncture. } ( { Taking a breather with } 16...a6! { would have solved a lot of my problems but I naively wanted to play concretely at every juncture. } ) 17.Nxe2 Ne4 18.Bxe4 Rxe4 19.Be3 Nd5? { The first real mistake of the game, allowing Magnus to improve his pawn structure. } ( { It was really important to play } 19...a6 { now as it will soon be clear. } ) 20.Nc3 Nxe3 ( { I didn't like } 20...Nxc3 21.bxc3 { Having said that, the position after } 21...a5!? { might be better for White but Black retains a sliver of counterplay, which is more than what he got in the game. } ) 21.fxe3 Re6? { Not the best square for the rook, the reason to which will be explained in the note to White's next move. } ( 21...Ree8 { with the idea } 22.Qf2 Qe6 { was slightly better for White. } ) 22.Qd3?! ( { To my horror, I realised that my original intention of meeting } 22.Qf2 { with } 22...Rf6?? { could be met by } 23.Nd5! Rxf2 24.Nxb6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Re8 26.Rxa7 Rxe3 27.Ra8! { and White wins. Maybe this was what Magnus missed. } ) ( { Instead, I was probably going to continue } 22.Qf2 f6 23.Nd5 Qc6 24.Qf3 Rd8 25.e4 { with an unpleasant position but at least Black is still alive. } ) 22...Rae8? { A horrendous blunder, perhaps induced by the imposing speed of the World Champion or maybe the 3 glasses of wine just before the game? } ( 22...Rd8! { was of course my original intention, when there is still everything to play for. } ) 23.Nd5 Qd6 24.Qf5! { Winning a pawn by force. Not an ideal situation against a World Champion best known for his technical play. } 24...Qd7 { It wasn't pleasant to miss a simple 2-mover but there was no need to capitulate. } ( 24...f6 25.Rxa7 Qc6! { with the idea of playing ..Rd6 and ..Qc2 would have given Black some counterplay. I have to admit that this counter-intuitive manoeuvre was machine-inspired and I would probably have missed even with a bit more time on the clock. } ) 25.Rxa7 Rd6 26.Qxd7 Rxd7 27.Ra5! { Magnus displays his flawless conversion technique from this juncture. As Olimpiu Urcan succintly puts it, I was about to be subjected to severe medieval torture.... } 27...Red8 28.Nc3 Re8 29.Rf3 Rc8 30.Rb5 g6 31.g4! { stopping ..f7-f5 and keeping absolute control on the kingside. } 31...Be7 32.Kf2 Ra8 33.Ke2 Kg7 34.Kd3 Ra1 35.h3 h6 36.e4 Rg1 37.e5 Re1 38.Nd5 Bg5 39.Kc4 Bd2 40.Rfb3 Rc1+ 41.Kd3 Bg5 42.Nc3 Rh1 43.Rxb7 Rxh3+ 44.Kc4 Rd8 45.Ne4 { And with his knight jumping to d6, my kingside stymied by a solitary pawn on g4, and with his passed pawns about to be set in motion, I've seen enough. } 1-0 [Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2017.10.07"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Urcan, Olimpiu"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B08"] [Annotator "Tay,Junior"] [PlyCount "85"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.07"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.07"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.d5 Nb8 5.Nc3 ( { As Magnus remarked, Olimpiu played 'a little joke' by following the recent game where Magnus was Black.... } 5.Bd3 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.c4 O-O 8.Nc3 Bg4 9.Be2 Nfd7 10.Bg5 a5 11.Nd2 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 c6 13.Kh1 a4 14.a3 Nc5 15.f4 Nbd7 16.Nf3 Qc7 17.Rad1 Rae8 18.f5 Qa5 19.Na2 Nf6 20.Nd2 Ncd7 21.Nf3 Nc5 22.Nd2 Ncd7 23.Nf3 Rc8 24.Nb4 Rfe8 25.Bd2 Qc7 26.dxc6 bxc6 27.Bc3 e5 28.Nd2 Nc5 29.Rf3 Nh5 30.g3 Bh6 31.Rdf1 Qe7 32.Nd3 Nxd3 33.Rxd3 Nf6 34.Rdf3 Rf8 35.c5 d5 36.exd5 cxd5 37.fxg6 fxg6 38.Qxe5 Qxe5 39.Bxe5 Nd7 40.Rxf8+ Bxf8 41.Bd4 Nxc5 42.Rc1 Bh6 43.Bxc5 Bxd2 44.Rd1 Rxc5 45.Rxd2 Kf7 46.Rd4 Ke6 47.Rxa4 Rc2 48.Kg1 Rxb2 49.Rh4 Rb7 50.Kf2 Kd6 51.Ke3 Kc5 52.Kd3 Rb3+ 53.Kc2 Rxa3 54.Rxh7 Kc4 55.Rc7+ Kd4 56.Rc6 Ra2+ 57.Kb3 Rxh2 58.Rxg6 Kd3 59.g4 d4 60.g5 Rg2 61.Rh6 Ke2 62.Rh1 Rg3+ 63.Kb2 Rxg5 64.Rh2+ Kd3 65.Rh3+ Kc4 66.Kc2 Rg2+ 67.Kd1 Rb2 68.Rg3 Rh2 69.Rf3 Rh1+ 70.Kd2 Rh2+ 71.Kd1 Rh1+ 72.Kd2 Rh2+ { 1/2-1/2 (72) Kasimdzhanov,R (2676)-Carlsen,M (2827) Douglas 2017 } ) 5...g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.O-O O-O 8.a4 c6 9.h3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Bf4 d5 12.Nd4 Re8 13.Re1 Nbd7 14.e5 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Bf1 Nxe5 18.Rxe4 Nf7 19.c3 e5 20.Be3 Nd6 { This is the point where Magnus had to resolve the problem of his wayward rook and it was certainly put to good use! } 21.Qb3+ Kh8 22.Rd1 Qc7 23.Rb4 c5 24.Rg4 Rad8 25.a5 Nf5 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Bg5 Rf8 28.Qd5 b6 ( { After the game, Olimpiu rued not grabbing the a5-pawn } 28...Qxa5 29.Qxb7 Qa1 ( 29...h5 { might be even stronger. } ) 30.Qd7 { but he indicated that Magnus was just whizzing by the boards so quickly, he could hardly work out the complications in time after snagging the pawn. } ) 29.axb6 axb6 30.Ra4 h6 31.Bc1 Qf7 32.Qxf7 Rxf7 33.Bd3 Rd7 34.Bc2 Kh7 35.Ra6 Rd6 36.Kf1 e4 37.Ke2 Re6 38.g4 Ne7 39.Ra4 Nd5 40.Rxe4 Re5 41.f4 Rxe4+ 42.Bxe4 Ne7 43.Kd3 1-0 [Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.06"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Lee, Chien Earn"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C77"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.06"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.06"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 b5 9.Bc2 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.Nbd2 Qd7 12.Nf1 Rac8 13.Ng3 Bg6 14.Nh4 Nd8 15.Qf3 c5 16.Nhf5 Ne6 { Magnus later complimented Dr Lee for this defensive setup which gave him pause on how to continue the kingside assault } 17.h4 h5 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.Nf5 Qd7 20.Qh3 Rfe8 21.Bg5 Nh7 22.Bd2 Nf6 23.a4 Ra8 24.Qf3 Ng4 25.Ne3 Nf6 26.g3 Nc7 27.Qe2 Rec8 28.f4 { Finally, the kingside operations go into full swing } 28...Rd8? { Dr Lee hopes to stem the attack with tough defence and keeping lines closed but the World champion is not to be denied. } 29.f5 Bh7 30.g4 hxg4 31.Nxg4 Nce8 32.Bg5 Qe7 33.Kh1 Qf8 34.Rg1 Kh8 35.Bb3 Rdc8 36.Nxf6 Nxf6 37.Bxf6 gxf6 38.Bd5 Rab8 39.axb5 Rc7 40.bxa6 Ra7 41.Qd2 Rb6 42.Bb7 Rbxb7 43.axb7 Rxb7 44.Ra6 Rd7 45.c4 Rb7 46.Rxd6 Qxd6 47.Qh6 1-0 [Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.07"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Lim, Joshua"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A55"] [Annotator "Tay,Junior"] [PlyCount "81"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.07"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.07"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.e4 c6 6.Be2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.d5 a5 9.Ne1 Nc5 10.f3 Qb6 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.Rb1 Rfe8 13.Be3 Rad8 14.Nd3 Qc7 15.Nxc5 dxc5 16.g4 cxd5 17.cxd5 Qb8 18.a4 b6 19.Bb5 Bf8 20.Qe2 g6 21.Rbd1 Bxb5 22.Nxb5 Rd7 23.Na3 Rc8 24.Qb5 Rb7 25.Nc4 Ne8 26.Qb3 Rd8 { Joshua had dug in his heels and set up the trenches. So Magnus decided to break the impasse with } 27.f4! Bg7 ( { Magnus felt that Joshua should have gone for } 27...Nd6 28.Nxe5 Nxe4 { with some counterplay. } ) 28.Qc2 Re7 ( { Once again } 28...Nd6 { with the idea of } 29.Nxe5?! Re8 { gives Black counterplay. } ) 29.f5! { Now Black has no chance of establishing counterplay. } 29...f6 30.g5! gxf5 31.Rxf5 Nd6 32.Rxf6 Nxc4 33.Qxc4 Bxf6 34.gxf6 Rf7 35.d6 Rdd7 36.Bh6 Kh8 37.Qe6 Qd8 38.Rg1 Rxf6 39.Rg8+ Qxg8 40.Qxf6+ Rg7 41.d7 1-0
In a move greatly appreciated by Singaporean chess fans, NBAS (Norwegian Business Association (Singapore) and Simonsen Vogt Wiig law firm organized  a simultaneous chess match for 16 players to face the World Champion at the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence on the 6th of October 2017. The organizers also roped in the support of the Singapore Chess Federation to supply the beautiful wooden Staunton sets for the occasion. Only 16 could take the seats to face the World champion but the place was jam-packed with Norwegian businesspeople and Singaporean chess fanatics, all joining in the occasion to witness the maestro at work. Prior to Magnus’ arrival, the emcee of the event, Mr Hakon Bruasket Kjel (Senior VP, Telenor Group) remarked to me that it is an honour for them to host someone of Magnus’ stature, and they are glad to create this avenue for local fans to get close to the World champion as well. Well, the serious chess fans operated strategically too, placing themselves at the doorway to ‘ambush’ Magnus upon his entrance and they were rewarded for their strong positional sense with autographs as well as a beaming Magnus pic. Ms Esther Koh (Business Development Director, Zenitant Holdings) and Ms Michelle Tay (Director,Hauterobe Pte Ltd) got the first dibs with autographs and photos with the World Champion. Hakon opened the event by introducing the players who were about to get the game of their lives: 1) Anders Hellum, Consultant and Global Leader – The Gap Partnership 2) Tom Hellebø. CEO, The Edge Group (Singapore) 3) Per Fredrik Aamot, Intern, Norwegian Embassy 4) Magnus Grimland, NBAS board member and co-founder of Zalora 5) Are Glørensen, Director, Tronrud Engineering Pte Ltd 6) William Klippgen, Co-founder of price comparison portal Zoomit.com 7) Morthen Winther, Partner Simonson Vogt Wiig 8) John Lee Say Siong, representing Singapore Chess Federation 9) NM Olimpiu Urcan, Chess Historian/Author, Top Chess Journalist on Twitter 10) IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming, 6 time Singapore champion, CFO Lucence Diagnostics 11) Dr Lee Chien Earn, CEO Changi General Hospital 12) Pok Wern Jian, former Malaysian national player, Teacher I/C chess in National Junior College 13) Carleton Lim, founder Fixitchess, grandson of Singapore’s chess doyen Professor Lim Kok Ann 14) Fridtjof Berge, Associate, Mc Kinsey and Company 15) Joshua Lim Geok Hock, Head of Trading East, Shell LNG 16) Alexander Boe, Trading Partner, Telenor The emcee, Mr Hakon Bruasket Kjel giving the introductory speech as IM Goh readies himself for the match (Photo credit: FM Andrey Terekhov) Norway's Ambassador Designate to Singapore Ms Anita Neergard, who has graciously hosted the event at her residence, opened the event. Ms Anita Neergard kindly invited the local chess fans as well as Team Norway members to her abode and wished all the participants and visitors well (Photo credit: FM Andrey Terekhov) One very much appreciated innovation was Team Carlsen’s FM Espen Agdestein’s running commentary to the audience on how each player was doing every few moves. FM Espen Agdestein assessing and commenting on Pok Wern Jian’s position – his assessment – a powerful attack for Magnus. Here's a Youtube video of Magnus making the the rounds (Video credit: Joshua Lim) Soon, it became apparent that Olimpiu, Kevin, Chien Earn and Joshua were putting up strong resistance, especially, Kevin who was assessed to be giving Magnus an interesting fight. Espen also helpfully explained to the audience that typically, a player of Kevin’s stature (a 2461 rated IM) would not be participating in such a simul exhibition but Magnus loves a challenge so there you have it. Before the game, Kevin remarked in jest that he would be facing a third member of the Norwegian Olympiad team, having fought GMs Simen Agdestein and GM Aryan Tari to draws only a month ago. So can he keep ‘Team Norway’ at bay? IM Kevin Goh keeping Magnus on his toes As I expected (having witnessed how Magnus dealt with 11 players (including 2 IMs(!) in a 2015 Chess.com online simul) Magnus played almost instantly on each board, moving from board to board with amazing speed. Clearly, the players were placed under tremendous pressure (how does the dude think so fast?) having to deal with his speedy moves. An ironic choice of chess literature placed by Tom Hellebø, perhaps appropriate given how swiftly Magnus was making the rounds. He’s back again?…OK,let’s hit f2 and see how he responds… Within a hour and a quarter, all 16 opponents were routed, though Dr Lee Chien Earn put up great resistance. Dr Lee resisted the longest against the Maestro Dr Lee Chien Earn (father of FM Lee Qing Aun) was the last opponent to lay down the arms. Just as we thought it was the end of a great show, Magnus went one better by explaining in detail about how the games went for the stronger opponents he faced! Here’s a transcription of what Magnus commented and the games he was commenting about. Carlsen vs IM Kevin Goh "Against Kevin Goh, I was probably a bit worse out of the opening. I think he made a crucial mistake by putting his rook on e8, and had Kevin not lost a pawn, he would be In very good shape". He went on to analyse with Kevin in greater detail as seen in the following game annotated by the latter below. Magnus explaining Wei Ming's possible counters
[Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.06"] [Round "?"] [White "Magnus Carlsen"] [Black "Goh Wei Ming, Kevin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A22"] [Annotator "Goh,Kevin"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] { It was a tremendous privilege and honor to have the opportunity to face the reigning World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, even if it was only a simul exhibition. Before the game, almost all the chess friends that I spoke to said that there is no point preparing against the guy - he simply plays everything under the sun as a quick search on Megadatabase will tell you. Still, I checked a few trendy lines that I thought Magnus might try and by sheer luck, one of them actually appeared over the board... } 1.c4 Nf6 { This was an attempt to transpose to Anti-Grunfeld lines which may arise after 2.Nf3 g6. } ( 1...e6 2.Nc3 { , } ) ( 1...g6 2.e4 { and } ) ( 1...c5 { were other possible options. } ) 2.Nc3 e5 3.e3 { True to his style, Magnus cannot be bothered to go into the absolute mainstream stuff. This was not a difficult move to predict given that he has played 1.e3 at the Baku Olympiad against a reasonably strong Grandmaster! } ( { A recent game I played with another strong Norwegian player continued (by transposition) } 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Bc5 { A trendy line popularised by Fabiano Caruana } 7.O-O O-O 8.d3 Bb6 9.Bd2 Bg4 10.Na4 Qd6 11.Rc1 Rad8 { and the game Tari - Goh, Barcelona 2017 eventually ended peacefully. } ) 3...Bb4 ( 3...Nc6 { was my main preparation but here, Magnus had played } 4.g4!? { against MVL during one of the Grand Chess Tours, winning in brilliant style. I see absolutely no reason why I should try to defend a position that MVL couldn't.... } ) 4.Nge2 O-O 5.a3 Be7 6.Ng3 ( { My very brief preparation continued } 6.d4 exd4 7.Qxd4 { (Controlling the d5 break is logical) } ( 7.Nxd4 d5 { leads to comfortable equality. } ) 7...c6! ( 7...Nc6 { is an automatic move but after } 8.Qd1 { , Black is running the risk of entering a slightly passive middlegame since the ...d5 break will be almost impossible to achieve. } ) 8.Nf4 Na6!? { with interesting play. } ) 6...c6 ( 6...d5 { was also possible and could have been a slightly smarter choice since I ended up taking on d5 with the knight anyway. } 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qc2 Be6 ( 8...c5 9.Bc4 Nc7!? ) 9.Be2 ( 9.Nf5 Bf6 { is fine for Black } ) 9...c5 { and Black has equalised with chances of fighting for the initiative } ) 7.d4 ( { After the game, Magnus and I briefly discussed } 7.Nf5 d5 8.Nxe7+ Qxe7 9.d4 exd4 10.Qxd4 Rd8 { and now the threat of ...c6-c5 gives Black good play in the centre. } ) 7...exd4 8.exd4 d5 9.cxd5 { Right around this moment, the guy sitting next to me was checkmated with Qd1-h5. I then realised that this was going to be a more difficult evening than expected... } 9...Re8!? ( 9...Nxd5 10.Bd3 Re8 11.O-O Be6 { was maybe also fine for Black but I thought that I should cleverly try to prevent Bd3 if I could. Magnus's next move took me, and a lot of other strong players by surprise. } ) 10.Bd3!? { Ignoring the discovered check. Regardless of the objective strength of the move, many players, including former National Champion and Olympian IM Hsu Li Yang, considered this to be remarkable especially given that this was played under simul conditions. } ( 10.dxc6 { was my main worry, where I calculated } 10...Nxc6 ( 10...Bc5+ 11.Be3 Bxd4 12.cxb7 Bxb7 { was also possible but I didn't really believe that such a dream could materialise. } ) 11.Be3 Ng4 { followed by vague ideas of ...Bf6 or ...Bg5. } ) 10...Bxa3+ 11.Nge2 Bf8 { It was difficult for me to decide an appropriate retreat square for my bishop. } ( 11...Bb4 { is one of the engine's top choices, but I didn't see what the bishop was doing on a square which my queen's knight wanted for herself. } ) ( 11...Bd6 { is logical but it reduces my control over the d5 square } ) ( { while } 11...Be7 { has the idea of regrouping with ..Nd5 and . .Bf6 but it also temporarily blocks the e-file. In the end, it was a matter of weighing the various pros and cons. } ) 12.dxc6 Nxc6 13.O-O Nb4 14.Bb1 Bg4?! { A natural but pseudo active move. } ( { On hindsight, } 14...Be6!? { with the idea } 15.Bg5 Bc4 { was strategically desirable especially since } 16.Ne4 { can be met by } 16...Be7 { followed by exchanges. } ) 15.Bg5 ( 15.f3?! Be6 { was my intention but Magnus was never going to give away squares without something concrete in return. } ) 15...Qb6 16.Qd2 Bxe2 { An important decision but perhaps overtly hasty. I should also add that Magnus graciously allowed me to "pass" when I asked for a bit more time at this juncture. } ( { Taking a breather with } 16...a6! { would have solved a lot of my problems but I naively wanted to play concretely at every juncture. } ) 17.Nxe2 Ne4 18.Bxe4 Rxe4 19.Be3 Nd5? { The first real mistake of the game, allowing Magnus to improve his pawn structure. } ( { It was really important to play } 19...a6 { now as it will soon be clear. } ) 20.Nc3 Nxe3 ( { I didn't like } 20...Nxc3 21.bxc3 { Having said that, the position after } 21...a5!? { might be better for White but Black retains a sliver of counterplay, which is more than what he got in the game. } ) 21.fxe3 Re6? { Not the best square for the rook, the reason to which will be explained in the note to White's next move. } ( 21...Ree8 { with the idea } 22.Qf2 Qe6 { was slightly better for White. } ) 22.Qd3?! ( { To my horror, I realised that my original intention of meeting } 22.Qf2 { with } 22...Rf6?? { could be met by } 23.Nd5! Rxf2 24.Nxb6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Re8 26.Rxa7 Rxe3 27.Ra8! { and White wins. Maybe this was what Magnus missed. } ) ( { Instead, I was probably going to continue } 22.Qf2 f6 23.Nd5 Qc6 24.Qf3 Rd8 25.e4 { with an unpleasant position but at least Black is still alive. } ) 22...Rae8? { A horrendous blunder, perhaps induced by the imposing speed of the World Champion or maybe the 3 glasses of wine just before the game? } ( 22...Rd8! { was of course my original intention, when there is still everything to play for. } ) 23.Nd5 Qd6 24.Qf5! { Winning a pawn by force. Not an ideal situation against a World Champion best known for his technical play. } 24...Qd7 { It wasn't pleasant to miss a simple 2-mover but there was no need to capitulate. } ( 24...f6 25.Rxa7 Qc6! { with the idea of playing ..Rd6 and ..Qc2 would have given Black some counterplay. I have to admit that this counter-intuitive manoeuvre was machine-inspired and I would probably have missed even with a bit more time on the clock. } ) 25.Rxa7 Rd6 26.Qxd7 Rxd7 27.Ra5! { Magnus displays his flawless conversion technique from this juncture. As Olimpiu Urcan succintly puts it, I was about to be subjected to severe medieval torture.... } 27...Red8 28.Nc3 Re8 29.Rf3 Rc8 30.Rb5 g6 31.g4! { stopping ..f7-f5 and keeping absolute control on the kingside. } 31...Be7 32.Kf2 Ra8 33.Ke2 Kg7 34.Kd3 Ra1 35.h3 h6 36.e4 Rg1 37.e5 Re1 38.Nd5 Bg5 39.Kc4 Bd2 40.Rfb3 Rc1+ 41.Kd3 Bg5 42.Nc3 Rh1 43.Rxb7 Rxh3+ 44.Kc4 Rd8 45.Ne4 { And with his knight jumping to d6, my kingside stymied by a solitary pawn on g4, and with his passed pawns about to be set in motion, I've seen enough. } 1-0
Carlsen vs NM Olimpiu Urcan "I also noticed that Olimpiu played the same opening I recently played against Kasimdzhanov. I assumed it was …..(Olimpiu interjected at this point “A bit of trolling?” amid laughter) part of a joke. Anyway, this game I solved this problem of the wayward rook and it is very difficult for Black to improve his position". Olimpiu in a deep think (Photo credit: Peter Dengler)
[Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "Singapore"] [Date "2017.10.07"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Urcan, Olimpiu"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B08"] [Annotator "Tay,Junior"] [PlyCount "85"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.07"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.07"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.d5 Nb8 5.Nc3 ( { As Magnus remarked, Olimpiu played 'a little joke' by following the recent game where Magnus was Black.... } 5.Bd3 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.c4 O-O 8.Nc3 Bg4 9.Be2 Nfd7 10.Bg5 a5 11.Nd2 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 c6 13.Kh1 a4 14.a3 Nc5 15.f4 Nbd7 16.Nf3 Qc7 17.Rad1 Rae8 18.f5 Qa5 19.Na2 Nf6 20.Nd2 Ncd7 21.Nf3 Nc5 22.Nd2 Ncd7 23.Nf3 Rc8 24.Nb4 Rfe8 25.Bd2 Qc7 26.dxc6 bxc6 27.Bc3 e5 28.Nd2 Nc5 29.Rf3 Nh5 30.g3 Bh6 31.Rdf1 Qe7 32.Nd3 Nxd3 33.Rxd3 Nf6 34.Rdf3 Rf8 35.c5 d5 36.exd5 cxd5 37.fxg6 fxg6 38.Qxe5 Qxe5 39.Bxe5 Nd7 40.Rxf8+ Bxf8 41.Bd4 Nxc5 42.Rc1 Bh6 43.Bxc5 Bxd2 44.Rd1 Rxc5 45.Rxd2 Kf7 46.Rd4 Ke6 47.Rxa4 Rc2 48.Kg1 Rxb2 49.Rh4 Rb7 50.Kf2 Kd6 51.Ke3 Kc5 52.Kd3 Rb3+ 53.Kc2 Rxa3 54.Rxh7 Kc4 55.Rc7+ Kd4 56.Rc6 Ra2+ 57.Kb3 Rxh2 58.Rxg6 Kd3 59.g4 d4 60.g5 Rg2 61.Rh6 Ke2 62.Rh1 Rg3+ 63.Kb2 Rxg5 64.Rh2+ Kd3 65.Rh3+ Kc4 66.Kc2 Rg2+ 67.Kd1 Rb2 68.Rg3 Rh2 69.Rf3 Rh1+ 70.Kd2 Rh2+ 71.Kd1 Rh1+ 72.Kd2 Rh2+ { 1/2-1/2 (72) Kasimdzhanov,R (2676)-Carlsen,M (2827) Douglas 2017 } ) 5...g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.O-O O-O 8.a4 c6 9.h3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Bf4 d5 12.Nd4 Re8 13.Re1 Nbd7 14.e5 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Bf1 Nxe5 18.Rxe4 Nf7 19.c3 e5 20.Be3 Nd6 { This is the point where Magnus had to resolve the problem of his wayward rook and it was certainly put to good use! } 21.Qb3+ Kh8 22.Rd1 Qc7 23.Rb4 c5 24.Rg4 Rad8 25.a5 Nf5 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Bg5 Rf8 28.Qd5 b6 ( { After the game, Olimpiu rued not grabbing the a5-pawn } 28...Qxa5 29.Qxb7 Qa1 ( 29...h5 { might be even stronger. } ) 30.Qd7 { but he indicated that Magnus was just whizzing by the boards so quickly, he could hardly work out the complications in time after snagging the pawn. } ) 29.axb6 axb6 30.Ra4 h6 31.Bc1 Qf7 32.Qxf7 Rxf7 33.Bd3 Rd7 34.Bc2 Kh7 35.Ra6 Rd6 36.Kf1 e4 37.Ke2 Re6 38.g4 Ne7 39.Ra4 Nd5 40.Rxe4 Re5 41.f4 Rxe4+ 42.Bxe4 Ne7 43.Kd3 1-0
Carlsen vs Dr Lee Chien Earn "I thought I had some advantage from the opening but he defended very stoutly with Knight on e6 and Knight on f6 and I couldn’t for the life of me see how to make progress but eventually I got the pawns moving and I think he played a bit too fast. At several points, it was possible to go for counterplay with ….c4 but I assume especially in a simul, you want to hold and not rock the boat unnecessarily". Magnus even went to demonstrate to the audience ‘a funny position’, a cute stalemate position for Earn Chien, assuming the latter could get rid of his major pieces (not possible, according to Magnus, to the laughter of the audience).
[Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.06"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Lee, Chien Earn"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C77"] [PlyCount "93"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.06"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.06"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.Re1 b5 9.Bc2 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.Nbd2 Qd7 12.Nf1 Rac8 13.Ng3 Bg6 14.Nh4 Nd8 15.Qf3 c5 16.Nhf5 Ne6 { Magnus later complimented Dr Lee for this defensive setup which gave him pause on how to continue the kingside assault } 17.h4 h5 18.Nxe7+ Qxe7 19.Nf5 Qd7 20.Qh3 Rfe8 21.Bg5 Nh7 22.Bd2 Nf6 23.a4 Ra8 24.Qf3 Ng4 25.Ne3 Nf6 26.g3 Nc7 27.Qe2 Rec8 28.f4 { Finally, the kingside operations go into full swing } 28...Rd8? { Dr Lee hopes to stem the attack with tough defence and keeping lines closed but the World champion is not to be denied. } 29.f5 Bh7 30.g4 hxg4 31.Nxg4 Nce8 32.Bg5 Qe7 33.Kh1 Qf8 34.Rg1 Kh8 35.Bb3 Rdc8 36.Nxf6 Nxf6 37.Bxf6 gxf6 38.Bd5 Rab8 39.axb5 Rc7 40.bxa6 Ra7 41.Qd2 Rb6 42.Bb7 Rbxb7 43.axb7 Rxb7 44.Ra6 Rd7 45.c4 Rb7 46.Rxd6 Qxd6 47.Qh6 1-0
Carlsen vs Joshua Lim Joshua Lim defending stoutly (Photo credit: Joshua Lim) Epsen remarked that Magnus had a nice finish against Joshua Lim and the World Champion remarked “Yes, I thought at some point you played very well with the regrouping …Rc8, …Bd7, …Qd8, …Ne8 so I sort of had to take action with f4 but maybe you could have played …Nd6 a bit earlier on. If I take on e5, my e4-pawn is hanging as counterplay. Maybe you should go for …e5 at some point to give up a pawn and at least activate the pieces, advance the pawns in front of my king and it might be exposed”.
[Event "Simultaneous Exhibition"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.10.07"] [Round "?"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Lim, Joshua"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A55"] [Annotator "Tay,Junior"] [PlyCount "81"] [Sourcedate "2017.10.07"] [Sourceversiondate "2017.10.07"] [WhiteElo ""] [BlackElo ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.e4 c6 6.Be2 Be7 7.O-O O-O 8.d5 a5 9.Ne1 Nc5 10.f3 Qb6 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.Rb1 Rfe8 13.Be3 Rad8 14.Nd3 Qc7 15.Nxc5 dxc5 16.g4 cxd5 17.cxd5 Qb8 18.a4 b6 19.Bb5 Bf8 20.Qe2 g6 21.Rbd1 Bxb5 22.Nxb5 Rd7 23.Na3 Rc8 24.Qb5 Rb7 25.Nc4 Ne8 26.Qb3 Rd8 { Joshua had dug in his heels and set up the trenches. So Magnus decided to break the impasse with } 27.f4! Bg7 ( { Magnus felt that Joshua should have gone for } 27...Nd6 28.Nxe5 Nxe4 { with some counterplay. } ) 28.Qc2 Re7 ( { Once again } 28...Nd6 { with the idea of } 29.Nxe5?! Re8 { gives Black counterplay. } ) 29.f5! { Now Black has no chance of establishing counterplay. } 29...f6 30.g5! gxf5 31.Rxf5 Nd6 32.Rxf6 Nxc4 33.Qxc4 Bxf6 34.gxf6 Rf7 35.d6 Rdd7 36.Bh6 Kh8 37.Qe6 Qd8 38.Rg1 Rxf6 39.Rg8+ Qxg8 40.Qxf6+ Rg7 41.d7 1-0
Magnus’ final comments about the field "In general, I think several of the players were giving too much respect, so maybe next time play a little more aggressively. It’s not easy to strike the right balance". The whole post mortem is reproduced on Youtube (Video credit: Ms Esther Koh)   And with that, the crowd showed their appreciation with much applause. What more can you ask for, a masterclass display, a running commentary during the game and patient post game analysis by the world champion himself! As IM Hsu Li Yang remarked, after the games, Magnus was also very generous with his time after the game with the audience, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans for a long time. A really successful event for which we must really thank NBAS, Team Norway and Simonsen Vogt Wiig for organizing and our host, Norway's Ambassador Designate to Singapore, Ms Anita Nergaard!   CM juniortay Oct 6, 2017, 11:24 PM www.chess.com
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