[Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.01.25"] [Round "9"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2865"] [BlackElo "2767"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 {Carlsen keeps milking his amazing Catalan WCC preparation.} dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ {Mamedyarov chooses a line that was tested by Topalov in both his WCC matches against Kramnik and Anand—and which was also often a choice of Carlsen himself.} 6. Bd2 a5 7. O-O O-O 8. e3 {A very fresh line.} ({Another try is:} 8. Bg5 c6 9. Ne5 b5 10. a3 Bd6 11. a4 Ra6 12. Nc3 h6 13. Bf4 Nd5 {when a recent top GM game witnessed unusual cruelty towards the pieces after} 14. axb5 Nxc3 15. bxa6 Nxd1 16. a7 Bb7 17. axb8=Q Bxb8 18. Rfxd1 Bxe5 19. dxe5 Qb6 {and White did not have enough for the sacrificed material, Caruana,F (2792) -Cheparinov,I (2664) Warsaw 2021}) 8... Ra6 {Sensibly clearing the long diagonal, as the Catalan bishop is always a pain. Up to here, Mamedyarov was practically blitzing.} 9. Qc2 $146 ({The only predecessor was a blitz game that finished quickly after a blunder:} 9. a4 c5 10. Qc2 cxd4 11. Nxd4 e5 12. Nb5 Be6 13. Rd1 Qe7 14. N1a3 Rc8 15. Rac1 h5 16. b3 Bxa3 {0-1 (16) Skatchkov,V (2242)-Korobov,A (2688) Chess.com INT 2020}) 9... b5 10. a4 c6 11. Nc3 Rb6 12. e4 {Carlsen is happy with the compensation for the pawn. He intends to gain more space in the center and gradually shift his pieces toward the enemy kingside.} Be7 {And Mamedyarov offers, in return, the pawn back.} 13. e5 {Not taking it.} ({Black does not seem to experience problems after} 13. axb5 cxb5 14. Rxa5 Bb7) 13... Nd5 14. axb5 cxb5 {And Black does not stop with a pawn sacrifice only. \"I think the exchange sacrifice was quite expected. It was also his style, one hundred percent, but maybe in hindsight, there were other options there.\" (Carlsen)} ({With the help of the in-between} 14... Nb4 {Black could have saved the exchange still, but he likely did not like the attack after} 15. Qe4 {\"followed by\"} cxb5 16. Qg4 { \"and then Nc3-e4-g5, with an attack\" (Carlsen) Only the future analyses will prove how well can Black defend in the hypothetical line} f5 17. exf6 Bxf6 18. Ne4 e5) 15. Nxd5 exd5 ({Certainly not} 15... Qxd5 $4 16. Ng5) 16. Bxa5 Nc6 17. Bxb6 Qxb6 {\"I think he had reasonable compensation.\" (Carlsen)} 18. Ra8 h6 { Played without much thought. The air is useful for the black king, but this allows White a valuable tempo to co-ordinate his major pieces.} ({Better was to attack the d4-pawn at once with} 18... Be6 19. Rxf8+ (19. Rfa1 Nxd4) 19... Bxf8 20. Qd2 {and only then go for} h6) ({The immediate} 18... Nxd4 {does not work so well for Black due to} 19. Nxd4 Qxd4 20. Rd1 Qxe5 21. Rxd5 Qe1+ 22. Bf1 Qb4 23. Rb8 {and Black would soon lose his queenside pawns.}) 19. Rfa1 Be6 { A move too late, and that's all the world champion needs!} ({However, in the line} 19... b4 {Mamedyarov might have feared the powerful opposite-colored bishop attack with} 20. Rxc8 $1 ({Slow-grinding with} 20. h4 $5 {looks good for White too.}) 20... Rxc8 21. Qf5 Rd8 22. e6 Bf6 23. exf7+ Kf8 $1 {The only move, but then White infiltrates along the e-file with} 24. Re1) 20. Qd1 $1 { White is perfectly coordinated and ready to improve the remainder of his army.} b4 {And this activity only makes things worse.} ({Maybe Black should have tried to hold passively with} 20... Qb7 21. Rxf8+ Bxf8 22. h4 {although this does not seem solid enough for Mamedyarov. White has too many improving maneuvers.}) 21. b3 $1 c3 {\"Capitulation, but did not see what he could do there.\" (Carlsen)} ({After} 21... cxb3 22. R8a6 $1 Qb7 23. Qxb3 Rb8 {the white pieces dominate.}) 22. R8a6 Qc7 23. Ne1 $1 {A star maneuver! The knight opens the road for the bishop and the white kingside pawns, and it is also ready to block the enemy passer.} f6 {A desperate try, but Carlsen is in control.} ({Or} 23... Rb8 24. Nc2 Bd8 25. h3 {followed by a kingside expansion with g3-g4 and f2-f4-f5.} ({Or the direct} 25. Ne3)) 24. Nd3 {Very energetical play!} ({The game move is even better than} 24. exf6 Bxf6 25. Nc2) 24... fxe5 { The opening of the position leads to further material losses for Black, but there was no way out.} ({The central pawn is immune due to the little trick} 24... Nxd4 25. Rxe6 $1 Nxe6 26. Bxd5 {and the knight is lost on the pin.}) 25. Nxe5 Nxe5 26. Rxe6 c2 27. Qe1 1-0