[Event "World-ch Carlsen-Caruana Tiebreak"] [White "Carlsen,Magnus"] [Black "Caruana,Fabiano"] [Site "London"] [Round "1"] [Annotator "Fernandez,Daniel Howard"] [Result "1-0"] [Date "2018.11.28"] [WhiteElo "2835"] [BlackElo "2832"] [PlyCount "109"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 4. e4 $5 {This move is extremely rare, and judging by the time situations that followed, it seems this came as a surprise to the Challenger.} O-O (4... Bxc3 {is possible, but super-GM opinion coalesced against White's position in the line} 5. dxc3 Nxe4 6. Qd5 Ng5 7. Qxe5+ Ne6 $14 {Black's position is slightly worse, even if from my modest perspective I consider it to be relatively easy to play!} )5. Nge2 c6 {This move makes sense in conjunction with ...Ba5-c7, or alternatively...} 6. Bg2 a6 $5 {At this point, if not on the move before, Black commits to a plan which might be practically interesting, but doesn't particularly inspire confidence on an objective level.} (6... d6 7. O-O a5 8. d3 Nbd7 {is a more 'traditional' English follow-up.} )7. O-O b5 8. d4 $1 {This has to be critical. White is a little better, but with the murky strategic situation and the rapid time control anything could happen.} d6 9. a3 (9. f4 $6 exd4 10. Nxd4 bxc4 $15 )Bxc3 (9... Ba5 10. b4 Bc7 11. cxb5 axb5 12. d5 {may simply be a strategic disadvantage, so it's wise to try and avoid this.} )10. Nxc3 bxc4 11. dxe5 ({ It is not yet time for} 11. f4 {:} Bg4 $1 12. Qd2 Qb6 )dxe5 12. Na4 (12. Qe2 {was the engine suggestion, and it seems to me that Black has to play another unusual move in order to avoid being clearly worse.} a5 (12... Qd3 $2 13. Qxd3 cxd3 14. Rd1 $16 )(12... Be6 13. f4 $16 )13. Na4 $1 Ba6 14. Nc5 Qb6 15. Nxa6 Qxa6 $14 {White should be a little better, but nothing is too clear yet.} )Be6 $1 {Black has to play this cold-blooded move in my opinion- recognising that Nc5 isn't quite the dramatic positional masterstroke that it seems.} (12... Nbd7 13. Qc2 Nb6 14. Nxb6 Qxb6 15. Qxc4 $14 {is miserable.} )13. Qxd8 (13. Nc5 Qe7 14. Nxe6 Qxe6 15. Be3 Rc8 $1 {With ...c5 and ...Nc6-d4 to come; Black seems to be emerging from his difficulties now.} )Rxd8 14. Be3 Nbd7 15. f3 {White opts for a steady approach, seemingly convinced of having some kind of edge. Indeed, in practical games between ordinary mortals this would be the case.} Rab8 16. Rac1 Rb3 17. Rfe1 Ne8 $6 {This move is strategically desirable, but only if Black can also get ...f6, ...Nd6 and ... Kf7 without being interrupted. Now, he probably risks being somewhat worse again.} (17... Rdb8 $1 {is better, intending to give back the pawn in a way that makes White's structure a little weaker.} 18. Bf1 c3 19. Rxc3 Rxc3 20. bxc3 Rb3 21. Ra1 a5 $11 )18. Bf1 Nd6 19. Rcd1 Nb5 $2 (19... Nb7 $1 {was required, followed by the cold-blooded sequence} 20. f4 g6 21. f5 gxf5 22. exf5 Bd5 23. Nc3 Nf6 {when despite the strange location of some of Black's pieces, there is no objective problem. I suspect that Fabiano saw this, didn't notice that the Nb7 defended the Rd8 and opted for a move that stopped Nc3.} )20. Nc5 $1 {This is a key move for White to see, after which he is clearly better.} Rxb2 21. Nxe6 fxe6 22. Bxc4 Nd4 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. Bxe6+ ({The engine suggests the brutal and unfindable} 24. Rxd4 Kf7 25. Kh1 $3 $18 {when Black has no defence against Red1 and Rd6; White will probably come out 2 pawns ahead.} )Kf8 25. Rxd4 Ke7 26. Rxd7+ Rxd7 27. Bxd7 Kxd7 28. Rd1+ Ke6 29. f4 c5 { Watching this position live in the 'kibitzing' area, I was shocked to discover that barely anyone else thought the position was closer to a draw than a win.} 30. Rd5 $6 (30. Rc1 Kd6 31. a4 $5 {is the engine opinion. Almost all these positions will come down to some version of 3v2 on the kingside with an extra a-pawn each to confuse the players; the point is to identify which versions entail Black having a worse rook! For instance, see the line} Rd2 $6 32. e5+ Kd5 33. e6 Kxe6 34. Rxc5 g6 35. Re5+ Kf6 36. Ra5 Ke6 37. h3 Rd6 38. Kf2 $18 { when White is close to winning.} )Rc2 31. h4 c4 32. f5+ Kf6 33. Rc5 h5 34. Kf1 Rc3 $6 {Not losing, but a bad idea.} ({Following} 34... c3 35. Ke1 Rg2 36. Rxc3 Ke5 $11 {Black would have very comfortably held this ending even two pawns down.} )35. Kg2 Rxa3 36. Rxc4 Ke5 37. Rc7 Kxe4 $2 {Based on a flawed trick. This is probably the decisive error.} (37... Ra2+ $1 {could have been played first, and then the trick works as in the next note:} 38. Kh3 Kxe4 39. Rxg7 Ra1 {and since White has to think about getting mated, he is not able to stay in position to deliver Rg5+.} )38. Re7+ (38. Rxg7 Ra2+ 39. Kh3 Ra1 $1 $11 {is the tricky point.} )Kxf5 39. Rxg7 Kf6 40. Rg5 a5 41. Rxh5 $18 { Now the position is winning for Carlsen. Sometimes, a flank pawn can hold off two central pawns in such cases, but definitely not when the opponent's two pawns are both on the opposite side of the board.} a4 42. Ra5 Ra1 43. Kf3 a3 44. Ra6+ Kg7 45. Kg2 Ra2+ 46. Kh3 Ra1 47. h5 Kh7 48. g4 Kg7 49. Kh4 a2 50. Kg5 Kf7 51. h6 Rb1 52. Ra7+ Kg8 53. Rxa2 Rb5+ 54. Kg6 Rb6+ 55. Kh5 1-0