[Event "World-ch Carlsen-Caruana"] [White "Caruana,Fabiano"] [Black "Carlsen,Magnus"] [Site "London"] [Round "10"] [Annotator "Shankland,Samuel L"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [Date "2018.11.22"] [WhiteElo "2832"] [BlackElo "2835"] [PlyCount "107"] {The 10th game of the World Championship match was the most back and forth affair of any game thus far. There were plenty of games where one side did not make the most of their chances, but this has been the only one where I thought both players at some point had very real winning chances.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 {Magnus stays true to his Rossolimo/Sveshnikov repertoire for the 5th time in a row. Starting from game 5, I have expected him to pivot every single game, and been wrong every single time. Perhaps he will just play this the whole way through?} 3. d4 {Caruana eschews Bb5, which he chose in his first 3 White games.} cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Nd5 {I was a bit surprised to see Caruana enter the same line as game 8. Even though he got an excellent position in that game, he had to figure Magnus would have come with improvements, and the line is supposed to be okay for Black.} (7. Bg5 {Leads to the mainline Sveshnikov.} )Nxd5 8. exd5 Nb8 9. a4 Be7 10. Be2 O-O 11. O-O Nd7 12. b4 $5 {The first major deviation. Caruana chose Bd2 in the previous game. Still, the move does not look too impressive to me.} (12. Bd2 { Carlsen misplayed the position and quickly ended up worse.} )a6 13. Na3 a5 $5 {A very commital decision, but not a bad one. Magnus forces the queenside open right away, a fearless decision against a prepared opponent, but he had other options.} (13... b6 {Appeals the most to me. Black tries to keep the queenside closed and will look for his own counterplay with f7-f5. In fact, I actually prefer Black in a practical game here.} )14. bxa5 Rxa5 15. Nc4 Ra8 16. Be3 {Caruana was still playing very fast. He probably was in his preparation.} f5 $1 {Black absolutely needs counterplay, and f5-f4 is coming. However, unlike game 8, here White cannot comfortabll play f2-f4 himself to keep his kingside secure.} 17. a5 (17. f4 {Black is absolutely fine after} exf4 18. Bxf4 Nb6 (18... g5 $5 {If Black is in a feisty mood} ))f4 $1 18. Bb6 Qe8 {The battle lines are drawn. White clearly has an edge on the queenside, Black's pieces (particularly the c8-bishop and d7-knight) look a little clumsy, and the b6 square could prove to be a problem. But Black's kingside pawn mass promises him decent counterplay.} 19. Ra3 {A not so mysterious rook move. It looks pointless now but Black's plan is clearly to launch a kingside attack, and the rook will be a good defender laterally along the third rank.} (19. Re1 {This is the computer's recommendation by a wide margin, but I don't really understand the move? I guess it just serves as some vague prophylaxis against e5-e4. It claims white is better but I am unconvinced because after} Rf6 $1 { Black is ready to challenge the b6-bishop via Be7-d8.} )Qg6 20. Bc7 e4 $1 {Carlsen is in burn the bridges mode. His pawns are vulnerable and could quickly fall if the center were to open at an inopportune moment, but he is looking for direct counterplay against White's king, truly in the style of the Sveshnikov.} (20... Ra6 {A quiet defensive move like this one was surely fine, but I think the World Champion was right to go for it.} )(20... b5 $5 {It was also possible to play in the same manner as the game, only without committing to e5-e4. This could make some sense as the central pawns proved weak.} 21. Nb6 (21. axb6 $2 {It's possible this move annoyed Magnus since e5-e4 no longer works, but it is also insufficient.} Rxa3 22. Nxa3 {The problem is here Black needs a new attacking plan since e5-e4 fails to bring its desired returns.} Nc5 $1 {The b-pawn is well under control, and most importantly, White's pieces are totally unprepared to defend his king. How will the c7-bishop ever contribute to a proper defense? Rf6-h6 is coming and Black should win.} (22... e4 23. Bh5 $1 Qg5 24. Qg4 $1 {White is doing well. Getting his queen to g4 will really lesse any attacking chances Black can hope for} ))Nxb6 22. Bxb6 {This leads to a similar position to the game, but Black does not need to play e5-e4 if he so desires. For instance, he seems to have a good position after} b4 23. Rb3 Bf5 $1 {When it is clear there are reasons the pawn is good on e5 as well.} )21. Kh1 b5 $5 {A very commital move, but not a bad one.} (21... Qh6 {The machines prefer a slower buildup with something like this. Black certainly will have attacking chances by lifting the f8-rook, but I don't mind Magnus's decision either.} )22. Nb6 $1 (22. axb6 $2 {This would be asking for trouble. I find it unlikely White will survive after the energetic} Rxa3 23. Nxa3 f3 $1 24. gxf3 Ne5 $1 {Black's attack looks devastating.} )Nxb6 23. Bxb6 Qg5 $6 {Technically, this move loses the game against best play, but it comes with a very nasty idea of playing Rf6-h6 and delivering mate on the h-file. A machine with its nerves of steel would have no trouble grabbing h5, but for a human, it looks absurdly dangerous.} 24. g3 {Caruana's move makes a lot of sense. Taking on f4 and bringing the rook to g3 should dispel any mating dreams.} (24. Bxb5 $1 {White could have gotten away with this.} Rf6 {Extreme precision is needed to beat back the attack, but it is possible.} 25. Re1 $1 {An important move. White hits the e4-pawn while simultaneously clearing f1 for the bishop.} Bf5 (25... Rh6 26. Rxe4 )(25... Rg6 26. Bf1 Bf5 (26... Ba6 27. Rxe4 $1 $18 )27. a6 Rh6 28. a7 Qh4 29. h3 f3 {This loks absolutely terrifying for a human, but apparently White wins with another only move:} 30. Qd4 $1 $18 {The point is to defend against the threat of Bxh3 followed by Qg4.} Bxh3 31. gxh3 Qg4 32. Rxf3 $1 {No more exf3 thanks to the pin exerted by the queen being on d4. After} Qxf3+ 33. Bg2 {The a-pawn will carry the day. One certainly cannot fault Caruana for not seeing all of this.} )26. f3 $1 e3 27. a6 Rh6 28. Re2 $3 { An incredibly difficult only move that would have to have been prepared in advance. White is ready to play Qg1 and hold the position together. Even then, the variation continues.} Qh5 29. Qg1 Bh4 30. g4 $1 fxg3 31. Raxe3 $1 {White wins. But this is really just a machine line, and outside of human capability.} )b4 25. Rb3 (25. gxf4 {I would have been tempted to clear the 3rd rank for defensive purposes, and this probably is an easier route to equality. Still, while Caruana's choice gives him some only moves to find, he did find the moves and he objectively was not worse.} )Bh3 26. Rg1 $1 {The rook is needed for defensive purposes.} (26. Re1 Bf6 $1 {Moves like Bc3 or Be5 could come next. White is in trouble.} )f3 {White is under a lot of pressure. Around here I thought Caruana might crack and give Magnus the first decisive result, but he defended very well.} 27. Bf1 $1 {This is a tough move. I would have been tempted to just let the bishop stay on h3, since White can always sacrifice an exchange on g2 very happily and otherwise it's not clear what active role the bishop plays. But it was absolutely critical to play Bf1.} (27. Bb5 $2 {A move like this looks sensible...} Rf6 $1 {Until you realize White will simply be mated on the h-file! Rh6 and Qh5 is coming, and there is nothing to be done.} )Bxf1 $1 (27... Qh5 {Caveman play does not work here since White is in better shape to keep the h-file under control. The queen coming to f1 is very important, for instance after} 28. Rxb4 Rf6 29. Bxh3 Qxh3 30. Be3 $1 {Black will not get Rh6 very easily, and e4 is hanging to boot. White should win.} )28. Qxf1 $1 {Another important decision. White cannot allow a disaster on the h-file. His position looks awful with the queen and the rook so passively placed and the d5-pawn falling, but he remains solid and can rely on the a5-pawn for counterplay.} (28. Rxf1 $2 {Keeping active pieces comes at a heavy price. After} Qg4 $1 29. Rxb4 Rf5 $1 {White will promptly be mated by Rh5 and Qh3.} )Qxd5 29. Rxb4 Qe6 30. Rb5 $11 {The position is dynamically balanced, but White has to be more careful than Black. He managed without a ton of trouble.} Bd8 31. Qe1 $1 {The queen returns to life.} Bxb6 32. axb6 Rab8 33. Qe3 Qc4 34. Rb2 Rb7 35. Rd1 Qe2 $1 {Setting a devilish trap, though it is not enough to claim an advantage.} 36. Re1 $1 {Far from the only holding move, but I am awarding an exclamation point for not falling for Black's idea.} (36. Qb3+ $2 Kh8 37. c4 {Looks like it traps Black's queen. But the nasty response} Rxb6 $1 $19 {Would promptly turn the tables!} )Qxe3 37. Rxe3 d5 {The position is balanced as neither side can easily mobilize their pawn majority. Black's center looks impressive, but he can't do anything with it so long as he is left with a passive rook on b7.} 38. h4 Rc8 39. Ra3 Kf7 40. Kh2 Ke6 41. g4 Rc6 42. Ra6 Ke5 43. Kg3 h6 44. h5 {The position is some kind of mutual stalemate where neither side can do anything. Magnus tried to make something happen with} Kd4 $2 {But only made trouble for himself after the strong response} 45. Rb5 $1 {When Black has to be somewhat accurate to not get into trouble. Still, he has more than one route to a draw, and Magnus found a very easy one.} Rd6 $1 {Overprotecting the d5-pawn White was planning to harass with Raa5.} 46. Ra4+ Ke5 47. Rab4 Ke6 {Nice and easy. White has no good way to challenge Black's central pawn mass without allowing liquidation.} 48. c4 dxc4 49. Rxc4 Rdxb6 50. Rxe4+ Kf7 51. Rf5+ Rf6 {Black loses a pawn but simplifies into an easily drawn 3 vs 2 on the kingside. Caruana did not even bother trying. His winning chances are approximately zero.} 52. Rxf6+ Kxf6 53. Kxf3 Kf7 54. Kg3 {With only 2 games to go, each player has only one game to try with White. Carlsen gets to go first, and I'll be interested to see what first move he chooses, as well as if we will see a 6th 2.Nf3 Nc6 Sicilian in the final game.} 1/2-1/2