It’s a measure of how drab the World Championship has been that Magnus Carlsen allegedly falling asleep at the board and the double blunder in Game 6 have provided its most dramatic moments.
The blunder is beautifully captured in this short clip featuring IM Lawrence Trent who has quickly become one of the game’s most popular talking heads, in both English and Spanish.
Trent’s first foray into chess commentary was inspired by a game from an earlier world championship featuring a remarkable royal walkabout.
If only all World Championship games were as exciting . . .
Suddenly I was getting visions of the seemingly ridiculous king invasion, but is it really that bad?
Grzegorz Gajewski – Lawrence Trent
World Youth Chess Championships (U-18) 2003
Ruy Lopez, Classical Defence
(Notes by Lawrence Trent)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5
Known as the Classical Variation of the Ruy Lopez, I feel it is quite an underrated system. among its main exponents have been Adams and Leko.
4 c3 Nf6 5 0–0 0–0 6 d4 Bb6 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4
8 Bxf6 is not so good, because Black doesn’t lose a pawn: 8…Qxf6 9 Bxc6 Qxc6 10 Nxe5 Qxe4 and White has nothing.
8…d6 9 a4 a5 10 h3?
Quite frankly an awful move. White feels that his position is sound enough for him to make such prophylactic moves, but due to the tension in the centre White cannot just sit back. The main move here is 10 Re1, where 10…exd4 and 10…Bg4!? are interesting continuations.
This energetic response may seen amateurish, but due to White’s lacklustre attitude this outrageous move is possible. After 11 Bg3 Nxe4 is horrible for White due to the pressure along the a7-g1 diagonal, so the response that followed was forced. This piece sacrifice is actually quite common in this line, but the main difference is that the queen is normally on d3 where she can swing over to to g3 much quicker and therefore retaining some sort of attack.
11 Nxg5 hxg5 12 Bxg5 Kg7
Simple chess, bolstering the knight’s position and preparing to escape the pin.
This move just doesn’t look right, although saying this, following up the attack here is extremely difficult, e.g. the following line: 13 Bxc6 bxc6 14 f4 exd4 15 e5 dxc3+ 16 Kh1 dxe5 17 fxe5 Qxd1 18 Bxf6+ Kh6 19 Rxd1 c2! -+.
The point of the 13th move. I can now free my knight from the pin and relieve the only tension in the position.
15 Be3 Ng6 16 Nc4 Ng5 17 Qh5 Nf4 18 Bxf4 exf4
At this point I was extremely pleased with my position and felt it was completely winning. White has no attack left, my king is well surrounded and covered and I am a piece to the good.
19 h4 Nxe4 20 Qf3
Annotators of this game have given this move an ‘!’ although of course they didn’t realise that I actually miscalculated the position. I thought that I actually had a forced mate, stupidly missing that White could escape. I hate to admit but this move is over ambitious, any other move protecting the knight would have been better. although, saying this, the following attack was aesthetically pleasing.
21 Qxe4 Rh8 22 f3
Simple. The king escapes to f2.
The best way to continue, and i think that this move gives me the psychological edge once again.
My Polish opponent had spent 40 minutes over 13 Nd2 and this move once again put him into a long think. after 23 Qe2 Bxg2!! is strong, i.e. 24 Qxg2+ Kf6! and the pin on the g-file with Rag8 is devastating.
The only move.
23…Qg5 24 Ng4 f5 25 Qe6 fxg4 26 Qd7+
If I play the cautious 26…Kf8, White may be able to generate some initiative along the f-file. I saw the following variation: 26…Kf8 27 Bc4 Qf6 28 fxg4 and if now 28…Bxd4+ 29 cxd4 Qxd4+ 30 Rf2! Qxc4 31 Rxf4+! Qxf4 32 Rf1 and my disconnected rooks and poor-looking bishop give White the upper hand.
26…Kh6! 27 Rae1 Rag8!
Let’s just analyse the White camp. He has three major pieces and a light-squared bishop; if my king were to land on g3 does he actually have any great threat against it? Not only did I feel that the king was safe on g3, but it would aid my attack and as it turned out this manoeuvre was the key to the win!
28 Re6+ Kh5! 29 Re7
29…Kh4!! 30 Rh7+ Kg3!
A fabulous position. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful position in the most important tournament I have ever got to. White is probably just lost and the look on his face here just about confirmed my thoughts!
Not great but what else?
The pinnacle of the game, this move introduces the fabulous concept of simultaneously stopping Qe1 checkmate whilst threatening checkmate for myself starting with 32…Bxd4+ 33 cxd4 Qxd4 and finally Bxg2 mate!
31…Qe5 32 Qxe5 dxe5 33 Rxh8 Rxh8
The end. After 34 gxh3 gxf3, mate is only avoidable by sacrificing every piece in his camp.
Chessex: The official bulletin of the Essex Chess Association, Volume 8, Issue 2 (November/December 2003), pp.14-16. With thanks to the Essex Chess Association.