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Larry Kaufman's opening repertoire book "The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White" aims to provide a comprehensive opening repertoire for the club player based on the strongest GM lines. It may have proved an inspiration for Morozevich's choice of opening gambit against Carlsen in round 2 of the Tal Memorial. Carlsen would certainly have been warned against playing what he did. Kaufman combines GM practice with detailed computer analysis to produce a volume that provides a complete repertoire for both colours. Read about his choices and methodology.

Read a couple of extracts from the Kaufman Repertoire Book in PDF

Now 20% off from the UK Games shop: Buy the Kaufman Repertoire book. See Morozevich-Carlsen below.

Alexander Morozevich draw Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen. What will he do with a decent position? Photo ©

Alexander Morozevich tried a rare sideline in the Nimzo-Indian Classical with 11.Rc1 which offers the a-pawn for a lot of compensation against Magnus Carlsen. This move has been seen before but not many times and Carlsen immediately went wrong. Either he can capture on a2 straight away or probably he doesn't do it at all. Both players agreed his 11...Nd7? was a bad idea and it was one mentioned as such in the very popular club player's manual The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White (US). The point is 12.Nge2 Qxa2 13.Kd1! is close to winning for white. (Draw Priborsky-Gordon Liverpool 2008 but Priborsky was rated well below Stephen Gordon). Carlsen quickly realised his mistake and went into immediate defensive mode just trying not to be lost straight away. He certainly put up strong resistance in a pretty disgusting looking position. The players didn't come up with an absolutely concrete win, and Carlsen didn't think it was his place to make that judgement.

Question: Have you considered your position to be completely lost or just to be something a bit down.

Carlsen: It doesn't make any sense for me to evaluate whether my position is lost or not you know. I just have to fight and find my best chances. Yes I knew my position was difficult but whether it was lost or not was not a question that was on my mind.

The alternative 24.Be2 suggested by Morozevich looks like a probable improvement because Carlsen started to get a lot of counterplay as his opponent got into time trouble. It seems Morozevich was counting on 37.Kc5 but realised it failed to 37...Bxf3 when he has to be careful, Carlsen didn't spot this but also seemed to have things under control with 37...Rg5. Morozevich very short of time lost all remaining winning chances and even put himself in slight danger with 40...Rxc4 shedding a pawn back. Carlsen tried for a bit after first time control but a draw was always the right result then.

I do wonder what Magnus Carlsen has being doing these last 5 months he has had off. An ambitious player would have been working on his openings and theoretical skills (there is no arguing about the quality Carlsen's practical play) but there is precious sign of that so far.

Morozevich,Alexander - Carlsen,Magnus [E35]
7th Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (2.1), 09.06.2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 c5 8.dxc5 g5 9.Bg3 Ne4 10.e3 Qa5 11.Rc1

"Rc1 is a rare but promising gambit" according to p 235 of the The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White."


Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 11...Nd7?

"I couldn't really remember what to do but 11...Nd7 is probably just an awful move." - Carlsen. "Actually 11..Nd7 is just a blunder." - Morozevich.

[11...Bf5 12.Bxb8 (12.Bd3 Nd7 (12...Nc6) 13.f3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 0-0-0 16.a3 Bxc5 17.Nge2 Kb8 18.b4 Qxa3 19.bxc5 Nxc5 20.Qc2 Qa6 21.0-0 Rhe8 22.Nd4 Rxe3 23.Nd1 1-0 Albadri,A (2221)-Ernst,M (2177)/Vienna 2011.) 12...Rxb8 13.Bd3 was about equal but 1-0 Gupta,A (2644)-Yu,Y (2626)/Zaozhuang 2012.; 11...Qxa2 was possible here draw Finegold,B (2563)-Perelshteyn,E (2522)/Chicago 2006.; 11...Nc6 12.Bd3 (12.a3) 12...Bxc3+ (12...Nxg3 13.hxg3 d4 14.exd4 Nxd4 15.Qd2 Be6 16.a3 Bxc5 17.b4 Qxa3 18.bxc5 0-0-0 19.Nb1 Qa4 20.Qc3 Rhe8 21.Ne2 Nxe2 22.Bxe2 Bc4 23.0-0 Bxe2 24.Rfe1 Bb5 25.Rxe8 Bxe8 26.Na3 Qd4 27.Qe1 Kb8 28.Qe7 Bc6 29.Nc4 Re8 30.Qxf7 Qxc5 31.Rb1 Rf8 32.Qg7 Qxf2+ 33.Kh2 Qxg2# 0-1 Tozer,R (2380)-Lalic,S (2405)/London 1997/CBM 058 ext) 13.bxc3 Nxc5 eventual draw Lomineishvili,M (2437)-Zaiatz,E (2364)/St Petersburg 2009.]


[12.f3 1/2-1/2 Dautov,R (2630)-Khenkin,I (2579)/Germany 2002/EXT 2003]


[12...Qxa2 was Carlsen's initial intention missing: 13.Kd1! which has been seen before in Priborsky-Gordon Liverpool 2008 but the game was agreed drawn here. The big rating difference was probably a factor with black being much the better player. This is close to winning for white.]

13.a3 Bxc3+ 14.Nxc3

14.Nxc3 "Whites advantage is clear whatever black plays" - Kaufman.

14...Nxc3 15.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 16.Rxc3 Ne4 17.Rc7

Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 17.Rc7

"I couldn't see anything better than to try not to lose immediately. Everywhere white has many attractive options." - Carlsen. "That's the big problem!" - Morozevich.

17...Nxg3 18.hxg3 Rb8 19.Bb5+

[19.f4 "was very interesting I thought." - Carlsen. 19...Be6 (19...gxf4 20.gxf4 Be6 "OK looks ugly. But this is not something immediate." - Morozevich.) 20.fxg5 Kd8 "I wanted to play like this." - Carlsen. 21.Rc5 h5]

19...Kf8 20.Kd2


20...Kg7 21.Rhc1 Rd8 22.Re7 Kf6 23.Rcc7 Rf8

Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 23...Rf8. A key moment. 24.Be2 was certainly possible here.


[24.Be2 Morozevich's post game suggestion. 24...g4 But this does remove the counterplay in the game. (24...a5 25.Bh5 (25.Bf3 Be6 26.Rxb7 Rfe8 27.b4) 25...Bf5) 25.b4 "This is totally lost I think." - Morozevich. 25...a5]

24...a6 25.Bd3 a5

[25...b6 "OK still looking dubious but I didn't see something concrete here." - Morozevich 26.Ra7 a5 27.bxa5 bxa5 28.Rec7 "At least something, no?" - Morozevich. 28...h5 29.Rxa5 Be6 "OK it's not completely lost anyway." - Carlsen.]

26.bxa5 Ra8 27.Bb5 Rxa5 28.a4 Ra8 29.Kc3 h5 30.Kb4!?

Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 30.Kb4!? Carlsen thought that he had good drawing chances here.

Both players agreed after the game this might not be best but it really isn't that clear. "Now I think I have very good drawing chances." - Carlsen.

[30.Kd4 "was the correct move of course." Morozevich. 30...h4 31.Re8 Rxe8 32.Bxe8 "The difference of course is that your king now can't move." - Morozevich. 32...Be6 33.Bb5 b6 34.Rb7 Rc8 35.Rxb6 Rc2 36.a5 Rxf2 37.a6 Ra2 "This is not so easy." - Morozevich.]

30...h4 31.Re8 Rxe8 32.Bxe8 Be6 33.Bb5 d4 34.gxh4 gxh4 35.exd4 Bd5 36.f3 Rg8

Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 36...Rg8

Black has suddenly activated all his pieces but he is two pawns down for the moment.


"37.Rc2 is obviously not a very happy move." - Morozevich.

[37.Kc5 "There was a problem, 37.Kc5 wasn't working." - Morozevich talking about a tactical idea that came as a surprise to Carlsen. 37...Bxf3!! (37...Rg5 Carlsen's planned move. 38.Kd6 Morozevich. 38...Be6 39.Rc2 Rd5+ 40.Kc7 Rxd4 41.Kxb7 Bb3 42.Rc6+ Kg5 "OK this is interesting but Bf3 was my main concern." - Morozevich.) 38.gxf3 h3 "This is something strange but OK." - Morozevich.]

37...Ke7 38.a5 Kd6 39.Bc4

Magnus Carlsen


Alexander Morozevich

Position after 39...Bxc4

Morozevich was thinking right down to the last few seconds each move here (there was a 30 second increment)

[39.Bd3 Ian Rogers suggestion. ]

39...Bxc4 40.Rxc4

[40.Kxc4 "The result will be the same but black will be suffering probably." - Morozevich. 40...Rc8+ (40...Rg5 was Carlsen's suggestion. 41.Rb2 Rxa5 42.Rb6+ Kc7 43.Rf6 Rg5 44.Rxf7+ Kd6 with a probable draw too.) 41.Kb3 Rxc2 42.Kxc2 Kc6 43.Kd3 Kb5 44.Ke4 Kxa5 45.Kd5! b5 46.Kc5 b4 47.d5 b3 48.d6 b2 49.d7 Ka4 and black should hold.]

40...Rxg2 41.Rc5

There shouldn't be any winning chances for black here according to Carlsen.


[41...Rb2+ 42.Kc3 Rf2 43.Rf5 Ke6 44.Re5+ Kf6 45.Rb5 white has no problems.]

42.Rh5 h2 43.Kc4 Rc2+ 44.Kd3 Ra2 45.Ke4 f5+ 46.Kf4 Kd5 47.Rxf5+ Kxd4 48.Rh5 Rg2 49.Rh7 Kd3 50.Ke5 Ke2 51.f4 Kf1 52.f5 Ra2 53.f6 Rxa5+ 54.Ke6 Ra6+ 55.Ke7 Rxf6 56.Kxf6 Kg1 57.Ke5 h1Q 58.Rxh1+ Kxh1 59.Kd4 1/2-1/2

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