28/7/2021 – What a relief for the current world champion GM Magnus Carlsen to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup 2021. It was a tough match against GM Esipenko, Andrey (Russia), FIDE Standard Rating: 2716. The match started with standard games resulting in a draw, then moved to 10 minute tiebreak games, both scored 2 each. Finally, for another tiebreak, into a 5 minute blitz game which Carlsen won and clinched the match.
Additionally, GM Esipenko’s FIDE blitz rating (2595) is way much lower than GM Carlsen’s FIDE Blitz rating of 2886. Playing under time constraint is a major factor to miss checking threats, traps or baits. Therefore, it is essential for experts and upcoming masters to practice playing shorter time controlled games such as blitz either 5 or 3 minutes per game.
In this game, GM Carlsen set up a bait which GM Esipenko fell for.
Italian Game – Classical Variation: is a solid black opening that brings out pieces at kingside early in order to control the center and place the king to safety. This opening is highly used by super GMs for a comfortable game having chances to counter white’s plans.
Italian Game: Classical Variation (C53) Chess Opening Classification
GM Esipenko, Andrey vs. GM Carlsen, Magnus
(Event: 2021 World Cup, Sochi, Russia – Round 5)
1: e4 e5
2: Nf3 Nc6
3: Bc4 Bc5
4: c3 Nf6
5: d3 d6 (The Classical variation)
6. 0-0 h6
7. Re1 0-0 Both side on safety first approach)
8. h3 a6 (Creating a hide for the bishop at c5))
9. a4 Ba7
10. Nbd2 Re8 ch (It is a must to control the center)
11. b4 Be6 (Eliminating the power of the white bishop at c4)
12. Be6 Re6
13. Qc2 Qd7
14. Nf1 d5 (black is gaining space advantage here)
15. Be3 Be3
16. Ne3 Ne7 (black has to find ways to place pieces on a defensive mode)
17 . Rab1 Rd8
18. a5 Ng6 (heading to f4 square)
19. c4 c6
20. Red1 Nf4
21: Nf5 g6 (If you are white, how do you respond here, will you accept the bait? Why and Why not? Analyze the position.