Power Play with Daniel King: "Make or break for Magnus"

by Johannes Fischer
8/20/2020 – "Yet another extraordinary encounter!" That is how Daniel King described game 1 of the sixth set of the match between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour. Carlsen played with White and after the opening he sacrificed two pawns to threaten Black's king with his two bishops. This led to fascinating complications and a strong mating attack. Daniel King took a closer look.

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The bishops attack

Magnus Carlsen had to win the sixth set of the "Best-of-Seven" match against Hikaru Nakamura in the final of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour in order not to lose the match and to become only second in "his" Chess Tour. But what do you do if you are in a "Must Win" situation?

Forcing complications too much often does not set real problems for your opponent who often just has to find one or two precise moves to let your initiative fizzle out. But when you play too cautiously to give your opponent some rope to hang himself wit the game is often not sharp enough and you have only very little chances to put your opponent under pressure.

But in first game of the decisive set against Hikaru Nakamura, Carlsen found the right mix: he sacrificed two pawns to get an attack against Nakamura's king, and then further increased Nakamura's problems with a knight sacrifice, to which Nakamura did not find the right answer.

However, Carlsen also had to pay tribute to the complicated position and the time control and in the ensuing complications he did not always find the best continuation. But it was Nakamura who made the final mistake which allowed Carlsen to checkmate the black king.

Daniel King took a close look at this "extraordinary encounter".

With this remarkable game, Carlsen laid the foundation for winning the set 3-1, and to force a showdown in the seventh and final set of the match. It starts on Thursday, August 20, at 4 pm, CEST, and promises four exciting and dramatic games.


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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mtm57 mtm57 8/20/2020 01:52
Magnus really Unreachable