Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Hidden Pattern
Magnus Carlsen (born in Tønsberg, Norway, Nov 30, 1990) is for many people the best chess player ever.
He has a remarkable chess career having won many international tournaments.
Carlsen obtained his GM title at the age of 13. At the age of 19, he became the youngest player to reach the magic threshold of 2800 ELO rating. He keeps the incredible record of 125 consecutive undefeated games in classic chess.
Carlsen became World Chess Champion in 2013 roughly one week before his 23rd birthday after defeating Viswanathan Anand. He has successfully defended the title in five matches. The last one against Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2021. However, soon after that match, Carlsen announced that he would not defend the title again alleging lack of passion. As he stated in December 2021:
“I have by now played against the previous generation and three leading players of my generation. Being result-oriented has worked out for me in these matches, but it doesn’t feel sustainable long term. Passion must be the main driver. It is unlikely that I will play another match unless maybe if the next challenger represents the next generation.”
It is undeniable that Carlsen is a talented chess player. However, achieving his great accomplishments means a great effort of study and training.
An aspect that experts consider important for improving in chess, is pattern recognition. Finding similarities seen in previous games helps the player to quickly grasp the main ideas and/or tactical motifs in a position.
For sure, Carlsen uses that technique in his training. However, because of the huge amount of different combinations and positions in this game, sometimes players did not identify, not remember or face a new position for the first time.
Carlsen faced one of those situations in his match against Nepo. In the 6th game, the following position appeared on the board after Carlsen played his 32nd move:
In the press conference after the game, and referring to the position after Black’s 32nd move, Carlsen explained: “That was not on my radar [33. Rcc2]. As a matter of fact, when I went for this Rd1 I just missed …Qd7. I thought I would be in time to go Rb4 and eliminate those pawns, so that was more an oversight than anything else.”
Carlsen’s oversight occurred in move 32 when both players had used almost 2 hours of their time. Because the game lasted almost 8 hours and 136 moves, it’s not difficult to understand how important is to be very accurate in choosing the moves. It means saving significant energy in a long match.
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