Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Let Your Opponent Make Mistakes

Siegbert Tarrasch used to say: “When you don’t know what to do, wait for your opponent to get an idea; it’s sure to be wrong!”

That sentence applies very well at today’s game between Magnus Carlsen and Teimur Radjabov.

The game was played at the Candidates Tournament (London, 2013) which was the first Candidates where Magnus took place.

It was a long game (89 moves). Carlsen played his usual style looking for the smallest chance to put pressure on his opponent. But Radjabov was holding well.

The following position appeared after White’s 28th move.

Because White’s rook keeps moving along the back rank disturbing Black’s pieces, the only chance for Black to obtain any progress would be trading rooks. But there is no way to force that trade … unless White helps. And surprisingly that was exactly what White did…

Again, both players had been manoeuvring their pieces without any progress.

Despite the last 15 moves, the general assessment remains the same: balance!

Carlsen couldn’t break White’s defensive setup. But inexplicably Radjabov plays again in Black’s favour. He plays a second pawn to a light square offering a new target for Black’s bishop.

Playing in that way, Radjabov violates an endgame rule which states “not to place pawns in the same colour as those of the opponent’s bishop”.

As a result, he lost his pawn few moves later.

It is a strange phenomenon which frequently happens, but at a certain point, your opponents help you!

Why did Radjabov play 64.a4? It is difficult to explain. Most probably Carlsen’s tenacious pressure is the main reason which forces most elite players to make those mistakes.
It is worth remembering here the popular chess proverb: “If your opponent is going to make a mistake, don’t disturb him/her”

There are no chess events in Kenya due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Nairobi Chess Club site is closed for the same reason from March 23th until further notice.
If you are looking for information about this crisis check the website World Health Organization which includes links to country-specific information.
But if you want to play chess, then feel free to join our virtual club and join the events running there. A new tournament is scheduled to start on Saturday, Apr, 18th. Register now!

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