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World Championship 2018 Game 7: Don Fabi's Queen's Gambit impossible to crack

by Sagar Shah - 19/11/2018

When a World Championship is played and games are ending in draws there are two types of spectators. The first one keeps shouting on top of their voice that it's a boring match and refuse to look thoroughly at the games. The most important thing for them is the decisive results. But there is a second group of chess players, much more serious in my opinion, who understand that the World Championship match is a fight between two of the most competent players in the world of chess and hence draws are of course very natural. What the serious student tries to do, is to study the games in great detail, learn from these masters and absorb the ideas in their own games. If you too would like to do that, then here's the detailed analysis of game 7 of the match by IM Sagar Shah. 

Fabiano Caruana greets Magnus Carlsen before the start of the game | Photo: David Llada

After the first half of the match things look pretty even. Magnus Carlsen missed a win in the first game of the match, while Caruana missed the full point in the sixth. Until now, neither Carlsen or Caruana have been able to pose their opponent with any problems when they have the white pieces. With Carlsen having the second white in a row, people hoped that things would be different. However, it was not to be. White struggled to get an edge and the game ended in a draw.

Overview of the game

Caruana goes for Queen's Gambit Declined! Magnus chooses the 5.Bf4 variation

Magnus goes for a different move from 10.Rd1 which was played in game 2. This time it is 10.Nd2!? Magnus' 10.Nd2 is relatively popular and Caruana seemed to be prepared for it.

 Instead of retreating the bishop to e7 he went for Qd8!? Caruana chooses a very rare move 10...Qd8 which has only been played in six games! The idea is to put the bishop on b6 instead of e7. 

The bishop moves to g5, putting pressure in the centre on the d5 pawn. Fabiano must find a concrete way to solve his problems now. Magnus' move Bg5 underlines the fact that the bishop is on b6 and not on e7 and the pin can be quite irritating.

Caruana takes the pawn on c4 and it seems the most logical because now there is no pressure on the d5 point. But at the same time, what is to be done of the c8 bishop? Well, I think ...Bd7 should solve those issues.

This is the move that Magnus wanted to ensure that it works, but was unable to do so. In the end he settled for 0-0 followed by later picking up the c4 pawn.

Black's bishop moves to c6 from d7! This was the problem piece for Black and it has finally been solved.

Caruana's next moves were pretty simple and he got the rooks off the board

With some exchanges we have reached a position where there is some imbalance. White has the knight where as Black has the bishop. But it doesn't seem that it is possible to do anything special with it.

Fabiano managed to exchange the queens and the game ended in a draw

Don Fabi - extremely solid with the black pieces | Photo: David Llada

If you too would like to learn the Queen's Gambit from Black we have two important resources in our ChessBase India shop:

From Elo 1200 to 2000

From Elo 1800 and above

Analysis by IM Sagar Shah

Press conference:

Analysis by Daniel King:

Live Commentary by Niklesh Jain in Hindi

On 19th of November, 8th game of the match, we will have a special guest commentating for us - GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly from 9 p.m. onwards. Do check ChessBase India newspage for more details.


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