Carlsen: The Classical Master

Perhaps the best way to improve your chess is to study masters’ games. I am biased towards older games for their instructional value as with modern masters’ games you often feel they are playing like computers. But I believe Magnus Carlsen is an exception here as he plays almost any playable position and gets something out of them. Here are some examples which I have picked up randomly and find them very instructive.

Carlsen against Aronian in 2015

In this game Carlsen got a standard minority attack. Aronian defended his both the weakness (the pawn on c7 and pawn on d5) but carlsen opened another front of attack after Aronian’s …g6 and won quite convincingly:

Q: How would you target Black’s weakness on d5?

Hint: Some theoretically bad pieces are great defenders.

A: White played 1.Bg4! exchanging the defender after which it is really hard to defend the d5. Here is rest of the game in case you’re interested:

Carlsen against Anand in 2012

Q: How would you play with the White pieces?

Hint: Improving the position of your pieces or exchanging the passive ones for active ones is very simple but effective strategy here.

Solution: Carlsen played 1. Bb4! and Black can’t avoid the exchanges. Also taking on b4 is not that good because it helps White create pressure against c5 or d5. Meanwhile 1…c5 helps White in activating his dark square bishop via c3.

Here is rest of the moves in case you’re interested:

Ashvin Chauhan