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Daily Chess Puzzle

December 29, 2018

Today’s problem is from a game I looked at because of a puzzle set in the December 2018 issue of Chess magazine .

Since the start of 2018, I have decided to adopt the style of only saying which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

White to play

Carlsen Magnus - Ivanchuk Vassily (18...Qxf8)

Carlsen v Ivanchuk, Foros, 8/6/18



Carlsen played 1 c5!

What appealed to me was Carlsen’s comments in his annotation of the game in Megabase 2019:

I think this is basically the only move, as the highest priority is to activate the bishop.


A move I might not consider, let alone might not play; and if I were considering playing it I would be scared I was throwing away a pawn…was basically an “only move” according to Magnus; and, of course, he might well be correct.

Interestingly, though, three engines on my PC, given a few minutes to examine the position, don’t suggest 1 c5:


The engines, and Magnus, say 1 c5 dc was probably better than 1…Nc5.

Maybe 1 c5 is nothing “special” in terms of its force, but I think it is as a concept. And we will see something very similar in my posting for 31st December 2018 from the AlphaZero v Stockfish match.


r4q1k/ppp1n2p/3pnbp1/1P2pp2/2P1P3/2N2P2/P3B1PP/R2QR1K1 w – – 0 19

From → Chess

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