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In Game 10 of the 2020 Clutch Chess International, Caruana played c6 in response to Carlsen's 9. Nd5.

[FEN ""]
[Event "Clutch Chess International"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2881"]
[BlackElo "2773"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nc4 Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. Ne3 Nc6 7. Nd5 Nd4 8.
Nxe7 Nxe2 9. Nd5 c6

What was Caruana's plan in making this strange move, since the white knight can just gain the rook through Nc7+?

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If White goes for 11.Nc7+, then Black can reply 11...Kd8 Nxa8 Nxc1, however if Black played 10...Nxc1 directly, 11.Nxc7+ would win an extra pawn.

Note 10...c6 Bxe2 cxd5 would have been OK for black.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    What’s black’s compensation for being down the exchange? Stockfish has this position at +4! – Noah Snyder Jun 16 at 12:34
  • @NoahSnyder Black probably trusted to get his knight out before White could. Chess is very easy when you can look it up in Stockfish – David Jun 16 at 13:53
  • It seems implausible to me that Caruana thought he could get his knight out, after Nc3 the knight on c1 is threatened and has nowhere to go. – Noah Snyder Jun 16 at 15:33
  • 1
    @NoahSnyder: The games are 10 minutes so mistakes are not uncommon. In this case the mistake was missing 9...Nd4!, threatening a Nxc2+ fork of his own – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jun 16 at 22:35

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