During the 2018 World Rapid Championship in 2018 in St. Petersburg, Magnus Carlsen played Shamsiddin Vokhidov.

White starts with setting up a Scholar's Mate, but Black doesn't fall for it.

Then on the 22nd turn, White neglects to get his Knight to safety in time. He ends up losing his Queen for a Rook.

[Event "World Rapid Championship"]
[Site "St Petersburg RUS"]
[Date "2018.12.26"]
[EventDate "2018.12.26"]
[Round "2.1"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Magnus Carlsen"]
[Black "Shamsiddin Vokhidov"]
[ECO "C20"]
[WhiteElo "2835"]
[BlackElo "2480"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[fen ""]
[startply "45"]

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. Qf3 Qe7 5. Ne2 Nf6 6. d3 Bg7 7. Nbc3 h6 8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. exd5 Na5 10. d6 cxd6 11. Bd5 Nc6 12. Bd2 Qf6 13. Qe4 O-O 14. O-O Ne7 15. Nc3 Qf5 16. Qb4 Nxd5 17. Nxd5 Kh7 18. Nc7 Rb8 19. Qxd6 b6 20. f3 Bb7 21. Rae1 Rfc8 22. Bc3? Bf8 23. Nb5 Bxd6 (23. Qxe5 {threat of mate on h8} Qxe5 24.Bxe5) 24. Nxd6 Qe6 25. Nxc8 Rxc8 26. Rxe5 Qd6 27. Rfe1 Bd5 28. a4 Be6 29. a5 bxa5 30. Kf1 Rc5 31. Rxc5 Qxc5 32. Ra1 d5 33. Rxa5 Qc7 34. Ra4 Qxh2 35. Rxa7 Qh1+ 36. Kf2 d4 0-1

Why didn't White force exchanging Queens on the 23rd turn? That might've cost him the Knight as well, but would've gotten rid of the Black e Pawn.


2 Answers 2


Carlsen went for the most practical move. By taking on e5 Black will win the knight after ...Qxe5 Bxe5 d6 and with both queens off the board the position becomes way too simple for White to keep any chances.

Sure, Carlsen's move leads to a losing position as well, but it's somewhat more complex and probably allows for more potential mistakes by Black later on (in other words, it's the best practical choice).


This is a tricky one, and really the only person best placed to answer it is Carlsen himself.

I ran the analysis through a few engines and in all instances the best move was Qxe5. This makes me think it was an inaccuracy as the second best move Nb5 was played. Just goes to show even the the best make mistakes.

  • 4
    The position is utterly lost with both moves, at this point "inaccuracy" loses its meaning
    – B.Swan
    Oct 31, 2020 at 10:42
  • yeah, looking at it its just a matter of time before it all falls,
    – Dheebs
    Oct 31, 2020 at 12:31

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