World Chess Championship 2013: Anand vs. Carlsen Game 4

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

The Chess Match of the Century! (photo courtesy of http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

The Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match of 2013 is evolving into a sporting event similar to that of Ali-Frasier 1971. In both cases, the battles were marketed as being the “Fight of the Century/Match of the Century ” and in both cases the athletes exceeded the promotional hype with super human abilities during the event. Joe Frazier ended up issuing Muhammad Ali his first professional defeat after 15 hard fought rounds. Sadly, I was not alive to witness the greatest bout in boxing history. However I am witnessing what I believe will be the greatest match in chess history and I have the pleasure of covering it for you, my readers.

There is definitely a crescendo occurring with each round of the 2013 World Chess Championship. Thus far, each round has been more hard fought and full of tension than the previous. So it is, that round four took the normally tame Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense line and turned it into an event worthy of being considered one of the greatest chess games ever played. Below are my extensive thoughts on the game:

[Event “World Chess Championship”]
[Site “Chennai”]
[Date “2013.11.13”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Viswanathan Anand”]
[Black “Magnus Carlsen”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “C67”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 {The Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense. A lot of uninformed chess enthusiasts immediately
proclaimed that this game would be a boring draw and they were all wrong!}

4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 {This maneuver is almost as old as time.}

6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3 {Nc3 is the usual continuation here.}
Bd7 {And Ke8 is the usual continuation here. 😉 All of a sudden our game is going to be of theoretical importance.}
10.Rd1 Be7 {Here are two other important alternatives:}
( 10…Kc8 11.a4 a5 12.g4 Ne7 13.Ra3 Nd5 14.Rad3 Be7 15.c4 Nb6
16.b3 h5 17.Bg5 f6 18.e6 Bxe6 19.Re1 fxg5 20.Rxe6 Bf6 21.Nbd2
hxg4 22.hxg4 Nd7 23.Ne4 b6 24.Kg2 Rb8 25.Nd4 Kb7 26.Nxc6 Rbe8
27.Rxe8 Rxe8 28.Nxf6 Nxf6 29.Nd8+ Kc8 30.Nf7 {…1/2-1/2, Sutovsky Emil (ISR) 2687 – Harikrishna P (IND) 2684 , Istanbul 9/ 3/2012 Olympiad}
) ( 10…Ke8 11.Nc3 h6 12.Bf4 Be6 13.g4 Ne7 14.Nd4 Nd5 15.Nxe6
fxe6 16.Ne2 Bc5 17.c4 Ne7 18.Bg3 Ng6 19.Kg2 h5 20.Rd3 Rd8 21.Rxd8+
Kxd8 22.Rd1+ Kc8 23.Nc3 h4 24.Bh2 Rf8 25.Ne4 Be7 26.f3 Nf4+ 27.Bxf4
Rxf4 28.b3 a5 29.a4 b6 30.Kf2 {…1-0, Ganguly Surya Shekhar (IND) 2627 – Meier Volker (GER) 2232 , Dresden 8/24/2012 It (open)}
)

11.Nc3 {Anand chooses a unique move order which ends up a transposition of the game below.}
( 11.Bg5 Kc8 12.g4 h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Kh2 Re8 15.Nbd2 b6 16.Re1
c5 17.Ne4 Bc6 18.h4 Kb7 19.Rad1 Ng6 20.h5 Nf8 21.Kg3 Re7 22.Rd3
Rae8 23.Ned2 g6 24.Rde3 gxh5 25.g5 hxg5 26.Nxg5 Ne6 27.Nxe6 fxe6
28.Ne4 Rg7+ 29.Kh3 Bxe4 30.Rxe4 Rf8 {…0-1, Sutovsky Emil (ISR) 2690 – Hammer Jon Ludvig (NOR) 2601 , Aix les Bains 3/27/2011 Ch Europe}
)

Kc8

12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 {All of this has been played by Jon Ludvig Hammer, Carlsen’s second for this match.}
14.Rd2 ( 14.a4 a5 15.Rd2 c5 16.Rad1 Bc6 17.e6 fxe6 18.Ne5 Re8
19.Nb5 Bxb5 20.axb5 Nd5 21.c4 Nb6 22.h4 a4 23.h5 a3 24.b3 a2
25.Ra1 Rd8 26.Rdxa2 Rxa2 27.Rxa2 Rd1+ 28.Kh2 Rb1 29.Ra3 Nd7 30.Ra8+
Nb8 31.Ra3 Nd7 32.Ra8+ Nb8 33.Ra3 Nd7 {…1/2-1/2, Berg Emanuel (SWE) 2573 – Hammer Jon Ludvig (NOR) 2638 , Achaea 6/30/2012 Ch Greece (team)}
)

c5 15.Rad1 Be6 16.Ne1 {?} {Honestly kids… This is a weird move. I am not sure what Anand was thinking at
this point but would love to have the chance to ask him sometime.}

Anand played 16. Ne1 ?!

Anand played 16. Ne1 ?!

Ng6

17.Nd3 b6 18.Ne2 Bxa2 {!} {Brings back memories of a Spassky-Fischer game from the World Championship in
1972. Fischer’s capture of a pawn on “h2” was not correct. Carlsen’s capture here is beautiful.}
19.b3 {Viswanathan Anand is trying to see if he can catch Carlsen’s bishop sleeping.}
c4

20.Ndc1 cxb3 21.cxb3 Bb1 {Carlsen’s bishop is going to flee the coup.}
22.f4 {Anand gives up on hunting bishops and turns his attention to winning a chess
game. At this point, Anand’s chances look good as his rooks are coordinated in
an open file and his advantage in space is impressive.}

Kb7

23.Nc3 Bf5 24.g4 Bc8 {Viswanathan Anand must have been amused to chase Carlsen’s bishop back to where
it started. Really, however, there is no time to celebrate. If Carlsen can
activate his pieces rapidly, he will be a solid pawn up in a good endgame for black.}
25.Nd3 h5 26.f5 Ne7 ( 26…Nh4 27.Kf2 g6 28.Rc1 hxg4 29.hxg4
gxf5 30.Nb5 c5 31.b4 a6 32.Nd6+ Kc7 33.bxc5 b5 34.Nxf7 Rh7 35.Nd6
fxg4 36.Nf4 Nf3 {Is an extremely complicated alternative where both colors have a protected knight on the “sixth” and passed pawns.}
)

27.Nb5 hxg4 {My chess instincts were expecting something like this:}
( 27…a6 28.Nd4 hxg4 29.hxg4 a5 30.Rc1 a4 )

28.hxg4 Rh4 {I am again surprised by Carlsen’s choice. The variation below seems very obvious and strong for black:}
( 28…a6 29.Nd4 a5 30.Rh2 Rxh2 31.Kxh2 a4 32.bxa4 Rxa4 33.Nf4
c5 34.e6 f6 35.Nde2 Kc6 )

29.Nf2 Nc6 30.Rc2 {Anand signals his intentions to attack “c7” with a lot of force. Perhaps this
is why my instincts favored pawn to a6 on move 27.}

a5

31.Rc4{I love this move. It keeps the fourth rank secure while still allowing for a rook battery on the C-file.}
g6 {!} {All of a sudden, Carlsen opens up a can of Spinach and becomes Popeye. This does not look good for Anand at all.}

Carlsen opens up a can of spinach(Popeye reference.)

Carlsen opens up a can of spinach(Popeye reference.)

32.Rdc1 {Anand chooses to stick to his guns. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble!}
Bd7 {As best as I can tell, any other move would have likely resulted in a loss for Carlsen.}
33.e6 fxe6 34.fxe6 Be8 {Taking back with the bishop would have cost Carlsen his knight on c6.}
35.Ne4 {Anand has placed all of his pieces on strong squares.}
Rxg4+

36.Kf2 {Of course the king needs to move towards the action. But, did you also notice
Anand’s threat of Ne4-d6+ which would win Carlsen’s rook on g4?}

Anand's sneaky threat throws Carlsen off.

Anand’s sneaky threat throws Carlsen off.

Rf4+ {?} {Such a pity that Carlsen was distracted by Anand’s threat and missed a chance to win the game with something like:}
( 36…Rd8 37.Ke3 Rd5 38.Nbc3 Re5 39.Kf3 Rgxe4 40.Rxe4 Rxe6 41.Rxe6
Nd4+ 42.Ke3 Nxe6 43.Ne4 g5 44.Rg1 Bg6 45.Nxg5 Nxg5 46.Rxg5 Bc2
47.Kd2 Bxb3 48.Kc3 Be6 49.Re5 Bd7 50.Kd4 Kc6 51.Rg5 Be6 52.Ke5
Bf7 53.Rg4 b5 {And with good technique, Carlsen will win!} )
37.Ke3 Rf8 {?} {Perhaps Carlsen realized that his chance at winning had somehow evaporated.
Playing pawn to g5 seems more logical than retreating the rook.}
38.Nd4 Nxd4 39.Rxc7+ Ka6 40.Kxd4 Rd8+ 41.Kc3 {Anand has his own ideas for what the draw should look like.}
Rf3+

42.Kb2 Re3 {Rooks belong behind passed pawns.}

43.Rc8 Rdd3{With this move, Carlsen exclaims, “Not so fast Mr. Anand.”}
44.Ra8+ Kb7 45.Rxe8 Rxe4 46.e7 Rg3 47.Rc3 Re2+ 48.Rc2 Ree3 49.Ka2
g5 {Passed pawns must be pushed.}

50.Rd2 Re5 51.Rd7+ Kc6 52.Red8{Anand and Carlsen make drawing these kinds of endings look easy. Believe me, its
not. There are plenty of ways to make a single mistake which could undo the
effort put into the last 52 moves. This is why chess is so exciting.}
Rge3

53.Rd6+ Kb7 54.R8d7+ Ka6 55.Rd5 Re2+ 56.Ka3 Re6 57.Rd8 g4
58.Rg5 {Again, we see that rooks belong behind passed pawns.}
Rxe7

59.Ra8+ Kb7 60.Rag8 a4 61.Rxg4 axb3 62.R8g7 Ka6 63.Rxe7
Rxe7 64.Kxb3 {Every Russian school boy knows this is a draw.} 1/2-1/2

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14 Responses to “World Chess Championship 2013: Anand vs. Carlsen Game 4”

  1. Mr_Toad Says:

    Thanks for researching this so thoroughly and enhancing the post with such instructive and entertaining comments. Much appreciated!

  2. Franklin Chen Says:

    I’m enjoying seeing everyone’s different coverage of the match. Here’s my take on round 4: http://franklinchen.com/blog/2013/11/13/world-chess-championship-2013-round-4-who-said-the-berlin-defense-was-boring/

    I also went “WTF” when I played over the game and saw Ne1. What was Anand thinking? With the weak e5 Pawn being a hindrance, and no quick f4 in sight, it really made no sense.

    I bet Carlsen will be happy to play the Berlin again next time he is Black. Question is, will Anand have something new against it, or will he switch to d4 at some point?

    Great match so far. Some criticized the slow start, but the match is a marathon, not a sprint.

  3. Seashore Says:

    With carlson having an extra pawn, how come he had to settle for a draw…obviously am a beginner

  4. chess Says:

    @Seashore
    Check this out for details:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rook_and_pawn_versus_rook_endgame

  5. Mr_Toad Says:

    Just because the the total points value of your pieces (3 for a knight etc) is much easier to work out than other aspects of your position, does not make it particularly important.

    It is much more important to think about things like piece mobility (do your pieces have good squares to go to), space advantage (perhaps you have a couple of pieces in the opponents half of the board and he/she has none), or an extra tempo (read about this if you do not understand the term because it is vital) and so on.

    Chess is a war game. Surprise attacks, momentum and strategy are more important than numerical superiority. Don’t forget about the Battle of Agincourt! The British were outnumbered by the French in the ration of at least 2 to 1 but won. I’ve mentioned strategy so I’ll finish with the following description of the British strategy:

    “The battlefield lay on 1,000 yards of open ground between two woods, which prevented large-scale maneuvers and thus worked to Henry’s advantage. At 11 a.m. on October 25, the battle commenced. The English stood their ground as French knights, weighed down by their heavy armor, began a slow advance across the muddy battlefield. The French were met by a furious bombardment of artillery from the English archers, who wielded innovative longbows with a range of 250 yards. French cavalrymen tried and failed to overwhelm the English positions, but the archers were protected by a line of pointed stakes. As more and more French knights made their way onto the crowded battlefield, their mobility decreased further, and some lacked even the room to raise their arms and strike a blow. At this point, Henry ordered his lightly equipped archers to rush forward with swords and axes, and the unencumbered Englishmen massacred the French.” *

    Don’t think that this isn’t relevant to chess. Think Bishops (long range pieces) and archers with English longbows.

    * From a website simply called history(dot)com

  6. World Chess Championship 2013: Carlsen Wins Game 5! | Chess Musings Says:

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  7. Seashore Says:

    Thanks Mr Toad, very helpful indeed….

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