Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 4 Analysis

After a disappointing loss in Game 3, Magnus Carlsen returned with the white pieces and played “1. e4” in game 4 of the 2014 FIDE World Championship. Viswanathan Anand replied with c5 and the hopes of again proving that his opening preparation is superior to the young Norwegian’s. However, Magnus opted out of the main lines with “3. g3” and thus the stage was set for a long and strategic battle.

 

Magnus Carlsen (white) vs Viswanathan Anand (black) photo: http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/

Magnus Carlsen (white) vs Viswanathan Anand (black) photo: http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/

 

Game four of the Carlsen-Anand Match hit a critical phase at move thirty-two. After the exchange of rooks, the ideas expressed through the moves of Magnus and Vishy offer a rare glimpse into the understanding of complicated endgames that these two great chess players possess. Their play should provide great study material to chess enthusiasts worldwide.

 

Below is my analysis of Game 4:

 

[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.12”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Black “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “B40”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ SICILIAN def.,B40]}

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 e6

3.g3 {After a negative result in round 3, Magnus decides it is best not to test Anand’s preparation and avoids the main lines of the Sicilian Defense.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 3. g3.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 3. g3.

 

3… Nc6

4.Bg2 d5

5.exd5 exd5

6.O-O Nf6 ( 6…d4 7.c3 Nf6 8.cxd4 Nxd4
9.Nxd4 cxd4 10.Qa4+ Qd7 11.Re1+ Be7 12.Qxd7+ Kxd7 13.d3 Rd8 14.Bf4 Ke8 15.Na3 Kf8 16.Nb5 a6 17.Na3 Nd5 18.Be5 Nb4 19.Bc7 Rd7 20.Bb6 Nxd3 21.Re2 Nxb2 22.Rxb2 Bxa3 23.Rb3 Be7 24.Rd1 a5 25.a4 d3 26.Rbxd3{…0-1, Geurink Jasper (NED) 2305 – Klinkhammer Johan (NED) 2017 , Groningen 4/13/2011 Tournament (open)})

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 6... Nf6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 6… Nf6.

 

 

7.d4 {Magnus strikes at the center with plans of isolating a black pawn.}

7… Be7 {It is important to allow oneself the ability to castle in such positions.}

8.Be3 {Taking with dxc4 also makes sense as it forces black to make Be7 a time waster.}
( 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Nc3 O-O 11.Qd3 h6 12.Bf4 Re8 13.Rad1
Rc8 14.a3 a6 15.h3 Qd7 16.g4 Ba7 17.Rfe1 d4 18.Ne2 Bd5 19.Ng3
Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Re8 21.Nf5 Be4 22.Qb3 Bxf5 23.Rxe8+ Nxe8 24.gxf5
Nf6 25.Ne5 Nxe5 26.Bxe5 Qxf5 27.Bg3 b5 {…1-0, Bauer Christian (FRA) 2634 – Milov Vadim (SUI) 2680 , Ajaccio 10/25/2007 Ch Europe (blitz)})

8… cxd4 {Anand chooses the proactive approach to dealing with the pawn situation in the center.}
( 8…O-O 9.dxc5 Ne4 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Qa5 12.Qxd5 Be6 13.Qe4
Qxc3 14.Nd4 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Qc4 16.Rfd1 Bxc5 17.Bf1 Qb4 18.Rab1
Qa3 19.Bd3 g6 20.Bb2 Qxa2 21.Qe5 Bxf2+ 22.Kxf2 f6 23.Qf4 Rad8
24.Kg1 Rf7 25.Re1 Bd5 26.Qb4 Bc6 27.Bc4 {1-0, Hasangatin Ramil (RUS) 2498 – Santos Antonio P (POR) 2336 , Cappelle la Grande 3/ 3/2011 It (open)})

9.Nxd4 Bg4 ( 9…O-O 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Qd3 a6 12.Rfe1 Qd7 13.Nxc6
bxc6 14.Na4 Qf5 15.Bf4 Bb4 16.Qxf5 Bxf5 17.c3 Ba5 18.Bf1 Bd8
19.b3 Ne4 20.h4 Bf6 21.Rac1 g5 22.hxg5 Nxg5 23.Bg2 Nh3+ 24.Bxh3
Bxh3 25.Be5 Bg5 26.f4 Be7 27.Bd4 Rfe8 28.Re3 Bf5 29.Nc5 {…1/2-1/2, Jones Gawain C (ENG) 2653 – Caruana Fabiano (ITA) 2736 , Reykjavik 3/10/2012 It (open)})

10.Qd3 Qd7

11.Nd2 O-O {Here we have a classic situation where only one side has a center pawn but it is isolated and therefor a weakness.}

The position after Viswanathan Anand castles on move 11.

The position after Viswanathan Anand castles on move 11.

 

12.N2f3 {Magnus improves his less influential knight.}

12… Rfe8 {Vishy grabs the open e-file with his rook.}

13.Rfe1 {Magnus responds by doing the same.}

13… Bd6 {Both sides are making small improvements to their overall position.}

14.c3 h6

15.Qf1 {Magnus plays the first tricky looking move of the game. His plan is to take away Anand’s ability to play Bh3 while preparing to play pawn to h3.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 15. Qf1.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 15. Qf1.

 

15… Bh5 {Anand doesn’t wait for h3 and instead decides it is best to get his bishop to the b1-h7 diagonal a move faster.}

16.h3 Bg6

17.Rad1 Rad8 {Now both players have centralized the action of their rooks.}

18.Nxc6 {Carlsen decides to end the small maneuvers and fire the opening shot.}

18… bxc6

19.c4 {Carlsen, for the second time in this game, challenges Anand’s control of the center.}

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 19.c4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 19.c4.

 

19… Be4 {Now Anand’s early Bh5 move in route to Bg6 looks pretty good.}

20.Bd4 {Magnus is threatening to capture on f6 which would expose Anand’s King.}

20… Nh7 {Very interesting play by Anand. Re6 would be the common response in such situations but then black’s rooks would no longer be a unified force.}

21.cxd5 Bxd5 {Anand now has two isolated pawns to watch out for.}

22.Rxe8+ Rxe8

23.Qd3 {Redeploying the queen to a6 is also a fine idea.}
( 23.Qa6 Bf8 24.Qa4 Qb7 25.Qxa7 Qxa7 26.Bxa7 Bxa2 27.Rc1 Re2
28.Bd4 Bd5 {but does not result in a large advantage for white.} )

23… Nf8

24.Nh4 {“Knights on the rim are grim,” unless you are Magnus Carlsen.}

24… Be5 {Anand makes a key move at a very important point in the game. Be5 effectively shuts down Carlsen’s threats on the kingside.}

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 24... Be5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 24… Be5.

 

25.Bxd5 {Carlsen is happy to trade pieces as each trade he makes gets him closer to an endgame where Anand’s pawn weaknesses can be exploited.}

25… Qxd5

26.Bxe5 Qxe5 {Trading queens would create many more difficulties for Anand given his weak pawn structure.}

27.b3 {It is better to move the pawn forward than to dedicate a piece to its protection.}

27… Ne6

28.Nf3 {Both sides return their knights to duty.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 28. Nf3.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 28. Nf3.

 

 

28… Qf6

29.Kg2{It is much better to use the king to defend the knight rather than limiting the queen’s aggressiveness.}

29… Rd8

30.Qe2 Rd5

31.Rxd5 cxd5 {This is an interesting point in the game. Magnus Carlsen could try for a trade of queens with Qe5 or leave the queens and knights on the board with Ne5.}

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 31... cxd5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 31… cxd5.

 

32.Ne5 {The knight and pawn endgame would have required very precise play from Anand. However, Anand was not forced to trade queen after Qe5.}

32… Qf5

33.Nd3

33… Nd4 {Anand stops any ideas Magnus may have had about initiating a trade of queen with Qf3.}

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 33... Nd4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 33… Nd4.

 

34.g4 {Carlsen obviously believes that the doubled pawns he receives after the trade of queens is an acceptable price for reasonable chances in a tricky knight endgame.}

34… Qd7 {Anand is wise to the young Norwegian’s motives and declines the offer.}

35.Qe5 {Carlsen improves his queen with tempo.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 35. Qe5.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 35. Qe5.

 

 

35… Ne6

36.Kg3 Qb5 {Vishy is happy to steer the game towards a queen ending.}

37.Nf4 Nxf4

38.Kxf4

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 38. Kxf4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 38. Kxf4.

 

38… Qb4+ {Anand prepares to advance his passed pawn.}

39.Kf3 d4 {If Anand’s passed pawn becomes too threatening, Carlsen will need to settle for some kind of perpetual check/threat draw. On the other hand, if Magnus can trade queens he will win the endgame easily.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 39... d4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 39… d4.

40.Qe8+ Kh7

41.Qxf7 {The extra pawn in material is rather meaningless as Carlsen’s king is exposed and Anand’s passed pawn has already crossed the equator.}

41… Qd2 {This is likely the most important move of the game for Anand and is almost forced. For example:}
( 41…Qc3+ 42.Ke4 d3 43.Qf3 Qc2 44.Qxd3 Qxf2 {is very dangerous for black.})

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 41... Qd2.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 41… Qd2.

 

 

42.Qf5+ Kh8

43.h4 {Magnus does not have time to get a pawn to g6.}

43… Qxa2

44.Qe6 {Magnus manages to keep a little complexity in the endgame.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 44. Qe6.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 44. Qe6.

 

44… Qd2 {A important move by Anand which defends his passed pawn and prevents Carlsen from playing pawn to g5.}

45.Qe8+ {With his hopes for a win dashed, Magnus agrees to a draw by perpetual check.}

45… Kh7

46.Qe4+ Kh8

47.Qe8+ Kh7 1/2-1/2

 

Final position from Game 4 of the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship

Final position from Game 4 of the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship

 

If you enjoyed this lesson, please check out my analysis of:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

 

and be sure to visit the official site for the 2014 FIDE World Championship in Sochi, Russia.

 

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2 Responses to “Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 4 Analysis”

  1. Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 5 Analysis | Chess Musings Says:

    […] Your quality source for everything chess! « Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 4 Analysis […]

  2. Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 6 Analysis | Chess Musings Says:

    […] Game 4 […]

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