Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 6 Analysis

Chess is sometimes a cruel game. I was reminded of this in game 6 of the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanthan Anand. Early on, Anand dug himself into a hole by choosing passive play and dubious plans. There was a glimmer of hope when Magnus Carlsen tossed him a lifeline by blundering but, on this day, the Tiger from Madras was toothless and completely missed his opportunity to attack. Still, all hope was not lost if Viswanathan Anand could regain his footing and escape with a draw. Anand, however, was not able to do this and the world watched as he self destructed. Now, only one question  remains unanswered from round six: Is the hole Anand dug the final resting place for his dreams of another world championship title?

 

Viswanathan Anand in Sochi, Russia(photo from: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

Viswanathan Anand in Sochi, Russia(photo from: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/)

 

The key moment in game 6 of the 2014 Carlsen-Anand Match came on move twenty-six when Magnus Carlsen made a terrible mistake with Kd2. At the time of the blunder, I started receiving excited messages from chess fans across the globe asking questions about Anand’s chances. Then, the most extraordinarily shocking moment of the game took place. Viswanathan Anand allowed Carlsen to escape from his blunder unharmed. At the time, I honestly thought that there must be some problem with the moves being relayed properly. However, it soon became clear that Viswanathan Anand had been so preoccupied with his own strategy for the game that he simply failed to examine all of his checks, captures and threats. At least there is a valuable lesson to be learned from round 6…

Below is my analysis:

 

[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.15”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Black “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “B41”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ SICILIAN def. Paulsen/Kan var.,B41]}

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 e6

3.d4 {Magnus is coming back to the main lines after his 3. g3 detour in game 4.}

3… cxd4

4.Nxd4 a6 {This move classifies black’s opening play as the Kan Variation of the Sicilian Defense. The Kan is a good choice for those thinking of trying out the Sicilian Defense because it does not require massive amounts of memorized theory in order to play well.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 4... a6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 4… a6.

5.c4 {Magnus Carlsen is not concerned with hiding his intentions and immediately sets up the Maroczy Bind. In the Maroczy Bind, white’s pawns on e4 and d4 make it very difficult for black to strike at the center with d5.}

5… Nf6

6.Nc3 Bb4

7.Qd3 {Vishy has played this move himself so we know that he knows this idea well.}
( 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Ne5 10.O-O d6 11.f4 Nxd3 12.Qxd3
e5 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bh4 exd4 16.e5 dxc3 17.Qxd8+ Kxd8
18.exf6 g5 19.Rad1+ Bd7 20.Bg3 Re8 21.Rd3 c2 22.Rd2 Re6 23.Rxc2
Ke8 24.Rd2 Rc8 25.c5 Bb5 26.Rf5 b6 {…1-0, Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 2748 – David Alberto (LUX) 2589 , Bastia 10/29/2010 It “Corsica Masters” (1/4 final) (active)})

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 6. Qd3.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 6. Qd3.

 

 

7… Nc6 {The game below has a neat trick for white which is worthy of study.}
( 7…Qc7 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 Nxe4 10.Nb5 axb5 11.Qxg7 Rf8 12.Bh6
Qc5 13.f3 bxc4 14.Bxc4 d5 15.Bb5+ Bd7 16.Rc1 Qxc1+ 17.Bxc1 Bxb5
18.Bh6 Nd7 19.fxe4 Ra4 20.exd5 Re4+ 21.Kd1 Re5 22.d6 Rd5+ 23.Kc1
Rxd6 24.Rd1 Bd3 25.Qg3 Nc5 26.b4 Ne4 27.Qg7 Rc6+ 28.Kb2 Rc2+
29.Ka1 {1-0, Kovacevic Aleksandar (SRB) 2575 – Kontic Djordjije (MNE) 2364, Cetinje (Montenegro) 2009.08.16})

8.Nxc6 dxc6

9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 {Anand’s position is known to be better than it looks. However, this is the kind of position that Magnus Carlsen is notoriously very strong at playing.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 9... Kxd8.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 9… Kxd8.

 

10.e5 ( 10.Bd2 e5 11.O-O-O Ke7 12.f3 Be6 13.a3 Bc5 14.Na4 Nd7
15.Nxc5 Nxc5 16.Bb4 b6 17.Kc2 Rhd8 18.Be2 f6 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.Kc3
a5 21.Bxc5+ bxc5 22.Rc1 Rb8 23.Bd1 Kd6 24.Ba4 Kc7 25.Rg1 h5 26.h4
Rd8 27.Bc2 Rd4 28.Bd3 g5 29.Rh1 Bf7 {…1/2-1/2, Ruan Lufei (CHN) 2453 – Cherenkova Kristina (RUS) 2256 , Sochi 5/ 2/2007 Ch Russia (club) (w)})

10… Nd7 {Anand plays the very passive Nd7 rather than the more agressive Ne4. We saw Vishy make passive choices like this last year in Chennai when he first lost his title to Carlsen.}
( 10…Ne4 11.a3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Kc7 13.Be3 b6 14.Bd3 Nc5 15.Bxc5
bxc5 16.O-O-O Bb7 17.Rhe1 Rad8 18.Re3 Rd7 19.Bf1 Rxd1+ 20.Kxd1
Rd8+ 21.Kc2 Kd7 22.Rg3 g6 23.Rh3 Rh8 24.Bd3 h6 25.Kb3 Kc7 26.Rf3
Rh7 27.g4 Kb6 28.Rh3 Bc8 29.Be2 Bd7 30.Rf3 {…1-0, Flores Rios Mauricio (CHI) 2499 – Lemos Damian (ARG) 2495 , Villa Martelli 3/12/2008 Memorial R.Fischer (cat.9)})

11.Bf4 Bxc3+

12.bxc3 {Carlsen’s queen side pawn structure has been damaged but he can activate pieces much more easily than Anand.}

12… Kc7 {Anand’s position is cramped but has no weaknesses.}

13.h4 {Carlsen sends forth a pawn to irritate Anand’s kingside pawns structure. Also,there is the potential to move the rook to h3 giving it access to squares like d3 and g3.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 13. h4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 13. h4.

 

13… b6 {Anand is making it possible for his bishop to move to b7. Once there he can play c5 and his bishop will control the long diagonal.}

14.h5 {Carlsen commences the “irritation.”}

14… h6 {?} {By reacting to Carlsen’s pawn in this way, Anand creates a weakness on g7 that will come back to haunt him later in this game. Better was:}( 14…Bb7 15.h6 g6 )

15.O-O-O

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen castles queen-side on move 15.

The position after Magnus Carlsen castles queen-side on move 15.

 

 

15… Bb7

16.Rd3 c5

17.Rg3 {Carlsen wastes little time in attacking the target that Anand gave him.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 17. Rg3.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 17. Rg3.

 

17… Rag8

18.Bd3 Nf8 {Anand’s plan becomes clear. He wants to start exchanges on g6 which will finally allow his pieces to enter the game.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 18... Nf8.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 18… Nf8.

 

19.Be3 g6

20.hxg6 Nxg6

21.Rh5 {The best way of defending the pawn on e5. Had Carlsen simply played pawn to f4, he would have blocked his own bishop.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 21. Rh5.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 21. Rh5.

 

21… Bc6

22.Bc2 {Magnus is shoring up his position before pushing ahead for victory. Now Anand’s Bishop, knight and rooks have no way to penetrate white’s position.}

22… Kb7 {?!} {I am not sure as to why Anand felt it was necessary to move his king to b7. Probably because it wasn’t.}

23.Rg4 {?!} {Carlsen is getting a little overly prophylactic. His rook was better on g3 as it allows his king to move to d2 without it being a blunder as seen on move 26.}

23… a5

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 23... a5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 23… a5.

 

24.Bd1 {?!} {Carlsen will have to admit to the dubious nature of this move when his bishop returns to c2 on his very next turn.}

24… Rd8

25.Bc2 Rdg8 {Based on Anand’s passive play, a draw by repition would suit him fine.}

26.Kd2 {?} {A terrible blunder by Magnus Carlsen. If he had left his rook on g3 a few moves back this would be fine.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 26. Kd2.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 26. Kd2.

 

26… a4 {?} {Viswanathan Anand is to focused on his own plans to consider all his checks, captures and threats. Had he explored his options he would not have lost this game and may have even taken the lead in the match. Play could have continued like this:}
( 26…Nxe5 27.Rxg8 Nxc4+ {I believe Anand may have missed this check in his calculations.} 28.Ke2 ( 28.Kd3 Nb2+ 29.Kd2 Rxg8 30.g3 Rd8+ 31.Kc1 Nd3+ 32.Kb1( 32.Bxd3 Rxd3 33.Kb2 Be4 34.Rxh6 Rd1 35.a4 Rb1+ 36.Ka2 ) Ne1 33.Rxh6 Nxc2 34.Kxc2 Be4+ ) Rxg8 29.g3 Na3 30.Bd3 c4 31.Bh7 Rd8 32.Rxh6 Nb5 33.Bd2 Bf3+ {and white still has drawing chances but the road to the half point will be difficult.})

27.Ke2 {Magnus Carlsen was visably relieved to escape unpunished.}

27… a3 {?!} {Anand wants to play Ra8 and then exchange bishops after Ba4. The problem is that this takes a lot of time and Magnus isn’t going to wait around.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 27... a3.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 27… a3.

 

28.f3 {!} {I really like this move. Magnus prevents Anand’s bishop from causing any trouble while simultaneously defending his rook on g4.}

28… Rd8

29.Ke1 {This is a high class waiting move. Whichever way Anand decides to go, Magnus will be able to react efficiently and attack Vishy’s weaknesses.}

29… Rd7

30.Bc1 {!} {It’s worth pointing out that Magnus would not have had a target on a3 without Anand placing it there.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 30. Bc1.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 30. Bc1.

 

30… Ra8

31.Ke2 Ba4 {After a long wait, we finally get to see Anand’s plan come to fruition. The only problem being that, it doesn’t work.}

32.Be4+ Bc6 {?} {At this point, the game became painful to watch. Anand’s chess has gone from dubious to ugly. It is worth pointing out that he did have one last potentially game saving idea:}
( 32…Ka7 33.Bxa8 Kxa8 34.Bxa3 Rd1 35.Rxh6 Ra1 {and black still has a fighting chance for a draw.})

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 32... Bc6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 32… Bc6.

 

 

33.Bxg6 {!} fxg6

34.Rxg6 {All the dominoes begin to fall.}

34… Ba4

35.Rxe6 Rd1

36.Bxa3 Ra1

37.Ke3 Bc2 {?}

38.Re7+ {and Anand just couldn’t take it any more.}
1-0

 

The final position from game 6 of the 2014 World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand.

The final position from game 6 of the 2014 World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand.

 

Please check out my analysis of the other World Championship rounds:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

and the official site for the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia.

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