Posts Tagged ‘Anand-Carlsen chess games’

Carlsen vs. Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 2 Analysis

November 9, 2014

Game 2 of the 2014 Fide World Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand will likely set the tone for the rest of the match. Magnus Carlsen chose to begin with 1) e4 and Anand attempted to steer the game into an early endgame by way of the Berlin Defense. (Those who followed last years match hopefully recall that the Berlin Defense made several appearances.) In Game Six of  the 2013 World Chess Championship, Viswanathan Anand used 4) d3 against Carlsen and suffered a disappointing loss. This time around, it was Carlsen’s turn to use 4) d3 and, unfortunately for Vishy’s many fans, Anand lost again.

A photo of Anand and Carlsen in round 2(photo from

A photo of Anand and Carlsen in round 2(photo from


I believe a key moment in the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championships occurred on move nine of game two. Magnus Carlsen unleashed a novelty with 9) Nbd2 and Viswanathan Anand began to cower with 9) …Nd7. Twenty years ago, I am certain, the “Tiger of Madras” would have played more aggressively with Be6, Rb8 or a5. To make matters worse, Vishy played another retreating move on move ten. Once Anand started retreating for no explainable reason on the board, Carlsen began attacking and the best result Anand could hope for was a difficult draw. Through a series of very clever maneuvers, Magnus was able to construct a formation known as Alekhine’s Gun. Once the gun was loaded, the game morphed from a World Championship Chess Match into live coverage of Anand playing Russian Roulette in Sochi. Both games concluded with Anand putting himself out of misery with a very basic blunder on move 37.

(Disclaimer: Die-hard fans of Anand fans will probably not like what I have to say next.)

Viswanathan Anand is a different chess player when facing Magnus Carlsen. (photo from

Viswanathan Anand is a different chess player when facing Magnus Carlsen. (photo from

I have been a fan of Viswanathan Anand for nearly two decades and have covered his many World Championship matches on this blog. Because of this, I can speak with authority in stating that the Viswanathan Anand we are witnessing in games against Magnus Carlsen is vastly different than the Anand we see against any other formidable opponent. In my opinion, Viswanathan Anand believes that Magnus Carlsen is his superior in chess and thus self-fulfills his own losing prophecy. Perhaps Anand’s game would really benefit from sessions with a good sports psychologist. On the other hand, if Anand’s  assessment of Carlsen’s talent level is correct,  then I can’t help but feel badly for Anand as this torture continues.


Below are my thoughts on Game Two:


[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.9”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Black “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C65”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ RUY LOPEZ. BERLIN def.,C65]}

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.Bb5 Nf6

4.d3 {Magnus Carlsen declines an opportunity to go into the famous Berlin endgame.}

Position after Carlsen plays 4. d3.

Position after Carlsen plays 4. d3.

4… Bc5

5.O-O d6

6.Re1 ( 6.c3 O-O 7.h3 Ne7 8.Nbd2 a6
9.Ba4 Ng6 10.d4 Ba7 11.Re1 b5 12.Bc2 c5 13.d5 c4 14.Nf1 Nh5 15.Bg5
f6 16.Be3 Nhf4 17.Ng3 Ne7 18.a4 Qc7 19.axb5 axb5 20.Ra3 Bxe3
21.Rxa8 Bb6 22.Qd2 Qc5 23.Qe3 Qc7 24.Qd2 Qc5 25.Qe3 Qc7 {…1/2-1/2, Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 2784 – Kramnik Vladimir (RUS) 2801 , Moscow 6/10/2012 Memorial M.Tal (cat.22)})

6… O-O ( 6…Bd7 7.c3 a6 8.Ba4 O-O 9.d4 exd4 10.cxd4 Bb6 11.Bg5
Bc8 12.e5 dxe5 13.dxe5 Qxd1 14.Rxd1 Ne4 15.Rf1 Nxg5 16.Bxc6 Nxf3+
17.Bxf3 Bd4 18.Nc3 Bxe5 19.Rac1 Rb8 20.Be4 Re8 21.Rfe1 Bxc3 22.Rxc3
Bf5 23.Rce3 Bxe4 24.Rxe4 Rxe4 25.Rxe4 Kf8 26.Rc4 {…1/2-1/2, Schmitz Joachim (GER) 2310 – Elke Christian, Friedrichroda 1997 Ch Germany (juniors) (under 13)})

Position after Anand plays 6... 0-0.

Position after Anand plays 6… 0-0.



7.Bxc6 bxc6

8.h3 Re8

9.Nbd2 {Fans of chess are treated to an invention by Magnus Carlsen on move nine. Be3
was played the only other time this position has been reached in recorded chess history.}
( 9.Be3 Bb6 10.Nbd2 Bb7 11.Nf1 Qd7 12.Ng3 Bxe3 13.Rxe3 g6 14.Qd2
Kg7 15.Rf1 Ng8 16.Nh2 Ne7 17.f4 f5 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.exf5 Nxf5
20.Nxf5+ gxf5 21.Rg3+ Kh8 22.Qg5 Rf8 23.Re1 Rae8 24.Nf3 e4 25.dxe4
fxe4 26.Nh4 Qd4+ 27.Kh2 Rg8 28.Qh5 Qd6 29.Ree3 Rxg3 30.Rxg3 Rg8
31.Nf5 Qe5 32.Ng7 Qd6 33.Nf5 Qf4 34.Qf7 Qxg3+ 35.Nxg3 Rg7 36.Qf6
Kg8 37.Nf5 {1-0, Moritz Aron (GER) 2127 – Kyas Philipp (GER) 2100, Willingen (Germany) 2006.06.07})

Position after Carlsen plays 9. Nbd2.

Position after Carlsen plays 9. Nbd2.


9… Nd7 {One move after Magnus unleashes a novelty, Anand cowers. Twenty years ago the “Tiger of Madras” would have played Be6, Rb8 or a5.}

10.Nc4 {Magnus Carlsen is unveiling a whole new plan for white against the Berlin Defense.}
10… Bb6 {I have to believe that bringing a new piece into the game with a move
like 10… Qf6 would be an improvement over retreating the bishop so early in the opening.}

11.a4 {Magnus is immediately critical of Anand’s last move.}

11… a5

12.Nxb6 cxb6

13.d4 {With  Anand’s dark squared bishop gone, Magnus wastes no time in attacking the center by moving his pawn to d4.}

Position after Carlsen plays 13. d4.

Position after Carlsen plays 13. d4.

13… Qc7 {This is a perfect example of the kind of slow and defensive chess that
contributed to Vishy losing his first match against Magnus.}

14.Ra3 {!} {Carlsen senses weakness from his opponent and initiates a very creative attack.Magnus Carlsen is the kind of player that when Anand gives him an inch, he will take a mile.}

14… Nf8 {Viswanathan Anand realizes that Carlsen is in the driver’s seat and essentially “buckles up” with his knight for king safety.}

Position after Anand plays 14... Nf8.

Position after Anand plays 14… Nf8.

15.dxe5 {Magnus opens the center because he has better piece placement.}

15… dxe5

16.Nh4 {!} {Creative moves like this and 14. a3 is why Magnus Carlsen is the Mozart of Chess!}

16… Rd8 {Anand challenges Carlsen’s queen to grab the open d-file.}

17.Qh5 {Magnus doesn’t mind because he really wanted to involve his queen in the attack anyway.}

Position after Carlsen plays 16. Qh5.

Position after Carlsen plays 17. Qh5.

17… f6 {Another defensive pawn move by Anand. One has to wonder how he expects to win
the game with all his pieces hiding behind his pawns.}

18.Nf5 {Magnus Carlsen is leading in king safety, time, and force. For Anand,  that is a recipe for disaster .}
18… Be6

19.Rg3 {At this point it is worth noting that four of Magnus Carlsen’s pieces are applying pressure on black’s kings safety.}

19… Ng6

20.h4 {!} {Magnus Carlsen shows that he is a patient attacker by avoiding the speculative Bh6. However, 20. Bh6! does seem to work:}
( 20.Bh6 gxh6 ( 20…Rd7 21.h4 Rf8 22.Qg4 Bxf5 23.exf5 Nf4 24.h5
Kh8 25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Rf3 Rd4 27.c3 Rd2 28.Rxf4 Rxb2 29.Rfe4 {with a big advantage for white.}
) 21.Rxg6+ hxg6 22.Qxg6+ Kf8 23.Qxf6+ Qf7 24.Qxh6+ Ke8 25.Qh8+
Kd7 26.Rd1+ Kc7 27.Qxe5+ Kb7 28.Nd6+ Rxd6 29.Rxd6 Re8 30.Qc3
Qc7 31.e5 {with a small advantage for white.} )

Position after Carlsen plays 20. h4.

Position after Carlsen plays 20. h4.


20… Bxf5 {Not good. If Anand had wanted to trade his Bishop for the knight on f5 he could have done it in one turn on move eighteen. Rd7 seems more consistant with
fortifying black’s defenses and doesn’t turn 18… Be6 into a wasted move.}
( 20…Rd7 21.Bh6 Ra7 22.Qf3 Bxf5 23.exf5 Nf8 24.h5 c5 )

21.exf5 Nf4

22.Bxf4 exf4

23.Rc3 {Magnus chooses the best method for aligning his rooks in the e-file. First stop is rook to c3. Watch what happens next!}

Position after Carlsen plays 23. Rc3.

Position after Carlsen plays 23. Rc3.

23… c5

24.Re6 {Magnus continues with step two toward combining his rooks in the e-file.}

24… Rab8

25.Rc4 {Obviously a necessary move in order to stack the rooks.}

25… Qd7 {Anand creates some minor threats of his own.}

Position after Anand plays 25... Qd7.

Position after Anand plays 25… Qd7.



26.Kh2 {Problem solved.}

26… Rf8 {The best Vishy can do now is set up as strong as a defense as possible and hope that Magnus can’t find a lethal combination.}

27.Rce4 {Finally the rooks are both in the e-file. But Magnus isn’t done yet!}

27… Rb7

28.Qe2 {This formation is known as Alekhine’s Gun! The idea consists of placing two
rooks in the same open file with the queen behind them.}

Position after Carlsen plays 28. Qe2.

Position after Carlsen plays 28. Qe2.


28… b5 {Viswanathan Anand adds a little complexity to the mix. This is precisely what
you should do when your opponent has a much better position.}

29.b3 bxa4

30.bxa4 {Re7 was also a fine choice but Magnus said that it, “Felt more natural to take with the pawn.”}

30… Rb4

31.Re7 Qd6

32.Qf3 Rxe4 {There is now much less pressure on Anand now that one of the rook pairs have been traded off.}

Position after Anand plays 32... Rxe4.

Position after Anand plays 32… Rxe4.


33.Qxe4 f3+

34.g3 {If Magnus had played anything else he wouldn’t be the World Chess Champion.}

34… h5 {???} {Loses immediately! Playing moves like this is precisely why Viswanathan Anand is no longer a world champion. Better was:}
( 34…Qd2 35.Qxf3 Qxc2 36.Kg2 Kh8 37.Qc6 Rg8 38.Ra7 Qc3 39.Qd5
h6 40.Rc7 Qc2 41.Rxc5 Qxa4 42.Rxa5 Qc2 {and black is still fighting.} )

Position after Anand plays 34. h5???

Position after Anand plays 34. h5???

35.Qb7 {Viswanathan Anand resigns after collapsing under Magnus Carlsen’s pressure.}


If you enjoyed this lesson please check out my analysis from Game 1.



World Chess Championship 2013: Round 10, The Game of Thrones

December 1, 2013

In the final game of the 2013 FIDE World Championship Match, Viswanathan Anand employed the Sicilian Defense with poor effect against Carlsen’s Moscow Variation. Magnus cruised through the opening with a nice advantage in space and remained in control of his destiny for the entire game. The most remarkable aspect of Magnus Carlsen’s play in game 10 was his poise and bravery. Viswanathan Anand even offered Magnus the World Championship title through three-fold repetition draw but Carlsen refused and continued to play for the win. If not for one miscalculation, Carlsen would have won yet another game in which he only needed to draw. His play can be best summed up in the words of his opponent:

“It’s clear he dominated the match. I thought my chances depended on lasting long games without making mistakes and tried to concentrate on that… but in the end it was in vain.The way I lost the fifth game was exactly the way I thought I couldn’t afford to lose. It was a heavy blow… I thought I’d not be afraid of him in long games and match him but this was not to be and then it got worse and worse. Yesterday (Thursday) it was a nice game…today again….I guess when it rains, it pours…It would be just fair enough to congratulate him. My mistakes didn’t happen by themselves, he managed to provoke them. So full credit to him.” -Viswanathan Anand

Game 10: The Game of Thrones. (photo courtesy of

Game 10: The Game of Thrones. (photo courtesy of

[Event “World Chess Championship”]
[Site “Chennai”]
[Date “2013.11.22”]
[Round “10”]
[White “Magnus Carlsen”]
[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “B51”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ {The Moscow Variation has been gaining in popularity and was seen frequently in the Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match.}

4.d4 {Castleing here can end up looking similar to the actual game.}
( 4.O-O Ngf6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 a6 7.Bxd7+ Bxd7 8.c4 ) cxd4 5.Qxd4
a6 6.Bxd7+ {Carlsen is happy to exchange his bishop for control of the center.}

7.c4 {This pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind. Carlsen’s choice assures that
Anand remains cramped and that white’s pawns are on the opposite color of his bishop.}

White's pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind.

White’s pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind.

Nf6 {Playing pawn to e6 is a rare choice but produced a fine win in 2010.}
( 7…e6 8.Nc3 Rc8 9.Bg5 f6 10.Be3 Ne7 11.Nd2 Nc6 12.Qb6 Qxb6
13.Bxb6 Ne5 14.b3 Nd3+ 15.Ke2 Nf4+ 16.Kf3 g5 17.g3 Ng6 18.Ke2
h5 19.Bd4 Be7 20.a4 h4 21.Rad1 Kf7 22.f3 Rh7 23.Kf2 Rch8 24.g4
Rc8 25.Ra1 Rhh8 26.Rhd1 Rhf8 27.Nf1 {…0-1, Hasangatin Ramil (RUS) 2508 – Stocek Jiri (CZE) 2567 , Pardubice 7/21/2010 Ch Czech Republic (active) (open)}

8.Bg5 {Knight to c3 is equally as popular as Bishop to g5.}
( 8.Nc3 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Qd3 Rc8 12.Bd4 Qc7 13.Nd2
e5 14.Be3 Be6 15.Bg5 Bxc4 16.Nxc4 Qxc4 17.Qf3 Qe6 18.Bxf6 Qxf6
19.Qd3 Qe6 20.Nd5 Bh6 21.Qb3 Rb8 22.Rad1 Rfc8 23.Rd3 Rc6 24.Rc3
Rc5 25.Rd1 Kg7 26.Qb6 Bg5 27.Rxc5 dxc5 {…1-0, Sanduleac Vasile (MDA) 2446 – Kraemer Martin (GER) 2516 , Khanty Mansyisk 9/22/2010 Olympiad}

e6 {Pawn to h6 is another obvious choice.} ( 8…h6 9.Bh4 g5
10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Nc3 Nh5 12.Qd2 Rc8 13.Qd3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Qc7 15.Nd2
Be6 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Bxb2 18.Rb1 Bg7 19.O-O O-O 20.Rb3 Qd7
21.Re1 Rc7 22.Nf1 e5 23.a3 f5 24.f3 h5 25.Reb1 Rf7 26.Rb6 Qe7
27.Nd2 Qf6 28.Kh1 {…0-1, Grancharov Georgi (RUS) 2265 – Padevsky Nikola (BUL) 2430 , Sofia 2/14/1972 Ch Bulgaria}

9.Nc3 Be7 10.O-O Bc6 {Anand chooses a rare move. Queen to c7 is regarded as the main line.}
( 10…Qc7 11.Rac1 Rc8 12.b3 O-O 13.Rfd1 Rfd8 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Qe3
Kh8 16.Nd4 Rg8 17.Kh1 Rg7 18.f4 Rcg8 19.g3 b6 20.f5 Rg4 21.Nde2
Qb7 22.Nf4 R4g5 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.Nfe2 Re5 25.Nd4 Rg4 26.Re1 Qa8
27.Nf3 Rh5 28.Kg2 b5 29.Nd1 b4 30.Nf2 {…0-1, Sofranov Velizar (BUL) 2210 – Nikologorskiy Konstantin (RUS) 2364 , Prague 8/18/2012 Ch Europe (juniors) (under 18)}

11.Qd3 {I believe this is an invention by Carlsen. The idea is to allow the knight on f3 to move to d4.}
( 11.Rfe1 h6 12.Bh4 e5 13.Qd3 g5 14.Bg3 Nd7 15.h3 Rc8 16.b4 O-O
17.Rad1 Qe8 18.a4 a5 19.b5 Nc5 20.Qe2 Bd7 21.Nh2 f5 22.exf5 Bxf5
23.Ng4 Qg6 24.Ne3 Bd3 25.Qd2 Rf7 26.f3 Rcf8 27.Ned5 Bd8 28.Bf2
Bxc4 {1/2-1/2, Denny Kevin (BAR) 2303 – Zapata Alonso (COL) 2485 , Bridgetown 4/28/2012 Cup Heroes Day}


12.Nd4 Rc8 13.b3 Qc7 {The problem for Anand is that he can not free himself with pawn to b5 or d5.
This is quite a common difficulty for black in the Maroczy Bind.}

The problem for Anand is that he cannot free himself with either pawn o b5 or pawn to d5.

The problem for Anand is that he cannot free himself with either pawn to b5 or pawn to d5.

14.Nxc6 Qxc6 {Anand is still cramped and no longer has the bishop pair as compensation.}
15.Rac1 {Carlsen wisely places his rook in the same file as his opponent’s queen.}

16.Be3 {Carlsen has a very comfortable position with a nice advantage in space.}
Nd7 ( 16…Ng4 17.Bd4 Bg5 18.f4 Bf6 19.h3 Bxd4+ 20.Qxd4 Nf6 21.Rfd1
{and Carlsen is still winning.} )

17.Bd4 Rfd8 18.h3 {Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.}

Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.

Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.

Qc7 {Anand moves his Queen to a dark square in order to move it to the open fifth rank.}
19.Rfd1 Qa5 20.Qd2 {This stops any ideas of Anand playing Qg5 and also threatens Nd5!}
Kf8 21.Qb2 Kg8 {Viswanathan Anand is basically offering the draw by repition here and the World Championship to Carlsen.}
22.a4 {Carlsen plays for the win even though accepting the draw would make him the new World Chess Champion.}

Carlsen plays for the win!

Carlsen plays for the win!

Qh5 23.Ne2 {Carlsen is making room for his rook to move to c3 and then possibly to g3.}
Bf6 {Anand wants to trade bishops before white can add more pressure to g7.}
24.Rc3 Bxd4 25.Rxd4 {Carlsen’s pieces are unusually placed but have the space to maneuver. Anand’s pieces are conventionally placed but lack scope.}
Qe5 {Anand is trying to make something happen but it is really Carlsen’s game to win.}
26.Qd2 Nf6 27.Re3 {This clears the way for pawn to a5.}

Rd7 28.a5{Carlsen uses only one pawn to stop both of Anand’s.}

Qg5 {?}{Anand makes a terrible blunder in a treacherous position. Better was:}
( 28…Kh8 29.b4 Rdc7 30.f4 Qh5 31.e5 dxe5 32.Rxe5 Qg6 33.c5
{but even this is not pleasing for black.} )

29.e5 {!} Ne8 30.exd6{?} {Carlsen returns the favor. He would have been playing for a win had he chosen something like this:}
( 30.Nc3 Rc6 31.Na4 Qf5 32.Nb6 )

Rc6 31.f4 {Carlsen has been shoving Anand around for what seems to be the entire match.}
Qd8 32.Red3 Rcxd6 {Carlsen’s earlier mistake allows Anand to regain the pawn.}
33.Rxd6 Rxd6 34.Rxd6 Qxd6 35.Qxd6 Nxd6 {Carlsen is much closer to a draw and being crowned the new World Chess Champion.}
36.Kf2 {White’s king can get to the center faster.}

White's king can get to the center faster.

White’s king can get to the center faster.


Kf8 37.Ke3 Ke7 38.Kd4 Kd7 {The difference in the placement of the kings is huge in an endgame like this.}
39.Kc5 Kc7 40.Nc3 {If Carlsen does not put his knight on c3 then Anand will play Ne4+ and be back in business.}
Nf5 41.Ne4 Ne3 {Anand attacks g2 with the idea of playing pawn to f5 and kicking Carlsen knight from its perch.}
42.g3 f5 43.Nd6 g5 {Anand is attacking with his pawn majority in order to try and create a passed pawn.}
44.Ne8+ {Carlsen is looking at least 12 ply ahead. His talent is incredible and unmatched in the world today.}
Kd7 45.Nf6+ Ke7 46.Ng8+ Kf8 47.Nxh6 gxf4 48.gxf4 Kg7 49.Nxf5+ {Carlsen had to have planned this sacrifice at least as far back as his 44’th move!}
exf5 50.Kb6 Ng2 51.Kxb7 Nxf4 52.Kxa6 Ne6 53.Kb6 f4 54.a6 f3 55.a7
f2 56.a8=Q {Through machine like perfection, Carlsen gets a queen one move before Anand.}

f1=Q 57.Qd5 {Carlsen’s technique is perfect. Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this

position. Magnus must have known that, one way or another, he will be the World Chess Champion.}

Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this position.

Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this position.

Qe1 {Anand makes sure that he can check Carlsen’s king and keep his pawns from advancing.}
58.Qd6 {Carlsen takes the more dangerous check away.}

Qe3+ 59.Ka6 Nc5+ 60.Kb5 Nxb3 {Anand is playing a really accurate ending. He will no longer be World Champion
but at least he can hold his head high after this draw.}

61.Qc7+ Kh6 62.Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63.Kxb6 Kh5 64.h4 Kxh4 65.c5 Nxc5 {There is no mating material left so the final game ends in a draw. The era of Magnus Carlsen as the King of Chess has officially begun.} 1/2-1/2


Fide World Chess Championship Match 2013:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

Game 7

Game 8

Game 9


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