Posts Tagged ‘Carlsen-Anand 2014’

Carlsen vs. Anand World Chess Championship 2014: Game 9 Analysis

November 22, 2014

Game 9 of the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship was completed before most of my chess pals in the U.S. had even woken up. After a mere 20 moves, Anand and Carlsen played to a draw by threefold repetition(the same position occurring three times in a game.) For Anand, an easy draw with the black pieces must have been a nice surprise. For Carlsen, the quick draw put him one step closer to retaining his title of World Chess Champion. For the chess fans, many on twitter voiced their annoyance that Carlsen didn’t press harder against Anand. The irony is, that many of these same chess fans were the ones criticizing Magnus for “playing on” too long in game 7.

 

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand at the finish of Game 9 from the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match.

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand at the finish of Game 9 from the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match.

 

I decided to use my analysis of Game 9 to produce a roadmap of the way Anand and Carlsen handle the Berlin Defense in the Ruy Lopez. I hope you enjoy the effort…

 

[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.20”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Black “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “C67”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ RUY LOPEZ. BERLIN def.,C67]}

1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.Bb5 Nf6

4.O-O {For 4. d3, see Game 2 from the Carlsen-Anand World Championship Match of 2014 or Game 6 and Game 7 from their 2013 World Championship Match.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen castles on move 4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen castles on move 4.

4… Nxe4

5.d4 Nd6 {5… Be7 was Lasker’s favorite:
5… Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.Nd4 O-O 10.Nc3 Nc5 11.Re1 Ne6
12.Nf5 f6 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Ne4 Qg6 16.c3 d6 17.Ng3 Bd7 18.Be3 Rae8
19.Qc4 Kh8 20.Rad1 c5 21.Qh4 Bc6 22.Qb4 {1/2-1/2, Mason James (ENG) } { Lasker Emanuel (GER), London 1892 Match)}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 5... Nd6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 5… Nd6.

 

6.Bxc6 dxc6 {It is best for black to take back with the queen’s pawn to open up lines for his pieces.}

7.dxe5 Nf5

8.Qxd8+ Kxd8

9.h3 {Of course, Nc3 is also very playable as demonstrated by Tal:
( 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.Ne2 Be7 11.Re1 Nh4 12.Ng5 Ng6 13.Ng3 h6 14.Nf3 c5 15.h3 h5
16.Ne4 Be6 17.Nfg5 Bxg5 18.Bxg5 b6 19.Rad1 Ne7 20.Rd3 Rd8 21.Bf6 Rxd3 22.Bxg7
Rd4 23.Bxh8 h4 24.Bf6 Ng6 25.f3 Kd7 26.Kf2 Kc6 27.Ke3 Ra4 28.a3 Rd4 29.Re2 Rd1
30.Nc3 Rg1 31.Kf2 Rh1 32.Rd2 Bf5 33.Ne2 Ra1 34.Ke3 a5 35.Nf4 c4 36.Nxg6 fxg6
37.c3 Bd3 38.Bxh4 Kd5 39.Kf4 b5 40.Bd8 Kc6 41.e6 Re1 42.e7 Kd7 43.b4 {1-0, Tal
Mikhail N (LAT) 2660 } { Shamkovich Leonid (USA) 2540 , Dubna 1973 }

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 9. h3.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 9. h3.

 

9… Ke8 {For 9… Bd7, see Game 4 from the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match of 2013.}

10.Nc3 h5 {So far, this game is identical to Game 7 of the 2014 Carlsen-Anand Match.}

11.Ne2 {Magnus switches things up and plays Ne2 rather than the Bf4 he employed in Round 7.}
( 11.Bg5 Be6 12.b3 Be7 13.Rad1 h4 14.Rfe1 Rd8 15.Rxd8+ Kxd8 16.Ne4
b6 17.Bf4 Kc8 18.Neg5 Bxg5 19.Bxg5 Bd5 20.Nh2 c5 21.Rd1 Bc6 22.c3
a5 23.Ng4 Bd7 24.f3 a4 25.Kf2 {1/2-1/2, Aronian Levon (ARM) 2805 – Kramnik Vladimir (RUS) 2801 , Zuerich 4/25/2012 Match})

11… b6

( 11…Be7 12.Ned4 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 c5 14.Nb5 Kd7 15.c4 Kc6 16.Nc3 Be6 17.b3 Rhd8 18.Ne2 a5 19.Nf4 a4 20.Be3 g6 21.Rfd1 Rxd1+22.Rxd1 Bf5 23.Nd5 Bf8 24.Rd2 axb3 25.axb3 Ra3 26.Rb2 Be6 27.Nf4 Bg7 28.Rb1 Bf5 29.Re1 Rxb3 30.Nd5 Rb1 31.Rxb1 {…0-1, Shirov Alexei (ESP) 2732 – Naiditsch Arkadij (GER) 2697 , Villarrobledo 7/26/2009 It (active)})

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 11... b6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 11… b6.

 

 

12.Rd1

( 12.Bg5 Bb7 13.Nf4 c5 14.Nh4 Nxh4 15.Bxh4 Be7 16.Bxe7 Kxe7 17.h4 Rad8 18.Rad1 Rd4 19.Rxd4 cxd4 20.Rd1 c5 21.c3 dxc3 22.bxc3 g6 23.e6 Bc8 24.exf7 Kxf7 25.f3 Bf5 26.Kf2 Rc8 27.a3 Rc7 28.Rd8 Rc8 29.Rd2 Rc7 30.Rd8 Rc8 31.Rd6 Ke7 {…1/2-1/2, Volokitin Andrei (UKR) 2695 – Hovhannisyan Robert (ARM) 2589 , Plovdiv 3/25/2012 Ch Europe})

( 12.Bf4 c5 13.Rad1 Bb7 14.Ng5 Rh6 15.Ng3 Nh4 16.f3 Be7 17.Rfe1 Rg6 18.N5e4 Bc6 19.Kh2 Nxg2 20.Kxg2 h4 21.c4 hxg3 22.Nc3 Rd8 23.Nd5 Rd7 24.b3 Bd8 25.Re4 Bb7 26.Bxg3 b5 27.Kf2 Rh6 28.h4 Kf8 29.Ke2 Ra6 30.Rd2 bxc4 31.bxc4 c6 {…1/2-1/2, McShane Luke J (ENG) 2657 – Kramnik Vladimir (RUS) 2780 , London 12/10/2010 It (cat.19)})

12… Ba6

( 12…Bb7 13.Ned4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Be7 15.Bf4 Rd8 16.Nf5 Rxd1+ 17.Rxd1 Bc8 18.Nxe7 Kxe7 19.Bg5+ Ke6 20.Bd8 Kxe5 21.Bxc7+ Kf5 22.Bb8 a6 23.Ba7 b5 24.Rd6 Rh6 25.Rd8 Be6 26.b3 Bd5 27.f3 a5 28.Bd4 Re6 29.Kf2 Kg6 30.g4 hxg4 31.hxg4 Re7 32.Bc5 {…1/2-1/2, Grischuk Alexander (RUS) 2763 – Jakovenko Dmitry (RUS) 2736 , Moscow 8/ 7/2012 Ch Russia (superfinal)})

13.Nf4 Bb7 {This move is an innovation by Anand.}

(13…. Rd8 14. Bd2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Rxd4 16. a4 Bc8 17. a5 a6 18. Be3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 b5 20. Nd3 Be7 21. Bc5 Bd8 22. Nb4 Rh6 23. f4 f5 24. c3 Bh4 25. Rd3 Rg6 26. Kh2 Bb7 27. Nc2 Bc8 28. g3 Bd8 29. h4 Be6 30. Nb4 Bc8 31. Rd2 Bb7 32. Rd1 Bc8 33. Rh1 Bb7 34. Kg2 Be7 35. Nd3 Bd8 36. Kf2 Rh6 37. Re1 Bc8 38. Nb4 Kf7 39. Rd1 Ke8 40. Re1 Kf7 41. Re3 Rg6 42. Ke2 Rh6 43. Kd2 Rg6 44. b3 Rh6 45. c4 Rg6 46. Kc3 Rh6 47. Nc2 Re6 48. Nd4 Re8 49. Rd3 bxc4 50. bxc4 Bd7 51. Re3 Be7 52. Bxe7 Kxe7 53. e6 Bc8 54. Kb4 Kf6 55. Kc5 Bb7 56. Nxc6 g6 57. e7 Ba8 58. Re5 Bb7 59. Nd8 Bg2 60. Nc6 Kf7 61. Nb4 Rxe7 62. Rxe7+ Kxe7 63. Nxa6 Kd8 64. Nb4 Ba8 65. Nc6+ Kc8 66. a6 1-0, Leinier Dominguez Perez (2726) -Ruslan Ponomariov (2741) Leon 2012}

14.e6 {If white wishes to avoid the Carlsen drawing line, he/she could get fancy and play a4! Play could continue like this:}
( 14.a4 c5 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.Rxd5 Be7 17.a5 b5 18.Bf4 Rd8 19.Rad1
Rxd5 20.Rxd5 {and white still has an advantage to work with.} )

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 14. e6.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 14. e6.

 

14… Bd6

15.exf7+ {If Magnus Carlsen didn’t feel like an easy draw he could have played Ng5 instead:}

( 15.Ng5 fxe6 16.b3 Rh6 17.Ngxe6 Kd7 {Is an interesting line we may see in the future.})

( 15.Re1 f6 16.Ng6 Rg8 17.Bf4 Bxf4 18.Nxf4 c5 {doesn’t present black any problems that aren’t easily solved.})

15… Kxf7 {The only real option for Anand.}

16.Ng5+ {and now Carlsen has a draw and is 1 game closer to winning the match.}

16… Kf6

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16... Kf6.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16… Kf6.

 

17.Ne4+ Kf7

18.Ng5+ Kf6 {If Anand was willing to give Carlsen an edge, he could have kept the game going with:}
( 18…Kg8 19.Nfe6 Rh6 20.Bf4 c5 21.Bxd6 cxd6 22.g3 Rf6 {but if Anand had declined Carlsen’s unspoken draw offer, he would have really been playing with fire!})

19.Ne4+ Kf7

20.Ng5+ 1/2-1/2

 

The final position of Game 9 from the 2014 Fide World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand.

The final position of Game 9 from the 2014 Fide World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand.

 

For more on this exciting chess match, please see my posts on:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

Game 7

Game 8

 

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

 

Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 6 Analysis

November 17, 2014

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.

Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 5 Analysis

November 15, 2014

With both players even after four games and Magnus Carlsen due to get the white pieces in rounds 6 and 7, it was important for Viswanathan Anand to make good use of being white in round 5. Vishy once again began with “1. d4” but this time, a more prepared Carlsen, demonstrated his incredible knowledge of the Queen’s Indian Defense at a lightning fast pace. Anand responded to Magnus’ rapid moves with novel ideas which kept the pressure on Carlsen throughout the game. The young Norwegian never cracked and when the dust settles he was able to hold Vishy to just a draw. Still, this was my personal favorite round from the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship as both contestants seemed to be performing at their best.

 

Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen 2014(photo from: https://chess24.com)

Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen 2014(photo from: https://chess24.com)

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire game but, in particular, I loved how Viswanathan Anand dared Magnus Carlsen to gobble a pawn on b2 with his queen on move twenty. Had Carlsen accepted the pawn, the “Tiger from Madras” would have chased Magnus’  queen for several moves and caused him all kinds of difficulties. Carlsen finally accepted the pawn on move twenty-two and wisely set up a queen trade to alleviate Anand’s pressure.

 

[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.14”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “E16”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ QUEEN’S INDIAN def.,E16]}

1.d4 Nf6

2.c4 e6

3.Nf3 b6 {Magnus Carlsen moves to a Queen’s Indian Defense in round 5. In the Indian Defenses, black attempts to control the center with pieces rather than occupying it with pawns. So, in the Queen’s Indian Defense, the idea is to control d5 and e4 with the fianchetto of the queen’s bishop.}

 

The move after Magnus Carlsen plays 3... b6.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 3… b6.

 

4.g3 Bb4+ {This move and the subsequent retreat has been gaining popularity in recent years.}

5.Bd2 Be7

6.Nc3 Bb7

7.Bg2 c6 {Generally it is not a good idea to place pawns in front of a strong bishop as Carlsen does here. However, in this line of the Queen’s Indian Defense, Magnus is adding more strength to his coming d5 push.}

8.e4 {Anand constructs a nice wall in the center.}

 

The move after Viswanathan Anand plays 8. e4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 8. e4.

 

 

8… d5 {Carlsen swings a wrecking ball toward Anand’s wall.}

9.exd5 {Anand could have also played 9. cxd5 or 9. e5 as in the games below:}
( 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.e5 Ne4 11.O-O O-O 12.Re1 Nxd2 13.Qxd2 Ba6 14.a3
Nc6 15.b4 Bc4 16.Qe3 b5 17.Nd2 Qb6 18.Nxc4 bxc4 19.Rad1 Rae8
20.f4 g6 21.h4 f6 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.Bxd5+ Kg7 24.Bxc4 fxe5 25.dxe5
Rd8 26.Bd5 Qxe3+ 27.Rxe3 Rd7 28.Red3 Rfd8 {…1/2-1/2, Karpov Anatoly (RUS) 2775 – Tiviakov Sergei (NED) 2655 , Linares 1995 It (cat.17)})

( 9.e5 Ne4 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.O-O O-O 12.Re1 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Ba6
14.h4 Nc6 15.Ng5 Na5 16.Qb1 g6 17.Nf3 Rc8 18.h5 Rc6 19.Bf1 Bxf1
20.Rxf1 Kh8 21.Bh6 Rg8 22.hxg6 Rxg6 23.Bd2 Nc4 24.Qd3 b5 25.Kg2
Qa5 26.Rh1 Nxd2 27.Qxd2 Rxc3 28.Rh5 Rg7 {…1-0, Ruban Vadim (RUS) 2590 – Tiviakov Sergei (NED) 2635 , St. Petersburg 1993 Zt})

9… cxd5

10.Ne5 {With nothing to prevent it, it makes good sense for Anand to move the knight to the outpost at this point.}

10… O-O

11.O-O Nc6 {Magnus Carlsen has played his opening moves noticeably faster in game 5.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 11... Nc6.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 11… Nc6.

 

12.cxd5 {Anand had five serious options to consider here. I give examples of the other four below:}
( 12.Bg5 Rc8 13.Qa4 Na5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxe7 Qxe7
17.Nxd5 exd5 18.Rfe1 Rfe8 19.Nd3 Qd8 20.Rxe8+ Qxe8 21.Qxe8+ Rxe8
22.Rc1 Nc4 23.b3 Nd6 24.Nf4 Nb5 25.Nxd5 f6 26.Ne3 Nxd4 27.Rc7
Nb5 28.Rb7 Kf8 29.a4 Nd4 30.Rxa7 Nxb3 31.Nd5 Re6 {…1/2-1/2, Abramovic Bosko (SRB) 2500 – Scavo Fernando (ITA) 2185 , Montecatini Terme 1997 It (open)})

( 12.Qa4 Rc8 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Rfe1 a6 15.Bg5 b5 16.Qd1 h6 17.Bxf6
Bxf6 18.Nxd5 Re8 19.Qh5 Nxe5 20.Nxf6+ Qxf6 21.dxe5 Qb6 22.Bxb7
Qxb7 23.Rad1 Re6 24.Rd6 Qe7 25.Rd5 Qb4 26.Re2 Qc4 27.Qf3 Qxa2
28.Rd7 Rf8 29.Kg2 Qc4 30.b3 Qc5 31.Rd5 Qc7 {…1/2-1/2, Almasi Zoltan (HUN) 2650 – Breder Dennis (GER) 2454 , Germany 2003 Bundesliga 2002/03})

( 12.Bf4 Na5 13.Rc1 dxc4 14.Bxb7 Nxb7 15.Nc6 Qd7 16.d5 Bd6
17.Be5 Bxe5 18.Nxe5 Qc7 19.Re1 Rfd8 20.Nc6 Re8 21.Qf3 Nd6 22.dxe6
fxe6 23.Nd4 e5 24.Rxe5 Rxe5 25.Qxa8+ Re8 {1/2-1/2, Wehmeier Stefan (GER) 2400 – Rodriguez Amador (ESP) 2510 , Olot 1996 It (open)})

( 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Rc1
Qd6 17.Qd2 Rfd8 18.Rc2 Qd7 {1/2-1/2, Czerwonski Aleksander (POL) 2360 – Grabarczyk Miroslaw (POL) 2445 , Warsaw 1995 Ch Poland})

12… Nxe5

13.d6 {According to my extensive database, this is a novelty.}
( 13.dxe5 Nxd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Bc3 Bxg2 16.Qxd8 Rfxd8 17.Kxg2
Rd5 18.Rfd1 Rad8 19.Rxd5 Rxd5 20.f4 f5 21.Rc1 Kf7 22.Be1 {1/2-1/2, Komljenovic Davor (CRO) 2465 – Palac Mladen (CRO) 2561 , Sibenik 9/10/2010 Ch Croatia (team) (1A)})

13… Nc6 {Magnus Carlsen responded quickly as if he expected Anand’s move.}

14.dxe7 Qxe7

15.Bg5 h6 {Magnus challenges Anand’s pin.}

16.d5{!} {Anand is really adding spice into this game.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 16. d5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 16. d5.

 

 

16… Na5 {!?} {Wow! The world was expecting a rook to move to d8 and Carlsen, instead, places a knight on the rim.}

17.Bxf6 {It may have eliminated Anand’s advantage in having the bishop pair, but I still believe 16. d5 to be an exceptional move by Vishy.}

17… Qxf6

18.dxe6 {Magnus Carlsen has some interesting captures to consider.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 18. exd6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 18. dxe6.

 

18… Qxe6 {Although, it appears that Magnus’ alternative choices are identical to each-other.}
( 18…Bxg2 19.Kxg2 fxe6 20.Qe2 Nc6 ) ( 18…fxe6 19.Qe2 Bxg2
20.Kxg2 Nc6 )

19.Re1 {This move prepares for Vishy’s 20th.}
( 19.Bxb7 Nxb7 20.Qf3 Nc5 21.Rfe1 )

19… Qf6

20.Nd5 {!} {Viswanathan Anand is daring Magnus Carlsen to capture on b2!}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 20. d5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 20. d5.

 

20… Bxd5 {It is worth taking a moment to look at 20… Qxb2:}
( 20…Qxb2 21.Re2 {!} Qa3 22.Re3 Qb2 23.Rb1 Qxa2 24.Ra1 Qc4
25.Rxa5 {!} bxa5 26.Ne7+ Kh8 27.Bxb7 Rad8 28.Qa1 {!} Qc5 {and white has some nice targets while black is left defending.})

21.Bxd5 Rad8

22.Qf3 Qxb2 {Carlsen finally accepts Anand’s challenge.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 22... Qxb2.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 22… Qxb2.

 

23.Rad1 Qf6 {!?} {Carlsen is ready and willing to shatter his king-side pawn structure as long as it relieves the pressure Anand is exerting on him.}

24.Qxf6 gxf6

25.Re7 {Rooks on the seventh rank are very powerful weapons.}

25… Kg7 {There is no point in trying to save the pawn on a7.}

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 25... Kg7.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 25… Kg7.

 

 

26.Rxa7 {?} {This obvious move is slightly inaccurate. A better plan would have been leaving the “dead pawn” on the board but also leaving Magnus’ knight stranded.:}
( 26.Rc7 f5 27.Kg2 Rd6 28.Bf3 Rxd1 29.Bxd1 )

26… Nc6

27.Rb7 Nb4

28.Bb3 Rxd1+

29.Bxd1 Nxa2

30.Rxb6 {At this level, there is not much Viswanathan Anand can do to avoid the draw with Magnus Carlsen.}

 

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 30. Rxb6.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 30. Rxb6.

 

30… Nc3

31.Bf3 f5 {This obviously prepares for the knight to move to e4.}

32.Kg2 Rd8

33.Rc6 Ne4

34.Bxe4 ( 34.Rc4 Nd2 35.Rb4 Nxf3 36.Kxf3
{and the knight and bishop would have left the board anyways.} )

34… fxe4

 

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 34... fxe4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 34… fxe4.

 

35.Rc4 f5 {I enjoy World Championship Matches because the players continue to play beyond where they would normally agree to a draw. The extra moves demonstrate good technique and are of good educational value.}

36.g4 Rd2

37.gxf5 e3

38.Re4 Rxf2+

39.Kg3 Rxf5 1/2-1/2

 

The final position of Game 5 from the 2014 Carlsen-Anand World Chess Championship Match.

The final position of Game 5 from the 2014 Carlsen-Anand World Chess Championship Match.

 

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

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

 

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

Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 4 Analysis

November 14, 2014

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.

 

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 http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/.)

A photo of Anand and Carlsen in round 2(photo from http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/.)

 

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 http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/)

Viswanathan Anand is a different chess player when facing Magnus Carlsen. (photo from http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/)

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.}
1-0

 

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

 

 

Carlsen vs. Anand 2014: Rematch of Generations

November 8, 2014

Former World Champion Garry Kasparov has offered his thoughts on the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand. Garry Kasparov’s letter is written from his uniquely experienced perspective and hits many of the same points I raised in my own preview for the match. 

Garry Kasparov is "excited to watch this rematch of generations."

Garry Kasparov is “excited to watch this rematch of generations.”

Last year’s first world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand was quite one-sided. After a predictably anxious start, Carlsen dominated to claim the crown in just ten games of the twelve scheduled, a 6.5-3.5 score without suffering a loss. A year has gone by and Carlsen is already forced to defend his title. To the surprise of most, myself included, his challenger is Anand, who played his best chess in many years to win the Candidates tournament handily.

At first sight, this rematch looks like an unequal proposition. Both players are a year older, which can hardly be to the advantage of the 44-year-old Anand against his 23-year-old opponent. Over the past year Anand has been playing well and Carlsen playing less than his best, although tournament form has rarely been a useful indicator for world championship match success. Match play has many unique considerations and rematches have their own as well.

The quest to become world champion is a fire that burns hotter than any other. It is not possible to maintain the same level of a challenger’s relentless desire as champion. Anxiety and complacency are the natural enemies of the defending champion and they can be difficult to deal with, especially for the first time as Carlsen is doing in this match.

It has long been my belief that the anxiety of defending his reputation and his title, of facing even the tiniest possibility he might lose, is what drove Bobby Fischer away from the board for 20 years after he became champion. I stayed on top of the rating list for 20 years, even after losing my title to Kramnik in 2000, by always trying to find new challenges. I retired in 2005 when I felt I could no longer maintain my motivation in professional chess, without feeling like I was making a difference.

I played five world championship matches against Anatoly Karpov, though only the fourth, Seville 1987, was truly what I would consider a rematch in psychological terms. The first match was terminated, the second gave me the title, and the third was Karpov’s guaranteed rematch that really felt like an extension of the second. When Seville began it was the chance to finally put the endless cycle of matches, and Karpov, behind me for a while and I felt a very different kind of pressure, which showed in my inconsistent play. Karpov, like any great sportsman, sensed his opponent’s anxiety and took strength from it. When I won the final game to tie the match and retain my title the feeling of relief was indescribable. My victory cry to my team, “Three more years!” was the release of years of constant pressure.

Anand is playing in Sochi free of expectations or burdens. He has already held the highest title and will be remembered as a great champion. And he cannot do worse than the last match, after all! Carlsen is in the opposite position. With barely a year to enjoy his title, the goal of his short lifetime, he is now on the defensive with everything to lose and little to prove.

Of course, chess is not only about desire and psychology! Carlsen is stronger than Anand and should win the match -– and I hope he does. Magnus is an active and ambitious young champion who will do many good things for the chess world I still care about deeply. It is only that it is a rematch that gives rise to any doubts at all. The human mind is not a computer and our powers of calculation cannot be isolated from our emotions. That is why chess is a sport and not a science, and why I am excited to watch this rematch of generations.

Garry Kasparov

November 7, 2014

New York City

Carlsen vs. Anand: World Chess Championship 2014

November 6, 2014
Official Photograph for Carlsen-Anand 2014

Official Photograph for Carlsen-Anand 2014

Championship rematches are a source of the historic rivalries which provide intrigue for fans and motivate the competitors to perform at their highest level. Historically, chess has had many such occasions because a World Champion who failed to defend his title used to be awarded an automatic rematch. The fact that there is no longer a rematch clause did little slow Viswanathan Anand‘s pursuit of regaining his title from Magnus Carlsen.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that Magnus Carlsen stunned the world by throttling Viswanathan Anand in their first encounter. Many expected Anand to retire after his crushing defeat and chess to be taken over by the “young guns” of the sport. However, Viswanathan Anand quickly returned to form and convincingly defeated his rivals at the 2014 Candidates Tournament. In doing so, he won the right to a rematch against the man who humiliated him in front of his own countrymen.

Kasparov vs. Karpov 1986

Kasparov vs. Karpov 1986

Rematches have been hugely important for the overall popularity of chess in the 20th century. Who can forget the five epic matches between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov? Perhaps the only worthy comparison of the Kasparov-Karpov rivalry can be drawn from the battles between boxing’s Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. Another great chess rematch occurred between Mikhail Tal and Mikhail Botvinnik in 1961. In their first match, Mikhail Tal’s attacking style was too much for the strategic Botvinnik to handle but in their second encounter, Mikhail Botvinnik was able to shut down Tal’s offensives and win the match convincingly. In order for an Anand-Carlsen rivalry to achieve anywhere near the same level of notoriety, Viswanathan Anand will have to follow in Botvinnik’s footsteps and bounce back convincingly.

Vishy Anand needs to go on the offensive.

Vishy Anand needs to go on the offensive.

Perhaps the most important strategy for Anand in his rematch will be going on the offensive. In their first encounter, Viswanathan Anand was defending his title and his play was lifeless. In 2014, Vishy has nothing to lose and thus nothing to gain by being ultra-conservative. Indeed, for the much elder Anand, it is vitally important to be the aggressor as much as possible.

Magnus Carlsen needs to assume the role of the World Champion.

Magnus Carlsen needs to assume the role of the World Champion.

For Magnus, the key to victory is being a professional. Magnus Carlsen is the highest rated player on the planet and has already defeated Anand in match play. In his first defense of his title, it is critical that Magnus assumes the role of the champion and not take any unnecessary risks early in the match. Carlsen needs to allow Anand, who didn’t win a single game in their first match, to be the one to gamble with risky strategies. Finally, Carlsen needs to forget about losing rating points and accept drawing opportunities as a chance to move closer to a possible rapid play tiebreak and his goal of retaining his title.

In chess, rematches fuel rivalries and it is these rivalries that create legends. Very few chess players are ever crowned a World Champion and within hours two of them will be writing their rivalry into the book of chess lore. Regardless of the outcome, the winner will be chess itself.

Check back here often for updates on the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia.


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