Posts Tagged ‘carlsen vs anand’

Carlsen vs Anand 2014 World Chess Championship: Game 8 Analysis

November 21, 2014

After an epic battle of 122 moves in round 7, both contestants returned to the chess board in round 8 looking a little worse for the wear. Carlsen, in a World Championship first, even fell asleep in his chair during the early going of the game. Being a point down in the match, Anand returned to play “1. d4” as he did in his round 3 victory. Magnus was more prepared this time and had little trouble neutralizing any advantage Anand had with the white pieces.


Magnus Carlsen used round 8 to catch up on some much needed rest.

Magnus Carlsen used round 8 to catch up on some much needed rest.(


A key moment in this game came when Magnus Carlsen played 10… Be7 which is an innovation. Magnus had little trouble with Anand for the remainder of the game and the resulting draw was a huge victory for everyone on Carlsen’s team.


[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.18”]
[Round “8”]
[White “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “D37”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ QUEEN’S gam. var. WITH 5.BF4,D37]}

1.d4 {Anand is obviously hoping to play a game that resembles his win from round 3.}

1… Nf6

2.c4 e6

3.Nf3 d5 {A Queen’s Gambit Declined as in game 3.}

4.Nc3 Be7

5.Bf4 O-O

6.e3  6. c5 {Magnus Carlsen changes course from following what was played during his loss in round 3. In that contest, Carlsen played 6… Nbd7 and found out the hard way that Vishy was extremely prepared for that continuation.}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 6... c5.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 6… c5.


7.dxc5 Bxc5

8.a3 Nc6

9.Qc2 Re8

10.Bg5 ( 10.O-O-O e5 11.Bg5 d4
12.Nd5 Be6 13.Bd3 Bxd5 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Bxh7+ Kf8
17.Be4 Qd6 18.Kb1 Rac8 19.Rc1 Bb6 20.Qd3 Red8 21.Rhd1 Rc7 22.Bxc6
Rxc6 23.e4 Rdc8 24.Nh4 Qe6 25.Nf5 Rc3 26.Qd2 Rxc1+ 27.Rxc1 Rxc1+
28.Qxc1 Qc6 29.Qxc6 bxc6 {…1-0, Forintos Gyozo V (HUN) 2317 – Vaisser Anatoly (FRA) 2536 , Tallinn 1986 It (open)})

10… Be7 {According to my database, this is actually an innovation though I suspect it
has been played many times in informal games as the move seems pretty obvious.}
( 10…d4 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.exd4 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 Qxd4 14.Bd3 Qe5+
15.Kf1 Kg7 16.Re1 Qc7 17.b4 Be7 18.Re3 f5 19.g4 f4 20.Rh3 h6
21.Rh5 Rd8 22.h4 Qd6 23.Rh3 e5 24.Bf5 Be6 25.Qe4 f6 26.g5 Bxf5
27.gxf6+ Qxf6 28.Rxf5 Qc6 29.h5 Qxe4 30.Nxe4 {…1-0, Delchev Aleksander (BUL) 2623 – Elbilia Jacques (MAR) 2390 , France 6/ 6/2010 Ch France (team) 2010})

( 10…dxc4 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Bxc4 Be7 14.O-O Rd8
15.Rxd8+ Nxd8 16.Rd1 a6 17.Ba2 Nc6 18.Bb1 f5 19.e4 Bf6 20.exf5
exf5 21.Nd5 Bd8 22.Ne3 Be6 23.Nxf5 Bxf5 24.Qxf5 Qxf5 25.Bxf5
Bf6 26.b3 Na5 27.Rd3 Re8 28.Kf1 Re7 29.Nd2 Rc7 30.Be4 {…1-0, Lev Ronen (ISR) 2449 – Ruderfer Mark B (RUS) 2344 , Israel 2002 Ch Israel (team)})


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 10... Be7.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 10… Be7.



11.Rd1 {Vishy pins the d5 pawn to Carlsen’s queen.}

11… Qa5 {and Carlsen unpins the queen by using it to pin Anand’s knight.}

12.Bd3 h6

13.Bh4 {Taking the knight would allow Carlsen to add more pressure to the c3 pin after he recaptures with his bishop.}

13… dxc4 {Carlsen could have added more pressure to the center with a move like Rd8 but instead aims for a very symmetrical pawn structure.}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 13... dxc4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 13… dxc4.



14.Bxc4 a6

15.O-O b5

16.Ba2 Bb7 {Both sides are done with development and Anand is just a tiny bit better.}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16... Bb7.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16… Bb7.


17.Bb1 {The obvious threat is Bxf6 followed by Qh7.}

17… Rad8 {Magnus isn’t too worried about Anand’s little threat and decides to take shared control of the open file.}

18.Bxf6 Bxf6

19.Ne4 {Anand improves his knight with tempo which is far better than:}
( 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Qh8+ Ke7 21.Qh7 {This is the kind of over-zealous mistake a lot of scholastic players make that results in white’s queen being out of play.})


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 19. Ne4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 19. Ne4.



19… Be7

20.Nc5 Bxc5 {Magnus is more than happy to trade his inactive bishop for Anand’s pesky knight.}

21.Qxc5 b4 {Magnus offers to trade queens.}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 19... b4.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 21… b4.



22.Rc1 {Anand politely declines for now. Had he captured on a5, play would have continued:}
( 22.Qxa5 Nxa5 23.axb4 Nc4 24.Rd3 Nxb2 25.Rb3 Bxf3 26.Rxb2 Bc6
{and now it is black that has the small edge.} )

22… bxa3

23.bxa3 Qxc5

24.Rxc5 {With the queens off the board, there is not much here for Anand to use to pressure his opponent.}


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 24. Rxc5.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 24. Rxc5.


24… Ne7

25.Rfc1 Rc8 {Carlsen has easily and completely neutralized white’s opening.}

26.Bd3 Red8

27.Rxc8 Rxc8

28.Rxc8+ Nxc8 {Barring a catastrophe, this game is a complete draw.}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 28... Nxc8.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 28… Nxc8.


29.Nd2 Nb6 {Still, it is nice to see Anand play on so that students of the game have more moves to learn from.}

30.Nb3 Nd7 {It was very important to stop Anand from playing Nc5 and doubling up on a6.}

31.Na5 {So Anand has to settle for the second best square for his knight.}

31… Bc8

32.Kf1 {Endgame rule number two from the Thirty Rules of Chess states that, “The king must be active in the ending.”}


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 32. Kf1.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 32. Kf1.


32… Kf8

33.Ke1 Ke7

34.Kd2 Kd6

35.Kc3 Ne5 {Carlsen’s knight is allowed to improve on Anand’s time.}

36.Be2 Kc5 {I will be setting this position up for my students and seeing how close their games match the outcome of this one.}

37.f4 {Kicks the knight but sets up another trade.}


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 34. f4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 37. f4.



37… Nc6

38.Nxc6 Kxc6

39.Kd4 f6

40.e4 Kd6

41.e5+ {The players agrede to a draw which would have been the outcome in so many more moves. One possible continuation is:} (41… fxe5+ 42.fxe5+ Kc6 43.h3 g5 44.a4 a5 45.Bf3+ Kb6 46.Be4 Bd7 47.Bc2 Be8 48.g4 {with neither side having any hope for victory.)} 1/2-1/2


The final position from game 8 of the 2014 World Chess Championship.

The final position from game 8 of the 2014 World Chess Championship.


If you found this lesson useful, feel free to read through my other lessons on the 2014 World Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

Game 7

and be sure to visit the official site of the 2014 Fide World Chess Championship 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:

Viswanathan Anand in Sochi, Russia(photo from:


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 )



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.}


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 Word Chess Championship: Game 3 Analysis

November 12, 2014

Viswanathan Anand was in a desperate search for a victory in Round 3 and he found it! A large portion of today’s game followed established Queen’s Gambit Declined Theory. On move seventeen, it was obvious by Magnus Carlsen’s agonized expression and long pause that he was unprepared for Anand’s Ng5. What followed was a brilliant display of Vishy combining his incredible memory with the killer instinct that earned him the nickname, “Tiger from Madras.”


The "Tiger from Madras" has returned!

The “Tiger from Madras” has returned!

An area of great interest in round three occurred on move twenty-six when Carlsen played pawn to g5 threatening Anand’s Bishop. Anand retreated his bishop to g3 rather than punishing the Norwegian’s inaccurate play with Be5. The limited success achieved by Vishy’s retreat was short lived however. Carlsen, who was under extreme pressure from the clock, employed a misguided plan from move 27… Bb4 until 29… Bxc7. It was this failed idea that allowed Anand to gain a decisive advantage and equalize the match heading into game four.
Below is my analysis of Game 3 from the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship:
[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.11”]
[Round “”]
[White “Anand, Viswanathan (IND)”]
[Black “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “D37”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ QUEEN’S gam. var. WITH 5.BF4,D37]}

1.d4 Nf6
2.c4 e6
3.Nf3 d5 {Magnus Carlsen has chosen the reliable Queen’s Gambit Declined this time around.}
4.Nc3 Be7
Position after Magnus Carlsen played 4... Be7.

Position after Magnus Carlsen played 4… Be7.

5.Bf4 {Historically, this is white’s second most popular placement for the bishop with Bg5 being the most frequently played move.}
5… O-O
6.e3 Nbd7
7.c5 {This move has been in fashion following some nice successes by Levon Aronian. However, the match commentator, Peter Svidler preferred 7. Qc2 in an interesting game from 2008.}
( 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Be2 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Bd7 11.O-O Qb6 12.Rfd1
Rfd8 13.Be2 Be8 14.Nd2 Nd5 15.Nc4 Nb4 16.Nxb6 Nxc2 17.Nxa8 Nxa1
18.Rxd8 Bxd8 19.Bd6 Na4 20.Nd1 Bf6 21.b3 Nc3 22.Nxc3 Bxc3 23.Bf3
Bc6 24.Bxc6 bxc6 25.Bc5 a6 26.Nc7 a5 {…1-0, Svidler Peter (RUS) 2727 – Jakovenko Dmitry (RUS) 2737 , Sochi 8/13/2008 It (cat.19)})
Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 7. c5.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 7. c5.

7… c6 {Carlsen chooses the c6 line. A nice alternative is Nh5.}
( 7…Nh5 8.Bd3 Nxf4 9.exf4 b6 10.b4 a5 11.a3 c6 12.O-O Qc7 13.g3
Ba6 14.Kg2 Bf6 15.Bxa6 Rxa6 16.Qc2 Rfa8 17.Rab1 axb4 18.axb4
Ra3 19.Rb3 Rxb3 20.Qxb3 Qb7 21.Rb1 h6 22.h4 h5 23.Ne5 {1/2-1/2, Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 2752 – Kramnik Vladimir (RUS) 2791 , Kazan 5/ 9/2011 Ch World (candidates) (active)})
8.Bd3 b6
9.b4 a5
10.a3 Ba6 {This has all been played hundreds of times at the highest levels of chess.}
11.Bxa6 {Viswanathan Anand chooses a relatively rare line that creates a dangerous passed pawn for white.}
( 11.O-O Qc8 12.Qc2 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Nh5 14.Be5 Qb7 15.Rfc1 Rfc8
16.h3 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 b5 18.Rcb1 Qc7 19.a4 axb4 20.axb5 bxc3 21.Nxc6
Nf6 22.Qxc3 Bf8 23.Rxa8 Rxa8 24.Ra1 Ne4 25.Qb2 Re8 26.Ne5 Nxc5
27.b6 Qb7 28.Qb5 Ra8 29.Rxa8 Qxa8 30.dxc5 Qa1+ {…1-0, Nyback Tomi (FIN) 2639 – Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2786 , Dresden 11/19/2008 Olympiad})
Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 11. Bxa6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 11. Bxa6.

11… Rxa6
12.b5 cxb5
13.c6 {A passed pawn is born.}
13… Qc8 {Magnus Carlsen defends his knight with a pin.}
( 13…b4 14.Nb5 bxa3 15.cxd7 Bb4+ 16.Ke2 Qxd7 17.Qd3 Ne4 18.Rhc1
f6 19.Rc7 Qd8 20.Na7 b5 21.Nxb5 Rb6 22.Rc2 Qe8 23.Nxa3 Qa4 24.Raa2
Rc6 25.Nb1 Rfc8 26.Rcb2 Qxa2 27.Rxa2 Rc1 28.Rb2 g5 29.Nfd2 Bxd2
30.Nxd2 Nc3+ 31.Kf3 gxf4 32.Rb7 f5 33.Qa6 {…1-0, Olafsson Helgi (ISL) 2270 – Al-Tamimi Hamad (QAT) 2302 , Turin 6/ 4/2006 Olympiad})
14.c7 {A lot of extra tactical possibilities exist for the player whose pawn is but one step away from promotion.}
( 14.Nxb5 Qxc6 15.Nc7 Ra7 16.Rc1 Qb7 17.a4 Bb4+ 18.Ke2 Rc8 19.Qd3
Nh5 20.Nb5 Nxf4+ 21.exf4 Raa8 22.f5 Nf8 23.Ne5 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Rc8
25.Rc2 f6 26.Ng4 exf5 27.Ne3 f4 28.Qf5 Rxc2+ 29.Nxc2 Qc6 30.Kd1
Bd6 31.Nc3 Be5 32.Kd2 g6 33.Qh3 Bd6 {…1-0, Efimov Igor (MNC) 2467 – Costantini Roberto (ITA) 2314 , Reggio Emilia 2001 It (cat.8)})
Position after Viswanathan  Anand plays 14. c7.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 14. c7.

14… b4 {Both Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen are deep within their memorized territory.}
15.Nb5 a4 {Carlsen’s other choice were:} ( 15…Ne4 16.O-O bxa3
17.Qa4 g5 18.Bg3 g4 19.Ne1 Nd2 20.Qd1 Nxf1 21.Qxg4+ Kh8 22.Kxf1
Ra8 23.Nc2 Qa6 24.Qe2 Rg8 25.Ncxa3 Rac8 26.Bf4 f6 27.Rc1 Nc5
28.dxc5 bxc5 29.e4 dxe4 30.Nd6 Qxe2+ 31.Kxe2 Rxc7 32.Nf7+ Kg7
33.Bxc7 Kxf7 34.g3 a4 35.Nc4 {…1-0, Karpov Anatoly (RUS) 2688 – Georgiev Kiril (MKD) 2654 , Dubai 2002 Cup World (active)}
) ( 15…bxa3 16.O-O Nh5 17.Qc2 Nxf4 18.exf4 Qb7 19.Ne5 Nc5 20.dxc5
bxc5 21.Rfb1 c4 22.Nd7 Rfa8 23.Qa4 h6 24.h3 Qc8 25.Nb8 Rb6 26.Kh2
Bb4 27.g3 Raxb8 28.cxb8=Q Qxb8 29.Nd4 Bc5 30.Nb5 Bb4 31.Nd4 Bc5
32.Nb5 {1/2-1/2, Sedlak Nikola (SRB) 2550 – Pavlovic Milos (SRB) 2531 , Vrnjacka Banja 8/29/2010 Ch Serbia (team) (1 liga)})
16.Rc1 Ne4
17.Ng5 {Watching the live broadcast, I couldn’t help but notice that this move made Carlsen very uncomfortable.}
( 17.Nd2 e5 18.Nxe4 dxe4 19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Bc5 21.Qd5 bxa3
22.O-O Qa8 23.Qd7 Qc8 24.Rfd1 Qxd7 25.Rxd7 Raa8 26.Nd6 h6 27.Nxe4
Rfc8 28.Nd6 Bxd6 29.exd6 b5 30.Re7 b4 31.d7 b3 32.dxc8=Q+ Rxc8
33.Rd7 b2 34.Rd8+ Kh7 35.Rf1 Rxc7 36.Rb8 Rc1 {…0-1, Jendrichovsky Peter (SVK) 2147 – Goumas Georgios (GRE) 2315 , Fermo 9/ 3/2009 Ch Europe (juniors) (under 18)})
Magnus Carlsen's expression after Anand played 17. Ng5(photo from:

Magnus Carlsen’s expression after Anand played 17. Ng5(photo from:

17… Ndf6 {Magnus thought for about half-an-hour before choosing Ndf6. A more aggressive response would have been:}
( 17…Bxg5 18.Bxg5 Ra5 19.Be7 Rxb5 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Qxa4 Ra5
22.Qxb4+ Ke8 23.f3 Nef6 )
18.Nxe4 Nxe4
19.f3 Ra5 {Another idea worth considering is:}
( 19…Nc3 20.Nxc3 bxc3 21.Rxc3 b5 )
20.fxe4 {I really like Anand’s innovation here. Levon Aronian chose to play 20. Qe2 in 2013:}
{ [20. Qe2 Qd7 21. fxe4 Rc8 22. exd5 exd5 23. axb4 Rxb5 24. O-O Rxb4 25. Qa6 h6
26. Rc6 Bg5 27. Bxg5 hxg5 28. Rfc1 Rc4 29. R1xc4 dxc4 30. Qxb6 a3 31. Rxc4 a2
32. Qa5 Qe6 33. Qxa2 Rxc7 34. Qa8+ Kh7 35. Rxc7 Qxe3+ 36. Kf1 Qf4+ 37. Qf3 Qxc7
38. Qh5+ Kg8 39. Qxg5 Qc4+ 40. Kf2 Qxd4+ 1/2-1/2 Levon Aronian 2795 – Michael Adams 2753 Bilbao 10/07/2013 Bilbao Masters]}
Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 20. fxe4.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 20. fxe4.

20… Rxb5
21.Qxa4 Ra5
22.Qc6 {From watching the live broadcast it is clear that Anand is still playing moves from
his memory while Carlsen has really been having to work.}
22… bxa3
23.exd5 {This was a key moment in the game for Magnus Carlsen with his options being: 1)Bb4+, 2)Rxd5 and 3)exd5}
23… Rxd5 {Some analysis of the other two options:} ( 23…Bb4+ 24.Kf2
Rxd5 25.Qxb6 Be7 26.Rhf1 {and white looks good.} )
( 23…exd5 24.O-O Ra8 25.Qxd5 Qe6 26.Qb7 {Here, white also looks good.})
Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 23... Rxd5.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 23… Rxd5.

24.Qxb6 Qd7 {Unfortunately for Magnus, white also looks good here.}
25.O-O {This was likely Anand’s first move that wasn’t preconceived and he missed the best attacking possibility of Qa6.}
( 25.Qa6 Qc8 26.Qc4 Rf5 27.Rb1 a2 28.Qxa2 Rxf4 29.exf4 Qxc7 30.O-O )
25… Rc8 {Magnus Carlsen is actually doing quite well when one considers that he played
against Anand’s preparation so deeply into this game.}
Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 26. Rc6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 26. Rc6.

26… g5 {?} {The first in a series of inaccuracies for Magnus.}
( 26…Bb4 27.Ra1 h6 )
27.Bg3 {?} {Anand responds with an inaccuracy of his own.}
( 27.Be5 Ra5 28.Rxe6 {!} Qxe6 29.Qxa5 )
27… Bb4 {?} ( 27…g4 28.Be5 Bg5 29.Rc3 Be7 {is likely good enough for a draw.} )
28.Ra1 Ba5{?} {And this mistake gave Anand a decisive advantage.}
29.Qa6{!} {When the smoke clears, Carlsen will be down material with no compensation.}
Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 29. Qa6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 29. Qa6.

29… Bxc7 {?} {This whole plan by Carlsen was ill-conceived.}
30.Qc4 {!} {The Tiger from Madras has returned!}
30… e5
31.Bxe5 Rxe5
32.dxe5 Qe7
33.e6 Kf8
34.Rc1 {And Carlsen resigned without looking Anand in the eyes.}


In round 3, Viswanathan Anand returned to vintage form.

In round 3, Viswanathan Anand returned to vintage form.


2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Game 1 Analysis


2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Game 2 Analysis

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.



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.

World Chess Championship 2013: Anand vs. Carlsen Game 3

November 14, 2013

The third game of the Anand-Carlsen World Chess Championship Match was perhaps the most exciting and revealing game yet. Magnus Carlsen employed the Reti Opening as white but it was Anand who seemed better prepared for its complexities. After gaining an advantage, Vishy, as in game 2, failed to take the risks necessary to really bring the point home. The key point of the game occurs when Magnus muddies the waters with “28. e3.” For Anand to play for a win after this move, he would have had to go out on a limb on move 29. Carlsen rightly calculated that  Anand was unwilling to risk a loss to obtain a win. Armed with this information, Magnus Carlsen should be able to adjust his match strategy to capitalize on Anand’s cautious play.

On move 28, Magnus Carlsen creates complexities to throw Viswanathan Anand off.

On move 28, Magnus Carlsen creates complexities to throw Viswanathan Anand off.

[Event “World Chess Championship“]
[Site “Chennai”]
[Date “2013.11.12”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Magnus Carlsen”]
[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “A09”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.c4 {Despite what I keep reading on other sites, this really should be called a
“Reti” not a “King’s Indian Attack.” IMHO the King’s Indian Attack should play
like the King’s Indian Defence in reverse. Bobby Fischer was excellent at
employing the King’s Indian Attack. The Reti, on the other hand, features an
early “c4” and allows for more early traps. Also, as in this game, white is not
just placing pieces “where they go” as he does in the King’s Indian Attack.}
dxc4 4.Qa4+ {Sometimes it seems that Magnus Carlsen just wants to make the job of being a
chess coach that much harder. Here he doesn’t have a center pawn but has brought
his queen out early. This is the kind of play we generally discourage young players from.}
Nc6 {Viswanathan Anand chose the best scoring move. Other ideas are presented below:}
( 4…Qd7 5.Qxc4 Qc6 6.Na3 Qxc4 7.Nxc4 Nc6 8.Bg2 Bg7 9.d3 Nf6
10.Bd2 Nd5 11.Rb1 a5 12.h3 e6 13.a3 a4 14.e4 Nde7 15.Bc3 Bxc3+
16.bxc3 b6 17.d4 Bb7 18.Nfd2 Na5 19.Nxa5 Rxa5 20.O-O O-O {1/2-1/2, Soppe Guillermo (ARG) 2440 – Lima Darcy (BRA) 2475 , Sao Paulo 1997 It (open) “Braganca Paulista”}
) ( 4…Nd7 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Qxc4 Ngf6 7.O-O O-O 8.d3 Nb6 9.Qh4 Nfd5
10.d4 Nb4 11.Na3 c6 12.Rd1 a5 13.e4 h5 14.h3 f6 15.b3 Be6 16.Be3
Bf7 17.g4 g5 18.Nxg5 fxg5 19.Bxg5 hxg4 20.Bxe7 Qd7 21.Bc5 Be6
22.hxg4 Bxg4 23.Bxb6 Bxd1 24.Rxd1 {…0-1, Arsovic Zoran (SRB) 2444 – Raicevic Momcilo (MNE) 2379 , Kraljevo 9/19/2011 Ch Central Serbia (team)}

5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nc3 ( 6.Qxc4 e5 7.Ng5 Nh6 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.d4 Qd5
10.Qxd5 cxd5 11.dxe5 Bxe5 12.Nc3 Bxc3+ 13.bxc3 O-O 14.Bf4 Re8
15.Nf3 {1/2-1/2, Shoker Samy (EGY) 2512 – Tkachiev Vladislav (FRA) 2631 , Mulhouse 5/27/2011 Ch France (team) 2011}
) ( 6.O-O e5 7.Nxe5 Bxe5 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.Qxc6+ Bd7 10.Qe4 f6 11.f4
Bf5 12.Qc6+ Bd7 13.Qe4 Bf5 14.Qc6+ {1/2-1/2, Markowski Tomasz (POL) 2557 – Kruppa Yuri (UKR) 2603 , Koszalin 1999 It (open)}

e5 7.Qxc4 Nge7 8.O-O ( 8.d3 O-O 9.O-O h6 10.Bd2 Nf5 11.Rac1
Re8 12.Ne4 Ncd4 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Rfe1 c6 15.e3 Ne6 16.Bb4 Bf8
17.Bc3 Bg7 18.f4 exf4 19.gxf4 Nc7 20.Bxg7 Kxg7 21.Kh1 f6 22.Bf3
Be6 23.Qb4 Rb8 24.Nd6 Re7 25.Rg1 Kh7 26.Ne4 Rf7 27.Nc5 Qe7 {
…1-0, Martinovic Sasa (CRO) 2525 – Rubil Marko (CRO) 2094 , Sv. Filip i
Jakov 4/17/2009 Ch Croatia (team) (1st league) (juniors)} )
O-O 9.d3

h6 {This move signals to Magnus Carlsen that Viswanathan Anand is well within his preparation.}
( 9…Be6 10.Qa4 h6 11.Rd1 Nd4 12.Rb1 c6 13.b4 a5 14.Rd2 b5 15.Qa3
c5 16.Nxd4 exd4 17.Nxb5 cxb4 18.Qb2 Rb8 19.a4 Bd5 20.Rc2 Bxg2
21.Kxg2 Nd5 22.Bd2 Nc3 23.Bxc3 Qd5+ 24.Kg1 dxc3 25.Qb3 Qd7 26.Rd1
Rfc8 27.h4 h5 28.Kg2 Rb6 29.f3 {…0-1, Managadze Nikoloz (GEO) 2459 – Vorobiov Evgeny E (RUS) 2598 , Paleochora 7/23/2009 It (open)}
) ( 9…Nd4 10.Nxd4 exd4 11.Ne4 Be6 12.Qb5 b6 13.Bg5 f6 14.Bc1
a6 15.Qa4 c5 16.Nd2 Ra7 17.Nf3 Re8 18.Bd2 Nd5 19.b4 Bf7 20.bxc5
bxc5 21.Ba5 Qd7 22.Qxd7 Rxd7 23.Rfc1 Bf8 24.Kf1 Rb7 25.Nd2 Rb2
26.Bf3 Bh6 27.Rd1 Nc3 28.Bxc3 dxc3 29.Ne4 {…0-1, Seul Georg (GER) 2443 – Heyken Enno (GER) 2356 , Germany 1993 Bundesliga 1992/93}

10.Bd2 {The only reasonable path for unifying the rooks is developing the bishop as Magnus Carlsen did.}
( 10.Be3 Nf5 11.Bc5 Re8 12.Rfe1 Ncd4 13.Rac1 c6 14.Nxd4 exd4
15.Ne4 Be6 16.Qc2 Bd5 17.a4 b6 18.Ba3 a5 19.b3 c5 20.Rb1 Ne7
21.Bh3 Nc6 22.Rbd1 Ra7 23.Nd2 h5 24.Nc4 Bh6 25.Bc1 Nb4 26.Qb1
Bxc1 27.Qxc1 Rae7 28.Qd2 h4 29.Bg4 f5 {…0-1, Dumpor Atif (BIH) 2411 – Atalik Suat (BIH) 2583 , Zenica 12/ 8/2006 Memorial I.Subasic (cat.9)}
) ( 10.Qh4 Nf5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.Nb5 Rb8 13.Bd2 a6 14.Nc3 Nfd4
15.Nxd4 Nxd4 16.f4 Bg4 17.Rf2 exf4 18.Bxf4 Rd7 19.h3 {1/2-1/2, Huzman Alexander (ISR) 2390 – Khmelnitsky Sergei (UKR) 2403 , Ukraine 1986 Ch Ukraine (1/2 final)}

Nd4 {Viswanathan Anand plays an aggressive innovation. I definitely believe Anand
had looked at this position with his team prior to this game.}
( 10…Be6 11.Qa4 Nd4 12.Rfc1 f5 13.Ne1 c5 14.Bxb7 Rb8 15.Bg2
Rxb2 16.Be3 Nxe2+ 17.Nxe2 Rxe2 18.Bxc5 e4 19.d4 f4 20.Rc2 Rxc2
21.Qxc2 e3 22.fxe3 fxe3 23.Qe4 Qd7 24.Nf3 Re8 25.Qxe3 Nf5 26.Qf2
Bd5 27.Re1 Rxe1+ 28.Qxe1 Bxf3 29.Bxf3 Nxd4 30.Bg2 {…1/2-1/2, Kuzubov Yuriy (UKR) 2623 – Negi Parimarjan (IND) 2631 , New Delhi 1/14/2011 It “Parsvnath Open”}
) ( 10…Nf5 11.Na4 Ncd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Rfe1 c6 14.e3 b5 15.Qc1
bxa4 16.exd4 Qxd4 17.Re4 Qxd3 18.Bxh6 Bf5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rxe5
Rab8 21.Ra5 Qd4 22.Qc3 Rfd8 23.Rxa4 Qxc3 24.bxc3 Rb2 25.h4 Rdd2
26.Rf4 c5 27.a4 a5 28.Re1 Be6 29.Re5 c4 30.Rxa5 {…1/2-1/2, Obukhov Alexander (RUS) 2475 – Yevseev Denis (RUS) 2554 , Krasnoyarsk 2003 Ch Russia}

11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Ne4 c6 13.Bb4 Be6 {Viswanathan Anand seemed quite comfortable in this position as is playing very
accurately. Here he simply, “develops with a threat.”}

14.Qc1 Bd5 15.a4 b6 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 {I am starting to really like Anand’s position better because he has more space and the bishop pair.}
17.a5 {Magnus is using a minority attack to create weaknesses on Anand’s queen side.}
Rab8 18.Re1 Rfc8 {
This is why Anand did not play 17… Rfb8. He wanted to place his “f8” rook
into the same file as his opponent’s queen. Placing your rook in the same file
as your opponents queen often times leads to something good down the road.}
19.axb6 axb6

20.Qf4 {?} {Magnus Carlsen has to use another tempo to get his queen in the game. His
choice of where to deploy his queen lacks a lot to be desired and with accurate play, Anand will push it around quite easily.}

21.h4 {Nobody can state that Magnus Carlsen is not playing for a win.}

22.Nd2 Be5 23.Qg4 {Magnus’s queen may look impressive here, but how many good squares does it actually see? Answer: Not many.}

24.Qh3 {Right about now, Magnus Carlsen is starting to question why he brought his Queen to “f4” in the first place.}

25.Qh1 {Nobody plans to place the queen next to their king on “h1.” This is turning into a nightmare for Carlsen.}

26.Ne4 Kg7 27.Ng5 b5 {!} {Magnus Carlsen stated, “I underestimated Anand’s plan with b5 giving up the bishop.”}
28.e3 {!?} {
This is the most hotly debated move of the match thus far. Computers seem to
think it is a mistake. IMHO, Magnus is creating complexities to throw Anand off
track. Magnus’ move 28 shows that he is not going to go down quietly. In fact,
Magnus obviously believes that he can out calculate Anand or he would not have played such a provocative move.}

29.Rxe3 Bd4 {?} {
Unlinke Carlsen, Anand seems to fear complexity in this match. He could have
given himself a passed pawn and serious winning chances with the line below.}
( 29…Bxb2 30.Rae1 Rb6 31.Bd5 Bd4 32.Rxe6 fxe6 33.Rxe6 Qf8 )
30.Re2 c4 {Anand believes that he, “has enough counterplay here.” I would rather hear the
World Champion focusing on what is enough to win rather than what is enough to counter.}
31.Nxe6+ fxe6 32.Be4 cxd3 33.Rd2 Qb4 {Anand played this move very quickly. Perhaps better was:}
( 33…Rf8 34.Bxd3 Qd6 35.Qg2 Rxf2 36.Rxf2 Rf8 37.Raf1 Bxf2+
38.Rxf2 Rxf2 39.Qxf2 Qxd3 40.Kh2 e5 {and Anand would have a passed pawn which is half way to home plate.}

34.Rad1 Bxb2 35.Qf3 Bf6 36.Rxd3 Rxd3 37.Rxd3 ( 37.Bxd3 Qg4
38.Qxg4 hxg4 {Is also playable but leaves Anand with a dangerous passed pawn.}

Rd8 {?} {
This was a minor mistake but one that erases much of Anand’s advantage. It
would have been much better to leave the rook where it was for another move and play for complications like this:}
( 37…Bd4 38.Qe2 Rf8 39.Rf3 Rxf3 40.Qxf3 Qe1+ )

38.Rxd8 Bxd8
39.Bd3 {Someone of Magnus Carlsen’s abilities will not have a hard time achieving a draw from an opposite colored bishop endgame.}

40.Bxb5 Qf6 {Viswanathan plays this move and offers a draw.}
41.Qb7+ {Magnus declines the draw and elects to play the game out for the pleasure of chess amateurs everywhere.}

42.Kg2 g5 43.hxg5 Qxg5 44.Bc4 h4 45.Qc7 hxg3 46.Qxg3 e5 47.Kf3
Qxg3+ 48.fxg3 Bc5 49.Ke4 Bd4 50.Kf5 Bf2 51.Kxe5 Bxg3+ {Neither side has mating material so the game is a draw.}

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