Posts Tagged ‘chess analysis’

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 7 Analysis

November 20, 2014

The best chess education available comes from attempting to grasp the work of the greatest masters. In game 7 of the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, students of the game are treated to a battle between the great master of maneuvering and the great master of the fortress.



The key move of this game belongs to Viswanathan Anand. On move 31, Vishy sacrificed his bishop to eliminate the threat of Carlsen’s passed pawns. Magnus, who was left with an extra knight, tried every trick in the book but was unable to break Anand’s super fortress.


[Event “FIDE World Chess Championship 2014”]
[Site “Sochi, Russia”]
[Date “2014.11.17”]
[Round “7”]
[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.}


Position after Magnus Carlsen castles on move 4.

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})

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


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 6... dxc6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 6… dxc6.

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 It})


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 9. h3.

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

11.Bf4 ( 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… Be7

12.Rad1 ( 12.Ne4 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.Ng5 Bf5 15.c3 Bxg5
16.Bxg5 Kd7 17.Rad1+ Kc8 18.Rd2 b6 19.Rfd1 Kb7 20.Rd8 Raxd8 21.Rxd8
Rxd8 22.Bxd8 Bg6 {1/2-1/2, Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2721 – Jakovenko Dmitry (RUS) 2760 , Dortmund 7/ 4/2009 It (cat.20)})


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 12. Rad1.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 12. Rad1.



12… Be6

13.Ng5 Rh6

14.g3 ( 14.Nxe6 Rxe6 15.Rfe1 Rd8 16.Rxd8+ Kxd8
17.Ne4 c5 18.Ng5 Bxg5 19.Bxg5+ Kd7 20.c3 Kc6 21.Kh2 Nd6 22.f4
f6 23.Bh4 fxe5 24.fxe5 Nc4 25.b3 Nb6 26.Kg3 c4 27.Re4 cxb3 28.axb3
g6 29.Kf4 Nd5+ 30.Kg5 b5 31.c4 bxc4 32.Rxc4+ Kd7 33.Kh6 Ne3 {…1-0, Dominguez Lenier (CUB) 2734 – Alekseev Evgeny (RUS) 2683 , St. Petersburg 10/ 7/2012 Cup St. Petersburg (active)})


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 14. g3.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 14. g3.



14… Bxg5

15.Bxg5 Rg6

16.h4 ( 16.Bf4 Nh4 17.Kh1 Nf3 18.Kg2 Nh4+ 19.Kh1 Nf3 20.Kg2 {1/2-1/2, Grischuk Alexander (RUS) 2757 – Anand Viswanathan (IND) 2817 , Monaco 3/15/2011 It “Amber” (blindfold)})


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16. h4.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 16. h4.



16… f6

17.exf6 gxf6

18.Bf4 Nxh4

19.f3 Rd8 ( 19…Rg7 20.Ne4 Kf7
21.Kf2 Nxf3 22.Kxf3 Bg4+ 23.Kf2 Bxd1 24.Rxd1 Kg6 25.Nc5 Re7 26.Kf3
Rae8 27.Bd2 Kf7 28.Nd3 b6 29.Re1 Rxe1 30.Bxe1 c5 31.Bc3 Rh8 32.Be1
Re8 33.b3 c6 34.Bf2 Rd8 35.Be3 Rh8 36.Bf2 Rd8 37.a4 Rd7 38.Be3
Rd8 39.Nf4 {…0-1, Efimenko Zahar (UKR) 2703 – Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2705 , Poikovsky 10/13/2011 It (cat.19)})


Position after Anand plays 19... Rd8.

Position after Anand plays 19… Rd8.



20.Kf2 ( 20.Rxd8+ Kxd8 21.Kf2 Nf5 22.Rh1 Ng7 23.Bd2 Bf5 24.Nd1
Bxc2 25.Ne3 Bd3 26.Ng2 Ne6 27.Rxh5 Rg7 28.Bc3 Ke7 29.Rh6 Rf7
30.g4 Bb1 31.a3 f5 32.g5 Nxg5 33.Nf4 Ke8 34.Rg6 Nh7 35.Rg8+ Rf8
36.Rg7 Rf7 {1/2-1/2, Anand Viswanathan (IND) 2817 – Nakamura Hikaru (USA) 2753 , Sao Paulo 10/ 7/2011 It (cat.20)})

20… Rxd1 {I am sure that Magnus Carlsen and especially Viswanathan Anand have studied this line as it is a major possibility stemming from the above Anand-Nakamura game.}

21.Nxd1 {White shouldn’t recapture with the rook or else:}
( 21.Rxd1 {?} Nxf3 22.Kxf3 Bg4+ )


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 21. Nxd1.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 21. Nxd1.



21… Nf5

22.Rh1 Bxa2 {I’d be surprised if this was not all part of Anand and Carlsen’s preparation.}
23.Rxh5 Be6 24.g4 Nd6 25.Rh7 Nf7 {The first original move of this game is an improvement over:
{ 25… f5 26. g5 Nf7 27. Rh5 Rg8 28. Kg3 Rh8 29. Rxh8+ Nxh8 30. Bxc7 Ng6 31.
Nc3 Kd7 32. Bb8 a5 33. Na4 Kc8 34. Bf4 b5 35. Nc5 Ba2 36. c3 a4 37.Bd6 Bd5 38.
f4 Kd8 39. Kf2 Nh4 40. Ke3 Ke8 41. Nd3 Be4 42. Nf2 Bd5 43. Ba3 Kf7 44. Kd4 Ke6
45. Nd3 Ng6 46. Nc5+ Kf7 47. Na6 Nxf4 48. Ke5 Nd3+ 49. Kxf5 c5 50. g6+ Kg8 51.
Nxc5 Nxc5 52. Bxc5 1/2-1/2, Giri, Anish 2768 – Radjabov, Teimour 2726, Tashkent UZB 2014.10.20}
26.Ne3 Kd8 {Anand must defend the pawn on c7 from Carlsen’s bishop.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 26... Kd8.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 26… Kd8.


27.Nf5 c5 {The first move of the game that is not a computer suggestion. Houdini showed
27… a6 as black’s number one choice. Obviously not 27… Bxf5 because:}
( 27…Bxf5 28.gxf5 {just loses for black.} )

28.Ng3 {Carlsen is threatening to move his knight to h5 where it can attack Anand’s isolated pawn.}

28… Ne5 {Anand’s knight improves but not without presenting Carlsen with two good moves (Bxe5 or Rh8+.)}

29.Rh8+ {Carlsen’s other plan would have been to capture Anand’s knight straight away:}
( 29.Bxe5 fxe5 30.Rh8+ Rg8 31.Rh5 Rf8 32.Ke3 Bd5 33.Ne4 Bxe4
34.Kxe4 Rf4+ 35.Ke3 Rb4 36.b3 c4 37.Rxe5 cxb3 38.cxb3 Rxb3+ 39.Kf4
Rd3 40.g5 {and Carlsen’s advanced passed pawns are quite dangerous.} )


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 29. Rh8+.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 29. Rh8+.


29… Rg8 {Vishy would like to trade as Carlsen’s rook has been a monster.}

30.Bxe5 {The move order is different but the result is the same as in the notes after move 29.}

30… fxe5

31.Rh5 Bxg4 {!} {This has nothing to do with calculation and everything to do with the instincts of one of the greatest chess masters ever!}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 31... Bxg4.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 31… Bxg4.


32.fxg4 Rxg4

33.Rxe5 b6 {Anand wisely defends a pawn with a pawn rather than relegating his last piece to its defence.}

34.Ne4 Rh4 {Anand wants his rook free to defend the pawns from any rank and that means distancing it from white’s pieces.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 34... Rh4.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 34… Rh4.


35.Ke2 Rh6

36.b3 Kd7

37.Kd2 Kc6 {Anand is setting up a fortress against white’s offensive. Vishy has proven many times over that he is likely the world’s best defender in positions requiring a fortress strategy.}

38.Nc3 a6 {There will be much debate as to whether Anand’s fortress can withstand perfect play from white.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 38... a6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 38… a6.


39.Re4 Rh2+ {The rook can always move back to h6 and defend.}

40.Kc1 Rh1+

41.Kb2 Rh6

42.Nd1 Rg6 {Anand just needs to hold his present formation and not trade rooks. If the rooks leave the board, Carlsen will likely win.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 42... Rg6.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 42… Rg6.


43.Ne3 {So we have a great master of maneuvering vs a great master of the fortress!}

43… Rh6

44.Re7 Rh2 {The rook can dance a little but the pawns should not be moved unless necessary because once a pawn moves forward, it is a permanent commitment.}

45.Re6+ Kb7

46.Kc3 Rh4

47.Kb2 Rh2

48.Nd5 Rd2 {The faithful rook defends its master when the knight gets to close for comfort.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 42... Rd2.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 42… Rd2.


49.Nf6 Rf2

50.Kc3 Rf4

51.Ne4 Rh4

52.Nf2 Rh2

53.Rf6 Rh7

54.Nd3 Rh3

55.Kd2 {Carlsen has made no progress against Anand’s fortress.}


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 55. Kd2.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 55. Kd2.


55… Rh2+

56.Rf2 Rh4

57.c4 {Magnus must add a pawn into the mix if he plans on breaching Anand’s defenses.}


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 57. c4.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 57. c4.


57… Rh3

58.Kc2 Rh7

59.Nb2 Rh5

60.Re2 Rg5 {Anand’s rook is currently guarding a strong pawn on c5 because he plans to
start moving pawns forward which will make c5 a target.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 60... Rg5.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 60… Rg5.



61.Nd1 {Magnus wants his knight to get to d5.}

61… b5 {Again, Anand is trusting his instincts and changing his pawn formation.}

62.Nc3 c6 {Anand takes d5 from the knight.}

63.Ne4 Rh5

64.Nf6 Rg5 {Anand’s rook refuses to be distracted by Carlsen’s knight and continues to guard the weak pawn on c5.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 64... Rg5.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 64… Rg5.


65.Re7+ Kb6

66.Nd7+ Ka5

67.Re4 {Moves such as Re5 won’t force the exchange of rooks because Carlsen’s king is an easy target:}
( 67.Re5 Rg2+ 68.Kd3 Rg3+ 69.Kd2 Rg2+ {and black is fine.} )


Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 67. Re4.

Position after Magnus Carlsen plays 67. Re4.


67… Rg2+

68.Kc1 Rg1+

69.Kd2 Rg2+

70.Ke1 bxc4 {With white’s king far away, now is the perfect time for Anand to play this exchange and force this game into a draw.}

71.Rxc4 ( 71.bxc4 Kb4 72.Ne5 Ra2 73.Re3 a5 74.Kd1 a4 75.Kc1 Rg2
76.Nd3+ Kxc4 77.Ne1 Rf2 78.Nc2 Rg2 79.Kb2 Rd2 {Also leads to a draw.} )

71.. Rg3 {It is no accident that Anand always seems to have his rook on the perfect rank and safely away from trouble.}


Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 71... Rg3.

Position after Viswanathan Anand plays 71… Rg3.


72.Nxc5 Kb5

73.Rc2 a5

74.Kf2 Rh3

75.Rc1 Kb4 {The pawn on b3 is Carlsen’s last hope for a victory and it is doomed.}


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 75... Kb4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 75… Kb4.


76.Ke2 Rc3

77.Nd3+ {Carlsen escapes trading rooks but will lose his pawn on b3.}

77… Kxb3

78.Ra1 {At this point, Carlsen’s only hope is for Anand to blunder his rook. But his name is Magnus and he will play on!}


The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 78. Ra1.

The position after Magnus Carlsen plays 78. Ra1.


78… Kc4

79.Nf2 Kb5

80.Rb1+ Kc4 {The game is a draw unless an epic blunder occurs. Many chess players who are not world champions questioned Carlsen’s motives for playing on. Not giving up the fight is a huge part of what makes Magnus “Magnus!” and why he has been able to achieve so much in his young career. Perhaps rather than questioning Magnus Carlsen’s tenacity at the chess board, we should be enjoying it.}


The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 80... Kc4.

The position after Viswanathan Anand plays 80… Kc4.


81.Ne4 Ra3

82.Nd2+ Kd5

83.Rh1 a4

84.Rh5+ Kd4

85.Rh4+ Kc5

86.Kd1 Kb5

87.Kc2 Rg3

88.Ne4 Rg2+

89.Kd3 a3

90.Nc3+ Kb6

91.Ra4 a2

92.Nxa2 Rg3+

93.Kc2 Rg2+

94.Kb3 Rg3+

95.Nc3 Rh3

96.Rb4+ Kc7

97.Rg4 Rh7

98.Kc4 Rf7

99.Rg5 Kb6




100.Na4+ Kc7

101.Kc5 Kd7

102.Kb6 Rf1

103.Nc5+ Ke7

104.Kxc6 Rd1

105.Rg6 Kf7

106.Rh6 Rg1

107.Kd5 Rg5+

108.Kd4 Rg6

109.Rh1 Rg2

110.Ne4 Ra2




111.Rf1+ Ke7

112.Nc3 Rh2

113.Nd5+ Kd6

114.Rf6+ Kd7

115.Nf4 Rh1

116.Rg6 Rd1+

117.Nd3 Ke7

118.Ra6 Kd7

119.Ke4 Ke7

120.Rc6 Kd7

121.Rc1 Rxc1

122.Nxc1 1/2-1/2 


Finally a draw by  Insufficient Material (

With only one old knight left, this game is finally a draw by insufficient material (


If you thought this lessons was useful, please check out my analysis of:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6


and the official site for the 2014 Fide World Chess Championship Match 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.



An American in Tromso

August 12, 2014

Sam Shankland is sensational in his Chess Olympiad debut.


After eight rounds against a difficult international field, Grandmaster Sam Shankland of the United States remains undefeated in Tromso, Norway. Those of us from the United States and especially California couldn’t be prouder of our representative at the 41st Chess Olympiad. Below is my personal favorite from Sam’s play and I invite you to enjoy the game while raising a glass to the United States of America’s newest international chess star.


Sam Shankland has a lot to smile about. (photo from:

Sam Shankland has a lot to smile about these days. (photo from:


[Event “41’st Chess Olympiad”]

[Site “Tromso, Norway”]

[Date “2014.8.8”]

[Round “6”]

[White “Guillermo Vazquez”]

[Black “Samuel Shankland”]

[Result “0-1”]

[Eco “B12”]

[Annotator “Chris Torres”]


{[ CARO-KANN,B12]} 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 {Guillermo Vazquez chooses a very aggressive line as white. The idea is to add to his control on the kingside while creating threats against Shankland’s Bishop on f5. Many amateur players have allowed white to trap their bishop with pawn advances to g4, h5, and f3.}

The position after 4. h4

The position after 4. h4


h5 {Of course, there is nothing amateur about GM Sam Shankland’s chess and he chooses the best line to avoid white’s plans.}

5.Bg5 {This early bishop move gives black a nice target on “b7.” Nc3 is a fine alternative here and can be seen in the game below:}

( 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Qb6 8.Bg5 Qa6 9.Qd2 c5 10.Nf3 cxd4

11.Ne2 Nd7 12.O-O Ne7 13.Nexd4 Nc6 14.a4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Qb6 16.a5

Qa6 17.c4 Qxc4 18.Rfc1 Qb4 19.Qc2 Nc5 20.a6 Nxa6 21.Rxa6 Qxd4

22.Qc7 Bb4 23.Rxe6+ fxe6 24.Qxg7 Rf8 {…1-0, Zelcic Robert (CRO) 2564  – Bartels Hans A (NED) 2297 , Caorle 1993 It (open)})

Qb6 {Sam Shankland develops with a threat and grabs the initiative. So much for trying to play a peaceful Caro-Kann.}

6.Bd3 {!?} {Guillermo Vazquez is willing to pay the price of a pawn on “b2” or “d4” in order to gain a strong attack. In a sense, he is allowing Sam Shankland to pick his own poison.}

The position after 6. Bd3

The position after 6. Bd3


Qxd4 {Sam chooses the pesto rather than the hemlock.}

( 6…Bxd3 {was Alexei Shirov’s choice in a nice victory over Anand.}

7.Qxd3 Qa6 8.Qf3 e6 9.Ne2 c5 10.c3 Nc6 11.Nd2 Nge7 12.Nb3 cxd4

13.cxd4 Nf5 14.O-O Be7 15.Bxe7 Ncxe7 16.g3 b6 17.Nf4 g6 18.Nh3

O-O 19.Qf4 Qe2 20.Rfd1 Rac8 21.Rd2 Qg4 22.Qxg4 hxg4 23.Ng5 a5

24.f3 Rc4 25.Kf2 Rfc8 26.fxg4 {…0-1, Shirov Alexei (ESP) 2713  – Anand Viswanathan (IND) 2817 , Leon  6/ 5/2011 Match “Leon Masters”}) ( 6…Qxb2 7.Bxf5 Qxa1 8.e6 {Is probably what Guillermo Vazquez was hoping for.})

7.Nf3 {Vazquez develops with a threat and is still hoping Shankland plays Qxb2.}

Qg4 {Sam Shankland avoids his opponent’s plans while simultaneously placing the queen in a very dangerous position for white.}

( 7…Qxb2 8.Bxf5 Qxa1 9.e6 Nh6 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Bc8 Na6 12.Bh3

e5 13.O-O Bd6 14.Nfd2 Ng4 15.Bxg4 hxg4 16.Qxg4 Nc5 17.Nb3 Qxa2

18.Qf5+ Kg8 19.Nc3 Qa6 20.Nxc5 Bxc5 21.Qe6+ Kh7 22.h5 Qc4 23.h6

Rhg8 24.Qf5+ Kh8 25.Qh3 g6 26.Bf6+ Kh7 27.Qd7+ {…1-0, Kislinsky Alexey (UKR) 2495  – Krutul Piotr (POL) 1854 , Warsaw 12/16/2006 Ch Europe (active)})

The position after 7... Qg4

The position after 7… Qg4



8.O-O {White’s best move is to castle into danger. Below is fine example of strong play for black had white chosen to play Nc3 instead.}

( 8.Nc3 e6 9.O-O Nd7 10.Bxf5 Qxf5 11.Re1 Be7 12.Nd4 Qg4 13.Qd2

Bc5 14.Nb3 Be7 15.Nd4 Bxg5 16.hxg5 h4 17.f3 Qh5 18.Rad1 Ne7 19.Ne4

O-O 20.Nf2 a6 21.b4 Qh7 22.Ng4 Nf5 23.c4 Rfd8 24.c5 a5 25.bxa5

Nxd4 26.Qxd4 Rxa5 27.Re2 Rxc5 {…0-1, Malykh Yuriy A (RUS) 2140  – Airapetian Gor (RUS) 2451 , Lipetsk  3/28/2010 Ch Region})

Bxd3 {Sam decides to exchange the bishop which lacks scope for his opponent’s most active piece.}

( 8…e6 9.Be2 Qb4 10.c4 Ne7 11.Nc3 dxc4 12.Nd2 b5 13.a4 Nd7 14.axb5 cxb5 15.Nxb5 Nd5 16.Nxc4 Be7 17.Nbd6+ {1-0, Robson Ray (USA) 2466 – Rowley Robert (USA) 2234, Tulsa (USA) 2008.03.30})

9.Qxd3 {Vazquez recaptures while developing rather than attempting to restablish a pawn on “d4” by playing cxd3.}

e6 {Sam Shankland creates a standard Caro-Kann pawn structure in route to playing Be7.}

10.Nbd2 {The knight is better placed here rather than on “c3” because white will want to have the ability to move his c-pawn soon.}

Be7 {Shankland is a solid pawn up but will have to defend accurately in order to achieve victory against Vazquez’s dynamic style.}

11.c4 {Guillermo Vazquez is a very bold chess player.}

The position after 11. c4

The position after 11. c4


11… Bxg5

12.Nxg5 Ne7

13.Qb3 {The real reason behind “11. c4.”}

b6 {Shankland is playing very accurately when it counts the most.}

The position after 13... b6

The position after 13… b6


14.cxd5 cxd5

15.Rac1 Nbc6 {Sam’s defensive skills are exceptional.}

16.f4 {Vazquez is striking furiously on all sides of the board.}

The position after 16. f4

The position after 16. f4


Rc8 {Shankland is performing perfectly under heavy fire.}

17.Qd3 Nf5

18.Ndf3 O-O {Sam Shankland has survived unscathed! Unfortunately for Guillermo Vazquez, his brute-force attacking style has left plenty of holes in his position.}

The position after 18... 0-0

The position after 18… 0-0


19.Nh2 Qg3 {At this point, trading queens is no longer an option for white.}



The position after 20. Qd1

The position after 20. Qd1


20… Nxe5 {!} {Now it is Shankland’s turn to attack.}

21.Rxc8 {if} ( 21.fxe5 {then} Qe3+ 22.Rf2 Rxc1 {!} )

Rxc8 22.fxe5 {There are alternatives for white but they would just elongate the misery.}

Qe3+ {!} {Now Vazquez can either drop a queen, get checkmated or resign. He chooses the latter.}








What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?

October 22, 2013
The position before move 22. Qxf4!!!!

The position before move 22. Qxf4!!!!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

My answer to “What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?” as asked on Quora.

Before I explain my choice for the best sacrifice in the history of chess, I need to elaborate on the difference between: 1) what is the best move? and 2) what is a beautiful sacrifice? I define “beauty” in chess as a move played for the sake of art and not of necessity. Exciting moves should not be confused with beauty as exciting play is often the only correct path hidden by more natural looking moves. Many refer to such moves as “beautiful” but if a computer had played it the move would just be considered “best.” Therefor, a beautiful sacrifice in chess should be a move which loses material in route to a win for the sake of art and not because the position requires the piece to be sacrificed for victory to be achieved. It is my hope that what is “best” according to a computer will never become the standard for what is “beautiful” to a human.

Below is my favorite example of when the most beautiful piece sacrifice is not considered best by a computer, but still remains an ultimate achievement in human chess:

[Event “Ch Western”]

[Site “Detroit (USA)”]

[Date “1924”]

[Round “”]

[White “Torre Carlos (MEX)”]

[Black “Banks Newell”]

[Result “1-0”]

[Eco “A46”]

[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

[Source “”]

{[ 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3,A46] Torre Carlos (MEX) +4 =2 -0 Banks Newell +0 =0 -1 Torre Carlos (MEX)-Banks Newell +1 =0 -0}

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 {Carlos Torre delays his signature Bg5 for one move. The opening with 1. d4 2. Nf3 and 3. Bg5 is known as the Torre Attack.}

Bf5 4.Bg5 Ne4 {Some other moves worth thinking about are:}

( 4…Nbd7 5.Nh4 Bg6 6.Nxg6 hxg6 7.e4 c6 8.Be3 Qa5 9.f3 e5 10.Qd2

Be7 11.O-O-O exd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Ne2 Nb6 15.Nc1 c5 16.Nb3

Qa4 17.e5 cxd4 18.exf6 Bxf6 19.Re1+ Kf8 20.Nxd4 Rh5 21.Nb3 Rd5

22.Qf4 Qc6 23.Bd3 Na4 24.Be4 {…0-1, Hebden Mark (ENG) 2550  – Hanley Craig (ENG) 2396 , Halifax 2003 Ch Great Britain (active)}


( 4…c6 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.e4 Bc8 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Qd2 Re8

10.Rfe1 Nd7 11.Rad1 a6 12.Ne2 Nf8 13.h3 b5 14.Ng3 g6 15.Nf1 Bb7

16.Ne3 d5 17.exd5 cxd5 18.Ng4 Bc8 19.Rxe7 Qxe7 20.Re1 Be6 21.Qf4

Nd7 22.Nh6+ Kh8 23.g4 Qf8 24.g5 {…0-1, Tasic Zoran (SRB) 2200  – Radlovacki Jovan (SRB) 2407 , Belgrade  1/24/2010 Ch City (open)}


( 4…d5 5.Nh4 Be6 6.Qd3 c6 7.f4 Ne4 8.f5 Nxg5 9.fxe6 Nxe6

10.O-O-O g6 11.e4 Bg7 12.exd5 Nf4 13.Qg3 Nxd5 14.Nf5 Bf6 15.Nh6

Nxc3 16.bxc3 Qa5 17.h4 Nd7 18.Bc4 Rf8 19.Rhe1 Qa3+ 20.Kb1 Nb6

21.Bb3 O-O-O 22.Ng4 a5 23.Ne5 Bxe5 24.Rxe5 {…0-1, Hebden Mark (ENG) 2567  – McShane Luke J (ENG) 2531 , Southend 2001 It “Redbus” (KO-system)}


5.Nxe4 Bxe4 6.Nd2 {A clever retreat which allows Carlos Torre to dominate the center.}

Bg6 7.e4 {Carlos Torre has established complete control of the center.}

f6 {Mr. Banks is trying to be a little too clever here. Better would have been just attacking the center with “d5.”}

( 7…d5 8.Bd3 c6 9.Qg4 dxe4 10.Bxe4 Nd7 11.O-O-O Nf6 12.Bxf6

gxf6 13.f4 Bxe4 14.Nxe4 Qd7 15.f5 O-O-O 16.Kb1 Qd5 17.Rhe1 e6

18.fxe6 f5 19.Qh3 fxe6 20.Ng5 Re8 21.Re5 Qd7 22.Rde1 Bg7 23.Rxe6

Rxe6 24.Nxe6 Re8 25.Qxf5 Bxd4 26.a3 Bb6 27.g4 {…0-1, Miles Anthony J (ENG) 2600  – Hickl Joerg (GER) 2535 , Calcutta 1994 It (open)}


( 7…c6 8.f4 f6 9.Bh4 e6 10.Bd3 Na6 11.O-O Be7 12.f5 exf5

13.exf5 Bf7 14.Bxa6 bxa6 15.Qe2 O-O 16.Qxa6 Qb6 17.Qd3 d5 18.b3

Ba3 19.Rae1 Rfe8 20.c3 a5 21.Nf3 Qb5 22.Qd2 Bd6 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8

24.Re1 Ra8 25.Bg3 Bf8 26.h3 a4 27.b4 {…1-0, Miles Anthony J (ENG) 2590  – Pedzich Dominik (POL) 2435 , Cappelle la Grande 1998 It (open)}


( 7…h6 8.Bh4 Qd7 9.Bd3 e5 10.c3 Be7 11.Bg3 exd4 12.cxd4 O-O

13.O-O d5 14.Qb3 dxe4 15.Bxe4 Bxe4 16.Nxe4 b6 17.Rfd1 Nc6 18.d5

Na5 19.Qe3 Rfe8 20.Rac1 Bg5 21.f4 Bd8 22.Qf3 f5 23.Nf2 Bf6 24.Nd3

Re4 25.Ne5 Qd6 26.Qh5 Rf8 27.Qxf5 {…1-0, Tregubov Pavel V (RUS) 2602  – Honfi Karoly (HUN) 2365 , Hungary 1992 It (open) “Duna Kupa”}


8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 {White’s pieces and pawns are better.}

( 9.c3 Qc8 10.h4 d5 11.h5 Bf7 12.Bd3 Nc6 13.Qf3 Qd7 14.exd5 exd5

15.h6 Bg6 16.Bf4 O-O-O 17.O-O-O Ne7 18.hxg7 Bxg7 19.Nf1 Qa4 20.Kb1

Be4 21.Bxe4 dxe4 22.Qe2 Nd5 23.Ng3 Rde8 24.Bc1 Qd7 25.Rh5 Kb8

26.Rdh1 Rhf8 27.Nxe4 f5 28.Nc5 Qc6 {…1-0, Tregubov Pavel V (RUS) 2545  – Van Esch Sebastian (NED) 2206 , Groningen 1994 It (open)}


Be7 10.Qg4 {Despite the fairly tame opening that is named after him, Carlos Torre was a master of attacking chess.}

Qd7 11.O-O {The three opening goals are:^013^010

} {1) Maintain a center pawn.^013^010


{2) Castle^013^010

} {3) Unify Rooks.^013^010

} {Carlos Torre has accomplished all three. Black has accomplished none.}

e5 12.Qg3 exd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 {Black forces some concessions but still has not accomplished any of the three opening goals.}

14.Bc3 O-O-O 15.b4 {Again, we see Carlos Torre play extremely aggressively.}

Rdf8 {And again we see Mr. Banks fail to thrust his pawn to “d5.”}

16.b5 Nd8 17.Qe3 b6 {?} {Defending by playing Kb8 would have not created weaknesses around black’s king.}

18.a4 {Carlos Torre controls the center so he focusing on a flank attack. Attacking on

the flank with “pawn storms” is an important strategy when the two players are castled on opposite sides of the board.}

Qg4 19.a5 Ne6 20.axb6 axb6 21.Bc4 Nf4 {Black finally has a serious threat of his own. I imagine he was expecting pawn to g3 or Queen to g3.} {%08DA}

22.Qxf4 {!!!!!} {

And now we have the most beautiful sacrifice ever played on a chessboard. The

strongest chess engines of 2013 still fail to completely comprehend the winning lines which are forced to follow.}

Qxf4 23.Be6+ {!} Kb7 {?} {mate in 9!} ( 23…Kb8 {This would be better but there still is no escape for black.}

24.Bd5 c6 25.bxc6 Bf7 ( 25…Rc8 26.Rfb1 Rxc6 27.Bxc6 Kc7 28.Bd5

Rb8 29.Nf3 Bxe4 30.Bxe4 Qxe4 31.Re1 ) 26.Ra6 Bxd5 27.exd5 Qg5

( 27…Qf5 28.Rxb6+ Kc8 29.Ra6 Qxd5 30.Ba5 Qb5 31.Ra8+ Qb8 32.Rxb8+

Kxb8 33.Rb1+ Kc8 34.Rb7 d5 35.Rxe7 Re8 36.Rxg7 Re1+ 37.Nf1 Rb1

38.Rc7+ Kb8 39.Rf7 Re8 40.Rxf6 Ra1 41.Bd2 d4 42.Rf7 {and white wins easily.}

) 28.Rxb6+ Kc7 29.Rb7+ Kd8 30.Nc4 Ke8 31.Re1 )

24.Bd5+ c6 25.Bxc6+

{?} {Slightly inaccurate. Better was bxc6+.} ( 25.bxc6+ Kb8 26.Ra8+

Kc7 27.Ra7+ Kd8 28.Rd7+ Ke8 29.Ra1 Bd8 30.Ra8 Qxf2+ 31.Kxf2 b5

32.Raxd8# )

Kc8 26.Ra8+ Kc7 27.Ra7+ Kc8 28.g3 {Again a slight inaccuracy.}

( 28.Nc4 d5 29.Nxb6+ Kd8 30.Nxd5 Qxh2+ 31.Kxh2 Bd6+ 32.e5 Bf5

33.Ra8+ Bc8 34.Ba5+ Bc7 35.Bxc7# )

Qg4 29.Rfa1 Kd8 30.Bd4 {and black resigned as there is no way to stop mate.}


Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 6

May 19, 2012

Game six of the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand began in exactly the same manner as games two and four. By move six, Boris Gelfand decided to try a different line against Anand’s Semi-Slav.  The real fun began when Anand decided to gambit a pawn on move 14. Unfazed by his opponent’s ingenuity, Gelfand guided the position into a “soft landing” and another draw. Below are my light comments on the game:

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.18”]

[Round “6”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[Opening “Semi-Slav”]

1. d4 {Boris Gelfand continues to start with 1 d4.} d5 2. c4 c6 {Again, Anand plays 2 c6.} 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 {A Semi-Slav as in games two and four.} 5. Nf3 a6 {Anand has been liking this Chebanenko style move.} 6. Qc2 {Boris Gelfand chooses to play Qc2. In games two and four he played b3.} c5 {Anand starts the action. Nbd7 is more conservative but very popular.} 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Be2 {8 dxc5 scores poorly for white.} Be6 9. O-O Nc6 10. Rd1 cxd4 {Nb4 here has been producing good results for black. If white responds with 11. Qd2 then black can play Ne4. If white plays 11. Qb1 then Qc8 is best. We may see Anand use this line later in the match.} 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Rxd4 {exd4 looks more natural but leaves white with an isolated pawn.} Bc5 {Develop with threats.} 13. Rd1 Qe7 {This is from Elkin-Jakovljevic 2010. Black won in that encounter. Since then there has been 1 win for white and 1 draw from this position.} 14. Bf3 O-O {Here is something new. In the three other games, black has played Rd8 in order to add a defender to d5. Anand is willing to lose the pawn and play a gambit. In other words, Viswanathan Anand is definately trying for a win.} 15. Nxd5 {Taking with the knight or bishop leads to the same result.} Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rxd5 Rac8 {The point of the gambit. Now black has a dangerous discovered attack.} 18. Bd2 {Boris Gelfand plays the best move. Qd3 would allow Anand even more dangerous development with Rfd8.} Bxe3 {Anand gets his pawn back.} 19. Bc3 Bb6 20. Qf5 Qe6 21. Qf3 {If Qxe6 then Bxf2+.} f6 22. h4 {Kind of odd. Most strong players would play Rab1 and thus stack their rooks.} Qc6 23. h5 {Now we see the Boris intends to keep Anand’s pawns where they are on the dark squares.} Rfd8 24. Rxd8+ Rxd8 25. Qxc6 bxc6 26. Re1 Kf7 27. g4 Bd4 28. Rc1 Bxc3 29. Rxc3 Rd4 {In Anand-Gelfand 2012 this is a draw. If I was playing Anand or Gelfand, I am sure they could teach me how to lose from here.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 1

May 11, 2012

Round 1 of the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand was a spectacular contest. My only disappointment with the game is that it did not last longer.

Anand, as I had predicted, played 1. d4 to kick things off. It was Boris Gelfand’s choice of the Grunfeld Defense which surprised chess enthusiasts the world over. Gelfand, as far as I can tell, has never employed this opening in a serious game. The game quickly becomes complicated and the contestants rise to the occasion with very precise moves. I consider the draw to be a psychological win for Anand as he played very well against his opponent’s preparation. On the other side of the coin, Boris Gelfand must be pleased to get a half point with the black pieces as drawing with black and winning with white is a grand master recipe for success.


[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow RUS”]

[Date “2012.05.11”]

[Round “1”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “D85”]

[Opening “Grünfeld”]


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Bb5+ {Rb1 is a favorite among players of the white pieces.} Nc6 9. d5 Qa5 {Black has scored better than white in this line. Its a good choice by Gelfand.} 10. Rb1 {White has only won 27% of the time from here. But as we see later, Anand is at home in this position.} a6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. O-O Qxa2 13. Rb2 {This move is an invention by Anand. Both should be in unchartered territory here. However, I get the feeling that Gelfand had even prepared for this.} Qa5 14. d6 Ra7 15. Bg5 exd6 16. Qxd6 Rd7 17. Qxc6 Qc7 18. Qxc7 Rxc7 19. Bf4 Rb7 20. Rc2 {Ra2 would have been a more aggressive choice.} O-O 21. Bd6 Re8 22. Nd2 f5 {I was surprised by this move. But why not? Anand has no pieces that use light diagonals left.} 23. f3 fxe4 24. Nxe4 Bf5 {I like black’s position better here. Too bad the game did not continue. It could have been a very interesting endgame study.} 1/2-1/2

2009 Tal Memorial: Round 6

November 11, 2009

Today Kramnik  was able to win his game multiple times do to inaccurate play on both his and Ponomariov’s part.  I am in shock that the same Kramnik that missed 19.Qxh7+ played such a precise endgame.  Thanks to Ponomariov, Kramnik was able to pull ahead of Anand and is now in first place all by himself.

[Event “Tal Memorial”]
[Site “0:10:33-0:08:33”]
[Date “2009.11.11”]
[EventDate “?”]
[Round “6”]
[Result “1-0”]
[White “V Kramnik”]
[Black “R Ponomariov”]
[ECO “D38”]
[WhiteElo “?”]
[BlackElo “?”]

1.d4 e6{Nots by Chris Torres} 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5{Kramnik elects not to develop his bishop to e2,d3 or b5 and instead plays a sharp variation that leaves his King in the middle of the board.} Qa5 9.Rc1 Ne4 10.Qxd5 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bxc3+ 12.Kd1 O-O 13.Bc4 Nf6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Ke2 b5{I think this is a mistake. Perhaps Ponomariov could have played: 15…Be6 16.Qe4 Rae8 17.Rhd1 Bh3 18.Qxb7 Bxg2 19.Qd7 Rb8 20.Bb3 Rbd8 21.Qa4 Qc7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 with equal chances} 16.c6 Ba6 17.Qf5 Qa3{This is a serious mistake. Ponomariov shpould have played:17…Bb2 18.Rc2 g6 19.Qc5 Ba3 20.Qg5 Be7 21.Qe5 Bd6 and the players are dead even.}  18.Bd3 Rfd8 19.c7{I can’t beleive Kramnik missed 19.Qxh7+ Kf8 20.c7Qxa2 21.Kf1. Its is always very interesting to see the mind of a chess genius play tricks on itself.} Qxa2+ 20.Nd2 Rxd3{Ponomariov is right back in the game thanks to Kramnik’s mistake on move 19.} 21.Qxd3 b4 22.Kf3 Bb7+{This is not accurate. Ponomariov should have played 22…Qa5 23.Qd6 Bb7 24.Ke2 Ba6 25.Ke1 Rc8 26.f3 Be5} 23.Kg3 h5 24.h3{f4 would be better. Play could continue 24…Rc8 25.Rhd1 Qe6 26.Rhd1 Bc6 27.Qc4 Rxc7 28.Qxb4 Qg4 with Kramnik clearly superior.} Qa5 25.f4 Rc8 26.Nc4 Qa6 27.Ne5 Qxd3 28.Nxd3 Bc3 29.Rhd1 a5 30.Nc5 Rxc7 31.Na4 Be4 32.Rd6{Kramnik makes a huge mistake. Luckily Ponomariov does not punish him with 32…Bc2! 33.Nxc3 Rxc3 34.Rb6 Rc4 35.Rb8 Kh7 36.Rb5 a4 37.Rxb4 Rxb4 38.Rxc2 a3 39.Ra2 Rb3 40.e5 Rxe3 41.Kf4 Rb3 42.Ke5 Kh6 43.h4 g6 44.fxg6 Kxg6 45.Kd4 Kf6 46.Kc4 Re3} Kh7{Missed the opportunity for 32…Bc2! see previous note} 33.Ra6 h4+ 34.Kh2 Rd7 35.Nc5 Re7 36.Rxa5 Bd2 37.Rc4 f5{This is a horrible mistake. It must be Kramnik’s lucky day! Play should have continued with 37…b3 38.Nxb3 Bxa5 39.Nxa5 Re6 40.Rd4 f5.} 38.Nxe4 fxe4 39.Rh5+ Kg6 40.Rg5+ Kf6 41.Rc6+ Kf7 42.Rf5+ Kg8 43.g4 Re8 44.Re5 Rb8 45.g5 Kh7 46.Re7 Bxe3 47.Rh6+ Kg8 48.Rg6 Bd4 49.Rge6 Kh7{It really is Kramnik’s lucky day. Ponomariov should have played 49…Bc5 and now Kramnik will punish him.} 50.f5 Bc5 51.Re8 Rxe8 52.Rxe8 b3 53.Kg2 Be3 54.Rxe4{The moves that follow are beautiful to watch. Even god using Deep Rybka would not have had a chance. I love the final position. Zugzwang anyone?}  Bxg5 55.Rb4 g6 56.Rb7+ Kh6 57.fxg6 Kxg6 58.Kf3 Bd2 59.Kg4 Be1 60.Rxb3 Bg3 61.Rf3 Be1 62.Re3 Bf2 63.Re6+ Kf7 64.Kf5 Bg3 65.Re4 Bf2 66.Kg5 Bg3 67.Re2 Kg7 68.Re7+ Kf8 69.Kf6 Bf2 70.Re6 Bg3 71.Kg6 Bh2 72.Re4 Bg3 73.Kf6 Bf2 74.Kg6 Bg3 75.Re2 Bd6 76.Kg5 Bg3 77.Kf6 Bf4 78.Re4 Bd6 79.Rd4 Bc7 80.Kg6 Bg3 81.Re4  1-0

(Table below aquired from

Tal Memorial Moscow (RUS), 5-14 xi 2009 cat. XXI (2764)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
1. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2772 * ½ ½ . ½ . 1 1 . 1 2958
2. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2788 ½ * . ½ ½ . ½ . 1 1 4 2884
3. Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2758 ½ . * . ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ . 2823
4. Ivanchuk, Vassily g UKR 2739 . ½ . * ½ . ½ 1 ½ ½ 2821
5. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2801 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ . ½ . . 3 2765
6. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2786 . . 0 . ½ * ½ ½ 1 ½ 3 2759
7. Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2739 0 ½ ½ ½ . ½ * . . ½ 2709
8. Morozevich, Alexander g RUS 2750 0 . ½ 0 ½ ½ . * ½ . 2 2643
9. Leko, Peter g HUN 2752 . 0 ½ ½ . 0 . ½ * ½ 2 2637
10. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2754 0 0 . ½ . ½ ½ . ½ * 2 2637

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