World Chess Championship Match! Anand-Carlsen

Tue, 2013-11-12 12:35 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "World Chess Championship Match"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.11.09"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D78"]
[WhiteElo "2870"]
[BlackElo "2775"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "32"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]

{If you didn't know that the World Chess Championship was on now in Chennai
then you've probably been living under a rock for the last six months! It's
two games into the match between the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand
and the challenger Magnus Carlsen - both games were drawn, and quite quickly
at that! I'll still go through those games briefly but in this post I'll be
concentrating on the games played between the two combatants prior to the
match.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 {Carlsen opts for a safe system to ease his way into
the match, but Anand proves to be very well prepared here as well.} g6 {With
this move Black commits himself to a Grunfeld setup if White switches to d4/c4
as Carlsen did in the game.} 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 (4. O-O e5 {is what Anand was
presumably aiming for.}) 4... c6 (4... Nf6 {is the normal option, but Anand's
move is more ambitious.}) 5. O-O (5. c4 dxc4 {might well prove to be a real
gambit for White.}) 5... Nf6 6. b3 O-O 7. Bb2 (7. c4 dxc4 8. bxc4 c5 {is
considered fine for Black, who gets pressure against White's central pawns.})
7... Bf5 8. c4 Nbd7 9. Nc3 {This is a natural-looking move, but Black is
extremely comfortable after his active reply in the game.} (9. cxd5 cxd5 10.
Nc3) (9. Nbd2 {was correct if White wanted to keep the tension in the position,
though White can't pretend to be better here either.}) 9... dxc4 (9... Ne4 {is
the most common continuation, but} 10. e3 Nxc3 11. Bxc3 {gives White some
chances of an edge, and also the sort of long struggle that Carlsen seems to
be aiming for in the match.}) 10. bxc4 Nb6 {This is the key point - White
can't keep control of the c4-square.} 11. c5 (11. Qb3 Be6 {doesn't work out
well for White, who can't keep both c4 and d4 guarded.}) 11... Nc4 12. Bc1 (12.
Qb3 {looks more normal but in my view is inferior:} Be6 13. Qc2 ({Not} 13. Ng5
Qxd4 14. Nxe6 fxe6) 13... b6 {and Black has nice pressure on White's centre.})
12... Nd5 {This is an appropriate continuation given the match situation as
White can't avoid a repetition if Black wants it.} (12... e5 {looked very
logical to me during the game, and indeed} 13. Qb3 exd4 14. Rd1 Nd5 15. Nxd4
Na5 16. Qb2 Nc4 17. Qb3 Na5 {would be a similar draw by repetition to the game.
}) (12... Qa5 {has also been suggested and this seems a good alternative to
the game. For instance} 13. Qb3 Be6 14. Qc2 Rad8 {and the position is very
complex but probably balanced.}) 13. Qb3 Na5 (13... b5 {was the way to go if
Black wanted to play for a win. The computers prefer Black but I'm not so sure.
} 14. cxb6 (14. a4) 14... Na5 15. Qb2 axb6 16. e4 Nxc3 17. exf5 Bxd4 18. Bh6 {
and the position is far from clear.}) 14. Qa3 Nc4 15. Qb3 Na5 16. Qa3 Nc4 (
16... Nc4 17. Qb3 (17. Qa4 {fails to the tactical device} Nxc3 (17... Bxd4) 18.
Qxc4 Bxd4 19. Bb2 Be6 20. Qd3 Bg7 {and Black defends his pieces to remain a
pawn up for nothing.})) 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Morelia/Linares 24th"]
[Site "Morelia/Linares"]
[Date "2007.02.19"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus Øen"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D47"]
[WhiteElo "2690"]
[BlackElo "2779"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2007.02.17"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[EventCategory "20"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2007.03.30"]

{Carlsen's early games against Anand were not all that successful for him, but
this is not so surprising given that Anand was in near peak form from
2007-2008 while Carlsen was still rising up the ranks. However the following
game almost reminds us of the wizardry Carlsen is capable of today!} 1. d4 d5
2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bd6 {
The idea of this move is to prepare the central break ...e5, rather than the ..
.c5 break that tends to occur in the Meran.} 9. O-O O-O 10. b3 {Perhaps
surprised by Anand's decision, Carlsen opts for a solid continuation.} (10. Qc2
Bb7 11. a3 {is the main continuation, which has been extensively debated in GM
practice.}) 10... Bb7 11. Bb2 a6 12. Ne4 (12. a4 b4 13. Ne4 {seems like a
refinement, as} Nxe4 14. Bxe4 Nf6 15. Bd3 c5 16. dxc5 Bxc5 {now looks good for
White who might use the c4-square for his pieces or even fix the a6-pawn with
a5.}) 12... Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Nf6 14. Bc2 c5 15. dxc5 Bxc5 16. Ng5 (16. Qe2 {was a
simpler and perhaps more apt continuation.}) 16... Qxd1 17. Raxd1 Kh8 {This
move prevents the threat of Bxf6.} 18. g3 (18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Rd7 fxg5 20. Rxb7
{would lead to an equal position.}) 18... h6 19. Bxf6 hxg5 20. Bb2 Rac8 {Now
Black even has a slight initiative, with possibilities of ...Bf3 and ...g4 to
assert his dominance over the kingside.} 21. Rc1 Rfd8 22. Rfd1 Bf3 23. Rxd8+
Rxd8 {Objectively this position is a draw, but only Black can win from here
and it's not pleasant to have to play against this mighty bishop on f3!} 24. a3
b4 25. a4 f5 26. Kf1 f4 27. Be4 {White jumps at the opportunity to reach an
opposite-coloured bishops position, but this only compounds his problems.} (27.
gxf4 gxf4 28. exf4 Rd2 29. Bg6 Rxf2+ 30. Ke1 {would lead to a perpetual check
as Black lacks the attacking forces to mate the White king, and if the
c5-bishop moves then Rc8 is embarrassing.}) 27... Bxe4 28. Rxc5 Rd1+ 29. Ke2
Rb1 30. Bc1 f3+ 31. Kd1 Rxb3 {This endgame is winning for Black because
White's bishop is so passive and Black has a very strong passed b-pawn.} 32.
Rc4 Bd3 33. Rc8+ Kh7 34. e4 Rb1 35. Kd2 Bxe4 {Two pawns will easily be
sufficient to win.} 36. Ke3 Bd5 37. Bd2 Rb3+ 38. Kd4 Rb2 39. Be3 Re2 40. Rc1
Ba2 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Linares 26th"]
[Site "Linares"]
[Date "2009.02.25"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus Øen"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D45"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2791"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "153"]
[EventDate "2009.02.19"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[EventCategory "21"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2009.03.25"]

{Carlsen's first win against Anand in a classical game didn't occur until 2009,
when Carlsen was already firmly in the top 5 in the world. This win is a
fantastic example of Carlsen's endgame technique, where he is unparallelled.}
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 Nxg4 8. Rg1
Qf6 9. Rxg4 Qxf3 10. Rxg7 Nf6 11. h3 Qf5 {I don't want to dwell on the theory
of this line but} (11... h6 {prevents Rg5 and should give Black a fine game.})
12. Qxf5 exf5 13. cxd5 cxd5 {I'm surprised that Anand went for this structure
as it seems fairly clear that the doubled f-pawns and d5-pawn are a problem
for him. Perhaps he thought he could hold the position easily, but that proves
to not be the case.} 14. Nb5 Bb4+ 15. Bd2 Bxd2+ 16. Kxd2 {The exchange of
dark-squared bishops favours White as the remaining Black bishop is stuck
behind the d5- and f5-pawns.} Ke7 17. Bd3 Be6 18. Nc7 {An interesting decision
to swap off the bad bishop on e6, which is somewhat reminiscent of the famous
Fischer-Petrosian game I analysed on this blog a while ago!} (18. Rc1 Rac8 19.
Rxc8 Rxc8 {meanwhile wouldn't improve White's position much.}) 18... Rag8 19.
Nxe6 Kxe6 20. Rxg8 Nxg8 (20... Rxg8 {was obvious and correct; perhaps Black
was worried about} 21. Rc1 {and Rc7, but} Rg2 22. Ke2 Rh2 23. Rc7 Rxh3 24. Rxb7
Ng4 {and ...Rh2 provides sufficient counterplay.}) 21. Ke2 Ne7 22. Kf3 {Here
the king is very well placed in preventing Black from undoubling his pawns
with ...f4 at some point.} Rc8 23. a4 {Another example of Carlsen's excellent
technique - he recognises that Black's occupation of the c-file is worthless
as the Black rook has no entry points, and proceeds to gain more queenside
space before improving his position on the kingside.} Rc7 24. a5 h6 (24... Ng6
{may have been a better defence, to make it as hard as possible for White to
play h4.}) 25. h4 Kf6 26. h5 {Now the h6-pawn is also fixed as a possible
weakness, if White can get to it.} Nc8 (26... Kg5 27. Rg1+ Kxh5 28. Kf4 {sees
the Black king getting mated with Be2 and Rh1!}) 27. Kf4 Nd6 28. Rg1 Rc8 29. f3
Ke6 30. Rg7 Rh8 {Now Carlsen nicely increases the pressure by manoeuvring his
bishop to attack the d5-pawn. White can't increase the pressure on f5 in any
event.} 31. Bc2 Rc8 32. Bb3 Rh8 33. Rg1 Rc8 34. Rg7 Rh8 35. Rg2 Rc8 36. Rg1 {
Remarkably this is already a zugzwang position - Black must make some sort of
weakening move.} Ne8 (36... Nc4 {was more obvious but inferior because of} 37.
Bxc4 dxc4 38. Ra1 {and here Ra4-b4-b5 will be a big problem.}) 37. e4 fxe4 38.
fxe4 {Black may have undoubled his pawns, but his remaining pawns on d5, f7
and h6 are all a bit weak.} Nf6 39. e5 Ne4 40. Ke3 b6 {Finally Black commits
an error and creates another weakness on the queenside.} ({After} 40... Ng5 {
it isn't so easy to make further progress as the knight can cover all the
entry points on the kingside by moving between e4 and g5.}) 41. axb6 axb6 42.
Kd3 (42. Bd1 {and Bg4 was also possible, but I prefer Carlsen's move.}) 42...
Nf2+ 43. Ke2 Ne4 44. Ke3 f6 45. Rg6 Rc1 46. Rxh6 {I'll stop my notes at this
point as we've seen the main point I wanted to demonstrate - Carlsen's
strength in turning seemingly impregnable positions into wins - but the rook
endgame after} (46. exf6 Nxf6 47. Bxd5+ Kxd5 ({or} 47... Kf5 48. Bg2) 48. Rxf6
{is winning for White.}) 46... Rh1 47. Bc2 Rh3+ 48. Kf4 Rh4+ 49. Kf3 Nd2+ 50.
Ke2 Rh2+ 51. Kd1 Nc4 52. Rxf6+ Ke7 53. Bg6 Rd2+ 54. Kc1 Rxd4 55. b3 Nxe5 56.
Rxb6 Rh4 57. Bf5 Nf3 58. h6 Nd4 59. h7 Nxf5 60. Rb8 Nd4 61. Kb2 Kd6 62. h8=Q
Rxh8 63. Rxh8 Kc5 64. Rh5 Nc6 65. Rh4 Nb4 66. Ka3 d4 67. Rh5+ Nd5 68. Kb2 Kc6
69. Ka3 Kc5 70. Rh4 Nb4 71. Rh8 Nc6 72. Rh5+ Kd6 73. b4 d3 74. Rh3 Ne5 75. Kb3
d2 76. Kc2 Nc6 77. Rh4 1-0[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Supreme Masters 2013"]
[Site "Sandnes NOR"]
[Date "2013.05.09"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus Øen"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B51"]
[WhiteElo "2868"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "118"]
[EventDate "2013.05.08"]

{To conclude this post I'll show a recent draw between the two players. By the
way I'll be blogging twice a week especially for the World Championships, so
stay tuned for another update in three or four days time!} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6
3. Bb5+ {Carlsen normally prefers Anti-Sicilians to Open Sicilians as they
offer good chances of getting a quiet, strategic position where the stronger
player will win.} Nd7 {I agree with Tiviakov's recent view that it is
difficult for Black to play for a win after the alternatives 3...Bd7 and 3...
Nc6.} 4. d4 (4. O-O a6 5. Bd3 {had been Carlsen's choice in another game in
this tournament, with the idea of playing in Lopez style with c3, Bc2 and d4.})
4... cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4 (7. O-O {is more common, keeping open
options of playing either c4 or Nc3, but not a real problem after say} Rc8 8.
Nc3 e5 {.}) 7... e5 8. Qd3 b5 9. Nc3 ({In a similar position I once tried} 9.
Na3 {but I don't think the knight is that logically placed on a3 if Black
keeps the queenside tension.}) 9... bxc4 10. Qxc4 Be6 11. Qd3 h6 12. O-O Nf6
13. Rd1 {I doubt that White is objectively better here, but this middlegame is
quite interesting with White having a queenside initiative and solid control
of d5 while Black has the bishops and a central majority.} Be7 14. Ne1 {A very
sensible move, preparing Nc2-e3 to maximise White's control of d5 before Black
can consider ...d5.} O-O 15. Nc2 Qb6 16. Ne3 Rfc8 17. b3 a5 18. Bd2 Qa6 19. Be1
Nd7 20. f3 {It's not clear where Black went wrong, and yet White seems to be a
bit better with very good control over d5 while Black's counterplay is rather
absent.} Rc6 21. Qxa6 Rcxa6 (21... Raxa6 {is the correct recapture, to
maintain control over the open c-file.}) 22. Ned5 Bd8 23. Nb5 Rc8 24. Bf2 Kh7 (
24... Rc2 {was more to the point, striving for active counterplay.}) 25. Kf1
Rcc6 26. Rac1 Bg5 27. Rc3 {After Carlsen misses his chance on this mvoe, the
game steers closer to a draw.} (27. Rxc6 Rxc6 28. Ndc7 {would have won a pawn,
in light of} Be7 29. Be1 {and a5 cannot be defended.}) 27... Bxd5 28. Rxd5 Rxc3
29. Nxc3 Rc6 30. Be1 Nc5 {White is still better, but the worst is over for
Black and he hung on in the end.} 31. Nb5 Nb7 32. h4 Be3 33. Ke2 Bc5 34. h5 Bb4
35. Bd2 g6 36. a3 Bxd2 37. hxg6+ Kxg6 38. Kxd2 h5 39. g3 f6 40. Na7 Rc7 41. Nb5
Rc6 42. Ke2 Kf7 43. b4 axb4 44. axb4 Ke6 45. Rd3 Rc4 46. Rb3 d5 47. Kd3 Rc6 48.
exd5+ Kxd5 49. Rc3 f5 50. Nc7+ Kd6 51. Ne8+ Kd5 52. Rxc6 Kxc6 53. Ng7 Nd6 54.
Nxh5 e4+ 55. fxe4 Nxe4 56. Kd4 Kb5 57. g4 fxg4 58. Kxe4 g3 59. Nxg3 Kxb4