Mon, 2013-11-18 11:48 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.12"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2870"]
[BlackElo "2775"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "102"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{Hello my fellow World Championship followers! I delayed writing this post
yesterday in the hope that, with Carlsen gaining a clear match initiative in
Game 4, he would win Game 5 and give me a decisive game to cover in this post.
And my wish was his command! Carlsen achieved a slightly better endgame in the
fifth game and while Anand defended well to equalise, eventually he couldn't
withstand the pressure of defending for so many moves and slipped up in a
still tense endgame, handing Carlsen the full point. That's not to say that
the two draws preceding the first decisive game weren't without interest! In
the third game many of the spectators and commentators thought Anand had
Carlsen on the ropes. Let's check it out for ourselves!} 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3.
c4 (3. Bg2 Bg7 4. d4 {was played in the first game.}) 3... dxc4 {This move
seemed to come as a surprise to Carlsen - normally Black doesn't combine ...g6
with ...dxc4 though that's not to say it is at all bad.} (3... d4 {would the
normal continuation, with a reversed Benoni where Black is committed to a
kingside fianchetto. Then} 4. b4 {would be an interesting way to immediately
liven up the position.}) 4. Qa4+ Nc6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nc3 {This is the most
accurate, waiting for Black to commit himself before recapturing on c4.} (6.
Qxc4 Be6 7. Qa4 Nh6 {followed by ...Nf5 gives Black a good grip on the centre
and a fine game.}) 6... e5 (6... Nh6 {was also interesting here, but Anand's
move is more normal.}) 7. Qxc4 ({Carlsen avoids walking into the trap} 7. Nxe5
Bxe5 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. Qxc6+ Bd7 10. Qe4 f6 11. f4 {and instead of regaining
the piece with advantage, after} Ne7 {with the threat of ...Bc6 it is Black
who has the big advantage!}) 7... Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 {The World
Championship is a great discussion topic with friends, and indeed from here to
move 14 I was discussing this position with one of my students!} h6 {The idea
of this move is to be able to meet 10.Qh4 with 10...Nf5.} (9... Be6 10. Qh4 Nf5
{on the other hand wouldn't be so great because of} 11. Qxd8 Rfxd8 12. Ng5 {
(the key difference)} Bd7 13. Nge4 {and White is better as Black can't meet
the threats of Bg5 (followed by Nf6) and Nc5: if} h6 14. Nc5 Bc8 15. Bxc6 bxc6
16. Be3 {White's superior pawn structure gives him a serious advantage.}) 10.
Bd2 Nd4 {A new move, but I think the arising structure is very pleasant for
White.} (10... Nf5 {has been played, preparing perhaps ...Nfd4, but the move I
was mainly looking at was}) (10... Be6 {when} 11. Qa4 {should still be easier
for White to play with a b4-b5 advance, coupled perhaps with play down the
c-file, but} f5 12. Rfc1 g5 {should objectively be okay for Black.}) 11. Nxd4
exd4 12. Ne4 c6 {Here Carlsen's next few moves puzzled me.} 13. Bb4 {I don't
especially like this as in the game the bishop on b4 becomes a target for
Black's ideal plan of ...b6/...c5 to get a nice Maroczy Bind kind of pawn
structure. At the moment Black's queenside majority isn't very mobile and I
would want to try and take advantage of this with} (13. Qc1 Kh7 14. Bb4 {is a
more accurate move order, as now White can support a Nd6 move if Black
develops his c8-bishop.}) 13... Be6 14. Qc1 Bd5 {This is the key difference -
White no longer has any pressure down the long diagonal and Black is ready to
play ...b6/...c5, which is far from easy to prevent.} 15. a4 {This move was
criticised as after 15...a5 Black has completely fixed the White queenside,
but already it wasn't so easy to play White's position.} b6 (15... a5 16. Bxe7
Qxe7 17. Qc5 Rfe8 18. Qxe7 Rxe7 19. Rfe1 f5 20. Nd2 Bf7 {with a slight edge
for Black seemed logical, although I suppose it's not easy for Black to make
further progress if White puts his knight on c4 and king on f1.}) 16. Bxe7 Qxe7
17. a5 Rab8 18. Re1 Rfc8 19. axb6 axb6 {At the time I thought this position
was equal, but in fact White's occupation of the a-file is meaningless and
Black meanwhile can play for ...c5, ...b5 and ...c4.} 20. Qf4 Rd8 21. h4 Kh7
22. Nd2 Be5 23. Qg4 h5 24. Qh3 Be6 25. Qh1 {This is a very cute battery but
unfortunately it doesn't seem to do much!} c5 26. Ne4 Kg7 27. Ng5 b5 28. e3 {
This move was criticised as a mistake but in fact from a practical point of
view it is quite logical to change the struggle as the natural trend of the
game was clearly against White:} (28. Nxe6+ Qxe6 29. Bh3 Qf6 30. Bg2 c4 {and
White is in trouble whether he swaps on c4 or allows Black a powerful passer
with ...c3.}) 28... dxe3 29. Rxe3 Bd4 (29... Bxb2 30. Rae1 Rb6 {was Anand's
chance, when Black is doing very well as} 31. Bd5 ({or} 31. Nxe6+ fxe6) 31...
Bd4 32. R3e2 (32. Rxe6 fxe6 33. Rxe6 Qf8 {may have been the sort of resource
Anand missed or underestimated.}) 32... Qxg5 {(a brilliant move)} 33. hxg5 Bxd5
34. Qh2 b4 {the Black bishops dominate the position and the b-pawn will likely
cost White material.}) 30. Re2 c4 31. Nxe6+ fxe6 32. Be4 cxd3 33. Rd2 {The
computer still likes Black a lot, but with opposite coloured bishops and
Black's king being potentially weak, I don't think Carlsen ever left the
drawing zone objectively. Still I feel that this game was a key moment of the
match as it perhaps showed that psychologically Anand wasn't ready to defeat
Carlsen, spurning sharper continuations in the hope of keeping risk-free
winning chances.} Qb4 34. Rad1 Bxb2 35. Qf3 Bf6 36. Rxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxd3 Rd8 38.
Rxd8 Bxd8 39. Bd3 Qd4 40. Bxb5 Qf6 41. Qb7+ Be7 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+ 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.13"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2870"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{This game was very fascinating and to be honest one could probably spend all
day analysing it! However I'll at least point out some of the key nuances and
critical moments.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6
dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 {As I wrote in a previous blog post (and John
Cox wrote before me), Black's main advantage here is not his bishop pair, but
his unopposed light-squared bishop, which is very useful both in blockading
the White kingside majority and attacking White's queenside pawns. I recently
formulated a rule of thumb for the Berlin: White cannot win the game without
either exchanging Black's light-squared bishop or achieving the e6 break. In
this case Anand succeeds in both goals, but at a very high price!} 9. h3 (9.
Nc3 {is the main line, but recently some strong players have been delaying
this automatic move.}) 9... Bd7 10. Rd1 Be7 {It's hard to believe that this
came as a surprise to Anand as one of Carlsen's seconds for the match, Jon
Ludvig Hammer, has played this line quite a bit as Black, and not without
success. However it seemed that Anand was uncomfortable in the resulting
position.} 11. Nc3 (11. Bg5 {is more common, but} Kc8 12. g4 h6 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 {
isn't really a problem for Black, who is ready to play ...c5, ...Be6, ...b6
and ...Kb7-c6, which is essentially Black's ideal position in this variation.
If he achieves this formation he doesn't risk the exchange of his unopposed
light-squared bishop and can already fight for an advantage.}) 11... Kc8 12.
Bg5 h6 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 14. Rd2 c5 15. Rad1 (15. Ne4 {had been previously played
in Yakovenko-Almasi, World Cup 2007 - a game that's too long for me to cite
here! But White's eventual success in this game was not a result of the
opening phase.}) 15... Be6 {This is the most logical square for the bishop -
notice how ...c5 prevents Nd4 and ...h6 prevents Ng5, the two obvious ways of
exchanging the light-squared bishop. Placing the bishop on c6 is less accurate
as then the Black king cannot easily be activated.} 16. Ne1 {This move is easy
to criticise, but it's hard to find a good way for White to put pressure on
Black's position before he connects the rooks.} (16. b3 b6 17. Ne2 {may have
been correct, but then Black has the standard reaction} g5 {to control the
f4-square and isolate the e5-pawn as a weakness. Black is slightly better - if
you don't believe me, try to find something useful for White to do! At the
very least I'm at a loss as to how White can improve his position.}) 16... Ng6
(16... b6 17. Nd3 g5 {was also possible and the continuation I expected, but
maybe Carlsen was worried the position would become too simplified to win after
} 18. f4 {.}) 17. Nd3 b6 18. Ne2 (18. b3 {has been suggested as an improvement,
but then Black can play} Kb7 19. Ne2 Rhe8 20. f4 h5 {and ...h4 to fix White's
kingside majority as a weakness. Then ...a5-a4 would be a typical way of
provoking more White weaknesses on the queenside. For instance,} 21. Nf2 h4 22.
Ng4 a5 23. a4 {can leave White vulnerable to a later ...c4, or even ...Bf5.})
18... Bxa2 {This move caused some spectators to draw parallels to the famous
first game of the Spassky-Fischer 1972 match, where Bobby grabbed a pawn on h2
with his bishop, but this isn't the same as this time the Black prelate
escapes the cage!} 19. b3 c4 20. Ndc1 cxb3 21. cxb3 Bb1 {In the press
conference Anand stated that he felt like White would have something here to
get enough play, but White's compensation isn't so apparent. Nonetheless it
made some sense to change the nature of the position and get active.} 22. f4
Kb7 23. Nc3 Bf5 24. g4 Bc8 25. Nd3 h5 (25... Ne7 26. f5 Nc6 {would have been
my preference, improving the position of the knight and preparing to untangle
starting with ...Re8 or ...Rd8, but Carlsen's choice is also not bad.}) 26. f5
Ne7 27. Nb5 (27. Rc2 {and only then Nb5 might have been the correct move order,
to remove the extra option Black gains in the next note. Black should still be
better here but it's not so easy for Black to untangle.}) 27... hxg4 {Another
rule of thumb in these positions is that if Black can get two connected passed
pawns on the queenside, they will almost always win the game (unless White is
faster on the kingside, which generally speaking he isn't). Hence} (27... a6
28. Nd4 a5 {with the idea of ...a4 seemed very strong to try and swap off the
b3-pawn. I think if Carlsen had a chance to win the game, this was it, as it
feels to me that Black will win this position with best play as White's
kingside majority is completely fixed by the Black minor pieces and it isn't
easy to stop Black's plan of marching the queenside pawns down.}) 28. hxg4 (28.
Rc2 {would remarkably have maintained the balance because of} Nd5 29. Nb4 Nxb4
30. Rxc7+ Ka6 31. Nd6 b5 32. hxg4 {and amazingly enough, despite being down a
full bishop, White has enough counterplay to draw, as Black is unable to
consolidate his position and activate the extra bishop:} Kb6 33. Rxf7 Rg8 34.
e6 a5 35. Kf2 Nc6 36. Kg3 {. Incredible!}) 28... Rh4 {I'd love to analyse the
rest of this fantastic game, but I'll have to leave my notes here. Perhaps we
can return to this second half of the game in my next post?} 29. Nf2 Nc6 30.
Rc2 a5 31. Rc4 g6 32. Rdc1 Bd7 33. e6 fxe6 34. fxe6 Be8 35. Ne4 Rxg4+ 36. Kf2
Rf4+ 37. Ke3 Rf8 (37... g5 {kept definite winning chances for Black, but
Carlsen had missed White's next trick of 38.Nd4!.}) 38. Nd4 Nxd4 39. Rxc7+ Ka6
40. Kxd4 {Now White has made the time control and his activity is enough to
draw comfortably.} Rd8+ 41. Kc3 Rf3+ 42. Kb2 Re3 43. Rc8 Rdd3 44. Ra8+ Kb7 45.
Rxe8 Rxe4 46. e7 Rg3 47. Rc3 Re2+ 48. Rc2 Ree3 49. Ka2 g5 50. Rd2 Re5 51. Rd7+
Kc6 52. Red8 Rge3 53. Rd6+ Kb7 54. R8d7+ Ka6 55. Rd5 Re2+ 56. Ka3 Re6 57. Rd8
g4 58. Rg5 Rxe7 59. Ra8+ Kb7 60. Rag8 a4 61. Rxg4 axb3 62. R8g7 Ka6 63. Rxe7
Rxe7 64. Kxb3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.15"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D31"]
[WhiteElo "2870"]
[BlackElo "2775"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "115"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{1.Nf3 hadn't worked out so well for Carlsen, so he switches to the pure
English!} 1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 {This kind of move order reminds me very
much of Darryl Johansen's way of playing from the English Opening, perhaps
because he played 2.d4 against me a couple of years ago!} c6 4. e4 {The
Marshall Gambit has a reputation for being extremely sharp and theoretical,
which you would think would play into Anand's hands.} (4. Nf3 Nf6 {however
leads to the Semi-Slav that played a crucial role in Anand's match victory
over Kramnik.}) 4... dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 {This is a typical example of
the Carlsen approach! Rather than head into the sharpest lines, he wants to
keep the pieces on the board and avoid the bulk of Anand's preparation. Not to
mention that} (6. Bd2 Qxd4 7. Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8. Be2 Na6 {has been worked out to a
draw!}) 6... c5 7. a3 Ba5 (7... Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 {is a bit better for White - the
bishop pair outweighs the doubled pawns which aren't so easy to attack in any
case and may even be useful as now Black can't easily release the tension with
...cxd4 without giving White a very nice hanging pawns structure.} Nf6 9. Nf3
Qa5 10. Bd2 O-O 11. Bd3 Nc6 12. O-O {might be one way the play coule then
continue.}) 8. Nf3 (8. Be3 Nf6 9. Nge2 {is suggested by the engine in order to
be able to play dxc5 without being saddled with 'Irish' pawns after Bxc3 bxc3.
However for this reason it was probably also the focus of Anand's preparation.}
) 8... Nf6 9. Be3 Nc6 10. Qd3 {This is an interesting move to prepare
queenside castling, but it didn't cause Anand that much grief from a
theoretical perspective.} (10. dxc5 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Qxd1+ 12. Rxd1 e5 {would
lead to a very interesting endgame. I'd rather play White just because I like
how the Irish pawns control so many squares, but Black's nonetheless quite
solid.}) 10... cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ng4 {This is a very important move to exchange
White's e3-bishop.} 12. O-O-O Nxe3 13. fxe3 {At first I thought Black had to
be fine with the bishop pair and one less pawn island, but it's possible that
this is also easier to play for White.} Bc7 {I couldn't quite understand this
voluntary retreat at the time and still don't now.} (13... O-O {would have
been my choice, when} 14. c5 Qe7 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Ne4 {is quite strategically
rich, with Black trying to free his c8-bishop and White aiming to keep a bind
on the queenside.}) 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Qxd8+ Bxd8 16. Be2 (16. g3 {and Bg2 is
the same sort of thing.}) 16... Ke7 17. Bf3 Bd7 18. Ne4 Bb6 {A very precise
move, forcing off the strong White knight.} (18... f5 19. Nc5 Be8 20. Nb7 {
followed by c5 would be a nice way to keep the pressure on Black's position.})
19. c5 f5 20. cxb6 fxe4 21. b7 Rab8 22. Bxe4 Rxb7 23. Rhf1 {White is still a
bit better in this position, with a more active bishop, one less pawn island
and occupation of the open f- and d-files, but Black should be able to hold
with a bit of care.} Rb5 24. Rf4 g5 25. Rf3 h5 26. Rdf1 Be8 {It's impressive
how Anand gets his bishop into play and obtains active counterplay over the
next several moves.} 27. Bc2 Rc5 28. Rf6 h4 29. e4 a5 30. Kd2 Rb5 31. b3 Bh5
32. Kc3 Rc5+ 33. Kb2 Rd8 34. R1f2 Rd4 35. Rh6 Bd1 {I don't know about Anand
but I would have loved to have played this sort of move! Now the position
sharpens up considerably.} 36. Bb1 Rb5 37. Kc3 c5 38. Rb2 e5 39. Rg6 a4 40.
Rxg5 Rxb3+ 41. Rxb3 Bxb3 42. Rxe5+ Kd6 43. Rh5 Rd1 44. e5+ Kd5 45. Bh7 {I
don't have the time to examine this position in detail, but Anand's next few
moves were the ones that cost him the game.} Rc1+ (45... Ra1 46. Bg8+ Kc6 47.
Bxb3 Rxa3 48. Rxh4 Rxb3+ 49. Kc2 Rb4 {followed by ...Kd5 holds the draw. Anand
saw this line but didn't assess the consequences of ...Rc1 correctly.}) 46. Kb2
Rg1 47. Bg8+ Kc6 48. Rh6+ Kd7 ({I think} 48... Kb7 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Rxh4 Rxg2+
51. Kxb3 Re2 {was still holding a draw, by taking on e5 and then putting the
h-rook either behind or to the side of the pawn, but honestly I haven't
checked this closely.}) 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Kxb3 Rxg2 51. Rxh4 Ke6 52. a4 Kxe5
53. a5 {This is the key difference compared to 48...Kb7 - the a-pawn is now
further advanced and the Black king will be cut off from the pawn.} Kd6 54. Rh7
{This move received a lot of praise but it is extremely obvious to cut off the
Black king like this.} Kd5 55. a6 c4+ 56. Kc3 Ra2 57. a7 Kc5 58. h4 {Black
resigned. I'm going to watch the match now; thanks for reading my analysis of
the games!} 1-0[/pgn]