Tue, 2013-11-26 10:09 -- IM Max Illingworth

[pgn][Event "World Chess Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.11.16"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus Øen"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2880"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "134"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]

{In this final post on the World Championship I'll briefly cover the last five
games, highlighting and explaining the critical moments of each game. In the
final press conference both Carlsen and Anand agreed that Game 5, which we saw
last week, was a turning point in the entire match. Anand also lost the sixth
game, much in the same way that he lost Game 5 - Carlsen put Anand under
constant pressure and this forced an uncharacteristic error from Anand.} 1. e4
e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {Anand decides to avoid the Berlin Wall.} Bc5 5.
c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Re1 a6 {The idea of delaying ...d6/...d5 is that now
Black can meet Bxc6 with ...dxc6, when White doesn't have a fantastic version
of the Bxc6 lines.} 8. Ba4 b5 9. Bb3 d6 10. Bg5 Be6 (10... h6 11. Bh4 {was
worth inserting, so that Black can play ...g5 in certain situations. Then} Be6
{might transpose to the game after 12.Nbd2, and} (11... Ba7 {could also be
considered to evade a future d4.})) 11. Nbd2 {A natural move, but I would have
preferred} (11. Bxe6 fxe6 ({or} 11... Rxe6 12. d4) 12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 Ba7 14.
Nc3 {when White's extra space in the centre gives him an edge, and it's not
easy for Black to challenge this.}) 11... h6 12. Bh4 Bxb3 13. axb3 Nb8 {This
manoeuvre is well known from the Breyer.} 14. h3 (14. d4 Bb6 15. Qc2 Nbd7 {
gives Black reasonable counterplay against White's centre, which looks nice
but isn't so easy to make use of. Any d5 advance will completely liberate the
b6-bishop.}) 14... Nbd7 15. Nh2 {Anand's next few moves are completely typical
for this sort of position, but Carlsen neutralises this kingside play
comfortably.} Qe7 16. Ndf1 Bb6 17. Ne3 Qe6 18. b4 a5 {Liquidating the only
real weakness.} 19. bxa5 Bxa5 20. Nhg4 Bb6 21. Bxf6 Nxf6 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 {By
now it is clear that Black has no problems, and after a normal move like 23.
Qe2 the position would be completely equal. However Anand begins to drift even
here.} 23. Qg4 Bxe3 24. fxe3 {Now White has the worse structure, which still
shouldn't be a real problem, but Carlsen is known for causing problems with
even the tiniest of edges.} Qe7 25. Rf1 c5 26. Kh2 c4 {This is very strong
play, forcing d4 so that the e4-pawn will be weak.} 27. d4 Rxa1 28. Rxa1 Qb7
29. Rd1 Qc6 30. Qf5 exd4 31. Rxd4 Re5 32. Qf3 Qc7 {Clearly the doubled e-pawns
are a weakness, but the d6-pawn is also a bit vulnerable and it isn't easy to
increase the pressure on White's position.} 33. Kh1 Qe7 34. Qg4 Kh7 35. Qf4 g6
36. Kh2 Kg7 37. Qf3 Re6 38. Qg3 {Entering a pawn-down rook endgame wasn't
necessary; White could have left with a passive defence.} Rxe4 39. Qxd6 Rxe3
40. Qxe7 Rxe7 41. Rd5 Rb7 42. Rd6 {This endgame should still be a draw, but
Carlsen finds way to set Anand problems.} f6 43. h4 Kf7 (43... h5 {would have
prevented White's next, but I'm not so sure that it was worth preventing.}) 44.
h5 gxh5 {Despite winning a second pawn, Black's pawn majority on the kingside
is now useless in terms of creating a passed pawn.} 45. Rd5 Kg6 46. Kg3 Rb6 47.
Rc5 f5 48. Kh4 (48. Kf4 {followed by just keeping the White rook along the 5th
rank may have been a simpler way to secure the draw.}) 48... Re6 {Carlsen
plays his last trick, returning a pawn to activate his pieces and exploit the
sidelined position of White's king.} 49. Rxb5 Re4+ 50. Kh3 Kg5 51. Rb8 (51. b3
Re3+ 52. Kh2 Rxc3 53. bxc4 Rxc4 54. Rb8 {was perhaps the simplest way to draw.
Black is in no danger of creating a passed pawn.}) 51... h4 52. Rg8+ Kh5 {It
helps that the king can use the h6-pawn as a shield from checks.} 53. Rf8 Rf4
54. Rc8 Rg4 55. Rf8 Rg3+ 56. Kh2 Kg5 {Carlsen tries his last trick, which
Anand walks right into.} 57. Rg8+ {Objectively this does not spoil anything,
but} (57. Rc8 {forces} Rg4 {, after which the g4-rook is tied to defending c4,
and I don't see how Black can make progress. All White has to do is swap off
the c4-pawn and he will draw comfortably, even if he has to give up the
c3-pawn in the process.}) 57... Kf4 58. Rc8 Ke3 59. Rxc4 f4 {Black's insidious
idea is to create a powerful passed f-pawn with ...h3.} 60. Ra4 {The decisive
mistake - now the White pawns will actually get in the way of vital checks!} (
60. b4 h3 61. gxh3 Rg6 62. Rc7 f3 63. Re7+ Kf2 64. b5 {would still give White
enough counterplay with his passed pawns to draw.}) 60... h3 61. gxh3 Rg6 62.
c4 f3 63. Ra3+ Ke2 {Now it's over as the b2-pawn blocks the Ra2 check needed
to stay in the game.} 64. b4 f2 65. Ra2+ Kf3 66. Ra3+ Kf4 67. Ra8 Rg1 {White
resigned. After this game the match was arguably decided as a two point
deficit is too much to realistically overcome with only a maximum of six more
games to play.} 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "World Chess Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.11.18"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Carlsen, M."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2870"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]

{This game wasn't too interesting; Anand was happy to draw to stop his losing
streak and the draw brought Carlsen a half-point closer to the World
Championship title.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 {This is
quite a safe approach - White wants to get a small edge with his better pawn
structure.} dxc6 6. Nbd2 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Nf1 Nd7 9. Ng3 Bxf3 (9... Bg6 {keeps
the bishop pair, but admittedly the bishop is rather misplaced on g6 and will
have to be reactivated with ...f6 and ...Bf7, which takes some time.}) 10. Qxf3
g6 {I wouldn't be surprised if White had some way of getting a small edge with
an f4 break or even ideas of Bd2 followed by advancing the queenside pawns,
but in any case Black's position is extremely solid.} 11. Be3 (11. O-O Qh4 12.
Be3 {is the computer's choice, but I don't see how this puts any pressure on
Black whatsoever.}) (11. Bh6 {would be well met by} Qh4 {.}) 11... Qe7 12.
O-O-O O-O-O {By castling on the same wing, it's a lot harder for White to
attack Black's king.} (12... O-O 13. Bh6 Rfe8 14. h4 {for instance might be
unpleasant.}) 13. Ne2 Rhe8 14. Kb1 b6 15. h4 Kb7 (15... h5 {would lock the
position up, but Carlsen shows that even opening the h-file doesn't help White.
}) 16. h5 Bxe3 17. Qxe3 (17. fxe3 {is favoured by the engine, but Black can
easily defend his one weakness on f7 and White lacks a good pawn break to make
anything of his nibble of an edge.}) 17... Nc5 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. g3 a5 {Now
the position is completely equal and play soon liquidated down to a draw.} 20.
Rh7 Rh8 21. Rdh1 Rxh7 22. Rxh7 Qf6 23. f4 Rh8 24. Rxh8 Qxh8 25. fxe5 Qxe5 26.
Qf3 f5 27. exf5 gxf5 28. c3 (28. d4 {doesn't win a piece because of} Qe4 {.})
28... Ne6 29. Kc2 Ng5 30. Qf2 Ne6 31. Qf3 Ng5 32. Qf2 Ne6 {and drawn.} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.19"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2870"]
[BlackElo "2775"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]

{Games like these contribute to the Berlin's reputation as a boring or drawish
opening, though it should be noted that both sides can play more ambitiously
if they wish.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 {This is a
very safe line, where White plays for a tiny edge without risking much. I know,
I said the same about the continuation of the previous game, but the arising
positions here are a lot more simple.} Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 (7. Bd3 {was the
old line, trying to start a kingside attack, but this has been superseded by
the safer 7.Bf1.}) 7... Nxe5 (7... Nf5 8. Nf3 O-O 9. d4 d5 {might be the best
continuation if Black wants to play for a win, though he'll need to be very
patient.}) 8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 (9... Ne8 {with ideas of playing ...b6, ...
Bb7, ...f5, ...Bd6 and ...Nf6 is an interesting way to play for a win, but I
don't entirely trust it.}) 10. Re1 Re8 11. c3 Rxe1 12. Qxe1 Ne8 {This position
is just very solid for both sides and Carlsen's slight initiative soon fizzles
out to nothing.} 13. Bf4 d5 14. Bd3 g6 15. Nd2 Ng7 16. Qe2 c6 17. Re1 Bf5 18.
Bxf5 Nxf5 19. Nf3 Ng7 20. Be5 Ne6 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. Ne5 Re8 23. Ng4 Qd8 (23...
Qg5 {fails to} 24. f4 Qxf4 25. Rf1 {when Nf6 next move will win the exchange,
but Anand is far too strong to fall for such cheap tricks.}) 24. Qe5 Ng7 25.
Qxe8+ ({Not} 25. Nf6+ Qxf6 {.}) 25... Nxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 27. Nf6+ Kf8 28. Nxe8
Kxe8 29. f4 f5 30. Kf2 b5 31. b4 Kf7 32. h3 h6 33. h4 h5 {Draw agreed. An
uninteresting game, but one can understand Anand's strategy of having two
quick draws and forgetting his previous two losses before going for it in the
last few games.} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.21"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E25"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2870"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]

{In my view this game was the most tense and exciting of the match. Only in
this game did it look like Carlsen was in serious danger of getting mated, but
Anand lacked the energy to bring the attack to fruition.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.
Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 {With this move White wants to occupy the rest of the centre
with e4 - a very ambitious approach indeed!} d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5
exd5 (7... Nxd5 {is the main line, when the play can become extremely complex,
such as after} 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. e4 Ne7 10. Be3 O-O 11. Qb3 Qc7 {and the theory
goes on for many more moves here, with White trying to make something of his
extra pawn and bishop pair while Black wants to utilise his lead in
development and better pawn structure.}) 8. e3 {It's been believed since
Botvinnik-Capablanca that this structure is very promising for White, but
Carlsen is willing to enter this line to avoid the bulk of Anand's preparation.
} c4 {This feels like a computer line to me - by closing the centre Black
completely releases the pressure on White's centre, counting on counterplay on
the queenside. It does stop White's bishop going to its natural square d3, but
nonetheless it feels like White must be doing very well once he achieves the
e4 break.} 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 {This may look a bit funny but it's actually
completely typical to acquire kingside space in this way as the position is
closed in any case. Engines are still quite hopeless in this kind of pawn
structure and don't have a clue what's going on!} O-O 11. Bg2 Na5 {It turns
out that the knight looks a lot better on b3 than it really is.} 12. O-O Nb3
13. Ra2 {Another typical move - the rook can often swing along the 2nd rank to
the kingside after Ng3.} b5 {There's no point in trying to defend on the
kingside - White has way too much firepower there. So Carlsen starts his
queenside counterplay.} 14. Ng3 {There's no need to rush with e4 - first White
steadily builds up his position, so that when e4 comes it will steamroll Black
off the board.} a5 15. g5 Ne8 16. e4 Nxc1 {The computer doesn't like this move,
but it makes sense to exchange off White's bishop pair, as after say Be3 the
knight will look stupid on b3.} (16... Nc7 17. Be3 {does not inspire
confidence in Black's position.}) 17. Qxc1 Ra6 18. e5 Nc7 (18... g6 {looks
safer and perhaps this was in fact better, but} 19. f4 Ng7 20. Qb1 Rb6 21. Rb2
Qd7 22. f5 {is still quite dangerous for Black.}) 19. f4 b4 20. axb4 {I think
this was the turning point in the entire game - had Anand found the best
continuation here he would probably have won.} (20. a4 {was a sensible move to
close the queenside, but best of all was}) (20. f5 $1 {, completely ignoring
the queenside (where White is weaker) and going for checkmate! A move like 20..
.b3 would completely close the queenside and must be hopeless for Black, but
the logical} Nb5 {isn't an improvement because of} 21. axb4 axb4 22. Rxa6 Bxa6
23. f6 $1 g6 24. Qf4 {(the key difference to the game is that Black isn't in
time to play ...Nc7-e6/e8 and safeguard his king)} Qb6 (24... Nxc3 25. Qh4 Kh8
26. Qh6 Rg8 27. Rf4 {threatens Qxh7 and Rh4 mate, which can't be prevented.})
25. Qh4 h5 26. Nxh5 bxc3 27. Kh1 Nxd4 28. Ng3 Ne6 29. Nf5 gxf5 30. Qh5 Qb7 31.
Bh3 $1 d4+ 32. Bg2 Qc7 33. g6 {and Black is getting mated.}) 20... axb4 21.
Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3 {Now White's attack is a lot less clear as Black's b-pawn
will be extremely strong if White doesn't checkmate Black soon.} 23. Qf4 Nc7
24. f6 (24. Qh4 {with the idea of Nh5 has been suggested:} Kh8 25. Nh5 Nb5 26.
e6 fxe6 27. f6 gxf6 28. g6 Rg8 29. Nxf6 Qe7 30. Qh5 Rxg6 31. Nxh7 Qxh7 32. Rf8+
Kg7 33. Rf7+ Kxf7 34. Qxh7+ Rg7 35. Qh5+ Rg6 36. Qh7+ Rg7 {and we end up with
a draw by perpetual check. Perhaps there's something better for White - I
haven't left an engine running for ages to check - but from what I can see
White's attack is only enough for a draw.}) 24... g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6 (26.
Ne2 Be6 27. Nf4 Qa5 28. Nxe6 fxe6 29. Qf2 Rf7 30. Bh3 {is very unclear, but in
any case Black's position should be tenable - the f6-pawn and b3-pawn cancel
each other out to a degree.}) 26... b2 27. Rf4 (27. Ne2 {may have been best
even here.}) 27... b1=Q+ 28. Nf1 {This is an unfortunate blunder.} (28. Bf1 {
would have led to the following incredible line:} Qd1 29. Rh4 Qh5 30. Nxh5 gxh5
31. Rxh5 Bf5 32. g6 Bxg6 33. Rg5 Nxf6 34. exf6 Qxf6 35. Rxd5 Qf3 36. Rc5 Qxc3
37. Qf4 {followed by Rxc4, and it's hard to see such a simplified position end
in anything other than a draw.}) 28... Qe1 {Now Black can meet Rh4 with Qxh4,
remaining a rook up without facing any danger of being mated. So White gave up.
} 0-1[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.22"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B51"]
[WhiteElo "2870"]
[BlackElo "2775"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "130"]
[EventDate "2013.11.09"]

{Anand had to win this game (and the next two) to make a tiebreak and stay in
the match, but Carlsen was never in danger in this game and in fact was rather
close to winning.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ {I've stated before on the blog
that I don't consider this Anti-Sicilian inferior to the Open. In the match
situation it was quite appropriate.} Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7.
c4 {While this position is fairly unbalanced with White's extra space battling
Black's bishop pair, it's also true that White can play this line fairly
safely.} Nf6 (7... Rc8 8. O-O e5 9. Qd3 b5 {might be the way to play if Black
wants to keep the position complex, though Anand had some unpleasant
experiences in this ...e5 structure against Tiviakov last year and Carlsen
earlier this year.}) 8. Bg5 {Dissauding a kingside fianchetto.} e6 9. Nc3 Be7
10. O-O Bc6 11. Qd3 O-O 12. Nd4 Rc8 13. b3 {It's not so easy for Black to
create winning chances in this kind of position if White is happy with a draw.
Normally Black wants to go for ...b5 or ...d5 in this structure but ...b5 is
fairly easy to stop and ...d5 normally leads to all the pieces being swapped
off.} Qc7 14. Nxc6 Qxc6 ({At first I felt the structure after} 14... bxc6 {
would be very nice for White but I'm not as sure now as Black can often break
out with a quick ...d5. Perhaps} 15. Rac1 d5 16. cxd5 Ng4 17. d6 Bxd6 18. Qe2 {
is then best, with a complicated position after either 18...h6!? or the riskier
} h5 {.}) 15. Rac1 h6 16. Be3 Nd7 17. Bd4 Rfd8 18. h3 {I've often been asked
what the idea of this move is. The idea is that Black doesn't have anything
useful to do and this waiting move aims to make this very clear to Black!
Sometimes it's more effective to patiently and steadily improve your position
and wait for the opponent to lash out.} Qc7 19. Rfd1 Qa5 {The queen doesn't do
much damage along the 5th rank but might prove to be a minor annoyance.} 20.
Qd2 Kf8 21. Qb2 Kg8 {Carlsen could have repeated with 22.Qd2, but with his
next move he shows that he's ready to play for a win, even when he only needs
a draw to win the title. For me that accords respect.} 22. a4 Qh5 23. Ne2 Bf6 {
It is natural to swap off the passive e7-bishop for its more active
counterpart, but then the d6-pawn is weaker and I can't help wondering if it
was better to keep the bishops on.} 24. Rc3 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 Qe5 26. Qd2 Nf6 27.
Re3 Rd7 28. a5 {A strong move to fix the queenside and perhaps support a later
Nc3-a4-b6.} Qg5 {This is a blunder, allowing a very strong e5, but already
Black's position was unpleasant.} (28... Rcd8 {may have been best under the
circumstances.}) 29. e5 Ne8 30. exd6 {This move was based on a miscalculation,
though even after this blunder White keeps winning chances.} (30. Nc3 {would
have been decisive - the d6-pawn is not running away and neither is the pin!
After} Rc6 31. b4 Rd8 32. f4 Qe7 33. f5 $1 exf5 34. exd6 {the d6-pawn is
completely crushing, and about to become protected with c5.}) 30... Rc6 31. f4
Qd8 32. Red3 Rcxd6 33. Rxd6 Rxd6 34. Rxd6 Qxd6 35. Qxd6 Nxd6 36. Kf2 {In
knight endgames a small advantage is often sufficient to win. I think Black
could have drawn with best play but certainly it wasn't easy.} Kf8 37. Ke3 Ke7
38. Kd4 Kd7 39. Kc5 Kc7 40. Nc3 Nf5 {I think this could have been a decisive
mistake, as Black does not succeed in generating counterplay. It turns out
that Black is unable to hold with a passive defence, objectively.} (40... g5 $1
{was correct, trying to exchange pawns and get a passed pawn. After} 41. fxg5 (
41. g3 gxf4 42. gxf4 Nf5 {is a much better version of the game with the
g-pawns swapped off, and now} 43. Ne4 Ne7 44. Nd6 Nc6 45. Nxf7 Nxa5 {exchanges
more pawns and suffices for a draw. Note that White should avoid} 46. b4 Nb3# {
!}) 41... hxg5 42. Kd4 f6 43. b4 {White is still better with ideas of b5 or
Na4-c5, but Black should be able to hold on to his draw with} Kc6 {.}) 41. Ne4
Ne3 42. g3 f5 43. Nd6 {After this the game leads to a queening race where
White can't do better than draw the game (which is still good enough in the
match).} (43. Nd2 {seems to be winning for White, although even now I'm not
completely sure why. Black has to play} Nd1 44. Kd4 Nf2 {to have any chance of
holding, but then} 45. h4 Nh1 46. Nf1 {is strong, e.g.} Nf2 47. b4 Ne4 48. g4
Nd6 49. g5 Ne4 50. gxh6 gxh6 51. Nh2 Nd2 52. Kd3 Nb3 53. Nf3 Nc1+ 54. Kd4 Kd6
55. Ne5 Nb3+ 56. Kc3 Nc1 57. Kd2 Nb3+ 58. Kc2 Nd4+ 59. Kd3 Nb3 60. h5 {and
with h6 fixed as an extra weakness, White seems to be winning, with a plan of
c5-c6 to follow.}) 43... g5 44. Ne8+ Kd7 45. Nf6+ Ke7 46. Ng8+ (46. Nh5 {was
the way to play on, but after} Kf7 47. Kb6 Kg6 48. Kxb7 Kxh5 49. Kxa6 gxf4 50.
gxf4 e5 51. Kb6 exf4 52. a6 f3 53. a7 f2 54. a8=Q Nxc4+ 55. bxc4 f1=Q {Black
has enough counterplay with his f-pawn and annoying checks from the queen to
draw.}) 46... Kf8 47. Nxh6 gxf4 48. gxf4 Kg7 49. Nxf5+ exf5 50. Kb6 Ng2 51.
Kxb7 Nxf4 52. Kxa6 Ne6 53. Kb6 f4 54. a6 f3 55. a7 f2 56. a8=Q f1=Q 57. Qd5 Qe1
58. Qd6 Qe3+ 59. Ka6 Nc5+ 60. Kb5 Nxb3 61. Qc7+ Kh6 62. Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63. Kxb6 Kh5
64. h4 Kxh4 65. c5 Nxc5 {and drawn. I hope you learned a lot from and enjoyed
the match, which in spite of its somewhat one-sided nature was nonetheless
very interesting and full of excitement. It will be interesting to see whether
there is an increasing movement away from theoretical duels in favour of
getting an equal but strategically rich position (where a long struggle is
guaranteed) after this match.} 1/2-1/2[/pgn]