17 January 2013

Anand -- Carlsen, Tata Steel 2013

Carlsen Opts for Russian Defense

Anand,Viswanathan (2772) - Carlsen,Magnus (2861) [C42]
Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee, 17.01.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6

Sorting the database by the rating of the Black player reveals that Vladimir Kramnik is the highest rated player who has played the Russian Defense, or Petroff. That changed today. It may be a very long time before another player rated higher that 2861 plays 2...Nf6.

3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.0–0 0–0 8.h3 Re8 9.Nc3 Nbd7

They have deviated from the main line, but in the Russian Defense, the so-called main line has been subject to revision quite a bit lately. Of the nearly three dozen games that have reached this position, only two were played before 2000.

White to move


10.Ne2 d5 11.Ng3 Nf8 12.c3 Bd6 13.Nf5 Bxf5 14.Bxf5 c6 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bh4 Ng6 17.Bxg6 fxg6 18.Qb3 Qc7 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Rfe1 Kg7 21.Rad1 b5 22.a4 a6 23.axb5 axb5 24.Qc2 Qd7 25.b3 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Re8 27.Ra1 Qe6 28.Kf1 b4 29.Rc1 bxc3 30.Qxc3 Rc8 31.Qd3 ½–½ Karjakin,S (2785) -- Bu Xiangzhi (2670), Istanbul 2012

10...Nf8 11.d5 c6N

Possibly the game's novelty. A prior game was won in 100 moves by White after 11...N6d7 12.Ne4 Ng6 13.Nd4 Nf6 1–0 Horvath,A (2473) -- Kovacs,G (2498) Hungary 2012

12.Bf4 Bd7

The players transposed in a game between lesser masters that continued 12...cxd5 and Black won in 39 moves 0–1 De Dovitiis,A (2347) -- Gibson,T (2252) Villa Martelli 2008

13.Bc4 Ng6 14.Bg3 Rc8 15.dxc6 Bxc6 16.Bb3 d5

White to move

So, we have an isolated queen pawn.

I hope for a hard-fought game that I expect will end in a draw. Of course, I am rooting for the old guy, Anand, but do not expect Magnus to collapse tactically the way Aronian did on Tuesday.

17.Qd3 Qb6

Update 5:42 am PST

18.Nxd5 Bxd5 19.Bxd5 Nxd5 20.Qxd5

The isolated queen pawn is gone, but does Anand get two isolated pawns on the queenside?

Black to move

Update 5:57 am PST

White's b-pawn looks safe, at least for the moment.

Update 6:15 am PST


Carlsen disagrees with my assessment.


Anand considered the position for five minutes and then played the move that we expected.

21...Qxc2 22.Rxb7 Red8

A few moves were played rapidly. Now the clocks seem backwards on the website again. Anand is about fifteen minutes ahead on time, but the live feed displays the reverse.

Update 6:30 am PST

I have been awake since a bit before 5:00. I checked the games on my iPad before getting up. I rose from the warmth of the covers at 5:00, but did not start my coffee till after 6:00. Now, I am drinking that first sip as the player fire off rapid moves.

23.Qb3 Qxb3 24.axb3 1/2-1/2

I was planning to type something calling for predictions concerning who would offer the draw (as I'm fairly certain that I could hold either side against Rybka). But, I glanced over at my iPad and noticed that the players were analyzing the game.

Moving on Other Games

Update 6:40 am PST

There are other interesting games to watch. Houdini 2.0 that is running on the website thinks that Hou -- Nakamura is dead even, but the players do not know that.

Pentala Harikrishna is playing aggressively against Loek van Wely's Hedgehog.

Update 6:45 am PST

It appears that Aronian can win some material against Ivan Sokolov, but it is complicated. Sokolov gives up two queens in the sequence (because a pawn captures Aronian's queen and promotes) But White's bishop is en prise and retreating it gives Black a rook for a bishop.

Update 7:05 am PST

Sokolov gave up the bishop to keep his rook a stick two connected passed pawns into Aronian's face. We need to follow this game now. Time will be a factor. Twenty moves need to be played in a few minutes. Sokolov has less than fifteen minutes on the clock.

Sokolov,Ivan (2663) - Aronian,Levon (2802) [D91]
Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee (5), 17.01.2013

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.Nf3 Ne4 6.Bf4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 dxc4 8.Qa4+ Nd7 9.e4 c5 10.Bxc4 0–0 11.0–0 Nb6 12.Qb3 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 b6 14.d5 e6 15.h3 a5 16.Bg5 f6 17.dxe6 Ba6

White to move

I was looking at 18.e7+ Bxc4 19.exd8Q Rfxd8 20.Be3 Bxf1 21.Kxf1

18.Qd5 Qxd5 19.exd5 fxg5 20.Rfd1 Bxc3 21.Rac1 Be2 22.Nxg5 Bxd1 23.Rxc3 Rf5 24.Ne4 Kg7 0–1

On to Hou -- Nakamura, where the American appears to have good winning chances.

Hou,Yifan (2603) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2769) [B77]
Tata Steel Wijk aan Zee (5), 17.01.2013

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0–0 8.Bb3 a6 9.f3 d6 10.Qd2 Na5 11.Bh6 Bxh6 12.Qxh6 e5 13.Nde2 b5 14.Qd2 b4 15.Na4 Nxb3 16.axb3 a5 17.0–0–0 Ra6 18.h4 Be6

Houdini 2.0 considered this position dead even. Stockfish is less certain. Note to self: get Houdini 3.0.

White to move

19.h5 Qe7 20.g4 Nd7 21.f4 Bxg4 22.f5 gxf5 23.exf5 Kh8 24.Qd3 Rc6 25.Rd2 Nf6 26.Ng3 e4 27.Qe3 Qe5 28.Rf1 Bf3 29.Ne2 Ng4 30.Qd4 Rfc8

White to move


It appears that Hou is short on time (under five minutes).

31...Bxe2 32.Qxe5+ Nxe5 33.Rxe2 d5 34.Kb1 dxc4 35.Rxe4 f6

White to move

36.bxc4 Rxc4

Is Nakamura letting another win slip from his grasp? Are computers wrong?

37.Re2 Rh4 38.Nb6 Rd8 39.Rc2

It is 7:47 am PST, which makes it 16:47 in the Netherlands. Play has been going for more than three hours.

39...b3 40.Rc3

Yifan makes the time control.

40...Rb4 41.Rc8 Rxc8 42.Nxc8 Kg7

I like Nakamura's position.

White to move

43.Rg1+ Rg4 44.Re1 Rg2 45.Nd6 Kh6 46.Rd1 a4 47.Kc1 Rc2+ 48.Kb1 Nc4 0-1

Time to watch the en passant videos as the players leave the playing room.

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