Will Viswanathan Anand regain his title from Magnus Carlsen? Anand's loss last year capped a period of several years where his play had been uninspiring. Nor was he considered the favorite to win the Candidates Tournament and earn another match. At first, Anand was ambivalent concerning whether he would play in the Candidates Tournament. There was some talk of retirement.
He played and he won. His play over the past year has reminded chess fans of the man who has earned the World Champion title in more ways than any other. He was FIDE World Champion via both the knockout system and a tournament, as well as earning the classical title through a championship match when he defeated Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. Kramnik had participated in the 2007 Championship Tournament, placing second.
Carlsen, the highest rated chess player in history, has proven vulnerable in the past year. Although he lost several notable games, he also won a couple of prestigious tournaments.
This match is the fifth time in history that a dethroned World Champion earned a rematch with the new champion. The first three were successful restorations of the crown to its former owner. After surprising Alexander Alekhine in 1935, Max Euwe was unsuccessful defending his title in 1937. Mikhail Botvinnik twice lost the title and then gained in back in a rematch. Vasily Smyslov won in 1957, then lost in 1958. Mikhail Tal became World Champion in 1960, then lost the title in 1961.
In 1984-1985, Garry Kasparov played a record number of World Championship games with Anatoly Karpov over two matches, winning the title. The return match of 24 games was played 28 July to 8 October 1986. Kasparov won 12.5 - 11.5.
Today's game explored an obscure line of the Grunfeld Defense, following a game between Anand and Jon Ludwig Hammer, one of Carlsen's seconds.
Anand,Viswanathan (2792) -- Carlsen,Magnus (2863) [D85]
WCC Sochi, 08.11.2014
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bd2 Bg7 6.e4 Nxc3
Carlsen has played 6...Nb6 in the past, winning against Wang Yue in 2010. Anand also has played this position, beating Peter Svidler with the White pieces in 2009.
7.Bxc3 0–0 8.Qd2
8.Nf3 is slightly more popular in the small number of games that have reached this position.
8...c5 9.d5 Bxc3 10.bxc3 e6 11.d6 e5 12.h4 Be6 13.Nh3 Qxh4 14.0–0–0 Qxe4 15.Bd3 Qa4 16.Ng5 Qxa2 17.Qe3 Qa3+ 18.Kd2 Qb2+ 19.Bc2 Bf5 20.Rc1 Rd8 21.Nxf7 Kxf7 22.Qxe5 Rxd6+ 23.Qxd6 Nc6 24.Rxh7+ Kg8 25.Rd7 Re8 26.Qf6 Bxd7 27.Qxg6+ Kf8 28.Qf6+ Kg8 29.Rh1 Re2+ 30.Kxe2 Nd4+ 31.cxd4 Qxc2+ 32.Ke3 Qc3+ 33.Kf4 Qxd4+ 34.Qxd4 cxd4 35.Ke4 a5 36.Kxd4 a4 37.Kc3 b5 38.Kb4 Kf7 39.Rh7+ Ke6 40.g4 Be8 41.f4 Kf6 42.Rh6+ Kg7 43.g5 Bg6 44.Rh3 Bf5 45.Re3 1–0 Anand,V (2783) -- Hammer,J (2608) Sandnes NOR 2013
|After Carlsen's 8...Nc6|
11.gxf3 Ne5 12.Be2 c6 13.f4 Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.dxc6 bxc6 16.Rc1 Nf6 17.Rc4 Qb8 18.b3 Rd8 19.Qe3 a5 20.0–0 a4 21.b4 a3 22.Rb1 Ra4 23.Bf3 c5 24.Rxc5 Rxb4 25.Rxb4 Qxb4 26.e5 Ng8 27.Rc3 Nh6 28.Rb3 Qc4 29.Rc3 Qxa2 30.Rxa3 Qb1+ 31.Kg2 Nf5 32.Qc3 Nh4+ 33.Kh3 Qf1+ 34.Kxh4 Qxf2+ 35.Kh3 Rd2 36.f5 Qxh2+ 37.Kg4 h5+ 38.Kg5 Qg3+ 0–1 Moiseenko,A (2707) -- Nepomniachtchi,I (2714) Yaroslavl 2014
11...Kxg7 12.gxf3 Ne5 13.0–0–0 c6 14.Qc3 f6 15.Bh3 cxd5 16.exd5 Nf7 17.f4
|After Anand's 17.f4|
I have a youth chess tournament to run today. Hence, I may need to leave before this game finishes.
17...Qd6 18.Qd4 Rad8
Anand is nearly thirty minutes ahead of Carlsen on the clock.
19.Be6 Qb6 20.Qd2 Rd6 21.Rhe1 Nd8 22.f5 Nxe6 23.Rxe6 Qc7+ 24.Kb1 Rc8
|After Carlsen's 24...Rc8|
Anand has perhaps three minutes more than Carlsen at this point.
My youth tournament was a success with 77 players, the largest youth event in my city since 2009. However, the Wi-Fi there was not strong enough for me to update this blog, nor even to know the result of the game until I arrived home.
I could see enough of the game to understand that Anand found himself in a difficult position where he was hoping to escape with a draw, He managed to succeed.
26.Rxe6 Rd8 27.Qe3 Rd7 28.d6 exd6 29.Qd4 Rf7 30.fxg6 hxg6 31.Rxd6 a6 32.a3 Qa5 33.f4 Qh5 34.Qd2
|After Anand's 34.Qd2|
I think that exchanging rooks with 37.Rxf7+ Kxf7 must be bad because of the pawn weaknesses on White's kingside.
37...Qe4+ 38.Ka2 Re7 39.Qc1 a5 40.Qf1 a4 41.Rd1 Qc2 42.Rd4 Re2 43.Rb4
This evening after dinner, I watched part of the commentary that I missed this morning. It seems that Carlsen spent a lot of time thinking in this position.
Anand has proven himself resourceful in a difficult position. With this move, he maintains control of the central light squares.
44...Re7 45.Qd5 Re1 46.Qd7+ Kh6 47.Qh3+ Kg7 48.Qd7+ ½–½
It was a rough start for Anand. He created complications from his opening choice, but then failed to capitalize in the middle game. In the ending, he was on the defensive.