21 November 2014

Anand -- Carlsen, Game 10

World Champion Magnus Carlsen leads challenger and former champion Viswanathan Anand 5-4 after nine games. The match is being played at the Olympic Media Center in Sochi, Russia. Yesterday's game 9 started with the variation of the Berlin Defense to the Spanish Opening that appeared in game 7. Game 7 was on the verge of setting the record for longest World Championship game ever played, but fell short by two moves.

With three games remaining, Anand is under pressure to produce a win. Both players have demonstrated exceptional opening preparation for this match. Both are confident.

Following these games live and blogging them while in progress is both enjoyable and exhausting. The games start at 3:00 pm in Sochi, which is 4:00 am my time. Because of the importance of game 10, I set my alarm for 4:00 am for the first time during this match. I also prepared the beginning of this post last night.

I predict the game's first moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4.

Every time that Anand has had White, these have been the moves. Will they vary today?

Anand,Viswanathan (2792) - Carlsen,Magnus (2863) [D97]
WCC Sochi (10), 21.11.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0–0 7.e4 Na6 8.Be2 c5 9.d5 e6 10.0–0 exd5 11.exd5 Re8

These moves were played rapidly, and now Anand begins to think. Carlsen opted for a Grunfeld Defense, as in game 1 of this match. However, Anand varied from that game on move 4.

After Carlsen's 11...Re8
I have played the Grunfeld and have played against it. However, I have no experience  with 5.Qb3 and subsequent moves.


Anand spent about ten minutes. 12.Rd1 is the most popular move, and was Anand's choice when he had the diagram position twenty years ago. 12.Be3 and 12.Bc4 have also been played by Grandmasters.

12...h6 13.Be3 Bf5 14.Rad1 Ne4N

After Carlsen's 14...Ne4
Reference Game:

Wojtaszek,Radoslaw (2713) - Ponomariov,Ruslan (2729) [D97]
Poikovsky Karpov 13th Poikovsky (2), 29.09.2012

14...Qb6 15.b3 Rad8 16.Rd2 Ng4 17.Bf4 Qa5 18.Rc1 g5 19.Bg3 Bxc3 20.Qxc3 Qxc3 21.Rxc3 Nf6 22.Bb5 Ne4 23.Re3 Nxd2 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Bxe8 Ne4 26.Ne5 f6 27.Nc4 Kf8 28.Bb5 Nxg3 29.Bxa6 bxa6 30.hxg3 Ke7 31.f3 Bb1 32.a3 Bc2 33.Na5 Kd6 34.Nc4+ Kc7 35.Na5 Bg6 36.Nc4 Bf7 37.d6+ Kd7 38.Kf2 Bg6 39.Ke3 Bc2 40.Na5 Kxd6 41.g4 Bg6 42.Nc4+ Ke6 43.Na5 Kd5 44.Nc4 f5 45.gxf5 Bxf5 46.Na5 Bd7 47.Nc4 Bb5 48.Nd2 a5 49.Ne4 Bc6 50.Kd3 Ke5 51.Nxc5 Kf4 52.Ke2 Kg3 53.Kf1 g4 54.fxg4 Bxg2+ 55.Kg1 Bd5 56.b4 axb4 57.axb4 Kxg4 58.Kf2 Kf4 59.Na4 Bc6 60.Nc3 a6 61.Ne2+ Ke4 62.Ng3+ Kd3 63.Nf5 h5 64.Ng7 h4 65.Nf5 h3 66.Kg3 Kc3 67.Ne3 Bg2 0–1


When the reference game was a long Black win, it dawns on me that Carlsen could be seeking to bring this match to a rapid conclusion. If he manages a win with Black, he needs only one draw in the last two games to secure his title.


Peter Svidler, who with Sopiko Guramishvili is providing live commentary for the official site, thinks that it is likely both players are still in their preparation.


Anand spent fifteen minutes on this move.

Svidler, who plays the Grunfeld, thinks that Anand's advanced central pawn is strong. I find it reminiscent of a game Garry Kasparov played in his youth, which he comments upon in some depth in Kaparov on Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985 (2011).


I expected 16...Kh7. Anand had been thinking for eight minutes as Svidler and Guramishvili return from a short break.

Svidler is confessing that he considered Carlsen's move, although he did not mention it earlier.

After Carlsen's 16...Qf6
17.Bxh6 Qxb2

A queen swap here followed by exchanges of bishops for knights to double the opponent's pawns seems to make the d-pawn less of a threat. Black should hold the position.

18.Qxb2 Bxb2

Although 19.Bxa6 is tempting, keeping the bishop pair on the board offers better prospects for applying the sort of pressure that could lead to a win.

In general, I like having the Black side of the Grunfeld with a two to one pawn majority on the queenside. However, in my experience, Black's c-pawn usually gets exchanged for White's d-pawn. Here, that d-pawn is a potential monster.


Susan Polgar suggested this move in a tweet while Anand was contemplating 18.Qxb2.

Anand has 51 minutes remaining. As Carlsen is thinking, I notice that he is a player who tips his head from side to side while calculating potential exchanges. It is subtle, which helps to explain why I had not noticed it before.

Carlsen has been thinking for twenty minutes.

"The gloves are off," Fabiano Caruana tweeted.

After thirty minutes of thinking, Carlsen played.


Problems with the delay, feed, or hackers caused Svidler to briefly perceive that 19...Bxg2 had been played.

20.Nxe4 Rxe4 21.Bf3 Re7 22.d6 Rd7 23.Bf4

I had these moves in my database before they were played.

After Anand's 23.Bf4
White's d-pawn is blockaded and Black's knight may now have time to find a more useful square, perhaps Na6-b4-c6. Would Anand snap it off on c6? Perhaps, Carlsen needs to slide the other rook to c8 first.

23...Nb4 24.Rd2

Surely White cannot let the a-pawn drop. Or, can he?


This move must be much stronger than my idea.

Svidler has introducing a guest, an expert on the Grunfeld, when the live commentary feed died. Perhaps the broadcast is working elsewhere in the world.

Refreshing my browser brought it back, so the problem seems to be local.


Anand has 22 minutes to get to move 40.

25...Re6 26.h4

Anand avoids backrank checkmates and also prevents g6-g5.

The problems I was having listening to the commentary continue, so I am missing interesting Grandmaster analysis. These problems seem to stem from my notebook computer, which often has connectivity issues. It is a nice box, but the internal WiFi seems substandard. The video works fine on my iPad, but the battery needed charging so I switched to my notebook.

I suppose that I could move the charger to where I am sitting in the living room. These First World problems with technology are soo troubling.


The analysts are not optimistic concerning Anand's ability to play for a win in this position now.

After Carlsen's 26...Be5
27.Bxe5 Rxe5 28.Bxb7 Rxb7 29.d7 Nc6 30.d8Q+ Nxd8 31.Rxd8+

White looking at the position after 26...Be5, I entered some moves in my database. These moves were soon played on the board.

31...Kg7 32.Rd2 1/2-1/2

I did not get as far as the last move by each player in my guess-the-move.

The draw should be considered a victory for Carlsen in terms of the match situation. With two games remaining, Carlsen leads 5.5-4.5.

In the press conference, Anand mentioned 24.Re1 as an alternative to 24.Rd2. The commentators seemed to suggest that Anand lost control of the position near that point in the game.

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