09 November 2014

Carlsen -- Anand, Game 2

After a hard-fought draw yesterday, the colors switch for today's World Championship game. Magnus Carlsen, the champion, has White. The challenger and former champion, Viswanathan Anand, has Black.

The official website's biography of the players offers that Carlsen's favorite move is 1.d4 and Anand's is 1.e4. Anand began with 1.d4 yesterday and today Carlsen opened with 1.e4. Of course, both players are versatile with plenty of experience in the full range of popular an even obscure openings.

The match, scheduled for twelve games, is taking place at the site of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Today's game is a Ruy Lopez, or Spanish Opening as it is also known. Already at move four, Carlsen opted for the second most popular move, which Anand had played against him earlier this year.

Carlsen,Magnus (2863) - Anand,Viswanathan (2792) [C65]
WCC Sochi (2), 09.11.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.0–0

Anand played 5.Bxc6 in Zurich. That game was agreed drawn on move 40.


In Moscow 2011, Anand played 5...Nd4 here and went on to beat Carlsen in a long game.


Although Re1 is a standard move in the Spanish, it is rare in this position.


With Anand's move, the game transposes into a somewhat larger reference set.


This move is essentially the novelty, although games in the ChessBase database include it due to presence of games among novices.


After Anand's 7...bxc6
8.h3 Re8 9.Nbd2 Nd7 10.Nc4 Bb6

I would be inclined to maintain the bishop pair, perhaps playing a6 and tucking the bishop away on a7.

11.a4 a5 12.Nxb6 cxb6 13.d4 Qc7

Peter Svidler suggested much later in the game that Anand's suffering may have started here with Black underestimating White's potential.

14.Ra3 Nf8

This square offers secure protection of h7 when White has not exchanged the Spanish bishop for Black's horse.

After Anand's 14...Nf8
15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Nh4 Rd8 17.Qh5 f6 18.Nf5 Be6

18...Qf7 was idscussed in the press conference as an improvement.

19.Rg3 Ng6 20.h4

After Carlsen's 20.h4

Anand opts to exchange the remaining minor pieces.

21.exf5 Nf4 22.Bxf4 exf4 23.Rc3 c5 24.Re6

"Black will suffer for the rest of the game." Peter Svidler

24...Rab8 25.Rc4

After Carlsen's 25.Rc4
25...Qd7 26.Kh2 Rf8 27.Rce4 Rb7 28.Qe2 b5 29.b3 bxa4

The analysts, Svidler and Sopiko Guramishvili, considered some dangerous alternatives after 29...c4.


After Carlsen's 30.bxa4
30...Rb4 31.Re7 Qd6 32.Qf3 Rxe4 33.Qxe4 f3+ 34.g3 h5 35.Qb7 1-0

Carlsen scored an important victory. It was, "a clean win," according to Svidler.

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