12 November 2014

Carlsen -- Anand, Game 4

The World Championship match between challenger and former champion Viswanathan Anand and defender Magnus Carlsen is developing into in an exciting duel. Carlsen drew first blood by winning game 2. Anand struck back in game 3.

I am following the games live on the official website, which includes commentary by GM Peter Svidler and IM Sopiko Guramishvili. As the games start very early in the morning my time, they are well into the middle game when I am fully awake and cognizant of the position on the board.

While I drink my first cup of coffee, I enter the moves into my database and transfer them to this blog. My comments are light and unaided by chess analysis engines. To the extent that I have time, I update my posts as the game develops.

Carlsen again opened with 1.e4, but today Anand answered with the Sicilian Defense. I saw the game up through move six when I awake at 4:00 am, but I returned to sleep. Sometime later while still in bed, I looked at the game on my iPad and saw that Anand was thinking for a long time on the position after Carlsen's 15.Qf1.

Carlsen,Magnus (2863) -- Anand,Viswanathan (2792) [B40]
WCC Sochi (4), 12.11.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3

A few years ago, I remember discussing an expert's preparation against a FIDE Master for our city's championship. He selected lines involving g3 and Bg2 as a means of avoiding the FM's extensive experience and theoretical knowledge.

3...Nc6 4.Bg2 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.0–0 Nf6 7.d4 Be7

After Anand's 7...Be7
A handful of games have reached this position prior to today. Neither Anand nor Carlsen have played it before, however.

8.Be3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bg4

ChessBase Online database contains 18 games after 9.Nxd4. 9...Bg4 was not played in any of them. 9...was played in all 18 games.

10.Qd3 Qd7 11.Nd2 0–0 12.N2f3 Rfe8 13.Rfe1 Bd6 14.c3 h6 15.Qf1

After Carlsen's 15.Qf1

It is clear that the bishop will not be able to remain on g4, nor is h3 an option any longer. Mulling over this move, I considered 15...Rad8 but thought that was more an automatic developing move than one based on the concrete needs of the position.

15...Bh5 16.h3 Bg6 17.Rad1 Rad8

Now both players have centralized their rooks.

18.Nxc6 bxc6 19.c4 Be4 20.Bd4 Nh7 21.cxd5 Bxd5

Svidler and Guramishvili were surprised that Anand played this move instantly.

After Anand's 21...Bxd5
22.Rxe8+ Rxe8 23.Qd3 Nf8 24.Nh4 Be5 25.Bxd5 Qxd5 26.Bxe5 Qxe5

After Anand's 26...Qxe5
White seems slightly better, but Anand should be able to hold. On the other hand, Carlsen often presses long in such seemingly even positions and often enough provokes a mistake.

27.b3 Ne6 28.Nf3 Qf6 29.Kg2 Rd8 30.Qe2 Rd5 31.Rxd5 cxd5

Black needs to keep pieces on the board. The pawn ending should favor White. He would prefer to trade knights, rather than queens if an exchange must be made.

32.Nd3 Nd4

After Anand's 32...Nd4

While Svidler and Guramishvili were discussing 33.Qf3 Qe4 34.Qxe4 dxe4 35.Nc5 f5, Carlsen attacked the queen and also got in a move that prevents f7-f5. Anand now has an important decision to make, Svidler notes.


Anand did not spend much time. Both players are under ten minutes, Anand has a few minutes more than Carlsen left to get to move 40.

34.Qe5 Ne6

Carlsen is pressing and Anand must defend accurately.

35.Qe5 Ne6 36.Kg3

As Black, I start to fear zugzwang in such a position. The isolated pawn is weak.

36...Qb5 37.Nf4 Nxf4 38.Kxf4 Qb4+ 39.Kf3 40.Qe8+ Kh7

With apparently only a few seconds remaining, Carlsen made the first time control. Anand appeared to have one minute left when he, too, reached the control.

After Anand's 40...Kh7
Anand should be able to hold this position, but Carlsen most likely will find that he has a reason to play on.


41...d3 obviously drops the pawn, but what about 41...Qc3+ followed by d3?


Anand is attacking the a-pawn.

The website seems to have failed with the live commentary. I have not heard the commentary since they were discussing Carlsen's 33.g4.

42.Qf5+ Kh8 43.h4

Carlsen continues to press.


Anand gets the pawn. He no longer needs to be concerned about a queenside pawn majority.

44.Qe6 Qd2 45.Qe8+ Kh7 46.Qe4+ Kh8 47.Qe8+ Kh7 1/2-1/2

Neither player should be disatisfied with today's result. The match is tied 2-2 with one win each and two draws.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

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