15 November 2014

Carlsen -- Anand, Game 6

Viswanathan Anand is defending a difficult position in the Sicilian Kan against Magnus Carlsen. It is game six of the World Championship match. The match is tied at 2.5-2.5.

Anand had the first White, so now Carlsen gets White two games in a row. After this game ends, the match is half-way through the standard games. Carlsen starts the second half with White.

Carlsen,Magnus (2863) -- Anand,Viswanathan (2792) [B41]
WCC Sochi (6), 15.11.2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4

I have been looking at this position with some of my students who have been going through Paul Morphy's games from the First American Chess Congress 1857.


The correct move, in my opinion. It accounts for nearly half of the games in the database after 4.Nxd4. Louis Paulsen played 4...Bc5 three times against Morphy. Although Paulsen managed to draw one of these, they were all difficult for Black. Howard Staunton also played 4...Bc5 in his first match games against Adolf Anderssen in London 1851. Anderssen won a nice game with a model attack on the king. I went over that game with two students yesterday.

4...Nc6 and 4...Nf6 are playable.

5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4

6...Qc7 is more popular. Of course, the pin of the bishop is a standard plan in the Kan.


After Carlsen's 7.Qd3
7.Bd3 is the most common move by far.

7...Nc6 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Qxd8+ 

9.e5 has been played as well.

9...Kxd8 10.e5 Nd7N 11.Bf4 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3

After Carlsen's 12.bxc3
12...Kc7 13.h4 b6 14.h5 h6 15.0–0–0 Bb7 16.Rd3 c5 17.Rg3 Rag8 18.Bd3 Nf8 19.Be3 g6

After Anand's 19...g6
20.hxg6 Nxg6 21.Rh5 Bc6

A nice waiting move. How can White improve his position?

22.Bc2 Kb7 23.Rg4

Peter Svidler and Sopiko Guramishvili were considering several possibilities, but had not examined this move by Carlsen. They quickly concluded, however, that it is a very strong move.

23...a5 24.Bd1 Rd8 25.Bc2 Rdg8

One repetition of the position.


Carlsen proceeds with an interesting plan. In the press conference, he called this move a mistake.

After Carlsen's 26.Kd2

26...Nxe5 exploits Carlsen's error. The commentators had been looking for scenarios in which Black can win the e-pawn. Here the opportunity presents itself.

The critical lines, it seems to me without engine checking, are:

a) 27.Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28.Kd3 Nb2+ 29.Kd2 Rxg8 and Black is ahead two pawns.
b) 27.Rxe5 sacrificing the exchange 27...Rxg4 28.g3 and maybe White can pick up the h-pawn.

27.Ke2 a3 28.f3 Rd8 29.Ke1 Rd7 30.Bc1 Ra8 31.Ke2

After Carlsen's 31.Ke2

Perhaps 31...Ne7

32.Be4+ Bc6 33.Bxg6 fxg6 34.Rxg6

After Carlsen's 34.Rxg6
Vladimir Kramnik has joined Peter Svidler in the broadcast studio. They find the position very complicated. Maybe Black can hold.


34...Rd8 may have been necessary, according to Svidler and Kramnik.

35.Rxe6 Rd1 36.Bxa3 Ra1 37.Ke3 Bc2 38.Re7+ 1-0

Carlsen takes the lead 3.5 - 2.5.

This post will be updated ...

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