Friday, November 22, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 9: Nail biting encounter!

(9) Anand,V (2775) - Carlsen,M (2870) [E25]
FWCM2013 (9), 21.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]
A do or die game for Anand. His penultimate game as white. Its going to take a lot of efforts to beat Magnus Carlsen but there is no better day than today! Anand comes to the board without a Jacket today. A sign that he doesnt belive in any formal proceedings as such. He just wants to get on with the fight. 1.d4!

After 4 white games, Anand finally realises that this is the right move! After 1.e4 rather than hit his head against the Berlin, Anand chooses the queen pawn! He looked confident today! Surely the rest day has helped him to come mentally prepared. 1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 The Nimzo Indian defense which is supposed to be one of the most sound openings in chess is Carlsen's choice here. He should be fine with even a draw. So going for a King's Indian or Grunfeld or other such sharp lines must not be to his taste. 4.f3 This had to be expected from Anand. First of all this move signifies the start of Saemisch Variation of the Nimzo Indian. The pawn comes to the natural square of the knight on g1. But white would like to build a huge center with the help of his f3 pawn with e4. This leads to very sharp positions and exactly what Anand needs at this point in the match. 4...d5 This is the classical reaction and often in many queen pawn openings, once your opponent has committed to the move f3, it makes sense to make this central move as then white cannot play Nf3. 5.a3 Bxc3+ [5...Be7 is another option but not as popular as Bc3 6.e4 dxe4 7.fxe4 e5 8.d5 Bc5 we reach another position that can be theoretically discussed.] 6.bxc3 c5! Black sees that white is behind in development and tries to open the position. White in return for his retarded development, has the two bishops and a strong center. However blacks position is very solid and not so easy to breakthrough. 7.cxd5 exd5!? A very interesting and double edged decision by Magnus. Out of 1800 odd games that have reached this position only 400 have continued with ed5 rest all have continued with Nd5. So whats the difference between the two moves. Nd5 is a solid move. It attacks the c3 pawn and hence white has to take dc5 and then a positional game ensues. On the other hand ed5 looks the most natural but is very double edged. Mainly it gives white a central majortiy and a clear plan of central expansion. Its very surprising that Magnus who only needed a draw was playing for a win. Maybe he didnt just want to win, he wanted to dominate the Match. 8.e3 Whites plan has been known since the very famous game of Botvinnik-Capablanca AVRO 1936. White intends to put his bishop on d3 followed by Nge2 and Ng3. After 0–0 and even Ra2-e2 white will force the pawn break e4, After which white has an excellent position. This is exactly what Vishy was aiming for but Magnus's next move stopped the Bd3 idea right in its tracks! 8...c4! This is the only move that makes sense in this position. Of course black could have continued normally but as I said whites plan of central expansion is natural and strong. Now white has to look into another direction for developing his pieces and Vishy chooses an aggressive setup. 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.g4! this is the most natural move in the position. Even though it might look a little weird. The idea is that the Bishsop will go to g2, The N comes to g3 and the Knight on f6 can be pushed away from the center with g5 and finally e4 can be achieved. This setup was chosen in a very famous game between Kasparov who beat Polgar with the white pieces. 10...0–0 Magnus knows no fear and castles right into the attack! 11.Bg2 Na5!? The knight moves into the juicy square b3 from which its sole motive is to chop off the bishop on e3. Once that bishop will go, it will be one attacker less on the kingside for black to handle. 12.0–0 Nb3 13.Ra2! The normal move would be Rb1, but this World championship has seen many Rook activations along the rank. The rook moves on the 2nd rank so that later after Ng3 it can be shifted to either f2 or e2 and can help in the central breakthrough with e4! 13...b5 Carlsen seeks to counter Vishy's plan with queenside counterattack. [13...Qa5 looked like an extremely logical move because it attacks the c3 pawn. Now the knight cannot move from e2 and if it cannot move then the rook on a2 is passive. Bd2 would simply impede rooks path. So white would have to continue aggressively with 14.g5 Nd7 15.e4 Nb6 16.Bf4 and later playing Qe1 followed by Ng3 and Re2.] 14.Ng3 [14.g5 Nd7 15.e4 Nb6 was another way to play.] 14...a5 Carlsen continues his queenside expansion and at the same time he has another idea up his sleeve as you will soon see [14...h6 would make some sense here as now it prevents g4-g5 and white has to be careful to play e4 as his g4 pawn would hang. 15.Raf2 a5 and white will have to think of some pawn sacrifice or something to make progress.] 15.g5 Ne8 the reason the knight goes here is that later it can go to g7 after g6 in order to prevent the move f5. 16.e4 Anand continues in the way that the text books would recommend. If now left unattended, the bishop on c1 would escape to e3 or f4 and the knight on b3 would start looking very silly. So Carlsen rightly takes off the bishop. 16...Nxc1 17.Qxc1 Ra6! This was the interesting idea with a5 and b5 that I was talking about. The rook gets the entire 6th rank to look over and can later be used as a defense against the kingside attack.We must learn the art of activating rooks along the ranks from these great masters. 18.e5 Vishy now intends to blow the black bastions with f4-f5. Carlsen needs to be very alert. Its a very typical situation of Kingside play vs queenside counterplay. 18...Nc7!? Carlsen said after the press conference that he intended g6 followed by Ng7 to stop f4-f5 but then he saw some problems in that line and hence changed to this idea of pushing his pawn to b4 [18...g6 19.f4 Ng7 20.Rb2 Rb6 21.Qb1 Qd7 22.f5 Nxf5 23.Nxf5 gxf5 and white has a great position. Black's kingside position is totally ruined.] 19.f4 b4 Anand has an important decision to make. Should he now take the queenside pawns or go all out broke on the kingside.Vishy took the middle path. He didnt exchange all the pawns but he didnt exchange 1 pair. 20.axb4 [20.f5 was a logical idea 20...Nb5 21.axb4 axb4 22.Rxa6 Bxa6 23.f6 and the attack is similar to the game but maybe it is stronger.] 20...axb4 21.Rxa6 Nxa6 22.f5 [22.cxb4 Vishy said in the press conference that he could have bailed out here by taking this pawn and then going Ne2-c3. But the Match situation was desperate and it made sense to continue the fight. 22...Nxb4 23.Ne2 Bf5 black should be fine] 22...b3 Carlsen goes for the most principled approach. His pawn on b3 is just 2 steps away from queening. Anand has now go to think out a way to attack here. Infact Anand thought for a very long time here and maybe he couldnt find a clear cut way to a decisive attack. As things stood he already had started the fight, now there was no shying away from it! [22...bxc3?! 23.f6 g6 24.Qxc3 white has a better position] 23.Qf4 [23.f6 would most probably just transpose.; 23.Nh5 was another interesting possibility later looking for a Nf6 check. 23...Nc7 24.Qf4 Nb5 and maybe whites attack is not as strong as in the game.] 23...Nc7 from this move onwards Carlsen began to play with great speed. One must highyl commend the young boys confidence. He thought during Vishy's time and had complete faith on his calculation and did not recheck it after every move. This definitely put pressure on Vishy as he didnt know whether he had missed something or not. 24.f6 g6 [24...gxf6 was possible as per what Carlsen said but it surely looks scary to open your king like that. 25.Nh5 (25.gxf6 Kh8 followed by Rg8 should give black a fine position.) 25...fxg5 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qxg5 Rg8! and black is better here too. So why didnt Carlsen choose gf6? Well there is something like human intuition. Carlsen intuitively sensed that this move gf6 wasnt right and didnt go for it. Maybe he was wrong this time but more often than not these Grandmasters have a heightened sense of intuiotn because of their endless hours of work and practice and that helps them to navigate in such complex situations.] 25.Qh4 Ne8 again the move was instantly made. [25...Kh8? 26.Qh6 Rg8 27.Rf4 with the unstoppable idea of Qh7 followed by Rh5 mate is one that should be remembered.] 26.Qh6 b2 seeing that the game is lost on the kingside, Carlsen hurries to make a queen. Will Vishy be brave enough to allow Carlsen to make a queen? 27.Rf4!? As i watched this game with my friends I must say we were on the edge of our seat. Carlsen making moves at full speed, vishy going all out and a new queen in the middlegame on 27th move is not something that we see everyday! Surely one of the most entertaining games one can ever see. [27.Ne2 could have been an interesting way to continue the game with the idea of Nf4.] 27...b1Q+ Carlsen without even pausing, Immediately made a queen. 28.Nf1?? Can someone make such a mistake? And that too the world champion! As this move was made, a collective cheer went up in the Norwegain room, they knew that Anand had botched it up! [28.Bf1 was the only move to kep the game going. Now Carlsen's move is forced. he has to do something against Rh4 followed by a mate 28...Qd1! 29.Rh4 Qh5 30.Nxh5 gxh5 31.Rxh5 (31.Bh3 Andn thought this was good for a draw after 31...Bxh3 32.Rxh3 Qb6–+ is the simplest intending Qb1 and Qg6. (32...Qd7 33.Rxh5 Qg4+ 34.Kf2 Qf4+ 35.Kg2 Qd2+ 36.Kg1 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qc2+ 38.Kf1 Qg6 is also a win for black.) 33.Rxh5 Qb1+ 34.Kg2 Qg6–+) 31...Bf5 only way to save the mate. Now white has 2 ways to continue, one is Bh3 and the other is g6 32.g6! (32.Bh3 Bg6 33.e6 Nxf6 34.gxf6 Qxf6 35.Re5 fxe6 36.Qe3 and maybe white can hold this but black is out of danger and can infact press in this position.) 32...Bxg6 33.Rg5! with the idea of h4-h5 and black has to give back his piece with 33...Nxf6 34.exf6 Qxf6 35.Rxd5 when the game is equal and should be a draw. So at no point actually Anand was winning.] 28...Qe1! and the queen will simply take the rook on h4 and its all over. Anand sat there with his hands below his chin thinking all alone as Magnus left the board. Magnus knew that the third victory is in the bag ad Anand was helpless to do anything. Just a move ago, the positin was ripe with excitement and complications and now it was as if the life had been taken away! As Magnus finally returned, Anand shook his hand and admitted defeat. Cold blooded defense by Magnus but we must give Vishy his due. He tried his best today. My only question is why didnt he try playing 1. d4 a few games earlier! With the score at 6-3 the match is virtually over! A new champion is in the making and I think he is a very deserving one! But lets just wait for tomorrow, Maybe Vishy Anand has something up his sleeve! You can visit my blog to learn more about chess at 0–1

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