Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 5: How does Carlsen do it?!!

(5) Carlsen,M (2870) - Anand,V (2775) [D31]
FWCM2013 (5), 15.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]

Game 5 turned out to be decisive as Magnus beat Anand with the white pieces!

A huge relief appeared on Carlsen's face after 5 and half hours of play! He had struck gold today! But arent we getting ahead of ourselves! Lets look at game 5 between Carlsen who was White against Anand. Something different about this game was that I personally was present at the Grand Hyatt to see the game. And who said chess was boring! The crowd was riveted to their seats for 5.30 hours as both the players played really a great game! 1.c4!?

Enough of Nf3! Its time to go English!!

The english opening! This move had to be expected I think. The main reason being that to Nf3, Anand was replying d5 and was getting a solid position. Now Anand in order to play his favourite setup with d5 will either have to play e6 or c6. 1...e6!? It seems to me that this time Anand hasnt really come with the slav! Because even in game 3 he continued dc4 instead of c6 and today too he plays e6. 2.d4!? Magnus immediately takes the opportunity to transpose the game into queen pawn opening. What will Anand play now? the Nimzo with Nf6 or the Queens Gambit declined with d5! As he has been doing here, Anand went for a classical set up. 2...d5 3.Nc3 Now of course everyone in the crowd knew that Anand was not going to play the ultra solid line of Queens Gambit declined with Nf6. So everyone's money was on the move Be7 which is quite hypermodern. The main idea of Be7 is to prevent white from developing Bg5 followed by cd5 e3 Bd3 and Ne2! Instead after Be7 when white plays Nf3, then black plays Nf6. Its really very subtle but such is the modern theory! 3...c6!? Now this one was a real surprise. Anand goes for the triagnle variation, also known as the noteboom. His main intention must have been to meet both e3 and Nf3 with Nf6. Once the game gets into the Slav or Semi Slav territory, we can expect a very complex game. But what else was left for Carlsen to play! Of course e4! But was he ready to try out the ultra sharp Marshall Gambit? 4.e4! dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ We all were excited in the viewing hall. Was Carlsen finally going to play a sharp game? But isnt that what Anand is looking for all the time? to play extremely sharp chess? Of course if Carlsen plays Bd2, he has to be prepared for reams and reams of sharp and tactical lines after Qd4. But well Carlsen had some other intentions. Something which has been proved to give black an easy game. 6.Nc3!?

Nc3!!? A move which was considered to give black easy equality! 
Not any more!!

Magnus immediately made this move and went away from the board with a smile on his face! He was surely enjoying himself! But Can such a move be really played in a world championship match? After all it has been proved over and over again that Black can get excellent play with c5. But lets have a look at what Carlsen's approach is. He says to himself. "Ahhh! no opening advantage??!! Too bad! Never mind but is it a forced draw? No! Right! Well then I am going to play this position on and on for another 6 hours and lets see if the opening really matters!! Of course team Vishy would not have spent much time on this move for sure. [6.Bd2!? The extremely sharp Marshall Gambit 6...Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 requires some very thorough computer analysis from both sides.] 6...c5! Anand sticks to the theorys approach that c5 is definitely the best move in this position. 7.a3! Carlsen too made his moves quickly. Now black has a choice to make, whether to take on c3 or to go back to a5. 7...Ba5 From the speed at which Anand was playing it was certain that he had looked at this opening at home. Of course Anand has played matches so many times now. He knows the Carlsen wants to play slow lines and hence this move 6.Nc3 is definitely one of the moves that comes to mind to avoid theory. 8.Nf3 Nf6 This move is made because direct Nc6 can be met with d5. Hence Anand first develops this knight first. [8...cxd4 was definitely one option because later we would like to take on c3 and not only double white pawns but also isolate them totally. 9.Qxd4 Qxd4 10.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 At first glance this looks like a clear advantage to black. Look at the white pawns. they are horrible. But what has white got in return? Tremendous activity!! It will be very important for your chess to understand this position well. Its a battle between static and dynamic advantages. White has the dynamic advantage of maybe better pieces and also slight better development. Also the two bishops. Black on the other hadn has a long term pawn structure advantage. What white must do now, is to play as actively as possible. Another factor in whites favour is the very passive Bc8. Lets see a few moves as to how the play could develop. 11...a6 stopping Nb5 12.Bd3 Nf6 13.0–0² 0–0 14.Bf4 You can see how freeflowing and easy whites development is. And thus we understand that all that meets the eyes in the first instance is not the truth! Chess is much deeper than what initial observations convince us.] 9.Be3 Another normal developing move. Carlsen is really trying not to do anything special just simple development. 9...Nc6 Anand too develops his pieces. 10.Qd3!?

A move like Qd3 can really unsettle your opponent!

Now this is the move which shook everyone! No one expects such a move! What exactly is the idea of this move. 1. White makes way for 0–0–0. This is the only square which keeps control on d4 and also clears the back rank, As Qd2 is met with Ne4. 2.The knight on c3 is defended now, so ruining the pawn structure with Bc3 is no longer possible. All in all this is a human move. Of course the computer too suggests this but I think this is Carlsens way of Preparation, he sets up a position at home and thinks of the most unusual yet a move that suits his style and Qd3 fits in the bill. [10.dxc5 I think this move stretches the bad pawn structure a little too far, But I am not so sure even here. After 10...Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qa5 Whites pawn structure is totally ruined but again more space, two bishops and better co-ordination are his advantages and hence its a fighting game. 12.Qc2 Ng4 Black should be doing more than fine.] 10...cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ng4! I like the way Anand plays here. His move is concrete and very active. Once again he sticks to his style in the match of forcing things. 12.0–0–0!?

Carlsen was in mood to entertain!! 0-0-0!!

A collective cry of excitement was heard in the hall. The game was now going to be sharp and interesting. [12.b4 Nxe3 13.fxe3 Bc7 was another way for white to play.] 12...Nxe3 13.fxe3 This move really went a little above our little heads! what was the point of this move? Why not the normal move 0–0 or the more daring move e5. Well maybe we have to ask Vishy to explain this move. [13.Qxe3 is a bad mistake as after 13...Bb6 White is badly pinned and close to being lost.] 13...Bc7 [13...e5 this move is a mistake as it is met by a strong move 14.Qe4! after this move white wrests over the initiative and is clearly better.; 13...0–0! But i Think this was natural and stronger. 14.Nxc6 bxc6 (14...Qxd3 15.Ne7+ is game over!) 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Rxd8+ Bxd8 17.Bd3 Bg5 Black should be more than fine in this position.] 14.Nxc6!? Wow!! Carlsen goes for multiple exchanges in order to play an endgame. But didnt he have better options at his disposal? [14.Qe4 looked natural 14...Nxd4 15.exd4 0–0 16.Bd3 white must have a small edge but black should be fine and totally in the game after 16...f5!; 14.Ndb5 0–0 15.Nxc7 Qxc7 16.Qd6² would have given white a small edge.; 14.Ncb5 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 0–0 again black should be fine but white has the slight pull] 14...bxc6 15.Qxd8+ [15.Qe4 was again one option but after 15...Bd7 16.c5 it seems as though black is passive but after Qe7 and 0–0 he will be fine. 16...Qe7=] 15...Bxd8 16.Be2! 

Such little moves are often the basis for a huge advantage!

A calm developing move. Carlsen figures out that his bishop will be best placed on f3. Now the computer will assess such positions as equal but Carlsen is aiming exactly for this. To have his share of chancesand to keep pressing till the 43 year old world champion is tired and makes a mistake. 16...Ke7!? Again this was an odd decision by Anand. Everyone felt he should have activated his bishop to g5. However as the game progressed this turned out to be not such a bad decision of playing Ke7 [16...Bg5 17.Rd3 and now Ne4 is threatened which must be stopped with (17.Bf3 Bxe3+ 18.Kc2 Bd7 19.Nb5 Rd8 20.Nd6+ Ke7 gives white compensation for the pawn but nothing more.) 17...f5 18.Rhd1 0–0 19.Bf3 white chances are definitely preferable.] 17.Bf3 Bd7 18.Ne4 white threatens Nc5 now. So Bb6 was expected. 18...Bb6 [18...Bc7 is suggested by the computer but I think its a non human way to defend the position. 19.Nc5 Be8 No one would like one's rook to be shut out of the game on h8.] 19.c5 What is Anand to do now. If he goes back Bc7, the the knight jumps into d6 and white is really beginning to turn the screws. The shrewd defender that he is, Anand now plays an intermezzo with which he exchanges another pair of minor pieces and reaches an endgame with a slight disadvantage. 19...f5!? [19...Bc7 would have been too passive as after 20.Nd6 followed by doubling on the d file, white is clearly better.] 20.cxb6 fxe4 21.b7! Another cool intermezzo! If white would have taken on e4 then black would have recaptured on b6 and retained his integrity of pawns. But now after b7, the pawns remain disconnected. That was quite a nice little point of Carlsen's play 21...Rab8 22.Bxe4 Rxb7

How should one assess this position?!!

now lets talk about this position in depth. What exactly is going on? White has an amazing bishop on e4 against blacks very sad piece on d7. Also black has 3 isolated pawns pawns in a7, c6, and e6 while white has only 1 i.e on e3. White has the rook on the open 'd' file and his other rook is ready to come to the f file. All these points, point to only 1 fact, that white is clearly better. But dont be misguided but appearances. First of all black has his rook on the open b file. The way Anand makes use of this rook is beautiful. Secondly the black king is excellent placed on e7. Its a dark square so the bishop cannot attack it and secondly the rooks also cannot enter because both the entry points on the file are controlled by the black king. So the truth of this position is simple. Carlsen has an advantage. Yet the position is closer to a draw than white win. 23.Rhf1 [23.Rd2 was another plan, trying to double on the d file. 23...h6 removing the pawn from the attack. (23...Rb5 24.Rhd1 Be8 25.Rc2 should give white a good position.) 24.Rhd1 Rhb8= and black should be doing just fine.] 23...Rb5!

The rook on the 5th rank really made Carlsen's life difficult!

 I totally loved this move. Look at the rook! It controls the entire 5th rank! Who said rooks are always good on open files! They can do just as much damage on open ranks! but its true that to reach an open rank, you will have to go through an open or semi open file! :) 24.Rf4!? Usually Carlsen's play is natural and easily understandable. Of course hard to emulate but easy understand. However this move made by Carlsen went really above the head of many people! Why did he play his rook to f4? well of course his idea was to double on f file but then why not f3? Why to force black to play g5? Is the pawn moving ahead from g7 to g5 really in white's favour? I am really not sure. And no one can really be! Thats why chess is so difficult 24...g5 25.Rf3 [25.Rg4? h5!] 25...h5!? Anand is thinking about developing his second rook on the rank from h4-g4 and Rh5 it seems! Well its a plausible idea, but in the press conference people did suggest a defense of exchanging whites superb bishop with Be8 [25...Be8 26.Rdf1 Bg6 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28.Rf7+ Kd6 29.h3 once again its the same old story, black is close to a draw but white can keep pressing and who is a better technical player than Carlsen!!] 26.Rdf1 looking to penetrate down to f7 26...Be8 controlling the f7 square. 27.Bc2!? the bishop moves back for two reasons. One is that it may get a better square on a4 or b3 some day and secondly the rook on f3 can now move not fearing the move Re5 which was earlier hitting both the B on e4 and pawn on e3. 27...Rc5 pinning the bishop and threatening Bg6 28.Rf6! Carlsen is not one who would make a concession with Kb1 making his king move away from the center. Rather he plays this active move. White would really be better if he got in Bb3 now. But how realistic is it? 28...h4!? Creating a square on h5 for the bishop to go to. After th game people thought that Rg8 threatening Bg6 would have been a better move. [28...Rg8 29.Kd2 Rd5+ 30.Ke2 c5 threatening Bb5 . black seems to be doing well.] 29.e4 whats the point of this move, putting a pawn on the same colour as that of the bishop? well the point is simple. In this instance white wants to get his bishop to b3 for that he needs to bring his king out to d2 but then he is met with the irritating check on d5. This move prevents Rd5 check. 29...a5! Anand plays on both sides of the board! He prevents b4 and starts to make b2 look like a weakness. 30.Kd2 finally is Magnus going to get in Bb3? because if he gets that then he is clearly better. 30...Rb5! stopping Bb3 and attacks b2 pawn. 31.b3! very level headed defense and maybe even a change in plan. For a brief instant we felt that it would be a repetition today with Kc3 Rc5 Kd2 Rb5! But well Magnus was not one to stop the game too soon today. He was going to go the distance now matter what. The new plan now involves Kc3 followed by Bd3-c4. 31...Bh5 this move makes way for the Rook to join in the battle from d8 32.Kc3 Whites threat is very simple now. He wants to play Bd3 and plonk his bishop on c4. If he can achieve that then he will clearly be better. You see that even in such quiet positions there are always positional threats. This gives the game a concrete character. 32...Rc5+ stopping Bd3-c4. 33.Kb2

How did Anand manage to create counterplay here?

Rd8! I simply loved this move. Anand after the game said that he felt this was a mistake. But how can this move be a mistake. It activates a rook that has been lying dormant since move 1. It creates a deadly threat of Rd2. How on earth can this move be bad? Well maybe Anand's objectivity was affected because of the result of the game. 34.R1f2 stopping Rd2 34...Rd4! An amazing move! The rook activates itself and look how the two black rooks cannot be touched here by any whites pieces. Over here I started to feel that Anand was definitely back in the game and maybe even better. But well Carlsen was really not going to give up so soon. The main idea of the move Rd4 was to make a square for the black king on d6 without being disturbed by a vertical check on the 2nd rank. 35.Rh6! Again an active move attacking the bishop on h5 35...Bd1! This was nicely played by Anand. I thought Anand was playing for a draw but maybe this was the only move in the position. The very active move g4 is bad as shown in the variation. [35...g4? 36.Rh7+! Kd6 37.Rg7! after this move white position is more compact and black pieces lack scope. Its clearly better for white as he threatens the deadly move Rf8(37.Rf8!? and the threat is Rd8 but black can hold on here with 37...Bg6) ] 36.Bb1!!

No exchanges! Playing for win at all costs!! Bb1!

The most amazing move in the game. Carlsen can go to simply any extent to win! He declines the exchange of bishops and continues to pressurise black. [36.Bxd1 Rxd1= is equal but here i think white has to be careful as his e4 pawn is weak.] 36...Rb5 Anand keeps creating threats on every move. He now is attacking the b3 pawn. But Carlsen has it all covered. 37.Kc3! When a great player makes a move like this attacking opponents piece and now Rb2 becomes possible, I start thinking that this all has to be a co-incidence! But I am wrong. Players as strong as Carlsen do not believe in co-incidences. They calculate from before hand whats going on and find such minute resources to keep the game going! 37...c5 38.Rb2! the time control of 40 moves was soon approaching. Both were under time pressure. It was a very tense situation. Would Anand or Carlsen falter here? or would both of them hold their nerves. 38...e5!? manyp people criticised this move saying why did Anand have to make this move? well I see nothing wrong with this move and Infact black can really be happy about his position at this point. 39.Rg6 attacking the g5 pawn. 39...a4?

A key mistake in the game!

this was a mistake before the time control. I think Vishy simply missed that after Rg5, his e5 pawn was hanging. or else he would have played g4. [39...g4! 40.Bd3 Rxb3+ 41.Rxb3 Bxb3 42.Rxg4² keeps a small pull for white but I think black should be fine after 42...c4!] 40.Rxg5! Carlsen immediately snapped this pawn and got up from the board with a feeling of happiness as he completed his 40 moves. He left Vishy under thought as to what to do for his 40 move. Vishy's move was forced as he played [40.bxa4 was a move worth considering for Carlsen. Maybe it provided him with better chances than in the game. 40...Rxb2 41.Kxb2 Bxa4 42.Rxg5 with an extra pawn and good winning chances.] 40...Rxb3+! 41.Rxb3 Bxb3 As Carlsen sat to think at this point, we too started think as to what is actually happening. The truth of the matter is the inspite of the mistakes made by Vishy, his position is still tenable. Mainly because the white bishop is so passive on b1 and because black pieces co-ordinate so well. But he must play very accurately. What we will witness now is a race, blacks queenside pawns against whites kingside pawns. 42.Rxe5+ Kd6 is forced to defend the c5 pawn. 43.Rh5 Rd1! Anand chooses the best approach. [43...Rc4+ was also one of the considered moves but after 44.Kd2 Rd4+ 45.Ke3 (45.Ke2 Bd1+ would be an embarrassing skewer.) 45...Rd1 46.e5+! Ke6 47.Bf5+! this is the very important check to be given. (47.Bh7 we saw a very interesting variation during the game albeit it was filled with inaccuracies. 47...Re1+ 48.Kd2 Rxe5 49.Bg8+ Kf6 50.Rxe5 Kxe5 51.Bxb3 axb3 52.Kc3 c4 53.a4 Ke4 54.a5 Ke3 55.a6 b2 56.Kxb2 Kd2 57.a7 c3+ 58.Kb3 c2 59.a8Q c1Q And surprisingly there is no way to exchange the queens for white and this position might end in a draw. Of course there are lots of ways in which both sides can improve their play but the transformation of the position has been amazing!) 47...Kd5 (47...Ke7 48.Rxh4 is winning for white.) 48.e6 Ra1 49.e7 Re1+ 50.Kd2 Rxe7 51.Rxh4 white remains a pawn up but black has better chances of defense than in the game because the bishops still remain on the board.] 44.e5+! this was forced to give the b1 bishop more scope. 44...Kd5 [44...Ke6 45.Bf5+ lets white co-ordinate his forces.] 45.Bh7 the critical position of the game and I can now say even of the entire match! White threatens Bg8+. How should black deal with it. As it turns out the right move is to go after the insignificant pawn on a3. Now of course it seems totally illogical but infact its the only way to save the position.
Here's a small test for you: Its black to play, the game can be saved but only if you play that move! What is it?

45...Rc1+? when I watched the game live, I thought this was a clever move than Rg1 because it forced the white king to move backwards when the black king could penetrate to d4. However there is clear flaw in this idea as the game will show us. [45...Rg1 46.Bg8+ Kc6 47.Rh6+ i think its an important point to push the black king behind(47.Bxb3 axb3 48.Kxb3 Rxg2 49.Rxh4 Kd5 50.a4 should also be winning.) ; 45...Ra1!! was the critical move but very hard to foresee. 46.Bg8+ (46.Kb2 Ra2+ is no problem for black.) 46...Kc6 47.Bxb3 Rxa3! the little point of blacks play 48.Rxh4 Rxb3+ Now king has to move backwards as Kc4 is met with Rb4. 49.Kc2 Rb4 50.Rxb4 cxb4 51.h4 Kd5 52.h5 Kxe5 53.g4 Kf6 54.Kb2= leads to a very funny draw with both sides unable to make any progress!] 46.Kb2 Rg1 from this point on, Carlsen was on autopilot though during the game we were still undecided whether it was a draw or white wins. 47.Bg8+ Kc6 48.Rh6+! again I like this check. Its a sign of good technique. However the same could not be said of Anands rook check move Rc1. 48...Kd7 49.Bxb3 axb3 50.Kxb3! Rxg2 51.Rxh4 Ke6 And here Carlsen didnt even care for his e5 pawn. That just shows how confident and how great his endgame knowledge is. 52.a4 Kxe5 sometimes two rooks pawns are not sufficient to win in a rook ending. And here black even has an extra pawn. Then why is he losing? the answer to this question is that the black king is active! If it were passive on b7 or a8, then this position would have been drawn! As it stands on e5 its poorly placed and white can just cut it off. 53.a5! Kd6 54.Rh7!

The final nail in the coffin, cutting off the king horizontally!

the crucial move to seal the fate of the game!The theme that Carlsen uses here is known as rank cut off. Many people dont know about it but sometimes it much more powerful than file cut off. 54...Kd5 [54...Kc6 55.a6 Kb6 56.a7+-] 55.a6 c4+ 56.Kc3 Ra2 57.a7 Kc5 58.h4 the a7 pawn binds the black rook, the c4 pawn is going nowhere, meanwhile the h pawn turns out to be a winner who has his path free to become a queen!! What a great game by Carlsen. He simply outplayed the world champion from almost a equal position. The two things that favoured him are his stamina and his will to win! You might argue that Vishy made some critical errors in the game, but believe me when I say that yesterday when was sitting in the viewing hall with no laptops engine or commentary, I understood how difficult it is really to play accurately every move! For the Grandiose struggle we must thank both the players and lets see if Vishy Anand can strike back now as he has the white pieces in both games 5 and 6. 1–0

The secret of Carlsen's success?!!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is amazing! You're doing a fantastic job. I also use Android application with your comments to any of the games. Thank you.