Monday, November 11, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 2. The Curse of Caro!!

Anand 2775 vs Carlsen 2870
World Championship 2013 Game.2

Before the start of Game no.2

The game 2 between Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen! Vishy Anand had made it clear to the world yesterday that he had come fully prepared for the World Championship match. Magnus had to pull the emergency brakes yesterday to make a draw. And today Vishy had the white pieces. That meant he was all raring to press the challenger. Vishy arrived at the board today in his white t shirt. He looked completely focussed as Magnus was not to be seen. For a few brief moments it felt as if the zero tolerance rule might come into effect but its highly unlikely that Magnus Carlsen would be asleep when the stakes were so
high! He arrived in the hall in a hurry. He did look like he was in a no nonsense mode. The players shook hands and Vishy pushed the e pawn!
1. e4
The chess fans loved it when their hero played the most aggressive first move on the board!

 It seemed as if collective roar went up in the crowd as Vishy made the move e4! It meant that the Madras Tiger was out to kill. A tactical battle was in the offing! Vishy had calculated Magnus's response based on previously played moves. The Breyer or the Petroff or maybe the Dragon! Not even in his wildest
dreams would he have imagined Magnus to touch his c pawn and not play the sicilian!
Not even in his wildest dreams would Vishy have considered the Caro Kann!!

The Caro Kann Defense.The joke about this move is that in a game with Fischer, when Tal was playing black he pushed his 'c' pawn one square and looked at Fischer. Fischer looked quite upset as he would have to face the Caro Kann. But Tal hadnt left his hand! He pushed his pawn ahead and it was a sicilian! The glow on Bobbys face came back!!  Such is the solidity of this opening! Caro Kann. Known as one of the toughest defenses to crack, this seemed to be the ideal choice by Carlsen. And how was Vishy to expect this move? The last time Magnus had played this was against Karjakin in 2011 and in 2010 when he had employed it against a talented Chinese youngster Sjugirov, Magnus had lost in 25 moves. Vishy must have prepared this line but definitely Caro Kann was not one of the openings on his wish list.
 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 The Classical variation of the Caro kann, earlier know for its boring setup when
both the sides used to long castle. But through the efforts of many daring players and authors like Lars Schandorff, players started to castle on the opposite wings i.e white on the queenside and black on the kingside and the games turned out to be sharp. Exactly what happened today.
 dxe4 4. Nxe4 {Now there are many options for black to choose from here. He can go for the very sharp and double edged move Nf6 when after white takes Nf6 to play gf6!?. The other option is to play smyslov's move Nd7. However the most popular move in this position is definitely the natural developing move Bf5} Bf5 5. Ng3 (5. Nc5 sometimes this move is played but i think its not very sound.) 5... Bg6 6. h4
{the h pawn moves ahead to harass the bishop on g6. at the same time this move gains space for white on the kingside. Now what should black play h6 or h5)
h6 I have made a simple rule for myself that can be of good use to Caro Kann players. If white played the advance variation of the Caro Kann and then played h4 later, then black must meet it with h5. As he cannot afford to give up more space. But in Classical line when black has already exchanged his d pawn for white's e pawn, then black doesnt have too many space issues and must meet h4 with h6!} 7. Nf3 {Can you believe this position has been reached almost 12000 times!! Its really a popular position. White now threatens to
harass the g6 bishop further with Ne5.} e6!?

7...e6!? A move which was considered a risky move as white gains a tempo with Ne5!

{And guess what out of those 12000 games only 1000 odd games have reached this position!! But why? And what is the most popular move. Black players were so afraid earlier about the knight jump to e5 that they always used to play Nd7 to stop it. No one ever thought that Ne5 could be allowed, until the efforts of Alexey Dreev started to bear fruit. In a way this move is more natural. Black retains the option of maybe putting his knight on c6 later after the c5 break. The question is should white play Ne5 now and gain a tempo?
 8. Ne5!? Vishy accepts the provocation. He moves the knight for the second time in the opening but only
because black will have to move his bishop for the third time. Bh7 9. Bd3 (9. Bc4 {is another option but leads to toally different type of play.}) 9... Bxd3 (9... Qxd4 10. Nxf7 +/-) 10. Qxd3 Nd7 {A very natural move attacking the e5 knight. White now has to make an important choice. Would he like to play his
pawn upto f4 or Bf4?} 11. f4!? {Vishy makes his intentions totally clear! He wants to crush black! The more conservative move would have been Bf4 as it develops a piece. However f4 seems to be more aggressive as it gains space and really cements the knight on e5} (11. Ng6?! {A dubious move for sure but an idea which must not be underestimated.} fxg6 12. Qxg6+ Ke7 13. Bd2 {Black
pieces are unco-ordinated but a piece is just too huge investment to make.}
Ndf6 -/+ and black will soon co-ordinate and white will be searching for compensation which will not be so easy to find.)
Does the move Bb4 make any sense to you now?

 11... Bb4+!? Doesnt this seem like a patzer move. A young player who has just made his first strides in
chess would definitely make this move. And not only make this move but proudly and loudly announce a check. But why would a 22 year old kid who is world no. 1 play this move when he knows he can be pushed back with c3?!! Infact Magnus wants Vishy to play c3. The point is that after the exchange of the light squared bishop, Magnus wants to force as many pawns on to the dark squares as possible. In this way, the light squares in the white position become weaker. Yes it seems to be vague and too minute a detail, but at the top level, this is how they play! Magnus found that it was in his favour to force c3. (11...Be7 12. Bd2 Ngf6 13. O-O-O O-O would reach to the game position without white having the extra move c3. The absence of the move c3 only helps white as his bishop on d2 has more scope, his king on c1 can feel safer and his light squares arent so weak. Thus you can understand the importance of inserting Bb4 and c3.)
12. c3 (12. Bd2 doesnt really make much sense to exchange more pieces. Bxd2+ 13. Qxd2 Ngf6 $11 Black is fine.) 12... Be7 13. Bd2 {Just as in his game with Ding Liren, Anand plays his bishop to d2. He had won that game and it was natural that Magnus must have come prepared for this line.So maybe Vishy should have deviated around here.}
(13. Nh5 Definitely looked like a possibility during the game. The g7 pawn is attacked and white does
have a dangerous initiative. Bxh4+ 14. Kd1! The king will be safely placed on c2} Bf6 15. Kc2 {it seems as though black is under some pressure. Any attempts to shoo the h5 knight away is met with a deadly shot} g6? 16. Nxg6! fxg6 17. Qxg6+ Kf8 18. Bd2 White has a very dangerous attack)
(13. Ng6? is a typical attacking idea. But I think here its useless. fxg6! 14. Qxg6+ Kf8 15. Nh5 Bf6-+ Black is safe and sound.)
13... Ngf6 completing his development and not getting greedy to snatch the h4 pawn. (13... Bxh4?!
such pawns must not be taken when you are behind in development! 14. O-O-O Bf6 15. Rde1+/= With move like Nh5 and g4 coming up, black can hardly move.)

14.O-O-O {This is the first deviation by Anand from his game against Ding Liren. In that game Anand had played Qe2. But 0-0-0 looks like the most natural move.} O-O!? This move requires some guts!! And lots of preparation! When this move was played I think the pulse rate of the viewers increased! After all everyone has heard the saying that opposite side castling often leads to very tense and exciting struggle! And here white has so many trumps to start a kingside attack! He has a strong knight on e5. The pawn is already on h4 and because black has played h6, g4-g5 will be really a very dangerous idea. But how to execute it? I surely requires some deep thought. Something which I am not sure Vishy was ready to do at this point. Thats the reason why Carlsen played this riskily. He was banking on the surprise value of his idea, more than its
objective merit.
When sides have castled opposite side, play can get really tense and exciting. What do you think should Vishy play?

 15. Ne4?! {Many people would call this a lazy move more than anything. But more than Lazy move, its a very natural move. Imagine yourself sitting against Magnus Carlsen. Rated 2870. Who has prepared this
line at home for many hours. And he is playing at some breathtaking speed. Now Anand knows that he must not exchange pieces if he wants his attack to succeed but he doesnt want to go into sharp play because he fears that Magnus has it all worked out! I must say Vishy is a very objective player who makes a draw very quickly if he has any doubts seeping into his mind about his position.} (15. Ne2 !? {Definitely this is a stronger move, avoiding piece trades and preparing g4-g5. One of my friend from Nigeria also suggested this move and I guess this will in a way its more prinicpled way to play this position. But I do think that black has his resources here.} h5 !? {looks like a way to stop the white initiative on the kingside.} (15... c5 16. g4 +/=) (15... Qa5 16. g4 !!)) 15... Nxe4! {Magnus is happy to exchange pieces. With every trade, white's attack becomes an illusion!} 16. Qxe4 Nxe5! {I didnt expect this move from Magnus. But it is the strongest move! Mainly because it exchanges one more pair of pieces and secondly it frees the black queen to
start using the d5 square.} (16... Nf6 is what I felt was more natural and after 17. Qe2 Qd5 I thought that white is forced to play Kb1 in order to defend the a2 pawn. However this isnt true white has the extremely strong move
Analysis diagram(W)
How should one defend the a2 pawn?!!

18. g4!! There is no need to save a2 pawn. Qe4 (18... Qxa2? is a very poor decision as after 19. g5 $1 $18 {white is close to winning!}) 19. Rde1 Qxe2 20. Rxe2 +/=gives white a very pleasant endgame and I think even without the queens he has a great chance of launching a kingside attack with g5!)
17. fxe5 {this is definitely the best recapture. Now the f file is opened up and the f7 pawn can become a weakness.} Qd5
If you were in Vishy Anand's shoes, what would you have done? exchanged the queens or go for a kingside attack with Qg4!

{The most critical moment of the game! And infact after the game, every Tom Dick and Harry was saying that Anand should have gone Qg4. Yes Anand had two possibilities here. One was to take on d5 and the other and much more principled aproach was to play Qg4. Now when we as spectators watch the game,
it is obvious that we want Vishy to play Qg4. But when Vishy is thinking over the board, his main intention is to play the move which more than maximises his winning chances, should minimise his losing chances. I say so because the match has just started. No one likes to lose!} 18. Qxd5 {An excellent decision
by Vishy who judged not only the on the board factors but also the off theboard factors. If your opponent is so well prepared it doesnt really make sense to play sharp chess. But essentially after this exchange the game is drawn.}  (18. Qg4 Kh7!? {this was the best move in the position and Vishy mentioned that he didnt see any way to continue the attack. But maybe he doesnt have to attack. He can just save the a2 pawn now and should definitely be slightly better.} (18... Qxa2 ? {is a horrible move as after} 19. Bxh6 g620. h5! its all over.) (18... f5 {in the press conference Magnus mentioned this to be a bad move due to} 19. Qg6! 1 f4 20.g3 $1 $16) 19. Kb1 c5 20. Be3+- {the position remains complex but I do prefer white.}) 18... cxd5

Absolutely no chance for anyone lose! Nor to win!

19. h5 {fixing the kingside pawns and Vishy had already noticed the drawingidea I think. To put one rook on f1 and the other on g3, as he did in the game. b5! {Magnus wants to launch a minority attack. i.e he wants to use the b and a pawns to attack the three white queenside pawns. But as things stand the position is so simplified that this strong positional plan of minority attack will not really be dangerous. 20. Rh3 {Vishy continues his plan of Rf1 and Rg3. a5 {Magnus keeps his idea going!} 21. Rf1! {Vishy is now just one step away from getting his desired result with Rg3. At this point I felt that Magnus will somehow find a way to continue the game. But I guess this World Championship has made him a little bit more careful! He didnt stop Vishy's idea and was ready for the point split!} Rac8 22. Rg3 {This move threatens
taking on h6}
The bishop on d2 threatend Bh6 and when the black king moves to h7, the rook goes to Rgf3. When the king has to come back from h7. And soon it will be a draw

 Kh7 23. Rgf3 {attacks the f7 pawn!} Kg8 {Magnus brought his king back and at that point everyone understood that its a draw.} (23... f6?! only a highly optimistic person can make this move. However it is playing with fire as after} 24. exf6 Bxf6 $14 {The only thing that black received for his bravery to play on, is the weakness on e6! Not a risk worth taking.}) 24. Rg3 Kh7 25. Rgf3 {Both the players shook hands and the game 2 also ended in a draw! A great achievement for Magnus Carlsen who without even breaking a sweat and not using more than 15 minutes of his time was able to hold the world champion to a draw with the black pieces. It shows that Magnus too has done his homework before the match. The game ended within an hour. However the thing I didnt like was that after the game Vishy Anand sort of apologised to
the public for the lack of fighting games. It seems as if he is feeling the pressure of the home crowd over here. This could only mean two things. He could come out motivated and rejuvinated in game 3 to play an excellent game or he will buckle under the pressure and make a mistake! What will happen?
Only time will tell but as for now, Magnus Carlsen should be happy with todays result! Tomorrow is a rest day!! Take some rest as I feel that Game 3 is going to be quite a lengthy affair!!

A draw which was made in 25 moves has to be completed with a handshake.

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