Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 3 Going the distance

Game 3 Carlsen (2870) vs Anand (2775)

Vishy is dominating a 2870 player here! Does that make him 2900 player?!!

Today I have my work cut out as both the players decided to go the distance. But from todays game we can learn a lot because there were always decisions to be made. And when there are tough decisions to be made then what better way to learn than to observe what the top players are doing! So lets get it started!
2 short draws! The spectators wanted something more today! The pressure was on both the players to deliver. Anand who had the black pieces arrived almost 5 minutes before the start. He adjusted his pieces and sat in silent meditation. Wearing his jet blue shirt with NIIT logo on it, he seemed calm and composed.
As usual Magnus walked to the board when less than a minute was left. Arbiter Vardapetyan, came to the board, pressed the clock and out came the knightagain! 1. Nf3!? Carlsen repeats the same first move from game one. But as we know Nf3 is such a flexible move that it can transpose to any opening. One thing is for sure, Carlsen wants to stay away from sharp lines with white. d5 Vishy repeats the move that he made in game 1. We already know that Vishy, prepares very deeply with his team and is not afraid to try out the same line again and again. In 2008 match against Vladimir Kramnik, he played the sharp Meran variation with the black pieces over and over and Kramnik just couldnt do anything with white. The deep preparation that I have been doing for months cannot be challenged in a day's preparation is what is Anand's philosophy! 2. g3 Carlsen again starts to build his house like in the first game. g6 All the moves are same as the first game till now but Carlsen now deviates and suddenly transforms the game from Reti opening to English with his next move! 3. c4!?
Magnus shifts his attention to the English in game 3!

This time Carlsen doesnt want Anand to setup his own position and therefore counterattacks immediately in the center. The move c4 now takes the game into English opening territory. dxc4!?
Everyone expected Vishy to play c6 but he surprised Magnus with dc4!

 This came as a surprise to many people. First of all, after what we saw in the first game and also because Anand is a huge adherent of the slav defence, everyone did expect him to play c6. However once again if we see deeply, Anand tries to play concrete lines. dc4 forces Carlsen to indulge into taking some action as to how he shall regain the c4 pawn. (3... c6 was what was expected!) 4. Qa4+ The safest
way to regain the pawn. Nc6 Quite an unusual way to develop the queenside for black. But i think Vishy had already planned the development beforehand. He would like to play Bg7, e5, Nge7 when the knight is well placed on c6. As we see in the game, Vishy makes very good use of this knight on c6 (4... c6
the idea of this move is that when white takes on c4 to play b5 and place the bishop on b7 5. Qxc4 Bg7 6. Bg2 b5 7. Qc2 Bb7 is another way to play) 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nc3!? Why doesnt Carlsen take the pawn on c4? Well the point to note here is that the Queen pins the c6 knight. Hence it makes sense to keep the
pin. This prevents black from developing his knight to f6. (6. O-O But i think this is a more accurate move. Now the natural Nf6 fails to Ne5. and the natural move e5 can be met with high concrete complications with the move Ne5.
e5 (6... Nf6 ? 7. Ne5+/=) (6... Nh6 {seems like the best way to play} 7. Qxc4 Nf5 {The knights look at the d4 square and black looks fine.})
analysis diagram (W)
Analyse the consequences of Ne5

 7. Nxe5!? (7.Qxc4 Nge7 {would transpose to the game.}) 7... Bxe5 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. Qxc6+ {Now as the a8 rook is hanging, Bd7 becomes forced.} Bd7 10. Qe4 f6 11. f4 Bf5 (11... Ne7? {as after} 12. fxe5+/- {the rook on f1 is opened and the position is just better for white.}) 12. Qe3 Bh3 13. Rf3 (13. Rf2 Nh6-/+) 13... Nh6 14. fxe5 Ng4 15. Qc5 Nxe5 16. Rf4 {the position remains extremely complicated. This is what we mean by modern theory I guess! Moves that make us
go crazy with their complexity!!) 6... e5! {Anand plays accurately not fearing the Ne5 move. Now there is a huge difference and Ne5 is a blunder as the rook still stands on h1.} 7. Qxc4 (7. Nxe5? {Like in the last variation, this doesnt work now because of} Bxe5 8. Bxc6+ bxc6 9. Qxc6+ Bd7 10. Qe4 f6 11.
f4 Ne7 12. fxe5 Bc6-/+ {thats the huge difference because white didnt 0-0 and played Nc3, the rook on h1 now hangs.) 7... Nge7 {developing coherently.There is some nice things about the black setup. First his knight on c6 combined with e5 pawn and Bg7 control the dark squares in the position. While the knight on e7 and bishop on e6 control the light squares. Of course such things are not thought during the game, but if you look at it deeply it might be the reason why blacks position is very well co-ordinated.} 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 {Instead of blitzing their moves upto this point, both players were making their moves slowly. That meant that either they were trying to lure the other person into their preparation or both were out of their preparation. I dont think the latter can be true. However this position hasnt been reached many times.} h6 {I ask myself this question. Why did Anand make this move if he hadnt yet developed his bishop to e6. I mean the point is that h6 is played to prevent Ng5 ideas but then why not first gain a tempo with Be6? and on the
next move play h6.I think we may never know!} (9... Be6 10. Qa4 (10. Qb5 {is not correct as black can gain a free tempo with} a6! 11. Qxb7? {Now there are two ways to trap the black queen.} Ra7 {is quite an original way to trap the queen!} (11... Qd7 {is also good enough as now the threat is Rfb8 which cannot be parried.})) 10... h6 {This could have been the normal way to play in this position.}) (9... Nd4 {The move made my Anand in the game could also be played directly without h6.} 10. Nxd4 exd4 11. Ne4 Be6 12. Qa4 Bd5 = {we see that the move h6 has been avoided all together.}) 10. Bd2 {A normal and
natural way to develop the bishop on d2 and connecting the rooks. If you see deeply, you shall find that this position is actually reversed dragon. i.e instead of black, white has taken the dragon setup of the sicilian. Now many times when white plays the black openings he gets a comfortable position as he is a tempo up but its often good enough only for equality. In this position too, black plays accurately and equalises the game with ease.}

How did Anand now make the play more concrete?

Nd4!? {Maybe not the best move in the position but it certainly is forcing white to make a
decision. This is in general Vishy's strategy. He is trying to make Carlsen to take decisions rather just let him develop his pieces. Inthat respect this is an interesting move but maybe better would have been} (10... Be6 11. Qa4 f5 {and black has an excellent position.}) 11. Nxd4 (11. Rfc1 Bg4! developing
the bishop on the most active square and putting pressure on the f3 knight forcing him to take on d4} 12.Nxd4 exd4 13. Ne4 c6 $11 {gives black a good position.} (13... Bxe2? 14. Nc5 {gives black a lot of initiative.})) 11...exd4 12. Ne4 {it would seem as if white has some pressure on the position.Firstly because he has an excellent bishop on g2. The knight looks menacingly at the black queenside with the idea of Nc5. The queen is well placed on c4 and the rooks are connected. What about black. He lags behind in developement and is in fact attacking nothing much in white's position. Yet this position is close to being equal! why is it so? I think the answer to this question is the d4 pawn. While white has the dynamic advantage of lead in development, black has the static edge of space advantage. Hence if black can develop his pieces in 2 moves then the advantage might even be transferred to him. Hence every move for white from here on in has its weight in gold.} c6! {excellent move blunting the bishop on g2. A huge inaccuracy would have been} (12... Be6? 13. Qc1!+/- {a double attack. After this h6 is attacked and Nc5 is
threatened. Black has a bad position.})
White has a dynamic edge here of better development. How to maintain it?

13. Bb4?! {Many people thought this was the start of all the worries for Carlsen. As I previously said, Carlsen should have been careful. He is already low on space, he doesnt want black to be developing freely. The point is very subtle. White should have removed his queen from c4 with a tempo i.e Qc1 attacking h6, because if the white queen remains on c4 then black can gain a tempo with Be6 and consolidate his position. So let me explain what i said in words through the variation.} (13.
Qc1! {attacking h6} Kh7 14. Bb4!+/= {Now Be6 is not so good as Nc5 wins a tempo. You can see that White has an excellent position and black has to play carefully here to finish his development.}) 13... Be6! {With this move, black develops his last piece and things have been grim for Carlsen because his lead in development has vanished and he remains with less space! Advantage has slowly started to shift in world champions favour.} 14. Qc1 (14. Qc2 {i thought maybe this was better to keep the rooks connected. But I think Carlsen wanted to keep an eye on the f4 square and hence decided to play Qc1.}) (14.
Qc5 {was also possible but after} Nd5 15. Ba3 f5 16. Nd2 Re8=/+ {Black looks extremely comfortable placed.}) 14... Bd5!
Black's position is extremely harmonius now once the bishop lands on the d5 square.

{putting the bishop on a strong square and removing the sting out of Nc5. At this point I was of the opinion that Anand has an advantage in this position.} 15. a4!? {A very interesting
move by Carlsen. He is trying to gain space on the queenside. But I think now Anand has very strong way to increase his advantage.} b6!? (15... f5 {looked like a natural way to play} 16. Nd6 Bxg2 (16... b6 ? {is a mistake as now after} 17. Bxd5+ Nxd5 18. Qxc6  Nxb4 19. Qc4+  {wins a pawn for white.}) 17. Kxg2 b6  {with the idea of c5, gives black an advantage!}) (15... a5!{However I think this is the strongest move. As in the game it doesnt allow white to gain space on the queenside with a5, and now black threatens to play
b6 and c5. Hence it would make sense to part with the bishop} 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 =/+ 17. Qc5 Rfe8 {usually such endgames favour white, but here black keeps up the pressure} 18. Qxe7 Rxe7 19. Rfe1 f5 20. Nd2 Bf7! {retaining the two bishops and white faces an unpleasant defensive task.}) 16. Bxe7 {Carlsen takes a
practical decision and parts away with his bishop before it becomes too passive.} Qxe7 17. a5 {played immediately. Carlsen recognised that this was the only way in which he could gain activity in the position.} Rab8
What do you think was the deep plan behind Vishy's move Rab8 giving up the a file?

{This is one move which I didnt really understand. What was Vishy's point. Does he
want to take back on b6 with the rook? Well atleast he didnt take back with it when he had the opportunity. If he didnt want to take back, then whats the point of playing the rook to b8 and giving up the a file? I am still puzzled. Is it true that Vishy could foresee the point of putting his rooks on b8 and c8 and then start pushing his b and c pawns and try to create a passer?!! If he could then he truly deserves to be the world champion!} (17... f5 {should have been tempting to win the e2 pawn but it loses control and keeping control
is more importat than material advantage.} 18. Nd2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Qxe2 20.Re1! Qxd3 21. axb6 {white has sufficient counterplay for the pawn.} axb6 ( 21... Qb5 {is better}) 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Qxc6 +/-) 
18. Re1 {now Carlsen gets on with the job of slowly improving his position.Such little moves are what he
is very good at.} Rfc8 19. axb6 axb6 (19... Rxb6 {could also have been thought of, but i highly doubt such a decision because in return for attacking the b2 pawn, white gets to attack the a7 pawn and also the c5 square.} 20. Qc5 Rc7 {and black maybe fine but I would prefer white slight here.}) 20. Qf4 {White
threatens to exchange the queens and also the light squared bishops. What then will be left will be whites strong knight against black's poor g7 bishop. This is Carlsen's dream and one that Anand will not let him fulfill.} (20. Nd2 {was an idea that I was thinking of. Now the computer asks us to take the bishop on
g2. However I am sure that Anand and any strong player would play Be6! retaining the two bishops} Be6 ) 20... Rd8 {preventing the queen exchange.} (20... f5 21. Nd6 )

Make a move that is Carlsen like which improves the white position a little!

21. h4 {Another one of those little Carlsen moves that doesnt really seem to make much difference when made but after a few moves, all these little moves start to fall in place.} Kh7 {why was this move made. Its not a deep move or anything, Black just wants to defend his h6 pawn so that he can play Be5.} (21... f5 {is not such a good idea as I already mentioned, the bishop exchange is in whites favour.} 22. Nd2 Bxg2 23. Kxg2 ) 22. Nd2 {offering the bishop exchange.} (22. h5 {seemed like a move that pressed against blacks position but after} g5 23. Qf5+ Kg8 24.Nd2 Be6 25. Qe4 Qb4 {with a lot of pressure on the white position.}) 22...Be5! 23. Qg4
Make the best move in the position for Black!

 h5!! {I give this move two exclamations. One is because it isa strong move and the best one in the position and the second one is because black avoided the threefold repetition possibility that he had here. Truly
great fighting spirit by Anand.} (23... Be6?! 24. Qe4 Bd5 25. Qg4 Be6 ?!= {would have been a poor decision by Anand to make a draw with 3 fold repetition}) 24. Qh3 Be6 {As is usual in such positions and we already know that the bishop exchange is not favourable for black, hence he avoids it.} 25. Qh1!

The route taken by the white queen to its uneviable location has been truly tiring and long!

{The exclamation mark is not for the reason that the move is strong but because aesthetically I like the position of the white queen. It went from d1-a4-c4-c1-f4-g4-h3-h1!! My God so many moves!! The position of the white queen reminded me immediately of the game between Carlsen-Karjakin Tata Steel
2013. In that game too Carlsen had played this way putting his queen on h1 and had won slowly in a similar structure. Are we going to see Vishy getting the Magnus squeeze here? Lets have a look.} c5! {The commentators here began to prefer white. They thought the bishop on g2 backed up by the queen on h1 and
the rook on the open file on a1, gave white enough reasons to claim an advantage. But the point they missed is what Anand foresaw, his queenside pawns are extremely strong, and it was time to push them.} 26. Ne4 {
threatening Ng5} Kg7 27. Ng5 b5!

Vishy makes a wonderful decision of giving up his bishop pair in order to get his queenside pawns moving!
This was not expected by Magnus!

{A move made by a true chess genius. He doesnt cling onto his bishop but instead starts to push his queenside pawns.After the game, in press conference Magnus said that he had misjudged this position. Anand had completely assessed it right. His queenside pawns would be a major asset even if we reached an opposite coloured bishop position.}
28. e3! {And thats how champions react when they are pushed against the wall. Excellent move by Magnus. Lets put it this way, according to computer this move is not the strongest. But when a human plays a human one has to rightly judge the flow of play. and judging by how the things have been progressing,
the flow is with black. It was time to change the direction of the flow and e3 did just that.} (28. Ra6? Bc8! 29. Raa1 c4 -/+) (28. Nxe6+ Qxe6 29. Ra7 c4-/+) 28... dxe3 29. Rxe3 {the situation has sharpened. Till now all the moves had been made by Vishy were sort of positional in nature. Suddenly the position has become tactical. Though objectively Vishy's advantage has increased, the paths leading to an advantage have decreased. The move e3 was like survival against need. When a cat and mouse run, Usually the mouse outwits the cat, because its a question of survival while to eat the mouse was just the need of the Cat. In this position to break e3 was for survival of Magnus and hence he will calculate the sharp variations well, where as for Vishy he thinks he has many ways to an advantage and hence falters.}

The very critical moment of the game. Would you take on b2 and gain material or play Bd4 and try to keep control?

{For years together every chess player has had the perennial question, should he take material or keep control. A master of making such decisions was Anatoly Karpov. He knew exactly when a pawn must be taken and when control must be maintained. Here will tried to maintain control with Bd4. Maybe it
could have been better to take on b2 but still white gains excellent counterplay.} (29... Bxb2!? 30. Rae1 Rb6 31. Bh3 {in the press conference after the game, Vishy said that white would have full compensation for the pawn. Its true that for us humans, this position looks extremely dangerous but the computer defends it all with ease.} Bd4! (32. Nxe6+ fxe6 33. Rxe6 Rxe6 34.Rxe6 Qf7! 35. Qg2 b4!) Re6!? fe6 Re6 Qf8! Qg2 Rdd6! {and black is close to winning the game. Yet i must admit to take on b2 requires extreme guts which I dont think Vishy had calcuated it. He was playing more by intuition than on calculation.}) 30. Re2 c4! {How does one even find a beautiful move like this. It looks so counter intuitive to make this move and exchange your strong pawns with his weak and
isolated pawn on d3. But when looked at it deeply, if white did take the pawn then after dc4 bc4, both of black rooks would stand on an open file and black would have a lot of pressure against the b2 pawn. Thus this move is an excellent one, yet it is unusual and counter intuitive.} 31. Nxe6+ fxe6 32. Be4 (32. dxc4 bxc4 {with great pressure down the b2 point.}) (32. Bh3 cxd3 33. Rxe6 Qf7 ) 32... cxd3 33. Rd2 {Carlsen tries to make the best defensive moves available. By this time Carlsen was low on time. Almost last to his last 4 minutes to make the last 7 moves. It seemed as if the game was tilting towards Anand. Black has to decide whether he would like to attack the pawn on b2 or f2. As things stand Anand went to attack the b2 pawn. It could well have been more desirable to attack the f2 pawn.} (33. Bxd3 Bxf2+ -+) 33... Qb4 (33...Rf8! {looked like ths strongest move and after} 34. Bxd3 Rxf2! {a move which is not so easy to see} 35. Rxf2 Qd6 {a beautiful double attack, eying both the bishop and the g3 pawn} 36. Qg2 Rf8 37. Raf1 Bxf2+ 38. Rxf2 Rxf2 39.Qxf2 Qxd3  {black has decent winning chances}) (33... Qf6 34. Bxd3 Bxb2 35.
Ra7+ Kh6 36. Qe4 {white must not lose this one because his activity is enough compensation for the one pawn deficit}) 34. Rad1 {by this point Carlsen was low on time but he made his moves swiftly. He was not going to accpet a losss in this game.} Bxb2 (34... Rf8 {in the press conference somone asked Vishy as
to why he didnt play this move. According to Anand it really doesnt matter what he played here because even if he is up a pawn he will not be able to defend his own king. 35. Bxd3 Rxf2!? 36. Rxf2 Rf8 37. Qe4 Bxf2+ 38. Kg2 Qxe4+ 39. Bxe4  {now black is a pawn up and that is the e pawn. A pawn that can
be easily blockaded. White will easiy make a draw}) 35. Qf3! {for the time being, Carlsen is two pawn down but he is holding his position together and is ready to take on d3 when he will be able to attack blacks kingside weaknesses g6 and e6} Bf6 (35... Rd4 36. Bxd3 Rbd8 37. Qe3 Bc3 38. Qe5+ Kf7 39. Bxg6+ Kxg6 40. Qxe6+ Kg7 41. Qe5+ = {was just a variation to show that black king is not safe.}) 36. Rxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxd3 Rd8!?{This move can be highly condemned. But once again Vishy like always shows good objectivity. When he sees that things have gone out of hand, he doesnt cling on to his material. He quickly
gives it back and takes the safety first approach.} (37... Bd4 {when people asked Vishy why he didnt make this move, he just simply said that its not possible to win after Qe2. But this was the only way to prolonge the game and put Carlsen under some pressure. Maybe Anand had already lost all the hope of
winning this game against Carlsen.} 38. Qe2 Rf8 39. Rf3 Rxf3 40. Bxf3 Qd6 41.Kg2 b4 42. Qc4 {i dont think Vishy could have won this position.}) 38. Rxd8 Bxd8

Blacks advantage has been extinguished. Now its time to make the final one move to seal the draw.

 39. Bd3! {an accurate move now threatening Qb7. Vishy thought that it was wise now to give back his b5 pawn so that he could bring his queen back to
the defense of his king.} (39. Bxg6 $5 {was also a way to achieve the draw.} Kxg6 40. Qd3+ Kf7 41. Qxd8=) 39... Qd4 40. Bxb5 Qf6 {Here the 40 moves were over and both players received an hour each. Anand offered a draw to Magnus and much to the surprise of everyone, Magnus declined the draw. In a way Magnus had no reason to continue playing in this position. But he wanted in some way to pay back to the viewers for the two quick draws that they had made in game 1 and 2. So he decided to play on till the bitter end. A nice gesture by Carlsen but of course Anand might have felt a little insulted when his draw
offer had been unnecessarily rejected.} 41. Qb7+ Be7 42. Kg2 g5! {exchanging pawns is the easiest way to achieve the draw.} 43. hxg5 Qxg5 44. Bc4 h4 45. Qc7 hxg3 46. Qxg3 e5 47. Kf3 Qxg3+ 48. fxg3 Bc5 49. Ke4 Bd4 50. Kf5 Bf2 51. Kxe5 Bxg3+

Nothing except bones and sticks remained on the board after the brutal fight.

{What an excellent game played by the two gladiators. I found todays game to be a very high level game as both the players had several complex decisions to make. In general Anand was solving the problems much better than Carlsen but when the crucial moment arrived the Challenger too was upto the task and made excellent defensive moves that too under time pressure. The
players split the point but the viewers didnt complain, they got their money's worth.} 1/2-1/2
Magnus had a tough day at the office

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