Chennai G5: Carlsen draws first blood

by Albert Silver
11/15/2013 – In game five, Magnus Carlsen finally eschewed the Reti, and after 1.c4 it was a Semi-Slav. It did not seem promising as he went for simplifications, but it was exactly the type he thrives on, and exactly what Carlsen has been hoping for since game one. Vishy Anand seemed up for the challenge, but each time he regained his footing, he slipped. Ultimately he failed to hold and Carlsen takes the lead. Illustrated report.

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FIDE World Chess Championship Anand-Carlsen 2013

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and his challenger world number one Magnus Carlsen is taking place from November 9 to 28 2013 in the the Hyatt Regency, Chennai, India. The match is over twelve games, with time controls of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The games start at 3:00 p.m. Indian Time, which is 4:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (New York), 10:30h Central European Time (Paris), 1:30 p.m. Moscow Standard Time. Find your local time here.

Round five report

After the two nailbiters from games three and four, when both players had a close brush with defeat, it seemed just a matter of time for one of two to score a decisive game and draw first blood. That honor went to Magnus Carlsen today as he played the type of game that has become his hallmark: a small infinitesimal advantage, if that, leading to an endgame that contains enough options to work his magic.

The opening started calmly with no indication of what would follow

It must be said that the world number one has developed a rather unique reputation for indifferent opening preparation. In many ways, it is the antithesis of everything the world champions since Max Euwe have been introducing to the game, culminating in the greatest openings player of all time: Garry Kasparov, who was once described as being “years ahead of opening theory”. The advent of computer engines so strong that they surpass the best players has leveled the field, since no one can lay claim to superior analysts. The result has been a break in the linear ultra-preparation that had gone hand-in-hand with all top players, and there are now no fewer than three main ‘schools of thought’ when it comes to openings. Aside from the classic methods of preparation, there are those who, like Carlsen, believe that since no one can really count on an advantage, why bother, and just seek a balanced position they can work with, though with a deeper understanding. The other main branch, formerly reserved for the true mavericks, is to willingly go into positions that may not be objectively best, but that present the greatest challenges to an unprepared opponent.  

Magnus Carlsen gave up on the Reti this time, to break the pattern

After two very unsuccessful games with the Reti, Carlsen finally ditched it for 1.c4 to see what Anand had in store, and a Semi-Slav was the name of the game. This was only the first surprise as they headed towards a Marshall Gambit, making many wonder whether Carlsen could really be going for the sharpest possible line. It was too good to be true, and would have been completely uncharacteristic, as he sidestepped it, heading for a calmer game where he would try to make his queenside majority work to his favor.

It did not seem very impressive, and GM Jonathan Tisdall tweeted “probably premature, but this looks like spectacularly unimpressive opening preparation from team Carlsen. Hope to be proved wrong.” It seemed like a series of contradictory messages being sent, since only a few moves after opposite-side castling had appeared on the board, the Norwegian exchanged off the queens with little ado.

In the Live Book during the game, the list of moves and visits indicate which
were being analyzed the most. A glance shows the evaluations.

Live Playchess commentators, GM Daniel King and GM Maurice Ashley, a very dynamic duo, were singularly unimpressed. “I’m really surprised,” Daniel King said as the queens left the board. “Surprised is not the word: shocked,” Ashley added. Still, GM Susan Polgar, commenting for the official site, dismissed the idea of a quick draw on the horizon, explaining that having castled long, Carlsen had clearly indicated his desire to fight.

Vishy Anand fought long and hard as his choices diminished

A look at the arbiter's desk during the game

There were a few dangers that Vishy Anand avoided, notably the very strong 19…f5! without which he might have been lost very soon. The game continued, and the question was what had Carlsen really achieved? Had his opening flopped? The ensuing endgame after 22...Rxb7 did not seem to be enough for White to win, but it is worth remembering that Carlsen beat Kramnik in the Tal Memorial with the exact same piece combination, rooks and a light-colored bishop, working his opponent's slight pawn weaknesses. Could he do the same against Anand? One thing was certain: despite anything the audience might think about such positions, it is exactly the type he thrives on, and in this sense, the opening and middlegame could be considered a resounding success. A slightly better endgame, with a variety of ways to try and exploit, this is exactly what Carlsen has been hoping for since game one.

The challenger plays 28.Rf6 to keep the pressure on

The battle was long as Carlsen kept near constant pressure on Anand, while the world champion stayed out of trouble with energetic play each time he seemed in danger of falling behind. The sequence just before the time control was nerve-wracking to say the least, with momentous decisions having to be made with only a minute or two of thought, and yet Anand still kept his head above water.

Right after the time control was made, Carlsen left for a breather

The biggest problem was not that the position was worse or lost for the title-holder, the problem was that the number of viable moves at his disposal was shrinking and he was getting very close to ‘only moves’ territory, where any slip would be fatal. This is precisely what happened as he finally committed his last slip with 51…Ke6? costing him the game. His only saving grace move had been 51…Re2! But it was already a nasty tightrope act he was performing, indicative of just how precarious his situation had become.

Ultimately, Anand found himself with a shortage of options and missed the
only ove that could save him

[Event "FWCM 2013"] [Site "Chennai"] [Date "2013.11.15"] [Round "5"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D31"] [WhiteElo "2870"] [BlackElo "2775"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "IND"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. c4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c6 4. e4 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 c5 7. a3 Ba5 8. Nf3 Nf6 9. Be3 Nc6 10. Qd3 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Ng4 12. O-O-O Nxe3 13. fxe3 Bc7 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Qxd8+ Bxd8 16. Be2 Ke7 17. Bf3 Bd7 18. Ne4 Bb6 19. c5 f5 20. cxb6 fxe4 21. b7 Rab8 22. Bxe4 Rxb7 23. Rhf1 Rb5 24. Rf4 g5 25. Rf3 h5 26. Rdf1 Be8 27. Bc2 Rc5 28. Rf6 h4 29. e4 a5 30. Kd2 Rb5 31. b3 Bh5 32. Kc3 Rc5+ 33. Kb2 Rd8 34. R1f2 Rd4 35. Rh6 Bd1 36. Bb1 Rb5 37. Kc3 c5 38. Rb2 e5 39. Rg6 a4 40. Rxg5 Rxb3+ 41. Rxb3 Bxb3 42. Rxe5+ Kd6 43. Rh5 Rd1 44. e5+ Kd5 45. Bh7 Rc1+ 46. Kb2 Rg1 47. Bg8+ Kc6 48. Rh6+ Kd7 49. Bxb3 axb3 50. Kxb3 Rxg2 51. Rxh4 Ke6 52. a4 Kxe5 53. a5 Kd6 54. Rh7 Kd5 55. a6 c4+ 56. Kc3 Ra2 57. a7 Kc5 58. h4 1-0

An important victory for the challenger, as Magnus Carlsen takes the lead with 3.0-2.0, while it can be considered a terrible day for Indian sports. For those who do not follow cricket, it might seem like melodrama, but India’s greatest player, the legendary Tendulkar, played his last official game today, marking an end to an era. For Anand’s fans, it bears remembering that this is not the first time he starts behind in a match, and he has come out on top in the end before.

Score

Game:
Rtg
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
Score
Perf.
V. Anand 2775
½
½
½
½
0
             
2.0
2846
M. Carlsen 2870
½
½
½
½
1
             
3.0
2799

Tournament details

Schedule: the match will be played over a maximum of twelve games, and the winner of the match will be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the winner scores 6.5 points in less than 12 games then the closing ceremony will take place on the day after the World Championship has been decided or one day thereafter.

07 November 2013 – Opening Ceremony
09 November 2013 – Game 1
10 November 2013 – Game 2
11 November 2013 – Rest Day
12 November 2013 – Game 3
13 November 2013 – Game 4
14 November 2013 – Rest Day
15 November 2013 – Game 5
16 November 2013 – Game 6
17 November 2013 – Rest Day
18 November 2013 – Game 7
19 November 2013 – Game 8
20 November 2013 – Rest Day
21 November 2013 – Game 9
22 November 2013 – Game 10
23 November 2013 – Rest Day
24 November 2013 – Game 11
25 November 2013 – Rest Day
26 November 2013 – Game 12
27 November 2013 – Rest Day
28 November 2013 – Tiebreak games
29 November 2013 – Closing Ceremony

Live commentary on Playchess in English

Day
Round
Live Playchess commentary in English
Nov. 16
6
GM Daniel King + GM GM Alejandro Ramirez
Nov. 18
7
GM Yasser Seirawan + GM Alejandro Ramirez
Nov. 19
8
GM Daniel King + GM Chris Ward
Nov. 21
9
GM Daniel King + GM Simon Williams
Nov. 22
10
GM Daniel King + GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Nov. 24
11
GM Daniel King + GM Maurice Ashley
Nov. 26
12
GM Chris Ward + GM Simon Williams
Nov. 28
Tiebreak
GM Daniel King + GM Chris Ward

Live commentary in other languages

Day
Round
French German Spanish
Nov. 16
6
GM Fabien Libiszewski GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 18
7
GM Christian Bauer GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 19
8
GM Yannick Pelletier GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 21
9
GM M. Vachier-Lagrave GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 22
10
GM Sebastien Mazé GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 24
11
GM Sebastien Mazé GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 26
12
GM Yannick Pelletier GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García
Nov. 28
TB
GM Sebastien Mazé GM Klaus Bischoff Leontxo García

The commentary will commence around 30 minutes after the start of the games. The schedule and commentators may be changed before the start of the Championship on November 9th, with long and short castlings possible.

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site, with special coverage on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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