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Chennai G9: Magnus .44 beats battling Anand

by Albert Silver
11/21/2013 – It was everything the chess fans hoped for, no matter who they supported: a sharp battle with Anand all guns ablaze. Carlsen admitted this was the first time he risked being mated in the match, and the position could not have been more exciting. With computer precision he found all the defensive moves, and a final slip by Anand left him half a point from the title. Large illustrated report.
 

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 nine report

With the score being what it was, and having played two relatively innocuous draws, it was now or never. The opinions around the internet, and thus the world, were fairly divided. No one disagreed Anand had it in him to make a comeback, or at the very least make Carlsen bleed a little. The question was his state of mind. Some felt his track record as a fighter spoke for itself, while others felt and said he was not looking terribly combative. A fight in round nine was guaranteed, but would it silence the critics, whatever the result?

Even his most ardent fans understood what an uphill battle it was

By opening with 1.d4 for the first time in the match, there was already a will and desire to shake it up and change the direction of the prevailing wind. The next sign of things to come was when the world champion chose the sharp Saemisch variation to fight the Nimzo-Indian marked by an early f3 by White and an imbalanced position ahead. Despite only four moves on the board, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind a thrilling struggle had just started.

Carlsen arrives at the board with a confident swagger

1.d4

When Anand played 10.g4, though predictable, Magnus Carlsen could be seen with tense shoulders and barely detectable grimaces flashing across his face. Until now, he had managed to avoid sharp, unpredictable positions, which suit his opponent far more than he, but there was no escaping it. Commentators, players, and fans everywhere were delighted, and there was universal approval of Anand’s choice. In spite of his practiced poker face, and appearance of nonchalance, the clocks told another story as the Norwegian's time ebbed away as he calculated furiously. This was in relative contrast to his sometimes breathtakingly cool decisions with 13…b5 and 14…a5, which seemed to dare White to attack him.

The opening choice is met with hearty approval...

...though not by everyone.

Playchess viewers using the Deep Fritz interface could follow the trends via the Live Book.
After 14 moves it is clear that 15.e4 and 15.g5 are the overwhelming favorites by users.

By move 18, it was anyone’s guess who held the advantage, and the only genuine consensus was that no matter the mathematical truth of the position, playing White had to be far more pleasant. The three of the very best engines of the day were divided on who stood better, with one preferring White, another preferring Black, and the third stating it was dead equal. They could not even agree on the best sequence for either side, and one could only imagine the turmoil in the players’ minds as the title of World Champion hung on the decisions they made.

Following the live commentary by GM Daniel King and Simon Williams with the 3D board

As Nigel Short explained it, "If Black crashes through he queens a pawn, if White crashes through it is mate."

One of the bitterest turning points came at move 19 when Magnus Carlsen pushed …b4, his only chance at any counterplay. For once, the top engines all agreed that 20.axb4 axb4 21.Rxa6 was the clear best, and ironically every single top player thought it was a mistake. They felt the engines were simply suffering from a horizon effect, a phenomenon in which engines cannot see deep enough and make a superficial decision based on what they can see.

"He played what??"

Players tweeted their opinions, leading to massive discussions on Twitter

Suddenly the players both seemed to realize they were at a crisis point in the game, and after Anand took 20 minutes to decide on 22.f5, it was Carlsen’s turn to uncharacteristically spend 25 minutes deciding to play 22…b3, a move Svidler commented was more or less the only choice. The nerves were getting to both players with such high stakes, and despite having a 25 minute lead on the clock, the Indian buckled down in a deep think for fully 40 minutes. During this time, commentators and fans had a feast trying to work out the massive complications and see if there was a forced win to be found for either side. Despite having the luxury of being able to move the pieces and use engines if desired, no one could find that certain road to success. There were promising sequences, but nothing that led to a cry of “eureka”.

Magnus Carlsen admitted he ran "a serious danger of getting mated"

Even his closest supporters were nervous for the world number one

After 40 long minutes, Anand stirred from his position and played 23.Qf4, a move none of the pundits had foreseen. Part of the problem was that it seemed to forestall taking decisive action, and might be the difference between a win or not. As if sensing indecision, Carlsen banged out 23…Nc7 within seconds, attempting to place pressure on Anand.

In a recently published article, Carlsen explains he is of the view that one should
play quickly and confidently to put one's opponent under pressure

Vishy was not to be intimidated and now he played 24.f6. and they blitzed out two more moves until the Norwegian played 26…b2. This was quite an important and key move to Black’s defense, and suddenly the impression was that Carlsen had foreseen and calculated this line well in advance. When he promoted his pawn to queen, it should have led to a draw with correct play, which no longer required deep calculations, but here, tragically, the world champion blundered. As soon as he let go of his piece, he realized what he had done, and no sooner had the challenger played his move, Anand extended his hand in resignation.

[Event "FWCM 2013"] [Site "Chennai"] [Date "2013.11.21"] [Round "9"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E25"] [WhiteElo "2775"] [BlackElo "2870"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventCountry "IND"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 c4 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 O-O 11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb3 13. Ra2 b5 14. Ng3 a5 15. g5 Ne8 16. e4 Nxc1 17. Qxc1 Ra6 18. e5 Nc7 19. f4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3 23. Qf4 Nc7 24. f6 g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6 b2 27. Rf4 b1=Q+ 28. Nf1 $4 (28. Bf1 $1 {was the correct and only move. The point is that after} Qd1 29. Rh4 Qh5 {Giving back the queen is the only way to prevent mate, but remember it is Black's second queen.} 30. Nxh5 gxh5 31. Rxh5 Bf5 32. g6 $1 ({ The idea} 32. Bh3 Bg6 33. e6 {fails to} Nxf6 34. gxf6 Qxf6 35. e7 Qxe7 36. Re5 Qa3 {and Black is fine.}) 32... Bxg6 33. Rg5 Nxf6 34. exf6 Qxf6 35. Rxd5 Re8 { and White's exposed king should give Black enough to hold the draw.}) 28... Qe1 ({Anand realized right after playing Nf1 that his knight was no longer protecting h5. Now} 28... Qe1 29. Rh4 {is refuted by} Qxh4 30. Qxh4 {and Black is simply up a rook.}) 0-1

The reactions were one of joy and woops by the Norwegian fans, and shock and disbelief for the Indian’s. Refusing to accept defeat, clinging to that last tuft of grass on a cliff, an Indian journalist in the press conference asked, “You have had many hat-trick wins in your career. Will it be possible for you?” Anand gave him a wry smile, “The situation does not look very good.”

Journalists mob Carlsen after the press conference

Report by Albert Silver

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
0
½
½
0
     
3.0
2750
M. Carlsen 2870
½
½
½
½
1
1
½
½
1
     
6.0
2895

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. 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. 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.

Editor and writer at ChessBase News. Lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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