(1) Carlsen,M (2776) - Anand,V (2791) [D45]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (6), 25.02.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4

In the early 90-es Shirov played this advance few times, after which it quickly gained popularity. Its evaluation changed many times, but it is clear that in spite of diversity of options for Black, there is no clear way to neutralize it.

7...Nxg4 8.Rg1 Qf6 9.Rxg4 Qxf3 10.Rxg7 Nf6 11.h3 Qf5
Two years ago in Linares Morozevich against Aronian played 11...h6 and achieved a draw. Anand makes a new move, accepting a slightly inferior endgame.

[12.Bd3 Black just takes tha pawn 12...Qxh3 ]

12...exf5 13.cxd5 cxd5
An unexpected decision, which allows White to achieve a favourable exchange of dark-squared bishops. Just like in his game versus Ivanchuk, Anand shows confidence in some doubtful type of endgames.

14.Nb5 Bb4+ 15.Bd2 Bxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Ke7 17.Bd3 Be6

White has a small, but stable advantage first of all thanks to his better structure. Of course from here to the victory is a long way.

Just like Fischer did in some games, Carlsen exchanges opponent's poor-looking bishop, which nevertheless had important defensive tasks to protect the weak pawns.

18...Rag8 19.Nxe6 Kxe6 20.Rxg8 Nxg8 21.Ke2 Ne7 22.Kf3 Rc8 23.a4 Rc7
[23...a5 is met by 24.Ra3! and then 25.Rb3.]

24.a5 h6 25.h4 Kf6 26.h5 Nc8 27.Kf4 Nd6 28.Rg1 Rc8 29.f3 Ke6

Next Carlsen shows in an instructive way how to make progress in this position.

Threatening 31.Rh7.


The bishop goes to b3, nailing opponent's king on e6.

31...Rc8 32.Bb3 Rh8
Black keeps everything protected, but the Norwegian finds a way to shake his position.

With the idea 34.Rc1.

33...Rc8 34.Rg7 Rh8
Repeating the position in a better endgame is a good way to set some psychological pressure on your opponent.

35.Rg2 Rc8
and now


Black is in a kind of zugzwang: the rook cannot leave the c-file due to 37.Rc1 and it cannot leave the eight rank due to 37.Rg7-h7. The king must protect pawn d5, meaning that he is left only with knight or pawn moves. But they worsen the position as well.

[After 36...Nc4 White has a pleasant choice between 37.Bxc4 dxc4 (37...Rxc4 38.Rg8 is also difficult for Black) 38.Rg7 Rh8 39.e4 or the immediate 37.e4.; 36...b5 has the drawback that it opens the a-file: 37.axb6 axb6 38.Ra1 ; And 36...a6 is no solution either since Black will soon have to find another move. White simply hands over to his opponent the right to move: 37.Rg7 Rh8 38.Rg2 Rc8 39.Rg1 and Black is again in zugzwang.]

Now that the knight does not control this square, White can advance the e-pawn.

37...fxe4 38.fxe4 Nf6 39.e5! Ne4
[After 39...Nxh5+ 40.Ke3 the knight is caught on h5.]

40.Ke3 b6 41.axb6 axb6 42.Kd3 Nf2+ 43.Ke2 Ne4 44.Ke3
White uses the zugzwang motif again!

44...f6 45.Rg6 Rc1 46.Rxh6 Rh1 47.Bc2 Rh3+
[Now it was time for Black to wait with 47...Re1+! 48.Kd3 Rh1 after which in spite of all White's efforts to win Black's chances to draw would have been higher.]

48.Kf4 Rh4+ 49.Kf3 Nd2+ 50.Ke2 Rh2+ 51.Kd1 Nc4 52.Rxf6+ Ke7 53.Bg6 Rd2+ 54.Kc1 Rxd4 55.b3 Nxe5 56.Rxb6 Rh4 57.Bf5

Black cannot take the pawn h5 due to the check on e6, winning black knight.

[Anand misses the last chance: 57...Rh1+ 58.Kc2 (58.Kd2 allows the study-like solution 58...Nc4+!! 59.bxc4 Rxh5 60.Bg6 Rh2+ and Black achieves the theoretically drawish endgame rook versus rook plus bishop.) 58...Nf3 threatening a fork on d4 59.Bg4 (or 59.Bg6 Nd4+ 60.Kd3 Ne6 ) 59...Rh2+ 60.Kc3 Ng5 and due to the following Ne4-f6 Black must escape.]

58.h6 Nd4

59.h7! Nxf5 60.Rb8! Nd4 61.Kb2!
Now it's all over. White wins the rook and keeps the b-pawn alive. [61.b4? Nc6= ; 61.h8Q? Rxh8 62.Rxh8 Nxb3+= ]

[61...Rxh7 62.Rb7+ ]

62.h8Q Rxh8 63.Rxh8 Kc5 64.Rh5 Nc6 65.Rh4 Nb4 66.Ka3 d4 67.Rh5+ Nd5 68.Kb2 Kc6 69.Ka3 Kc5 70.Rh4 Nb4 71.Rh8 Nc6 72.Rh5+ Kd6 73.b4 d3 74.Rh3 Ne5 75.Kb3 d2 76.Kc2 Nc6 77.Rh4 Kd5
A splendid achievement for Carlsen. 1-0