Carlsen analyzes the World Championship (1/2)

by Albert Silver
12/4/2014 – Shortly before his mega match against Norway, Magnus Carlsen took advantage of his presence in the NRK studios during his dinner break and decided to record his game-by-game summary of the World Championship match. The video was posted on his YouTube channel, which we have transcribed here with ample diagrams of key moments. It is a fascinating read.

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A lot has been written and said about the process leading up to the match, the contract that was not signed and eventually signed, and so on, but let's focus on what happened during the actual match.

The full video of his summary 

Game one

I had a very good start. In the first game I had some minor problems in the opening. I realized during the game that the position was a bit more dangerous than we had thought before the game so I tried to find something else, which I didn't. Fortunately, he didn't find the most critical lines at some point, and I could escape into a drawn position.

After initial troubles, Magnus managed to turn the tables

From then on, I started to outplay him. He was a bit indecisive. It's one of those situations where you feel that the position is equal but with every exchange your position might be a little bit worse, and it's the kind of position you don't want to suffer in at all. That can sometimes be difficult because once you're forced to make a concession that feels uncomfortable, then while the position is still well within the realms of a draw, it's not a nice situation to be in.

And so, for the next moves, I managed to gain more and more territory. He didn't want to exchange queens, he didn't want to exchange rooks, and as a result both my queen and rook became active and his king was a little bit weak as well.

Unfortunately at one point I missed a key defensive resource: his
move Qh1. After that there was nothing.

Nevertheless it was a good start.

Game two

In the second game, it was a kind of quiet anti-Berlin opening. He doesn't have any particular problems with the opening but the position is a little bit non-standard and in many lines I may gain a slight initiative, and that's what happened in the game. I managed to gain a slight advantage in the center, and swing my rook to the kingside, and although there were no particular dangers for Black, it's clear I had the initiative and not very much risk.

Magnus Carlsen's brilliant Ra1-a3-g3 maneuver gave life to a dry position

Once he tried to bail out into a position with no minor pieces, it was clear that with my activity and superior king position I would have an advantage.

Vishy's attempt to release the pressure at all costs starting with
20...Bxf5 led to the loss of a pawn, but not the end of his problems

As unpleasant as it was, Black needed to play 26...Re8 27.Rce4
Rxe6 28.fxe6 and grit his teeth

It could only be an improvement over the monster battery two moves later

When he missed a chance to prevent my rooks from doubling, and eventually my queen from joining and tripling on the e-file it was very difficult. At the end he missed a tactical stroke, which meant that he lost immediately.

34...h5?? allowed 35.Qb7! and it was all over

Game three

Magnus admits that after game two, he thought he would dominate comfortably

The third game was frankly speaking a horrible experience. I changed my mind right before the game about what I was going to play. I was not well-enough prepared for the line that happened in the game. He showed very good preparation and finished the game quite nicely. I didn't have very many chances then.

The opening with a massive c7-pawn stuck in Black's throat needs
no explanation. Ouch.

Anand's 30.Qc4 sealed the game as the pin is fatal

Clearly that was a big blow for me. After the first two games I did think that the match was going to be easier than I thought before. I thought I was playing much better than him, and that would be the decisive factor, but the third game showed me that it wasn't so easy after all.

Magnus Carlsen felt the blow

Game four

The fourth game was another bad game. I didn't gain anything from the opening, but the position was still one with quite a bit of life in it. I gradually began to outplay him again, but then I missed a moment when I could have consolidated my advantage, and I let him equalize.

Then I played some really poor moves and he could almost start top play for a win, while I had little time, but fortunately he made a mistake, he blundered a pawn, but in the end it turned out there was no win.

Magnus stares at the game holding move

Anything other than 41...Qd2 might have cost the game

As coincidences go, Anand's 41...Qd2 was played at the same moment Philae landed on the comet

Game five

The fifth game was the conclusion of a very difficult part of the match for me. In that game we prepared something quite different from what I usually play, but it turned out that he was exceptionally well-prepared for this line as well, and he chose the line that was most dangerous for Black, and one that we had underestimated.

This was the crossroads Carlsen had before him. How to proceed?

"So forcibly I had to go to either an endgame with two pawns each
on the queenside and three pawns each on the kingside, and he
had the advantage of a strong bishop versus a weak knight,..."

or I would have a two pawn advantage on the queenside but with a crippled kingside as in the game. I chose to play with a crippled kingside and later on he could have created much more problems for me than he did. Frankly speaking I was very surprised he chose the way he played in the game, which caused me very few problems.

Indeed, instead of rushing to recover the pawn on a7, White might
have kept the pressure on with Rc7, preventing the knight from escaping

Javascript replayer of the first five games:

[Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.08"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D85"] [WhiteElo "2792"] [BlackElo "2863"] [PlyCount "95"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Bg7 6. e4 Nxc3 7. Bxc3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Nf3 Bg4 10. d5 Bxf3 11. Bxg7 Kxg7 12. gxf3 Ne5 13. O-O-O c6 14. Qc3 f6 15. Bh3 cxd5 16. exd5 Nf7 17. f4 Qd6 18. Qd4 Rad8 19. Be6 Qb6 20. Qd2 Rd6 21. Rhe1 Nd8 22. f5 Nxe6 23. Rxe6 Qc7+ 24. Kb1 Rc8 25. Rde1 Rxe6 26. Rxe6 Rd8 27. Qe3 Rd7 28. d6 exd6 29. Qd4 Rf7 30. fxg6 hxg6 31. Rxd6 a6 32. a3 Qa5 33. f4 Qh5 34. Qd2 Qc5 35. Rd5 Qc4 36. Rd7 Qc6 37. Rd6 Qe4+ 38. Ka2 Re7 39. Qc1 a5 40. Qf1 a4 41. Rd1 Qc2 42. Rd4 Re2 43. Rb4 b5 44. Qh1 Re7 45. Qd5 Re1 46. Qd7+ Kh6 47. Qh3+ Kg7 48. Qd7+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 O-O 7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. h3 Re8 9. Nbd2 Nd7 10. Nc4 Bb6 11. a4 a5 12. Nxb6 cxb6 13. d4 Qc7 14. Ra3 Nf8 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Nh4 Rd8 17. Qh5 f6 18. Nf5 Be6 19. Rg3 Ng6 20. h4 Bxf5 21. exf5 Nf4 22. Bxf4 exf4 23. Rc3 c5 24. Re6 Rab8 25. Rc4 Qd7 26. Kh2 Rf8 27. Rce4 Rb7 28. Qe2 b5 29. b3 bxa4 30. bxa4 Rb4 31. Re7 Qd6 32. Qf3 Rxe4 33. Qxe4 f3+ 34. g3 h5 35. Qb7 1-0 [Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.11"] [Round "3"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2792"] [BlackElo "2863"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. b5 cxb5 13. c6 Qc8 14. c7 b4 15. Nb5 a4 16. Rc1 Ne4 17. Ng5 Ndf6 18. Nxe4 Nxe4 19. f3 Ra5 20. fxe4 Rxb5 21. Qxa4 Ra5 22. Qc6 bxa3 23. exd5 Rxd5 24. Qxb6 Qd7 25. O-O Rc8 26. Rc6 g5 27. Bg3 Bb4 28. Ra1 Ba5 29. Qa6 Bxc7 30. Qc4 e5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. dxe5 Qe7 33. e6 Kf8 34. Rc1 1-0 [Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.12"] [Round "4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B40"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [PlyCount "94"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 Nc6 4. Bg2 d5 5. exd5 exd5 6. O-O Nf6 7. d4 Be7 8. Be3 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bg4 10. Qd3 Qd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. N2f3 Rfe8 13. Rfe1 Bd6 14. c3 h6 15. Qf1 Bh5 16. h3 Bg6 17. Rad1 Rad8 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. c4 Be4 20. Bd4 Nh7 21. cxd5 Bxd5 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Qd3 Nf8 24. Nh4 Be5 25. Bxd5 Qxd5 26. Bxe5 Qxe5 27. b3 Ne6 28. Nf3 Qf6 29. Kg2 Rd8 30. Qe2 Rd5 31. Rxd5 cxd5 32. Ne5 Qf5 33. Nd3 Nd4 34. g4 Qd7 35. Qe5 Ne6 36. Kg3 Qb5 37. Nf4 Nxf4 38. Kxf4 Qb4+ 39. Kf3 d4 40. Qe8+ Kh7 41. Qxf7 Qd2 42. Qf5+ Kh8 43. h4 Qxa2 44. Qe6 Qd2 45. Qe8+ Kh7 46. Qe4+ Kh8 47. Qe8+ Kh7 1/2-1/2 [Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.14"] [Round "5"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E15"] [WhiteElo "2792"] [BlackElo "2863"] [PlyCount "78"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nc3 Bb7 7. Bg2 c6 8. e4 d5 9. exd5 cxd5 10. Ne5 O-O 11. O-O Nc6 12. cxd5 Nxe5 13. d6 Nc6 14. dxe7 Qxe7 15. Bg5 h6 16. d5 Na5 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. dxe6 Qxe6 19. Re1 Qf6 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. Bxd5 Rad8 22. Qf3 Qxb2 23. Rad1 Qf6 24. Qxf6 gxf6 25. Re7 Kg7 26. Rxa7 Nc6 27. Rb7 Nb4 28. Bb3 Rxd1+ 29. Bxd1 Nxa2 30. Rxb6 Nc3 31. Bf3 f5 32. Kg2 Rd8 33. Rc6 Ne4 34. Bxe4 fxe4 35. Rc4 f5 36. g4 Rd2 37. gxf5 e3 38. Re4 Rxf2+ 39. Kg3 Rxf5 1/2-1/2

To be continued in part two

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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