Carlsen and a Parade of Chess Champions (2)

12/16/2014 – In 1974 Bobby Fischer wanted his match against Karpov to go over ten wins, not counting draws. His reason for longer matches was to determine who is the better player and to eliminate accidental wins, for example by opening traps or unsuspected novelties. Bobby would never have agreed to a 12-game championship, says Huffington Post columnist Lubomir Kavalek and shows why.

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Magnus Carlsen and a Parade of Chess Champions (2)

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

In 1974 Bobby Fischer asked FIDE to play the world championship match to ten wins, not counting draws. If each player wins nine games the title would remain with the world champion. It was rejected and in 1975 Fischer decided not to play the match with Karpov.

"It can take six months to win ten games," I argued in Pasadena in 1978. I played the U.S. Championship there, but during the evenings Bobby and I had dinners, discussing all kinds of things. "No, not if both players fight," he countered. "The baseball season takes a half year and nobody complains."

Fischer's reason for longer matches was to determine who is the better player and to eliminate accidental wins, for example falling into an opening trap or tripping over unsuspected novelty. His invention – the Fischer Random – wipes out the opening preparation.

Bobby would never agree to play a 12-game world championship. He would point to Game 3 Carlsen and Anand played in Sochi. After 26 moves the Norwegian grandmaster was in dire straits right from the opening and lost rather quickly without a fight.

An almost identical position appeared in the game Tomashevsky-Riazantsev, played in Moscow in 2008. The only difference was the position of the h-pawn on h3.

Carlsen's seconds could have caught it, but they didn't, and the finish was painful.

[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"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r3k1/2Pqbppp/1Q2p3/3r4/3P1B2/p3P3/6PP/2R2RK1 w - - 0 26"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 26. Rc6 g5 27. Bg3 Bb4 28. Ra1 Ba5 $6 29. Qa6 Bxc7 30. Qc4 e5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. dxe5 Qe7 33. e6 Kf8 34. Rc1 1-0

"When something goes wrong, it's always my fault," Carlsen softened the blow. The match was now tied.

The turning point of the match came during Game six. Trying to improve the position, Carlsen marched his king to the wrong square. It was a mental slip, an inaccuracy that should not happen. Anand didn't expect a three-move combination that would not only bail him out but would give him a big advantage. It was not there before, but Carslen made it possible and all India held its breath. Is Vishy going to find the refutation and punish Carlsen for his mishap? In one minute, in which every second felt like eternity, Anand played a pawn move and Magnus escaped. When both players realized the double-blunder, Vishy's resistance collapsed and he lost.

[Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.15"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B41"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6rr/1k3p2/1pb1p1np/p1p1P2R/2P3R1/2P1B3/P1B2PP1/2K5 w - - 0 26"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 26. Kd2 $2 {[%csl Re5]} a4 $2 (26... Nxe5 $1 27. Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28. Kd3 Nb2+ 29. Ke2 Rxg8 {with good winning chances.}) 27. Ke2 a3 28. f3 Rd8 29. Ke1 Rd7 30. Bc1 Ra8 31. Ke2 Ba4 {Anand lost the thread. His position quickly collapses.} 32. Be4+ Bc6 33. Bxg6 fxg6 34. Rxg6 Ba4 35. Rxe6 Rd1 36. Bxa3 Ra1 37. Ke3 Bc2 38. Re7+ (38. Re7+ Ka6 39. Rxh6 {threatening 40.Bxc5, white has too many pawns. }) 1-0

Inaccuracies, mistakes or just plain blunders make chess history. In the sixth game of the 1951 world championship match, David Bronstein made an unfortunate king move (57.Kc2) and Mikhail Botvinnik punished him.

[Event "World Championship 19th"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "1951.03.26"] [Round "6"] [White "Bronstein, David "] [Black "Botvinnik, Mikhail"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B63"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3N4/1p6/8/p7/2P2k2/1KP1p3/8/8 w - - 0 57"] [PlyCount "2"] [EventDate "1951.03.16"] [EventType "match"] [EventRounds "24"] [EventCountry "URS"] 57. Kc2 $4 (57. Ne6+ Kf3 58. Nd4+ Kf2 59. Ka4 e2 60. Nc2 e1=Q 61. Nxe1 Kxe1 62. Kxa5 Kd2 63. Kb4 b6 $10) 57... Kg3 $1 {and the passed e-pawn queens.} 0-1

After experimenting with the Sicilian, Anand returned to the Berlin defense in Game 7. Sensing his opponent vulnerability, Carlsen took Anand on a long journey lasting 122 moves. But the Norwegian was unable to win the following unusual endgame.

It was the Berlin wall at its best or worst. "It was a key game," said Carlsen later. Had he won it, the match would have been over, he believed. It should have tired Anand out; instead, it looked like it sapped energy from Carlsen.

Anand was still in the match, drawing the next three games. In Game 11, the last encounter of the match, Anand build the Berlin Wall again and played well in a tense battle. It could have gone either way, people thought, but Anand's nerves cracked first. Emotions got the better of him.

He may have thought about Tigran Petrosian, a world champion who made living out of exchange sacrifices, and made a Petrosian-like sacrifice, plugging the b-file, perhaps thinking it was the best way to force Game 12. At a first glance the sacrifice looked playable, but it was not necessary and it played into Carlsen's hands. The Norwegian loves material. He calmed down and played the technical ending well. Anand missed better defenses and Carlsen won the game and the match.

[Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.23"] [Round "11"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [Annotator "GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rr3b2/2p2p2/2k1bNnp/p1pNP1p1/P1P1K1P1/2B4P/5P2/3RR3 b - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "36"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 27... Rb4 $6 {In the spirit of Tigran Petrosian, but it does not quite work. If Anand wanted to sacrifice the exchange at all cost, he should have done it this way:} (27... Rb3 28. Rb1 Ra3 29. Ra1 Rxc3 30. Nxc3 Bxc4 {with compensation.}) 28. Bxb4 cxb4 $6 {As long as the position remains closed, Anand can hope for Game 12. But Carlsen finds a nice way to proceed.} ({Anand wanted to free the square c5 for his dark bishop. The computers prefer} 28... axb4 $1 {for example} 29. Nh5 Rxa4 30. Ra1 Bxd5+ 31. cxd5+ Kb5 {with good chances to equalize.}) 29. Nh5 $1 {Preparing to open the kingside with f2-f4.} Kb7 ({Anand could have tried the tricky} 29... Re8 {for example} 30. Kd3 $5 ( 30. f4 gxf4 31. Ndxf4 Nxe5 $1 32. Kxe5 Bxg4+ 33. Kf6 (33. Kd4 Rd8+ 34. Nd5 Bxh5 $19) 33... Bxd1 34. Rxe8 Bc5 {with a messy position in which the passed b-pawn may compensate the extra rook.}) 30... Kb7 31. Kc2 Bd7 32. Kb3 {securing the queenside and preparing f2-f4, white's chances are better.}) 30. f4 gxf4 31. Nhxf4 Nxf4 32. Nxf4 $1 Bxc4 33. Rd7 $1 {The pawn on c7 will be under great pressure.} Ra6 {Other moves don’t help either:} (33... Be6 34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Rc1 Rc8 36. Rh7 Kb6 37. Rh8 {threatening 38.Rf1, winning the kingside pawns.}) ({Or} 33... Rc8 34. Rc1 Ba2 35. Nd5 b3 36. Nc3 $18) 34. Nd5 Rc6 35. Rxf7 Bc5 36. Rxc7+ $1 {The simplest way to victory.} Rxc7 37. Nxc7 Kc6 (37... Kxc7 38. Rc1 $18) 38. Nb5 $1 (38. Rc1 b3 39. Nb5 $18) 38... Bxb5 39. axb5+ Kxb5 40. e6 { The kingside pawns decide the outcome.} b3 ({Or} 40... a4 41. Kd3 Be7 42. h4 a3 43. g5 hxg5 44. hxg5 b3 45. g6 a2 46. Kc3 a1=Q+ 47. Rxa1 Bf6+ 48. Kxb3 Bxa1 49. e7 $18) 41. Kd3 Be7 42. h4 a4 43. g5 hxg5 44. hxg5 a3 45. Kc3 (45. Kc3 Bb4+ 46. Kxb3 Bxe1 47. e7 {and white queens.}) 1-0

Carlsen's next world championship challenge comes in 2016. Who will be his opponent? Magnus named Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk. He didn't mention anybody from the forty-something group, players such as Anand, Kramnik, Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand. And Carlsen also skipped Hikaru Nakamura who won a $100,000 friendly match against Aronian last month in Saint Louis.

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over over a quarter of a billion visits per month (according to Quantcast), making it the number 73 ranked web site in the world (Alexa, January 2014).

Topics: Huffington, Kavalek
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chessta chessta 12/19/2014 12:33
jcaleb : Kramnik is capable of beating Carlsen......................but he will not!!
kkk kkk 12/18/2014 09:57
40-ish GM's - tired and boring and inconsistent( Anand; Kramnik; Gelfand)
30-ish GM's - contenders but not worthy challengers (except for Grischuk and Aronian)
20-ish GM's - wired and dazzling where brilliancies happen; most worthy opponents for Carlsen(Caruana; So; Rapport; MVL except Nakamura [classical chess is not for him])

GalacticKing GalacticKing 12/17/2014 10:50
jcaleb, Kramnik is very creative and his vision of the endgame is amazing, if only he could make it through a candidates tournament.
jcaleb jcaleb 12/17/2014 01:13
Kramnik can beat Carlsen