Sochi G10: Unrealized opportunities

by Albert Silver
11/21/2014 – Although today's game was by no means winning for the challenger Vishy Anand, there is no question that he had considerable pressure on Magnus Carlsen with a passed d-pawn. The World Champion repeated his Grunfeld and somewhere along the line his preparation failed him and he got into trouble. Time and pressure led to Anand's edge dissipating. Round ten with GM analysis.

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FIDE World Chess Championship Carlsen-Anand 2014

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between defending champion Magnus Carlsen and his challenger Viswanathan Anand is taking place from November 7 to 27, 2014 in Olympic Media Center located in the Adler City District of Sochi, Imeretinsky Valley, on the Black Sea.

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. Sochi Time, which is the same as Moscow time:

Moscow (Russia) 3:00:00 PM MSK UTC+3 hours
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Round ten

It was rather strange opening preparation that led to a quite controversial decision by Team Carlsen. Magnus Carlsen played the Gruenfeld once more and this time Vishy Anand was the first with a slight surprise in 5.Qb3, going for a line he knows all too well. In fact until move eleven the game even followed Anand-Kasparov 1999.

Carlsen unleashed a surprise of his own on move seven with  7...Na6, but this was met with incredulity and shaking heads by the grandmasters. While there might be a bit of surprise value, as a rule a well-prepared opponent could make him regret his impetuosity.

In fact, the odd times spent in later moves, with some moves by Magnus taking as long as ten minutes followed by a move played almost instantly left the pundits wondering whether he was bluffing this was all prepared, or bluffing he was not prepared. Anand no doubt spent little or no time considering these factors, being far too experienced to get baited into such mind games.

The first crossroads where it appeared White might make his opponent suffer was after 15...Bxe4 when 16.d6 was suggested by both grandmasters and engines, with Komodo 8 suggesting a 0.50 advantage for the challenger. Engine evaluations vary quite a bit among themselves, with some attributing considerable bonuses for speculative reasons, but Komodo is certainly one of the most balanced and such a middlegame advantage should be seen as having very promising chances.

Carlsen tried to put on airs that it was under control...

... but it is hard to bluff someone who can see the cards.

Magnus showed clear signs of worry during the game

As it were he did not choose it and instead played 16.Qc1 with everyone expecting the d-pawn to soon fall, but not so and a few moves later the d-pawn had finally made it safely to d6 on move 22. It lacked the punch of the previous situation, but still promised excellent play coupled with the bishop pair. However the complications and indecision took their toll on Anand's clock and by now he was down to just 20 minutes. Whether failing to see a way to clearly improve, or feeling the pressure of the time and situation, some imprecisions led to mass exchanges and after 32.Rd2, with only the rooks left and a dead equal endgame they shook hands.

Daniel King shows the highlights of game 10

[Event "WCh 2014"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2014.11.21"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Carlsen, M."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D97"]
[WhiteElo "2792"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2014.11.08"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 {Here we go! 5.Qb3 is one of
the sharpest ways of meeting the Grunfeld. White aims to quickly establish his
grip on the center by forcing Black to trade on c4 immediately. Black on the
other hand hopes to develop quickly and put pressure on the White center, many
times at the cost of a pawn.} dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Na6 (7... a6 {is an
extremely sharp line that still is an important theoretical battlefield.
However, 7...Na6 is also critical.}) 8. Be2 {White has tried lots of moves,
but 7.Be3 remains by far the most popular. Now Black has to counter against
the center with c5 for his setup to make sense.} c5 9. d5 e6 10. O-O exd5 11.
exd5 {After a few forced moves we have reached a position that has been a
battleground of the Grunfeld almost since its inception. Black has two main
choices that lead to somewhat different games. Normally Black is hoping to
blockade the d5-pawn while retaining piece activity. His main danger is that
the pawn will advance unchecked, but he also has to make sure the a6 knight
returns to the game successfully at some point.} Re8 (11... Bf5 {is the main
line, but the move in the text is nearly as popular.}) 12. Bg5 $5 {If
Carlsen's team looked at Anand's seconds to determine which variation of the
Grunfeld might occur, there is no way they would have missed this move.
Despite the fact that it is somewhat unusual (there are four moves that have
been played more often) there is a key game between Wojtaszek and Ponomariov
that the players are following.} h6 13. Be3 Bf5 14. Rad1 Ne4 {The improvement,
one would assume. White is at an interesting juncture. He has to advance his
d-pawn to make progress at some point, but he has many ways of doing so. Anand
here has three choices: he can advance immediately, which looks risky and is
something that Carlsen must have prepared, he can play 15.Nb5 and push the
pawn later, or he can trade on e4 first. The computer evaluations that are
shown in machines run by you and I will not easily determine what the best
route is, deep analysis is needed for the position and sometimes it is even
necessary to nudge the computer in the right path a few times. Anand ends up
playing a very logical continuation that is, after some thought, the number
one choice of some engines.} (14... Qb6 15. b3 Rad8 16. Rd2 $6 Ng4 17. Bf4 Qa5
$1 18. Rc1 g5 $6 {and eventually Ponomariov beat Wojtaszek with the black
pieces in 2012. Of course, one can only assume Anand had a novelty prepared
on move 15 or 16.} (18... b5 $1 19. Qxb5 Bxc3 20. Qxa6 Qxa6 21. Bxa6 Bxd2 22.
Bxd2 Rxd5 {gives White some compensation for the exchange, but that's it.}))
15. Nxe4 (15. d6 $5 Nxd6 $4 (15... Nxc3 16. bxc3 Qf6 {with Black's pawn on d6
about to come under fire and the c3 pawn hanging it is clear that he must act
now, but it is not obvious how to continue. A sample continuation might be:}
17. Qb5 Be4 $1 18. d7 Red8 19. Qa4 Bf5 $5 $13) 16. Qf4 {is suicidal.} Bf8 17.
Bxa6 bxa6 18. Bxc5 $18) (15. Nb5 Nc7 $5 16. Nh4 $1 {is still unclear to me.}
Bd7 17. Nxc7 Qxc7 18. Bd3 Nf6 19. Nxg6 $1 b5 20. Qf4 Nxd5 21. Qxc7 Nxc7 $14)
15... Bxe4 16. Qc1 {Black does not have the time to defend h6, but his counterplay against d5 and b2 allows him to retain at least material balance.}
Qf6 (16... Kh7 $6 17. d6 {and it is too late for the queen to seek activity.}
Qf6 18. d7 Red8 19. Bg5 $1 {and because of the fork on g5, hitting the king on
h7 and the bishop on e4, the bishop is taboo and Black's position is nearly
lost.}) 17. Bxh6 Qxb2 (17... Bxd5 {was another way to recover the material,
but it seems that here White also retains some pressure.} 18. Rxd5 Rxe2 19. Rd7
Qxb2 20. Bxg7 Qxc1 21. Rxc1 Kxg7 22. Rxb7 {and the position is still
unpleasant. f7 is not trivially defended while Black's knight is out of play.}
Rxa2 23. Ne5 $14 Rf8 $6 24. Rxa7 (24. h4 $5 {might be even stronger.}) 24...
Nb4 25. Rxa2 Nxa2 26. Rxc5 {and because of Black's passive position the hold
is not the most obvious, though maybe with perfect play it is there.}) 18. Qxb2
Bxb2 {with the queens off the board the pawn can be more easily attacked by
one of Black's rooks, but on the other hand White has gotten rid of his
weakness on b2. Overall it seems that White has serious winning chances here.}
19. Ng5 {Logical, but perhaps not the most accurate move order.} (19. d6 {
perhaps advancing immediately was more precise.} Nb4 (19... Bf6 20. Bc4 $5 {
also does not seem to be much of an improvement.}) 20. d7 Red8 21. Bg5 f6 22.
Bc4+ Kg7 23. Be3 {is still certainly uncomfortable for Black.}) 19... Bd4 20.
Nxe4 Rxe4 21. Bf3 Re7 22. d6 Rd7 23. Bf4 {the pair of bishops is strong, but
so is the d4 square for Black. There is no question that Black is clawing for
equality, and that he is still far from it, but now the ball is in White's
court on how he will break down Carlsen's defenses.} Nb4 $1 {By bringing in
his knight to c6 Black finishes his defensive setup and he can start waiting
to see what Anand plans to do.} 24. Rd2 Re8 $1 {Controlling the file is a nice
touch. By no means is this equal, but it is not easy for White to keep
improving his position. At some point he will have to consider giving up one
of his bishops in order to go into a slightly better endgame.} 25. Rc1 Re6 26.
h4 Be5 $5 {A cunning resource. White retains some advantage, but Anand does
not follow through.} 27. Bxe5 Rxe5 28. Bxb7 $6 {This simplifies the game too
easily for Carlsen.} (28. g3 {simply keeping the pressure and slowly pushing
the pawns on the kingside is by no means a win, but it does give Black some
things to think about. For example:} Nc6 29. Bg4 $5 f5 30. f4 Re6 31. Bf3 Rdxd6
32. Rxd6 Rxd6 33. Rxc5 {and White is a little better, far from a dead draw.})
28... Rxb7 29. d7 Nc6 {An important resource. Black catches the pawn right on
time and White has no hope of winning the double rook endgame.} 30. d8=Q+ Nxd8
31. Rxd8+ Kg7 32. Rd2 1/2-1/2


After sweating a little, this was a moment of relief for the title-holder

Even if one cannot claim a clear missed win by any means, there was certainly plenty of venom and the impression is that White failed to make the most of the opportunities at hand.

It has to be inordinately hard to do a full press conference with analysis after a tense game

Tomorrow is a rest day and play will resume on Sunday.


M. Carlsen 2863
V. Anand 2792

Round ten summary by Niklesh Jain in Hindi for Indian readers

रोमांचकारी मैच – दसवीं बाजी फिर ड्रॉ कार्लसन 5.5-4.5 से आगें

विश्व शतरंज चैंपियनशिप में आज का दिन रोमांचकारी साबित हुआ आनंद सफ़ेद मोहरो से खेल रहे थे और हर हालत में जीतने की जरूरत के मौके पर आज उन्होने गुर्न्फील्ड ओपनिंग में कार्लसन को थोड़ा चौंकाते हुए अपने वजीर के इस्तेमाल से एक पैदल d5 खाने तक पहुंचा दी और फिर  कुछ देर के लिए ऐसा लगा की वो शायद आज  एक और जीत की तरफ जा सकते है । पर इस दौरान कार्लसन अपनी कमजोर स्थति को अच्छी तरफ भांप चुके था और आनंद के घटते समय ने भी उन्हे वापसी का अच्छा मौका दिया । कार्लसन ने आनंद की खतरनाक होती d पैदल को रोकने के लिए कारगर रणनीति बनाई उसके लिए सबसे पहले तो उन्होने अपने वजीर को आनंद के वजीर के साथ बदलते हुए अपने राजा की तरफ की h6 पैदल के बदले आनंद की b2 पैदल ले ली और फिर अपने सफ़ेद खाने के ऊंट को आनंद के घोड़े से बदलते हुए अपने काले खाने के ऊंट से d फ़ाइल को बंद कर दिया । इन सभी चालों के दौरान कार्लसन का उद्देश्य बिलकुल साफ था किसी भी तरह खतरे को टालना और अपने घोड़े को किसी भी तरह खेल में सुरक्षा के लिए वापस लेकर आना । इस दौरान आनंद अपने समय के साथ साथ अच्छी चालों को भी चलना था और जैसा की लग रहा था आनंद को लगभग 17 मिनट में 15 चाले चलना था और आनंद ने खेल को और ज्यादा उलझाने से ज्यादा बराबरी पर रखना चुना और अगली लगातार कुछ चालों लगातार मोहरो की अदला बदली के साथ सिर्फ हाथी ही बाकी रह गए और में जल्द ही दोनों खिलाड़ी खेल को बराबरी पर रखने में सहमत हो गए । खैर आज आनंद ने बेहतर खेल दिखाया पर शायद कार्लसन को थोड़ा फायदा हुआ और अब सिर्फ दो मैच बाकी है । कार्लसन के लिए एक जीत या दो ड्रॉ उन्हे खिताब वापस पाने के लिए काफी है जबकि आनंद को अब किसी भी हाल में जीत दर्ज करनी होगी वरना छठी बार विश्व विजेता बनना संभव नहीं होगा । खैर जो भी हो पिछली बार की तुलना में आनंद के बेहतर खेल ने कुछ भी होने के संभावना बनाई रखी है और प्रतियोगिता का अंतिम पड़ाव सबसे रोमांचक होने के पूरी उम्मीद है ...आपका निकलेश जैन 

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