Sochi G6: Carlsen won, Anand missed big chance

by Johannes Fischer
11/15/2014 – In the sixth game of the World Championship match Magnus Carlsen won but could have lost. He got a good position from the opening but later overlooked a simple tactical trick with which Anand could have won. However, Anand missed his chance. Unable to put up much resistance afterwards he lost without much of a fight. As Carlsen said in the press conference: "I was very lucky."

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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
New York (U.S.A. - New York) 7:00:00 AM EST UTC-5 hours
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 10:00:00 AM BRST UTC-2 hours
Paris (France) 1:00:00 PM CET UTC+1 hour
Beijing (China - Beijing Municipality) 8:00:00 PM CST UTC+8 hours

Find the starting time in your home location

Round six

In the last game before the half-way mark World Champion Magnus Carlsen played with the white pieces - the first of his two white games in a row. After all, the rules of the match stipulated that the player who had the black pieces in the first game would play games six and seven with white. With a score of 2.5-2.5 one could expect that Carlsen would try to use these two games to put Vishy Anand under maximum pressure.

Magnus Carlsen: focused and combative

Vishy Anand seems to scan his vast repertoire of promising opening lines

Carlsen decided that 1.e4 was a good way to do so. After 1...c5 2.Nf3 Anand went for a Sicilian with 2...e6, which had brought him a comfortable draw in game four. But this time Carlsen was willing to steer the game into the lines of the Open Sicilian, and instead of the somewhat restrained 3.g3 of game four, he ventured 3.d4. A couple of moves and an early exchange of queens later a strategically interesting position was reached. White had the pair of bishops, a spatial advantage, and hopes to exploit weaknesses in Black's camp and on the d-file, but in return White had to accept doubled c-pawns and a compromised pawn-structure.

Vishy Anand looking for the best defensive position.

But the position seemed to be easier to play for White and Carlsen gradually gained an advantage on the clock while Anand protected the weak points in his camp by putting his rooks on h8 and g8 and his knight on f8.

Gradually White was gaining time on the clock.

Magnus Carlsen searching for ways to increase the pressure.

Carlsen in typical posture

But though Carlsen was better he had problems to create threats against Black's solid defensive set-up. However, White seemed to have a safe and superior position and maybe this caused World Champion to feel too secure which in turn led to a grave oversight which could have had disastrous consequences:

Carlsen had  just played 26.Kd2? presenting Black with the golden opportunity to play 26...Nxe5! turning tables completely around. The point is that after 27.Rxg8 Black has the zwischenzug 27...Nxc4+ securing a huge advantage.

The double blunder captured on the live coverage: it is clear by the way Carlsen writes down his move that
he realizes his mistake. Note that Anand takes around 60 seconds to make his move, and Carlsen then
repeatedly lets his head sink onto his arm.

But Carlsen's short attack of chess blindness infected his opponent who also missed 26...Nex5!. After thinking for one minute Anand played 26...a4? and after 27.Ke1 White was fine again, harboring a safe advantage. However, both players immediately realized what they had done after they played their moves and this must have influenced the further course of the game. Carlsen possibly felt lucky and confident again, while it is hard to imagine that Anand was not upset about missing such a chance.

Vishy Anand after realizing that he missed a big chance.

At any rate, the remainder of the game was very one-sided. Carlsen gradually increased his pressure while Anand was not able to offer serious resistance. He resigned after 38 moves.

Magnus Carlsen: "Sometimes you are very, very lucky."

After his oversight, Magnus played focused again and won his second game in the match. He now leads by 3,5-2,5.

Daniel King shows the highlights of game 6

[Event "World Championship Match 2014"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.15"] [Round "6"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Vishwanathan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B41"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] {After yesterday's game five Magnus was visibly relaxed. He had drawn with the black pieces and was now ready to press with White in games six and seven. But today we witnessed something weird. Magnus got a nice position out of the opening. No queens. slight pressure, just what he likes. As he was building up his position, he made a horrible mistake and gave Anand the chance to win the game with a simple tactic. Anand missed it and things were back on track for the World Champion. He won a smooth game after that. Let's get straight to the action} 1. e4 {Carlsen sticks to his king pawn.} c5 {And Anand seems to be happy with the position he got in the fourth game with the Sicilian.} 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 $5 {The Open Sicilian! An interesting question is when n Open Sicilian was last played in a World Championship match. As my friend IM Srinath Narayanan mentioned, it was last played by Vishy Anand vs Boris Gelfand in their World Championship match 2012. Remember the Sicilian Sveshnikov!} cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 $5 {The Sicilian Kan! It has not be as popular as it's brother the Sicilian Taimanov with 4...Nc6 but nevertheless it is a very popular opening.} (4... Nc6 {is the Taimanov.}) 5. c4 {White sets up the Maroczy bind. This Maroczy bind against the Kan is much more potent than the one against Taimanov as in the latter the knight is already on c6.} Nf6 6. Nc3 (6. e5 Qa5+ {of course is a very common trap.}) 6... Bb4 {Developing with momentum by putting pressure on the e4 pawn. There are lot of ways in which White can defend the e4 pawn but all have their own drawbacks.} (6... Qc7 {is the other main move here but White has been scoring pretty well here after} 7. a3 $5) 7. Qd3 $5 {A very odd move in the opening. The d3 square looks more natural for the bishop but the queen move has its own advantages. The biggest one being that after Nc6 White can just take and exchange queens. This move has been already played by players such as Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Leko and Vishy Anand!} (7. Bd3 Nc6 8. Nxc6 dxc6 9. e5 Qa5 $5 { leads to comfortable equality for Black.}) (7. f3 {weakens the dark squares a little and can be met with the simple} Qc7 8. Bg5 Nc6 {Black has a fine position.}) (7. e5 Ne4 8. Qg4 Nxc3 9. a3 (9. Qxg7 Na4+ 10. Kd1 Rf8 $19) 9... Bf8 10. bxc3 Qa5 $15) 7... Nc6 (7... Qc7 {was the other option.} 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. Qxc3 Nxe4 10. Nb5 $1 {is the little trick in this position.} axb5 11. Qxg7 Rf8 12. Bh6 $16 {White is substantially better.}) 8. Nxc6 dxc6 (8... bxc6 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. Qxc3 $14 {is a very pleasant position for White.}) 9. Qxd8+ {Once again Magnus gets what he wants. Queens are off the board and he can press in this slightly superior endgame. A good opening outcome for the World Champion.} (9. e5 Qxd3 10. Bxd3 Nd7) 9... Kxd8 10. e5 {This looks pretty natural and like the best move. It simply gains more space.} (10. Bd3 e5 $1 { and Black has no problems.}) (10. Bd2 e5 $1 $11 {Gives Black a good position.} (10... Bxc3 $6 11. Bxc3 Nxe4 12. Bxg7 Rg8 13. Be5 $16)) 10... Nd7 {This move can be condemned as being too passive. The other option was the more active Ne4. But does that solve all of Black's opening problems? I am not sure.} ( 10... Ne4 11. a3 $1 (11. Bd2 $6 Nxd2 12. Kxd2 Kc7 $15) 11... Bxc3+ 12. bxc3 { White has a nice position with extra space and two bishops. He should be better.} Kc7 (12... Nxc3 $2 13. a4 $1 Ne4 14. Be3 $16) 13. Be3 $14) 11. Bf4 { It was important to defend the e5 pawn with the bishop. If White played his pawn to f4 it would have only hindered the bishop on c1. This position could also be reached with White to play had White not wasted a tempo with first playing Qd3 and then taking on d8. That would have been wonderful for White as he could have just played Rc1 preserving his pawn structure. But it's Black's move now and he takes on c3.} Bxc3+ 12. bxc3 Kc7 {On TwitterMany strong players condemned Vishy's opening play. GM Fabiano Caruana: "Passive and unpleasant position for Anand - something went very wrong. Now we can settle down for a long grind." GM Pentala Harikrishna: "Anands opening choice is surprising. if it is not worked out until draw, it is unpleasant position to play against Magnus." GM Nigel Short: "Actually I don't like the Black position at all." GM Teimour Radjabov: "Terrible choice by Anand today. Just worse,being worse on Saturday all day long is unpleasant, bad week-end choice." As you can see all the top GMs are in consensus that Black's position is passive and Magnus is going to grind on for a long time! Not good news for Vishy Anand.} 13. h4 $1 {A typical Magnus move. You have to feel chess as well as he does to explain this move. But let me make an attempt. The first idea is to push the pawn further gaining more space. The pawn goes to h5 and if unhindered even to h6. Also the h1 rook can immediately be activated via h3 and attack the g7 pawn. So all in all this move starts to put latent pressure on Black's position.} b6 14. h5 {The pawn wishes to go to h6 and create more dark squared weaknesses.} h6 { Stopping the h-pawn but now the g7 pawn will be weak. And Carlsen takes full advantage of it.} 15. O-O-O (15. Rd1 $5 {was interesting because later on, Magnus did bring his king over to e1. Maybe this would have saved him a few moves.}) 15... Bb7 16. Rd3 $5 {As mentioned before the rook goes to g3 but it is interesting to note which rook Magnus chose. The rook on h1 is already very well placed because when the pressure on g7 will increase, Black will play g6 and then Rh1 will come into the game.} c5 17. Rg3 Rag8 18. Bd3 {White moves are definitely easier to make in this position. Black is under a lot of pressure and it is not easy to get rid of it. While Carlsen is an excellent grinder, Anand is a shrewd defender who always looks for active counterplay in such positions. A great battle of attack and defense lies ahead.} Nf8 {Anand is definitely angling for g6 to activate his pieces.} 19. Be3 g6 (19... Nd7 20. f3 $5 (20. f4) 20... Nxe5 (20... Kc8 21. Bf4 $14) 21. Bf4 f6 22. Bxe5+ fxe5 23. Re1 $14) 20. hxg6 Nxg6 (20... fxg6 $2 21. Rxh6 $18) 21. Rh5 $1 {Carlsen knows the best way to keep up the pressure in the position. He has the two bishops and would not want to part with them unless he gets some very concrete advantage.} (21. Rxh6 Nxe5 $1 22. Bf4 (22. Rxh8 Nxd3+ 23. Kd2 Rxh8 24. Kxd3 Rd8+ $15) 22... Rxg3 23. Bxe5+ Kd7 24. Rxh8 Rxd3 $11) 21... Bc6 $5 {This and the next move Kb7 was made pretty quickly by Vishy. He simply wants to get his king off the h2-b8 diagonal.} 22. Bc2 {The bishop was exposed and undefended on d3 and threats like Nxe5 are in the air, so Magnus safely decides to remove the bishop from that square.} (22. Kd2 {looked pretty natural but now Black can relieve the pressure with the very accurate} Ne7 $1 23. Rxg8 Rxg8 24. g3 Rd8 $1 {The reason why Kd2 would be a bad move.} 25. Kc2 (25. Ke2 Bf3+ $1 $15) 25... Ba4+ 26. Kd2 Nf5 $15) (22. f4 $2 Nxe5 $1 23. Rxg8 Nxd3+ 24. Kd2 Rxg8 $19) 22... Kb7 (22... Ne7 23. Rxg8 Rxg8 24. g3 $14 {maintains the pressure on Black thanks to the weakened h6 pawn.}) 23. Rg4 (23. Kd2 {was a better way to start. The king will be well placed on e2. As we will see in the game, Magnus' timing to bring out his king was completely wrong.} Be8 24. Ke1 $1 $14 (24. Ke2 f5 $1)) 23... a5 24. Bd1 Rd8 (24... Ne7 25. Rxg8 Rxg8 26. g3 $14 {keeps control.}) 25. Bc2 Rdg8 26. Kd2 $2 {An extremely bad mistake by Carlsen and very uncharacteristic of him. He is usually quite alert to tactical details but after this move Vishy could simply win a pawn.} a4 $2 {Missing a huge tactical resource. As Vishy said after the game, he was just too focussed on this idea with a4-a3 and trying to get counterplay that he did not notice this tactic with Nxe5. Magnus noticed that he had missed the tactics after he played Kd2 and Vishy noticed this trick only after he had played a4.} (26... Nxe5 $1 {It is extremely surprising that Vishy missed this simple tactic.} 27. Rxg8 Nxc4+ $1 28. Kd3 Nb2+ 29. Kd2 Rxg8 $17 {With the g2 pawn attacked and Nc4 coming up again, this position is extremely bad for White. But how could Vishy miss this tactical blow?. He was under pressure and he made his move 26...a4 very quickly. Maybe he just didn't believe that Carlsen would blunder so badly. Caruana's tweet at this point: "Shocking blunders... Vishy won't be able to sleep tonight."}) 27. Ke2 {Everything is back to normal now. Magnus is pressing and Vishy defending!} (27. a3 {would have been ideal but then it would trying your luck a little bit too much. Nxe5 is just winning.} Nxe5 $17) 27... a3 {What has Black achieved by pushing his pawn to a3? The main idea is to play Ra8 at some point and exchange bishops with Ba4. Kramnik said that Magnus should not have allowed the black pawn to come to a3 but I think Magnus realised that Nxe5 was actually possible and hence could not meet a4 with a3.} 28. f3 {Defending the rook on g4 and blunting the bishop on c6.} Rd8 29. Ke1 { Magnus is playing a waiting game. He is keeping all his options open, realizing that Black can do absolutely nothing.} (29. Bxg6 fxg6 30. Rxg6 Be8 31. Rg7+ Rd7 32. Rxd7+ Bxd7 33. Rxh6 Rxh6 34. Bxh6 {In this endgame you cannot be sure that White is winning.} Ba4 35. Bc1 Bc2 36. Bxa3 Bb1 37. g4 Bxa2 38. Kd3 Kc7 39. Bc1 Kd7 $11 {and Black should be able to hold this one.}) 29... Rd7 {Vishy's idea is now simple. He doesn't really care for the h6 pawn, he just wants to create counterplay.} 30. Bc1 Ra8 31. Ke2 Ba4 {From this point on Vishy starts to self destruct. He gives up all the pawns without any compensation .} (31... Rad8 {was a better try} 32. Bxh6 $6 Rh8 $1 33. Bxg6 fxg6 34. Rxg6 {And White is pinned and with opposite coloured bishops there are some chances to draw.}) 32. Be4+ $1 {Forcing the bishop to come back to c6.} Bc6 $2 (32... Ka7 {was not the ideal option but it was the only way for Black to continue the fight.} 33. Bxa8 (33. Bxg6 fxg6 34. Rxg6 Bb3 $1 35. axb3 (35. Bxa3 Bxc4+ $15) 35... a2 36. Bb2 Rad8 $15 {Black has a lot of counterplay.}) 33... Kxa8 { might have been an interesting choice as the knight on g6 sits strong and Black has decent counterplay. Of course White is better but Black has his chances.} 34. Rxh6 Rd1 35. Bxa3 Ra1 36. Ke3 Nxe5 $44) 33. Bxg6 $1 {Now it is all over. All the black pawns are falling.} fxg6 34. Rxg6 Ba4 (34... Rad8 35. Rhxh6 {doesn't generate sufficient counterplay.} Rd1 36. Bg5 R8d7 37. Rxe6 $18) 35. Rxe6 Rd1 36. Bxa3 Ra1 37. Ke3 Bc2 38. Re7+ {And there was absolutely nothing that Vishy could do and he had to resign the game.} (38. Re7+ Ka6 39. Rxh6 Rxa2 40. Bxc5 $18 {I feel that after Vishy had realized that he had missed Nxe5 he just started to play weak moves. A nice win for Magnus who now leads the match 3.5-2.5.}) 1-0


M. Carlsen 2863
V. Anand 2792

Summary of the game in Hindi by Niklesh Jain

विश्व चैंपियनशिप राउंड 6 – आनंद ने जीती बाजी गवाईं कार्लसन को 3.5-2.5 से  बढ़त

विश्व शतरंज चैंपियनशिप के राउंड 6 मे जो हुआ  उसे अगर सीधे सीधे यह कहा जा सकता है की आज का दिन आनंद की खिताब को वापस पाने की दिशा में एक मजबूत कदम साबित हो सकता था पर आनंद ने 26 चाल में कार्लसन की भूल को बिना ध्यान दिये तेजी से a4 चलते हुए एतिहासिक बन सकती चाल Ne5 घोड़े से कार्लसन की e5 पैदल ना मारने की भारी भूल कर दी और इसके बाद तो जैसे आनंद अपनी इस गलती के झटके से खुद ही इतना परेशान हो गए की कुछ अजीब से चाले चलने लगे जिनमे कुछ हमला करने की चाहत तो थी पर उन्हे इतनी गहराई थी ही नहीं जितनी विश्व चैम्पियन बनने के लिए जरूरी थी । कार्लसन को तो जैसे आनंद की 30 चाल Ra8 के बाद जीत की गंध आ गयी थी और फिर उन्होने आनंद की मानसिक हालत को भाँपते हुए कोई भी गलती नहीं की आनंद की योजना की कमजोरी को बड़ी आसानी से पकड़ते हुए उन्होने खेल को आराम से अपने कब्जे में ले लिया । आनंद अब फिर एक अंक से पीछे हो चुके है और अब दोबारा वापसी आसान नहीं होगी आनंद आज अच्छा खेल रहे थे पर उन्होने बाद में उतनी ही कमजोर चालें चली । प्रतियोगिता का आधा सफर तय हो गया है कार्लसन और उनके प्रशंसक बहुत खुश है तो आनंद के निराश खैर अब प्रतियोगिता अपने सबसे खतरनाक मोड पर है रविवार के आराम के बाद देखते है ऊंट किस करवट बैठता है ...

आपका निकलेश जैन 

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Saturday 15.11.2014 Round 6 Daniel King, Yannick Pelletier
Sunday 16.11.2014 Rest day  
Monday 17.11.2014 Round 7 Simon Williams, Loek van Wely
Tuesday 18.11.2014 Round 8 Daniel King, Loek van Wely
Wednesday 19.11.2014 Rest day  
Thursday 20.11.2014 Round 9 Simon Williams, Irina Krush
Friday 21.11.2014 Round 10 Daniel King, Simon Williams
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Sunday 23.11.2014 Round 11 Chris Ward, Parimarjan Negi
Monday 24.11.201 4 Rest day  
Tuesday 25.11.2014 Round 12 Simon Williams, Rustam Kasimdzhanov

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Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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