Sochi G9: A quick draw tightens the noose

by Albert Silver
11/20/2014 – While the fans will have been disappointed to see a quick draw in game nine with Carlsen playing white, it will have been much less surprising for the experts. At this point, match strategy is the reigning factor, and with three games left at most, and a one point lead, it is up to the challenger to find a way to make a fight of it with an uncooperative opponent. Report and commentary.

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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 nine

In pugilism or martial arts, a fighter who deliberately avoids fighting can and will be warned or even penalized, and though chess now has a few of its own safeguards, this is a World Championship match, and the rules change. Why do they change? Essentially because of the stakes, and because match play and strategy are a very different beast.

With four games left, and now three after today's encounter, the pressure is on Vishy Anand to force the issue and fight for a win. Magnus Carlsen has justly earned a reputation for fighting and playing on even when there is nothing to gain, such as his famous game against Levon Aronian in the 2013 Sinquefield Cup, so match logic was still left open. In the aformentioned game, a draw by Magnus against Levon would clinch sole first, yet instead of being content to secure the result, he had pressed on and eventually won. A brave and admirable choice, but it must be said that aside from a couple of Elo points, he had everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Magnus Carlsen carefully weighed his options before deciding how to proceed

In Game Nine, Magnus showed maturity or good sense (take your pick) and lay down his cards by following a well-known game by Leinier Dominguez-Ruslan Ponomariov played in 2012, allowing Anand to enter the mainline of the Berlin. They mirrored the moves until move thirteen, and only two moves later the World Champion set the stage for a repetition, which he promptly seized.

Vishy Anand grimaced as he saw what was coming

Daniel King shows how game 9 ended in a draw

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"] [Site "Sochi"] [Date "2014.11.20"] [Round "9"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [EventCountry "RUS"] [TimeControl "40/7200:20/3600:900+30"] 1. e4 {3} e5 {7} 2. Nf3 {6} Nc6 {5} 3. Bb5 {9} Nf6 {6} 4. O-O {9} Nxe4 {5} 5. d4 {5} Nd6 {6} 6. Bxc6 {7} dxc6 {6} 7. dxe5 {20} Nf5 {7} 8. Qxd8+ {8} Kxd8 {6} 9. h3 {6} Ke8 {10} 10. Nc3 {7} h5 {9} 11. Ne2 {37} b6 {59} 12. Rd1 {283} Ba6 { 170} 13. Nf4 {815} Bb7 {368} (13... Rd8 14. Bd2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Rxd4 16. a4 Bc8 17. a5 a6 18. Be3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 b5 20. Nd3 Be7 21. Bc5 Bd8 22. Nb4 Rh6 23. f4 f5 24. c3 Bh4 25. Rd3 Rg6 26. Kh2 Bb7 27. Nc2 Bc8 28. g3 Bd8 29. h4 Be6 30. Nb4 Bc8 31. Rd2 Bb7 32. Rd1 Bc8 33. Rh1 Bb7 34. Kg2 Be7 35. Nd3 Bd8 36. Kf2 Rh6 37. Re1 Bc8 38. Nb4 Kf7 39. Rd1 Ke8 40. Re1 Kf7 41. Re3 Rg6 42. Ke2 Rh6 43. Kd2 Rg6 44. b3 Rh6 45. c4 Rg6 46. Kc3 Rh6 47. Nc2 Re6 48. Nd4 Re8 49. Rd3 bxc4 50. bxc4 Bd7 51. Re3 Be7 52. Bxe7 Kxe7 53. e6 Bc8 54. Kb4 Kf6 55. Kc5 Bb7 56. Nxc6 g6 57. e7 Ba8 58. Re5 Bb7 59. Nd8 Bg2 60. Nc6 Kf7 61. Nb4 Rxe7 62. Rxe7+ Kxe7 63. Nxa6 Kd8 64. Nb4 Ba8 65. Nc6+ Kc8 66. a6 {1-0 (66) Dominguez Perez,L (2726) -Ponomariov,R (2741) Leon 2012}) 14. e6 {960} Bd6 {80} ({With hindsight one might be tempted to argue that here Black should have deviated with something like} 14... fxe6 15. Ng6 Rg8 16. Bf4 {but it looks quite dreadful and could only favor White. If there was a plan to duke it out, the decision came earlier.}) 15. exf7+ {608} Kxf7 {16} 16. Ng5+ {12} Kf6 {16} 17. Ne4+ {10} Kf7 { 7} 18. Ng5+ {92} Kf6 {50} 19. Ne4+ {12} Kf7 {13} 20. Ng5+ {6} 1/2-1/2


There are only three games left, with two whites for the Challenger, including the last game if needed, and the Indian will need to show what he has in store against an opponent who refuses to cooperate to give him chances for a fight. In a way, it is a question that has never really been answered: Magnus is known for his tireless fighting spirit, but if he won't play ball, how successfully can you force the issue? It is the question Team Anand will need to address in the final games, and it promises some fascinating bouts.

Carlsen was quite unimpressed if this was the preparation to 'create chances to play for a win'

Garry Kasparov warned against getting too comfortable

Although game ten will be played tomorrow, the two games thereafter will be separated by rest days each, instead of only after every two rounds, allowing the best preparation possible for the decision.


M. Carlsen 2863
V. Anand 2792

Summary of the round provided by Niklesh Jain in Hindi for Indian visitors

विश्व शतरंज चैंपियनशिप – नवां मैच 20 चालों में ड्रॉ कार्लसन 5-4 से आंगे

पिछली विश्व चैंपियनशिप में नवां मैच जंहा सबसे रोमांचक मैच  साबित हुआ था उसके विपरीत आज का मैच अब तक का सबसे जल्द खत्म होने वाला मैच साबित हो गया । दर्शको के लिए आज का मैच निराशा लेकर आया और सिर्फ 20 चालों में ड्रॉ हो गया और विश्व चैंपियनशिप का सबसे कम चालों का मैच साबित हुआ । कार्लसन ने अपनी एक अंक की बढ़त बरकरार रखी है और उनके हिसाब से उन्हे शायद सफ़ेद मोहरो से और ज्यादा ज़ोर लगाना चाहिए था पर आज आनंद ज्यादा बेहतर तैयारी के साथ थे और उन्हे ड्रॉ करना भी ठीक लगा क्यूंकी वो जितना भी धीरे धीरे 6.5 के करीब जा रहे है उन्हे इसमें कोई बुराई नजर नहीं आ रही है । एक बार फिर बर्लिन ओपेनिंग में मैच खेला गया आनंद ने एक बार फिर वजीर की अदला बदली का रास्ता चुना और अपने किलेबंदी का अधिकार कुर्बान कर दिया । आनंद का सफ़ेद खानो का ऊंट काफी अच्छा नजर आ रहा था साथ ही कार्लसन की e5 पैदल थोड़ा कमजोर थी पर कार्लसन के मोहरे की प्रतिभागिता आनंद से बेहतर थी और लग रहा था की किस तरह कार्लसन अपनी आदत और स्वभाव के अनुसार खेल में दबाव बनाना शुरू करते है खैर आखिरकार अचानक उम्मीद के विपरीत कार्लसन ने पैदल को e6 चलते हुए खेल को आगे ले जाने का एक ऐसा रास्ता चुना जो सीधे तौर पर खेल को ड्रॉ की तरफ ले गया उन्होने अपने घोड़े से लगातार आनंद के राजा को शह देते हुए खेल को बराबरी पर रोक दिया । आनंद ने बाद मे कहा की वो इस ड्रॉ से निराश नहीं है क्यूकी वो काले मोहरो से खेल रहे थे ।

अगले तीन बचे मैच में आनंद दो बार सफ़ेद मोहरो से खेलेंगे और कार्लसन के दिमाग में कंही न कंही दबाव होगा की कंही कोई गलती न हो जाए । अतः यह कहना बेमानी नहीं होगी की आनंद आज के इस मैच के बाद वाकई अपनी संभावनाओं में कुछ सुधार करते नजर आए है । कल का मैच अब शायद सबसे महत्वपूर्ण मैच बन गया है और यह तय करेगा की विश्व विजेता की तरफ कदम कौन मजबूती से आगे बढ़ाता है ।

आपका निकलेश जैन 

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Thursday 20.11.2014 Round 9 Simon Williams, Irina Krush
Friday 21.11.2014 Round 10 Daniel King, Simon Williams
Saturday 22.11.2014 Rest day  
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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Our team of World Championship commentators (English)

Irina Krush: The female in the commentator team, several times US Women's Champion.
Daniel King: Well known, popular, experienced, and very good. Author of many Fritztrainer DVDs

Simon Williams: Englisher grandmaster, author of two popular ChessBase King's Gambit DVDs.
Chris Ward: Dragon expert and chess commentator at the London Chess Classic.

Niclas Pert: Grandmaster, trainer, and author of a number of excellent Fritztrainer DVDs.
Loek van Wely: Several times Dutch champion and quick-witted chess commentator.

Parimarjan Negi: Once the world's youngest grandmaster, author of books and DVDs.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov: The FIDE-World Champion 2004, former second for Vishy Anand

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Omoplata Omoplata 11/21/2014 11:06
Contrary to some other readers, I think drawing until the last game could be a good strategy for Anand, as Carlsen would be playing for a draw with black and that can easily backfire. The pressure of each move must logically be exponentially higher in the last game of a match, as a single bad move could cost a player the match. The last game of a world championship match has decided the result in some instances in the recent past; e.g. Anand - Topalov and Kramnik - Leko.
thlai80 thlai80 11/21/2014 04:01
@karavamudan, do you know Gelfand also drew Anand in their classical matches during the 2012 world championships? Anand didn't stamp his authority too lol.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 11/21/2014 03:49
Two games ago people were complaining that they played too long. Now people are complaining that they didn't play long enough. Some people are impossible to please.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 11/21/2014 02:28
Game 10 will be honestly Anand's last best chance to equalize. If he doesn't win tomorrow, then it will be one game each with white and a rest day in between each game. His chances of winning the last game there are very slim. So it's all on the line with this next game in my opinion.
Guus Guus 11/20/2014 10:34
It is getting very exciting now. Each side can still win!
luisnux luisnux 11/20/2014 09:29
I think that we need to bring Paul Morphy, and Alekhine and pit them against each other for some exciting chess. I'm falling asleep watching this match. The only game I like was the one were Anand won with dynamic chess.
Wallace Howard Wallace Howard 11/20/2014 08:54
I think both players can be somewhat happy with today's game.
Anand gets a draw with Black, Magnus gets one game closer to defending his title.
If the next game is drawn, then don't expect to see the Berlin again. Probably the Najdorf.
If Anand wins the next game, then definitely expect the Berlin.
bronkenstein bronkenstein 11/20/2014 08:34
Quite comfortable draw by Tiger, and, essentially, an extra rest day before one of his remaining whites. He - in his age - needs these more than his young opponent, and extra white, together with this little psychological victory, certainly won´t hurt.

On the other side, a bit strange choice by Magnus, allowing Berlin ending again. Maybe he will regret such choice someday =) Anyway, he would be a slight favorite even in eventual TBs. Still, Vishy would enter these with clear psychological advantage.
dysanfel dysanfel 11/20/2014 06:19
@ karavamuda

Considering that Karpov in their five world championship matches with Kasparov, Karpov scored 19 wins, 21 losses, and 104 draws in 144 games, and Kasparov was only able to draw on of their matches. I do not see how any champion since Fischer could meet your criteria. Kasparov certainly did not dominate Karpov.
Bertman Bertman 11/20/2014 05:59
@Karavamudan Every Top 5 player should be seriously aiming for the world title, so I'm not sure what your point is.
karavamudan karavamudan 11/20/2014 05:36
If Carlsen wins the championship by the odd point the chess world will be unimpressed and every 2790+ GM will fancy his chances against him in subsequent tournaments. The World Champion has to stamp his authority and win by at least 2 points.

Having said that, Anand does not seem to be capable of winning with either color unless Carlsen strays into his home preparation. This shows that Carlsen is indeed superior. Wonder how much of the second Nielsen's previous association with Anand is affecting the latter.
TMM TMM 11/20/2014 05:27
It's a bit strange to blame Carlsen for the draw (calling him an "uncooperative opponent"). Anand has to win to even tie the match (let alone win), and he comes up with the Berlin?! Carlsen might comply with a sharper game (see for instance game 9 of their previous match, when Carlsen was also leading), but then Anand will have to show some guts and choose something more aggressive than the Berlin.
dysanfel dysanfel 11/20/2014 04:34
I thought 14. b3 would have been an interesting choice
Achu Manoj Achu Manoj 11/20/2014 04:05
Express report has not much comments. I did a nice analysis of this game on my youtube channel. I figured out Anand's ...Ba6 ...Bb7 idea :)
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 11/20/2014 04:01
the match has reached its most interesting point! let us wait and see who will have the last laugh!
ashperov ashperov 11/20/2014 03:55
Rest day-- good for Anand-- short draw with black the day after--- good for Anand. 3 games left- 2 with white. he is fully energised and rested. Carlsen missed a trick here. Possibly better to play out a long boring draw just to tire Annad out
ballista ballista 11/20/2014 03:47
Tomorrow's Vishy is white. Why would not try Andersen's move 1.a3?
If 1,... d5 2. c4 will Benoni, if 2,... e5 2. c4 Siclian, with a tempo advantage...
Joe Justice Joe Justice 11/20/2014 03:27
This is possibly the most boring WCC with its after play press conferences !
tom_70 tom_70 11/20/2014 02:34
I would be ashamed to call myself a world champion if I played short draws like this. Winning or not, the world champion is expected to always try. A total waste of a round.
luishon luishon 11/20/2014 02:29
I wonder if the players were ask to offer a draw
and not to play long games
at least that it is the feeling I perceive
after the friday game