Sochi WCh G3: The Tiger roars

by Albert Silver
11/12/2014 – After the loss in game two, the expectation was a repeat of the 2013 match, with hopefully a final result whose description did not include words such as catastrophic. So far, as much as his supporters wanted to believe, describing him as a 'different' Anand, a 'dangerous' Anand, the results were missing. Game three changed that. Report wtih analysis by GM Gilberto Milos.

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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

International times for your location

Game three

The contrast of new school, old school that both players represent goes deeper than their age or even styles of play. Magnus is incredibly strong, but his style of play is hardly unheard of. Kasparov described Carlsen as a reflection of the Karpovian approach to chess, whilst a another GM compared him to the great Swedish player Ulf Andersson, albeit with a hyperactive approach.  Nevertheless, the largest change Magnus has truly brought is not in his style of play, nor even his endgame skills (Karpov in his heyday certainly as good), it is his openings play.

Vishy Anand showed that super preparation is not something of the past

In a day and age of ultra openings preparation pushed to the mate by engine analysis, the number one danger is finding yourself in another player's preparation facing perfect play by an engine. Unless there was some freak mistake by the machine, if you are playing against moves analyzed for long minutes or more by a top engine, there is simply no way you will outplay it: at best you will find the best moves as well.

Magnus's approach has been to eschew the ultra-theoretical preparation almost altogether. This isn't to say he does not prepare, but instead of trying to force an advantage in the opening, he has been content to go for playable positions, even equal, but with plenty of possibilities to be enjoyed. He would familiarize himself with the themes, and work his better understanding to his advantage.

Sergey Shipov and Alexandra Kosteniuk provide the live Russian commentary onsite

Although he has found a number of followers to this approach, Vishy grew up in a very different era, in which you faced the greatest openings specialist of all time: Garry Kasparov. The idea of giving up on the opening advantage of White was unthinkable since 3000+ Elo engines were not open to all. Game three showed that the idea of extensive hard work in the main lines is far from nullified.

Analysis by GM Gilberto Milos

[Event "Sochi"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.11.11"] [Round "3"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Carlsen, M."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [Annotator "GM Gilberto Milos"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2004.08.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 ( {It's quite remarkable that White could play the same position with an extra tempo after} 8. h3 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 {and we reach a twin of the game's position with a key difference: now Anand's idea of} 17. Ng5 $2 {would be a mistake due to} Bxg5 18. Bxg5 b3 19. f3 Ra5 $1 $15 {And now White can not play Qe2 because of Ng3. Therefore} 20. Qd3 b2 21. Rb1 Nxg5 22. h4 Ne4 23. fxe4 dxe4 24. Qc4 Rxb5 25. Qxb5 Qxc7 $17 {followed by Nf6 and then Nd5 with a clear advantage.}) 8... b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. b5 cxb5 13. c6 Qc8 {Only move.} 14. c7 b4 15. Nb5 a4 (15... bxa3 16. O-O {followed by Qc2 with good compensation.}) 16. Rc1 Ne4 17. Ng5 $5 {Without a pawn on h3 this idea works better.} Ndf6 (17... Bxg5 18. Bxg5 b3 $16 {with an advantage since after;} ( 18... Ra5 19. Be7 Rxb5 20. Bxf8 Kxf8 21. Qxa4 $14) 19. f3 $16 {Here White would be considerably better as can be seen with} Ra5 20. Qe2 $1 $16 (20. Qd3 b2 21. Rb1 Nxg5 22. h4 Ne4 23. fxe4 dxe4 24. Qc4 Rxb5 25. Qxb5 Qxc7 $17)) 18. Nxe4 Nxe4 (18... dxe4 {was a good alternative. The main line would be} 19. Nd6 (19. Bd6 Nd5 $1 $15) 19... Bxd6 20. Bxd6 b3 $1 (20... Re8 21. Bxb4 $14) 21. Bxf8 Kxf8 {with compensation.}) 19. f3 Ra5 $6 ({A better continuation was} 19... Nc3 $1 20. Nxc3 bxc3 21. Rxc3 Qd7 {and here it looks difficult for White to make progress. For example,} (21... Qb7) 22. Qd3 b5 23. O-O Rc8 24. Rfc1 Rb6 $11 {is fine for Black since he will gain counter play after pushing ...b4.}) 20. fxe4 $1 (20. Qe2 Qd7 21. fxe4 Rc8 22. axb4 Rxb5 { was equal in Aronian-Adams 2013.}) 20... Rxb5 21. Qxa4 Ra5 22. Qc6 bxa3 23. exd5 $16 Rxd5 24. Qxb6 Qd7 25. O-O (25. Qa6 {is better but perhaps there is no big difference and Black is lost already.}) 25... Rc8 26. Rc6 $1 {White controls the position and can improve it. The main idea is to play Rb8 at some point but there are other threats also.} g5 ({If Black chooses to wait-and-see, Whites plan could be} 26... h6 27. Rfc1 Bf8 28. Qa6 g6 29. Rb6 $18) 27. Bg3 Bb4 28. Ra1 $1 Ba5 $2 {Loses immediately but passive defense would also fail and I don't believe there is a defense anymore against precise play by White.} ({If Black tried} 28... h5 {White could reply with} 29. h3 Bf8 30. Rac1 Kh7 31. Qa6 h4 32. Bh2 Kg8 33. Rb1 $18) 29. Qa6 Bxc7 (29... Bb4 30. Rb6) 30. Qc4 {Now it's over and the rest is easy.} e5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. dxe5 Qe7 33. e6 Kf8 34. Rc1 1-0

This sensational victory was a vital one in so many ways. An Indian colleague emailed that the mood in India was one of jubilation and hope. The Indian media in Sochi has been meager at best, no doubt not wishing to be forced to recount tales of humiliation and defeat, in stark contrast to the massive Norwegian press contingent, with studio, TV cameras,  and newspaper reporters.

The lack of a glass wall is a boon to photographers and spectators

Perhaps not a knockout blow, but Anand's right hook was certainly felt

For those already worried about a very lopsided and uninteresting match to follow, it injected a much needed shot of interest, showing that this was indeed a different Anand. By breaking a long drought of wins in standard time controls, the Tiger of Madras not only proved to others that he had come to fight, but that his bite was still more dangerous than his roar.

Anand's play and preparation impressed everyone. Game on!

Photos by Anastasiya Karlovich


M. Carlsen 2863
V. Anand 2792

Live commentary on Playchess

Our team of commentators will analyse and comment the games of the match live on the server. In four languages: English, German, French, and Spanish.


Wednesday 12.11.2014 Round 4 Daniel King, Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Thursday 13.11.2014 Rest day  
Friday 14.11.2014 Round 5 Simon Williams, Irina Krush
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
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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English commentators for game three

Rustam Kasimdzhanov: The FIDE-World Champion 2004, former second for Vishy Anand
Daniel King: Well known, popular, experienced, and very good. Author of many Fritztrainer DVDs

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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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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