World Championship 02: Carlsen strikes first

by Alejandro Ramirez
11/9/2014 – Today on November 9, 2014, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and fittingly the prospect of a Berlin appeared on the board. Magnus Carlsen declined the option, and a long strategic battle ensued. Threats on the kingside led Anand astray and he got into a difficult position, blundering before the time control. Carlsen leads already!

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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
Paris (France) 1:00:00 PM CET UTC+1 hour
Beijing (China - Beijing Municipality) 8:00:00 PM CST UTC+8 hours

Round Two

Things started quietly as Carlsen refused to go into the Berlin Endgame

Cross-armed and cool; Carlsen knows when he has the
advantage, he was only unsure of how big it was

Anand was under tremendous pressure the entire game. The combination of having to
defend an unpleasant position for so long and time pressure caused him to crack.

[Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Anand, V."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2863"] [BlackElo "2792"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2014.11.08"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 {The Berlin! Betting money that it would be seen this match would have had sure dividends; pretty much everyone expected this opening to be seen at some point in the match. Carlsen chooses not to go into the Berlin endgame and instead chooses one of the "quieter" d3 systems.} Bc5 {This is the "point" of Black's play. Usually he has to commit to playing the bishop to e7 and only then does White go d3, a variation that is becoming increasingly popular in the Spanish. In this particular move order, the bishop has no reason to fear going to c5.} 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 {White has tried basically everything under the sun, but this peculiar move-order has yet to be employed. Normally they start with the move c3 or Nbd2.} O-O 7. Bxc6 bxc6 {White cannot claim a real advantage. His pawn structure superiority is compensated by Black's solid position and pair of bishops. However it is a completely playable position; if anything Carlsen is making sure that the game is simply "playable" for both sides without trying to milk an advantage from the opening.} 8. h3 Re8 9. Nbd2 Nd7 10. Nc4 Bb6 11. a4 a5 12. Nxb6 cxb6 13. d4 Qc7 {In many cases the presence of opposite colored bishops means that any endgame will be drawn. This is still the case here, but White has a few resources to put some pressure. He does hold more space at the moment.} 14. Ra3 $5 {A creative rook lift. The queenside rook is trying to make its way to the kingside or even the center to put some quick pressure on that flank.} (14. Nh4 {was a serious suggestion, but after} Nf8 {Black seems to be too solid.}) 14... Nf8 (14... exd4 15. Nxd4 Nc5 16. Bf4 $14) 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Nh4 Rd8 $6 {Had Anand seen what happened to him in the game, he might have refused to play this move altogether. There is no reason to force White's queen to the attack as the d-file holds no value.} (16... f6 {setting up defenses as quickly as possible.} 17. Rg3 Ne6 18. Nf5 g6 19. Qh5 Ng7 $1 {Exchanging the powerful knight. White's attack is not nearly as strong without it.} 20. Nxg7 (20. Nh6+ Kh8 21. Qd1 Ba6 $1 {Just leave sthe knight stranded on h6.}) 20... Qxg7 21. Qh4 Ba6 $11) 17. Qh5 f6 18. Nf5 Be6 $2 {I believe this relatively careless move is the beginning of Black's problems. Vishy underestimates how quickly he has to repeal White's pieces.} (18... Qf7 {also looked like a possible way of repealing some of White's threats.} 19. Qg4 Bxf5 20. exf5 Rd4 21. Qf3 Qd5 $11) 19. Rg3 Ng6 (19... Rd7 $1 {Was still more resilient.} 20. Bh6 g6 21. Qh4 Qd8 $1 {This is st ill slightly unpleasant, but I don't see any immediate threats for White.}) 20. h4 {Lots of pressure is piling up on the kingside! It is not obvious anymore how Black can repeal White's attack.} (20. Bh6 $5 {This interesting move leads to a long, forced variation.} Rd7 (20... gxh6 21. Rxg6+ hxg6 22. Qxg6+ Kf8 23. Qxf6+ Qf7 (23... Bf7 24. f4 $1 {And White's attack will crash through.} (24. Qh8+ Bg8 25. Re3 $18 {is also good enough.})) 24. Qxh6+ Ke8 25. Qh8+ Kd7 26. Rd1+ Kc7 27. Qxe5+ Kb7 28. Nd6+ Rxd6 29. Rxd6 {And White comes out wi th a material advantage, though Black should be able to hold by creating his own threats.} Re8 $1 $14) 21. h4 {-20.h4.}) 20... Bxf5 (20... Rd7 21. Bh6 $1 Bxf5 (21... gxh6 {allows White to recuperate the piece with devastating consequences.} 22. Qxh6 Qd8 23. h5 {and the advantage is clearly in White's court.}) 22. exf5 Nf8 23. Re4 $5 {And White's pressure is nothing to scoff at. It is quickly mounting and hard to repeal.}) 21. exf5 Nf4 22. Bxf4 exf4 23. Rc3 $1 c5 24. Re6 $1 {It is clear that W hite has tremendous pressure. The control over th e-file, the pressure on b6, the anchored rook on e6, and also importantly the complete lack of counterplay. Black is not lost yet but it is very unpleasant.} Rab8 25. Rc4 Qd7 26. Kh2 {Of course White has no interest in allowing Qd1+ with a queen trade.} Rf8 {Passive, but what else to do? There is a lack of a clear plan for Black.} (26... Qd1 $2 27. Re8+ $18) 27. Rce4 Rb7 28. Qe2 b5 $5 {A nice opportunity to get rid of the pawn on b6 and open the b-file, but Black's c and a pawns now become targets.} 29. b3 (29. Re7 $1 Qd6 (29... Qc6 30. Rxb7 Qxb7 31. axb5 {is hopeless.}) 30. f3 Rxe7 31. Rxe7 bxa4 32. Qe4 {Qb7 is a big threat.} Qb8 33. Qxa4 {it is hard to believe Black can survive with absolutely no activity.}) 29... bxa4 30. bxa4 Rb4 31. Re7 Qd6 32. Qf3 $1 {The queen wants to start looking for ways of getting into the seventh rank.} Rxe4 33. Qxe4 f3+ 34. g3 h5 $4 {A horrible blunder in a very difficult position.} (34... Qd2 {The only good way of preventing the queen from coming to b7 is by attacking f2, but this gives up the f3 pawn.} 35. Qxf3 Qxc2 36. Kg2 {and Black's is close to lost, but not there yet.}) 35. Qb7 {As once World Championship contender Nigel Short pointed out on twitter: "Blunders don't happen in a vacuum. 34...h5?? came after enormous sustained pressure.". Carlsen created something out of seemingly nothing and earned a great victory.} 1-0

Daniel King shows what happened today

Alekhine's gun! The major piece battery on the e-file tied down all of Black's camp

Anand looked disappointed during the press conference.
He will have a rest day tomorrow to figure out how to recover.

First victory! Carlsen strikes even earlier than he did last year.


M. Carlsen 2863
V. Anand 2792

Tournament details

Schedule: the match will be played over a maximum of twelve games, and the winner of the match will be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the winner scores 6.5 points in less than 12 games then the closing ceremony will take place on the day after the World Championship has been decided or one day thereafter.

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Saturday 08.11.2014 Round 1 Daniel King, Parimarjan Negi
Sunday 09.11.2014 Round 2 Simon Williams, Nicholas Pert
Monday 10.11.2014 Rest day  
Tuesday 11.11.2014 Round 3 Daniel King, Loek van Wely
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
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Monday 17.11.2014 Round 7 Simon Williams, Loek van Wely
Tuesday 18.11.2014 Round 8 Daniel King, Loek van Wely
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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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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.
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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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