Thursday, November 21, 2013

World Chess Championship 2013: Anand - Carlsen, round 9

Anand chose a very sharp line today, and we get an exciting game. I was expecting something like this on round 7. Unfortunately for Anand, Carlsen came out on top, and now leads 6-3. It is inconceivable that Carlsen will not be able to draw in one of the next three games.

I did not watch the game live, as I am shifting my sleep schedule so I can play well tommorrow night. I will update this post after I have analyzed the game.

Anand abandons e2-e4 and plays 1.d4 Nf3 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 Carlsen choses the Nimzo-Indian, one of his normal defenses to d4. 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 This is the Saemisch variation of the Nimzo with f2-f3 which is a common idea these days. This could be a very dynamic game. 7.cxd5 exd5 is a rare move. Carlsen has been in this position once before (Krush-Carlsen 2007), where he played the more common Nxd5  8.e3 c4 Carlsen plays this quickly so it is likely home preparation or just analysis of his draw with Krush 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.g4 Anand gains space on the kingside. This is a very commital move, as black has not castled yet. Carlsen could post his knight on b3 and castle long.

10...O-O Carlsen castles into it. Carlsen takes a while to make this move. He must be confident in his defense, or he is rolling the dice. (10...Na5 delaying castling and leaving in question where his king goes might be more prudent) 11.Bg2 Na5 12.O-O Nb3 13.Ra2 this is a better square for the rook than b1. From a2 the rook can slide across to e2 to support the center on, or f2-h2 to support a kingside attack. 13...b5 14.Ng3 a5 black's attack is coming quickly, but white is attacking black's king 15.g5 

15...Ne8 the knight must retreat, but the question of which square is key. The knight will not remain on e8 passively defending g7, and on d7 it could not remain blocking the light square bishop. The choice depends on where the knight is going. 16.Ne4 Nxc1 17.Qxc1 Ra6 similar to white's Ra2, this move allows the rook to support the kingside. 18.e5 Nc7 here the knight defends d5 and the 16-rook 19.f4 b4 20.axb4 axb4 21.Rxa6 Nxa6

22.f5!? Anand goes for it. Black's b-pawn will be very powerful now, but white will get a strong kingside attack. (22.cxb4 elimiates the b-pawn, and diverts black's knight further from the kingside. Black's c4-pawn is protected and passed, but one square further from promotion 22...Nxb4 23.f5 Nd3 24.Qe3 and white's attack continues, but perhaps not as powerfully) 22...b3 23.Qf4 Nc7 the knight heads back for defense 24.f6 

White threatens to mate on g7 and h7. Black has several defensive plans here to calculate: gxf6, g7-g6, and Ne8. 24...g6 25.Qh4 Ne8 26.Qh6 b2

Carlsen threatens to promote the b2-pawn to delay the rook lift. Anand is short on time with less than 10 minutes on the clock to get to move 40.

27.Rf4 but Anand goes for it anyway. Carlsen can promote his b2-pawn, but then must give it up to prevent mate if he can. 27...b1=Q+ 28.Nf1? On g3 this knight blocked the e1-h4 diagonal and controlled h5. 28.Bf1 was necessary. Qe1! There is no more attack, as black can give up his extra queen for the rook and there is no mate on h7. 0-1.

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