Thank you Anand whatever you have given us since 1985!
In a battle that resembled an action thriller, where Carlsen had to queen his passed b pawn to prevent a mate! Anand blundered to bring the game to a premature close. The point is, through out the game all the top Grandmasters, all the chessbase engines could not agree what was the next best move.
Anand had to take on Carlsen by the throat and try he did! With a sharp d4 opening and consistently playing anti-Carlsen lines, consistently keeping the best ever chess player ever under the pump thro’ out (Carlsen at Elo of 2871 is better than Kasparov’s best of 2851 by 20 solid points) Anand threw the kitchen sink and all to no avail.In the end Magnus, take a bow and thank you Vishy for all that you have given us since 1985!
Report by GM Alejandro Ramirez at Chessbase followed by an intensely complex analysis:
“Vishy came. Vishy fought hard. Vishy went for the throat. Carlsen defended, Carlsen parried threats. The game was unbelievably complex. Black’s passed pawn on the queensidse fighting against a near mating attack on the kingside. Grandmasters observing the game disagreed on which move to play, on who was better. Even engines disagreed on evaluations!
The appearance of 1.d4 is something that I could talk about at length if the match were longer, but the truth is that with two blacks remaining in the match (honestly, I think just one black left) for Anand it is difficult to believe that it matters much what his weapon with white would have been. The Saemisch Nimzo-Indian was definitely a thrilling battle.
Carlsen played a great game, of that there is no doubt. He managed to complicate his opponent’s initiative by creating his own chances.
Nakamura echoed the feeling of many grandmasters that 20. a4 and maybe even 20. f5 looked much more natural. The engines unanimously agree that 20. axb4 was best, but that doesn’t mean they are right. This is not a computer friendly position. Later on Nakamura also preferred the move 23. f6 instead of 23. Qf4, for which Anand took over 40 minutes of thinking time!
Unfortunately for Anand, unfortunately for Chess, a horrible blunder on move 28 cost him the game. Missing the simplest of defences, and exhausted Anand had to resign as his attack was completely parried. The alternative would’ve kept the position rich and complex, with the result still unclear.
Our favourite guest commentator brings us superb analysis of a titanic struggle:
1.d4 No Berlin this time, and the entire world claps. f6 2.c4 e6 3.c3 b4 4.f3 The f3 Nimzo is known for its sharpness, and now it was clear Anand was ready to fight. d5 5.a3 xc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5
7…xd5 8.dxc5 a5 is the main line, and I remember Anand winning a wonderful game against Wang Hao here. Alright, might as well show it. 9.e4 e7 10.e3 0-0 11.b3 c7 12.b5 ec6 13.e2 a5 14.b4 e5 15.0-0 e6 16.d4! exd4 17.cxd4 bc6 18.c3 e7 19.fd1 ad8 20.f2 a6 21.g3 c8 22.f1 b6 23.ab1 b3 24.xb3 xb3 25.xb3 bxc5 26.d5 g6 27.b6 f5 28.xa6 d7 29.b5 f7 30.exf5 xf5 31.xc5 c8 32.d4 fd8 33.a4 1-0 (33) Anand,V (2810)-Wang Hao (2731) Wijk aan Zee 2011 CBM 141 [Anand]
8.e3 c4 This has been a trend lately, trying to mess with White’s development scheme of Bd3-Ne2. The main drawback to this is that e4 is potentially much stronger with the pawn on c4. It was a surprise for me to see this line, as it certainly isn’t the safest, but perhaps it is simply what Carlsen prepared before the match.
8…0-0 9.d3 b6 10.e2 a6 is by far the most popular, and seems to be much more in Carlsen’s style to me.
9.e2 c6 10.g4 White prepares Bg2 and prevents Black from playing Bf5. It is clear we will have a fight! 0-0! 11.g2 a5 12.0-0! b3 13.a2 b5 This is one of Black’s major ideas in this c4 system. Put a knight on b3, shove the queenside, and hope not to get checkmated. The knight on b3 is actually not all that strong, but it helps to always have the option of taking White’s bishop. 14.g3 a5 15.g5
15.e4 dxe4 16.fxe4 xg4 17.e1 was another approach, but Anand possibly felt there was no need to sac a pawn.
15…e8 16.e4 xc1 Magnus didn’t want to allow Be3 and the knight on b3 might find itself to be a spectator. 17.xc1 a6 Magnus might not be afraid here, but I would be. White’s pawns look menacing. 18.e5 Vishy closes off the center and prepares to shove his f-pawn.
18.b2 I might prefer a bit, retaining some kingside flexibility and discouraging Black’s b4 counterplay.
19.b2 I still like for White, as once b4 happens Black’s counterplay is quite annoying. I find when you are in a must-win situation, it is easy to forget prophylactic moves.
19…b4 20.axb4 axb4 21.xa6 xa6 22.f5
22.cxb4 was “safer” but this is no way to play for the win, as now he’ll always be tied down to defending d4.
22…b3 Both sides go all in. Black entrenches a protected passer on b3, but takes away all the pressure on White’s center. In order for him to use this pawn, however, he needs to survive White’s attack. 23.f4
23.h4 c7 24.h5 was another plan of attack. It looks incredibly scary for Black, but it isn’t so clear how White will break through.
23…c7 24.f6 Once again, Vishy opts for the most committal continuation. I also don’t think this move should be rushed.
24.h4 was a more flexible possibility. Now if e8 25.h5 There are some real threats. b2 26.f6 g6 27.f4 and White has more chances than in the game.
24…g6 25.h4 e8 26.h6 Anand goes for the most direct attacking plan, which involves letting Black queen!
26.e2 was the other option, trying to bring the knight into the fray. A possible variation could go e6 27.f4 a5 28.h3 xh3 29.xh3 b2 It looks like Black will be faster, but White has the resource 30.e6! a1 Black has to continue his queenside play.
30…fxe6 31.xe6+ h8 32.e7 is crushing.
31.xf8 xf8 32.e6 d6 Another only move, as Qh6-exf7+ was a mating threat. 33.h6+
33.exf7 h5! wins for Black.
33…e8 34.exf7+ xf7 35.h3 and now the game will end in perpetual after d8 36.g2 b1 37.xd5+ c8 38.c6+ d8 39.d5+ with a draw.
26…b2 27.f4! This is truly throwing all your chips into the middle of the table. b1+ And here, unfortunately, Vishy has a mental blank. I’m not sure if he missed Black’s response or if he simply thought he was lost anyway. 28.f1??
28.f1 was necessary, and now d1 is forced, planning to pitch the queen on h5. 29.h4 h5 30.xh5 gxh5 31.xh5 f5 and at first White looks busted, but he has the move 32.g6! xg6 33.g5 with the plan of h4-h5. Black is paralyzed, so he has nothing better than xf6 34.exf6 xf6 35.xd5 and the game will most likely be drawn after something like f3 36.c5 xc3 37.f4 and White takes on c4 next move. The d-pawn could be strong, but the king on g1 is too exposed to do much with it. Even so, I’m sure Vishy would have taken the extra 1/2 point.
28…e1 The only move, but now it is over, as Rh4 is met by Qxh4 and Black is up a clean rook. It was really ashame to see Vishy’s fighting spirit meet with such an end. It must be said, however, that Magnus kept his cool throughout the game despite the scary-looking attack and it seems like he was never really in any trouble. Despite this, Vishy really had everything he wanted out of the opening, and I’m sure he’d like that one back.
Special thanks to Madhav Krishna sir, who is Associate Professor at IIIT,Hyderabad for sharing this great article written by him.
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