Saturday, January 26, 2008


Magnus Carlsen - Viswanathan Anand

Corus A, Wijk aan Zee 2008
Round 11
Wijk aan Zee


A series of important games for Magnus Carlsen is starting with today's clash against World Champion Vishwanatan Anand. Carlsen has been leading at Corus since the very first round, but Aronian at 6.0 and pack of players at 5,5 (including Anand) are constantly breathing on his neck. Carlsen has yet to win against Anand in classical games, and this might be perfectly time for it, as he is in good shape and always plays for full point no matter who is on the other side of the table.

1.e4 We were wondering if Magnus would try to crack the Slav defence, but he seems to be more eager to fight in Anti-Marshall.

1... c5! Small surprise! Instead of drawish Anti-Marshall, Vishy Anand is obviously going for a win with the Sicilian. He already used Naidorf against Judit Polgar in one of the previous rounds.

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Teimour Radjabov would play 6. Bg5 :)

6... e6 More flexible than 6...e5, transposing the game to Kasparov's long time favorite - Sheveningen.

7.a4 Nc6 8.O-O Be7 9.Be3 O-O 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 Important move in this system. It allows dark-squared bishop regrouping and stands by for central breaks d5 or e5.

12.Bf3 Rb8 13.Qd2 Bf8 14.Qf2 Both are well prepared, banging out moves at lightning speed.

14... Bd7 (14... e5 Anand played this move on earlier occasion against Mickey Adams.)

15.g4 (15.a5!? was also tried, with idea 15... Nxa5? 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Bb6 but of course, black has variety of better moves.)

15... e5 Black has to react in the center, or white will overrun him on the kingside. e5 breaks white's pawn chain, but now there are good outposts on f5 and d5 for the knights.

16.Nf5 exf4 (16... Bxf5 17.gxf5 (17.exf5?! e4!) 17... exf4 (17... d5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.exd5 e4 20.Bb6! Qxf4 21.dxc6 exf3 22.c7! reveals the idea behind Bb6) 18.Bxf4 Ne5 19.Rad1 with small but longterm advantage for white...)

17.Bxf4 ( Interesting is 17.Bb6!? Qc8 18.g5 Nxe4 (18... Bxf5 19.gxf6 Bh3 20.Rg1 Ne5 21.Nd5) 19.Nh6+ gxh6 20.Nxe4 with huge complications)

17... Be6 Cleaning d7 for the knight, after white pushes g5

18.Rad1 Ne5 ( Black has to cover d6 pawn. 18... Bxf5 19.exf5 is just bad as white will occupy d5 square...)

19.Bxe5!? Giving the dark-squared bishop in order to keep Bf3. It shoots in its own pawn at the moment, but white wants to play Nd5, and since black might be forced to trade, Bf3 will support the passer on d5. (19.g5 Nfd7 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.exd5 Nxf3 22.Qxf3 Ne5)

19... dxe5 20.g5 Nd7 21.Nd5 Qc6 White knights are wonderfully placed, and black can exchange only one of them.

22.Bg2 Qc5 Anand comes up with an odd move. White probably has slightly better ending after 23. Qxc5, but knowing Magnus, he will probably avoid the queens exchange....perhaps with 23. Nfe3!? (22... Qxa4? 23.Nc7 Red8 24.Nxe6 fxe6 25.Ne7+! wins for white) (22... Rbc8! threatening both Qxa4 and Qxc2 was definitely more testing!)

23.Qh4! Aggressive idea to play 24. g6 after black takes on c2. Safer was Nfe3...

23... Qxc2 24.Rc1!? Idea is to lift the rook to c3-h3... It still seems like black will defend with h6 at some point, and after gxh6, to play g6. Position will be very messy, and even if it's well known that Anand calculates fast, white has chances for successful attack. ( The alternative and probably Carlsen's initial intention was 24.g6!? hxg6 25.Nde7+ Bxe7 26.Nxe7+ Rxe7 (26... Kf8?? 27.Nxg6+ Kg8 28.Qh8#) 27.Qxe7 Nf6 black is better in spite of being exchange down, because white's pawns are weak and Bg2 is worst piece on the board.)

24... Qxa4 (24... Qxb2!?)

25.b3!? Probably to earn tempo for Rc3 if black takes. 25...Qb5 is met with Nc7, so maybe simple Qa5.

25... Qa5!? (25... Qxb3 26.Rc3 Bxd5 27.Rxb3 Bxb3 would be funny to see. Black is enjoying full compensation here as white's attack evaporated.)

26.Rc3 g6 (26... Bxd5!? 27.Rh3! h6 28.exd5 Qd8 29.Qh5 Qxg5? 30.Nxh6+! gxh6 31.Rg3)

27.Rh3 h5! 28.Bf3 Obviously, idea is to sacrifice bishops on h5 and open the file for heavy pieces. Black should now trade Be6 for one of the knights and reduce the attacking pressure, or try with a sneaky 28...Qb5 (28.Ng3 Bxh3? 29.Bxh3 is fun (for white only, as he would be winning), but black has 28...Bg4!)

28... Bxd5! 29.exd5 Bg7! Precise play by Anand. He has huge experience from both colors in this line. Bishop move is cleaning the path for kings' escape, should it be necessary.

30.Bxh5 (30.Nxg7 Kxg7 avoiding the 30th game move might have been more stubborn.)

30... gxf5 31.Bxf7+!? (31.Rxf5 might be a tad too slow 31... Qxd5+ 32.Rhf3 Re7 33.Bxf7+ Rxf7! 34.Rxf7 Nf8 refutes the attack and black is close to winning)

31... Kxf7 32.g6+ Kg8! The only move! The main difference is that after 33. Qh7+ Kf8 34. Rxf5+ black king can run via e7-d8 (no more queen on h4). (32... Kxg6 33.Rg1+ Kf7 34.Rxg7+! Kxg7 35.Qg5+ checkmates) (32... Kf8 33.Rxf5+ also checkmates quickly)

33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Rxf5+ Ke7 35.Qxg7+ Kd6! ( Much better than 35... Kd8 36.Qf7 and white still has threats on the 7th rank and advance of g-pawn.)

36.Rf7 Qxd5+ It is quite possible, since he played so fast, that Anand saw this position (and all of the many subvariations) as early as on 26th move. And this is just amazing. One subtle difference (Queen on h7 instead of h4 allows king's escape), and the evaluation goes from winning to losing. It must have been a real shock for Carlsen.

37.Kg1 Rbd8 38.Rh7 Qd4+ 39.Kg2 Qg4+ 40.Kh1 Rg8 41.Rf6+ Kc7 42.Qe7 Qe4+ Here Carlsen resigned because he is losing his last hope - g6 pawn. Excellent effort from both players, Anand simply calculated one image deeper. Kudos to Magnus for attacking the world champion in situation when most would play conservative. Levon Aronian beat Loek Van Wely today and took over the leading position, Carlsen and Anand (and maybe someone else) will be tied on the 2nd place. Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 13:30 CET.


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