Saturday, November 15, 2014

Game five Anand- Carlsen

Game 5
A Queen's Indian Defence with Bb4 thrown in. This is one of those openings that can go from the utterly dull and soporific to the utterly mad and chaotic.  Game 5 started out as the latter and it rapidly turned into an interesting position. When the tactics burnt out, it remained interesting in a technical way. A very fast and rather disappointing draw however.
Carlsen took what seemed like his first long think on move 16. His knight was attacked and he paused for all of 15 seconds before he pulled out 16. - Na5.  That took his accumulated time consumption up to a minute. By then, Anand had already spent over 10 minutes on his clock. Given that it was a razor sharp position, with pieces hanging, it's rather likely that both of them were well-prepared.
Unfortunately Anand's old bugbear, minimalism came to the fore. He had a small advantage and he could well have continued playing for a while. He saw the stable defence for Carlsen and indeed, it's likely that the world champion would have found it. But Anand actually conceded the draw without forcing Carlsen to demonstrate his defensive ability.  As an Indian TV anchor would say Carlsen would never, ever, never have drawn so early from strength.
Depending on how you see it, there is either a great deal to say about this game  or very little. The first 22 moves saw an intense fencing match with a thrust-counterthrust of sharp tactics in a very sharp unbalanced position. There would be alternate variations to calculate on almost every move. The computers would actually have a much better idea of what was going on between move 4-22 than any human being, including the two gents playing this game.
On move 22, black snatched a hot pawn. On the next move,  he realised that the natural moves lost and found what in retrospect, should be considered a star defensive move. Black returns the pawn, smashes his own pawn structure and bails out into an inferior endgame where he can hold.
White has better pieces and a better pawn structure. But black has excellent chances of eliminating all the pawns on the queen side and after that, it is a dead-draw. Indeed that is what happened.
Some interesting positions 

Diagram after 12. cxd5 Nxe5.  If White plays the automatic 13. dxe5 Nxd5 14. Rc1 Nxc3 15. Bxc3 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qxd1 17 Rfxd1 Rfd8, we have a symmetrical structure and a likely draw.
So 13. d6!

Diagram after 16. d5.  The Internet was screaming about possible queen sacrifices after 16.-- Rad8. Carlsen took 15 seconds to play 16. -- Na5 and Anand chose a sane line after some thought.

Diagram after 19. -- Qf6
Symmetrical structure. White's better because his pieces are centralised  but it could be a very temporary edge He played 20. Nd5 which is probably the best move.
Now, one weird variation is 20..-Qxb2 21. Re2 Qa3 22. Re3 Qb2 23. Rb1 Qxa2 24. Ra1 Qc4 25. Rxa5 bxa5 26. Ne7+ and white is a lot better.  
Carlsen played the normal 20.--Bxd5 21. Bxd5 Rad8 22. Qf3 and now black could suffer with the normal 22. -- Qxf3 23. Bxf3  Nc4  when white has a permanent edge.
After 22.-- Qxb2!?  Black apparently missed a tactical nuance but this might just be the best move. It starts the task of wiping out the queenside pawns.
After 23. Rad1 black intended to play 23.--Rd6 Diagram

Here White has the lovely 24. Bxf7+! Rxf7 25. Re8+ Kh7 26. Qxf7 Rxd1+ 27. Kg2 "And Black resigns" according to Anand. For lesser mortals  27.--Rd6 (the only way to stop the threat of Qg8+, Re6+) and then 28. Qf5+ Rg6 29. Re6 Qf6 30. Rxf6 will indeed win.  
So, now Magnus found the star move   23. --Qf6!  instead of Rd6 It looks horrible but it seems the only move that holds.The next diagram arises by force.

Diagram after 25. -- Kg7 . One suggestion is the waiting 26. Kg2!? looking for 26.-Rd6? 27. Bxf7 Rxd1 28. Bh5+. Of course, black can play  26.--Kg2 a6 but white keeps pressure even if he is a pawn down.

Diagram  after 26.-- Nc4  White can play 27.Ra4 trying to keep pawns on both sides of the board. Probably a draw anyway because black may find counter-chances with Rfe8 -e2 or he might exchange Rxd1 and then try to set up a defence with Rd6 and Nd4. But white didn't even try this!
Carlsen must have been rather relieved. 




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