Thursday, November 20, 2014

Game Nine Carlsen Vs Anand

Game 9
A draw is a legitimate result in chess and draws can be utterly magnificent battles. Think of #7 for instance. The agreed draw is an abomination. But perpetual check and repetition are both perfectly reasonable drawing mechanisms and inherent to the game. (Most of the time, the perpetual is a subset of repeats). There are positions where play becomes forced and the repeat or the PP is the only sensible play. 

This wasn't one of those positions. Anand could not deviate but Carlsen could well have chosen to carry on when he forced the repeat. Under normal circumstances, the world champion might have played on since he doesn't particularly like draws, especially short draws with white.

But world championships are not normal circumstances.  Carlsen chose to take a break and ease half-a- point closer to retaining the title.  He can scarcely be blamed for that but it meant a game that lasted just about an hour. If the situation had been reversed, Anand would probably have done exactly the same thing.

So, three  games to go. Carlsen leads 5-4 and Anand has White in Game 10 and Game 12. The choice of the Berlin in this game implies that Anand would have been satisfied with a draw before he sat down. Since he got it easily and he got it early instead of co-creating another 122-move epic, he's given himself a little break.  

The next three games will probably be as much about nerves as about theoretical knowledge, or technical skill. Unless Carlsen wins #10 and extends his lead, the tension will ratchet up inexorably.
Anand has been in versions of this situation before, on several occasions. He's unlikely to suffer a nervous breakdown. Carlsen has never really been in this situation. In Chennai, he was leading 3-0 by the time #10 came along. In the candidates, he ended up losing two of his last three games, jeopardising his chances of qualification.

The game itself was nipped in the bud. Neither player was willing to discuss details of the opening. Anand took a total of 15 minutes while Carlsen took about 50 minutes. Carlsen said he was forced to take the draw because Anand was better-prepared.The timings might indicate that this was the simple truth. Or Carlsen was trying to recall analysis and/or steel himself to do something as pragmatic as repeating for the draw. 

On move 13, Carlsen seems to have produced a novelty  when he went 13. Nf4 and the subsequent e6 followed by the knight checks was certainly a safe way for him to proceed. Anand could not deviate because the black king has few good squares. But White has several reasonable alternatives to Ne4/ Nf3 -g5. He could play b3 and Nxd6 for instance.

Some interesting moments
Diagram after 12. -- Ba6.  In earlier games, White has played 13. Ned4 here to pull the Kt off attack.   Carlsen's natural 13. Nf4 seems like a novelty. He took 14 minutes to play it. Black's pullback to 13--Bb7 signals an imminent c5  break. White could also play 14. b3 as an alternative to the highly committal 14.e6. 

Diagram after 14.- Bd6. Black would probably be happy to play 15. Re1 f6!? and the e-pawn might be rounded up. Also a line like 15. b3 c5 16. Ng5 fxe6  17. Ngxe6  Rh6 18. Rxd6 cxd6 19. Nc7+ Kd7 20. Nxa8 Bxa8 seems fine for black.

Diagram after 17. Ne4 Kf7 . White could try 18. b3!?  here with intentions like 18. b3 Rae8 19. Ng5+ Kf6 20.  Nf3 and I can't see a better try than 20.--Kf7  but of course 18. b3 c5 is also possible and white really doesn't have any concrete advantage if black plays sensibly.

White : Carlsen ,Magnus Vs Black: Anand,Viswanathan  [C67]
Game 9 WCM
Sochi 2014  
 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3 Ke8 10.Nc3 h5 11.Ne2 b6 12.Rd1 Ba6 13.Nf4 Bb7 14.e6 Bd6 15.exf7+ Kxf7 16.Ng5+ Kf6 17.Ne4+ Kf7 18.Ng5+ Kf6 19.Ne4+ Kf7 20.Ng5+ (½–½)


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