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FIDE World Chess Championship Anand-Carlsen 2013 (9)

Carlsen on the brink of becoming World Chess Champion after game 9 win

Carlsen concentrating on his press conference answers with wistful Anand in the background. Photo ©

Carlsen concentrating on his press conference answers with wistful Anand in the background. Photo © |

Magnus Carlsen is just one draw away from become World Chess Champion after surviving a very difficult position against defending champion Viswanathan Anand in game nine before even going on to win after a blunder by the champion. Carlsen now leads 6-3 with potentially three games to go although the most likely result will be that the match will finish after a quiet draw in Friday's game 10 (no-one seemed to believe Anand will go all out to win with black in such a dire match situation when I floated the idea but it could happen).

The ninth game was pretty much Anand's last chance to get back into the match and he switched to 1.d4 and played the sharp 4.f3 against Carlsen's Nimzo-Indian. Carlsen's 7...exd5 avoided the main line 7...Nxd5 and 8...c4 was really quite rare. 10...0-0 was a principled choice asking Anand if he could checkmate him. 16...Nxc1 may have been an error (16...Nc7) because by move 20 most experts believe Anand may be close to winning with best play. The suggestion is that 20.a4 and the direct 20.f5 both win although it will take considerably more time and detailed analysis to prove this for sure as the wins aren't easy. Anand's 20.axb4 did not seem to be right especially after Carlsen's cold-blooded 22...b3. Anand fell into a 45 minute thought before playing 23.Qf4, this move should have led to a forced draw but Anand didn't check his calculations too much and he played 28.Nf1 losing immediately (he realised immediately what he had done), 28.Bf1 would have led to a draw. Very long thinks such as Anand's are rarely good news for the player concerned and must have been in part responsible for the error. Anand had calculated 28...Qd1 wins for him. This I believe was the most interesting and difficult game of the match but again finished drastically.

A consideration of the match as a whole and the future should wait until the match finishes.

Game 10 Friday 22nd Nov Carlsen-Anand 15:00 Chennai time 09:30 GMT.

Below is a transcript of a sometimes tetchy press conference plus some light notes which may serve as a starting point for deep analysis.

Game 10 Press Conference Video

Game 10 Press Conference

Q: (FIDE Press Officer) Magnus can you please tell us what happened?

A: (Magnus Carlsen) So we get a very very sharp position from the opening. Basically I missed something with f4 because in general I would like to do...and block the pawns. He can play Qb1, Rb6 and attack the pawn which is a bit inconvenient for me. So, here I had to go all out for counterplay. And I mean, there are an amazing number of complicated lines here. I wasnt sure. As it happens my moves were not that complicated. I had to play the only move all the time. Fortunately for me, he blundered.

Q: (FIDE Press Officer) At this moment (after 24.f6) did you also consider 24...gxf6?

A: (Magnus Carlsen) Yes, 24...gxf6 is an option. But 25.Nh5 looks very dangerous here. I can may be go 25...fxg5 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qxg5 Rg8. Anyway, I thought in case of 24.f6 here I would have to play ...g6 anyway. So it didnt matter. Clearly, Nf1 is a blunder. He just missed Qh5. 28. Bf1 Qd1 29. Rh4 Qh5 30. Nxh5 gxh5 31. Rxh5 Bf5 32. Bh3 Bg6 33. e6 Nxf6 34. gxf6 Qxf6 35. Re5 fxe6 36. Qe3 here. This is what we discussed after the game. White should be able to hold.

Q: (FIDE Press Officer) Can you also give us your scenario of what happened? The world champion. A: (Viswanathan Anand) The position was very very interesting. Here I spent a hell of a lot of time essentially getting into this position. If the king goes to h8 usually it looks like it should be lost. As I have the extra resource of Qf7 check. Here I was anticipating Qh8. Because f6, g6, Qh4, b2 and moreorless similar idea like in the game.

The difference is when Rb1 happened he has Qa5. But after this, I am kind of forced to go in with Rf4. What I missed initially was this: I wanted to play Bh3, Bxh3, Rxh3, Qd7, Rh5, Qf5, g6 I thought was a draw. But later I saw Qb6, Qb1+.

Q: (Amit Karmarkar, The Times of India) Magnus, it was quite tense today. Can you describe the tension you were going through?

A: (Magnus Carlsen) It was really tough game. From the opening it was clear it going to be unbalanced. And I run a serious danger of getting mated which I hadnt in previous games. I had to deal with the situation. I had to create counterplay. It was really tough game.

Q: (FIDE Press Officer) Were you scared in any particular moment in this game?

A: (Magnus Carlsen) Basically all the time. The white pawns look extremely menacing. At the same time I was trying to calculate this as well as I could. I did not find a forced mate. It seems there wasn't any mate. At least no obvious one.

Q: (Kristian Madsen, Politiken) Grand Master Anand, You came out needing a win today. You showed us some of the attacking chess which has been associated with your name throughout your career. You dominated the World No.1 for 25 or 27 moves. For the game to end this way, how do you feel your emotions right now?

A: (Viswanathan Anand) In general, the match situation did not leave me with much of a choice. I saw a couple of moments when I could exit. For instance, here I could play 22.cxb4 and try to get the knight to c3. Then black is also out of serious danger at the same moment. I had to give it a shot. When he played Na6 I saw this variation. It is not that difficult to calculate. There were always finessess. It seemed to be very dangerous for black. And, I could play e6 somewhere with fxe6, f6 which is a second kind of chance. I decided to give it a shot. In the end, it was irresponsible, silly whatever you want to call it. I had been calculating around about 40 minutes when I went f5, b3 Qf4 I think. And what I was calculating was this line. It was a draw. When I found Qd6 there, I couldnt see a way forward. When I got to this position, I suddenly saw Nf1, Qd1, Rh4, Qh5, Rh5, gxh5, Ne3 and the knight is coming to e7. By a miracle, black will probably play Be6, for Bxd5 he might have to play Qxd5. For a second I got excited. The problem, I missed the knight which was on g3 has just moved. As soon as I put the knight on f1 I knew what I had done. What can I say?

(Magnus Carlsen) It should be noted that if Bf1, Qd1, Ne2 would be met by Qd3 or Qe1 works then. (Viswanathan Anand) If I had seen this Qe1 I would have seen the other one as well. Because I only saw Qd3, Rh4, Qe3 this ladder.

Q: (V Kameswaran, United News of India) You have had many hat-trick wins in your career. Will it be possible for you? Think it over and tell me?

A: (Viswanathan Anand) The situation does not look very good.

Q: There was lot of praise for your going for a win. Can you explain your mindset and why you chose such a sharp opening?

A: (Viswanathan Anand) I needed to change the course of the match rather drastically. That's why I kind of went for this. I had a rest day to kind of get familiar with all this. Because it is all very complicated line.

Q: Were you glad you did it? A: (Viswanathan Anand) I was in a way. Still I think I had to do this. This was the correct choice. I had no regrets for this.

Anand,Viswanathan (2775) - Carlsen,Magnus (2870) [E25]
WCh 2013 Chennai IND (9), 21.11.2013
[Mark Crowther]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5

[7...Nxd5 is the most common choice.]

8.e3 c4 9.Ne2

[9.g3 Nc6 10.Nh3 Na5 11.Bg2 Nb3 12.Ra2 Qa5 13.Bd2 0-0 14.0-0 Re8 15.Nf2 Bf5 16.Re1 Re7 17.e4 dxe4 18.fxe4 Bg6 19.Qf3 Rd8 20.h4 h5 21.Re2 1-0 Biolek,R (2399)-Agdestein,S (2555)/Prague CZE 2013/The Week in Chess 950 (54)]

9...Nc6 10.g4 0-0

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 10...0-0

Looks very brave at first glance.

[10...h6 weak according to Kasparov. 11.Bg2 Na5 12.0-0 Nb3 13.Ra2 0-0 14.Ng3 Bd7 15.Qe1 Re8 16.e4 dxe4 17.fxe4 Nxg4 18.Bf4 Qh4 19.h3 Nf6 20.e5 Rad8 21.Qf2 Nh5 22.Bxh6 Re7 23.Nf5 Qxf2+ 24.Rfxf2 Re6 25.Be3 Bc6 26.Bf1 f6 27.Bxc4 Bd5 28.Be2 fxe5 29.Bxh5 exd4 30.Bg5 Rd7 31.Rae2 Be4 32.Nxd4 1-0 Kasparov,G (2820)-Polgar,J (2670)/Tilburg NED 1997; 10...Na5 was certainly an option.; 10...h5]

11.Bg2 Na5 12.0-0 Nb3 13.Ra2 b5 14.Ng3

[14.g5 Nd7 15.e4 Nb6 16.e5 Bf5 17.f4 Na4 18.Rf3 Bb1 19.Rc2 a5 20.Rh3 b4 21.Be3 Bxc2 22.Qxc2 g6 23.axb4 axb4 24.cxb4 Nb6 25.f5 Qd7 26.Ng3 Ra1+ 27.Bf1 Nc8 28.Rh6 Ne7 29.Qg2 Nxf5 30.Qh3 Rfa8 31.Rxh7 Kf8 32.Ne2 Nxe3 33.Qxe3 Qg4+ 34.Ng3 R8a2 35.e6 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Qd1+ 37.Qe1 Qf3+ 0-1 Gardner,R (2202)-Shabalov,A (2534)/Calgary CAN 2012/The Week in Chess 916]

14...a5 15.g5

[15.e4 was a definite option. 15...dxe4]

15...Ne8 16.e4

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 16.e4


If white is really much better in only a few moves then this may be the culprit but otherwise the knight may end up just being out of play.

[16...Nc7 could easily be the better move. 17.Be3 (17.e5? b4) 17...Ra6 18.e5 b4 19.f4 is worth investigating. 19...f5 Giri]

17.Qxc1 Ra6 18.e5 Nc7 19.f4 b4

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 19...b4


After the game this move got some criticism. Anand almost certainly was motivated to play this to get rid of Ra6 as a defensive piece.

[20.f5 Nb5 This is the move that everyone was afraid of at the time but it doesn't seem to work. White would have to trust to intuition that his attack will break through at this point. (20...b3) 21.axb4 axb4 22.Rxa6 Bxa6 23.f6 g6 Is a line given by ChessPro Ru and Mikhail Golubev. It's possible to calculate to here and feel this has a good chance of winning. Will take a bit more work to prove it's winning. 24.Qf4 (24.e6 fxe6 25.Qe3 Bc8 26.cxb4 Qd6 is ChessPro's line with equality.) 24...Qb6 25.Qh4 h5 26.Nxh5 bxc3 27.Kh1 Nxd4 28.Ng3 Ne6 29.Nf5 gxf5 30.Qh5 Qb7 31.Bh3 is indeed winning if I run Houdini long enough.; 20.a4 was recommended by several strong players with the idea that it stops a lot of black's counter-play but that would require a lot of analysis.]

20...axb4 21.Rxa6 Nxa6 22.f5 b3

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 22...b3

Cold blooded in the extreme but it seems sufficient to hold. Carlsen was over half an hour behind on the clock but then Anand had a huge think himself.



After 45 minutes thought.

[23.f6 g6 24.Qf4 Kh8 25.Qh4 isn't fast enough.; 23.h4 a very slow continuation of the attack which I suggested during the game in commentary also looks playable.]

23...Nc7 24.f6 g6

[24...gxf6 25.Nh5 Looks very dangerous according to Carlsen. 25...Ne8! (25...fxg5 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qxg5 Rg8) ]

25.Qh4 Ne8! 26.Qh6 b2! 27.Rf4 b1Q+

Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 27...b1Q



A complete surprise. Anand moves quickly and it's a losing blunder.

[28.Bf1 Qd1 29.Rh4 Qh5 30.Nxh5 gxh5 31.Rxh5 Bf5 32.g6 Bxg6 33.Rg5 is equal.]


Magnus Carlsen


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 28...Qe1

And white has to resign.

[28...Qd1? Was the move Anand was expecting and it just loses. 29.Rh4 Qh5 30.Rxh5 gxh5 31.Ne3 Be6 32.Bxd5 Bxd5 33.Nf5 Be4 34.Ne7+ Kh8 35.Qxf8#]


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