Saturday, 16 November 2013

Anand-Carlsen 2-4

Eventually we got some decisive games in the last two games, and it seems that everything goes as the most people foreseen.
Magnus Carlsen will be the next (16th) World Champion in chess.
He won the games number five and number six, and now has a +2 lead in this match.
I still can not see how Anand can win the single game with this strategy, not to say to win another two games without losing the single one.
This match is for now, the one way road.

Game five:

Magnus Carlsen was white, and I expected that he will increase his pressure, that already was really serious in game number four.
He got some advantage after the opening, and risk free play on two results.
I think that Anand played well, as he activated his forces, and got enough counterplay for a draw.
The main thing was not the objective evaluation of the position, but the sudden change in the dynamic of the position, just before move 40.
Position became sharp, and Anand was faced with the concrete problems.
In that moment he was forced to calculate precise in order to keep the balance.
Interesting that the critical moment came so late in the game, but that is the trademark of Magnus Carlsen.
Anand couldn´t find the right moves, and he accumulated to many inaccuracies.
As a matter of fact, I thought that Carlsen will try hard to win the fifth game, as otherwise he was facing two black games in a raw, and only half a match in front of him...
Already in the fourth game one could see his famous determination, but his opponent is Anand.
It can not always go as planed.

Game six:

Something happened that I could not predict.
I thought that Anand will try to win one of his White games, and he did what was the best thing today.
He avoided Berlin endgame, and went for a complicated battle.
I think that this suits him, and that he got some minimal advantage.
He was not so optimistic about his prospects, and he just tried to simplify as much as possible.
Well, he succeeded in that, and he got drawish rook endgame.
Magnus Carlsen, as he said at the press conference after the game, missed h4-h5 idea for White, and after that the position was just a draw.

Well, up to this point.
Anand could play just Rc8 and nothing can happen.
The game would end in a draw.
Instead, he went for:

57. Rg8+??

After this, there is no way to save the game.
Computer engines shows that it is still a draw, but only because that the serious advantage comes behind engines horizon.
Carlsen has the simple plan now.

He will put his king on e3, and then create passed pawn with h4-h3.
White has to go for c-pawn as there is positional threat of Rg3-Re3 with h3 and Re2+.

This is the position that they got after 59 moves.
I marked in green colour the essential construction in this position.
Black has passed pawn on f-file and white´s king is cut off on h-file.
White passed pawns on the queenside are too slow.
In the endgames, one advanced passed pawn is more dangerous then two or three passed pawns that are on the initial squares (in this case c3 or c2, it´s still the 5 moves from promotion).
The existence of h pawn is in White´s advantage as Black can not combine mate threats on the h-file, but that is just a minor plus for White in this position.

The major disadvantage is that his own pawns on the queenside prevents the side checks which can be the only drawing possibility.
I can not understand that some of the commentators (on the Norwegian television) said that Anand could still make a draw with Rc7.
I was a bit influenced by all this evaluations of the engines and commentators, but the more a I look at the position the more I am convinced that White could not save the game after his 58th move.

General conclusions:

Now, in this situation with +2 for Carlsen, there is very hard to expect that it can be any twists in the match.
As Kasparov likes to say (for other situations), it would be against the natural development of history.

One of the things that I noticed in the first half of the match, is that Carlsen has huge psychological advantage.
I said that to one of my friends, already after fourth game (2:2).
It´s seems for me that Anand had bigger chances to win the game three, then Carlsen to win the game four.
However in the press centre after the both games the players gave interesting thoughts.
In the third game, Anand thought that Carlsen was never in a big trouble.
In the fourth game, Anand said that it looked scary at the moments, while Carlsen thought that his position was close to winning at some point.
It shows big differences in their mood.
That Carlsen is simply better player we already know before the match, but that he will employ better match strategy, that was a bit of surprise.
All the games are on Magnus territory, in the endgames, without complex strategical decisions.
Only game where we has rich piece play, combined with flexibility in the pawn structure was the game three.
We all know that Anand was close to win in that game.
If there is still a hope for Anand, he must to play more complicated positions, and seek after decisions in the middlegames.
He tried that today, but as the game showed, he was not ready for the big battle.
The blunder at the end makes his task even more difficult.
However, blunders (especially in the matches) comes not by some cosmical force or as a accident.
They are product of high psychological pressure, or simple chess pressure at the board, but not only during one game.
Anand is under the pressure for three games in a raw, and this blunder is logical consequence of that.
However, it will be interesting to see what will happen in the second part of the match.

As we can see the interest for this match is huge, and this is the moment when chess can take advantage of that, in order to bring it to the public.
I predict that it will not happen, but I will not go deeper in that subject.
I can recommend you to read this article : BBC News, about chess .


  1. Dear IM Jasmin, Thanks for your analyses. Great insight. There are too much hype and too much bias in the reporting. But your is one of the first to be objective and insightful. Have been enjoying your blogs since I was re-directed from Lars' blog.

  2. Thank you for your positive comments.