Friday, November 29, 2013

A thrilling Rook endgame.

Vinay Kumar Matta(2207) vs Sagar Shah(2378)
Hyderabad GM Open, 4th round, 27th November 2013.

Evaluate the Rook ending after white plays 43.Nd7+
Take 30 mins to accurately work out the variations and write them down.

Solution will be put up shortly.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In my 11 year old career of playing chess, what happened today was for the first time and I hope that it will be the last!
The Hyderabad GM Open taking place at the Yousufguda stadium witnessed a power failure in round 3 due to which the games were called off.
The games started at the time that was scheduled i.e at 2.30 pm.
While the players played on, suddenly at 4.20 pm i.e 1hr 50 minutes into the game, the lights went off.
The players were asked to move away from the boards.
Power failure during a tournament is not uncommon in chess. Once the power fails, the generator is started and things are back to normal in some time. Thats what we all expected as we waited in the dark.
However it turned out that there was no alternate means of power supply. As minutes turned into hours, the players started to lose patience.
It was quite possible that many players had already discussed their positions with each other, and more than that after waiting for nearly 1 and half hour, the seriousness of tournament play had been affected.
The decision taken by arbiters and appeals committee was that the 3rd round will be played again tomorrow at 10 am against the same opponent with the same colour!
What happened next was a mixture of emotions.
A few players had completely winning positions, were terribly dejected.
Those who had losing positions were sort of smiling and happy how fortune had saved them.
Those who had come with novelties and had a huge time advantage had more reasons to be upset as to do an encore tomorrow would be sort of impossible!
Finally everyone left the hall around 6pm with the thought as to how to play against the same opponent tomorrow with the same colour! Its as if you are playing a match! You need to now improve on your play with the same colour against the same opponent!
Too bad there is no duckworth lewis in chess or else, the position would have been fed into Houdini and those who had an advantage of more than a pawn would have been given a win!! :)
It was truly a new experience for everyone and a very bad mess up from the organizer's point of view.

PS: those who had already completed their games wont have to play again tomorrow as their result stands.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Aravindh wins the Chennai GM Open 2013.

14 year old Aravindh Chittambaram (2335) won the Chennai GM Open 2013 in field studded with around 20 GMs and 30 IMs!! This young 1999 born lad, dominated the field and scored 9/11 finishing a clear first by half point.

On his route to title victory he beat strong players like IM Kuderinov Kiril 2478, GM Drazic Sinisa 2469
IM Nolte Rolando 2436, GM Ter Sakhayan Samvel 2568, GM Lalith Babu 2570, GM Shyam Sundar 2544!
Phew! What a list! The consistency and the ease with which he beat all of these players was truly mind blowing!
Many people have dubbed him as the next big talent in India after Vishy Anand. I personally feel that he can really go the distance.
A few of his qualities are really like Magnus Carlsen as he keeps playing on without fearing the result, He hasnt prepared the openings so well but is an extremely strong calculator and a great Endgame player.
The thing which I like the most about him is his humility! At such a tender age its natural to be high handed and arrogant. But one senses no such traits in Aravindh. He is so down to earth and he really doesnt care about his achievements or victories. As you can see from the picture taken in the prize distribution ceremony, He was busy playing a game on the mobile and didn't really care that he had won the first place by making his 1st GM norm with a performance of 2728 and increasing around 80 elo points!!

The thing that I loved about Aravindh was that when I congratulated him for his good performance. He replied to me saying that his opponents just made mistakes and he was lucky. Now of course to win in chess you need your opponents to make mistakes but players dont usually want to put it this way. They always want to prove it was their excellent play which got them the victory. But Aravindh is truthful to himself and others! A talented at the same time modest person is really hard to find!
I predict really a great future for this kid and I hope that with Vishy Anand losing his crown just 2 days back, Aravindh will quickly fill up his shoes!!


IM Swapnil Dhopade and GM Lalith Babu try to show that Dosa is not always meant to be eaten! 

From L-R GM Mirzoev Azer,IM Ryazev Baruhz, IM Mozharov Mikhail, GM Ivan Popov.

Extremely experienced and strong GMs, GM Borovikov Vladislov (L) and GM Valery Neverov!

Best friends: IM Swapnil Dhopade and GM Shyam Sundar.

He often replies like Magnus Carlsen saying "I Dont Know!"-GM Vishnu Prasanna!

My very good friends: Journalist Niklesh Jain and the Hero Atul Dahale!

Experienced and Evergreen players: L-R IM Ratnakarn, IM Anup Deshmukh, Imocha Laishram and FM Prasenjit Dutta.

The very talented GM Vidit Gujarathi.
Eversmiling IM Narayan Srinath, GM Deepan Chakravarthy, WGM Soumya Swaminathan.

Always in a gang: Sameer Kathmale, Chinmay Kulkarni, Aniruddh Deshpande! (Rakesh Kulkarni is missing!)

Clear and Blue skies near Chennai Central Station!

To get the full results of the tournament,click on the link below:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 9: Nail biting encounter!

(9) Anand,V (2775) - Carlsen,M (2870) [E25]
FWCM2013 (9), 21.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]
A do or die game for Anand. His penultimate game as white. Its going to take a lot of efforts to beat Magnus Carlsen but there is no better day than today! Anand comes to the board without a Jacket today. A sign that he doesnt belive in any formal proceedings as such. He just wants to get on with the fight. 1.d4!

After 4 white games, Anand finally realises that this is the right move! After 1.e4 rather than hit his head against the Berlin, Anand chooses the queen pawn! He looked confident today! Surely the rest day has helped him to come mentally prepared. 1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 The Nimzo Indian defense which is supposed to be one of the most sound openings in chess is Carlsen's choice here. He should be fine with even a draw. So going for a King's Indian or Grunfeld or other such sharp lines must not be to his taste. 4.f3 This had to be expected from Anand. First of all this move signifies the start of Saemisch Variation of the Nimzo Indian. The pawn comes to the natural square of the knight on g1. But white would like to build a huge center with the help of his f3 pawn with e4. This leads to very sharp positions and exactly what Anand needs at this point in the match. 4...d5 This is the classical reaction and often in many queen pawn openings, once your opponent has committed to the move f3, it makes sense to make this central move as then white cannot play Nf3. 5.a3 Bxc3+ [5...Be7 is another option but not as popular as Bc3 6.e4 dxe4 7.fxe4 e5 8.d5 Bc5 we reach another position that can be theoretically discussed.] 6.bxc3 c5! Black sees that white is behind in development and tries to open the position. White in return for his retarded development, has the two bishops and a strong center. However blacks position is very solid and not so easy to breakthrough. 7.cxd5 exd5!? A very interesting and double edged decision by Magnus. Out of 1800 odd games that have reached this position only 400 have continued with ed5 rest all have continued with Nd5. So whats the difference between the two moves. Nd5 is a solid move. It attacks the c3 pawn and hence white has to take dc5 and then a positional game ensues. On the other hand ed5 looks the most natural but is very double edged. Mainly it gives white a central majortiy and a clear plan of central expansion. Its very surprising that Magnus who only needed a draw was playing for a win. Maybe he didnt just want to win, he wanted to dominate the Match. 8.e3 Whites plan has been known since the very famous game of Botvinnik-Capablanca AVRO 1936. White intends to put his bishop on d3 followed by Nge2 and Ng3. After 0–0 and even Ra2-e2 white will force the pawn break e4, After which white has an excellent position. This is exactly what Vishy was aiming for but Magnus's next move stopped the Bd3 idea right in its tracks! 8...c4! This is the only move that makes sense in this position. Of course black could have continued normally but as I said whites plan of central expansion is natural and strong. Now white has to look into another direction for developing his pieces and Vishy chooses an aggressive setup. 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.g4! this is the most natural move in the position. Even though it might look a little weird. The idea is that the Bishsop will go to g2, The N comes to g3 and the Knight on f6 can be pushed away from the center with g5 and finally e4 can be achieved. This setup was chosen in a very famous game between Kasparov who beat Polgar with the white pieces. 10...0–0 Magnus knows no fear and castles right into the attack! 11.Bg2 Na5!? The knight moves into the juicy square b3 from which its sole motive is to chop off the bishop on e3. Once that bishop will go, it will be one attacker less on the kingside for black to handle. 12.0–0 Nb3 13.Ra2! The normal move would be Rb1, but this World championship has seen many Rook activations along the rank. The rook moves on the 2nd rank so that later after Ng3 it can be shifted to either f2 or e2 and can help in the central breakthrough with e4! 13...b5 Carlsen seeks to counter Vishy's plan with queenside counterattack. [13...Qa5 looked like an extremely logical move because it attacks the c3 pawn. Now the knight cannot move from e2 and if it cannot move then the rook on a2 is passive. Bd2 would simply impede rooks path. So white would have to continue aggressively with 14.g5 Nd7 15.e4 Nb6 16.Bf4 and later playing Qe1 followed by Ng3 and Re2.] 14.Ng3 [14.g5 Nd7 15.e4 Nb6 was another way to play.] 14...a5 Carlsen continues his queenside expansion and at the same time he has another idea up his sleeve as you will soon see [14...h6 would make some sense here as now it prevents g4-g5 and white has to be careful to play e4 as his g4 pawn would hang. 15.Raf2 a5 and white will have to think of some pawn sacrifice or something to make progress.] 15.g5 Ne8 the reason the knight goes here is that later it can go to g7 after g6 in order to prevent the move f5. 16.e4 Anand continues in the way that the text books would recommend. If now left unattended, the bishop on c1 would escape to e3 or f4 and the knight on b3 would start looking very silly. So Carlsen rightly takes off the bishop. 16...Nxc1 17.Qxc1 Ra6! This was the interesting idea with a5 and b5 that I was talking about. The rook gets the entire 6th rank to look over and can later be used as a defense against the kingside attack.We must learn the art of activating rooks along the ranks from these great masters. 18.e5 Vishy now intends to blow the black bastions with f4-f5. Carlsen needs to be very alert. Its a very typical situation of Kingside play vs queenside counterplay. 18...Nc7!? Carlsen said after the press conference that he intended g6 followed by Ng7 to stop f4-f5 but then he saw some problems in that line and hence changed to this idea of pushing his pawn to b4 [18...g6 19.f4 Ng7 20.Rb2 Rb6 21.Qb1 Qd7 22.f5 Nxf5 23.Nxf5 gxf5 and white has a great position. Black's kingside position is totally ruined.] 19.f4 b4 Anand has an important decision to make. Should he now take the queenside pawns or go all out broke on the kingside.Vishy took the middle path. He didnt exchange all the pawns but he didnt exchange 1 pair. 20.axb4 [20.f5 was a logical idea 20...Nb5 21.axb4 axb4 22.Rxa6 Bxa6 23.f6 and the attack is similar to the game but maybe it is stronger.] 20...axb4 21.Rxa6 Nxa6 22.f5 [22.cxb4 Vishy said in the press conference that he could have bailed out here by taking this pawn and then going Ne2-c3. But the Match situation was desperate and it made sense to continue the fight. 22...Nxb4 23.Ne2 Bf5 black should be fine] 22...b3 Carlsen goes for the most principled approach. His pawn on b3 is just 2 steps away from queening. Anand has now go to think out a way to attack here. Infact Anand thought for a very long time here and maybe he couldnt find a clear cut way to a decisive attack. As things stood he already had started the fight, now there was no shying away from it! [22...bxc3?! 23.f6 g6 24.Qxc3 white has a better position] 23.Qf4 [23.f6 would most probably just transpose.; 23.Nh5 was another interesting possibility later looking for a Nf6 check. 23...Nc7 24.Qf4 Nb5 and maybe whites attack is not as strong as in the game.] 23...Nc7 from this move onwards Carlsen began to play with great speed. One must highyl commend the young boys confidence. He thought during Vishy's time and had complete faith on his calculation and did not recheck it after every move. This definitely put pressure on Vishy as he didnt know whether he had missed something or not. 24.f6 g6 [24...gxf6 was possible as per what Carlsen said but it surely looks scary to open your king like that. 25.Nh5 (25.gxf6 Kh8 followed by Rg8 should give black a fine position.) 25...fxg5 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qxg5 Rg8! and black is better here too. So why didnt Carlsen choose gf6? Well there is something like human intuition. Carlsen intuitively sensed that this move gf6 wasnt right and didnt go for it. Maybe he was wrong this time but more often than not these Grandmasters have a heightened sense of intuiotn because of their endless hours of work and practice and that helps them to navigate in such complex situations.] 25.Qh4 Ne8 again the move was instantly made. [25...Kh8? 26.Qh6 Rg8 27.Rf4 with the unstoppable idea of Qh7 followed by Rh5 mate is one that should be remembered.] 26.Qh6 b2 seeing that the game is lost on the kingside, Carlsen hurries to make a queen. Will Vishy be brave enough to allow Carlsen to make a queen? 27.Rf4!? As i watched this game with my friends I must say we were on the edge of our seat. Carlsen making moves at full speed, vishy going all out and a new queen in the middlegame on 27th move is not something that we see everyday! Surely one of the most entertaining games one can ever see. [27.Ne2 could have been an interesting way to continue the game with the idea of Nf4.] 27...b1Q+ Carlsen without even pausing, Immediately made a queen. 28.Nf1?? Can someone make such a mistake? And that too the world champion! As this move was made, a collective cheer went up in the Norwegain room, they knew that Anand had botched it up! [28.Bf1 was the only move to kep the game going. Now Carlsen's move is forced. he has to do something against Rh4 followed by a mate 28...Qd1! 29.Rh4 Qh5 30.Nxh5 gxh5 31.Rxh5 (31.Bh3 Andn thought this was good for a draw after 31...Bxh3 32.Rxh3 Qb6–+ is the simplest intending Qb1 and Qg6. (32...Qd7 33.Rxh5 Qg4+ 34.Kf2 Qf4+ 35.Kg2 Qd2+ 36.Kg1 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qc2+ 38.Kf1 Qg6 is also a win for black.) 33.Rxh5 Qb1+ 34.Kg2 Qg6–+) 31...Bf5 only way to save the mate. Now white has 2 ways to continue, one is Bh3 and the other is g6 32.g6! (32.Bh3 Bg6 33.e6 Nxf6 34.gxf6 Qxf6 35.Re5 fxe6 36.Qe3 and maybe white can hold this but black is out of danger and can infact press in this position.) 32...Bxg6 33.Rg5! with the idea of h4-h5 and black has to give back his piece with 33...Nxf6 34.exf6 Qxf6 35.Rxd5 when the game is equal and should be a draw. So at no point actually Anand was winning.] 28...Qe1! and the queen will simply take the rook on h4 and its all over. Anand sat there with his hands below his chin thinking all alone as Magnus left the board. Magnus knew that the third victory is in the bag ad Anand was helpless to do anything. Just a move ago, the positin was ripe with excitement and complications and now it was as if the life had been taken away! As Magnus finally returned, Anand shook his hand and admitted defeat. Cold blooded defense by Magnus but we must give Vishy his due. He tried his best today. My only question is why didnt he try playing 1. d4 a few games earlier! With the score at 6-3 the match is virtually over! A new champion is in the making and I think he is a very deserving one! But lets just wait for tomorrow, Maybe Vishy Anand has something up his sleeve! You can visit my blog to learn more about chess at 0–1

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Anand Vs Carlsen Game 6: Masterly Handling of Rook!

(6) Anand,V (2775) - Carlsen,M (2870) [C65]
FWCM2013 (6), 16.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]

We join the game after 37 moves. Its white to play!
Sit back and enjoy Carlsen's superb Technique!

The opening phase of the 6th game wasnt really very interesting. Anand had lost the 5th game and hence it was expected of him to play more fighting chess. However Anand was not in his best form as he exchanged pieces at regular intervals. It seemed as if he just wanted to draw the game. However once he made a few inaccuracies, the Norwegian wonderkid became ambitious! He started to push in the position and he got the following position where he has pressure on the e pawn. Anand can keep on defending it and I think black cannot make much headway but Anand chose for an active defense by giving up a pawn. This seemed like not a good decision against Carlsen who once has a material advantage really makes use of each and every opportunity. 38.Qg3?! Rxe4 39.Qxd6 Rxe3 40.Qxe7 Rxe7 So black has won a pawn but now white forces the black rook into a passive position. 41.Rd5 Rb7 So what do we have here? Black is a pawn down and he really cannot do much. He cannot move his rook from b7 because then the b5 pawn will hang. On the other hand he cannot push b4 as then after Rc6 he will lose his pawn. All he can do is to bring his king towards the center that is on e6. But really white shouldnt be worrying too much over here. He has excellent drawing chances. 42.Rd6 f6! an interesting move by Carlsen. He would like to plonk his rook on e5 square and hence he plays this move f6. 43.h4! Anand also is very alert. He sense that if it is possible he can play h5 and break blacks structure and have excellent drawing chances inspite of being 2 pawns down because the pawns will be very weak. 43...Kf7 [43...h5 in the press conference Carlsen suggested that he should have gone for his move as he completely underestimated the strength of the move h4-h5.; 43...Re7 44.Rb6 Re5 could be blacks idea but now white will push the black king to the 8th rank. 45.Rb7+ Kf8 with the king cut off on the 8th and the rook stuck to defending b5, black doesnt have much chances here.] 44.h5! very brave play by Vishy Anand who being a pawn down sacrifices another pawn. But the world champion has seen that he can defend the resulting position. 44...gxh5 45.Rd5 Kg6 46.Kg3 after this position is reached I think black has only 1 plan now. i.e to play f5. In order to play f5 black will need his rook to be on b6. As soon as black plays f5, white will have to prevent Kg5 and hence he will play either Kf4 or Kh4. Now the only way to make progress would be to give up the b pawn and continue with Re6 followed by Re4+ and pushing the white king behind and then coming in with black king to g5. All of this happens in the game but white is still very much within the drawing zone. 46...Rb6 47.Rc5 just waiting. 47...f5 threatening Kg5 48.Kh4 [48.Kf4 I was wondering if this move made any sense. Now we are attacking the f5 pawn. 48...Re6 (48...h4!? Might also be an excellent move! 49.Rd5 b4!? requires some accurate calculation 50.Rc5 Rd6 51.Rxc4 Rd2! 52.Rxb4 Rxg2 53.Kf3 Rg3+ 54.Kf2 Kg5 just an illustrative line to show that black sill has chances to win as his pawn on h4 is close to the queening square.) 49.Rxb5 (49.Rxf5 Rf6! the rooks will have to be exchanged. 50.Rxf6+ Kxf6 51.g3 Kg6 52.Ke4 Kg5 53.Kf3 h4–+ and black wins.) 49...Re4+ 50.Kf3 would transpose to something like the game continuation but the king is better placed on f3 than on h3.] 48...Re6! carlsen sees that the only way to make progress is to give up the b pawn. 49.Rxb5 Re4+ 50.Kh3?! But why not bring the king to a better square on g3? [50.Kg3 would have surely reduced Anand's woes. 50...Kg5 51.Rb8 h4+ 52.Kf3 Rf4+ 53.Ke2 Kg4 54.Rg8+ Kh5 and we get a similar position as in the game just that the white king is better placed on e2 than on h3 as in the game.] 50...Kg5 51.Rb8 [51.b3 Re3+ 52.Kh2 Rxc3 53.bxc4 Rxc4 this should still be within a draw because black will be left with f and h pawns which is a draw in rook endgames. But of course as a defender why would you like to give up another pawn? But then why to give up e4 and h5 you may ask!! I have no answer for that! :)] 51...h4 52.Rg8+ Kh5 53.Rf8 Making moves from white side is easy here. He just has to keep attacking whichever pawn is undefended and whenever the black king comes outside, he must start checking. 53...Rf4 54.Rc8 Rg4 55.Rf8 Rg3+ 56.Kh2 Kg5 57.Rg8+ everyone condemned this move saying, why to give black the chance to go to f4. Well it doesnt matter really because it still is a draw. However instead of this check, direct Rc8 would have been much easier. [57.Rc8 would have been simpler of course 57...Rg4 58.Kh3 and now to make progress black must try to get his king to f4 so he can try 58...Re4 59.Rg8+ Kf4 60.Rc8 Ke3 61.Rh8 Kd3 62.Rxh6 Kc2 63.Rb6 Rg4 64.Rb4 Kd3 65.b3 Kxc3 66.Rxc4+ Rxc4 67.bxc4 Kxc4 68.Kxh4 Kd5 69.Kg5 Ke6= would be a way to draw the game] 57...Kf4 58.Rc8 Now the c4 pawn cannot be saved but Carlsen has seen an interesting idea 58...Ke3! 59.Rxc4 f4! The idea is now to play h3 and the f pawn will be a passed pawn. You can see that all theese problems would have happened if Anand would have kept his king on f3 instead of h3. 60.Ra4? The critical mistake of the game. Infact there is only 1 move in this position which draws the game. its not surprising that Anand missed it inspite having time on his clock because I think he hadnt anticipated this Kf4-e3 idea and when Carlsen played it he was simply astounded and submitted himself to defeat. However we must note the idea and keep it in mind as it will be useful in future. All the moves that leave the contact of f4 pawn are bad because black can play Kf2 [60.Rc6? Kf2 61.Rf6 (61.Rxh6 Rxg2+ 62.Kh3 f3–+) 61...Rxg2+ 62.Kh3 (62.Kh1 f3 63.b4 Rg5 64.c4 Kg3 65.c5 f2 66.c6 Re5 and its game over.) 62...f3 63.Kxh4 Rh2+ 64.Kg4 h5+ 65.Kg5 Kg2 66.b4 f2 67.b5 f1Q 68.Rxf1 Kxf1 69.c4 Rc2 and black just wins.; 60.Rc8 meets a similar fate as Rc6 move; 60.b4! was the very counterintuitive move to make. The point is that for the moment we keep an eye on f4 so that the king cannot go to f2 and at the same time he starts pushing the pawn. These white pawns will make it difficult for black rook to manoeuvre. Thus this is the right move! Of course to give an explanation after the move is made is easy. But you really are a good player if you can understand all of this and then make the right move! 60...h3 61.gxh3 Rg6 62.Rc8 f3 63.Re8+! The neat point. 63...Kd2 64.b5 (64.Rf8 Rg2+ 65.Kh1 Ke3 allows black rook to be activated.) 64...f2 65.Rf8 Ke2 66.Re8+ Kf1 and now you see that the black king cannot move out. 67.c4 the only winning plan for black is to play Rd6-d8-e8 but its very slow and in that time the white pawns will start to queen. Hence it makes sense to just accept the draw here with perpetual checks. 67...Rg2+ 68.Kh1 Rg1+ 69.Kh2 Rg2+=] 60...h3! 61.gxh3 Rg6 the position here would have been a dead draw if white didnt have the b2 and c3 pawns as then the white rook could have given a lot of horizontal checks. But here these pawns exist and they create the barriers from checking the black king. 62.c4 f3 63.Ra3+ Ke2 64.b4 f2 65.Ra2+ Ke3 66.Ra3+ Kf4 67.Ra8 [67.Ra1 Re6! it could be possible that this is the idea that Anand missed. 68.Kg2 Re1–+] 67...Rg1! the queen cannot be stopped! Phenomenal endgame play by Carlsen and more than that look at his mindset. After winning game 5 any person would think about consolidating his lead with a draw with black pieces. But Carlsen played the game as per the position on the board. He had a small edge and decided to torture Anand. The point that he got was a reqard for his hardwork and perseverance! A lot that we can learn from this attitude! You can learn more about chess from my blog: www.sagarteacheschess.blogspot. com 0–1

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anand vs Carlsen Game 5: How does Carlsen do it?!!

(5) Carlsen,M (2870) - Anand,V (2775) [D31]
FWCM2013 (5), 15.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]

Game 5 turned out to be decisive as Magnus beat Anand with the white pieces!

A huge relief appeared on Carlsen's face after 5 and half hours of play! He had struck gold today! But arent we getting ahead of ourselves! Lets look at game 5 between Carlsen who was White against Anand. Something different about this game was that I personally was present at the Grand Hyatt to see the game. And who said chess was boring! The crowd was riveted to their seats for 5.30 hours as both the players played really a great game! 1.c4!?

Enough of Nf3! Its time to go English!!

The english opening! This move had to be expected I think. The main reason being that to Nf3, Anand was replying d5 and was getting a solid position. Now Anand in order to play his favourite setup with d5 will either have to play e6 or c6. 1...e6!? It seems to me that this time Anand hasnt really come with the slav! Because even in game 3 he continued dc4 instead of c6 and today too he plays e6. 2.d4!? Magnus immediately takes the opportunity to transpose the game into queen pawn opening. What will Anand play now? the Nimzo with Nf6 or the Queens Gambit declined with d5! As he has been doing here, Anand went for a classical set up. 2...d5 3.Nc3 Now of course everyone in the crowd knew that Anand was not going to play the ultra solid line of Queens Gambit declined with Nf6. So everyone's money was on the move Be7 which is quite hypermodern. The main idea of Be7 is to prevent white from developing Bg5 followed by cd5 e3 Bd3 and Ne2! Instead after Be7 when white plays Nf3, then black plays Nf6. Its really very subtle but such is the modern theory! 3...c6!? Now this one was a real surprise. Anand goes for the triagnle variation, also known as the noteboom. His main intention must have been to meet both e3 and Nf3 with Nf6. Once the game gets into the Slav or Semi Slav territory, we can expect a very complex game. But what else was left for Carlsen to play! Of course e4! But was he ready to try out the ultra sharp Marshall Gambit? 4.e4! dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ We all were excited in the viewing hall. Was Carlsen finally going to play a sharp game? But isnt that what Anand is looking for all the time? to play extremely sharp chess? Of course if Carlsen plays Bd2, he has to be prepared for reams and reams of sharp and tactical lines after Qd4. But well Carlsen had some other intentions. Something which has been proved to give black an easy game. 6.Nc3!?

Nc3!!? A move which was considered to give black easy equality! 
Not any more!!

Magnus immediately made this move and went away from the board with a smile on his face! He was surely enjoying himself! But Can such a move be really played in a world championship match? After all it has been proved over and over again that Black can get excellent play with c5. But lets have a look at what Carlsen's approach is. He says to himself. "Ahhh! no opening advantage??!! Too bad! Never mind but is it a forced draw? No! Right! Well then I am going to play this position on and on for another 6 hours and lets see if the opening really matters!! Of course team Vishy would not have spent much time on this move for sure. [6.Bd2!? The extremely sharp Marshall Gambit 6...Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 requires some very thorough computer analysis from both sides.] 6...c5! Anand sticks to the theorys approach that c5 is definitely the best move in this position. 7.a3! Carlsen too made his moves quickly. Now black has a choice to make, whether to take on c3 or to go back to a5. 7...Ba5 From the speed at which Anand was playing it was certain that he had looked at this opening at home. Of course Anand has played matches so many times now. He knows the Carlsen wants to play slow lines and hence this move 6.Nc3 is definitely one of the moves that comes to mind to avoid theory. 8.Nf3 Nf6 This move is made because direct Nc6 can be met with d5. Hence Anand first develops this knight first. [8...cxd4 was definitely one option because later we would like to take on c3 and not only double white pawns but also isolate them totally. 9.Qxd4 Qxd4 10.Nxd4 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 At first glance this looks like a clear advantage to black. Look at the white pawns. they are horrible. But what has white got in return? Tremendous activity!! It will be very important for your chess to understand this position well. Its a battle between static and dynamic advantages. White has the dynamic advantage of maybe better pieces and also slight better development. Also the two bishops. Black on the other hadn has a long term pawn structure advantage. What white must do now, is to play as actively as possible. Another factor in whites favour is the very passive Bc8. Lets see a few moves as to how the play could develop. 11...a6 stopping Nb5 12.Bd3 Nf6 13.0–0² 0–0 14.Bf4 You can see how freeflowing and easy whites development is. And thus we understand that all that meets the eyes in the first instance is not the truth! Chess is much deeper than what initial observations convince us.] 9.Be3 Another normal developing move. Carlsen is really trying not to do anything special just simple development. 9...Nc6 Anand too develops his pieces. 10.Qd3!?

A move like Qd3 can really unsettle your opponent!

Now this is the move which shook everyone! No one expects such a move! What exactly is the idea of this move. 1. White makes way for 0–0–0. This is the only square which keeps control on d4 and also clears the back rank, As Qd2 is met with Ne4. 2.The knight on c3 is defended now, so ruining the pawn structure with Bc3 is no longer possible. All in all this is a human move. Of course the computer too suggests this but I think this is Carlsens way of Preparation, he sets up a position at home and thinks of the most unusual yet a move that suits his style and Qd3 fits in the bill. [10.dxc5 I think this move stretches the bad pawn structure a little too far, But I am not so sure even here. After 10...Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qa5 Whites pawn structure is totally ruined but again more space, two bishops and better co-ordination are his advantages and hence its a fighting game. 12.Qc2 Ng4 Black should be doing more than fine.] 10...cxd4 11.Nxd4 Ng4! I like the way Anand plays here. His move is concrete and very active. Once again he sticks to his style in the match of forcing things. 12.0–0–0!?

Carlsen was in mood to entertain!! 0-0-0!!

A collective cry of excitement was heard in the hall. The game was now going to be sharp and interesting. [12.b4 Nxe3 13.fxe3 Bc7 was another way for white to play.] 12...Nxe3 13.fxe3 This move really went a little above our little heads! what was the point of this move? Why not the normal move 0–0 or the more daring move e5. Well maybe we have to ask Vishy to explain this move. [13.Qxe3 is a bad mistake as after 13...Bb6 White is badly pinned and close to being lost.] 13...Bc7 [13...e5 this move is a mistake as it is met by a strong move 14.Qe4! after this move white wrests over the initiative and is clearly better.; 13...0–0! But i Think this was natural and stronger. 14.Nxc6 bxc6 (14...Qxd3 15.Ne7+ is game over!) 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.Rxd8+ Bxd8 17.Bd3 Bg5 Black should be more than fine in this position.] 14.Nxc6!? Wow!! Carlsen goes for multiple exchanges in order to play an endgame. But didnt he have better options at his disposal? [14.Qe4 looked natural 14...Nxd4 15.exd4 0–0 16.Bd3 white must have a small edge but black should be fine and totally in the game after 16...f5!; 14.Ndb5 0–0 15.Nxc7 Qxc7 16.Qd6² would have given white a small edge.; 14.Ncb5 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 0–0 again black should be fine but white has the slight pull] 14...bxc6 15.Qxd8+ [15.Qe4 was again one option but after 15...Bd7 16.c5 it seems as though black is passive but after Qe7 and 0–0 he will be fine. 16...Qe7=] 15...Bxd8 16.Be2! 

Such little moves are often the basis for a huge advantage!

A calm developing move. Carlsen figures out that his bishop will be best placed on f3. Now the computer will assess such positions as equal but Carlsen is aiming exactly for this. To have his share of chancesand to keep pressing till the 43 year old world champion is tired and makes a mistake. 16...Ke7!? Again this was an odd decision by Anand. Everyone felt he should have activated his bishop to g5. However as the game progressed this turned out to be not such a bad decision of playing Ke7 [16...Bg5 17.Rd3 and now Ne4 is threatened which must be stopped with (17.Bf3 Bxe3+ 18.Kc2 Bd7 19.Nb5 Rd8 20.Nd6+ Ke7 gives white compensation for the pawn but nothing more.) 17...f5 18.Rhd1 0–0 19.Bf3 white chances are definitely preferable.] 17.Bf3 Bd7 18.Ne4 white threatens Nc5 now. So Bb6 was expected. 18...Bb6 [18...Bc7 is suggested by the computer but I think its a non human way to defend the position. 19.Nc5 Be8 No one would like one's rook to be shut out of the game on h8.] 19.c5 What is Anand to do now. If he goes back Bc7, the the knight jumps into d6 and white is really beginning to turn the screws. The shrewd defender that he is, Anand now plays an intermezzo with which he exchanges another pair of minor pieces and reaches an endgame with a slight disadvantage. 19...f5!? [19...Bc7 would have been too passive as after 20.Nd6 followed by doubling on the d file, white is clearly better.] 20.cxb6 fxe4 21.b7! Another cool intermezzo! If white would have taken on e4 then black would have recaptured on b6 and retained his integrity of pawns. But now after b7, the pawns remain disconnected. That was quite a nice little point of Carlsen's play 21...Rab8 22.Bxe4 Rxb7

How should one assess this position?!!

now lets talk about this position in depth. What exactly is going on? White has an amazing bishop on e4 against blacks very sad piece on d7. Also black has 3 isolated pawns pawns in a7, c6, and e6 while white has only 1 i.e on e3. White has the rook on the open 'd' file and his other rook is ready to come to the f file. All these points, point to only 1 fact, that white is clearly better. But dont be misguided but appearances. First of all black has his rook on the open b file. The way Anand makes use of this rook is beautiful. Secondly the black king is excellent placed on e7. Its a dark square so the bishop cannot attack it and secondly the rooks also cannot enter because both the entry points on the file are controlled by the black king. So the truth of this position is simple. Carlsen has an advantage. Yet the position is closer to a draw than white win. 23.Rhf1 [23.Rd2 was another plan, trying to double on the d file. 23...h6 removing the pawn from the attack. (23...Rb5 24.Rhd1 Be8 25.Rc2 should give white a good position.) 24.Rhd1 Rhb8= and black should be doing just fine.] 23...Rb5!

The rook on the 5th rank really made Carlsen's life difficult!

 I totally loved this move. Look at the rook! It controls the entire 5th rank! Who said rooks are always good on open files! They can do just as much damage on open ranks! but its true that to reach an open rank, you will have to go through an open or semi open file! :) 24.Rf4!? Usually Carlsen's play is natural and easily understandable. Of course hard to emulate but easy understand. However this move made by Carlsen went really above the head of many people! Why did he play his rook to f4? well of course his idea was to double on f file but then why not f3? Why to force black to play g5? Is the pawn moving ahead from g7 to g5 really in white's favour? I am really not sure. And no one can really be! Thats why chess is so difficult 24...g5 25.Rf3 [25.Rg4? h5!] 25...h5!? Anand is thinking about developing his second rook on the rank from h4-g4 and Rh5 it seems! Well its a plausible idea, but in the press conference people did suggest a defense of exchanging whites superb bishop with Be8 [25...Be8 26.Rdf1 Bg6 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28.Rf7+ Kd6 29.h3 once again its the same old story, black is close to a draw but white can keep pressing and who is a better technical player than Carlsen!!] 26.Rdf1 looking to penetrate down to f7 26...Be8 controlling the f7 square. 27.Bc2!? the bishop moves back for two reasons. One is that it may get a better square on a4 or b3 some day and secondly the rook on f3 can now move not fearing the move Re5 which was earlier hitting both the B on e4 and pawn on e3. 27...Rc5 pinning the bishop and threatening Bg6 28.Rf6! Carlsen is not one who would make a concession with Kb1 making his king move away from the center. Rather he plays this active move. White would really be better if he got in Bb3 now. But how realistic is it? 28...h4!? Creating a square on h5 for the bishop to go to. After th game people thought that Rg8 threatening Bg6 would have been a better move. [28...Rg8 29.Kd2 Rd5+ 30.Ke2 c5 threatening Bb5 . black seems to be doing well.] 29.e4 whats the point of this move, putting a pawn on the same colour as that of the bishop? well the point is simple. In this instance white wants to get his bishop to b3 for that he needs to bring his king out to d2 but then he is met with the irritating check on d5. This move prevents Rd5 check. 29...a5! Anand plays on both sides of the board! He prevents b4 and starts to make b2 look like a weakness. 30.Kd2 finally is Magnus going to get in Bb3? because if he gets that then he is clearly better. 30...Rb5! stopping Bb3 and attacks b2 pawn. 31.b3! very level headed defense and maybe even a change in plan. For a brief instant we felt that it would be a repetition today with Kc3 Rc5 Kd2 Rb5! But well Magnus was not one to stop the game too soon today. He was going to go the distance now matter what. The new plan now involves Kc3 followed by Bd3-c4. 31...Bh5 this move makes way for the Rook to join in the battle from d8 32.Kc3 Whites threat is very simple now. He wants to play Bd3 and plonk his bishop on c4. If he can achieve that then he will clearly be better. You see that even in such quiet positions there are always positional threats. This gives the game a concrete character. 32...Rc5+ stopping Bd3-c4. 33.Kb2

How did Anand manage to create counterplay here?

Rd8! I simply loved this move. Anand after the game said that he felt this was a mistake. But how can this move be a mistake. It activates a rook that has been lying dormant since move 1. It creates a deadly threat of Rd2. How on earth can this move be bad? Well maybe Anand's objectivity was affected because of the result of the game. 34.R1f2 stopping Rd2 34...Rd4! An amazing move! The rook activates itself and look how the two black rooks cannot be touched here by any whites pieces. Over here I started to feel that Anand was definitely back in the game and maybe even better. But well Carlsen was really not going to give up so soon. The main idea of the move Rd4 was to make a square for the black king on d6 without being disturbed by a vertical check on the 2nd rank. 35.Rh6! Again an active move attacking the bishop on h5 35...Bd1! This was nicely played by Anand. I thought Anand was playing for a draw but maybe this was the only move in the position. The very active move g4 is bad as shown in the variation. [35...g4? 36.Rh7+! Kd6 37.Rg7! after this move white position is more compact and black pieces lack scope. Its clearly better for white as he threatens the deadly move Rf8(37.Rf8!? and the threat is Rd8 but black can hold on here with 37...Bg6) ] 36.Bb1!!

No exchanges! Playing for win at all costs!! Bb1!

The most amazing move in the game. Carlsen can go to simply any extent to win! He declines the exchange of bishops and continues to pressurise black. [36.Bxd1 Rxd1= is equal but here i think white has to be careful as his e4 pawn is weak.] 36...Rb5 Anand keeps creating threats on every move. He now is attacking the b3 pawn. But Carlsen has it all covered. 37.Kc3! When a great player makes a move like this attacking opponents piece and now Rb2 becomes possible, I start thinking that this all has to be a co-incidence! But I am wrong. Players as strong as Carlsen do not believe in co-incidences. They calculate from before hand whats going on and find such minute resources to keep the game going! 37...c5 38.Rb2! the time control of 40 moves was soon approaching. Both were under time pressure. It was a very tense situation. Would Anand or Carlsen falter here? or would both of them hold their nerves. 38...e5!? manyp people criticised this move saying why did Anand have to make this move? well I see nothing wrong with this move and Infact black can really be happy about his position at this point. 39.Rg6 attacking the g5 pawn. 39...a4?

A key mistake in the game!

this was a mistake before the time control. I think Vishy simply missed that after Rg5, his e5 pawn was hanging. or else he would have played g4. [39...g4! 40.Bd3 Rxb3+ 41.Rxb3 Bxb3 42.Rxg4² keeps a small pull for white but I think black should be fine after 42...c4!] 40.Rxg5! Carlsen immediately snapped this pawn and got up from the board with a feeling of happiness as he completed his 40 moves. He left Vishy under thought as to what to do for his 40 move. Vishy's move was forced as he played [40.bxa4 was a move worth considering for Carlsen. Maybe it provided him with better chances than in the game. 40...Rxb2 41.Kxb2 Bxa4 42.Rxg5 with an extra pawn and good winning chances.] 40...Rxb3+! 41.Rxb3 Bxb3 As Carlsen sat to think at this point, we too started think as to what is actually happening. The truth of the matter is the inspite of the mistakes made by Vishy, his position is still tenable. Mainly because the white bishop is so passive on b1 and because black pieces co-ordinate so well. But he must play very accurately. What we will witness now is a race, blacks queenside pawns against whites kingside pawns. 42.Rxe5+ Kd6 is forced to defend the c5 pawn. 43.Rh5 Rd1! Anand chooses the best approach. [43...Rc4+ was also one of the considered moves but after 44.Kd2 Rd4+ 45.Ke3 (45.Ke2 Bd1+ would be an embarrassing skewer.) 45...Rd1 46.e5+! Ke6 47.Bf5+! this is the very important check to be given. (47.Bh7 we saw a very interesting variation during the game albeit it was filled with inaccuracies. 47...Re1+ 48.Kd2 Rxe5 49.Bg8+ Kf6 50.Rxe5 Kxe5 51.Bxb3 axb3 52.Kc3 c4 53.a4 Ke4 54.a5 Ke3 55.a6 b2 56.Kxb2 Kd2 57.a7 c3+ 58.Kb3 c2 59.a8Q c1Q And surprisingly there is no way to exchange the queens for white and this position might end in a draw. Of course there are lots of ways in which both sides can improve their play but the transformation of the position has been amazing!) 47...Kd5 (47...Ke7 48.Rxh4 is winning for white.) 48.e6 Ra1 49.e7 Re1+ 50.Kd2 Rxe7 51.Rxh4 white remains a pawn up but black has better chances of defense than in the game because the bishops still remain on the board.] 44.e5+! this was forced to give the b1 bishop more scope. 44...Kd5 [44...Ke6 45.Bf5+ lets white co-ordinate his forces.] 45.Bh7 the critical position of the game and I can now say even of the entire match! White threatens Bg8+. How should black deal with it. As it turns out the right move is to go after the insignificant pawn on a3. Now of course it seems totally illogical but infact its the only way to save the position.
Here's a small test for you: Its black to play, the game can be saved but only if you play that move! What is it?

45...Rc1+? when I watched the game live, I thought this was a clever move than Rg1 because it forced the white king to move backwards when the black king could penetrate to d4. However there is clear flaw in this idea as the game will show us. [45...Rg1 46.Bg8+ Kc6 47.Rh6+ i think its an important point to push the black king behind(47.Bxb3 axb3 48.Kxb3 Rxg2 49.Rxh4 Kd5 50.a4 should also be winning.) ; 45...Ra1!! was the critical move but very hard to foresee. 46.Bg8+ (46.Kb2 Ra2+ is no problem for black.) 46...Kc6 47.Bxb3 Rxa3! the little point of blacks play 48.Rxh4 Rxb3+ Now king has to move backwards as Kc4 is met with Rb4. 49.Kc2 Rb4 50.Rxb4 cxb4 51.h4 Kd5 52.h5 Kxe5 53.g4 Kf6 54.Kb2= leads to a very funny draw with both sides unable to make any progress!] 46.Kb2 Rg1 from this point on, Carlsen was on autopilot though during the game we were still undecided whether it was a draw or white wins. 47.Bg8+ Kc6 48.Rh6+! again I like this check. Its a sign of good technique. However the same could not be said of Anands rook check move Rc1. 48...Kd7 49.Bxb3 axb3 50.Kxb3! Rxg2 51.Rxh4 Ke6 And here Carlsen didnt even care for his e5 pawn. That just shows how confident and how great his endgame knowledge is. 52.a4 Kxe5 sometimes two rooks pawns are not sufficient to win in a rook ending. And here black even has an extra pawn. Then why is he losing? the answer to this question is that the black king is active! If it were passive on b7 or a8, then this position would have been drawn! As it stands on e5 its poorly placed and white can just cut it off. 53.a5! Kd6 54.Rh7!

The final nail in the coffin, cutting off the king horizontally!

the crucial move to seal the fate of the game!The theme that Carlsen uses here is known as rank cut off. Many people dont know about it but sometimes it much more powerful than file cut off. 54...Kd5 [54...Kc6 55.a6 Kb6 56.a7+-] 55.a6 c4+ 56.Kc3 Ra2 57.a7 Kc5 58.h4 the a7 pawn binds the black rook, the c4 pawn is going nowhere, meanwhile the h pawn turns out to be a winner who has his path free to become a queen!! What a great game by Carlsen. He simply outplayed the world champion from almost a equal position. The two things that favoured him are his stamina and his will to win! You might argue that Vishy made some critical errors in the game, but believe me when I say that yesterday when was sitting in the viewing hall with no laptops engine or commentary, I understood how difficult it is really to play accurately every move! For the Grandiose struggle we must thank both the players and lets see if Vishy Anand can strike back now as he has the white pieces in both games 5 and 6. 1–0

The secret of Carlsen's success?!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chennai- The current Mecca of Chess

I reached Chennai on 14th November 2013! My main aim was to be a part of the current World Championship match between Anand and Carlsen. After all I am sure such a huge event will not happen anytime soon in India! After 4 games, the match is interestingly poised at 2 ponts a piece!!

However another reason why I am here, is to play an International Open tournament that is simultaneously held along with the World Championship match!

The organisers have done a splendid job of merging the two events.
The international GM open tournament begins from 15th November!
The Anand Carlsen games begin everyday at 15.00 hrs while the open tournament games are from 09.00 hrs.
When there is a rest day for the World Championship, the tournament will have double rounds.
 In this way, the players can not only watch the world championship match but also play some chess and win some prize money back home!! :)
Great Idea and planning by AICF!! hats off to them!

The open tournament is extremely strong having 23 GMs and 28 IMs and also a few WGMs.
As many as 38 players are above the ELO of 2400!! It promises to be an excellent event with lot of exciting chess.
The top seed of the event is the Russian GM: Ivan Popov!

Russian GM Ivan Popov 2645!!

The Indian Challenge is being led by the talented and young GM Vidit Gujarati!

GM Vidit Gujrathi 2582

I hope there will be some interesting games and some great opening Novelties too!
Who knows maybe Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen might just get some new ideas from this tournament itself!!

You can get the complete players list from this link:

The first round begins at 09.00 hrs IST on 15th November 2013.

Anand vs Carlsen Game 4: Great Escape!!

(4) Anand,V (2775) - Carlsen,M (2870) [C67]
FWCM2013 (4), 13.11.2013
[Sagar Shah]
Vishy was in some grave danger today......

As Magnus played some outstanding chess...Yet it wasnt sufficient to win!

Today I will reduce my comments of before the game because there is so much to talk during the game! :) 1.e4 Vishwananthan Anand sticks to the move he made in game 2. The King pawn opening. Of course the ball was now in Magnus's court. Was he going to again try the very sharp Caro Kann line?!! Definitely not!  1...e5!

The Challenger had a change of heart today! He played what he is very good at!!

Classical chess. Infact Vishy must have prepared this line very deeply as this is the main move of Carlsen. But after this move what can we really expect Carlsen to play? Will it be a Petroff or a Ruy Lopez or a Berlin Wall Variation. Lets see what happened! 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Vishy goes for the most popular line in the double king pawn opening: The Ruy Lopez. In fact the great Garry Kasparov has mentioned before that you really cannot become a good chess player if you havent played either the Ruy Lopez or the Queens Gambit! Well Vishy Anand is considered one of the major experts of the Ruy lopez opening! 3...Nf6 The move which must have started the bells ringing in Anand'd mind. Will Anand allow the Berlin Defense?  [3...a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 would lead to the Ruy Lopez Opening which is also one of the opening that Carlsen specialises in with black.] 4.0–0! Months of preparation by Anand were not for some non concrete line like d3, which he has played on many occassions. Anand wants to grab the bull by the horn and play the main line of the Berlin.  4...Nxe4 If you have said A then you must say B !! Black takes the pawn. Now mainly there are two ways for white to play. To play the extremely complicated d4 move which happened in the game. Or to play Re1 a rather quiet move which leads to quiter positions in which Whites chances for an advantage are pretty less. 5.d4! Anand is in the mood to please the audience today!! No boring symmetrical lines with Re1 [5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nf5!? 8.c3 Nxe5 9.Rxe5 d6 10.Re1 0–0 11.d4 d5 leads to a pretty symmetrical and boring position. Of course there are many intricacies here too but the general consensus is that Black should be totally fine.] 5...Nd6!? earlier the move Be7 is was also popular in this position but I think now the move Nd6 has taken over. 6.Bxc6 [6.dxe5 is a very surprising move because it hangs the bishop on by but its not so dangerous as after 6...Nxb5 7.a4! the knight is trapped but if course black returns it immediately 7...Nbd4! 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 d5! And with the two bishops, blacks chances are not bad.] 6...dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8

The Berlin Endgame! One of the most fierce and complicated endgames in Modern day Chess.

My comments have been fewer in the last moves because I want to now speak to you about the position in front of you in detail. The name of the opening is known as the Berlin Defense. This position has been reached in a whooping 4500 games!! It came to be named that because it was played by players of that city in the nineteenth Century. It had been used by the top players like Lasker and Tarrasch in the 19th century, however its real explosion happed when Vladimir Kramnik used it as black against Garry Kasparov in their 2000 world Championship match. The main reason for a player to play the Berlin would be to avoid the computer and deep opening preparation of the opponent and take the game into solid territory of an endgame where you can use your better understanding of the position rather than theoretical knowledge to outplay the opponent. But make no mistake my dear friends. This endgame is not boring and dull. Its highly strategic in nature and can often lead to excellent tactical positions too as happened in this game. Now lets talk about the specifics.What exactly is going on for white.
1. The pawn structure is highly in whites favour. If we were to magically remove all the pieces except the king from the board then the pawn endgame is winning for white because of the doubled c pawns for black
.2. While the white king merrily sits in the corner, the black king is right in the center of the board and has lost his castling rights. This means that he could come under a very severe direct attack.
3. And lastly white is ahead in development and will most certainly try to use this to create some concrete threats against black most notably his king.
All these points suggest that the position is lost for black. But one has to not take all the words at face value and rather ask the opponent to prove his advantages. For black the following are his trumps.
1. He has the two bishops which can be a very useful asset in this position but most often than not black aims at exchanging his dark squared bishop for the white knight. So it might be that the advantage of the two bishops lies in the fact that black can give up his bishop any time!
2. The black king is in the center of the board can often become an asset if many pieces are exchanged.
3. White has the kingside majority so more often than not, white will try to push his kingside pawns. However the problem is that black will place his pawns in such a way like h5 so that when g4 is played the h file gets opened up. Its not so easy for white to create a passed pawn on the kingside. All in all, this seems like a wonderful imbalanced position that is worth delving into deeper. And the fact that it was played at such a high level, gives us an option to look at it deeper! 9.h3 This move is relatively less played, however the game soon transposes. Often the moves h3 Nc3 and Rd1 can be played in any order. [9.Nc3 Ke8 10.h3 is the most popular way to play this position. ] 9...Bd7 The bishop develops on the d7 square to clear the c8 square for the king. In this opening the black pieces often move as if they are without any energy. Like the bishop moves one square and the other bishop too moves just one square but later when things get co-ordinated you can see the full wrath of these pieces in action! But my question to you is why doesnt the bishop develop itself on the more active square, e6? [9...Be6?! This bishop is the heart of blacks position because it is the unopposed bishop. Hence black must be careful that he doesnt sell it off cheaply. White can now play 10.g4! Ne7 11.Ng5! and the bishop on e6 is lost. a very sad thing for black. And thats why Bd7 is better.] 10.Rd1 The rook comes to the open file and starts to put pressure against the black king. Of course it can almost never be wrong to put your rook on an open file. 10...Be7 11.Nc3 white develops his pieces naturally. However one thing which is not so much in whites favour is where to develop his c1 bishop? Well the bishop lacks good scope because of the e5 pawn being on the fame colour as the bishop. So whites main aim can be to exchange it off which he is what precisely he does on the next move. 11...Kc8 Black tucks his king away from the open file, yet blacks position looks very suspect.His rooks are disconnected, what is he to do? As you see black will activate his rooks in a very unconventional fashion. 12.Bg5 As already mentioned, the exchange of the dark squared bishop is in whites favour because that bishop usually lacks scope. [12.g4 was another option where shall the knight go? 12...Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.f4 it seems as though white is clearly better here but black now not only activates his rook but also breaks whites position apart, with a move that is so charateristic of this opening. 14...h5! 15.f5 hxg4 16.hxg4 Bg3 attacking the e5 pawn and there is no way to defend it. Black is better.] 12...h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 Initialy looking at this position, one would get the impression that white is clearly better. Infact one of my friend who I presume had never seen this opening before, even messaged me saying: White has developed each of his pieces, he is going to double the rooks on the d file, black rooks and disconnected, dont you think Anand has a decisive advantage?!!After the game he was shocked that it was Carlsen who had an advantage after a few moves. Now how do I explain this situation. Lets put it this way. The rooks need open files is a very true statement but they need points of entry on the open file. There are none on the d file actually. Secondly the knights are developed, but knights need an outpost to be strong. In this position there arent any stable squares for the white knight. Now as for the lack of co-ordination of black pieces, its a temporary problem, black intends Be6 b6 Kb7. with good co-ordination. White thus has a dynamic advantage. It is ephemeral. Short term edge. He must try to breach the black position in the next few moves. 14.Rd2 c5 Carlsen had been blitzing his moves upto this point. Infact the players were following the game of Jakovenko-Almasi from 2007. The point about following games is often its dangerous to follow the games based on the result of the game. In that game white had won, however black had a very comfortable position out of the opening. Carlsen managed to see beyond the face vaue that is the result and thus was able to gain a good position for his smart preparation. 15.Rad1 [15.Ne4 the earlier mentioned Jakovenko-Almasi game continued like this 15...b6 16.Ng3 Bc6 17.Nh2 Ng6 18.Re1 and now black should have played 18...Re8! when i think black has a perfectly acceptable position.] 15...Be6 White would love to win that e6 bishop because it is the piece which is prevent white from penetrating on the 7th rank. How do you win that bishop? either from g5 or d4! And Carlsen has smartly played both h6 and c5 so that Ng5 and Nd4 is impossible! Excellent play! 16.Ne1?!

The start of all the problems for Vishy! Ne1 didnt really seem to meet the demands of the position!

My previous comments have been a little too biased towards black. But of course I agree there was absolutely nothing wrong with whites position till this point. As I said white must do something pretty quickly otherwise black just co-ordinate easily. If you understand this point then you will realise one thing for sure that Ne1–d3 plan is extremely slow. But a few things did make Anand choose this plan. First of all from d3, the knight threatens to go to f4 from which it attacks the key defender of black position. Secondly the knight moves from f3 thus clearly the route for his g and f pawns to move forward. But looks how Carlsen effectively blunts all of Anands plans in the game. I tried to make this Ne2-f4 idea work but it too seems to fail. [16.Ne2 with the idea of going Nf4 16...Ng6 stopping Nf4. Now black is threatening b6 and Kb7 to connect his rooks. What is white to do? Not all the power in the world can breach blacks position.; 16.g4! maybe continuing in this drastic way can be the right way to continue. 16...b6 (16...h5 17.Ng5!) 17.Kg2 Kb7 18.Kg3 followed by removing the knight and playing f4 can be a good idea. Surely this is better than what Anand did in the game.] 16...Ng6 controlling the f4 square and attacking the e5 pawn. 17.Nd3 b6! Now the idea is to play Kb7 and connect the rooks. The opening has not gone so well for Anand. [17...c4 trying to get greedy to win a pawn on e5 would be suicidal because black cannot afford to open up the position when all of white pieces are so excellently placed. 18.Nc5! Nxe5 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Re2 and black is busted. Thus you see that if white gets some entry points then his position becomes excellent. But Carlsen is shrews. He keeps everything under control.] 18.Ne2!? the main aim of Anand when he made this move is to play Nf4. He wants to remove the bishop on e6. However all said and done, the pawn on a2 is hanging. Of course the trick that this pawn should not be taken because b3 shuts the bishop has been taught to us from childhood but here Carlsen sees that the rules can be broken! 

Did Bobby Fischer's ghost enter Carlsen's body for a moment?!! 

Just like how Bobby Fischer had snatched the h2 pawn against Boris Spassky in his 1972 match, Carlsen does the same. While Fischer had made that move to prove that he could beat Spassky by playing just anything, Carlsen is not so emotional! He makes a rational decision and sees that his bishop will not be trapped behind enemy lines. To tell you the truth a move like Ba2 requires amazing self confidence and belief on ones calculating abilities. 19.b3 Anand sees this is the only way in which he can secure some compensation for the lost pawn. He now threatens Ndc1. Black must act fast. 19...c4! the c pawn comes to the rescue of the a2 bishop. 20.Ndc1 cxb3 [20...Bb1 21.Nc3 would have trapped the bishop.] 21.cxb3 taking back the pawn. Is the bishop trapped? When the knight moved to c1, it blocked the rooks access to the b1 square. Thus Bb1 is possible. Often in our calculations we overlook such a move when we are playing Ba2. But Carlsen was very focussed. 21...Bb1 I would say this is the critical position of the game. Why is it critical. Its critical because White is well developed and secondly black is about to develop all his pieces soon. If not now then when is the question, Anand must ask himself! Anand has a lot of juicy possibilities and he must select one from them. But bear in mind that this is his last opportunity, once black plays Kb7 and co-ordinates his rooks it will be too late. So lets try to see if white can gain an advantage here. 22.f4
[22.Rd7 taking the 7th rank, definitely looks the most logical move in the position. Black must be accurate now 22...Rg8!! this amazing move is the way for black to secure the advantage! How is it that this move is good? Well first of all more important than f7 pawn is the g7 pawn because if it is lost both the f and h pawns will become weak. So black is ready to give up f7 but not g7. a) 22...Rf8 is the most obvious move but its not so good as after 23.e6! fxe6 (23...Bf5 24.Nd4! fxe6 25.Nb5 again with lot of counterplay for white. Infact this position is a draw after 25...a6 26.Rxc7+ Kb8 27.Rdd7 axb5 (27...Be4 28.Nd6+-) 28.Rb7+ Kc8 29.Rbc7+=) 24.Rxg7 white has counterplay; b) 22...Nxe5?! 23.Re7 f6 24.Nc3 Bc2 25.Rd2 Bf5 26.Rxg7© once again white has good compensation for the pawn.; 23.f4 now f7 is hanging but black can play (23.Rxf7 Nxe5µ black has the advantage.) 23...Bc2! so that rook has to move to the awkward d2 square when the other rook will not be able to use that square. 24.R1d2 Bf5! 25.R7d4 (25.Rxf7 Be6 traps the poor rook.) 25...Kb7! 26.g4 Bc8³ and black is fine. A similar manoeuvre is made by the bishop in the game too.; 22.e6!? is a very interesting move. The point is that we want to trap the bishop on b1. 22...fxe6 (22...Bf5 was also possible and maybe even safer) 23.Nc3 Bf5 24.g4 is the black bishop trapped? apparently not 24...Nh4!³ and due to the threat of Nf3+, the bishop is not trapped on f5.

I can see many people asking me is it really necessary to analyse so many variations? My answer to that is simple. Rules and Principles are the bones and structures of your body, But your calculation is your blood. till the blood doesnt start flowing in your game, the structure of your body is useless!] 

22...Kb7 [22...Be4 looked safer as then he can just save his bishop. But here white does have some counterplay with 23.Rd7 Rf8 24.e6 Maybe black can defend now with 24...Bf5! 25.Rxf7 Bxe6 26.Rxg7 Nxf4 27.Nxf4 Rxf4 28.Rg6 Re4 29.Rxh6 and the material is equal. I am not sure but Carlsen could have seen this variation and decided that he would like to keep the position more complicates and hence didnt go for 22....Be4] 23.Nc3 [23.g4 now would have been safely answered with 23...Be4] 23...Bf5 24.g4! It seems as though white is pushing black totally backwards in this position. At the cost of a pawn, White is gaining excellently activity. But Magnus has seen one step ahead. He not only sees that he can snatch the pawn and come back but he also sees that in the resulting passive position, White cannot really inflict any harm on him. 24...Bc8

Back to where it all began!!

Magnus has a penchant for taking his pieces to awkward and weird squares. Yesterday he had put his queen on h1 and today bishop on c8! Will Vishy let this go unpunished?!! [24...Be6 was possible but I think white can hold the balance with 25.f5 Nxe5 26.Re2 (26.fxe6 Nf3+µ) 26...Bxb3 27.Nxb3= and though black has 3 pawns I think white has nothing to worry here.] 25.Nd3 Defending the f4 pawn and threatening f5. 25...h5!! Something needs to be said about the way Magnus is playing this game. He is floundering as many chess principles as possible. first of all his rook on a8 is dead. Anyone would try to activate it. But Magnus is of the opinion that he would activate those pieces which can be activated right now. I.e his h8 rook. Once that rook breaks in, then it will tie down one or two of whites pieces and then the other rook can be developed. Really wonderful play. 26.f5 Ne7 27.Nb5?! Now this move looked a little awkward. Of course Vishy wants to create some counterplay. The counterplay must be created against the black king for sure but how to create it is not an easy question because you are facing Magnus who is playing like a computer today! but maybe it was better to start with [27.Ne4 hxg4 28.hxg4 Rh4 29.Ndf2 but here too black is in command with 29...Nc6µ] 27...hxg4?! [27...a6 could have been stronger as after 28.Nd4 hxg4 29.hxg4 c5 30.Nf3 g6! Whites kingside majority is falling apart.] 28.hxg4 [28.Rc1 it seemed as if Boris Gelfand suggested this move saying that this was the only way to create threats in this position. Now to defend the c7 pawn, Nd5 is forced. 28...Nd5 black threatens a6 now so white must hurry up. (28...c6 29.Nd6+!) 29.e6! showing some urgency 29...fxe6! (29...a6 is not so good now as after 30.Ne5! axb5 31.Nxf7 Rxh3 32.Nd8+ Kb8 33.Rxd5 white has a dangerous initiative.) 30.Ne5! the game is really heating up now! But what is whites threat now? Well is it to take on d5? because Rd5, ed5 Rc7 black can be safe with Ka6. But here there is a deadly threat. 30...a5! a very strong move to save the position. At first sight it seems impossible to understand as to why this move is made and not the natural move of a6. But the variations below will give you a good idea as to why we make this move.
a) White's actual threat is  30...-- 31.Rxc7+! Nxc7 (31...Ka6 32.Nd6 and with Ra2 coming up, black king's days are numbered.) 32.Nd6+! Kb8 (32...Ka6 33.Ra2# Maybe this variation gives you an idea as to why a5 is such an excellent move. Its shields the black king from a check down the a file.) 33.Nc6# is a mate you dont get to see everyday!                 
; b) 30...a6 is brilliantly refuted by 31.Rxc7+! Nxc7 32.Nd6+ Ka7 33.Nc6#

          Analysis Variation
                                                   A mate that you dont get to see everyday!

; 31.hxg4 white sees no way to continue the attack now 31...c5! 32.Nd6+ Ka6 33.Nxc8 Raxc8 34.fxe6 Nf4µ the conculsion of the variation was that Rc1 was tricky but if black was alert he could have ended with a great position. Yet the position was quite complicated and Magnus could have gone wrong.] 28...Rh4! Now white has to think about how to defend this g4 pawns. 29.Nf2 Nc6! attacking the e5 pawn. 30.Rc2! Anand also now resorts to tricky play, taking on e5 would be inadvisable as then c7 hangs. 30...a5 as we already know by now,this move is played so that the black king will get a safe haven on a6 and he cannot be pestered down the a file.Another idea of this move and which is also not at all obvious is to play a4! to activate the rook on a8!! you must agree that black is playing extremely unconventional chess! [30...a6 could have been risky 31.Rdc1! Bd7 32.e6! all these ideas will be seen in the main game too. 32...fxe6 33.fxe6 Be8? (33...axb5 34.exd7 Rh6 was more to the point.) 34.Nd4! black is under a lot of pressure and now taking on d4 leads to a mate in 3 34...Nxd4? 35.Rxc7+ Kb8 36.Rc8+ Kb7 37.R1c7#; 30...g6 could have been a very natural and good move.; 30...Nxe5? 31.Rxc7+ Ka6 32.Nc3 and black is lost as Ra1 is coming up next.] 31.Rc4!? stopping a4 for the time being. [31.Rdc1 could be safely met with 31...Bd7] 31...g6! again a very strong move. Its only though breaking of g4-f5 pawns that the bishop on c8 can be activated. 32.Rdc1 [32.e6 was a variation that Anand mentioned in the press conference but of course it didnt work for white. 32...fxe6 33.fxg6 e5! 34.Rxc6 (34.Rd8 Nxd8 35.Rxc7+ Ka6–+) 34...Kxc6 35.Rd8 Rh6! 36.g7 Rg6 37.g8Q Rxg8 38.Rxg8 Kxb5–+ quite a nice variation and even though the bishop and rook stand on their initial square, black is clearly winning.] 32...Bd7 Black is a pawn up and supposed removed his bishop too, its time for the black rook to take part. Before this happens and Anand has to resign, he tried to play as actively as possible. 33.e6! fxe6 34.fxe6 Be8 Black has now defended himself. His next threat is Rd8. What is white to do now? Well here when the rea world champion wakes up! [34...Bxe6 35.Rxc6+-] 


The move that saved the day for Vishy Anand!

What an amazing move!! The knight comes into the game giving up the g4 pawn and creating the threat of Nd6 check. Of course black must be close to winning but as we have already seen in the 3rd game, a change in the flow ofthe game is always difficult to adjust to. We all know how tricky defender Anand can be and here he showcases his skill. Now Carlsen has to be extremely careful. 35...Rxg4+ first of all it makes sense to capture a pawn with check. 36.Kf2 Rf4+ [36...Rd8 this move was suggested by Tania Sachdev in the commentary box and it does seem to be the best. Black brings in another piece and asks white what is his threat? 37.Ke3! is the best move and the game goes on. But its true that black who is two pawns up has the better chances.(37.Nc5+? bxc5 38.Rxg4 Ne5 is winning for black.; 37.Ned6+ cxd6 38.Rxg4 Ne5 once again winning the game. Thus Rd8 could have been the best.) ] 37.Ke3 A very critical moment of the game. Black is 2 pawns up but white has some very unpleasant pressure on black. It could be time to return some material back with g5 but I am sure whether it would keep an advantage for black. Carlsen was too greedy. He didnt want to part with material but then white is so active that its impossible to keep things as they are. 37...Rf8?! [37...g5! 38.Nd4 would have been the critical try (38.Nxg5 Rf5–+ creates a double attack and wins!; 38.Nbd6+? cxd6 39.Nxd6+ Ka6 40.Nxe8 Rxc4 41.Rxc4 Rxe8 42.Rxc6 Kb5 43.Rd6 Kc5 is just winning for black.) 38...Nxd4 39.Rxc7+ Ka6 40.Kxd4 Bg6 41.Re1 Rd8+ 42.Rd7 Re8 43.e7 and white has enough resources to hold the position.] 38.Nd4! Nxd4 39.Rxc7+ Ka6 40.Kxd4 

As the 40th move was made, the champion was out of danger!!

after a forced sequence of moves, we reach this position which is imbalanced because black is a pawn up but the pawn advantage is compensated by the activity of white's pieces. 40...Rd8+ 41.Kc3 [41.Ke3 might have been the easier way to draw but of course Anands move is not bad as he wants to keep the king closer to the b3 pawn. I think he already foresaw the impending rook endgame and the fact that 2 vs 1 on the same side is a draw.] 41...Rf3+ 42.Kb2 Re3 43.Rc8! Rdd3! Carlsen continues to put pressure on Anand. What is to be seen is his will to win here even with such reduced material [43...Rxc8? would draw the game easily 44.Rxc8 Rxe4 (44...Bb5 45.Nd6!) 45.Rxe8 Kb5 46.e7 Kb4 47.Rb8 Re2+ 48.Kb1 Rxe7 49.Rxb6+ Ka3 50.Rxg6= leads to an easy draw.] 44.Ra8+ the point of this check is a little ambiguous to me. I think that Anand saw that a rook ending might arise and he didnt want the black king to go to b5. Thats the reason why he played this check I guess. [44.Rxe8 Rxe4 45.e7 Rde3 46.Rg1 Kb5 47.Rxg6 Rxe7 48.Rxe7 Rxe7 49.Rg5+ but of course this too should have drawn.] 44...Kb7 45.Rxe8 Rxe4 46.e7 at this point I felt as if the game is over now. Black will have to take the e7 pawn for which he will have to give up his g6 pawn when white will just draw the 1 vs 2 endgame. But what Magnus is now looking for is to retain both the rooks. If one rook is exchanged its an easy draw. But if both are maintained, you never know what may happen! 46...Rg3! trying to save his g pawn. 47.Rc3 Re2+ 48.Rc2 Ree3 49.Ka2 g5 50.Rd2 Now threatening to play Rd7 followed by Red8 50...Re5 51.Rd7+ Kc6 52.Red8 Rge3 53.Rd6+ Kb7 [53...Kb5? 54.Rd5+ Rxd5 55.Rxd5+ Kc6 56.Rxg5 Rxe7=] 54.R8d7+ Ka6 55.Rd5 it seemed at this point to me that the players would shake their hands any moment. But it was not be! Carlsen set his last fatal trap! 55...Re2+! 56.Ka3 Re6!!

Not giving up till the end! Magnus sets his last fatal trap!

Amazing fighting spirit. With less time of Anand'd clock Carlsen sets his last trap. Of course its very easy to see through it, yet on your lucky day someone can fall into the trap. 57.Rd8! [57.Rxg5?? was the big trap! 57...b5–+ and now its impossible to stop b4+] 57...g4 58.Rg5 Rxe7 Vishy now had only 1 minute left and made a very nice move to get one move closer to 60 th move 59.Ra8+! Kb7 60.Rag8 the g pawn will fall now and not only that there is a threat to exchange the rooks with Rg7 60...a4 [60...Rc7!? could have been an interesting idea but I think the positon is a draw. 61.Rxg4 Rcc2 62.R4g7+ Ka6 63.Ra8+ Kb5 64.Rg5+ Kc6 65.Rc8+ Kb7 66.Rxc2 Rxc2= one pair of rooks have been exchanged and its a draw.] 61.Rxg4 Anand made the next move quickly as he finally saw that there were no traps involved! 61...axb3 62.R8g7! Ka6 63.Rxe7 Rxe7 64.Kxb3

Magnus was sure that Vishy knew his basic theoretical Rook endings as he offered a draw!

This time Carlsen didnt want to test whether Anand knew the Philidor position or not!!What an excellent game by the two Gladiators!! Some beautiful play by Carlsen gave him an opening advantage, just when it seemed that he would really win today, Vishy Anand showed him that he was facing one of the trickiest defenders in the game of chess by creating mind boggling threats! A game that was well played by both sides and was really worthy of being played at the biggest chess event!! :)