Sochi, Game 1: Somewhat Nervous Start

Время публикации: 09.11.2014 01:50 | Последнее обновление: 09.11.2014 04:21

The first game of the World Championship match has been played in Sochi

The 1st game of the World Championship match in Sochi has ended in a draw and was quite interesting. A curious concept by Magnus in the opening (without the usual c7-c5), followed by Anand's novelty and good counter-reaction by Carlsen, in turn. The further play was somewhat nervous, which can be easily explained by the fact that it was the very first game of the match, in the fresh conditions. The opinions on what was going on in the middlegame were being different, and this stage of the game has left many questions unanswered. However, eventually it was Anand who was struggling for a draw; in order to equalize, he had to find an extraordinary queen transfer at move 44. Anyway, the match is only at its very beginning, and making any conclusions about the players' shape or being deeply prognostic would be premature.

ANAND - CARLSEN (game 1)
Grunfeld Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 (even though the Grunfeld Defence hasn't been the main opening for Magnus, it is so extremely popular nowadays that one can hardly take one's opponent by surprise by playing it; especially in the World Championship match where all kinds of surprises are possible) 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Bd2 Bg7 6.e4 Nxc3 7.Bxc3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6!? The usual Black's play in this line is connected with c7-c5, now or at the previous move. It's really interesting if Black can afford giving up the center like this; in the game, Anand has failed to prove the opposite.
9.Nf3 Bg4 10.d5 Bxf3

11.Bxg7. A few GM games where this position had been checked (including A. Moiseenko - Nepomniatcschi, Yaroslavl, rapid 2014) had seen 11.gxf3 Ne5 12.Be2 c6 13.f4 Nd7 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.dxc6 bxc6.
11...Kxg7 12.gxf3 Ne5 13.0–0–0! c6 (played after a long thought; the alternative options are 13...e6?! 14.f4 Ng4, and 13...Qd6!?) 14.Qc3 f6 15.Bh3 (the plan chosen by Anand could be carried out another way too - 15.f4 Nf7 16.Bh3!) 15...cxd5 16.exd5 Nf7 (16...b5!? 17.f4 Nc4) 17.f4! White is better - his bishop is so mighty that this fact overcompensates for the defects of his pawn structure. (The translator wouldn't agree with this evaluation, considering White's defects to be at least of the same significance in the long term. White should also be always careful about his bishop so that it doesn't turn into a kind of 'useless beauty' locked on the e6- or h3-squares after f6-f5 which is possible in some lines. In my opinion, the position might be roughly equal but no more than that; but, as we have already stated, the middlegame has caused many disagreements on the evaluation. Probably it's a matter of one's playing style, to some extent - GM Andrey Deviatkin)

17...Qd6 (the immediate 17...Qb6!? looks like making sense, but in that case Black would have to be ready to solve tactical problems after 18.Rhe1) 18.Qd4 Rad8 19.Be6 Qb6! (Black has to offer the exchange of queens, otherwise he could be close to running out of moves) 20.Qd2 (this is the beginning of the series of doubtful decisions by Anand - the endgame after 20.Qxb6 axb6 21.Kb1 might be preferrable) 20...Rd6! (this atypical blocking is in fact more promising than 20...Nd6) 21.Rhe1?! (it would have been more logical to make use of the rook at the h-file: 21.h4 Nd8 22.Bg4 Nc6 23.h5 Nb4) 21...Nd8!

22.f5 (22.Bg4 e6! 23.Bf3 exd5 24.Kb1 would have led to more complicated play) 22...Nxe6 23.Rxe6 Qc7+ 24.Kb1 Rc8?! (after 24...Rfd8! Black would have the advantage) 25.Rde1! Now the game is almost totally equal, and the fact that something serious was yet to happen is quite surprising.
25...Rxe6 26.Rxe6 Rd8!? 27.Qe3 Rd7 28.d6 exd6 29.Qd4 Rf7 30.fxg6 hxg6 31.Rxd6

For the moment, White's pawn structure defects are being compensated by the activity of his pieces.
31...a6 32.a3 Qa5 33.f4 Qh5 34.Qd2. Probably the active defence is more promising: 34.Qe3 (34.Qe4!?) 34...Qxh2 35.Rd8 with the idea of doubling the heavy pieces on the 8th rank by 36.Qe8.
34...Qc5 35.Rd5 Qc4 36.Rd7!? Qc6 37.Rd6 (the queen endgame after 37.Rxf7+ Kxf7 38.Qd3 could have turned out dangerous for White) 37...Qe4+ 38.Ka2 Re7 39.Qc1 a5

40.Qf1? This is a clear mistake. Once again, White had to be active: 40.Qc8!
40...a4 (here Anand has already understood the dangers of his position) 41.Rd1 Qc2 42.Rd4 (42.Qf3!?)

42...Re2? The World Champion makes a mistake too, missing White's spectacular defensive resource. 42...Re3! (threatening 43...Rxa3+) would have given Carlsen decent winning chances due to the following line: 43.Rd7+ Kh6 44.Rxb7 Rb3 45.Rxb3 axb3+ 46.Ka1 Qxh2 - the locked position of the white king restricts his play a lot.
43.Rb4! b5 (this is the best, but now Anand is able to demonstrate his idea) 44.Qh1!! Re7 45.Qd5 Re1 46.Qd7+ Kh6 47.Qh3+ Kg7 48.Qd7+ 1/2 (Annotated by GM M.Golubev)

Game 2 will be played tomorrow, on November 9th.

[Event "WCh 2014"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2014.11.08"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2792"] [BlackElo "2863"] [ECO "D85"] [Opening "Gruenfeld"] [Variation "exchange variation"] [EventDate "2014.11.04"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bd2 Bg7 6. e4 Nxc3 7. Bxc3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Nf3 Bg4 10. d5 Bxf3 11. Bxg7 Kxg7 12. gxf3 Ne5 13. O-O-O c6 14. Qc3 f6 15. Bh3 cxd5 16. exd5 Nf7 17. f4 Qd6 18. Qd4 Rad8 19. Be6 Qb6 20. Qd2 Rd6 21. Rhe1 Nd8 22. f5 Nxe6 23. Rxe6 Qc7+ 24. Kb1 Rc8 25. Rde1 Rxe6 26. Rxe6 Rd8 27. Qe3 Rd7 28. d6 exd6 29. Qd4 Rf7 30. fxg6 hxg6 31. Rxd6 a6 32. a3 Qa5 33. f4 Qh5 34. Qd2 Qc5 35. Rd5 Qc4 36. Rd7 Qc6 37. Rd6 Qe4+ 38. Ka2 Re7 39. Qc1 a5 40. Qf1 a4 41. Rd1 Qc2 42. Rd4 Re2 43. Rb4 b5 44. Qh1 Re7 45. Qd5 Re1 46. Qd7+ Kh6 47. Qh3+ Kg7 48. Qd7+ 1/2-1/2 

Carlsen - Anand: all the information about the match


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