Aravind's Decisive Win

The Youth Chess Olympiad U 16 finished a week ago in Gyor, Hungary. It was a an excellently organized chess event with a lot of suspense till the last minute.
India deservedly won the gold medals, but before the final round they were only second in the co-lead with the Iranian team.
Everything was decided in their last match against Turkey and it all started greatly for them with this game:


Great Chess in Gyor

The chess Olympiad under 16 takes place in Gyor, Hungary. It is a great idea to allow a chance to these young and perspective players compete in an official forum that big and to let them show their fabulous attacking chess.
There are many interesting games produced in Hungary!
The game that I chose for you is between the teams of Georgia and Germany. The German player is the rating favourite and has more than 250 elo points advantage.
According to the regulations all the teams should consist of four boys and one girl. Not all of them however stick to this rule. Unfortunately, there are some teams which simply state they have one but she either does not play, or even did not travel with the team...
Hopefully this situation will change for good in the next Olympiad because girls are capable of playing great games.
Take Nino Khomeriki as an example!
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "World Youth U-16 Chess Olympiad 2014"]
[Site "Gyor"]
[Date "2014.12.16"]
[Round "5.3"]
[White "Vogel, Roven"]
[Black "Khomeriki, Nino"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A15"]
[WhiteElo "2401"]
[BlackElo "2141"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2014.12.13"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "HUN"]
[WhiteTeam "Germany"]
[BlackTeam "Georgia"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "GER"]
[BlackTeamCountry "GEO"]

1. b3 {Vogel plays the opening in original way. A quick look at his games
revealed that he uses pretty much every opening.} e5 2. Bb2 d6 3. c4 {Now the
game transposes into the English opening, or if we put it in another way-the
Reversed Sicilian.} Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. d3 Bg7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. Be2 Nbd7 ({Another
interesting plan for Black is} 7... Nc6 8. O-O Ng4 9. Nfd2 f5 10. Bxg4 fxg4 11.
Ne4 Qh4 {with active play on the kingside in Delgado Ramirez,N (2619)-Flores,D
(2608) Buenos Aires 2010}) 8. O-O {And this is the reversed King's Indian
Attack...} Nh5 $146 {[%cal Gf7f5] Diagram [#] A novelty as early as on move
eight. Khomeriki prepares kingside attack. Usually Black authomatically
replies with} (8... Re8 {with the idea to put the knight from d7 to f8 and
then prepare either the central advance d6-d5 or the kingside attack.}) 9. Nfd2
{The knight steps back from the possible e5-e4 advance and hits the knight.} ({
For example} 9. Nbd2 $2 e4 $1 10. Bxg7 exf3 11. Bxf8 fxe2 12. Qxe2 Nxf8 $17 {
and Black wins material.}) ({Both} 9. Qc2) ({and} 9. Nc3 {were also possible.})
9... Qg5 10. Ne4 {White decided to punish his opponent for the risky play.} ({
But maybe} 10. Nc3 $5 {was more stable} f5 11. Bxh5 gxh5 12. f4 Qh6 13. Nf3 $14
(13. Nd5 c6)) 10... Qh4 11. g3 Qe7 $1 {Black sacrifices a pawn for the attack.
There was no way back} (11... Qh3 $4 12. Bg4 {loses the black queen.}) 12. Bxh5
gxh5 13. Qxh5 {Diagram [#]} f5 14. Nec3 Nc5 15. Qe2 f4 $1 {In return for the
pawn Khomeriki gained some time which she used for quick kingside attack.
Owing the two bishops is not bad at all neither.} 16. exf4 ({Or else the pawn
will advance even further} 16. Nd2 f3 17. Nxf3 (17. Qd1 Nxd3) 17... Bg4 $19)
16... Bh3 {Consistent but perhaps} (16... Qf7 $1 {was more precise. Then if
White dares to capture once more} 17. fxe5 Bh3 18. Rd1 (18. Re1 Nxd3 $1) 18...
Bxe5 {[%csl Ya1,Yb1,Yf1,Yf3,Yg2,Yh1][%cal Re8e1,Rf8f1] Diagram [#] will lead
to strong attack for Black. Please, note that} 19. d4 {loses to} Rae8 20. dxe5
Rxe5 {when Qf3-f3-g2 mate is unstoppable.}) 17. Nd2 (17. Re1 {might transpose
to the above-mentioned line after} Qf7) ({But} 17. d4 $1 {was the better
defense} Bxf1 18. Kxf1 Ne6 19. Nd5 Qd7 20. dxe5 dxe5 21. Bxe5 {with unclear
play.}) 17... Qd7 $1 {Very good understanding by the Georgian girl! The bishop
on h3 is more important in the attack than the rook on f1 and she keeps it.} (
17... Qf7 {was also good.}) 18. Nde4 {It is diffciult to give a good advice to
Vogel. He is logically trying to shut the e file.} exf4 19. Nd5 $2 ({The
light-squared bishop can show teeth in case of} 19. Rfe1 Bg4 $5 20. f3 (20. Qf1
Nxe4 21. dxe4 fxg3 22. hxg3 Bf3 $1) 20... Nxe4 21. Nxe4 Bxf3 22. Qxf3 Bxb2 {
but maybe this was teh lesser evil for White.}) 19... Bxf1 {Now Khomeriki
takes the rook as she has full control of the light squares.} 20. Rxf1 f3 $1 {
Diagram [#]} 21. Qd2 Nxe4 22. dxe4 Bxb2 23. Qxb2 Qh3 24. Ne3 Rae8 {with the
threat to shift the rook along the sixth rank to h6. White is helpless.} 25.
Kh1 (25. Rd1 Re6 26. Rd5 Rh6 27. Rg5+ Kf7 28. Qg7+ Ke8 $19) 25... Re6 26. Qd2
Rh6 27. Qd5+ Kh8 28. Qd4+ Rff6 {Checks are over. White resigned. Wonderful
understanding of the attacking ideas by Nino Khomeriki!} 0-1

Today is the final round of the Olympiad. Iran and India are leading the field.
Complete report.


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Vishy Wins!

Photo © John Saunders

The former world champion Vishy Anand said it right at the after-game analyzes: "I knew that with the soccer system the tournament definitely cannot be won. But there is a very high probability to end on last place." Which already speaks a lot about his attitude towards the last game at the LCC. Still, a silent Berlin quickly appeared on the board:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.14"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Anand , Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2745"]
[BlackElo "2793"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {I can almost hear the sigh of disbelief from
Anand's admirers when the Berlin appeared on the board. It has the reputation
of a very solid and drawish opening, but like I mentioned this many times
already it is also played for a win at the highest level.} 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4
Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 {Vishy had tried many
sublines in the Berlin and today he opted for the "modern" positioning of the
king.} 10. Nc3 h5 11. Rd1 {Diagram [#] I read somewhere that Mickey was the
secret Anti-Berlin weapon for Magnus Carlsen in the WCC in Sochi this year.} ({
Adams deviates from a game that was played less than a month ago} 11. Ne2 b6
12. Rd1 Ba6 13. Nf4 Bb7 {This was an excellent novelty which solved Black's
problems at once.} 14. e6 Bd6 15. exf7+ Kxf7 16. Ng5+ Kf6 17. Ne4+ Kf7 18. Ng5+
Kf6 19. Ne4+ Kf7 20. Ng5+ {1/2 (20) Carlsen,M (2863)-Anand,V (2792) Sochi 2014}
) 11... Be7 12. g3 b6 13. a4 Bb7 $146 {Curiously, it is once again Anand who
produces a novelty and once more it is the Bb7 move!} ({Previously} 13... a5 {
had been played by a great expert of the Berlin wall} 14. Bf4 Rg8 15. Ng5 Bb7
16. Rd3 Ba6 17. Rd2 Rd8 18. Rad1 Bc8 19. Kh2 Rxd2 20. Rxd2 Bd8 $11 {Efimenko,Z
(2689)-Bacrot,E (2705) Germany 2012}) 14. a5 ({The generally desirable trade
of the dark-squared bishops allows a fine square for the black king} 14. Bg5
Bxg5 15. Nxg5 Ke7 $11) 14... c5 {Vishy believes that the pawn thrust is not as
dangerous and that the long diagonal is of a greater importance,} 15. Nd5 Bd8 (
{The curious pawn sacrifice} 15... Rd8 16. Nxc7+ Kf8 17. Rxd8+ Bxd8 {where the
two white knights are hanging is not that appealing once that Black spots the
line} 18. axb6 axb6 19. Ne1 Bxc7 20. Ra7 $1) 16. Bg5 ({However Mickey could
have tried} 16. c4 $5 {at once with his knight controlling the d4 square.}) ({
Nothing gives} 16. axb6 axb6 17. Rxa8 Bxa8 $11) 16... Rf8 $1 {Diagram [#]
"This move was very important and I still have that counterplay along the
diagonal if he takes the pawn"- Vishy} ({he former world champion was also
considering} 16... Bxd5 17. Rxd5 Bxg5 18. Nxg5 Ke7 {but he was not sure that
the pawn sacrifice will be sound after} 19. Rad1 ({However, there was also the
typical central strike} 19. e6 $1 fxe6 20. Re1 $16 {with the tactical point}
Kf6 21. Rxe6+ Kxg5 22. f4#) 19... Rhd8 (19... Nd4 20. c3 $1 {wins for White})
20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rxd8 Kxd8 22. Nxf7+ Ke7 {Sometimes this is enogh for an
equality stated Anand, but maybe not here, for instance} 23. Ng5 Nd4 24. c3
Ne2+ 25. Kf1 Nc1 26. a6 $1 (26. axb6 cxb6 $1) 26... Nd3 27. f4 Nxb2 ({Or} 27...
h4 28. Ke2 c4 29. gxh4 Nxf4+ 30. Ke3 Nd3 31. Nf3 Nxb2 32. Nd4 $16) 28. Ke2 $16)
17. c4 {Vishy did not like this move as it weakens the d4 square. This is an
excellent outpost for the black knight.} ({If White wants equality he could go
for} 17. Bxd8 {but Adams was still hoping for something more} Bxd5 18. Rxd5
Rxd8 19. Rxd8+ Kxd8 20. axb6 axb6 21. Ra8+ Ke7 $11) 17... Bxd5 18. Rxd5 ({
Nobody mentioned the other capture} 18. cxd5 $5 {but my feeling is that it was
good for White thanks to this little tactics} Bxg5 19. axb6 $1 {and if Black
keeps the bishop} Be7 (19... cxb6 {might be better but now Black will not be
able to undermine the white pawn center with c7-c6 like in the game.} 20. Nxg5
Nd4 21. Kg2 (21. f4 $5) 21... f6 22. exf6 gxf6 23. Re1+ Kd7 24. Ne6 $36) 20.
bxc7 {he is definitely in trouble. Just look at the white pawn mass in the
center!}) 18... Bxg5 19. Nxg5 Ke7 {[%cal Ga8d8] Diagram [#] Now Black
equalizes ad starts thinking of something more.} 20. Kg2 ({This time} 20. Rad1
{does not work to} Nd4 $1 {as there is no c2-c3 resource.}) 20... Nd4 21. Rd1 (
{One little nice trick was pointed by Vishy} 21. b4 Ne6 $1 {wins a pawn for
Black.}) 21... Rad8 {The knight on d4 holds black's position together until he
trades a pair of rooks. Once that the penetration on the seventh rank is out
of the question, Black can start attacking the overexposed pawn(s) on e5 and
possible d5.} ({Another idea was} 21... c6 22. Rd6 f6 23. Ne4 fxe5 24. Rg6 {"I
did not see Black getting anywhere" Anand.}) 22. Nf3 ({If} 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23.
axb6 axb6 24. Ne4 {Black can go for the e5 pawn at once} Ke6 25. Ng5+ Kf5 26.
Nxf7 Rf8) 22... c6 ({Vishy was also considering the move} 22... Rxd5 {with the
idea to attack the white pawns later, but saw a nice idea for Mickey} 23. cxd5
Nxf3 (23... Nb3 24. axb6 axb6 25. d6+ (25. Nh4) 25... Kd7 26. Ng5 Nd4 27. dxc7
Kxc7 28. Ra1 $132) 24. Kxf3 f6 25. e6 Rd8 26. Ke4 {[%cal Gf2f4,Gf4f5] Diagram
[#] with the idea of a fast f2-f4-f5, when the undermining move} c6 $2 {fails
to} 27. dxc6 $1 Rxd1 28. c7 {and White wins.}) 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 24. Ng5 ({They
both agreed that White was holding after} 24. axb6 axb6 25. Rd3 Nxf3 26. Rxd8
Nh4+ 27. gxh4 Kxd8 28. f4 g6 29. Kf3 Ke7 30. b3 Ke6 31. Ke4 b5 32. Kd3 Kf5 33.
Ke3 $11) 24... b5 ({The play along the b file is not fast enough} 24... bxa5
25. Ne4 Rb8 26. Nxc5 Ne6 {(Anand) and here strong is} 27. Rd7+ $1 Ke8 28. Rb7)
25. cxb5 cxb5 {Black achieved a lot. He has a very strong knight in the center,
active king and pawn majority on the queenside. It is not pleasant for Adams
at all but it was hard to believe that his position will collapse that soon.}
26. Ne4 Nc6 $1 {A nice winning try.} 27. Rxd8 Kxd8 {[%csl Ya5,Rc5,Ye5] Diagram
[#]} 28. e6 $2 {A mistake. Mickey did not trust his kingside pawns and this
lost the game for him.} ({Also dubious is} 28. a6 $6 Nxe5 29. Nxc5 Kc7 $17) ({
However} 28. f4 $1 {was strong when White has enough counterplay after both}
Nxa5 ({Or} 28... c4 29. Nd6 a6 30. Nxf7+ Kd7 31. Kf3 Nxa5 32. Nd6) 29. Nxc5 Kc7
30. e6 $1 {The key move!} fxe6 (30... f6 $4 31. e7) 31. Nxe6+ Kd6 32. Nxg7 Nc4
33. Nf5+ Kd5 34. Kf3 Nxb2 35. Ne3+ Kd4 (35... Ke6 36. Ke4) 36. g4 hxg4+ 37.
hxg4 {and it should be a draw after say} Nc4 38. Nxc4 Kxc4 39. g5 Kd5 40. g6
Ke6 41. f5+ Kf6 42. Ke4 a5 43. Kd4 b4 $11) 28... fxe6 29. Nxc5 Ke7 $17 {[%csl
Ya5,Yb2][%cal Ge7d6,Gd6d5,Gd5c4,Gc4b3,Yc6a5] Diagram [#] Now that the game
gets one-sided it is the activity of the kings that decides.} 30. Nb3 Kd6 31.
Kf3 Kd5 32. Kf4 Kc4 33. Nc1 ({Anand had already seen the win after the more
resilent} 33. Nd2+ Kd3 34. Nf3 (34. Ne4 e5+ 35. Kf5 g6+ $19) 34... b4 $1 $19 ({
Rather than} 34... Nxa5 35. Ne5+ Kc2 36. b4 Nc4 37. Nc6)) 33... Nxa5 34. Kg5
Nb3 35. Ne2 b4 $1 36. Kxh5 a5 {The rook pawns are most unpleasant for the
knights and this one is unstoppable! This was the only win for the black
pieces at the LCC and it gave the best tie break to Vishy Anand who won the
tournament!} 0-1

Complete report.


Nakamura Wins in Round Four

the only decisive game in round four at the LCC was the one between the American GM Hikaru Nakamura and the local Michael Adams.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.13"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "2767"]
[BlackElo "2745"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. d4 {After the fascinating Evans gambit Hikaru switches to the semi-closed
openings. Which does not mean that he is up for a lenghty maneuvering battle...
} Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Qc2 {Diagram [#] The words with which
Hikaru described his game in the opening are fun to listen "Well, I do not
know, it was interesting, I kind of just played something..."} ({The usual
continuation is} 5. Nc3 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 {and this was played by
Nakamura himself with the black pieces recently} 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 c6 10. Bd3
Nxc3 11. Rxc3 dxc4 12. Rxc4 Nd7 13. O-O e5 {Aronian,L (2801)-Nakamura,H (2786)
Antalya 2013}) 5... h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 c5 $6 $146 {Adams felt tempted to
use the absence of the white knight on c3 and strike in the center at once. t
will turn out that this attempt is premature and that the American GM had done
his homework well.} ({Instead} 7... O-O {would have transposed into the usual
QGD} 8. Nc3 b6 {and also} (8... c5) ({or} 8... c6 {are normal continuations})
9. O-O-O $5 Bb7 10. cxd5 exd5 {with interesting play.}) 8. cxd5 cxd4 9. Bb5+ {
The forced play is favourable for the first player who is slightly better
developed.} Bd7 10. dxe6 $1 {Diagram [#] A nice temporary piece sacrifice,
which was part of Nakamura's preparation.} (10. Bxd7+ Qxd7 11. dxe6 Qxe6 12.
O-O Nc6 13. exd4 O-O $1 {is nothing for White.}) 10... Qa5+ ({The bishop on b5
is defended tactically} 10... Bxb5 11. exf7+ Kd7 {or else White regains the
piece at once} (11... Ke7 12. Qc5+) (11... Kf8 12. Qc5+) (11... Kxf7 12. Qb3+
$16) 12. Qf5+ Kc6 13. a4 Ba6 14. b4 {and White will regain the material and
will have strong attack fro free} dxe3 15. b5+ Kb6 16. Ra3 exf2+ 17. Kxf2 $18)
11. Nbd2 Qxb5 ({Hikaru revealed at the press-conference that he mainly checked
the line} 11... Bxb5 12. Qc8+ Qd8 (12... Bd8 13. exf7+ Kxf7 14. Qxb7+ Bc7 15.
Nxd4 $1 {[%csl Ra8,Rb5][%cal Rb7a8,Rb7b5] loses heavily material for Black.}) (
{Nigel Short was very excited to play in "immortal style"} 12... Ke7 13. Qxh8 (
13. Qxb7+ Kxe6 {is unclear, to say at least...}) 13... Nd7 14. Qxa8 Nc5 15. Qc8
Nd3+ 16. Kf1 Nf4+ 17. Nc4 {"And that's the end of the excitement" Short.}) 13.
Qxb7 O-O 14. Qxb5 $1 $16 {The key move pointed out by Hikaru. Indeed, the rook
is poisoned} (14. Qxa8 $2 dxe3 15. fxe3 Qd3 16. exf7+ Kh8 17. Kf2 Qe2+ 18. Kg3
Bc6 19. Qxa7 Be5+ 20. Kh3 Bd7+ 21. g4 Rxf7 {with decisive attack for Black} 22.
Nxe5 Bxg4+ 23. Nxg4 Rxa7 $19)) 12. exd7+ Nxd7 13. Qe4+ Kf8 14. Nxd4 Qxb2 15.
Rb1 Qxa2 16. Qxb7 {Diagram [#] All these moves were more or less forced. Now a
curious situation arises where it becomes evident that Black will sooner or
later lose his a pawn and there will be an endgame four versus three on the
kingside. Will this be a win for White or a draw will depend on the
remaining pieces and the pawn structure. For example, very good for White
will be a pure knight endgame which a theoretical win. Very good for Black
will be a single rook endgame which is usually a draw. A critical moment had
arisen and Mickey has to make tough choice.} Rd8 (16... Rb8 $1 {suggested by
Hikaru was better. After} 17. Qxd7 Rxb1+ 18. Nxb1 Qxb1+ 19. Ke2 Qb2+ ({Black
cannot win the rook due to a cunning checkmate} 19... Qxh1 $4 20. Qc8+ Ke7 21.
Nf5# {[%csl Gc8,Re7,Gf5]}) 20. Kf3 g6 21. Qxa7 Bxd4 22. Qxd4 {[%csl Gb2,Rd4,
Rh1,Gh8] Diagram [#] Black will achieve one of the good combinations of pieces
when the game should be objectively a draw} Qb7+ 23. Kg3 Kg8 24. Ra1 Kh7 25.
Ra7 Qb8+ {"should be a draw"- Nakamura, Short.}) 17. Qb4+ ({Initially Nakamura
wanted to play} 17. Nc6 {but then he thought he is losing after} Nc5 $1 18. Qb4
Kg8 19. O-O Na6 {"I completely missed this move" Hikaru} 20. Qg4 h5 {A closer
look at the position reveals that it is a draw} 21. Qh3 Rxd2 22. Qc8+ Kh7 23.
Qf5+ Kg8 ({as Black cannot avoid the repetition with} 23... Kh6 $4 24. Rb5 $1
$18) 24. Qc8+ $11) 17... Kg8 18. O-O {Now logically the endgame in question
appears on the board after the sequence} a5 19. Qc3 Qd5 20. Qc7 Nf8 21. Rb5 Qd7
22. Qxd7 Rxd7 23. N2f3 Bxd4 24. Nxd4 {This weakens the pawn structure but the
knight is a trouble-maker and should be traded.} Ne6 ({The pawn can never be
saved} 24... Ra7 25. Ra1 a4 26. Rb4 a3 27. Rb3 a2 28. Rb2) 25. Nxe6 fxe6 26.
Rxa5 Kf7 27. g4 $1 {[%csl Re6][%cal Gh2h4,Gh4h5,Gg1g2,Gg2g3,Gf1b1,Gb1b5,Gb5e5,
Ga5a6,Ga6e6,Ge5e6,Yf2f4,Yg4g5] Diagram [#] White's plan is to advance the h
pawn to h5, bring the king to g3, eventually attack the e6 pawn with both
rooks (on a6 and e5 for example) and then push f2-f4 and g4-g5. Nakamura
thought that he has decent winning chances with both the rooks on the board
and cosidered the position a draw with a single pair of rooks.} Rc8 {[%cal
Gg1g2,Gg2g3,Gh2h4,Gh4h5,Gf2f4] It should be noted though that Vishy Anand's
classical knowledge and excellent memory gave us a good example to study and
understand the arising endgame. He mentioned the game Karpov-Hort, Waddinxween
1979 where the world champion then managed to win a similar endgame with only
one pair of rooks!} ({From the comment above, Nakamura suggested the idea}
27... Rhd8 28. h4 ({and he thought he needs to keep the two rooks alive with
the passive} 28. Raa1) 28... Rd1 29. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 30. Kg2 {[%cal Gh4h5,Gf2f4,
Gg2f3,Gf3e4]}) 28. Rb1 Rc2 ({Or else White improves the position as above}
28... Rdc7 29. Kg2 Rd7 30. h4 Rdc7 31. h5 Rd7 32. Kg3 Rdc7 33. Rbb5 Rd7 34. f4
{[%csl Ye6][%cal Gb5e5,Ga5a6,Gg4g5]}) 29. Ra8 Rc4 30. h3 h5 {A blunder.
Passive defense was more stubborn.} 31. gxh5 Rh4 32. Rh8 Kf6 ({Alas, the pawn
is untouchable} 32... Rxh3 $2 33. Kg2 Rh4 34. f4 $18 {[%csl Yh4] "The rook is
inboxed" Nakamura.} Rd5 35. Rb7+ Kf6 36. Rf8#) 33. Kh2 $1 {[%cal Rg1g8]
Diagram [#] The g file decides the battle.} Rd5 34. Rf8+ Ke7 35. Rf3 Rf5 ({
Black loses a second pawn after} 35... Rhxh5 36. Rb7+ Rd7 37. Rxd7+ Kxd7 38.
Rf7+) 36. Rxf5 exf5 37. Rg1 Kf6 38. Rg6+ Kf7 39. Rg5 Kf6 (39... f4 40. Rf5+ Ke6
41. Rxf4) 40. f4 {Diagram [#] The rook is lost, Adams resigned. A very nice
example of a nice opening preparation which lasted till the endgame!} 1-0

Complete report.


A Tribute to Captain Evans

Round three of London Chess Classic saw only peaceful games at the end. And while two of the games were solid Berlin defenses the third one was a different affair:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.12"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C52"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2793"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 {Diagram [#] Wow! The Evans Gambit at the
highest possible level! Hikaru supoprts his reputation of a trouble-maker.
Some years back he tried the King's Gambit, now it is the turn of the Evans
one. "It is an English opening", Hikaru explained later, "and much better
than the King's gambit." Since the opening is named after the Welsh sea
Captain William Davies Evans the hosts felt quite enthusiastic about it and
Nijel Short even joked that Nakamura had already deserved his next year's
invitation with this choice.} Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 {On the other hand, Hikaru's
opening choice should not be a complete surprive if we recall the player who
revived the gamebit. Garry Kasparov that is, yes! The following crushing game
was played roughly 25 years ago, and the victim is... Anand} (5... Be7 6. d4
Na5 7. Be2 $5 exd4 8. Qxd4 $1 $146 Nf6 $6 (8... d6 $5 9. Qxg7 Bf6 10. Qg3 Qe7)
9. e5 Nc6 10. Qh4 Nd5 11. Qg3 g6 (11... O-O $6 12. Bh6 g6 13. h4 $5 $40) 12.
O-O Nb6 (12... d6 13. Rd1 $44) 13. c4 d6 14. Rd1 Nd7 15. Bh6 $1 {and Garry
went on to win in mere 25 moves, Kasparov,G (2805)-Anand,V (2715) Riga 1995.
We should not forget that Nakamura worked with Kasparov some years back. Vishy
on his turn menntioned at the press conference that he had looked at the Evans
recently.}) 6. d4 d6 7. Qb3 Qd7 8. dxe5 Bb6 9. a4 {Diagram [#] "This got me
slightly off-line" Vishy. Indeed, this is quite a rare move and the majority
of the games continued instead} (9. Nbd2 {One recent example saw} dxe5 10. Ba3
Na5 11. Qb4 c5 12. Qb2 Nxc4 13. Nxc4 Qe6 14. Nfxe5 Nf6 15. Qb5+ Nd7 16. Rd1 a6
17. Qb3 Bc7 18. Nd6+ Bxd6 19. Qxe6+ fxe6 20. Nxd7 Bxd7 21. Rxd6 {with pressure
for White in Najer,E (2664)-Melkumyan,H (2649) Germany 2012 rue, Black has
plenty of scope for improvement upon this game.}) 9... Na5 {The ight-squared
bishop is a beast and should be traded at once!} 10. Qa2 Nxc4 11. Qxc4 Ne7 ({
Please note that the pawn is untouchable} 11... dxe5 12. a5 {and this is one
of the ideas behind the a2-a4 push.}) 12. exd6 ({If} 12. O-O {then} d5 {is
possible and the players agreed there is no problem at all for Black.}) 12...
cxd6 13. O-O $146 ({There is a predecessor:} 13. a5 Bc7 (13... Bc5 $5 {can
transpose to the game}) 14. O-O O-O 15. Rd1 Nc6 16. Be3 Re8 17. Qd5 {with some
pressure for White in Spiegel,W (2363)-Koegeler,A (2242) ICCF email 2010})
13... O-O {Vishy decided to make the sensible and solid moves first and not to
risk unnecessarily.} ({Black cannot easily clarify the situation in the center
as he risks to get stuck with the king in the middle} 13... d5 14. exd5 Qxd5
15. Qe2 Be6 16. Rd1 Qa5 17. Ba3 $1 $40) 14. Qd3 Ng6 ({There was a second route
for the knight} 14... Nc6 {and from here the knight will stop all the a4-a5
ideas. Black is comfortable after} 15. Na3 {(Nakamura)} Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 17.
Qxd7 Bxd7 18. Nc4 Bc7 19. Ba3 Rfc8 {The players briefly discussed this
position and I tend to agree with Anand who was optimistic about the black
chances. He owes the bishop pair an dthe better pawn structure and it is
Nakamura who needs to prove equality.}) 15. a5 Bc5 16. Be3 {Diagram [#] White
wants to attack the d6 pawn and needs the bishops off the board.} Re8 {Vishy
plays in a very classical way and prepares the d6-d5 advance.} (16... Qe7 {
[%cal Gf7f5,Gc8d7]} 17. Nbd2 Ne5 {looks OK for Black as well.}) 17. Nbd2 Bxe3
18. Qxe3 d5 19. Rfe1 dxe4 20. Nxe4 {The weak isolated pawn disappeared but
White has the initiative. He threatens now Ne4-f6!} Qe7 ({There is a second
defensive way} 20... Re7 21. Qd4 Qxd4 22. Nxd4 Be6 {when Black solves the
problem of the bishop development.}) 21. Nd6 Qxe3 22. fxe3 Rd8 {The white
pawns are a mess but since Black did not finish the development there are
various problems along the open d and half-open b files.} ({Hikaru thought that
} 22... Re6 {is the easier eqaulizer} 23. Rad1 Ne5 24. Nb5 Nxf3+ 25. gxf3 Rg6+
26. Kf2 Bh3 $11) 23. Red1 Rb8 24. Rd4 ({In case of} 24. c4 {Anand intended} b6
25. a6 Ne7 $1 {with the idea Ne7-c6. The knight defends the a7 pawn and
further intends Nc6-a5 to win the a6 one.} 26. Ne5 f6) 24... Be6 {The bishop
is out and it is time for White to take care of the balance.} 25. c4 b6 26.
axb6 axb6 27. Ra7 h6 28. h3 Ra8 29. Rb7 Rdb8 30. Rc7 {Nakamura keeps the
active rook on the board.} Ra5 $1 31. Kh2 Rc5 32. Ra7 Kf8 33. g4 {Diagram [#]}
Ra5 {Vishy forces the draw.} ({He could have tried to play a bit further with}
33... Ne7 $5 {Indeed, he is not risking at all thanks to his better pawn
structure. At least until Hikaru starts shooting tactics} 34. Rf4 {"I would
have played for tricks" Nakamura} Nc8 35. Nd4 {Looks very scary for Black, but
he has at least two good replies} ({Instead} 35. Nxc8 {forces a draw} Rbxc8 36.
Rb7 Rxc4 37. Rxb6 $11) 35... Bxc4 $1 {(Anand)} (35... Nxd6 $2 36. Nxe6+ Kg8 37.
Nxc5) (35... Nxa7 36. Nxe6+ Ke7 37. Nxc5 Kxd6 $11) 36. Nxc4 Nxa7 37. Ne6+ Kg8
38. Nxc5 bxc5 {and Black wins a pawn.}) 34. Rc7 {Nakamura cannot avoid the
repetition.} (34. Rxa5 bxa5 $15) 34... Rc5 35. Ra7 (35. Rxc5 bxc5 36. Rd3 Rd8
$15) 35... Ra5 36. Rc7 1/2-1/2

Complete report.


Giri and Kramnik in the Lead

Two games proved decisive yesterday in London. Vladimir Kramnik won quickly to Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri managed to grind down Michael Adams's stubborn defense at the end.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.11"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Adams, Michael"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2768"]
[BlackElo "2745"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Bb4+ 5. Nd2 (5. Bd2 {is the more
conventional choice but Anish prepared something interesting for the game.})
5... O-O 6. Ngf3 dxc4 7. Qc2 {[%csl Yh7][%cal Gc2h7] Diagram [#] A tricky
opening line.} ({Caruana had tested the castling twice. His game with Gelfand
saw} 7. O-O b5 8. a4 c6 9. b3 c3 10. Nb1 Bb7 11. Qc2 bxa4 12. Rxa4 c5 13. Nxc3
a5 {with approximately equal chances, Caruana,F (2697)-Gelfand,B (2739)
Amsterdam 2010}) 7... c5 {Anish thought that Mickey was not too familiar with
the line. According to my Megabase, this is the third main move.} ({The main
move is} 7... Nc6 {One recent game saw} 8. Qxc4 Qd5 9. O-O Bxd2 10. Qxd5 exd5
11. Bxd2 Re8 12. e3 Bf5 13. Rfc1 Be4 {and Black held the ballance in Belov,V
(2625)-Tomashevsky,E (2708) Irkutsk 2010}) ({The idea of White's early queen
sortie is revealed in the line} 7... b5 8. a4 $1 c6 (8... bxa4 9. O-O {is very
nice for White who enjoys clear play against the black weak pawns.}) 9. axb5
cxb5 $2 ({Black can avaoid the immediate disater but his position will not be
enviable after} 9... Qd5 10. b6 Ba6 11. bxa7 Bxd2+ 12. Bxd2 Rxa7 13. O-O $16 {
Roiz,M (2579)-Gaprindashvili,V (2415) Warsaw 2005}) 10. Ng5 $1 $18 {White win
at least the exchange as} Nd5 11. Qxh7# {does not look great for the second
player...Giri revealed that a lot of Grandmasters had felt for this idea only
to realize in the process the Nf3-g5! resource.}) 8. dxc5 c3 {It is useful to
break the opponent's pawn chain whenever possible.} 9. bxc3 Bxc5 10. O-O Qc7 ({
More natural seems to be the development of the knight} 10... Nc6 {This was
played three times by Sergey Tiviakov. Giri mentioned the idea} 11. Ng5 ({
Rather than} 11. Ne4 Be7 12. Rd1 Qa5 13. Nd4 Nxd4 14. cxd4 Bd7 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6
16. Bxb7 Rab8 17. Be4 Ba4 18. Qd2 Qd8 19. Ba3 Re8 20. Bc2 Bxc2 21. Qxc2 Bxd4 {
1/2 (21) Riazantsev,A (2621)-Tiviakov,S (2663) Sochi 2007}) 11... h6 12. Nde4
Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Be7 14. Rd1 Qc7 {although the impression is that Black should be
able to gradually equalize. If he did not already.}) 11. Ne4 $146 {[%cal Gg2a8,
Gf4b8] A logical novelty. White clears the road for his pieces.} ({The only
previous game saw the interesting pawn sacrifice} 11. Nc4 $5 {which Tiviakov
decided not to accept} Nbd7 (11... Bxf2+ 12. Rxf2 Qxc4 13. Ba3 Re8 14. Ng5 {
would lead to sharp, lively play instead.}) 12. Qb3 e5 13. a4 Rb8 14. Bg5 Re8
15. a5 Bf8 16. Na3 a6 17. Nc4 b5 18. axb6 Nxb6 19. Nxb6 Rxb6 $11 {Kaidanov,G
(2540)-Tiviakov,S (2520) Torcy 1991}) 11... Nxe4 12. Qxe4 Nd7 13. Bf4 $14 {
White's lead in the development gives him the advantage.} Bd6 14. Bxd6 Qxd6 15.
Rfd1 Qc7 (15... Qc5 {can be answered} 16. Rab1 {when the pawn on c3 is
untouchable} (16. Qb4 {is not bad either.}) 16... Qxc3 17. Rbc1 Qa5 18. Rxc8
Raxc8 19. Rxd7 $16) 16. Qb4 {[%csl Yb7,Rc8][%cal Gg2b7,Gb1b8] Black's main
problem is his bishop on c8. If it can come out and jump on c6, everything
will be fine. But since the white bishop dominates on the long diagonal and
the half-open b file is in White's hands this is not easy to achieve. That is
what Catalan is all about!} Nf6 (16... Nc5 17. Nd4 Bd7 18. Nb3 Nxb3 19. axb3
Bc6 20. Qc5 {is aline given by Giri where he believed he wins a pawn. If go a
bit deeper} Qb6 21. Qxb6 axb6 22. Rxa8 Rxa8 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. Rd6 Rc8 25. f4 {
we see that the rook endgame is very unpleasant for Black. The active rook
makes the big difference. Still, from a hinsight this was probably Black's
best chance.}) 17. Nd4 {Opens the g2 monster and threatens Nd4-b5-d6.} a6 18.
Nb3 a5 $6 {An important moment. Adams lures teh queen on c5 in order to win a
tempo for the b7-b6 move and free the bishop. That appears a bit slow though.}
({Giri was afraid of the typical pawn sacrifice} 18... Nd5 $5 19. Bxd5 exd5 20.
Rxd5 Be6 21. Rc5 Qe7 (21... Qd7 $5) 22. Nd4 Bh3 {For the pawn Black has some
play on the light squares and a good bishop. Still, White should be better.})
19. Qc5 Qb8 ({Black loses a pawn in the endgame} 19... Qxc5 20. Nxc5 Rb8 21.
Rab1 b6 22. Rd6 b5 23. a4 b4 24. cxb4 axb4 25. Rd4 $18) 20. Rab1 {Mounts the
pressure along the b file. Mickey will have to sacrifice a pawn to free his
position sooner or later. However Anish missed some counterplay by his
opponent.} (20. Rd6 $5 {not to allow b7-b6 was also good, for example} Nd7 21.
Qa3 Ne5 22. Nd2 Qc7 23. Rb1 {and White dominates.}) 20... b6 21. Qd6 Nd5 $1 {
Or else Black is completely paralized} (21... Qxd6 22. Rxd6 Ra6 (22... Rb8 23.
Nxa5) 23. Nd4 e5 24. Nb5 $16) 22. Qxb8 Rxb8 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Nxa5 {Captures
the more important pawn.} (24. Rxd5 Be6 25. Rd2 Rfc8 26. Rc1 b5 27. Nxa5 b4 28.
c4 Ra8 29. Nb3 Rxc4 30. Rxc4 Bxc4 {gives excellent drawing chances to Black.})
24... Bf5 $1 {Initially missed by White when he played Ra1-b1.} 25. Nc6 Bxb1
26. Nxb8 Bxa2 27. Nd7 Re8 28. Nxb6 Rxe2 {[%csl Ga2,Ge2] Diagram [#] Mickey can
be happy with his defense so far. He managed to trade a lot of pawns and
activate his pieces. Anish tries his best chance} 29. c4 $1 ({The rook endgame
after} 29. Nxd5 Bxd5 30. Rxd5 g6 {should be a draw with precise defense. The
most dangerous passer on the queenside in these situations is the b one.})
29... Kf8 30. Rxd5 $1 {Giri admitted at the press conference that the position
should be objectively a draw "Of course" and started producing devilish tricks.
} ({Black holds after} 30. cxd5 Ke7 (30... Rb2 31. d6 Ke8 32. d7+ Kd8 33. Rd6
Rc2 {followed by Ba2-e6 and Rc2-c7 is equal as well.}) 31. d6+ Kd8 32. Rc1 Be6
33. d7 (33. Ra1 Ba2 $1) 33... Bxd7 34. Rd1 Re7 $11) 30... Bb1 {The move in the
game intended to meet the natural} (30... Re6 {with the nice regrouping} 31.
Rb5 $1 Rc6 32. Nd5 {threatens back-rank mate.} Rc8 33. Rb4 g6 ({One more trcik
is seen after} 33... Bxc4 $2 34. Nb6) (33... Rxc4 34. Rb8+ Rc8 35. Rxc8#) 34.
Ne3 {the pawn is well defended and more importantly- the black bishop is out
of the game for very long time, if not for ever.}) 31. Rd8+ $1 {An important
in-between check. Anish did not want to allow the bishop a chance to seize the
long diagonal} (31. Kf1 Rb2 32. c5 Be4 {when Black will have plenty of
counterplay.}) 31... Ke7 32. Rd1 Bc2 $6 ({Now} 32... Be4 33. Kf1 Rb2 34. Nc8+ {
looks awkward for Black. In the arising time trouble Adams did not dare to go
for this line and this was probably a mistake. After} (34. Re1 Rxb6 35. Rxe4+
Kd6 {is very close to a draw}) 34... Kf6 35. Rc1 Ra2 36. c5 Bc6 {[%cal Gf6e6,
Ge6d5] Black should be able to hold.}) 33. Nc8+ {One more nasty in-between
check.} Kf6 ({White's idea is revealed in the line} 33... Ke8 34. Rd4 Re1+ 35.
Kg2 Be4+ $2 36. Rxe4+ Rxe4 37. Nd6+ $18) 34. Rd6+ Kg5 ({The central sqaure is
not advisible due to the tricky knight again} 34... Ke5 $2 35. Kf1 Re4 36. f4+
Kf5 37. Rd2 {with the dual threat of a knight fork and the bishop.}) 35. Kf1
Re8 36. Rd5+ (36. Nb6 $5) 36... Kf6 37. Nd6 Ra8 38. Ke2 {Giri made a lot of
progress. He centralized his pieces and the king and deprived the black pieces
from their best squares. It is somewhat unusual to see the bishop dominated by
the knight in such an empty board.} Ra1 {Diagram [#] A blunder in the time
trouble.} ({Both the king moves were preferable} 38... Ke6 39. Nb5 Ke7) ({Or}
38... Ke7 39. Ke3 {In either case though it is not certain if Black could
survive.}) 39. Ne8+ $1 {White wins a second pawn and the game.} Kg6 (39... Ke7
40. Nxg7) 40. Rd6+ f6 41. Rd7 Kh6 42. Nxg7 Ra2 43. Ke3 Ra5 ({Anish also
mentioned the last chance for Black} 43... Ra3+ 44. Kf4 Rc3 {but here too
White wins after} 45. Rc7 Bd3 46. Ne6 Rxc4+ (46... Bxc4 47. Nf8) 47. Rxc4 Bxc4
48. Kf5 $18) 44. Re7 Rc5 45. Kd4 Re5 46. Rxe5 fxe5+ 47. Kc3 {A fine win by
Giri who used the little details to turn the small advantage into a win!} 1-0

Kramnik and Giri share the lead after two rounds. Full report.


Adams Starts Strong in London

After days filled with rapid and blitz action the London Classics treats us with the main dish.
I decided to annotate the only decisive game for you.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "6th London Chess Classic"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2014.12.10"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Adams, Michael"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C90"]
[WhiteElo "2745"]
[BlackElo "2829"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "145"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. e4 {Michael Adams is one of the few top players who sticks to this
aggressive move mainly.} e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 {Good news. Fabiano Caruana
prefers play with more pieces on the board. This decision might be influenced
by the fact that Adams was revealed as Carlsen's secret weapon in Sochi, where
there were plenty of Berlins. Decisive Berlins actually.} 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7
6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d3 {The Anti Marshall is another good sign for the
viewers. Both the sides keep their options wide open, even though there is no
immediate central clash.} d6 9. c3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nf1 h6 {
[%csl Rd5,Yf6,Rg5,Gh6][%cal Gh7h6,Ge7f8,Gf8e8,Yc1g5] A small subtlety. Fabiano
excludes the option Bc1-g5xf6 after which the white knight from f1 will go to
d5 in great comfort (Nf1-e3-d5). Then White will get a chance to dominate on
the light squares, although I know a lot of people who have no fear of this.}
13. Ne3 ({A more common way is to develop the knight on g3. Here is one recent
example} 13. h3 Re8 14. Ng3 Be6 15. Bb3 Bf8 16. d4 cxd4 17. cxd4 Bxb3 18. axb3
d5 $1 $132 {Vallejo Pons,F (2698)-Zhang,Z (2611) Tromsoe 2014}) 13... Re8 {
Black's plan is to regroup with Be7-f8, and eventually to fianchettoe it later
after g7-g6. The main idea is to carry out the freeing central blow d6-d5.} 14.
a4 Be6 15. h3 Bf8 16. Nh2 {The idea is to once more weaken the control on the
d5 square with Nh2-g4. Mickey can also go for the kingside attack with Qd1-f3
and Ne3-f5.} b4 $146 {[%cal Ga8b8,Gb8b1,Ya1a4] Diagram [#] Fabiano comes out
with a novelty first. I have the feeling though that the principled move
remains d6-d5, for example} (16... d5 17. axb5 (17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Nxd5 Qxd5)
17... axb5 18. Rxa8 Qxa8 19. exd5 Nxd5 20. Neg4 (20. Nxd5 {might be better}
Bxd5 21. Ng4 {and Black cannot easily expand in the center} f5 {because of} 22.
Ne3 Be6 23. d4 $1) 20... Nf4 21. Nf3 Ng6 $11 {Spraggett,K (2568)-Sargissian,G
(2671) Linares 2013}) 17. Bb3 {[%csl Ga2,Gb3,Gc4,Gd5,Ge6,Gf7] Very logical.
Adams takes care of the light squares.} Rb8 18. Bc4 ({Naturally not} 18. Bxe6
fxe6 {which will support the weak d5 and f5 squares and kill all the white
play.}) 18... bxc3 {Fabiano also playes logically and opens the b file for his
rook. Next comes an excellent resource.} 19. bxc3 d5 $1 {[%csl Rc5,Rd5,Re5]
The same old central approach. This time it is tactically supported by the
lose position of the c3 pawn.} ({Weak is} 19... a5 $2 20. Bb5 $16 {when Black
will suffer on the ight squares till teh end of the game.}) 20. Bxa6 ({A
curious line runs after} 20. exd5 Nxd5 21. Nxd5 Bxd5 22. Bxa6 Qa5 23. Bb5 {
best as} (23. Bc4 $6 {leads to clear edge for Black after} Bxc4 24. dxc4 Qxc3
$17) 23... Rxb5 24. c4 Rbb8 25. cxd5 Nb4 $11 {This was White's best choice.})
20... Qa5 21. c4 (21. exd5 Nxd5 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 {will transpose to the line from
above}) ({While the immedaite} 21. Bb5 Rxb5 22. axb5 Qxa1 23. bxc6 Qxc3 {
favors Black who owes the bishop pair and the future.}) 21... Qxa6 {Safe and
strong.} ({Another possibility was} 21... d4 22. Bb5 Rxb5 (22... dxe3 {is good
for White after} 23. Bxc6 exf2+ 24. Kxf2 Red8 25. Bd5) 23. cxb5 dxe3 24. bxc6
exf2+ 25. Kxf2 c4 {with a mess.}) 22. exd5 Bxd5 23. cxd5 Nb4 $15 {[%csl Ya4,
Gb4,Yd3,Yd5] The outcome of the central break is positive for Fabiano. He
shattered Mickey's central control and now enjoys clear play against the white
and d PP.} 24. Ra3 Nfxd5 25. Neg4 f6 26. Nf1 $1 {White reroutes his pieces to
their optimal squares.} Rbd8 {So does Black. The idea is to pile against the d
pawn and capture it at the end.} (26... Red8 {might be more accurate.}) 27. Ng3
c4 {Caruana decided that the time had come to cash in the advantage. However,
from a hinsight this might not be the most optimal thing. He could have been
more cautious with} (27... Kh8 {when the similar attack would not lead to the
same} 28. Nf5 (28. Qf3 $2 Nc2) 28... Ne7 29. Ngxh6 gxh6 30. Nxh6 Bxh6 31. Bxh6
Qe6 {as White lacks the mighty knight.} 32. Qh5 Qf5 33. Qf7 Qg6) 28. Nxh6+ $1 {
[%csl Rg8] Diagram [#] Superb! Adams needs no second invitation! For the
sacrificed piece he will get two pawns and constant threats against the weak
black king.} (28. dxc4 Qxc4 29. Qb3 Qxb3 30. Rxb3 Ra8 $17) 28... gxh6 29. Qg4+
Kh8 ({Worse is} 29... Kf7 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5+ Ng6 32. Nf5 {with the threat
Ra3-g3} Nd3 33. Rxd3 $1 Rxd3 34. Nh4 f5 35. Qxf5+ Qf6 36. Qxd3 Qxh4 37. Be3 $16
) ({But} 29... Kh7 $1 {was probably better as in the line} 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5
{the king defends the pawn on h6 and Fabiano will have one tempo to bring the
defenders closer} Qe6 32. Ne4 Ng8 $13) 30. dxc4 Ne7 31. Qh5 Ng8 32. Nf5 ({
Adams also had the nice} 32. Bxh6 $1 {After which White wins third pawn and
continues the attack} Bxh6 33. Nf5 Kh7 $2 ({Best is} 33... Qe6 $1 34. Nxh6 Rd7
35. Nf7+ Kg7 36. Rg3+ Kf8 37. Nh8 $1 $16 {although White is clearly better
here as well.}) 34. Rg3 {with the threats Rg3-g7+ and Nf5xh6 both followed by
Qh5-g6} Qa7 (34... Rd7 35. Nxh6 Nxh6 36. Qg6+ Kh8 37. Qxe8+) 35. Nxh6 Nxh6 36.
Qg6+ Kh8 37. Qxh6+ Qh7 38. Qxf6+ Qg7 39. Qxg7#) 32... Qb7 33. Rg3 (33. Nh4 $5 {
is another way to attack.}) 33... Qh7 34. Nh4 {Ah! This slows down the attack.
Mickey was winning with the beautiful line:} (34. Re4 $1 Nc6 (34... Na2 35.
Reg4 Nxc1 36. Rxg8+ Qxg8 37. Rxg8+ Kxg8 38. Qg6+ Kh8 39. Nxh6 Bxh6 40. Qxh6+
Kg8 41. Qxc1 $18) 35. Reg4 Nce7 {Diagram [#]} 36. Nd6 $3 {[%csl Re8,Rf8,Rg8,
Yh8][%cal Rh5e8,Rg3g8,Re8f8]} Rxd6 37. Qxe8 Rd1+ 38. Kh2 h5 39. Rxg8+ Nxg8 40.
Qxf8 Rxc1 41. Rxg8+ Qxg8 42. Qh6+ $18 {Needless to say, I am using my computer
to find all of these moves.}) 34... Ne7 {Now Fabiano stabilizes the sitution
although it remains very delicate for both sides. Black always risks to
blunder some material or get checkmated, while White needs to skilfully mount
pressure or else he might end up losing slowly.} 35. Ba3 Nbc6 36. Kh2 Bg7 37.
Bxe7 Nxe7 38. Rd1 {Both the players are skilfully maneuvering. Instead of the
last move, White could have traded some pawns with} (38. f4 {this will both
open the black king further and will prepare successful defense in the edngame
in case that something goes wrong.}) 38... Qg8 39. Rb1 Rb8 40. Rd1 Red8 {Black
rejects the repetition of moves.} 41. c5 Rxd1 42. Qxd1 Rb4 $2 {without the
rook pair Black's position becomes more vulnerable. He has too many squares to
defend. The pawns too become stronger.} ({Instead of the move in the game}
42... Qc8 43. a5 f5 {was the better choice.}) 43. Qd7 Rxh4 44. Qxe7 Rd4 (44...
Rc4 45. a5 $16 {is still difficult for Black.}) (44... Rxa4 $2 {would be a
blunder after} 45. Rxg7 Qxg7 46. Qe8+ $18) 45. c6 Qf8 46. Qb7 Rb4 47. Qd7 Rd4
48. Qb7 Rb4 {Diagram [#]} 49. Rc3 $1 {[%cal Gc6c7,Gc7c8] It is Mickey's turn
to turn the repetition offer down! He risks nothing indeed.} f5 ({Bad is} 49...
Rxb7 50. cxb7 Qb4 51. Rc8+ Kh7 52. b8=Q $18) 50. Qd7 Rd4 51. Qe6 Rd6 $1 {
Diagram [#] Fabiano could not find satisfactory defense against the pawn
promoting plan and sacrifice the piece back for the c passer.} ({If} 51... Rd8
52. c7 Rc8 53. a5 {There is seemingly no defense against the march of the a
pawn all the way to a8 which will release the other one.}) 52. Qxd6 $1 Qxd6 53.
c7 e4+ 54. g3 Bxc3 55. c8=Q+ Kh7 56. Qxc3 f4 $1 {The best defense again.
Black's only chance is the perpetual check.} 57. gxf4 Qxf4+ 58. Qg3 Qd2 {[%csl
Ye4,Yh7] Diagram [#]} 59. Qc7+ $1 {Alas, this defense does not work to the
iron grip by Adams. He wins a second pawn by force.} Kg6 60. Qb6+ Kh7 (60...
Kh5 61. Qe3 $1) 61. Qb7+ $1 Kh8 62. Qa8+ $1 Kg7 63. Qxe4 Kf6 (63... Qxf2+ 64.
Qg2+ {was the point of the previous checks. Now White wins.}) 64. Qf3+ Kg6 65.
Kg2 Qa2 66. Qe4+ Kf6 67. Qf4+ Kg6 68. Qd6+ Kg7 69. Qe5+ Kh7 70. a5 Qg8+ 71. Kh2
Qf7 72. Qe4+ Kg7 73. a6 {An excellent start for Adams who proved once again
his perfect understanding of the Ruy Lopez!} 1-0

Complete report by Peter Doggers here.


The Olympiad in Tromso from PNG Angle

The Olympiad ended at the middle of August but since it was such a lovely event it definitely deserves a video. This one is created by my player Craig Skehan, enjoy!


Carlsen Retains the Title!

In what appeared to be a decisive game Magnus Carlsen of Norway defeated Viswanathan Anand of India to keep the crown of a World Champion.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.23"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "89"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 {Anand deviates first today. In the previous games of
the match he played} (9... Ke8) 10. Nc3 h6 11. b3 (11. Bf4 {is another way of
developing the B, when} b6 (11... Kc8 {is more common}) 12. a4 a5 13. Rad1 Kc8
14. b3 Bb4 15. Ne4 Be6 {was equal in Shirov,A-Almasi,Z/Polanica Zdroj 2000/CBM
79 (40)}) 11... Kc8 {This is Kramnik's choice, he used this development in the
match against Kasparov.} 12. Bb2 {Diagram [#]} c5 {[%csl Yd5] And this is
quite fresh. In most of the case Black does not like to allow the white N on
d5 that early.} (12... b6 {remains the main plan and this is definitely
influenced by the match Kasparov- Kramnik. One of the firts games in this line
was played in this direction. A more recent example saw} 13. Rad1 Ne7 {[%cal
Gc6c5,Ge7g6,Ge7c6]} (13... Be6 14. g4 Ne7 15. Nd4)) (12... Ne7 13. Nd4 (13.
Rad1 c5 14. Ne2 Ng6 {[%csl Rd4,Re5,Rf4]}) 13... c5 14. Nde2 Bf5 $1 {[%csl Rc2]
which forces the white R to defend the pawn passively as in Shirov,A (2745)
-Volokitin,A (2671) Dagomys 2009}) 13. Rad1 b6 14. Rfe1 {The knight could go
to d5 at once.} (14. Nd5 Bc6 15. c4 Kb7 16. g4 Ne7 17. Nh4 Bxd5 18. cxd5 Rd8
19. d6 cxd6 20. Rxd6 Nc6 21. Rxd8 Nxd8 22. f4 $16 {Mista,A (2467)-Deszczynski,
A (2341) Wysowa 2003}) (14. Nd5 a5 15. Nd2 Ne7 16. Ne3 Nf5 17. Nd5 Ne7 18. Ne3
Nf5 {1/2 (18) Kokarev,D (2621)-Leko,P (2730) Loo 2014}) 14... Be6 15. Nd5 g5
16. c4 $146 ({The logical novelty. Carlsen overprotects the knight in the
center. In the only predecessor White could not equalize after} 16. Nh2 Kb7 17.
f4 $2 Nd4 (17... c4 $1) 18. Bxd4 cxd4 19. Nf6 gxf4 $17 {Zhidkov,P (2278)
-Vitoshinskiy,Y Dubna 2001}) 16... Kb7 17. Kh2 a5 {[%cal Ga5a4] The threat is
to open up the a file for the rook. This should be prevented.} 18. a4 Ne7 $11 {
[%csl Ya4,Yb3,Yc4][%cal Ge6f5,Gf5c2,Yc2b3] But now the pawns on the queenside
are somewhat vulnerable. Black can attack them in the future with Be6-f5-c2.}
19. g4 Ng6 20. Kg3 Be7 (20... Bg7 {at once is less precise as White can go for}
21. h4 {However, Black has an interesting counter-blow} h5 $5 {with a possible
line} 22. Nxg5 hxg4 23. Rh1 Rh6 24. Nxe6 fxe6 25. Nf6 Rah8 26. h5 Nxe5 27. Bxe5
Bxf6 28. Rde1 $14 {and White retains pressure.}) 21. Nd2 {The opposite colored
bishop endgames favors Black.} (21. Nxe7 Nxe7 22. Nd2 Ng6 {as the white bishop
is blocked and if its counterpart comes out any time all the queenside pawns
will be in danger.}) 21... Rhd8 22. Ne4 Bf8 $1 {Now with h3-h4 out of the
question the bishop can return to the long diagonal.} 23. Nef6 {Both the white
knights occupied some nice squares, but what is coming next? It is hard to
say for White, but Vishy has a very nice blow in his disposal.} b5 $1 {[%csl
Ya4,Yb3,Yc4] Typical, but nice! The queenside is discovered.} 24. Bc3 $1 {The
correct decision that keeps control of the situation. The alternatives are
clearly inferior for Magnus:} (24. cxb5 $2 c6 25. bxc6+ Kxc6 26. Ne3 Bxb3 $17 {
sees the white pawns diasappear.}) ({While} 24. axb5 $6 {is also good for
Black only} a4 25. bxa4 Rxa4 26. Rc1 Nf4 27. Rc2 Bxd5 28. Nxd5 $15 (28. cxd5
Be7 29. Bc1 Nd3 30. Re3 Rd4 31. Bb2 Nxb2 32. Rxb2 Bxf6 33. exf6 Rd6 $15)) 24...
bxa4 25. bxa4 Kc6 {[%cal Gb8b1] Now Anand gets counterplay on the open b file
and his position seems preferrable.} 26. Kf3 Rdb8 {The first critical moment
of the game. This move is logical but two other moves deserved serious
attention.} (26... Bg7 {was suggested by Anand himself and he assesed it as
equal.}) (26... Be7 $5 {On the other hand might be already bettter for Black!
For example} 27. Ke4 (27. Nxe7+ $2 {is once again just bad} Nxe7 28. Rxd8 Rxd8
$17) 27... Bxf6 $1 {Once that the knights disappear the knight versus bishop
in a blocked position will be definitely favorable for the Indian GM!} 28. exf6
Bxd5+ 29. cxd5+ Kd6 $15) 27. Ke4 {Diagram [#] The second critical moment of
the game and the match. Anand went all in with his next move} Rb4 {I do not
know how to comment it and what marks to put here. Let me quote Vishy then-
"It was a bad bluff and I got punished"- Anand.} ({A good alternative would
have been} 27... Rb3 28. Rb1 Rab8 29. Rxb3 Rxb3 {when the game should most
likely end in a draw after something like} 30. Ra1 (30. Bxa5 {is worse as} Ra3
(30... Rxh3) 31. Bxc7 Rxa4 32. Rc1 Bg7 33. Bd6 Bxf6 34. Nxf6 Nf4 $15 {leaves
White's position rather lose.} (34... Bxc4 $15 {is also good.})) 30... Bg7 {
Now a forced line goes} 31. Bxa5 Rxh3 32. f3 Rh2 33. Bc3 (33. Bxc7 $4 {loses a
piece due to} Bxf6) 33... Re2+ 34. Kd3 Rh2 35. a5 (35. Ke4 $11) 35... Bxf6 36.
exf6 Bxd5 37. cxd5+ Kxd5 38. Bd2 (38. a6 $4 Nf4+ 39. Ke3 Re2#) 38... Ne5+ 39.
Kc3 Rh3 40. a6 Rxf3+ 41. Kc2 Nd7 42. a7 Nb6 43. a8=Q+ Nxa8 44. Rxa8 Rxf6 $11)
28. Bxb4 cxb4 29. Nh5 {Now Magnus converters the advantage with an iron grip!
The idea is to open up the game after f2-f4.} Kb7 {Or else the king might be
under a pin here} (29... Rb8 30. f4 gxf4 31. Ndxf4 Nxf4 32. Nxf4 b3 (32... Bxc4
$2 33. Rc1 {[%csl Rc4,Rc6][%cal Rc1c6]}) 33. Nxe6 fxe6 34. Rb1 Rb4 35. Kd3 $16)
30. f4 $1 {[%cal Rf1f8,Rd1d8] Diagram [#]} gxf4 31. Nhxf4 Nxf4 32. Nxf4 Bxc4
33. Rd7 Ra6 (33... Kc6 34. Rd2 Kb7 35. Rc1 Bb3 36. Rd7 $18) 34. Nd5 Rc6 35.
Rxf7 Bc5 {Diagram [#]} 36. Rxc7+ $1 {The most exact follow up- all the pieces
disappear.} Rxc7 37. Nxc7 Kc6 (37... Kxc7 38. Rc1 Bb3 39. Rxc5+ Kb6 40. Rb5+
Ka6 41. Kd4 Bxa4 42. Rb8 $18) 38. Nb5 Bxb5 39. axb5+ Kxb5 40. e6 b3 41. Kd3 Be7
42. h4 a4 43. g5 hxg5 44. hxg5 a3 (44... Bxg5 45. Re5+) 45. Kc3 {Diagram [#]
And this is where Vishy shook Magnus's hand resigning the match!
Congratulations to the new-old champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his
worthy opponent Vishy Anand of India! Many thanks to both the players for the
unforgettable match!} 1-0


Intense Fight

Round ten saw Magnus Carlsen returning to the Gruenfeld where he produced a novelty on move fourteen. It seems as Viswanathan Anand did not react at the most dangerous way and the Norwegian held the game to a draw rather convincingly.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.21"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D97"]
[WhiteElo "2792"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 {Carlsen switches to the Gruenfeld. It should
have been difficult for Anand to prepare for each game. The thing is that
Carlsen does not choose the same opening despite its positive outcome. The QGD
served him well in the last game, while the Gruenfeld was not that good in
game one, but nevertheless he switches back to it. Thus Anand has to work
more, in different directions and to spend more energy in the pre-game
preparation.} 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 {The Russian system was chosen by Anand. This
is not only respect to the orginers of the match but his main weapon against
the Gruenfeld.} dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Na6 {Curiously, Magnus had only two
games in this line, back in 2003 and 2005. In the latter he chose the same
move.} ({Also possible is} 7... a6 {which was played against Anand by a former
second of Carlsen} 8. Be2 b5 9. Qb3 Nc6 10. e5 Be6 11. Qd1 Nd5 {with solid
position for Black in Anand,V (2811)-Nepomniachtchi,I (2730) Moscow 2011}) 8.
Be2 {The main move.} ({The only previous game of Magnus in the line saw the
offbeat} 8. Bg5 c5 9. d5 e6 10. O-O-O Qa5 11. Qb5 Qxb5 12. Bxb5 Nc7 13. Be2
exd5 14. exd5 Rd8 15. d6 Nce8 16. Bb5 $13 {Azmaiparashvili,Z (2658)-Carlsen,M
(2570) Khanty-Mansiysk 2005}) 8... c5 9. d5 ({White is not ready for the open
game} 9. dxc5 {yields him nothing after} Be6 10. Qb5 Rc8 $36) 9... e6 10. O-O
exd5 11. exd5 Re8 {The second most common but quite natural move. Vishy had
faced the main move twice against Garry-Almighty} (11... Bf5 12. Rd1 Qb6 13.
Qh4 (13. d6 Rad8 14. Na4 Qc6 $5 {Anand,V (2781)-Kasparov,G (2812) Frankfurt
1999}) 13... Bc2 14. Rd2 Bf5 15. Rd1 Bc2 16. Rd2 {1/2 (16) Anand,V (2781)
-Kasparov,G (2812) Frankfurt 1999}) 12. Bg5 {It is useful to provoke a
weakness on the kingside.} h6 13. Be3 Bf5 14. Rad1 {All of this have already
been seen. Here Magnus came up with a logical novelty} Ne4 $146 {[%cal Rf5b1,
Rg7b2] Diagram [#] Which however is not surprisng at all for any Gruenfeld/KID
player. The road for thh two black bishops is opened and they can start
exerting pressure on the queenside.} ({Previously only} 14... Qb6 {was checked
and here beside the move} 15. b3 {White has plenty of interesting options to
work in his laboratory} (15. Nh4 $5) (15. Qb5 $5) (15. Rd2 $5) 15... Rad8 16.
Rd2 Ng4 17. Bf4 Qa5 18. Rc1 {All of this was played by one of Anand's seconds}
g5 ({Black missed a good shot} 18... b5 $1 19. Qxb5 (19. Nxb5 $2 Re4) 19...
Bxc3 20. Qxa5 Bxa5 21. Bxa6 Bxd2 $17) 19. Bg3 Bxc3 20. Qxc3 Qxc3 21. Rxc3 {
with doubled-edged endgame in Wojtaszek,R (2713)-Ponomariov,R (2729) Poikovsky
2012 Obviously the Polish GM provided Anand with some additional know-how.})
15. Nxe4 {The first moment where the challenger could have gone for the sharp}
(15. d6 $5 Nxc3 (15... Bxc3 $6 {looks too risky} 16. bxc3 Nxd6 $2 17. Qf4 $18 {
White has grand attack on the dark squares.}) 16. bxc3 Qb6 {Only the further
analyzes will prove if the d6 pawn is a weakness or an asset to the first
player.}) 15... Bxe4 ({Worse is} 15... Rxe4 {as the rook is vulnerable there}
16. Qc1 Kh7 17. Bd3 $16) 16. Qc1 {The second moment of the game where Vishy
could have played sharper. Why endgame?!} ({I strongly believe that the right
treatment of the position was to keep the queens on the board. A central
passer is good in the middlegame and not in the endgame. It separates the
flanks into two independent parts and can help the kingside attack. In the
endgame the cetral pawn is easily attacked by the king and is in most cases a
weakness.} 16. d6 $5 {with the obvious idea} Bxb2 $2 (16... Bc6 {should be
better although White has a lot to play for, for example} 17. Qc1 $5 {The
knight on a6 is misplaced and the kingside is under pressure.} Re6 18. Bxa6
bxa6 19. Qxc5 Bxf3 20. gxf3 {and White is better as} Bxb2 {fails to} 21. d7 {
Notice how difficult it is not for Black to block the pawn!}) 17. Bxh6) 16...
Qf6 17. Bxh6 Qxb2 {[%csl Yb2,Yc1] Diagram [#] "I was a little overoptimistic.
I thought that without the queens on the board I am immediately fine." Carlsen.
He indeed hs to solve some problems but as he demonstrated in the later, the
endgame is much easier to hold than the middlegame.} (17... Bxd5 {is also
possible although White is little better after} 18. Rxd5 Rxe2 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20.
Rd7 Re7 21. Rxe7 Qxe7 22. Re1 Qf6 23. Re4 $14 {thanks to the misplaced Na6.})
18. Qxb2 ({Or} 18. Bxg7 Qxc1 19. Rxc1 Kxg7 20. Bxa6 bxa6 21. Rxc5 Red8 22. Rd1
Rab8 $11 {as Magnus intended to play.}) 18... Bxb2 19. Ng5 {"I underestimated
this move," Carlsen. And I suspect that this is the position that tempted
Anand to swap off the queeens. Now he wins the bishop pair.} (19. d6 {is also
interesting.}) ({However} 19. Bxa6 $2 {is simply wrong as the c pawn supported
by the bishop pair will be good only for Black} bxa6 20. d6 c4 $17) ({another
tempting continuation is suggested by Anand} 19. Bb5 {although this should not
be much after} Red8) 19... Bd4 $1 {[%csl Gd4,Yd5] Diagram [#] "This was very
precise"- Anand. The pawn on d6 had been excluded from the main forces and is
now doomed. Vishy tries everything he can to generate threats with his
bishops.} ({Black has no time to save the bishop} 19... Bf5 20. Bb5 Red8 21. d6
Bd4 22. Bc4 Rxd6 23. Nxf7 Rd7 24. Nd6+ Kh7 25. Nxf5 gxf5 26. Bf4 $16) ({Neither
} 19... Bc2 $2 {is good due to} 20. Rd2 Nb4 21. d6 $16) 20. Nxe4 Rxe4 21. Bf3
Re7 22. d6 ({While watching the game I anticipated the line} 22. Bf4 Rd7 23. d6
Nb4 24. Rd2 {which basically transposes into the game. Then after} Re8 {[%csl
Yd6][%cal Ge8e6,Gb4c6,Gd4e5,Ge5d6] Black intends to surround the pawn with
Re8-e6, Nb4-c6 and Bd4-e5. Somethimes the kingside pawns also help. Examplary
line goes like this} 25. Rc1 Nc6 (25... Re6 {also makes sense}) 26. Bxc6 bxc6
27. Kf1 f6 (27... Re6 28. Re2 Rxe2 29. Kxe2 f6) 28. h4 (28. Re2 Rxe2 29. Kxe2
g5 30. Bg3 f5 $11) 28... Kf7 29. g3 Rg8 30. Re2 g5 31. hxg5 fxg5 {and the d6
pawn will disappear.}) 22... Rd7 23. Bf4 Nb4 {Finally the knight enters the
game.} 24. Rd2 {The last critical moment of the game.} ({Anand mentioned at
the press conference the move} 24. Rfe1 $5 {[%csl Yb7,Rd6,Ge7][%cal Ge1e7,
Rf3b7] Diagram [#] although he did not provide any further lines. This is a
pawn sacrifice and very risky decision but looks tempting! After} Nxa2 25. Re7
$1 Rxe7 (25... Rad8 26. Bd5 $1 Nc3 27. Bxf7+ Kg7 28. Rde1 Bf6 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30.
Be6 $16) 26. dxe7 Re8 27. Re1 Nb4 {The knights hold both teh critical c6 and
d5 square and seems fine after f7-f6 and Kg8-f7 finally neutralizing the pawn.
} 28. Bxb7 f6) 24... Re8 25. Rc1 Re6 {Getting into the d6 pawn busyness.} 26.
h4 Be5 27. Bxe5 Rxe5 28. Bxb7 {Diagram [#] Forces the draw. Obviously Anand
could not do anything more} (28. Bg4 {is met with} f5 29. Be2 Kf8 30. g3 b6 31.
Bf3 Re6 32. a3 Na6 33. Be2 Nb8 34. Rcd1 a6 {[%cal Gb6b5,Gc5c4] intending both
b6-b5 and c5-c4 as well as Nb8-c6-d4} (34... Nc6 $2 35. Bb5) 35. a4 Nc6 36.
Bxa6 Nd4 $11 37. Rxd4 (37. Bc8 Nf3+ 38. Kg2 Nxd2 39. Bxd7 Rxd6) 37... cxd4 38.
Bc8 Rexd6 39. Bxd7 Rxd7 $11) 28... Rxb7 29. d7 Nc6 30. d8=Q+ Nxd8 31. Rxd8+ Kg7
32. Rd2 {The resources are exausted, the peace treaty signed. Carlsen leads 5.
5-4.5 and need one more point to defend the title.} 1/2-1/2


Uneventful Draw

Game nine of the match ended peacefully quite quickly. Anand's super preparation allowed him a chance to equalize rather easily. Carlsen decided not to risk and forced a draw by perpetual.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.20"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "39"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {The Berlin rules.} 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6.
Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Ne2 {Carlsen
decided to check what has Anand prepared here.} b6 12. Rd1 Ba6 13. Nf4 {[%cal
Ge5e6] Diagram [#]} Bb7 $146 {A novelty. Vishy came very well prepared for the
match. The bishop belongs to the long diagonal.} ({Previously only} 13... Rd8 {
had been seen} 14. Bd2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Rxd4 16. a4 $1 {and Whitye proved that the
rook is needed on a8.} Bc8 17. a5 a6 18. Be3 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 b5 20. Nd3 $16 {
[%csl Gc5] Diagram [#] Dominguez Perez,L (2726)-Ponomariov,R (2741) Leon 2012})
14. e6 {The key theme in the Berlin and the most straightforward continuation.}
({Probably White could try} 14. c4 {with the idea to meet} c5 {with} ({However
here Black can play} 14... Rd8 {and in comparison to the game
Dominguez-Ponomariov he will enjoy some additional ideas} 15. Bd2 c5 {now d5
is under control} 16. Bc3 Bxf3 17. Rxd8+ Kxd8 18. gxf3 {and if anyone is
better here it is not White.}) 15. Nd5 {[%csl Rd5]}) 14... Bd6 $1 {Blocks the
d file, defends the c7 pawn, attacks the f4 knight and developes a piece. How
multifunctional a move could be?} 15. exf7+ Kxf7 16. Ng5+ Kf6 17. Ne4+ {
Diagram [#] Magnus has no advantage at all and decides to call it a day.} Kf7
18. Ng5+ Kf6 19. Ne4+ Kf7 20. Ng5+ {Melik was right so far. Yesterday at the
TV show he predicted two draws, while I expected big fight today. I wonder if
this short game is due to fatigue in Carlsen or due to the super-prep by Anand.
Whichever the case, Magnus is one game closer to defending the title and Vishy
gets an extra white color to spoil his plans.} 1/2-1/2


Ultra Solid Magnus

The eight game of the match saw a very good choice of an opening for the world champion. Instead of repairing the line that led to a disaster for him in the third game, the Norwegian switched to the main line but chose a rare move. This probably surprised Anand who did not achieve anything out of the opening and Carlsen comfortably held the draw.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.18"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2792"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 {The world champion tries again the QGD, which
means that he had probably repaired the line after the disastrous third game.}
4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 {Anand stays true to the line that brought him a win in game
three of the match.} (5. Bg5 {is considered less dangerous for the second
player with the move 3.Ng1-f3 inserted as it deprives White of some additional
possibilities, namely the Botvinnik plan with Ng1-e2, f2-f3 and e3-e4, and the
plan with 0-0-0. Nevertheless, Anand was not shy using it in a couple of
blitz games this year, against Kasimdzhanov and Harikrishna, which he duly won.
}) 5... O-O 6. e3 c5 {Nope, we shall not see the repair today, but the main
line instead. The last time Magnus played this was back in 2009.} ({The topical
} 6... Nbd7 {is what the third game saw} 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6
{[%csl Ya6,Yd3]} 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. b5 cxb5 13. c6 Qc8 14. c7 {[%csl Ya5,Yb5,
Yb6,Rc7] when the pawn on c7 proved very dangerous, Anand,V-Carlsen,M Wch
Sochi 2014}) 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. a3 Nc6 9. Qc2 {Vishy chooses the most complex
line where plenty of pieces stay on the board. The other principled line is} (
9. cxd5 Nxd5 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Bd3 Bb6 12. O-O Bg4 {as in Ivanchuk,V (2779)
-Carlsen,M (2776) Nice 2009.}) 9... Re8 {Diagram [#] This should have been a
big surprise for Vishy! Both the players have a game each in the main line
after} (9... Qa5 {and now} 10. Rd1 {which is calmer} ({Or} 10. O-O-O {which I
suspect is what Anand was heading to} Be7 11. g4 dxc4 12. Bxc4 e5 13. g5 {with
lively, double-edged game and plenty of possibilities for both sides, for
example} exf4 14. gxf6 Bxf6 15. Nd5 Ne7 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. Rhg1+ Kh8 18. e4 $44
{Anand,V (2752)-Kramnik,V (2809) Leon 2002}) 10... Be7 11. Be2 dxc4 {all of
this was tested in the game Kramnik-Carlsen, Dortmund 2009.}) 10. Bg5 {The
bishop moves away from the possible e6-e5 attack and puts pressure on the
central pawn. The following curious game demonstrates some of the tactical
possibilities behind the move Rf8-e8.} (10. Rd1 e5 11. Bg5 d4 12. Nd5 Be7 13.
Nxe7+ $2 (13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Bd3 $5) 13... Qxe7 14. Be2 $2 d3 $19 {Pinter,
J-Hurme,H Helsinki 35/(507) 1983 Inf 35 [RR]}) ({White can also try to play
against the IQP with} 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Be2 Be6 ({Although Black might try to
solve the problem immediately with the forced} 11... d4 12. Rd1 Bg4 13. O-O Qe7
14. Na4 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 dxe3 16. Nxc5 e2 17. Qxe2 Qxe2 18. Bxe2 Rxe2 {which
looks worth studying.}) 12. O-O Rc8 13. Rfd1 h6 $13 {Svane,R (2440)-Zvjaginsev,
V (2655) Legnica 2013}) 10... Be7 11. Rd1 Qa5 12. Bd3 $146 {The actual novelty.
One game saw} (12. Be2 Ne4 13. cxd5 Nxc3 14. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 15. bxc3 exd5 16. Bxe7
Nxe7 $11) 12... h6 13. Bh4 (13. Bxf6 {yields White no advantage after} Bxf6 14.
cxd5 exd5 15. O-O Bxc3 16. Qxc3 Qxc3 17. bxc3 Be6) 13... dxc4 14. Bxc4 a6 $11 {
Black's plan is very natural and straightforward. He needs to develop the
bishop, thus the b pawn advance is coming next.} 15. O-O b5 16. Ba2 {[%csl
Yg8,Rh7][%cal Ga2b1,Rb1h7] Diagram [#] White's best bet is to create a battery.
} ({Vishy also mentioned the move} 16. Bd3 {although there should not be any
advantage for White after} Bb7 17. Bg3 Rac8 $11 {the position is too
symmetrical.}) 16... Bb7 17. Bb1 {It looks very unpleasant for Magnus, but the
world champion defended in a cool manner} Rad8 18. Bxf6 ({There is another way
to get rid of the key kingside defender} 18. Ne4 {However, there too White
will miss one tempo to be successful in the attack} Nxe4 19. Qxe4 Bxh4 20. Qh7+
Kf8 21. Nxh4 Rxd1 22. Rxd1 Rd8 $11 {when the g7 pawn is untouchable due to the
bank rank weakness} 23. Rxd8+ (23. Rc1 $2 Qd2 {is good for Black only.}) 23...
Qxd8 24. Qh8+ Ke7 25. Qxg7 $4 Qd1#) 18... Bxf6 19. Ne4 ({Both the players
investigated} 19. Qh7+ Kf8 20. Ne4 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Rd8 {and agreed that there is
nothing there for White} 22. Rxd8+ Qxd8 23. Qh8+ (23. Bc2 $2 Bxb2) 23... Ke7
24. Qxd8+ Nxd8 25. Nxf6 Kxf6 $11) 19... Be7 {Another cool move. If White could
only move away the knight from the board somehow...} 20. Nc5 {This is the
maximum White can get out of the position.} (20. Ng3 {is too slow and Black
can organize counter-play after} g6 21. h4 Rc8 {Anand} ({Or also} 21... Rxd1
22. Rxd1 Rc8 {in either case Black is doing fine.})) 20... Bxc5 21. Qxc5 b4 {
"Unfortunately he has this move," said Anand at the press conference, "when
White's advantage is only symbolic and there is nothing I can do."} 22. Rc1
bxa3 23. bxa3 Qxc5 24. Rxc5 Ne7 {[%csl Yc5,Yd8,Ye8,Yf1][%cal Gd8c8] Diagram [#]
The rooks will now disappear from the board. The game is heading towards the
logical outcome.} 25. Rfc1 Rc8 26. Bd3 ({The rook swap is unavoidable} 26. Rc7
Rxc7 27. Rxc7 Rc8 28. Rxb7 $4 Rc1+ 29. Ne1 Rxe1#) 26... Red8 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28.
Rxc8+ Nxc8 29. Nd2 {Vishy tried a bit more but he could not make use of the
white color today.} Nb6 30. Nb3 Nd7 31. Na5 Bc8 32. Kf1 Kf8 33. Ke1 Ke7 34. Kd2
Kd6 35. Kc3 Ne5 36. Be2 Kc5 37. f4 Nc6 38. Nxc6 Kxc6 39. Kd4 f6 40. e4 Kd6 41.
e5+ {Diagram [#] Magnus' approach in the opening solved the problem of the
black color today. Vishy tried everything he could but there was not much play
for him as both the players agreed after the game. Carlsen leads 4.5-3.5
before the final four games of the match.} 1/2-1/2


Marathon Battle

The second half of the WCC match in Sochi started with a marathon battle. Viswanathan Anand returned to the Berlin and Magnus Carlsen decided to try the main lines today:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.17"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "243"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {As I predicted after the second game, the
Berlin is back. It would not be surprise if the opponents play it with
reversed colors.} 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8
9. h3 Ke8 10. Nc3 h5 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Rad1 Be6 {Some time ago a very strong GM
revealed to me that this is the easiest equalizer for Black.} 13. Ng5 Rh6 {
Black will trade on g5 but only once that he can kick away the annoying bishop.
} (13... Bxg5 14. Bxg5 h4 15. Rd2 Rh5 16. f4 {will leave the rook on h5
offside and the king in trouble along the d file.}) 14. g3 (14. Rfe1 Bb4 15. g4
hxg4 16. hxg4 Ne7 17. Nxe6 Rxe6 18. Kg2 Bxc3 19. bxc3 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Kxd8 21.
Rh1 Nd5 22. Rh8+ Kd7 23. Bg3 g5 {was played the round before in Radjabov,T
(2726)-Andreikin,D (2722) Tashkent UZB 2014}) 14... Bxg5 {Now it is the right
time as otherwise White will stabilize the situation in the flank with the
move h3-h4. What follows next is pretty forced} 15. Bxg5 Rg6 16. h4 {Diagram
[#] The only chance to fight for the advantage is to sacrifice a pawn. Vishy
had already faced the alternative, which is known as a forced draw} (16. Bf4
Nh4 17. Kh1 Nf3 18. Kg2 Nh4+ 19. Kh1 Nf3 20. Kg2 {1/2 (20) Grischuk,A (2747)
-Anand,V (2817) Monte Carlo 2011}) 16... f6 17. exf6 gxf6 18. Bf4 Nxh4 19. f3 {
The pawn is gone, but Magnus wants to play Kg1-f2 and then attack on the open
central files. Vishy needs to reduce the pressure.} Rd8 {Which he does
promptly. All of this is not new yet.} 20. Kf2 Rxd1 21. Nxd1 Nf5 22. Rh1 {This
is the important pawn White wishes to win. Two versus one on the kingside will
give a chance for a dangerous passer.} Bxa2 {Black uses the moment when the
knight blocks the rook to snatch another pawn.} ({Passive defense is highly
inappropriate} 22... Ng7 23. Ne3 Kd7 24. Ng2 {as gthe rook on g6 will suffer.})
23. Rxh5 Be6 24. g4 ({Or else Black will trade the rooks and there will be
nothing to play for} 24. Bxc7 Rh6 25. Rxh6 Nxh6 26. g4 {½-½ Alekseev,E (2675)
-Grachev,B (2672) Kocaeli 2014}) 24... Nd6 25. Rh7 {Diagram [#]} Nf7 $146 {
[%csl Yh7][%cal Gf7h8,Gf7h6,Rg6h6] The novelty. Yes, on move 25! A couple of
weeks ago another Super-GM game went} (25... f5 $6 {The evaluations are due of
Anish Giri} 26. g5 $6 ({Giri underestimated how unpleasant} 26. Rxc7 $1 Nb5 27.
gxf5 Bxf5 28. Rxb7 Bxc2 29. Ne3 {is for Black, despite the limited number of
pawns.}) 26... Nf7 27. Rh5 {and even here White is somewhat better but Black
defended well to deserve the draw in Giri,A (2768)-Radjabov,T (2726) Tashkent
2014}) 26. Ne3 {This stops the positional threat f6-f5 which will
significantly reduce the material.} (26. Bxc7 {is again nothing} Rh6 (26... f5
$11 {is also good}) 27. Rxh6 Nxh6 $11) 26... Kd8 {If you do not want it, I
will keep it.} 27. Nf5 {The knight is transferred to a better position while
watching carefully the f5 spot.} c5 28. Ng3 $1 Ne5 $1 {I am not sure if this
was still prep but it looks like a very convincing defense. If Anand allows
the maneuver Ng3-h5 his position will become very, very suspicious. Have a
look at it} (28... b6 29. Nh5 a5 {These two moves are not necessary but it
makes good sense to advance the pawns where you are stronger. Now very strong
is} 30. Bg3 $1 {[%csl Ye6,Yg6][%cal Gh5f4] with the threat Nh5-f4.} ({Rather
than the forced line} 30. Bxc7+ Kxc7 31. Nf4 Rh6 32. Nxe6+ Kd6 33. Rxf7 Kxe6
34. Rb7 Rh2+ 35. Ke3 Rxc2 36. Rxb6+ $11) {and if} 30... Kd7 31. f4 $1 {is
large advantage for White in the complications} Rh6 (31... Bxg4 32. Rxf7+ Ke8
33. Rh7 {wins a piece for White}) (31... Rxg4 {loses the exchange} 32. Nxf6+
Ke7 33. Nxg4 Bxg4) 32. f5 Rxh7 33. Nxf6+ Ke7 34. Nxh7 {and the two kingside
pawns are far more dangerous than all the black queenside ones.}) 29. Rh8+ ({
I suspect that Anand would have also sacrificed a piece in case of} 29. Bxe5
fxe5 30. Rh5 Bxg4 31. fxg4 Rxg4) 29... Rg8 ({The pawns might get dangerous if
left on the board} 29... Kd7 30. Ne4 Kc6 31. Bxe5 fxe5 32. Rh5 Kd5 33. Nc3+ Kd6
34. Ke3 b6 35. Nb5+ $16) 30. Bxe5 fxe5 31. Rh5 {[%csl Ye5,Rf3,Rg4] Diagram [#]}
Bxg4 $1 {The point of Vishy's defense. The pawns on gthe kingside disappear
and the knight cannot do much on one flank only.} 32. fxg4 Rxg4 33. Rxe5 b6 34.
Ne4 Rh4 35. Ke2 Rh6 36. b3 Kd7 37. Kd2 Kc6 {Technically speaking Magnus is a
pawn up but the problem is that the knith cannot be separated into three pawns
:) The real problem is that anytime he tries to advance his pawns this will
lead to exchanges and will liquidate into a theoretically draw endgame R+N
versus R.} 38. Nc3 a6 39. Re4 Rh2+ 40. Kc1 Rh1+ 41. Kb2 Rh6 42. Nd1 Rg6 43. Ne3
Rh6 44. Re7 Rh2 45. Re6+ Kb7 46. Kc3 Rh4 47. Kb2 Rh2 48. Nd5 Rd2 49. Nf6 Rf2 {
Nothing much happened in the past few moves. At the moment that the white
knight approaches the black camp though Anand starts hitting it with the rook.
This is the best defensive technique as he does not want to allow too much
freedom to the white pieces.} 50. Kc3 Rf4 51. Ne4 Rh4 52. Nf2 Rh2 53. Rf6 Rh7
54. Nd3 Rh3 55. Kd2 Rh2+ 56. Rf2 Rh4 57. c4 {Finally a white pawn moved but it
can easily be attacked here by a black one.} Rh3 58. Kc2 Rh7 59. Nb2 Rh5 60.
Re2 Rg5 61. Nd1 b5 62. Nc3 c6 63. Ne4 Rh5 64. Nf6 Rg5 65. Re7+ Kb6 {Vishy is
not afraid of ghosts.} 66. Nd7+ Ka5 ({Naturally not} 66... Kc7 $4 67. Nxc5+ Kd6
68. Ne4+ $18) 67. Re4 Rg2+ 68. Kc1 Rg1+ 69. Kd2 Rg2+ 70. Ke1 ({Or else all the
pawns will disappear.} 70. Re2 Rxe2+ 71. Kxe2 Kb4) 70... bxc4 {Well calculated.
} 71. Rxc4 Rg3 72. Nxc5 Kb5 {with the threat Rg3xb3.} 73. Rc2 a5 74. Kf2 Rh3
75. Rc1 Kb4 76. Ke2 Rc3 {[%csl Yb3] Diagram [#] The last pawn disappears. Many
players would have call it a day now, but not Carlsen. For two reasons. First
of all, he is Magnus and this is something you cannot escape of. The second
one has more to do with the match strategy. In every single situation the
stronger side pushes as much as he likes for the pure joy of it. And- to
exhaust the opponent. The match history knows many game in which a player who
had defended long game with the black pieces is so exhausted in the next game
that does not even try to win but chooses to make a short draw instead and get
some rest. However, I doubt that this will be the case tomorrow as Anand
desperately needs a win to keep his chances alive.} ({Not} 76... Rh5 77. Rc4+)
77. Nd3+ Kxb3 78. Ra1 Kc4 79. Nf2 Kb5 80. Rb1+ Kc4 81. Ne4 Ra3 82. Nd2+ Kd5 83.
Rh1 a4 84. Rh5+ Kd4 85. Rh4+ Kc5 86. Kd1 Kb5 87. Kc2 Rg3 88. Ne4 Rg2+ 89. Kd3
a3 90. Nc3+ Kb6 91. Ra4 a2 {Black does not need the pawns to make the draw.}
92. Nxa2 Rg3+ 93. Kc2 Rg2+ 94. Kb3 Rg3+ 95. Nc3 Rh3 96. Rb4+ Kc7 97. Rg4 Rh7
98. Kc4 Rf7 99. Rg5 Kb6 100. Na4+ Kc7 101. Kc5 Kd7 102. Kb6 Rf1 103. Nc5+ Ke7
104. Kxc6 {Diagram [#] Kasparov once won this endgame to Judith Polgar (back
in 1996). Still, it is extremely unprobable that anything like that happens in
a WCC match.} Rd1 105. Rg6 Kf7 106. Rh6 Rg1 107. Kd5 Rg5+ 108. Kd4 Rg6 109. Rh1
Rg2 110. Ne4 Ra2 111. Rf1+ Ke7 112. Nc3 Rh2 113. Nd5+ Kd6 114. Rf6+ Kd7 115.
Nf4 Rh1 {The rook stands as far away of the white king as possible. Anytime it
approaches he will start checking it and if the knight covers the check Black
will just keep it pinned. This is the defensive method is brief.} 116. Rg6 Rd1+
117. Nd3 Ke7 118. Ra6 Kd7 119. Ke4 Ke7 120. Rc6 Kd7 121. Rc1 Rxc1 122. Nxc1 {
A marathon battle! Carlsen tried everything he could to crack the defense that
Anand skilfully had built but in vain.} 1/2-1/2

The world champion leads 4-3, but the challenger has 3-2 white colors till the end of the match.


A Heart-breaker!

The sixth game of the match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand turned into a real thriller.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.15"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B41"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 {Anand does not mind repeating the opening from game four.}
3. d4 {Carlsen does. He came fully equipped for the game, determined to get
something out of the white color.} cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 {Anand is determined to
play the Kan/Paulsen line. On account of this choice his former second S.
Ganguly rhetorically asked: "When was the last time that the Kan/Paulsen was
played on this level?" My bet would be the Petrosian-Spassky match in 1969...}
5. c4 {Another opening surprise! This match has plenty of psychological fight.
The last time Magnus played this was back in 2004. Vishy on his turn had never
faced it. At least with the black pieces.} (5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Ba7 7. Qe2 d6 {
was the course of the game Bobras,P (2518)-Anand,V (2775) Germany 2014}) 5...
Nf6 6. Nc3 Bb4 {Time for Magnus to experience something new! His two games ten
years back saw both:} ({the sharp} 6... Qc7 7. a3 Nxe4 8. Nxe4 Qe5 9. Bd3 Qxd4
10. O-O {Carlsen,M (2385)-Trygstad,K (2330) Fredrikstad 2003}) ({and the
positional} 6... d6 7. g3 Qc7 8. Be3 b6 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Rc1 {
Carlsen,M (2484)-Werle,J (2407) Wijk aan Zee 2004}) 7. Qd3 $5 {The second main
move in the position. There was a burst of popularity of this line in 2005.
Even Anand had tried it as White.} (7. Bd3 {remains the main move.}) 7... Nc6 {
Diagram [#] I personally do not like this move. I wonder why Anand deviated
from the principled central push} (7... d5 $5 8. exd5 exd5 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O
Nc6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 {especially if he remmebered that he got nothing against
Svidler as White after} 12. Bg5 Bxc3 13. bxc3 Be6 14. Rfd1 h6 15. Bh4 dxc4 16.
Qg3 Qb8 17. Bxf6 Qxg3 18. hxg3 gxf6 19. Rd4 Rfd8 20. Rf4 {1/2 (20) Anand,V
(2786)-Svidler,P (2735) Monte Carlo 2005}) 8. Nxc6 dxc6 9. Qxd8+ ({Also
interesting is} 9. e5 Qxd3 10. Bxd3 Nd7 11. f4 {as in Kovacevic,A (2576)
-Miezis,N (2533) Nova Gorica 2010}) 9... Kxd8 10. e5 $14 {The engame is
extremely pleasant for White.} Nd7 ({In case of} 10... Ne4 11. a3 $1 {is very
strong, for example} Bxc3+ 12. bxc3 {and if} Nxc3 13. a4 Ne4 14. Be3 {Black
will have problems with both his knight and the dark squares.}) 11. Bf4 Bxc3+ {
A sad necessity. Anand will now suffer on the dark squares.} ({Black can
hardly preserve the bishop} 11... Ke7 12. O-O-O Ba5 13. Ne4 $16 {as the knight
will be super strong on d6.}) ({Also in case of} 11... Kc7 12. O-O-O {White
threatens Nc3-e4-d6 which will force the trade of the bishop anyway.}) 12. bxc3
Kc7 {The king is safer on c7 rather than e7. There are no checks along the
h4-d8 diagonal and it can also support a future pawn on b6.} 13. h4 $1 {[%cal
Gh1h3,Gh3g3,Gh4h5,Gh5h6,Ra1d1,Rd1d3,Rd3f3,Rf3f7,Rh3h4,Rh4g4,Rg4g7] Diagram [#]
However, the problem is the kingside now. With this move the world champion
grabs space on this part of the board and creates possible targets on the f7
and g7 squares. Since White owes more space on the kingside, he can also lift
both his rooks for the attack and the plan seems pretty scary.} b6 ({Black
would be happy to block the h pawn, but this will weaken further the dark
squares, for example} 13... h5 14. Rh3 b6 15. Be2 Bb7 16. Rd1 Rad8 {with the
idea to trade the rooks along the open file} 17. Rg3 g6 18. Bg5 {[%csl Yd8,Ye7,
Yf6,Yg7,Yh6,Yh8]} Rde8 19. Rgd3 Nc5 20. Rd6 $16 {and Black is paralized.}) 14.
h5 h6 {Or else h5-h6 and domination on the dark squares as in the previous
line.} 15. O-O-O Bb7 16. Rd3 $1 {Simple and effective. White could have
started with} (16. Rh4 {as well. I suspect Magnus disliked} Nc5 17. Rg4 Rag8 {
the knight on c5 looks great and prevents the rook from shifting along the
third rank.}) 16... c5 17. Rg3 Rag8 (17... Rhg8 18. Bd3 {already loses a pawn
due to the threat Bd3-h7.}) 18. Bd3 {Completely controlling the right side of
the board. The threat Rh1-h4-g4xg7 is very hard to meet.} Nf8 ({The king can
also try to help, but the position arising after} 18... Kd8 19. Rh4 Ke7 20.
Rhg4 Kf8 {is frankly speaking, ugly. After} 21. Bc2 {Black is in a sort of a
zugzwang. The threat is Bc2-a4 and then the rook will penetrate along the d
file. If} Bc6 {allows} 22. Rd3 {and then Rd3-d6}) 19. Be3 $1 {[%csl Yf4][%cal
Yf8g6,Yg6f4] Diagram [#] The bishop pays respect to the tricky knight. It is
indeed wise to stay away of the tricky piece and not to get within its range.
The hasty} (19. Rh4 $2 {will blow the advantage away after} g5 $1 20. hxg6 Nxg6
{Where White will have nothing better than a draw with} 21. Bxg6 ({As} 21. Rhg4
$2 {simply loses} h5 22. Rg5 Nxf4 23. Rxg8 Rxg8 24. Rxg8 Nxd3+ $19) 21... Rxg6
22. Rxg6 fxg6 23. Rxh6 Rxh6 24. Bxh6 Bxg2) 19... g6 {The only chance. Vishy
naturally does not want to wait and see the rooks breaking his position.} 20.
hxg6 Nxg6 21. Rh5 {There is no rush. Magnus achieved what he wanted. The pawn
on h6 is doomed.} (21. Bxh6 $2 Nxe5 $17) (21. Rxh6 $6 {leads only to a draw as
the bishop on d3 is hanging in the line} Nxe5 22. Bf4 Rxg3 23. Bxe5+ Kd7 24.
Rxh8 Rxd3 $11) 21... Bc6 22. Bc2 {One more move of respect. Both to the knight
and the bishop.} Kb7 23. Rg4 {White is obviously better, but Magnus struggles
to find a plan from now on. The main problem is that if he ever pushes the f
pawn there are problem along the g file} (23. f4 $2 Ne7 24. Rxg8 Rxg8 25. Rxh6
Rxg2 $11) ({However, the immediate} 23. Kd2 {was a way to improve, for example}
a5 24. Ke2 Ne7 25. Rxg8 Rxg8 26. g3 Rg4 27. Bd3 {and White wins the pawn on h6.
}) 23... a5 24. Bd1 Rd8 25. Bc2 Rdg8 {Diagram [#] First Magnus repeated the
moves and then when determinetely} 26. Kd2 $4 {or the blunder of the match so
far! This loses at least a pawn and Magnus saw it at the moment he played it.}
({The problem with} 26. Kd1 Nf8 27. Rf4 Be8 {is that White has no time to
consolidate the advantage due to the lose position of his pieces} 28. Rh2 (28.
g3 $2 f5 $1) 28... Ng6 {and Black is holding.}) 26... a4 $4 {Returning the
favor! This was probably the crtical moment of the match. Vishy could have won
a pawn} (26... Nxe5 $1 27. Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28. Kd3 Nb2+ 29. Ke2 Rxg8 {with
excellent winning chances for Black.}) 27. Ke2 a3 {The pawn on a2 is fixed and
Anand is hoping that the a3 pawn will once become a queen. For instance after
Bc6-a4-b3!} 28. f3 Rd8 {Takes control of the open file and prepares the
following maneuver} 29. Ke1 {Magnus steps away from the possible check on d3.}
({Vishy would find counterplay after} 29. Bxg6 fxg6 30. Rxg6 Ba4 $1 31. Rxe6 (
31. Rh1 Bc2) 31... Bc2 {this is where the Rd8 is needed} 32. Re7+ Ka6 33. Rh1
Bd3+ 34. Kf2 Bxc4 {but after all this is an extra pawn, White can play further
for the win.}) 29... Rd7 30. Bc1 Ra8 {[%cal Gc6a4,Rd7d1] Diagram [#] with the
threat Ba4 to trade the good bishop and check on d1 is it retreats.} 31. Ke2
Ba4 ({Both the players said at the press conference that Black should be OK
after} 31... Ne7 {I am not so sure about it} 32. Rg7 Ba4 33. Bxa4 Rxa4 34. Rxf7
Rxc4 35. Bd2 {looks winning for White.}) 32. Be4+ Bc6 $2 {This loses.} ({It
seems as they both leveled Black's counter chances low after} 32... Ka7 33.
Bxa8 Kxa8 34. Bxa3 Rd1 35. Rxh6 Ra1 36. Ke3 Nxe5 (36... Rxa2 37. Bc1 Nxe5 38.
Rg7 Nxc4+ 39. Kf4) 37. Rg7 Nxc4+ 38. Kf4 Nd6 39. Ke5 Rd1 {the bishop is
paralized on a3, perhaps Black can survive this.}) 33. Bxg6 fxg6 34. Rxg6 Ba4
35. Rxe6 Rd1 (35... Bb3 36. axb3 a2 37. Bb2 $18) 36. Bxa3 Ra1 {It seems as the
bishop is trapped, but} 37. Ke3 {Diagram [#]} Bc2 (37... Rxa2 38. Bc1) 38. Re7+
{A heartbreaker!} 1-0

Carlsen leads 3.5-2.5 after the first half of the match.

Game Five is a Flawless Draw

Vishy Anand managed to put pressure on the position of the World Champion in the fifth game of their match in Sochi. Despite the surprising choice of Magnus Carlsen of a QID, the Challenger came well prepared and introduced a novelty which gave him a certain pull. Magnus, however defended flawlessly and secured the half point after all the resources were exhausted.

A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "World Chess Championship 2014"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Date "2014.11.14"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E16"]
[WhiteElo "2785"]
[BlackElo "2863"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 {Anand decided to avoid the Nimtzo-Indian defense
that brought success to his opponent in their previous match.} b6 4. g3 Bb4+ {
A small surprise by Carlsen. The last time the World Champion played like that
was back in 2007. The previous encounter of the adversaries saw} (4... Bb7 5.
Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Qc2 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 d6 {with
approximate equality, Anand,V (2780)-Carlsen,M (2843) Sao Paulo/Bilbao 2012})
5. Bd2 Be7 6. Nc3 Bb7 7. Bg2 c6 {An interesting moment of the game. Magnus
blocked the possible d4-d5 advance, so typical for the QID.} ({For instance,
after the more common} 7... O-O {White can react with the pawn sacrifice} 8. d5
$5 exd5 9. Nh4 c6 10. cxd5 Nxd5 11. Nf5 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 $44 {as in Nikolic,P
(2485)-Kavalek,L (2590) Wijk aan Zee 1982}) 8. e4 d5 9. exd5 {This is the
modern treatment of the position. The other capture does not provide any
advantage for the first player, know from the following game:} (9. cxd5 cxd5
10. e5 Ne4 11. O-O O-O 12. Re1 Nxd2 $1 13. Qxd2 (13. Nxd2 Nc6 14. Nb3 a5 15. a4
Ba6 $10) 13... Ba6 14. a3 Nc6 15. b4 Bc4 16. Qe3 b5 $10 {Karpov,A (2780)
-Tiviakov,S (2625) Linares 1995}) 9... cxd5 10. Ne5 {The pressure on the long
diagonal is unpleasant for Black but once that he finishes the development it
should be nivilated.} O-O 11. O-O Nc6 12. cxd5 Nxe5 {All of this was played
fairly quickly and Anand also played quite fast the actual novelty of the game}
13. d6 $146 {White at least gains the bishop pair.} ({The other move promises
nothing to White} 13. dxe5 Nxd5 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. Bc3 Bxg2 16. Qxd8 Rfxd8 {
with a quick draw in Komljenovic,D (2465)-Palac,M (2561) Sibenik 2010}) 13...
Nc6 {The only move. Weak is} (13... Bxg2 14. dxe7 Qxe7 15. dxe5 Bxf1 16. exf6
Qxf6 17. Qxf1 $16) 14. dxe7 Qxe7 15. Bg5 {White owes the bishop pair but he
also has an isolated pawn on d4 which can be easily attacked. He need to hurry
with the development of the initiative as otherwise the pressure along the d
file might be quite annoying for him.} h6 {Diagram [#]} 16. d5 $1 {The typical
central break is Anand's best choice. After} (16. Bxf6 Qxf6 17. d5 exd5 18.
Qxd5 ({Black can even grab the pawn in case of} 18. Nxd5 Qxb2) 18... Rad8 {
Black equalizes with ease.}) 16... Na5 $1 {The best defense.} ({In case of the
obvious} 16... Rad8 {Diagram [#] White could have sacrificed the queen with}
17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. dxc6 $1 Rxd1 19. Rfxd1 Bc8 20. Rac1 {for the queen White has
only a R and a B but the pawn on c6 is restricting the black bishop and is
enormous power. The white pieces are generally controlling the board which
means that this should be compensation with great interest.}) 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18.
dxe6 Qxe6 {Magnus does not like to allow weaknesses in his camp.} (18... fxe6
19. Bxb7 Nxb7 20. Qe2 Nc5 21. Rad1 $14) 19. Re1 {Diagram [#]} ({I suspect that
the Challenger could have posed more problems if he had transposed the moves
with} 19. Bxb7 $5 Nxb7 20. Qf3 {[%csl Rf6] The difference is that now the
black Q does not have access to the f6 square} Nc5 21. Rfe1 Qc4 (21... Qf6 22.
Qxf6 gxf6 23. Rad1 {looks nice for White with the pawns doubled on the f file.}
) 22. b3 Qa6 23. Nd5 $14) 19... Qf6 {Diagram [#] Now Black is seemingly in
control and as the position is very symmetrical the slight innitiative of the
first player should slowly evaporate.} 20. Nd5 $1 {Vishy fights for the
initiative!} ({One curious line runs} 20. Bxb7 Nxb7 21. Qe2 Rfd8 22. Rad1 Rxd1
{Not the only defense, of course} 23. Rxd1 Rd8 24. Rxd8+ Qxd8 25. Qa6 Nc5 $5
26. Qxa7 Nd3 {with the idea to counter-attack after} 27. b3 $2 Qe8 $1 28. Qxb6
Qe1+ 29. Kg2 Qxc3 $17) 20... Bxd5 21. Bxd5 Rad8 22. Qf3 Qxb2 {Magnus is not
afraid of the active white pieces. He had calculated everything very well. A
more solid defense is} (22... Qxf3 23. Bxf3 Nc4 24. b3 Nd2 25. Bg2 Rd7 $11) 23.
Rad1 {White has beautiful pieces and managed to arrest the opponent's knight
on the a file. One more move and his initiative will become fearsome, but...}
Qf6 $1 {Or else the white rook will penetrate on the seventh rank.} ({At the
press conference Anand explained that they both committed the same mistake in
their preliminary calculations. In the line:} 23... Rd6 24. Bxf7+ $1 Rxf7 25.
Re8+ Kh7 26. Qxf7 Rxd1+ 27. Kg2 Rd6 28. Qf5+ Rg6 29. Re6 $18 {they both
thought that Black can now defend with Qb2-c1+(!) followed by Qc1-g5 with a
tempo...}) 24. Qxf6 gxf6 25. Re7 Kg7 $1 {The counter-sacrifice levels the game.
The pawns on the queenside disappear and White cannot use the weaknesses on
the kingside. The bishop will no longer be better than the knight once that
the play is concentrated on one flank only.} ({Bad is} 25... a6 $2 26. Bxf7+ $1
) 26. Rxa7 ({Anand mentioned both} 26. Rc7) ({and} 26. Kg2 {as possible ideas.
He did not like the latter because of} f5 {as he cannot take on f7 anymore.
But White should be better after} ({However, Black should be able to defend
after} 26... Nc6 {which is what Carlsen thought it is better} 27. Rc7 Ne5 28.
Rxa7 Rd6 29. Bb3 Rxd1 30. Bxd1 Rd8 31. Bb3 Rd2) 27. Rxa7 Nc6 28. Rb7 {as the
game defense} Nb4 {fails to} 29. Bxf7 Rxd1 30. Bh5+ Kh8 31. Bxd1 Nxa2 32. Rxb6
$16) 26... Nc6 27. Rb7 Nb4 28. Bb3 Rxd1+ 29. Bxd1 Nxa2 30. Rxb6 Nc3 {Diagram
[#] Obviously all of this was seen in advance by both the opponents. The have
heads to the logical outcome.} 31. Bf3 f5 32. Kg2 Rd8 33. Rc6 Ne4 34. Bxe4 fxe4
35. Rc4 f5 36. g4 Rd2 37. gxf5 e3 38. Re4 Rxf2+ 39. Kg3 Rxf5 {Diagram [#]
There is nothing to play for. Vishy Anand prepared a novelty which gave him
initiative in the center, but the Magnus Carlsen defended well enough to solve
the problem of the black color in this game. The result is leveled 2.5-2.5}

The result is equal 2.5-2.5. In the next two game Magnus Carlsen will have two white colors.