Welcome to Carlsen – Anand Sochi World Championship game 11 LIVE Commentary

Thanks for joining me. After 10 games, the score is 5.5 – 4.5 in favor of Magnus. This is crunch time for both players. For Anand, a loss and the match is over. A draw means that he will have white in the final game. For Magnus, a loss means the big momentum will shift to Anand. Nerves will definitely come into play.

I will be doing LIVE video commentary for this game with my Chennai co-commentator GM Ramesh RB. It is FREE to everyone worldwide, courtesy of ICC.

In order to view our LIVE broadcast, register for a FREE ICC User Name, then download the FREE software here: http://www.chessclub.com/download-software.

In addition to being able to join GM Ramesh RB and me for this game, you will also get 30 days of FREE membership with unlimited play. Big thanks to ICC for this generous offer.

Since some of you may be at work and cannot view our LIVE video broadcast, I will have various assistants help me relay my commentary on Twitter, Facebook, and right here on this blog. This way, no fan will miss out the excitement of this very important game.

We will select some of the most interesting questions and answer them on the air.

Here are the rules of the match:

The Match is played over a maximum of twelve games and the winner of the match shall be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level after the twelve games, after a new drawing of colors, four tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move. In case the match is still drawn, a match of 2 games shall be played with a time control of 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move. In case of a level score, another 2-game match will be played to determine a winner. If still there is no winner after 5 such matches (total 10 games), one sudden-death game will be played.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that there are so much pressure on both players, regardless if leading or trailing by 1 point. They know that every move will be dissected by millions of fans at home till eternity. Nerves will definitely be in play today.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 Berlin again. Both sides are playing it safe.

8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Bd7 The idea of this move is to move is to move his King to the Queenside instead of the Kingside last in past games.

10. Nc3 h6 11. b3 Kc8 12. Bb2 c5 Anand pulled a surprise with 12…c5. Usually, black doesn’t play c5 when Knight is on c3 as it allows Nd5. Magnus started to think after 12…c5. Even though this move has been played before, it is not a common choice.

13. Rad1 b6 Anand responded immediately. It is very obvious that team Anand prepared this. Anand is trying this idea in the Berlin for the 1st time in this match. This is a mind game on his part to surprise Magnus. Berlin is not a concrete opening. Both sides have a number of plans to choose from. Black’s idea is to put his King on b7 and Bishop on c6. White can put both rooks on d1 and e1, and Knight on d5. Almost every reasonable move has been tried by white here.

14. Rfe1 Anand has a number of choices here. However, once white played Rfe1, no longer a good idea to play Bc6 as it allows e6. Therefore, Be6 makes more sense.

14…Be6 A possible threat is c4 to get rid of his double pawn. 

15. Nd5 g5 Anand is still in his home prep as he played very quickly. In the Berlin, white allows black to have the Bishop pair in exchange for some space advantage. In addition, black has double c pawn and lost the right to castle. These are the trade offs.

16. c4 Black can logically put his King on b7 and other Bishop on g7. White still has space advantage but black is fine. a5 a4 idea is also playable for Anand. Even though it gives Anand some comfort to know that he looked at this at home, there are so many ways to play the Berlin. This is a very rich opening.

16…Kb7 as expected. Even though Queens are off the board, it does not mean that it’s heading toward a draw. Plenty of play left. Magnus is taking a lot of time. There are so many plans for white, and he knows that this game is very important.

17. Kh2 Not a move I considered. The idea is his King can go to g3 after g4 to chase the knight away. 17…Ne7 is logical for Anand. Anand needs to create some kind of counter play, most likely on the queenside.

17…a5 You can expect Magnus to block the pawn break with 18. a4.

18. a4 Ne7 Now I expect Magnus to continue the idea of g4.

Magnus played 19. g4 as I discussed earlier. He doesn’t want to allow Anand to open up the position.

19. Ng6 It is important for both players to be very patient in the Berlin, especially given the importance of this game.

20. Kg3 as expected. He is patiently maneuvering his pieces to block everything while keeping his space advantage.

20…Be7  Anand is willing to give up one of his Bishops. He’s connecting his Rooks to prepare for Ra to d8. However, if white takes the Bishop, it will lead to Bishops on opposite colors. 2 ideas for white, to relocate Knight to e3 then f5, or to d2 then e4. White can also take the Bishop on e7. Many ideas for Magnus.

21. Nd2 as discussed above. Taking on e7 would have meant Magnus is content to draw. He doesn’t 🙂 Some may think the Berlin is boring. But the players don’t care. Their job is to retain/win back the title and not please fans. Anand can get one of his Rooks to d8 now.

21…Rhd8 22. Ne4 Bf8 White still has space advantage but Black is absolutely fine. Both players are pleased with the position. This is like a heavyweight boxing match. The players are jabbing. It is going the distance, no knockout punch yet.

23. Nef6 I expect Anand to play c6 to push the Knight back, with possibility of b5 later.

23…b5 Anand played b5 right away. It is tactically OK but a bit risky. Safer is c6. This is a clear pawn sacrifice. But Magnus should NOT take the pawn.

If axb5 then a4. Even though Anand will be a pawn down, excellent compensation. Magnus should play Bc3 and ignore the pawn.

24. Bc3 as expected.

24. Bc3 bxa4 25. bxa4 Kc6 The move 23..b5 by Anand was a very good move. It is fine tactically, but very good psychologically. He created chances for himself. This is becoming very exciting. 

26. Kf3 Now 26…Be7 with the idea of trading for the f6 Knight. Black is doing good here. Black is the one in the driver seat here. Magnus needs to be VERY careful with this endgame as it now favors black. After further analysis, I think the key move for Anand is Be7. That is the main option to give him an endgame edge. Anand has a sense that this is a critical move as how he wants to steer this game. That’s why he’s taking time. 3 reasonable choices: Be7, Bg7 or Rab8. Strongest is Be7.

26…Rdb8 Not a blunder but clearly not as strong as 26…Be7

27. Ke4 is logical by Magnus. Get the King in play, get away from possible pin with Rb3.

27…Rb4 This is a blunder! The sac is unsound.

28. Bxb4 cxb4 This is also inaccurate. axb4 is more accurate. For whatever reason, Anand lost patience and self destructed. 3 straight inaccuracies by Anand. First by moving Rdb8, then Rb4, and cxb4.

29. Nh5 Kb7 Now 30. f4 is logical to open up the position.

30. f4 gxf4 Now Nxf4 is best as after Bxc4 then Rd7

31. Nhf4 Nxf4 32. Nxf4 Bxc4 and now of course 32. Rd7

33. Rd7 The position is totally lost for Anand. His only chance is if Magnus blunders. The match will likely end today.

33…Ra6 Anand’s last attempt to save the game. Now Nd5 and it is resignable.

34. Nd5 Rc6 and now Magnus can simply capture on f7.

35. Rxf7 Bc5 now Magnus can play Rxc7 or simply h4. Many ways to win.

36. Rxc7+ Rxc7 37. Nxc7 +- As I mentioned in the last few days, nerves will be a factor in this game. Unfortunately for Anand, it is.

37…Kc6 Now 37. Nb5 or e6. Both win.

38. Nb5 Bxb5 38. axb5 Kxb5 40 e6 b3 . 41Kd3 Be7 42. h4 a4 43. g5 hxg5 44. hxg5 a3 45 Kc3 and Anand resigned.

Before game 1, I predicted 11 games for the winner, regardless if it was Anand or Carlsen. Congratulations to Magnus for retaining the title. Kudos to Anand for putting up a brilliant fight.

Anand: It was a bad gamble and I was punished!

Anand: I have to admit he’s a better player. His nerves held up.

Anand: My nerves were the first to crack. His nerves held up. He was more stable.

Anand admitted that he did not look much at Be7. He did consider Bg7. But he decided to gamble.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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