Welcome to Carlsen – Anand Sochi World Championship game 9 (LIVE commentary by me).
Thanks for joining me. After 8 games, the score is 4.5 – 3.5 in favor of Magnus.
We are down to just four games. It is pressure time for both players, especially Anand. There is no room for any error. One more loss and the match is virtually over.
Magnus, on the other hand, does have a little margin for error. However, a loss at this stage not only will allow Anand to be back in the match, but the momentum will heavily shift to the other side.
This is what a World Championship is all about!
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.
I do not expect Anand to go all out. It is too early. He will try to hold with black and try with white.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 We have another Berlin.
5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. h3 Ke8 Black can no longer castle, and can choose to put his King on the Queenside with eventual c8 then b7 or Kingside.
10. Nc3 h5 11. Ne2 This is the first deviation. This means that Magnus wants something more than what he got from previous Berlin game.
11…b6 Unlike a sharper opening like Sicilian where precision/every tempo counts, it’s more flexible with the Berlin.
12. Rd1 Ba6 In the Berlin, black voluntarily allows the Queen exchange, forfeits his right to castle, and allows the double c pawn. However, Black gets the Bishop pair. Usually positional players with strong endgame skill like the Berlin. Without Queens on the board, the inability to castle does not mean much. Even with the deviation from Magnus, Anand is well prepared .
13. Nf4 Not sure why Magnus spent so much time on 13. Nf4. We are still in book play. Anand is experienced with WC match play. In spite of being down 1 point, he’s not in panic mode, safe play with black pushes with white. He will only in an all out gamble mode in game 12.
13…Bb7 White has to be careful always in the Berlin. If he overpushes, it can backfire. Patience is required by both sides.
14. e6 Bd6 was played immediately. It seems that Anand is still in his preparation and Magnus does not know it, or is trying to remember it. It is impossible to prepare for every possible openings / lines. Therefore, the element of surprise is important in WC matches.
When I made a comeback in 2003-04 after not playing since 1996, I added the Berlin to my repertoire. It is a very solid opening.
15. exf7+ Kxf7 16. Ng5+ Kf6 17. Ne4+ Kf7 Anand is still playing super fast. The position is equal.
18. Ng5+ Kf6 19. Ne4+ Kf7 20. Ng5+ draw by repetition!
Chennai commentary team is back for game 10 and 11 https://chessdailynews.com/chennai-commentary-team-is-back-for-carlsen-anand-game-10-11-2/. It is FREE for all. I am very excited to work with GM Ramesh RB again.