Here's a 14+ minute video on YouTube, with Magnus Carlsen offering a brief personal recap on the games of his match vs. Viswanathan Anand. (HT: Ian Lamb)
Entries in 2014 World Championship (36)
At the pre-match press conference Magnus Carlsen revealed the identity of two of his seconds (assistants), two names who were already known by "everyone" anyway: "the Dane" - Peter Heine Nielsen - and "the Hammer" - Jon Ludwig Hammer. Now, on his blog, we get the full picture:
- On site: Peter Heine Nielsen.
- In Oslo: Jon Ludwig Hammer, Laurent Fressinet (of "too weak, too slow" fame), and Mickey Adams.
- Some "really good help": Ian Nepomniachtchi & Vladimir Potkin.
- Some valuable advice before and during the match: Garry Kasparov.
- Also, helping before and during the Chennai match: Pavel Eljanov.
That's a pretty impressive collection of helpers, and now I wonder if Viswanathan Anand was overmatched when it came to assistance. If anything, Anand's performance in the openings and early middlegames is even more impressive when considering the array of helpers Carlsen had at his disposal - but then we don't know who else might have been helping Anand behind the scenes in addition to his declared seconds.
There's a very interesting interview with world #2 Fabiano Caruana here. One noteworthy aspect is the tone: while Caruana presents himself in a reasonably self-effacing way in the video interviews I've seen, there's a very strong confidence (but not arrogance) that comes across in this piece. A second note, in passing, is bad news for American fans like this writer: he has no plans to switch federations and represent the U.S. again. (Good news for Italians though!)
It's especially interesting to see his comments about the just-completed match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand, and I was pretty surprised to read the following:
What was Vishy’s main mistake in this match?
The strange way in which he twice played the Sicilian Defence. Already on the first attempt it didn’t go so well, but he continued it a second time. The whole course of the match in Sochi showed that Carlsen had nothing special prepared against the Berlin and Vishy should have stuck to his guns. The idea of playing the Paulsen was very bad and very strange, in my view.
While I would heartily agree that the choice of variation within the Paulsen/Kan Anand chose in game 6 was pretty terrible, I wouldn't agree with his general remark, especially if we don't cheat by evaluating Anand's decision about what to play in games 4 and 6 by what happened in games 7, 9 and 11. So let's recap: in game two Carlsen played 4.d3 vs. the Berlin, and very quickly and easily outplayed Anand despite not getting any "official" advantage from the opening. Anand switched to the Sicilian in game 4, and this time when Carlsen went for a sideline Carlsen even stood worse. So I don't understand what Caruana means when he said that "on the first attempt it didn't go so well." The second outing, game 6, was a disaster for Anand, that's true, but it wasn't really the fault of the Sicilian or even the Kan/Paulsen. Anand picked a very strange line, one that both Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik had considered bad for Black for a very long time. It's no wonder that he got in big trouble and lost that game, but I don't see why the blame should be laid at the doorstop of Anand's decision to play the Paulsen.
Anyway, whether you agree with me or the guy who is #2 in the world, it's a lively interview and well worth taking the time to read.
I hope Viswanathan Anand will be able to sleep this next year without having nightmares about his decision to sacrifice the exchange in this game. Anand had a very promising position and a genuine advantage after 23...b5, though he seemed to think it was only about equal. The subsequent exchange sac was an interesting idea in the abstract, but in the position it was simply too slow. Carlsen was better, and further inaccuracies by Anand sped the game along to defeat. After move 32 only reasonable accuracy was needed by Carlsen to prove the value of the material advantage, and Anand resigned shortly after the time control.
Carlsen thus wins the match by two points, 6.5-4.5, and will retain his title until at least 2016. Anand will again be seeded directly into the next Candidates' tournament, while the identity of the other seven participants is as yet unknown. (Fabiano Caruana is a very likely second name due both to his rating and his current lead in the Grand Prix series, but it's not a guarantee.)
Congratulations, Magnus Carlsen!
Magnus Carlsen leads the world championship match with Viswanathan Anand 5.5-4.5 with two (scheduled) games remaining, but he's slightly fortunate to have come out of this game with his lead intact, and definitely fortunate that the game has finished already.
Carlsen repeated the Gruenfeld for the first time since game 1, and this time Anand chose the Russian Variation. Judging solely by the time usage Carlsen was better prepared, but when it came to what happened on the board it was Anand who was either better prepared or simply playing better. Carlsen admitted to having underestimated Anand's 19.Ng5, and after this he started burning time on the clock too.
The critical moment came on move 24, when Anand played 24.Rd2? This defended the a-pawn, but after 24...Re8 Black's problems were more or less gone. White needed to keep control of the e-file with 24.Rfe1, when he would have strong pressure and good winning chances. After 24.Rd2 White didn't have much, and what (very) little he did have was surrendered with 28.Bxb7, shortly followed by a draw offer.
Game 11 is on Sunday (tomorrow is a rest day), and if Carlsen wins the match is over. If he doesn't, then game 12 will occur on Tuesday, after another rest day.
More specifically, on the "Grantland" site, which is hosted by the sports network's website. It's a pretty good article, both in its own right and especially by the exceptionally low standards of the mainstream media (at least here in the U.S.), focusing on the double blunder in game 6. I have only one real complaint about the article, and chances are it's not the author's fault: the headline.
It's apparently impossible for someone in the U.S. to publish a story about chess that doesn't find some angle insinuating that chess is the domain of the psychologically disturbed. Sure enough, even though mention of FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Russian President Vladimir Putin are of no relevance to the main focus of the piece and are mentioned only near the very end, the title naturally puts them front and center: Alien Space Tours, Vladimir Putin, and World-Exploding Double Blunders: Welcome to the 2014 World Championship. Thanks for nothing, Bill Simmons and ESPN.
Today's game was a surprisingly short draw, taking just 20 moves and finishing in about an hour. But sometimes that happens, even with such a fighter as Magnus Carlsen; Viswanathan Anand's preparation was very good and Carlsen saw nothing better than to bail out with a repetition. Carlsen is thus half a point closer to retaining his title (he leads 5-4 with three scheduled games remaining), while Anand managed a very easy hold with Black and can look forward to pressing tomorrow with White.
In game three of this world championship match, Viswanathan Anand got a great advantage out of the opening with White in a Queen's Gambit Declined, and in game 5 Magnus Carlsen switched to the Queen's Indian. This time Carlsen switched back, and he showed a very interesting new idea. Varying from the popular 6...Nbd7 line chosen in game three, Carlsen went for the older 6...c5, and after 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 Nc6 9.Qc2 varied from the standard 9...Qa5 with the rare 9...Re8 and met 9.Bg5 with the practically new 9...Be7. It looked provocative, but it was deeply prepared and Anand couldn't find a way to either create real pressure against the d-pawn or to make anything dangerous happen along the b1-h7 diagonal. Black was always in time, and after 21...b4 had completely equalized. Mass exchanges followed, and the players continued speedily to the time control and agreed to a draw. The score, with (up to) four (classical) games remaining, is 4.5-3.5 in Carlsen's favor.
So it's time for another rest day, and the ball is definitely in Anand's court when it comes to the opening. With only two white games left he's going to need something special there, and has a big decision to make with time allocation. Should he choose something else to play - maybe 3.Nc3, inviting the Nimzo-Indian? And if he repeats 3.Nf3, should he and his team devote a great deal of time to Carlsen's new line, or worry mostly about other lines on the grounds that Carlsen always seems to switch from one system to another?
There's also the question of what he'll do with the black pieces. Does he try to hold again, saving more desperate or at least more aggressive and active measures for game 11, or does he look for something more combative straight away. If he again plays something "soft" like the Berlin, there are two problems. First, of course, it gives Carlsen what he wants - the opportunity to make his opponent suffer. Second, Carlsen is liable to play for hours on end, draining the energy Anand will need for his white game the next day. (At least that won't be an issue in the last two games: there is a rest day both before and after game 11.)
As always, time will tell, and in the meantime here is today's game, with relatively light notes.