Magnus Carlsen scampered to his seat with less than 10 seconds left for the scheduled start of game seven,only barely avoiding a forefeit. Thereafter,there was nothing remotely dramatic about the action,with Viswanathan Anand and Carlsen agreeing to a draw by repetition after 32 moves and two hours of play.
The passivity of the game could,in part,be attributed to the match situation. Anand was unable to break through with white pieces,but the draw would have bought him a certain measure of relief,coming as it did after successive losses in games five and six. After the last two games,it is nice to break this (string of) results. I was hoping to press him a little bit but was not able to, said Anand after the game. On the other hand,each draw only pushes Carlsen,two points ahead with five games to go,closer to the title. Moreover,a comfortable draw with black pieces is always welcome. I have the lead and this result suited me fine, was Carlsens assessment.
For the third black game in a row,Carlsen responded to Anands e5 opening with the solid Berlin defence. In each of these games,Anand has tried different responses early in the game,but has been unable to achieve the kind of sharp positions he has been looking for. Monday was no exception,as black had the bishop pair in exchange for the doubled c pawns,and came out of the opening with no visible weakness.
At around move 10,Anand could have chosen to castle on opposite sides and push a pawn avalanche towards blacks king. It may not have proved a great success,but would at least have given Carlsen something to think about. However,both sides chose to castle long. Still,Anand had the option to set in motion a speculative attack,pushing his g and h pawns up the board,making use of fact that whites pieces could turn their attention to the king side a little more easily than blacks. Anands response was a bit tentative,pushing just the h pawn (16. h5) ahead to free up the file for his rook.
The threat was not acute enough for Carlsen to start scrambling his pieces and the Norwegian instead began a series of exchanges. Ten moves later,both sides just had a queen and a knight moving around each others symmetrical pawn structures. Carlsen chose not to torture Anand with another extended to-and-fro in the middle game,agreeing to repeat moves instead.
In some quarters,Anand was expected to go all in in game seven,considering he would have just two more whites in the five remaining games. Another rather dull opening from Anand leading to massive exchanges and a high probability of a draw. Seem to be better ways of going all-in…At this point who cares if you lose 10 in a row. You have to try and win! tweeted American GM Hikaru Nakamura,currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Anand has nothing in the opening phase,game after game. Would support @GMHikaru opinion of going all in this situation certainly, tweeted GM Teymur Rajabov,who was one of the participants in this years Candidates tournament.
From Anands perspective,it was perhaps the loss in game six that put him on the defensive on Monday. In attempting to bounce back after his loss in game five,Anand tried complicating the position in game six,often resorting to sub-optimal moves to keep the position alive. Despite his efforts,the game descended into an even endgame and,well into the fifth hour,Anand blundered to lose. Another loss here would have been the equivalent of a knockout blow. Having steadied himself,Anand will have to start throwing a few punches of his own now,and soon.
White: Anand,Black: Carlsen
Opening: Ruy Lopez,Berlin defense
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Nf1 Nd7 9. Ng3 Bxf3 10. Qxf3 g6 11. Be3 Qe7 12. O-O-O O-O-O 13. Ne2 Rhe8 14. Kb1 b6 15. h4 Kb7 16. h5 Bxe3 17. Qxe3 Nc5 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. g3 a5 20. Rh7 Rh8 21. Rdh1 Rxh7 22. Rxh7 Qf6 23. f4 Rh8 24. Rxh8 Qxh8 25. fxe5 Qxe5 26. Qf3 f5 27. exf5 gxf5 28. c3 Ne6 29. Kc2 Ng5 30. Qf2 Ne6 31. Qf3 Ng5 32. Qf2 Ne6 1/2-1/2
Match score: Carlsen 4.5 – Anand 2.5
game 8,live on DD Sports @ 3pm
Tried to press,couldnt make it happen
Chennai: After managing to hold Carlsen to a draw after two straight losses,Anand spoke about how it was nice to break the run of losses and that the opening meant that it was difficult to get an open,sharp game. Carlsen said he was of the opinion that the effect of game five carried over to game six,and that was a part of the psychological aspect of playing tournaments.
On the game
Anand: I chose a line both of us have played quite a bit in the past. You get a slow kind of maneuvering game. After castling I thought I may have been able to press a little bit,I understand it may not have been huge but somewhow I was not able to make it happen. I thought the rook on the h file would give me something,but swapping all the rooks would give him some kind of counterplay.
Carlsen: There are many different ideas,but whatever you play,it is a bit slow and the game goes on. I thought I was only a little bit worse but nothing major. My pieces are well developed and there are no weaknesses,so I should not be in any major trouble.
On the rest day
Anand: The weather (it rained heavily all through Sunday) doesn’t allow you to do much. So I stayed at the hotel and did some work. Yeah,a bit of sport.
Carlsen: We played a bit of football and basketball,not too successfully,but it was fun.
On the quick draw
Anand: After the last two games it is nice to break this result. But I was hoping to press him a little bit but I was not able to,to be honest.
Carlsen: I was not disappointed with the short draw. I have the lead and I won the last game with black. This suited me just fine.
On the effect of a loss
Carlsen: There are some psychological aspects. Clearly the outcome of Game 5 influenced Game 6. That is unavoidable I think in matches. You just try to move on as best as you can,but it is not easy.