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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Magnus Opus: After draw in game 10,Carlsen is crowned World Champion

When the players got up,there were just three pieces left on the board.

Written by Raakesh Natraj | Chennai | Published: November 23, 2013 1:18:15 am

Just to play chess.” For Magnus Carlsen,this was something that he reached for readily over the last month. What was his match strategy? Just to play chess. How would he describe his playing style? I just play chess. How did you train? Just playing chess. His opening preparation? You know,just play chess.

Magnus Carlsen,Chess

In game ten,Carlsen required just the draw to become the World Champion. Viswanathan Anand,trailing by three points and perhaps having the fight taken out of him after the violent loss in the previous round,was not really expected to bother him too much. Things would proceed in a perfunctory manner and the draw would be signed after an hour.

Carlsen opened with the king pawn and Anand went for the Sicilian for the first time in the match. The Indian had stayed away from the attacking option with black earlier in game eight,saying there were enough dry lines available despite the Sicilian’s reputation for sharpness.

The one that the players went for in game 10 seemed one such non-threatening variation. After the players had breezed through the opening,Anand hinted that he may have been ready to repeat moves for the draw that would signal the end of the championship and the title would change hands.

But Carlsen,as you know,was there to play chess.

Going nowhere

For a while it looked the game was heading nowhere. Both players fiddled with their kings and moved their queens back and forth. Then Carlsen decided enough was enough and decided he would go for the win. “I got a solid position (with) no weaknesses,as the game went on he started to drift a bit and then I thought as long as there is no risk I should try to win it,” he said,after the game.

Sure enough,Anand,with little to play for in the game or the match,made a mistake. Suddenly it seemed Carlsen would break through the middle of the board and if he found the right continuation,go an exchange up (he would have a rook for a knight). An advantage of that magnitude is generally more than enough for a win,and already there was chatter on the internet about how Carlsen intended this to be a signal to his future challengers.


Still,he had to find the right set of moves and on this day,Carlsen couldn’t. Unfortunately for Anand,the gift came too late in the match to be of any significance. But Carlsen,despite letting the chance slip by,would simply not let go. He traded the major pieces off the board and plunged the game into a tricky knight and pawn endgame. The game lengthened. It went past the two-hour mark. Then three. Four. Anand was busy defending and most of the time it was with his back to the wall.

Magnus Carlsen,Chess

Then it seemed as if one false move by either player would push them over the edge. Carlsen had a big think and it was soon close to five hours since the game had started. It was only here,on the brink of miscalculating to a loss,that Carlsen took the easy way out. He calculated precisely,shut down the position and claimed the draw. When the players got up,there were just three pieces left on the board.

The world title had changed hands.

Magnus Carlsen,Chess

Game 10

White: Magnus Carlsen

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Sicilian Rossolimo,B51:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. c4 Nf6 8. Bg5 e6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. O-O Bc6 11. Qd3 O-O 12. Nd4 Rc8 13. b3 Qc7 14. Nxc6 Qxc6 15. Rac1 h6 16. Be3 Nd7 17. Bd4 Rfd8 18. h3 Qc7 19. Rfd1 Qa5 20. Qd2 Kf8 21. Qb2 Kg8 22. a4 Qh5 23. Ne2 Bf6 24. Rc3 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 Qe5 26. Qd2 Nf6 27. Re3 Rd7 28. a5 Qg5 29. e5 Ne8 30. exd6 Rc6 31. f4 Qd8 32. Red3 Rcxd6 33. Rxd6 Rxd6 34. Rxd6 Qxd6 35. Qxd6 Nxd6 36. Kf2 Kf8 37. Ke3 Ke7 38. Kd4 Kd7 39. Kc5 Kc7 40. Nc3 Nf5 41. Ne4 Ne3 42. g3 f5 43. Nd6 g5 44. Ne8+ Kd7 45. Nf6+ Ke7 46. Ng8+ Kf8 47. Nxh6 gxf4 48. gxf4 Kg7 49. Nxf5+ exf5 50. Kb6 Ng2 51. Kxb7 Nxf4 52. Kxa6 Ne6 53. Kb6 f4 54. a6 f3 55. a7 f2 56. a8=Q f1=Q 57. Qd5 Qe1 58. Qd6 Qe3+ 59. Ka6 Nc5+ 60. Kb5 Nxb3 61. Qc7+ Kh6 62. Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63. Kxb6 Kh5 64. h4 Kxh4 65. c5 Nxc5 Draw.

Scores: Anand 3.5 – Carlsen 6.5

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