A knight on the rim is dim,goes a chess axiom. It is generally used to convey to beginners the advantage of posting a piece near the center of the board,where it commands more squares and plays a more active role than it would from an edge or a corner of the board. A knight sitting on any of the four central squares bears down on eight squares but if it finds itself on one of the four corners,its influence extends to just two squares.
More than halfway into game three,Viswanathan Anand had Magnus Carlsen literally backed into a corner. Carlsen’s queen,the most powerful piece on the board,spent a good part of the middle game being chased from pillar to post and finally cornered on h1,hemmed in by his own king and bishop. White’s queen was temporarily out of action but Anand had other advantages too.
Carlsen had traded his bishop for a knight but found little compensation for it,leaving Anand with the bishop pair. As the game proceeded and pieces went off the board,Anand’s bishop pair,perfectly posted on adjacent squares in the middle of the board,commanded large swathes of the board. Add to this his advanced pawns on the queen side and you could see how Anand was clearly having the better of it.
It is rare that a player achieves complete domination and though Anand’s position was good,the win was still some way off. Carlsen’s compensations were an open ‘a’ file on which his rook was posted and black’s weak g6 pawn.
Running out of time
At this stage,Carlsen’s aim was to look for some counterplay on black’s king side,looking to prey on g6. With both players running short of time,Carlsen would also have known that Anand had to find the accurate sequence of moves that would convert his positional advantages into a material advantage.
With time beginning to run out and on the brink of pulling away,Anand erred. First (29… Bd4),he waited too long to cash in on his advantage,foregoing the pawn on offer on b2. Soon,Carlsen was able to get his queen out of jail. Later (37… Rd8),under time pressure,Anand traded rooks a little too eagerly,and found that he did not have enough major pieces on board to make his advantages count. Carlsen held on,but it was not through any spectacular defending on his part. Rather,Anand had blinked. After four hours and ten minutes,the players agreed to the draw.
Earlier,Carlsen had again opted to start with the unorthodox 1. Nf3,indicating that he was prepared to play ‘regular chess’ rather than theoretical opening lines,considered to be Anand’s area of expertise.
However,for the second white game in a row,Carlsen was unable to extract any kind of advantage out of the opening and it was Anand who was soon in control. As Carlsen’s position grew increasingly cramped,he made the first big mistake of the championship with 28. e3,leaving him potentially a pawn down.
Anand,though,was not as ruthless as he ought to have been and a potentially decisive win passed him by. The first win in a World Championship game is big,and were it to arrive with black,it would have surely have put Anand in a commanding position. Instead,the champion will go back to the drawing board to figure out a way past Carlsen’s Caro Kann as he plays white on Wednesday.
GAme three: White: Magnus Carlsen
Black: Viswanathan Anand
Reti Opening A09
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 g6 3. c4 dxc4 4. Qa4+ Nc6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Nc3 e5 7. Qxc4 Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 h6 10. Bd2 Nd4 11. Nxd4 exd4 12. Ne4 c6 13. Bb4 Be6 14. Qc1 Bd5 15. a4 b6 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. a5 Rab8 18. Re1 Rfc8 19. axb6 axb6 20. Qf4 Rd8 21. h4 Kh7 22. Nd2 Be5 23. Qg4 h5 24. Qh3 Be6 25. Qh1 c5 26. Ne4 Kg7 27. Ng5 b5 28. e3 dxe3 29. Rxe3 Bd4 30. Re2 c4 31. Nxe6+ fxe6 32. Be4 cxd3 33. Rd2 Qb4 34. Rad1 Bxb2 35. Qf3 Bf6 36. Rxd3 Rxd3 37. Rxd3 Rd8 38. Rxd8 Bxd8 39. Bd3 Qd4 40.Bxb5 Qf6 41. Qb7+ Be7 42. Kg2 g5 43. hxg5 Qxg5 44. Bc4 h4 45. Qc7 hxg3 46. Qxg3 e5 47. Kf3 Qxg3+ 48. fxg3 Bc5 49. Ke4 Bd4 50. Kf5 Bf2 51. Kxe5 Bxg3+
Points: 1/2-1/2 (overall 1.5-1.5)
Looked close,but I couldnt find anything: Anand
Chennai: Magnus Carlsen admitted his position was ‘scary’ at one point and that he was ‘happy to get away with the draw’ but it seemed as if Viswanathan Anand did not perhaps realise how close he was to winning game three.
For black he’s got the two bishops..the pawns on b and c could get going,it could get unpleasant for white. Though i have the two bishops white has the ‘a’ file and when I go on any pawn-hunting expedition,white always has counterplay. It looks close,but I couldn’t find anything, said Anand.
When he asked why he did not choose to go a pawn up,he said it would not have presented him with a winning advantage anyway. Taking the pawn…White had compensation. Black has an extra pawn,I’m not in danger of queening it. With opposite coloured bishops (winning is difficult) and I simply didn’t see anything anywhere, he said.
Carlsen admitted he had very little control during the middle game and that it may not have been very wise to leave Anand with the bishop pair.
I made a couple of misjudgements in the middle game. My position was bad and I made it even worse. I gave up the bishop and thought I would have something but it didn’t seem to work out. I didn’t have any idea after that,just happy to survive, he said. I missed some very simple things. It was not a disaster but it was tough,lot of tension on the board and some nerves as well.
The players were also inevitably asked about the presence of Garry Kasparov,and the players said they had not seen the Russian for the last couple of days. Carlsen said it was good that one of the legends of the game was watching the match. When Anand was asked if he was a little intimidated that Kasparov was in the building, he said: What,is he now like Elvis? You would think the good humour might not last when he checks back on the game with his seconds.