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Vishy Anand dodges a bullet, holds Magnus Carlsen to a draw

by Sagar Shah - 23/04/2019

The rivalry between Anand and Carlsen has been legendary. Carlsen has had the upper hand in 2019 with two classical wins (Tata Steel and Shamkir) to Vishy's nil. Would Carlsen score his third win at the Grenke Chess Classic 2019? Well, he was right on track as he played an excellent opening, made Anand sweat and came extremely close to winning. But Vishy hung on. The Madras Tiger, who usually loves active defence, had to sit with a passive position, while Magnus could improve his position in whichever way he liked. But Anand didn't budge. Carlsen had quite a few winning opportunities, but he didn't manage to find them and Anand drew the game. A great psychological victory for the Indian no. 1. 

The stage was set! Two of the greatest chess players of the current era were facing each other. On your left is the man who dominated the chess world from 2007 to 2013. On your right you have the man who is dominating the chess world since 2013! | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Everything has been going Carlsen's way. He beat Vishy at the Tata Steel Masters 2019 and then once at the Shamkir Masters 2019. He was 2.0/2 at the Grenke Chess Classic and he had the white pieces. From the way Magnus is playing it is as if he is racing against himself, trying to break his record of 2882 Elo and see if he could be the first person ever to cross 2900 Elo. Anand, on the other hand, can never be discounted. At the World Rapid Championship 2017, when no one expected him to win, he beat Carlsen and took home the gold medal. Ever since their two World Championship Matches in 2013 and 2014, everytime Magnus and Vishy sit opposite each other, it has aroused a lot of interest in the spectators. The third round of Grenke was no different. Let's have a look at how the game progressed:


Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand

Carlsen played the same line that gave him the first win at the World Championship match against Caruana

Conventional wisdom would dictate that once you play g3, you must place your bishop on g2. However, Carlsen has devised an effective form of development. He played his pawn to f3, knight came from h3 to f2 and the bishop to d3 with the queen on e2.

Anand was also in a creative mood as he pushed his a-pawn down the board

Instead of playing the most natural move ...Nc5 in the position, Vishy went for ...c6. And this meant that Carlsen could push his pawn to f4 and gain a lot of space.

Let's just take a stock of the situation. White has more space, he has the bishop pair and there is a huge pawn storm coming down his throat. And not to forget, the player with the white pieces is Magnus Carlsen!

After 15 moves Carlsen had a position which he would have been extremely pleased with!  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

g6 would have been a nice way to win after building up the position. The position is that after fxg6, Rxg7 the rook cannot be trapped and is extremely active on the seventh rank

Vishy began his fight back with the move ...g6! A gutsy decision.  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

The odds were against Anand, but he didn't give up

Carlsen's last move was Kf2-g1. He cleared the path for his bishop to move from e3 to f2 to g3 and attack the e5 pawn. This was an excellent idea.

Vishy tried his last chance for a queen exchange and it worked! White has the very nice move Kg2 that wins (explained in the analysis below) and also the more direct c4. But Carlsen played Qe2.

This allowed Anand to immediately activate his knight to e6 and Qh2 would be met with Nf4! It was after this move that Vishy could breathe a sigh of relief.

Peter Svilder has now scored two back to back wins. In round two against Arkadij Naiditsch and in round three against Georg Meier.  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Vincent Keymer played another impressive game of chess, but faltered in time pressure to lose to Fabiano Caruana. Vincent is now 0.0/3, but he has been playing some tremendous chess against the best players in the world  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis
He almost beat me, says Fabiano Caruana after the game

The game between Aronian and Vallejo Pons ended in a draw  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

MVL vs Naiditsch was one of those Berlins where fireworks took place, but the eventual result was a draw  | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Peter Svilder has joined Magnus Carlsen at the top

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