Carlsen analyzes the World Championship (2/2)

Carlsen analyzes the World Championship (2/2)

n the second part of Magnus Carlsen’s overview of the second match against Anand, the world champion analyzes the key moments and his evaluations of the openings as well as the turning points in the games. He brings up the famous mutual oversight in game six, but as will be seen, Anand would have other opportunities later in the match. See Carlsen’s analysis.

Game six
I was lucky to have a free day before the sixth game, and I got some help from some Russian friends. We prepare something much better against the Sicilian variation he had surprised me with in the fourth game. Right from the opening I gained an initiative in the endgame. Soon the position was kind of a static nature where I had a clear advantage. It was not so easy to win, but he had no counterplay at all.


After 18…Nf8, Black was all tied up

Then, as many of you know, I threw it all away… in one move. But, sometimes in chess you get lucky, and he didn’t see it.


Sometimes in chess you get lucky


After the careless 26.Kd2?? (26.Kd1 would have been fine), some speculate whether this might not have been a turning point in the match had Anand seen 26…Nxe5! and if 27.Rxg8 Nxc4+ 28.Kd3 Nb2+ and Black would be winning. Nevertheless, he would get another chance in game eleven.


It was soon clear both players had seen what they had missed

After that, the situation didn’t change much. I did have to allow his pawn to advance from a5 to a3, not to fall for the same trick again, but still, it felt to me that his counterplay should not be sufficient and I should still be better, and that’s what happened. I managed to break through on the kingside and his counterplay was not enough.

Game seven
The seventh game was an important one for me because I really wanted to put the match away at that point. I gained an advantage in the Berlin endgame.


“He saw nothing better than to liquidate to an endgame where I had a knight and rook and two pawns against rook and four pawns.”

At the start I was absolutely convinced that my position should be winning, and so I missed a moment very early when I could have forced his pawn to advance to the a5 square, creating a weakness on the b5 square where my knight could later hop in. That would have given me excellent winning chances. As it happened in the game, it was much much more difficult to win than I thought. Maybe it was not possible at all. I tried for a really long time, even with just knight and rook against rook; I thought there was absolutely no harm in playing, but I didn’t manage to win.

Game eight
The eighth game was a difficult one. When I woke up that day, I felt kind of sick, nauseated. It was not a good situation to be in, so at the start of the game I felt pretty horrible. That’s why it appeared to some that I was sleeping at the board. Then at some point my medicine began to kick in a bit and I felt much better. The game itself, there is not so much to talk about. My opening choice was kind of risky, but the way he played, which was the most natural and quite dangerous looking, was perhaps not the most critical way, and I managed to equalize and make a draw.

Game nine
The ninth game there is not much to talk about there. My only real opening failure with white. About sixteen moves I didn’t see anything to play for and I decided to force a draw by repetition.


Seeing nothing, White repeated with 17.Ng5+ Kf6 18.Ne4+ Kf7 etc.

Game ten
The tenth game was another difficult one. I decided to change the opening again with Black to play the Gruenfeld defense. He also played something different, and we got to a very complicated position where he has a passed d-pawn but I also have some good piece play, and potentially his d-pawn could become weak as well.

After some more or less forcing moves, we got to an endgame which I had previously thought to be pretty harmless for me. I thought there had to be a way to deal with the d-pawn and my pawn majority on the queenside should be a longterm trump as well.


Did the queenside majority really counterbalance the strong passed d-pawn?

But I underestimated his somewhat peculiar looking construction on the kingside with the knight on g5 and the bishop on h6 that it could actually cause my king quite a bit of trouble. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that when the queens are off the board that there could be a mating attack against the king, and so I was forced to defend a position where he had the bishop pair and a passed pawn.

g10-06 (1)

It was not a fun situation for Magnus and it showed

He could certainly have done much better there, and I was very surprised when he allowed me to take the e-file; that was a crucial moment. If he had taken the e-file himself with the rook, I would not have had the chance to activate my pieces in the same way and I would have been condemned to a long and passive defense.


White needed to play 24.Rfe1! and keep the pressure on. If 24…Nxa2? 25.Re7! and if Rad8 26.Bd5! is nasty, attacking f7 and the knight on a2

Game eleven
Then in the eleventh game, he chose a different variation of the Berlin defense; one that I’d studied a bit but we didn’t think was very likely to happen.

I thought from the opening that I had the more promising position, and that my position was easier to play, but after a while it became more difficult to cover all my advanced pawns than I thought, and he managed to play this amazing b5 breakthrough which is always in the air but I missed in that particular moment.


Anand played the fantastic 23…b5!! and took over the position. The point is that if 24.axb5? a4! 25.bxa4 Rxa4 Black has a clear edge, and if 24.cxb5? c6! 25.bxc6+ Kxc6 26.Ne3 Bxb3 and White is in big trouble.


As soon as he had played 23…b5!! Anand gave Carlsen a meaningful look

Then he had a lot of counterplay, lots of different possibilities, but fortunately for me he chose probably the worst one, sacrificing the exchange at the wrong moment. That was a relief for me. I thought after he sacrifices the exchange I can in no way be worse. There should be a way for me to to gradually extinguish his activity.

As it happened, things went very quickly, I sacrificed a pawn. I got very excited, but I still managed to make a bunch of very good moves, and that decided the game immediately.

replayer of the games six to eleven:

Carlsen analyzes the World (2/1)