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Carlsen-Anand, Game 8, Drawn In 33 Moves - UPDATE: VIDEO

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 11/19/13, 3:44 AM.

The eighth match game between Magnus Carlsen, playing white, and Viswanathan Anand ended in a draw after 33 moves. The Norwegian challenger switched to 1.e4 and the World Champion defended with the same line that his opponent has been using: the Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez. Not much happened in this game and the players even played a few more moves after a dead drawn pawn ending had been reached. The score in the World Championship match in Chennai is 5-3 in favor of Carlsen.


More and more journalists have arrived in Chennai — several chess media as well as Norwegian mainstream media had apparently decided to cover the second half of the match. Unfortunately for them, that second half might not be all too exciting. Both games 7 and 8 were drawn without any fireworks, today's game being the most insipid so far. Carlsen's two-point lead is still there. The gap with the desired 6.5 points, however, is getting smaller and smaller.

On Tuesday the game did start with a surprise: after trying 1.Nf3 (twice) and 1.c4 (once), Carlsen switched to a third opening move: 1.e4. Taken aback, Anand spent 1.5 minutes pondering his reply. “In general in the match you shouldn't be surprised... well, I had not prioritized 1.e4,” said the World Champion at the press conference.

The Indian chose 1...e5, and before we knew it yet another Berlin variation of the Ruy Lopez had appeared on the board, but this time with the challenger behind the white pieces. Less of a surprise was Carlsen's 5.Re1, which suited him perfectly in this match situation: White has a tiny edge and can try increasing it without running any risk.

From a historical perspective this was interesting because the last time the position after 5.Re1 had appeared on the board in a World Championship was during the very first: it was played in six games between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort, in the USA back in 1886. From a chess perpective, today's game wasn't very interesting though.

Anand played what is known as the theoretically most solid way to play for Black; a setup with which many grandmasters managed to draw without much effort. On move 25 Carlsen liquidated to a pawn ending and there the players played five more insignificant moves, before they agreed to a draw.

After the game ended, the journalists and photographers needed to wait for almost twenty minutes for the press conference to start, because the players first had to attend a doping control.

Based on Carlsen's casual remarks at the press conference (e.g. summarizing the game as  “He played the Berlin, I played the most solid line, yadayadayada, let's go to the doping control”) some journalists were speculating that the Norwegian might have needed a drink to perform the test.

Commentators Lawrence Trent and Tania Sachdev saw a conspiracy by the organizers: Anand could still keep his title after Carlsen would be prosecuted for underage drinking! However, this wouldn't work as the legal drinking age in Tamil Nadu is 21.

About thinking for a while on his first move, Anand said: “I didn't really know what his intentions were. I mean, even the Sicilian, if you want to play a dry system, they're available. It's not like there were clear options there. I thought a little bit and I decided to go for this. Of course the match situation speaks for itself and it's my job to liven it up. I guess I'll try in the next game.”
Whereas many of his colleague grandmasters criticised his opening today on Twitter, Anand said: “I'm quite happy with my opening preparation.” What is clear is that he'll need to give whatever it takes to try and play for a win on Thursday. “I get a kind of a bonus evening before the rest day so I'll try and prepare something for the next one.”

Carlsen had no reason to complain. “I didn't particularly mind a draw, as was evident from my play. I was just hoping to set him one or two traps and if not then just to shut it down.” And that's what he did.

World Championship 2013

Name Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 G5 G6 G7 G8 G9 G10 G11 G12 Pts Perf
Carlsen 2870 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 5.0 2864
Anand 2775 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 3.0 2781

34800 reads 205 comments
10 votes


  • 17 months ago


    Anand doesn't want to take any risks. He wants to compete against Carlsen with no risk of losing. If the score is 6-4 in favor of Magnus after 10 rounds, expect Vishy to play some nasty stuff in the last 2 rounds. But before that "must-win" situation, Anand simply tries not to make the score any worse and maybe hope for a Carlsen blunder. This is highly understandable and I understand Anand, but there's one thing in my opinion that he's doing wrong. And that's the opening choice. No 1.d4 as white or some more active defense against e4. Well, 4 rounds left so lets see what happens...

  • 17 months ago


    You guys are focusing too much on the winner, maybe because you think you'll then be part of him. But what we are watching is two of the utmost players of chess. One of those is going to win, and that is not humiliating for the opponent.
    If Anand looses, of course he will not be out of the chess world.
    The champion always needs to have opponents to play against, otherwise he'll not be able to confirm himself as the best.


  • 17 months ago


    Anand main contribution to chess is going to be his retirement.

  • 17 months ago


    A reminder: In the Capablanca-Alekhine World Championship match of 1927, something like 31 of 32 games were Queen's Gambit Declined!

  • 17 months ago


    D_Ostwald, I believe he said "doping controls". Smile

  • 17 months ago


    I dont think Anand has still recovered from Game 6. At this level it is easier to get a Draw than a Win and Carlsen is having it easy. Anand may just already be focusing on the 2014 Candidates or maybe he knows that its over.

    I'll be hoping against hope for him to retain the crown. But what if he does.....!!!!

  • 17 months ago


    I did not understand Anand's answer as to why the post-game press conference was so slow to start ... something about 'stop controls'?  Anyone know what was going on there?

  • 17 months ago


    hbtvec@ They are allowed to play boring chess and I am allowed to think they do! 

  • 17 months ago


    Anand can't play so defensive ...


    Carlse show how play chess putting creativity in this wonderfull game...



  • 17 months ago


    Hands off the 2 GMs competing for the ultimate chess crown. I guess few people who do not have chess titles (FM,IM,WGM & GM) find this boring. This is war, its a test of nerves, its brains at work... Stop persecuting the players and allow them the benefit of the doubt. There will only be 1 winner whether you love it or not its either Carlsen or Anand.

    The best man will win!!! They deserve respect because they are the last men standing. This negative publicity comes from some players and fans alike who could not rise to the challenge to play in this game.

    Remember that when you critisise them! All critics have failed at some point in time. Ask yourself if your weaknesses were exposed for the whole world to see and judge...


    Let the players play!! 

  • 17 months ago


    What a bore! One can understand Magnus with a 2 points lead but Anand?

  • 17 months ago


    I expect that, when two players meet for the World Championship, there won't be much swashbuckling. This is chess, not fencing.

  • 17 months ago


    totally agree...with those lines he won´t get Carlsen into troubles...I wanna see some nice gambits...or like c6 nimzo-defence - transponding into f5 coloradogambit or something like that...otherwise this match is already over. He HAS to take risks and Carlsen out of his comfortzone (if that´s possible at all)
    Carlsen is only playing for a tie now...so - without risktaking it´s pretty much over...I mean - what is better - losing 6,5 to 4,5 or having a chance to catch up - losing 7 to 3?

  • 17 months ago


    I liked the game. Very nice.

  • 17 months ago


    This is not the golden era of chess

  • 17 months ago


    I hope Nakamura.... gets a chance to challenge for the world championship.... at least in my mind.... he will bring back fighting chess.... I do believe that this format in the world chess championship should be changed... it should be the first to 10 wins and after so many games have been played ( 20-30 games )... I think they should play blitz games to decide the champion....

  • 17 months ago


    I dont beleive that Anand will give up without a fight. He is still the world champion ( maybe not for long!) and will not spinelessly give his title away.

    Why should you retire if you lose, you will alway be one of the greats. Kramnick is still playing and very successfully.

    Vishy is White in the next game, hope he  will go all out for a win "Better to have fought and lost" Go Vishy give the fans a treat. instead of this boring, grinding, snail race to the finish.

  • 17 months ago


    @vill0236 Yes, there were 17 draws in a row, but that doesn't mean they were all dull draws. Draws aren't a bad thing as long as they're well fought games.

  • 17 months ago


    3 wins draws not counting would be better rules.

  • 17 months ago


    WestofHollywood wrote

    I agree that a first to win X number of games would be a better format. The present world championship format is not amenable to fighting chess - it produces cautious chess. Carlsen has done what he needed to do so far.

    Have you heard about the Karpov Kasparov match in 1984? They played first to six wins and the match was Cancelled after 48 games with only 8 decisive games. It was not fighting chess, just draws and draws. At one point there was 17 draws in a row! Is it that wcc you want?

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