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How To Beat Magnus Carlsen

How To Beat Magnus Carlsen

The 2015 edition of Norway Chess was a memorable event in several ways. Above all, it heralded the resurgence of Veselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand, who both stormed through the field and turned in 2900+ performances. Topalov won the tournament with 6.5/9, but Vishy's performance — no losses and wins over Vachier-Lagrave, Carlsen, and Hammer — was no less impressive. 

What raised the most eyebrows, however, was Magnus Carlsen's debacle. The heavy pre-tournament favorite (surprise, surprise), Magnus started off on the wrong foot with a calamitous loss to Veselin Topalov, and simply could not regain his bearings. Despite a valiant effort, he lost three more games and wound up in eighth place with 3.5/9. 

In this article, I would like to petition all members of the chess community to sign a mandate that will strip Magnus of his world championship title.

Just kidding. Cool Did you actually buy it? Not even for a second? Let's try that again, then.

I hold Magnus in the highest esteem both on and off the board, but in this article, I would like to examine his fourth-round defeat against Vishy Anand, an epic slugfest that highlights the true skill of today's elite players. To help us understand its complexities, I will apply the Seirawan approach, breaking the game down into its three phases. Enjoy! 

Opening:

Not much brewing so far. Both players carried out typical plans of development, and a fascinating middlegame awaits. 

Middlegame:

What an incredible turnaround! In only 10 moves, Anand has generated a crushing attack on Black's king.

It is truly amazing how two outwardly meaningless inaccuracies — 18...Rb8 and 19...Bc8 — drastically transformed the nature of the position. 

End — The Attack:

At 45 years old, Vishy Anand is consistently defying expectations and performing better than ever. Let us raise our glass to the Tiger of Madras! 

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