Advice for team Anand: Play the Najdorf!

FM Boorchess
Apr 7, 2013, 1:43 AM |

Dear Team Anand,

In preparation for the upcoming world title defense I have made an analysis of Magnus Carlsen's games and come to some important conclusions. At this point everyone realizes that Carlsen is a phenomenal chess player and stands ready to take the title with the same ease thatJose Capablanca took the title from Emmanual Lasker in 1921.

But I am sure you are aware that Vishy Anand is no stranger to the turmoil and hardship of top level matches. If he can keep his title he will stand alone as the greatest match player in chess history having already defended his title against Kramnik, Topalov, and Gelfand.

In order to do this he will have to be in top physical condition. Carlsen is a grinding force that wears his opponent's down and patiently waits for them to blunder in the fifth and sixth hours of play. If Anand can make a statement of endurance he will have taken away one of Carlsen's trumps!


On to the Chess. It is key that Anand's team helps him use his strengths, namely that he has more experience than the 22 year old challenger. In particular I think they should steer the games into the sharpest lines possible. As black against Carlsen's favorite 1.e4 it makes good sense to rely on the Najdorf, a long time specialty of the world champion's.

 I present the following games to highlight some of Carlsen's rare losses and make the case that it is possible to outplay him with the black pieces if you can take him out of his comfort zone. The recent candidate matches also showed thatalthough Magnus may be the top player in the world he is also quite capable of losing games when faced with stiff resistance.

Our next game will feature Carlsen on the black side of the Najdorf. It is a distinct possibility that he will use this defense himself in the match. I think that this game shows perfectly what is possible when you out prepare him, get him into a murky difficult position and then follow through with near flawless technique.
This next game shows Carlsen over confidently spurning a theoretical draw to "just play chess"; a common trend in his games and potentially an area where Anand can look to pounce on the challenger's overt optimism. It will be the job of team of Anand to force the challenger into just these difficult situations game after game .
 As parting advice I will also add that if Anand is to defend his title he must put away his admiration and excessive respect for Carlsen. In the past he has shown a willingness to step aside for the Norwegian wunderkind by taking draws in good positions. In the 2013 Anand should realize his back is to the wall and be willing to fight for his crown with all of his resources. If he is able to do this I do not count his chances as any worse and the public can expect to see one of the most thrilling world title battles in history.
In addition to offering my advice to world champion's I also help mortal chess player's improve their game and achieve their chess goals. You can learn more about me and my coaching services at
Go team Anand!