Anand-Carlsen: Game 4, a Berlin Ending, Drawn After 64 Moves
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The fourth match game in Chennai between Viswanathan Anand, playing white, and Magnus Carlsen ended in a draw after 64 moves. It was an amazing fight that started as a Berlin Ending, in which the World Champion was forced to sacrifice a pawn at an early stage, but he did get some long-term compensation. Still in Chennai, Garry Kasparov liked White's chances until move 31. Just when Carlsen seemed to gain the upper hand, Anand found some excellent moves and eventually he could liquidate to a drawn rook ending.
After yet another great fight between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand in Chennai, the longest game so far, nobody speaks about the two quick draws at the start anymore. The match has begun, the match is there and it's great!
On the fourth day of play, the two matadors showed a very high level of play — perhaps except for Anand's opening phase. In the most complicated positions they often played the move that was also the first stuggestion of the strongest engines.
Carlsen had the advantage for most of the game, but the experts agreed that the reigning champion defended brilliantly. "Something went horribly wrong in the opening," said Anand, who saw his 1.e4 answered by 1...e5, instead of the Caro-Kann like in game 2.
Carlsen played the infamous Berlin Ending, Vladimir Kramnik's tremendous weapon in the year 2000 which he used so successfully against Garry Kasparov. For years this opening did not have a great reputation in terms of providing exciting chess, but recently some very interesting games have been played with it, and the 4th match game in Chennai was no exception.
"I made one illogical move after the next. I missed something with 18.Ne2 and then... I'm just basically lost," said Anand. About losing the a-pawn, the Indian said that he was "already drifting" and he mostly wanted to be consistent. Funnily enough, Kasparov, who spoke with GM Ian Rogers during the game, was one of the few who actually liked the pawn "sacrifice". It was only until 31...g6 when The Boss stopped looking for wins for White!
Except for the opening, Anand played strong chess. Carlsen: "When I won the pawn I was very optimistic but he kept finding resources. I was missing some little things; he just fought on really well. All credit to him."
Especially 35.Ne4! was a great move by Anand which made full use of all the tactical possibilities. Just before the time control he could liquidate to a rook ending which would have been an easy draw with just one rook for both players, but somehow the World Champion couldn't manage to trade a pair of rooks.
Speaking about this phase, at the press conference it was Anand's turn to compliment his opponent: "Magnus also kept finding resources. I thought I had checked everything and then he finds 56...Re6."
On top of that, Anand got into into time trouble again. "I had a minute left at this point. For Grischuk it was just another day, but for me... it's not every day that I'm down to a minute." But he survived the time trouble again, and the game.
During the game, FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos gave a press conference about the way Garry Kasparov was received (or rather, not) in Chennai. Whereas on Monday many journalists had learned that Kasparov wasn't welcomed at the airport or in the hotel, and wasn't supposed to give a press conference or join the commentary, FIDE seemed to have changed its position 180 degrees the next day. Makropoulos: "Garry is welcome here and can go wherever he wants."
One journalist confronted Makropoulos with the fact that his colleague at FIDE, Geoffrey Borg, had made sure that Kasparov would not be allowed to join the live commentators, to which "Makro" answered: "I am the only one who can give such instructions."
Meanwhile, Kasparov has left Chennai. Together with his team member Ignatius Leong he will be campaigning in Asia. First stop: Jakarta, Indonesia. Later, an interview with the 13th World Champion will be posted here.
To finish on a lighter note: For the first time Vishy Anand did not play in his trademark blue shirt (with his main sponsor NIIT clearly visible), but in a yellow shirt instead, which had another sponsor logo on it: that of Crocin, a paracetamol (acetaminophen) brand in India. If you hadn't seen the TV ad below yet, here's your chance:
Thursday is the second rest day of the match. The score is 2-2 and eight more games will be played. On Friday Carlsen has the white pieces again. The prize money, provided by the Tamil Nadu government, is about 14 crore rupees (US $2,212,210 / € 1,644,034).