Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 4: Draw

Carlsen-Anand World Championship Game 4: Draw

| 107 | Chess Event Coverage

The fourth game of the world championship match in Sochi, Russia between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand ended in a draw. The score is 2-2.

For his second black game, Anand switched from 1...e5 to a 2...e6 Sicilian and it was no surprise that Carlsen went for a quiet line there: 3.g3.

The Norwegian got a slight edge based on an isolated c-pawn in the enemy camp, tried for a while in a queen ending but Anand held it rather easily.

Tomorrow will be a rest day.

After Anand leveled the score in the most convincing manner on Tuesday, FIDE's Press Officer Nastja Karlovich asked him about his match strategy. Obviously, the Indian GM didn't want to respond to that question, even though it was a legitimate one.

At least a bit of Anand's current strategy was revealed the next day. Instead of cooling down with another solid 1...e5, he played the Sicilian, the same choice as in the very last game in Chennai last year. Was the Tiger again looking for complications?

Last year 2...d6 3.Bb5+ came on the board, a line that leads to the quiet positions Carlsen prefers, and therefore Anand's 2...e6 of today was a logical choice. But here too, the Norwegian had something ready that suits his style: 3.g3.

Carlsen playing 3.g3 against Anand's Sicilian.

It's impossible that Anand was surprised by that move as Carlsen had played the system four times before, albeit only in blitz and rapid games. And judging from the speed at which Anand was playing, he definitely had seen this opening during his preparation.

After 14 moves Black looked fine, but Carlsen found a nice move there: 15.Qf1! preparing h2-h3.

Anand voluntarily put his bishop on h5, and the online commentators expected Nh4 there, preventing the bishop from reaching the nice g6 square.

But Carlsen had his own thoughts about the position, played 16.h3 allowing 16...Bg6, instantly played by Anand.

Peter Svidler: “It's curious that Magnus decided not to bother trying to stop this.”

After 17 moves both sides had finished their development, and despite the IQP Black was doing absolutely fine. The computer at first sight even preferred Black by a small margin but after thinking a bit longer it started to like White.

And then things changed. Carlsen took on c6, and after bxc6 played c2-c4.

Anand indeed did not fall from his chair, but it's quite possible that he started to dislike his position somewhat. After the trade of one pair of rooks, Carlsen brought back his queen into play, and was definitely a bit better.

That queen move 23.Qd3 was strong as it stabilized White's position.

Svidler liked it a lot: “I have a feeling Vishy may have underestimated this a little bit.” And a move later the 7-time Russian champion added: “There are concrete problems I'm so far unable to solve.”

But then Anand showed why he is challenging Carlsen, why is he isn't just any chess player, but a five-time world champion. He found the excellent defensive move 24...Be5!, missed by most experts, including the world number 10 in the live ratings.

The dark-squared bishops were traded and the also the remaining rooks, on d5, and what was left was a QN-QN ending where Anand had an IQP again.

Both player kept finding the most testing moves, such as 33...Nd4!, 34.g4! (“A huge new challenge for Vishy” -- Svidler) and 35...Ne6!.

All was OK for Black, and meanwhile Carlsen was getting low on time. At some point he had five minutes for his last five moves, and spent three minutes and 39 seconds on the first of those five.

Anand then decided that a pawn sacrifice was in order and pushed his d-pawn one square further. It was a good, practical decision that was based on activity.

At that moment, more than 500 million km from earth, Rosetta’s Philae probe landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which might have affected the chess fans somewhat! The landing was transmitted live on the same platform as the Anand-Carlsen game (Livestream), but whereas “our” show attracted roughly 50K online viewers simultaneously, that other event was slightly more popular.

Meanwhile, at the chess board in Sochi ,Anand's queen landed on d2. He really needed that accurate move, or else he might get into more trouble than ever in this game.

He did find it, after five-and-a-half minutes. The time control after move 40 is 60 minutes until move 60, and then 15 minutes plus 30 seconds increment.

Carlsen took a deep think, and again found a way to keep his opponent busy by pushing his kingside pawns.

Yet again Anand reacted accurately, and then the world champ had enough and gave perpetual check.

Game 4 annotated by GM Dejan Bojkov

Video: Press Conference Highlights

Anand made a confident impression during the game, and confirmed that state of mind during the press conference:

"There wasn't really a moment I was very concerned, except for this one. As soon as I played 39...d4 I saw [40.Qe8+ Kh7 41.Qxf7 Qc3+ 42.Ke4 d3] 43.Qf3 but then I also saw Qd2 quickly.

"It was a difficult game because there's a lot going on based on this d5-pawn. I was pretty content except for this brief moment with ...d4 but I never really got worried as the same moment I saw 41...Qc3, I saw I could go one square futher."

Carlsen wasn't too happy with his play, to put it mildly:

“I thought I played terribly, but it was a draw so that's OK. My last two games have been pretty bad so I have to improve. I think I can still play. I think I missed several things but I think overall it was just not a very high-quality game on my part, I mean there were no glaring blunders, at least I don't think so, but just in general not good enough.”

And so it looks like after four games, with a 2-2 score, it's Anand who has a slight psychological advantage right now, if only because his play makes a better impression than last year.

The Indian GM is not a fan of this topic, and so when he was asked about it, his reply was “I don't know, I simply have no idea. My thoughts are more as to what I will play, and stuff like that. I think this kind of reflecting you do later.”

Carlsen said about the psychology: “I don't know. I'll think about it later. Regardless of what mood you are in, the score is still the most important. Since the score is equal, so far everything is equal. ”

Carlsen-Anand 2014 | Score

# Name Rtg Perf G01 G02 G03 G04 G05 G06 G07 G08 G09 G10 G11 G12 Pts
1 Carlsen 2863 2792 ½ 1 0 ½ 2.0/4
2 Anand 2792 2863 ½ 0 1 ½ 2.0/4 Coverage of the World Championship is providing daily “recap” shows after each round! This is the ONLY place (that we know of) offering in-depth, SportsCenter-style breakdowns of what happened in the games. 

Not able to watch the games live? Don't worry, you won't miss anything with's highlights showsStay tuned to the calendar page for updates as we assign many of our great broadcasters to daily shows. is also hosting highlights shows on the rest days from Sochi! 

IM Danny Rensch hosted the first highlights show with top GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on Monday, Nov. 10 and further shows will feature none other than top GM Hikaru Nakamura on Nov. 13 and 16.

Look for more updates on the calendar or follow @chesscomtv on Twitter!

More from PeterDoggers
White Presses, Black Holds: All Draws In Prague

White Presses, Black Holds: All Draws In Prague

Abdusattorov Catches Maghsoodloo As Prague Masters Sees Blunders, Turnarounds

Abdusattorov Catches Maghsoodloo As Prague Masters Sees Blunders, Turnarounds