Lifeless Draw in Game 9 Of Carlsen-Anand

Lifeless Draw in Game 9 Of Carlsen-Anand

| 92 | Chess Event Coverage

As easy as GM Magnus Carlsen held as Black yesterday, the draw came even easier today for GM Viswanathan Anand in game nine of the 2014 FIDE World Championship Match.

Carlsen protected his lead, now at 5.0-4.0, but did little else.

Thursday's game repeated the Ruy Lopez, Berlin Variation of game seven until Carlsen deviated with 11. Ne2 instead of 11. Bf4. Unlike three days ago, the challenger needed less than one-sixth of the amount of time to get the half-point.

Today's game tallied 20 moves and just barely crested one hour; game seven took more than six hours and 122 moves.

In the press conference, Carlsen noted the mixed feelings of not getting anything with White, but also erasing one of Anand's four remaining chances to even the score.

Game 9 Analysis By GM Dejan Bojkov:

The game was the shortest of either of the 2013 or 2014 matches.

"Basically I didn't quite see what to do here," Carlsen said of both the position prior to advancing his e-pawn to the sixth rank, and also after it landed there. Would it be a strength or only a target if say 15. Re1 and Black was allowed to play 15...f6 and bypass it?

This pawn was a bit like a boomerang -- it could be quite damaging, but used the wrong way, it might never come back. The dynamism of the game went away after the champion traded it away.

The actual repetition moves were played quite quickly after 15. exf7+.

"He was better prepared than I am," Carlsen said. "For the match it's also OK with a draw." Carlsen did not wish to elaborate on whether he was expecting 11...b6 in response to his new treatment against the Berlin.

"A lot of this is known," Anand said of the theory. "I didn't really expect it, but when it happened, there's not much Black can do...You just have to play the positions you get...I can count, I know the score, and I think I still have some chances."

Later he added that after 16...Bd6 "it is comfortable for Black." He chose not to answer a question about the inclusion of 12...Ba6 followed by bringing it back to b7. Commentator GM Peter Svidler explained that one reason for intentionally losing a tempo was to force the knight to f4 and thus block the dark-squared bishop from reaching g5, when Black would be unable to use d8 for his rook.

"Obviously it's more comfortable playing these Berlin endgames when you're up [in the match score]," Carlsen said. He added that it is frustrating to be outprepared for a game, "but it's also been the opposite a couple of times also."

The question of who the draw helped more is not entirely simple to answer. One on hand, Carlsen mostly took the rest day off from sports, but failed to prepare a line that extracted energy from his veteran challenger. Conversely, Anand didn't do anything to upset the status quo.

Longtime chess journalist Leontxo Garcia (from Spain, Anand's former residence) told Norwegian media that it was not in Anand's personality to go for more today, but that he disagreed. He explained that even as Black he should have tried for something with more energy with only four games remaining.

The Norwegian site NRK translated his view of Anand's strategy as  feig," which is translated as "cowardly."

Carlsen stopped to answer a few questions from Norwegian media.

Carlsen said he felt better physically than in round eight, when he was seen closing his eyes at the board. He's been more concerned with positions than with energy levels.

"I think my play has been quite inconsistent both in terms of preparation and in terms of overall play," Carlsen said.

Carlsen often attends pro sports events during events like the Sinquefield Cup. Yesterday he passed on the chance to see the (brand new) local KHL team, HK Sochi (the Leopards beat the Chelyabinsk Tractors 4-1).
UPDATE: It seems his love of sport couldn't be repressed for too long. After not participating in basketball or soccer on the rest day, he hit the courts after game nine.

His lead after nine games is merely one point; in Chennai last year Carlsen won in the same round to move the match "dormie" -- a three-point lead with three games to play.

"I don't sit and think about Chennai a lot. That was in the past." Anand said.

One extraneous question was about GM Vladimir Kramnik's recent proclamation that Carlsen is a genius.

"Well those were kind words," Carlsen said, "but I'm not so generous with the use of the word genius myself."

The view of the Black Sea from the Radisson Blu Paradise Resort and Spa. Game nine ended early enough for the players to catch a sunset. (Carlsen is staying in a presidential suite on the top floor.)

"Every half-point brings me half a point closer to 6.5," Carlsen summarized. "So that's not too bad. It's a tough match, and right now it looks like it's going the distance."

If it does go to 12 games, how will the champion hold up? "The nerves are always going to be there," he admitted.

Carlsen-Anand 2014 | Score

# Name Rtg Perf G01 G02 G03 G04 G05 G06 G07 G08 G09 G10 G11 G12 Pts
1 Carlsen 2863 2812 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 5.0/9
2 Anand 2792 2820 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 4.0/9 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. 

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FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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