Magnus Carlsen Holds As Black In Game 10, Maintains Lead In Sochi

Magnus Carlsen Holds As Black In Game 10, Maintains Lead In Sochi

UPDATE: Here's your chance to ask a question at the Rd. 11 press conference. Click here to submit your question and we will pick one!

On Friday GM Viswanathan Anand used up one of his two remaining turns with White at the 2014 FIDE World Championship. 

Carlsen repeated the Grünfeld from round one, neutralized the center and held the weaker side of the endgame.

The two repeated the game Wojtaszek-Ponomariov 2012 until 14...Ne4. Anand surely knows that game, since the Polish number one GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek is among his team of seconds. Interestingly, Carlsen differed first even though Black won that game.

After the capture on e4, Carlsen took several minutes before deciding to recapture with the bishop. The commentators thought 15...Rxe4 was a critical alternative, and that Carlsen knew the position but coyly did not move immediately.

Everything hinged on the possible advancement of White's passed d-pawn. In the end, it posed dangers but did not produce enough fruit to weigh down Carlsen. As you might guess, in the referenced game, Wojtaszek's passed pawn sat there for about 25 moves, finally lurched forward, and was promptly captured.

In Anand's case, the mighty bishop pair ensured the pawn hit pay dirt, but that still wasn't enough to win. Carlsen just ate some material and gave it right back to ensure the half point.

Carlsen was mobbed as usual just after the press conference. He answered a few questions in Norwegian before his manager curtailed the scene.

GM Simen Agdestein, commentating live in Norwegian, said, "This looks like [Garry] Kasparov's opening. It's the way he played against [Anatoly] Karpov. It might very well be that Kasparov has been in touch with [Carlsen]." (Quotes translated by Norwegian VG Journalist Øyvind Askeland.)

Carlsen did not illuminate anything further, only banally admitting to working with Kasparov in 2009 and 2010 and that the Grünfeld was part of that training.

"Everybody knows that Kasparov has been in touch with Magnus lately," Adgestein continued, "but it's not sure if he has contributed with his openings...It looks like the game from when Kasparov became world champion."

Agdestein was probably referring to the 15th game of the 1987 match.

Chief Arbiter Andrzej Filipowicz has thankfully had a mostly uneventful match, but he does clear the photographers after 10 minutes.

The champ admitted that he chose this line in part because he could have effectively ended the match with a win today.

"To some extent I haven't gotten too many interesting positions with Black," he said. "Some of them have been worse and some of them have been, well, kind of boring...We had a good fight today."

Carlsen looks at the giant relay screens behind both players.

The result was not what former World Champion GM Boris Spassky expected. Speaking to Chess.com around move 20, he said he thought White had achieved a decisive advantage.

The score remains a one-point lead for the champion, 5.5-4.5.

Tomorrow is another rest day but the cycle will then change and slow down even more. Round 11 is Sunday at noon GMT and if Carlsen does not win, the final game will take place Tuesday after yet another rest day on Monday.

Most journalists have yet to book return tickets. Should the match end 6-6, Wednesday would be the seventh(!) rest day before the match mercifully must end on Thursday with a series of tiebreak games.

Game 10 Analysis By GM Dejan Bojkov:

"I couldn't find anything really that I missed," Anand said. He said it was possible not to retreat his queen and consequently allow them to be traded, "but then Black will also have resources, something, it still has to be checked."

He said that Carlsen's decision to shut down the d-file with 19...Bd4 was "very precise" and his later continuation perhaps should have been 24. Rfe1, controlling the e-file. In this respect, he agreed with commentators GM Peter Svidler and GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, neither of whom liked the stale 24. Rd2.

On passing up 24. Rfe1, Anand explained, "I thought just ...Nc6 and I wasn't getting anywhere, but after Rd2, Re8 it's not like I got a lot more."

Both players caught glimpses of the other today while not on move.

Anand applied much more pressure than his last trip as White. In game eight, the Queen's Gambit Declined produced symmetry but no tangible advantage. Today, Carlsen was under duress throughout.

"I was a bit optimistic I have to say...but after Ng5 I didn't find it easy at all," Carlsen said (he spent about 30 minutes on his reply). "With the two bishops he does have some pressure...I was relieved when he gave me the e-file...I didn't necessarily feel that I had control."

The Norwegian flag rests safely for another day.

Carlsen's manager FM Espen Agdestein conceded that he was more nervous today than in recent games, "especially since it was such a sharp position -- it was very difficult to know what was going on."

Team Carlsen anxiously follows the game. Standing is eldest sister Ellen and father Henrik. Seated is Espen Agdestein. All three are above 1900 FIDE.

"In Norway we had this transmission error and that was unpleasant of course," (Espen) Agdestein said. Here's a funny example of the kinds of issues he was referring to:

Carlsen may have a 98 percent chance to win versus this reporter, but not versus Anand.

Both players seemed to appreciate the fighting nature of the game, but neither claimed theoretical victory.

"Today was a very intense game, very interesting, but he defended well," Anand said.

Carlsen said his nerves were fine today and that he does not allow himself to think about the title while at the board. "It's a high-pressure situation. Now we're playing a mini-match of two games where I have draw odds."

The combatants showed more animation at the press conference today.

Would yoga help their mental clarity? Anand claimed that he has tried it and it "sometimes" works for helping him at the board. Carlsen said if he ever tries the "bird of paradise" position, it will be "probably without media there." The pose requires a person to lift one leg so high that it creates an extreme obtuse angle with the straightened leg still on the ground.

"It's not the worst situation to be in," he said and smiled broadly, referring to his match advantage, not the yoga pose.

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 ½ 5.5/10
2 Anand 2792 2820 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 4.5/10

Chess.com Coverage of the World Championship

Chess.com 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 Chess.com's highlights showsStay tuned to the Chess.com/TV calendar page for updates as we assign many of our great broadcasters to daily shows. 

Chess.com is also hosting highlights shows on the rest days from Sochi, with top GMs such as GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and GM Hikaru Nakamura.

Look for more updates on the Chess.com/TV calendar or follow @chesscomtv on Twitter!


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