Vishy Anand Wins Game 3, Levels Score In Sochi World Championship

Vishy Anand Wins Game 3, Levels Score In Sochi World Championship

| 210 | Chess Event Coverage

Viswanathan Anand defeated Magnus Carlsen in the third game of the world championship match in Sochi, Russia to level the score. It's 1.5-1.5 after three games.

In his second black game Carlsen switched to the Queen's Gambit Declined, but Anand had prepared a deep and sharp line where White gets a pawn on c7 as early as move 14. White's pressure became bigger and bigger, Carlsen got into time trouble and he couldn't save himself.

The general feeling among the journalists in Sochi was that if Anand would lose again in the third game, the match would be over. Carlsen would be simply too strong, it would be Chennai all over, et cetera. If...

Before today's game, a former World Championship Candidate tweeted:

For game three, Carlsen again appeared on stage first, and after him Anand, shaking hands with his opponent with the right hand while pushing his chair back with his left. Carlsen stood up for the handshake, sat down again and continued filling out his score sheet. So far, nothing special.

The handshake before game three.

Then, the world champion suddenly stood up from his chair, walked to the arbiter and asked something. The photographers and camera men could clearly hear Andrzej Filipowicz replying: “Two minutes.”

Carlsen left the stage again. Was he going to the toilet? Would he be risking a loss due to zero-tolerance? But no, about 30 seconds later the Norwegian returned. This time he was carrying his bottle of fruit juice, which he had forgotten to bring along. Was it a sign of things to come?

The game started, and Anand's first move 1.d4 was no surprise — he got a nice position out of the opening in the first game, didn't he?

Carlsen switched from the Grünfeld to 2...e6, and that was no surprise either. Like last year, he started with an opening he doesn't play often (back then, in game two, the Caro-Kann) before going for something more familiar and solid (back then, in game 4, the Berlin Ruy Lopez).

This time Carlsen played 2...e6.

The world champ had prepared the Queen's Gambit Declined, and Anand played the topical 5.Bf4. And then Carlsen came with another small surprise: he did not go for the absolute main line with 7...Nh5, which trades White's bishop for the knight, but went 7...c6 instead.

The whole system is known as quite safe for Black, but with his next few moves Anand refuted the idea that the QGD is the Berlin Wall of 1.d4. In no time he got is c-pawn one square from promoting!

As it turned out, the players were following the game Aronian-Adams, Bilbao 2013. Well, at least one player was. Why did Magnus need 32 minutes on 17...Ndf6, also played by Adams?

Aronian-Adams, Bilbao 2013 saw the same 19 opening moves.

That was the moment when the online kibitzers started to realise that Carlsen might not be too well prepared.

On his turn, Anand spent six minutes on the clock. However, he was merely checking things, or perhaps even pretending to be “out of book” as well. He took on e4, and after only 45 seconds Carlsen took back on e4 with the knight. And that was wrong, very wrong.

Without being aware of it, Carlsen still followed Adams' moves against Aronian, but when Anand improved on Aronian's game with 20.fxe4, the first choice of the engines, White was clearly better. “The game was already over there,” said GM Sergey Shipov.

And so Anand got exactly what he needed: a promising position based on better preparation, combined with a 40-minute advantage on the clock.

There was a small sigh of relief in the press room (where the Norwegian journalists, Espen Agdestein and Henrik Carlsen were following the game together) when Anand castled on move 25. On Twitter 25.Qa6 had been suggested, and it was the computer's suggestion. Was Anand giving his opponent a chance? Was he being too cautious?

It was around that moment that the Twitter-sphere suddenly discovered something quite important. Anand's sequence of moves, until 26.Rc6, had all been played before! Well, sort of.

The thing is, after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.c5 c6

White can also play 8.h3 and the games Gyimesi-Vaganian (2006) and Tomashevsky-Riazantsev (2008) had continued exactly the same: 8...b6 9.b4 a5 10.a3 Ba6 11.Bxa6 Rxa6 12.b5 cxb5 13.c6 Bc8 14.c7 b4 15.Nb5 a4 16.Rc1 Ne4 17.Nd2 Ndf6 18.f3 Ra5 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.fxe4 Rxb5 21.Qxa4 Ra5 22.Qc6 bxa3 23.exd5 Rxd5 24.Qxb6 Qd7 25.0–0 Rc8.

There are some differences, some nuances based on the weakness of the g3 square (see the analysis to the game below), but still. It was very likely that Anand had seen these games!

Yours truly asked this at the press conference, and Anand replied: “The thing is I am or was familiar with all the material, but of course there were differences in every position, with the pawn on h3, without, and so on. But I also had to check other openings. It's not like I spent all day on this line; I had to check other stuff as well. But luckily I managed to play this one quite well and remembered what to do and so on.”

And still, the Norwegian fans had reasons to be mildly optimistic. While the minutes were ticking away, Carlsen was actually playing rather well, and found some excellent resources, such as 27...Bb4! 

But the move was answered by the equally strong: 28.Ra1, a move Anand was very happy with, as he said at the press conference. Online commentator Peter Svidler: “An incredibly difficult move to be facing when you have 12 minutes left.” One famous Scottish grandmaster nicely summed up why it was such a strong move:

For his next 13 moves Carlsen had just 10 minutes left, then 9, 8... and then he made a bit mistake and it was suddenly over. He allowed a deadly pin, and Anand easily wrapped up the game.

Game 3 annotated by GM Erwin l'Ami

Game 3: Press Conference Highlights

This time the players did not share variations at the board, but immediately went to the press conference. It was Carlsen's first loss against Anand in a world championship match, but he was pretty down to earth:

“It was a poor choice of opening. He was very well prepared and played very well from then on. I don't know, I could have done better obviously but it was difficult. (...) I was trying to hold on, I'd seen this position from afar, this stuff with Qb6. I thought the position should be a little bit worse but I should be able to neutralize it. (...)”

“I spent a lot of time preparing but too little on what happened on the game. What can I say, he was prepared much better prepared for this line and he played it better. He was well prepared in the first game and he was well prepared today.”

“It's the kind of game where everything goes wrong from the start, I didn't have many chances, so... that sucks [smiles] but there will be chances in other games.”

Carlsen at the press conference.

“It's more difficult now, but I think in such a match you cannot overreact to either wins or losses. You just have to be in the right state of mind for the next game. I've recovered well after losses berore, so... it's a very bad result for me, a very good result for him, but the match goes on, still a long way to go. (...)”

Carlsen did not want to blame his seconds: “When something goes wrong it's always my fault, so that's OK.”

And what will he do now? “I guess the key thing is to avoid being self-destructive; sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not.”

Anand obviously was quite happy with his first classical win over Carlsen in a very long time, but remained calm: “Obviously I'm quite pleased.”

How did he get over his loss, and work towards the next game? “I spent some time preparing of but also some time just trying to unwind, I went for the gym for a while. I don't have a figure but I would guess I prepared maybe three or four hours.”

At the end of the press conference one Norwegian journalist finally managed to get a big smile on Anand's face when she asked: “Is the Tiger back?”

“Look, I'm very happy with the result. It's a good result but... I mean there's still a match to play, there's still a game to play tomorrow, so let's take it one step at a time.”

“Is the Tiger back?”

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 1.5/3
2 Anand 2792 2863 ½ 0 1 1.5/3 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!

Previous reports

More from PeterDoggers
Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak