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Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen
Carlsen - Anand World Championship Match (2014), Sochi RUS, rd 8, Nov-18
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Main Line (D37)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-19-14  CountryGirl: Playing through this game the thought occurred: how come we rarely see the QGD Exchange variation at world championship level? Is there some reason anyone can suggest? At more humble levels the exchange variation seems pretty potent, but at world title level the players seem to opt for Bf4 type variations, or else allow the Tartakower or Lasker variations... Why?
Nov-19-14  pajaste: I'd like to know, is this QGD, with Bf4, called the Baltic QGD like I think I've seen this called somewhere?
Nov-19-14  jphamlore: <CountryGirl: Playing through this game the thought occurred: how come we rarely see the QGD Exchange variation at world championship level? Is there some reason anyone can suggest? At more humble levels the exchange variation seems pretty potent, but at world title level the players seem to opt for Bf4 type variations, or else allow the Tartakower or Lasker variations... Why?>

Answers to questions like the above are what this site excels at providing when consulting their database. Suppose we try to transpose what Anand and Carlsen are playing into something resembling an Exchange Variation: 1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 e6 3. ♘f3 d5 4. ♘c6 ♗e7 5. cxd5 exd5. (Note that for now Anand has to follow that move order to avoid Carlsen's defending with a Nimzo-Indian instead.) Simply look at the games proceeding from that position:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

One can see that various Soviet players evolved an efficient procedure to draw such games. Fischer who could read the Soviet journals in Russian also knew of this procedure:

Keres vs Fischer, 1962

Note there is a characteristic pawn maneuver of moving g6 without a fianchetto for the purpose of supporting the light squared bishop at f5 which is able to get there exactly because the e6 pawn has been exchanged. This light squared bishop which is often a problem for Black can therefore be exchanged off for White's since White often puts the Queen at c2.

So let's think about the resulting pawn structures. Black moves his c pawn to c6 and has not yet committed to moving the b pawn so that any White rook or Queen on that file opened by the exchange of the c pawn bites on granite. Meanwhile Black has moved his non-rook pieces off the 8th rank and inevitably there are nice open files for his rooks to find counterplay. This is a relatively easy draw for the very top grandmasters, obviously not so easy for lower level players.

One can see from this database snapshot that there are many games that came to a screeching halt in well under 20 moves.

Here's an example of Karpov forcing a draw as Black after an early e4 advance

Eingorn vs Karpov, 1988

when in the same tournament as White he had beaten Yusupov with the same advance when Yusupov had made an error responding. In other words, even when one is beaten, the line can easily and quickly be repaired.

Karpov vs Yusupov, 1988

Nov-19-14  Pulo y Gata: This was a nifty piece of prep by Team Carlsen. I watched the game only up to white's 17.Bb1 (at first I thought 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Rd7 was strong, giving the sample "fun" line 18...Rab8(???)19.Bb1 g6 20.Rxf7) but I realized that black can just play Re7 and he's fine). Black's opening position seems precarious but somehow everything held together.

Now both players have two whites left? Things aren't looking too rosy for the challenger...

Nov-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <pajaste: I'd like to know, is this QGD, with Bf4, called the Baltic QGD like I think I've seen this called somewhere?>

The Baltic Defence is QGD with 2...Bf5, bringing out the queen bishop immediately in reply to 2.c4.

In the recently published book "The Liberated Bishop Defence: A Suprising and Complete Black Repertoire agaist 1.d4", Russian grandmaster Alexey Bezgodov recommends to answer 1.d4 with 1d5 and then, on the second move, to play 2Bf5!.

In reply to 2.c4 this is known as the Baltic Defence, but Bezgodov shows that we can also liberate our bishop against 2.Nf3.

http://www.newinchess.com/The_Liber...

Nov-19-14  scormus: Yes, this must have been disconcerting for Vishy. Magnus seems to have completely neutralised his best efforts.
Nov-19-14  scormus: <cro777: Nigel's description of Carlsen's opening ....>

Dead right! Safe and flexible ;)

Nov-19-14  metatron2: After watching the press conference I am starting to like Carlsen's attitude there.

He usually gives direct and honest answers about his fillings during and after the game, he doesn't try to deny that variations that he played were a result of his team preparations, etc.

When he doesn't want to answer a question, he just says that directly instead of avoiding the question with empty or dishonest answers. For example, when he was asked whether he can elaborate why he wasn't in best shape at the beginning of game 8, he just said a simple "no".

So Carlsen's confidence and honesty are pleasant to watch, and that's an important trait for a world champion.

Nov-19-14  Pedro Fernandez: Harrwitz Attack. Attack? Where? A super solid line with zero creativity, that's what I saw.
Nov-19-14  CountryGirl: Thank you <jphamlore>, what a useful reply. We now have a better understanding of some QGD exchange specifics, and are reminded of a way we can research these questions ourselves. Thanks!
Nov-19-14  Absentee: <Pedro Fernandez: Harrwitz Attack. Attack? Where? A super solid line with zero creativity, that's what I saw.>

There are no monsters in the Frankenstein-Dracula either, and no offal in the Fried Liver.

Nov-19-14  Rolfo: Metatron2, nice to see you around :)
Nov-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Against the Condom Variation (9...Re8 combined with 10...Be7) Kasparov recommends "to press with Bxf6 earlier".

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dc5 Bc5 8. a3 Nc6 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Bg5 Be7


click for larger view

The Condom Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined with 5.Bf4, "safe and flexible" (scormus).

Here Anand continued with 11.Rd1, putting more pressure on the d5 pawn, 12. Bd3 h6 13. Bh4

Garry Kasparov: "Vishy passed up chance to press with Bxf6 earlier. Can't afford to "pass" with white so easily."

Nov-19-14  BosnianPanduk: I love Anand, especially the way he defends. I think he is an overly nervous person. I understand the level at which these guys play must be tremendous on your nerves. But he just keeps picking at his face, bitting the skin around his nails, playing with his hair, fidgeting, fixing his watch...calm down man! This type of agony must hinder his play against top players. Your brain cannot process all that picking and calculate winning combos. Having said that, i still wish he wins the championship. Good luck mr.Anand.
Nov-20-14  talwnbe4: Games have been boring so far.. no tacticals melees or really double edged positions.
Nov-20-14  BosnianPanduk: I am curious talwnbe4 what your chess rating is. If you are not 2500+ i believe no one is in a position to say something is boring. Boring rhymes with easy, i highly doubt you could beat any of the two playing as you would have been in the candidates finale.
Nov-20-14  Chessmusings: Thorough Analysis of Game 8: https://chessmusings.wordpress.com/...
Nov-30-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Domdaniel> <Eh? Is this more cretinous nutterweb bluster..> Indeed it is. And it is pathetic as it is risible. And all I do is sit back and witness the absurdity and presumptuousness of the unenlightened novice. Granted..I am not a strong player; but at the very least accord respect to my betters and prospective preceptors. Some of us go a notch further; they expose the fatuousness by use of irony and sarcasm. I especially enjoy this scenario that makes for high drama; <Didn't realise, eh.., it was prophylactic>. Bingo!

As a French Defence player, you would be familiar with these type of Nimzo-Indian structures, 'naturellement'. And indeed ..Re8 seems standard in my view.#

Nov-30-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Domdaniel> <Eh? Is this more cretinous nutterweb bluster...> Indeed it is. And it is pathetic as it is risible. And all I do is sit back and witness the absurdity and presumptuousness of the unenlightened novice. Granted..I am not a strong player; but at the very least accord respect to my betters and prospective preceptors. Some of us go a notch further; we expose the fatuousness by use of irony and sarcasm. I especially enjoy this scenario that makes for high drama; <Didn't realise, eh.., it was prophylactic>. Bingo!

As a French Defence player, you would be thoroughly familiar with these type of Nimzo-Indian structures, 'naturellement'. And indeed ..Re8 seems standard in my view.#

Jan-09-15  ozu: I believe this is the game in which Carlsen is highly praised for his opening defense by most commentators, except one. Caruana says that 11)0-0-0 instead of Vishy's 11)Rd1 and Carlsen's d pawn falls. [I saw this comment applied to game 9 but it wasn't applicable.]
Jan-09-15  Kinghunt: <ozu: I believe this is the game in which Carlsen is highly praised for his opening defense by most commentators, except one. Caruana says that 11)0-0-0 instead of Vishy's 11)Rd1 and Carlsen's d pawn falls. [I saw this comment applied to game 9 but it wasn't applicable.]>

The d pawn may fall, but at a terrible cost for white. If white captures it with the knight, ie, 11. O-O-O Bd7! 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Nxd5 Rc8 and we have this position:


click for larger view

White's king (and queen) are in grave danger on the c file. Any attempt to step out of it loses the knight (eg, 15. Kb1? Nb4 16. Qb3 Bf5+), while the engine recommended (and human consolidating move) 15. Nc3 is met by Bxc3, fragmenting the white pawn structure.

If white captures the d pawn with the rook, black can respond in a similar (though less vicious) manner. 11. O-O-O Bd7! 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Rxd5 Rc8 leads to this position:


click for larger view

At d=27, Stockfish scores this as -0.26 - black has more than adequate compensation for the d pawn. Bxc3 is still threatened in most variations, black has a development lead, and white's king will be exposed for quite some time. I think Anand's decision to eventually castle kingside and not try to snag the d pawn was wise.

Jan-09-15  ozu: <Kinghunt> What does Stockfish say about Qxc3 after BN? Seems like following that with Bd3 or some such centralization could solidify advantage. Just curious..I'm assuming this is the game Caruana was talking about. At the very least he's Caruana. Add to that he might have been computer assisted.. Would be nice to talk to Caruana about this (haha). .
Jan-10-15  Kinghunt: <ozu: <Kinghunt> What does Stockfish say about Qxc3 after BN?>

In the first line (11. O-O-O Bd7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Nxd5 Rc8 15. Nc3 Bxc3), 16. Qxc3 is met by 16...Ne5, winning the queen and the game on the spot.


click for larger view

In the second line (11. O-O-O Bd7 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. cxd5 exd5 14. Rxd5 Rc8), it depends on white's 15th move. What does white play to consolidate here?


click for larger view

If 15. Kb1, trying to get off the dangerous c file, then after 15...Bxc3, 16. Qxc3 is refuted by 16...Nb4!, winning material. (White cannot prevent this, ie, 17. Qxb4 Bf5+! 18. Rxf5? Qd1+ 19. Ka2 Rc1 and black will mate shortly.)

If your suggested move, 15. Bd3, then Bxc3 and white again has to capture with the b pawn or suffer a fate similar to the lines given above. 16. Bxh7+ Kf8 can be thrown in, making white <two> pawns up... but after 17. bxc3 Ne7 18. Rd4 Qa5, it is clear that black has more than ample compensation for them (stockfish evaluates as -0.48). Position after that line, white to move:


click for larger view

It's possible Caruana had something slightly different on his mind, but while it's true that Anand could have won a central pawn here, I (and Stockfish) think it would not have been a particularly good idea. If he gave any analysis or lines about what exactly he meant, I'd be very interested to see it.

Jan-10-15  ozu: <kinghunt> Well, in any event, I really appreciate your time. Doesn't look like there's a smoking gun anywhere. Hopefully, within the next few days, I will find the original source. Carlsen's my favorite player. I worry about his future. There's a theme in his interviews. He has trouble guaranteeing his own improvement. He could be in a kind of rut. I think it's a kind of deal with the devil made by position chess players. The devil says "I'll give you a beautiful elegant game. I'll make you a master craftsman. You will take enormous pride in your work. Your game will be the envy of all. One small problem. To hold on to this requires a mentality. This mentality only allows for a limited capacity to innovate or deal with innovation." If anybody is the exception it is probably Carlsen. But I worry that he is Capablanca and it's 1926.
Jan-16-15  ozu: <Kinghunt> I think Caruana was possibly misquoted in the article I read and alluded to. Caruana was misquoted if his tweet on that day was the only material used in said article. The actual tweet merely states Caruana's surprise that Carlsen is playing such a risky line, giving white many options.. If this is what happened, then the guy that wrote the article is just making stuff up or horribly embellishing.. I dunno. If the general opinion of Caruana's: that Carlsen is playing risky, makes it worth your further analysis. . um.. well then I've done my job..ahem..
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