Sochi (Russia), Nov 21: Overcoming some anxious moments, Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen Friday played out the 10th game of the World Chess Championship match to a 32-move draw against Indian challenger Viswanathan Anand in Russia.
Perhaps the one notable aspect of the game was that Anand was able to queen a pawn, for the first time in the 10 rounds.
However, the additional white queen went off the board the very next move with Carlsen giving up his knight for that. At the end of this round, Carlsen continued his one-point lead ahead of Anand, with 5.5 points.
He is just a point away - a win or two draws- from retaining the title which he had effortlessly wrested from Anand last year. Playing white, Anand opened the game pushing his queen pawn forward two squares to which Carlsen replied by bringing out his king-side knight f6 square. Within a couple of moves, the game got transposed to the Gruenfeld Indian Defence.
"It was a surprise to see Carlsen choosing Gruenfeld defence," World No.26 and Grandmaster P. Harikrishna told IANS. "Very peculiar choice by Magnus. I don't know who can come up with the idea to play this line in the must-not-lose situation," World No.7 and Grandmaster Anish Giri tweeted.
Anand's 11th move of placing his black bishop on the g5 square was termed as a rare move. However, it was played in the game between Wosjtazek and Ponomariov in 2012.
At the end of the 11th move, both white and black had their kings castled and all the pieces ready to come to the centre of the board. For Anand, he had his queen pawn passer on d5 square.
On the 15th move, Anand decided to exchange his knight for Carlsen's knight and five moves later, the queens went off the board at Anand's initiative.
World champion Carlsen went deep into thought and played Bd4 on his 19th move, thereby cutting off the white rook's support to its pawn on d file. At this juncture, both the players had two rooks, two bishops, one knight and five pawns.
Anand had his pawn on d5 square while Carlsen had one on c4 square. However, structure-wise Carlsen had a better pawn structure on his queen and king sides.
The next move saw Anand slaying Carlsen's white bishop with his knight. The reigning champion stomped out the enemy knight out of the board.
In the process, the Indian challenger was chewing up time on his clock. At the end of the 24th move, Anand had to make 16 moves in 24 minutes.
Bad move from Anand
Anand's 24th Rd2 move was considered bad as he did not try to control the open e file which Carlsen controlled with his Re8 move.
"Re8 was an important move by Carlsen. In the end game, controlling the e file is important which Anand failed to do and with that he had put out any chances of winning a point," Harikrishna said.
"What is happening is Anand not creating any complications and trying to consolidate a stable plus," Giri tweeted.
Two moves later, both players exchanged their black bishops and on move 30, Anand queened his d pawn only to be slayed by Carlsen's knight. With two rooks and four pawns each, the players signed the peace treaty after Anand made his 32nd move. At the end of this round, Carlsen has 5.5 points to Anand's 4.5 in the 12-round match.
The 11th round will be played Sunday with the players resting Saturday.
Score after 10 games: Carlsen 5.5 - Anand 4.5
- Game 1: Draw
- Game 2: Carlsen Won
- Game 3: Anand Won
- Game 4: Draw
- Game 5: Draw
- Game 6: Carlsen Won
- Game 7: Draw
- Game 8: Draw
- Game 9: Draw
- Game 10: Draw
- Game 11: November 23 (Sunday)