WCC2014-11: Carlsen defends title 6.5-4.5!

Congratulations GM Magnus Carlsen, World Champion!

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After Magnus Carlsen won a tense Berlin Ruy Lopez, he could proclaim, “Ich bin ein Champion!” In a game in which he was under serious pressure from Viswanathan Anand, he kept his Nordic cool and waded through the complications… particularly after Anand’s stunning 23…b5!! Later Carlsen capitalized off over the overzealous 27…Rb4?, gobbled the exchange, collected the point and the match.

In the post-game press conference, Anand felt that his exchange sacrifice was motivated by nervous energy that built up over many moves. The also stated that Carlsen’s nerves were a bit more stable during the match. In fact, this was not apparent and there was the infamous 6th game where the champion walked into a blunder with 26.Kd2?? There was the tenth game when Carlsen was out of sorts at the board and Anand agreed to a quick draw.

26.Kd2?? will now become an infamous footnote in history.

It appeared that Anand created many changes to win in the match, but he was not able to go forth at the right moments. Nevertheless, he gave a good account of himself and put up a valiant fight. When asked if he planned to retire from chess, Anand gave a curt reply, “No.” That received applause. Anand gained many supporter and was lauded for his comeback at the Candidates. However, there would be some melancholy moods.

As for Carlsen, he successful defends his title for the first knowing that many upstarts were watching for chink in his Thor armor. There are a number of candidates who may be competing for the crown in 2016 and two of them are playing a match in St. Louis right now. Of course Fabiano Caruana is solidly #2 on the Elo rating list and others such as Wesley So and Chinese Yu Yangyi and Ding Liren are still improving. Exciting times for chess!

Video by GM Daniel King.


  1. This time, Anand persisted longer, but he came back with the same degree of anxiety he showed in their last match and Magnus frolicked on the weakness; including falling asleep and still denying Anand a chance to exploit. It was his nerves once again that caused him to miscalculate the drawbacks of playing Rb4. Congratulations to Magnuis!

    1. Well… I don’t believe the matches were the same although the outcome was similar. This was a much, much closer match and Carlsen never looked comfortable… not even in the last game. Anand’s 27…Rb4?? was simply a mix of opportunism and nerves. He was in no rush to play that move. Carlsen was on his heels trying to avoid a game twelve. Missing Carlsen’s blunder in the sixth game showed that something was amiss with Anand, but also that Carlsen was prone to mistakes. The fitness issue was overblown, but I think Anand was psychologically fragile in the most critical moments.

      Anand controlled tempo in several games, but never had such control in the Chennai match. There was much less pressure in Sochi than in Chennai. On the other hand, you could see Carlsen was indeed worried in a few games including the tenth and eleventh. I was not impressed with Carlsen’s play overall, but I did like his first win (ending in Anand’s blunder) and the way he played in the sixth game before his own Kd2 blunder. Carlsen was more stable in his play, but he will realize that this was a close shave.

      Challengers were watching closely.

  2. You can’t underestimate the value of sleep. I try to take a nap around the 25th move of every game.

    I’m Kidding of course…

    Congrats to Magnus.
    Interesting theory I heard about game 6. It goes like this: one of Magnus’ psychological edges is that players truly don’t believe he is capable of poor play at all. It had to be proven to Vishy in game 6 in order for the fact to sink in that Carlsen is capable of it. Then from game 7 to 11 the psychological edge was somewhat broken and Vishy became more of a fighter.

    1. I believe there is some merit to this and Carlsen made mention that he had a psychological edge over Anand. Carlsen played uneven chess, but held it together at critical moments.

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