Ruy LopezC65

Carlsen M. (2863)
Anand V. (2792)

WCh 2014 (2)
Sochi RUS, 2014

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 The Berlin! Betting money that it would be seen this match would have had sure dividends; pretty much everyone expected this opening to be seen at some point in the match. Carlsen chooses not to go into the Berlin endgame and instead chooses one of the "quieter" d3 systems. 4... Bc5 This is the "point" of Black's play. Usually he has to commit to playing the bishop to e7 and only then does White go d3, a variation that is becoming increasingly popular in the Spanish. In this particular move order, the bishop has no reason to fear going to c5. 5. O-O d6 6. Re1 White has tried basically everything under the sun, but this peculiar move-order has yet to be employed. Normally they start with the move c3 or Nbd2. 6... O-O 7. Bxc6 bxc6 White cannot claim a real advantage. His pawn structure superiority is compensated by Black's solid position and pair of bishops. However it is a completely playable position; if anything Carlsen is making sure that the game is simply "playable" for both sides without trying to milk an advantage from the opening. 8. h3 Re8 9. Nbd2 Nd7 10. Nc4 Bb6 11. a4 a5 12. Nxb6 cxb6 13. d4 Qc7 In many cases the presence of opposite colored bishops means that any endgame will be drawn. This is still the case here, but White has a few resources to put some pressure. He does hold more space at the moment. 14. Ra3!? A creative rook lift. The queenside rook is trying to make its way to the kingside or even the center to put some quick pressure on that flank. 14. Nh4 was a serious suggestion, but after 14... Nf8 Black seems to be too solid. 14... Nf8 14... exd4 15. Nxd4 Nc5 16. Bf4 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Nh4 Rd8?! Had Anand seen what happened to him in the game, he might have refused to play this move altogether. There is no reason to force White's queen to the attack as the d-file holds no value. 16... f6 setting up defenses as quickly as possible. 17. Rg3 Ne6 18. Nf5 g6 19. Qh5 Ng7! Exchanging the powerful knight. White's attack is not nearly as strong without it. 20. Nxg7 (20. Nh6+ Kh8 21. Qd1 Ba6! Just leave sthe knight stranded on h6.) 20... Qxg7 21. Qh4 Ba6= 17. Qh5 f6 18. Nf5 Be6? I believe this relatively careless move is the beginning of Black's problems. Vishy underestimates how quickly he has to repeal White's pieces. 18... Qf7 also looked like a possible way of repealing some of White's threats. 19. Qg4 Bxf5 20. exf5 Rd4 21. Qf3 Qd5= 19. Rg3 Ng6 19... Rd7! Was still more resilient. 20. Bh6 g6 21. Qh4 Qd8! This is st ill slightly unpleasant, but I don't see any immediate threats for White. 20. h4 Lots of pressure is piling up on the kingside! It is not obvious anymore how Black can repeal White's attack. 20. Bh6!? This interesting move leads to a long, forced variation. 20... Rd7 (20... gxh6 21. Rxg6+ hxg6 22. Qxg6+ Kf8 23. Qxf6+ Qf7 (23... Bf7 24. f4! And White's attack will crash through.(24. Qh8+ Bg8 25. Re3 is also good enough.) ) 24. Qxh6+ Ke8 25. Qh8+ Kd7 26. Rd1+ Kc7 27. Qxe5+ Kb7 28. Nd6+ Rxd6 29. Rxd6 And White comes out wi th a material advantage, though Black should be able to hold by creating his own threats. 29... Re8!) 21. h4 -20.h4. 20... Bxf5 20... Rd7 21. Bh6! Bxf5 (21... gxh6 allows White to recuperate the piece with devastating consequences. 22. Qxh6 Qd8 23. h5 and the advantage is clearly in White's court.) 22. exf5 Nf8 23. Re4!? And White's pressure is nothing to scoff at. It is quickly mounting and hard to repeal. 21. exf5 Nf4 22. Bxf4 exf4 23. Rc3! c5 24. Re6! It is clear that W hite has tremendous pressure. The control over th e-file, the pressure on b6, the anchored rook on e6, and also importantly the complete lack of counterplay. Black is not lost yet but it is very unpleasant. 24... Rab8 25. Rc4 Qd7 26. Kh2 Of course White has no interest in allowing Qd1+ with a queen trade. 26... Rf8 Passive, but what else to do? There is a lack of a clear plan for Black. 26... Qd1? 27. Re8+ 27. Rce4 Rb7 28. Qe2 b5!? A nice opportunity to get rid of the pawn on b6 and open the b-file, but Black's c and a pawns now become targets. 29. b3 29. Re7! Qd6 (29... Qc6 30. Rxb7 Qxb7 31. axb5 is hopeless.) 30. f3 Rxe7 31. Rxe7 bxa4 32. Qe4 Qb7 is a big threat. 32... Qb8 33. Qxa4 it is hard to believe Black can survive with absolutely no activity. 29... bxa4 30. bxa4 Rb4 31. Re7 Qd6 32. Qf3! The queen wants to start looking for ways of getting into the seventh rank. 32... Rxe4 33. Qxe4 f3+ 34. g3 h5?? A horrible blunder in a very difficult position. 34... Qd2 The only good way of preventing the queen from coming to b7 is by attacking f2, but this gives up the f3 pawn. 35. Qxf3 Qxc2 36. Kg2 and Black's is close to lost, but not there yet. 35. Qb7 As once World Championship contender Nigel Short pointed out on twitter: "Blunders don't happen in a vacuum. 34...h5?? came after enormous sustained pressure.". Carlsen created something out of seemingly nothing and earned a great victory. 1-0

Game(s) in PGN