Magnus Carlsen played a remarkable endgame in what looked like a dead drawn position to shock world champion Viswanathan Anand in the sixth game of the 2013 FIDE World Chess Championship on Saturday. The Norwegian World No. 1 leads the 12-game contest 4-2.
Carlsen, who likes quiet positions that could bore his opponents to death, lived up to his reputation and massaged Anand into submission in 67 moves in a rook ending. Anand will play with white pieces again in the seventh game on Monday. Though Carlsen got a position he wanted out of the opening, it was not serious enough for the world champion as it was in the fifth game.
The world champion faced the same opening Carlsen had employed in Game 4, the Berlin Defence, but he changed the course of its progress with a slow queen-pawn move to the third rank.
Anand played a new move on his 10th turn, placing the bishop in the king-knight file. Anand’s bishop kept the tension on the board and Carlsen had to spend some time to release it by bringing his second knight back. Anand tried to continue his kingside attack. After 20 moves, Carlsen had a lead of 10 minutes but there was no pressure on Anand on that count. But from moves 21 to 23, Anand initiated a series of exchanges that simplified the position to a queen and rooks ending.
In the open position, Anand had to accept the doubled pawns in the central file which gave a slight edge to Carlsen though the Indian had some counter on the kingside. Carlsen pressed hard in the new scenario targeting Anand’s central pawn weaknesses but there was hardly anything left on the board. Though Carlsen got a pawn the position was a theoretical draw after the queens left the board.
Finally, in the rook and pawn ending, Carlsen set up small traps for the Indian and snatched a point from him by promoting his kingside pawn.
“It was a heavy blow today,” admitted Anand in the post-game media conference. “I made one mistake after another. Maybe, there was a draw if I had played the rook back to the bishop file,” he said.
Carlsen felt he came out of the opening with a slight advantage. “I was a little bit better. In the end, I thought I could set some traps and capitalise on his psychological condition (after Friday’s loss) and depress him,” revealed Carlsen.
Game 6: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Re1 a6 8. Ba4 b5 9.Bb3 d6 10.Bg5 Be6 11.Nbd2 h6 12.bh4 Bxb3 13.axb3 Nb8 14.h3 Nbd7 15.Nh2 Qe7 16.Ndf1 Bb6 17.Ne3 Qe6 18.b4 a5 19.bxa5 Bxa5 20.Nhg4 Bb6 21.Bxf6 Nxf6 22.Nxf6+ Qxf6 23.Qg4 Bxe3 24.fxe3 Qe7 25.Rf1 c5 26.Kh2 c4 27.d4 Rxa1 28.Rxa1 Qb7 29.Rd1 Qc6 30.Qf5 exd4 31.Rxd4 Re5 32.Qf3 Qc7 34.Kh1 Qe7 35.Qf4 g6 36.Kh2 Kg7 37.Qf3 Re6 38.Qg3 Rxe4 39.Qxd6 Rxe3 40.Qxe7 Rxe7 41.Rd5 Rb7 42.Rd6 f6 43. b4 Kf7 44.h5 gxh5 45.Rd5 Kg6 46.Kg3 Rb6 47.Rc5 f5 48.Kh4 Re6 49.Rxb5 Re4+ 50.Kh3 Kg5 51.Rb8 h4 52.Rg8+ Kh5 53.Rf8 Rf4 54.Rc8 Rg4 55.Rf8 Rg3+ 56.Kh2 Kg5 57.Rg8+ Kf4 58.Rc8 Ke3 59.Rxc4 f4 60.Ra4 h3 61.gxh3 Rg6 62.c4 f3 63.Ra3+ Ke2 64.b4 f2 65,Ra2+ Kf3 66.Ra3+ Kf4 67.Ra8 Rg1 0-1