World Chess Championship: Anand, Carlsen share honours in game 4

  • Vignesh Radhakrishnan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 16, 2014 13:27 IST

In the fourth game of the World Chess Championship, a confident Viswanathan Anand - playing black in a Sicilian Defence - stretched Carlsen for more than four hours before agreeing to a draw.

Even though Vishy opted for Sicilian Defence, which is supposed to encourage active play, game 4 ended in a draw.

Game Board

Sending a message with Sicilian

Anand, playing with black pieces in game 4, was expected by many chess experts to play for a draw rather than risking his game going for a win.

But Anand surprised them. He played the famous 'Sicilian Defence', which is known to create unbalanced positions, thus having high probability of ending in a result.

Vishy started with Sicilian defence

The Sicilian is popular because it leads to sharp positions where the better player usually prevails, whereas most other moves by black leads to drawish positions.

This bold move was appreciated by many chess experts. It was interpreted as a 'message' Anand is sending to his opposite camp - 'I'm ready for the fight, bring it on'.

Susan Polgar, famous chess commentator, wrote in her blog, "Big psychological game displayed by Anand. After winning yesterday (Tuesday), he gave a big message with Sicilian that he's not afraid. If Anand continues to send the message that he's not afraid to battle, we will witness a very good match."

Carlsen replied to Anand's Sicilian with 'King's Indian Attack'. A move, which according to Polgar, was 'off the popular theory'. Polgar felt that Calrsen moved away from the usual 'theoritical moves' because Anand is so good with his current preparation and his knowledge of this setup is good.

Slight positional disadvantage for Anand

But Sicilian, like we saw before, led to a strange position for black. Even though the game was even, Carlsen maintained a small positional advantage over Anand by move 15.

A slight positional disadvantage for Anand

World number two Fabiano Caruana tweeted, "Vishy's position looks slightly uncomfortable. I remember suffering quite a bit in this line years ago vs @nigelshortchess."

And Carlsen gained a good postion with his 15th move Qf1. Nigel Short, chess player and commentator, tweeted, "Qf1! was a real Magnus Carlsen move. It is not even doing that much, but it just makes things a bit harder for Vishy."

But the match remained pretty dull when it entered mid-game level. Neither were there any brilliant moves nor blunders.

Isolated pawns

The only problem that Vishy had at this point was that his pawn structure was a little worrying. His pawns were not connected on the queen side and isolated pawns always become a major headache at the business end of the game.

The game gained a lot of intensity after move 21. Both players started exchanging pieces and entered active game play.

After move 21, game play got a little active

But after exchanging one rook and two bishops, it went back to a dry position again. It went on like this for more than four hours with neither of the players making inroads.

This was followed by more pieces getting exchanged in a boring monotonous game play which continued even beyond the first time control.

Magnus had a one-pawn advantage at the fag end of the game. But as there were only few pieces left, this didn't create an impact.

At the end of 47 moves, the players repeated the same set of moves three times, forcing a repetitive draw.

In the press conference, Magnus said, "I'm not playing very well. Actually, I'm playing somewhat terribly. My last two games were pretty bad."

Magnus added, "Overall, it was not a high quality game. There were no errors in general. But not very good game play either."

Previous games

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3

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