In the seventh game of the World Chess Championship Viswanathan Anand playing with black pieces drew with Magnus Carlsen.
Game 7 is by far the best tactical game of this World Championship. The game went on for 6 1/2 hours and ended in a draw after 122 moves, just two moves short of the longest World Cup chess game ever played. Magnus' plan to tire out Anand and elicit mistakes failed at the end with the game ending in a slightly disappointing draw for Carlsen.
Ruy Lopez opening - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 - was played in game 7. An opening both the players knew very well and had played against each other often. Read about Ruy Lopez opening here .
The first 25 moves were played in a hurry with Anand and Carlsen taking only 30 and 20 minutes respectively. The board looked like this after the first 25 moves.
Bishop sacrifice and relentless pressure
In move 31, Anand sacrificed his white square bishop to conquer two of Carslen's pawns. This nullified the Norwegian's chances to pose a threat later in the game by walking his pawns up the board backed by stronger pieces.
At the end of this sacrifice, Carlsen had a knight, a rook and two pawns, while Anand had four pawns and a rook.
It looked like a dead-draw, but Magnus as usual didn't relent. He pressed on, posing threat after threat keeping Anand on his toes. But Anand was unruffled.
Magnus the 'boa constrictor' was on display in game 7. Only Carlsen could play with full enthusiasm when a chess board looks like this.
There was nothing much to play for in this postion, but Carlsen kept on improving his pieces by putting them in better squares and piled up pressure. He didn't have any winning plan in general but he was waiting for Anand to lose concentration and err which never happened till the end.
Magnus wanted to tire Anand out and elicit mistakes from the 44-year-old. The commentators pointed out during the game, "The plan seems to be to tire out Anand and give him a false sense of security that everything is all right and pounce at the smallest of errors".
Susan Polgar, a famous chess commentator, pointed out during the game that in 'Rook + Knight vs Rook' end games, if the rooks are traded-off then white wins, if not it's a draw.
After 69 moves
After move 34, no pieces were captured in the game until the very end. Move 34 was played at the end of 2 1/2 hours and the game ended after 6 1/2 hours.
So for almost 4 hours and for another 88 moves the game went on and on with the white knight jumping to occupy almost every square in the board backed by the white rook. Anand defended successfully almost all the threats with his rook.
The commentators at the very end said, "When it comes to defence, Vishy is best in business." He proved that even at 44 he still can defend a game for more than six hours.
Then after some moves all the pawns were off the board and Vishy had one rook while Magnus had a rook and a knight. Magnus pressed on even then. Apparantly Magnus had won one game from this positon in the past.
Polgar tweeted, "For the fans who said it's stupid to play out, wrong. I have won R+N v R and GMs do lose R vs R+N. Not as easy as people think."|
The 'R+N vs R' end game
The longest ever World Cup game was played between Karpov vs Korchnoi which lasted for 124 moves. This game was short by just two moves.
Magnus said in the post-match press conference, "Initally I thought I had the moves to press for a win, so I went for it, but then it didn't happen that way."
When Anand was asked why he sacrificed his bishop, he said, "It seemed to me that my pawns were slower and so sacrifincing the bishop was the only option. I considered a rook-end game but it was bad for black."
Anand will be playing with white pieces in game 8 on Tuesday.
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