World Chess Championship 2013: Round 10, The Game of Thrones

In the final game of the 2013 FIDE World Championship Match, Viswanathan Anand employed the Sicilian Defense with poor effect against Carlsen’s Moscow Variation. Magnus cruised through the opening with a nice advantage in space and remained in control of his destiny for the entire game. The most remarkable aspect of Magnus Carlsen’s play in game 10 was his poise and bravery. Viswanathan Anand even offered Magnus the World Championship title through three-fold repetition draw but Carlsen refused and continued to play for the win. If not for one miscalculation, Carlsen would have won yet another game in which he only needed to draw. His play can be best summed up in the words of his opponent:

“It’s clear he dominated the match. I thought my chances depended on lasting long games without making mistakes and tried to concentrate on that… but in the end it was in vain.The way I lost the fifth game was exactly the way I thought I couldn’t afford to lose. It was a heavy blow… I thought I’d not be afraid of him in long games and match him but this was not to be and then it got worse and worse. Yesterday (Thursday) it was a nice game…today again….I guess when it rains, it pours…It would be just fair enough to congratulate him. My mistakes didn’t happen by themselves, he managed to provoke them. So full credit to him.” -Viswanathan Anand

Game 10: The Game of Thrones. (photo courtesy of
Game 10: The Game of Thrones. (photo courtesy of

[Event “World Chess Championship”]
[Site “Chennai”]
[Date “2013.11.22”]
[Round “10”]
[White “Magnus Carlsen”]
[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[Eco “B51”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ {The Moscow Variation has been gaining in popularity and was seen frequently in the Anand-Gelfand World Championship Match.}

4.d4 {Castleing here can end up looking similar to the actual game.}
( 4.O-O Ngf6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 a6 7.Bxd7+ Bxd7 8.c4 ) cxd4 5.Qxd4
a6 6.Bxd7+ {Carlsen is happy to exchange his bishop for control of the center.}

7.c4 {This pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind. Carlsen’s choice assures that
Anand remains cramped and that white’s pawns are on the opposite color of his bishop.}

White's pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind.
White’s pawn structure is known as the Maroczy Bind.

Nf6 {Playing pawn to e6 is a rare choice but produced a fine win in 2010.}
( 7…e6 8.Nc3 Rc8 9.Bg5 f6 10.Be3 Ne7 11.Nd2 Nc6 12.Qb6 Qxb6
13.Bxb6 Ne5 14.b3 Nd3+ 15.Ke2 Nf4+ 16.Kf3 g5 17.g3 Ng6 18.Ke2
h5 19.Bd4 Be7 20.a4 h4 21.Rad1 Kf7 22.f3 Rh7 23.Kf2 Rch8 24.g4
Rc8 25.Ra1 Rhh8 26.Rhd1 Rhf8 27.Nf1 {…0-1, Hasangatin Ramil (RUS) 2508 – Stocek Jiri (CZE) 2567 , Pardubice 7/21/2010 Ch Czech Republic (active) (open)}

8.Bg5 {Knight to c3 is equally as popular as Bishop to g5.}
( 8.Nc3 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Be3 O-O 11.Qd3 Rc8 12.Bd4 Qc7 13.Nd2
e5 14.Be3 Be6 15.Bg5 Bxc4 16.Nxc4 Qxc4 17.Qf3 Qe6 18.Bxf6 Qxf6
19.Qd3 Qe6 20.Nd5 Bh6 21.Qb3 Rb8 22.Rad1 Rfc8 23.Rd3 Rc6 24.Rc3
Rc5 25.Rd1 Kg7 26.Qb6 Bg5 27.Rxc5 dxc5 {…1-0, Sanduleac Vasile (MDA) 2446 – Kraemer Martin (GER) 2516 , Khanty Mansyisk 9/22/2010 Olympiad}

e6 {Pawn to h6 is another obvious choice.} ( 8…h6 9.Bh4 g5
10.Bg3 Bg7 11.Nc3 Nh5 12.Qd2 Rc8 13.Qd3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Qc7 15.Nd2
Be6 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Bxb2 18.Rb1 Bg7 19.O-O O-O 20.Rb3 Qd7
21.Re1 Rc7 22.Nf1 e5 23.a3 f5 24.f3 h5 25.Reb1 Rf7 26.Rb6 Qe7
27.Nd2 Qf6 28.Kh1 {…0-1, Grancharov Georgi (RUS) 2265 – Padevsky Nikola (BUL) 2430 , Sofia 2/14/1972 Ch Bulgaria}

9.Nc3 Be7 10.O-O Bc6 {Anand chooses a rare move. Queen to c7 is regarded as the main line.}
( 10…Qc7 11.Rac1 Rc8 12.b3 O-O 13.Rfd1 Rfd8 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Qe3
Kh8 16.Nd4 Rg8 17.Kh1 Rg7 18.f4 Rcg8 19.g3 b6 20.f5 Rg4 21.Nde2
Qb7 22.Nf4 R4g5 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.Nfe2 Re5 25.Nd4 Rg4 26.Re1 Qa8
27.Nf3 Rh5 28.Kg2 b5 29.Nd1 b4 30.Nf2 {…0-1, Sofranov Velizar (BUL) 2210 – Nikologorskiy Konstantin (RUS) 2364 , Prague 8/18/2012 Ch Europe (juniors) (under 18)}

11.Qd3 {I believe this is an invention by Carlsen. The idea is to allow the knight on f3 to move to d4.}
( 11.Rfe1 h6 12.Bh4 e5 13.Qd3 g5 14.Bg3 Nd7 15.h3 Rc8 16.b4 O-O
17.Rad1 Qe8 18.a4 a5 19.b5 Nc5 20.Qe2 Bd7 21.Nh2 f5 22.exf5 Bxf5
23.Ng4 Qg6 24.Ne3 Bd3 25.Qd2 Rf7 26.f3 Rcf8 27.Ned5 Bd8 28.Bf2
Bxc4 {1/2-1/2, Denny Kevin (BAR) 2303 – Zapata Alonso (COL) 2485 , Bridgetown 4/28/2012 Cup Heroes Day}


12.Nd4 Rc8 13.b3 Qc7 {The problem for Anand is that he can not free himself with pawn to b5 or d5.
This is quite a common difficulty for black in the Maroczy Bind.}

The problem for Anand is that he cannot free himself with either pawn o b5 or pawn to d5.
The problem for Anand is that he cannot free himself with either pawn to b5 or pawn to d5.

14.Nxc6 Qxc6 {Anand is still cramped and no longer has the bishop pair as compensation.}
15.Rac1 {Carlsen wisely places his rook in the same file as his opponent’s queen.}

16.Be3 {Carlsen has a very comfortable position with a nice advantage in space.}
Nd7 ( 16…Ng4 17.Bd4 Bg5 18.f4 Bf6 19.h3 Bxd4+ 20.Qxd4 Nf6 21.Rfd1
{and Carlsen is still winning.} )

17.Bd4 Rfd8 18.h3 {Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.}

Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.
Carlsen can afford to play slow moves because Anand is not threatening anything.

Qc7 {Anand moves his Queen to a dark square in order to move it to the open fifth rank.}
19.Rfd1 Qa5 20.Qd2 {This stops any ideas of Anand playing Qg5 and also threatens Nd5!}
Kf8 21.Qb2 Kg8 {Viswanathan Anand is basically offering the draw by repition here and the World Championship to Carlsen.}
22.a4 {Carlsen plays for the win even though accepting the draw would make him the new World Chess Champion.}

Carlsen plays for the win!
Carlsen plays for the win!

Qh5 23.Ne2 {Carlsen is making room for his rook to move to c3 and then possibly to g3.}
Bf6 {Anand wants to trade bishops before white can add more pressure to g7.}
24.Rc3 Bxd4 25.Rxd4 {Carlsen’s pieces are unusually placed but have the space to maneuver. Anand’s pieces are conventionally placed but lack scope.}
Qe5 {Anand is trying to make something happen but it is really Carlsen’s game to win.}
26.Qd2 Nf6 27.Re3 {This clears the way for pawn to a5.}

Rd7 28.a5{Carlsen uses only one pawn to stop both of Anand’s.}

Qg5 {?}{Anand makes a terrible blunder in a treacherous position. Better was:}
( 28…Kh8 29.b4 Rdc7 30.f4 Qh5 31.e5 dxe5 32.Rxe5 Qg6 33.c5
{but even this is not pleasing for black.} )

29.e5 {!} Ne8 30.exd6{?} {Carlsen returns the favor. He would have been playing for a win had he chosen something like this:}
( 30.Nc3 Rc6 31.Na4 Qf5 32.Nb6 )

Rc6 31.f4 {Carlsen has been shoving Anand around for what seems to be the entire match.}
Qd8 32.Red3 Rcxd6 {Carlsen’s earlier mistake allows Anand to regain the pawn.}
33.Rxd6 Rxd6 34.Rxd6 Qxd6 35.Qxd6 Nxd6 {Carlsen is much closer to a draw and being crowned the new World Chess Champion.}
36.Kf2 {White’s king can get to the center faster.}

White's king can get to the center faster.
White’s king can get to the center faster.


Kf8 37.Ke3 Ke7 38.Kd4 Kd7 {The difference in the placement of the kings is huge in an endgame like this.}
39.Kc5 Kc7 40.Nc3 {If Carlsen does not put his knight on c3 then Anand will play Ne4+ and be back in business.}
Nf5 41.Ne4 Ne3 {Anand attacks g2 with the idea of playing pawn to f5 and kicking Carlsen knight from its perch.}
42.g3 f5 43.Nd6 g5 {Anand is attacking with his pawn majority in order to try and create a passed pawn.}
44.Ne8+ {Carlsen is looking at least 12 ply ahead. His talent is incredible and unmatched in the world today.}
Kd7 45.Nf6+ Ke7 46.Ng8+ Kf8 47.Nxh6 gxf4 48.gxf4 Kg7 49.Nxf5+ {Carlsen had to have planned this sacrifice at least as far back as his 44’th move!}
exf5 50.Kb6 Ng2 51.Kxb7 Nxf4 52.Kxa6 Ne6 53.Kb6 f4 54.a6 f3 55.a7
f2 56.a8=Q {Through machine like perfection, Carlsen gets a queen one move before Anand.}

f1=Q 57.Qd5 {Carlsen’s technique is perfect. Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this

position. Magnus must have known that, one way or another, he will be the World Chess Champion.}

Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this position.
Even without his pawns, Carlsen can draw this position.

Qe1 {Anand makes sure that he can check Carlsen’s king and keep his pawns from advancing.}
58.Qd6 {Carlsen takes the more dangerous check away.}

Qe3+ 59.Ka6 Nc5+ 60.Kb5 Nxb3 {Anand is playing a really accurate ending. He will no longer be World Champion
but at least he can hold his head high after this draw.}

61.Qc7+ Kh6 62.Qb6+ Qxb6+ 63.Kxb6 Kh5 64.h4 Kxh4 65.c5 Nxc5 {There is no mating material left so the final game ends in a draw. The era of Magnus Carlsen as the King of Chess has officially begun.} 1/2-1/2


Fide World Chess Championship Match 2013:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

Game 7

Game 8

Game 9


Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in both Bakersfield and the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Currently, Chris Torres has the ranking of candidate master and serves as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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