The World Chess Championship is at midway; six out of its twelve games have been played, it’s time for summing up. At start, many were sure that this would have been a historic match, a great battle between the Old, Sound Champion – well, Anand is sound, but still 44 yo – and the Great Expectation, the young – yes, Carlsen is very young ‒ the young come from Norway.
The first two games had been rather dull, betraying such expectancies: they have been two draws without any struggle, but we can say now that the champions were approaching each other cautiously, in the Boys Scout way (“safety first”). The third and the fourth game were still draws, but what a difference! In the third, Carlsen launched a minority queenside attack that Anand accepted gallantly. In the fourth, at move 18th Anand could advance b3 to protect a2 from the bishop; it would have been be a sound move, also suggested by the computer; he, instead, shifted the Nc3 to e2, sacrificing the pawn for the attack (diagram, from ChessBomb).
In the fifth game the balance was broken up, that is Carlsen won, in a final that looked draw. In this game it is interesting the tenth Carlsen’s move, with white: Qd3 instead of the expected Rc1 (diagram).
By 10. Qd3, which appears an hindrance to the development of his bishop, still in f1, Carlsen – in my opinion ‒ wanted to establish the superiority of White in white squares, an usual problem for Black in closed and semi-closed openings. Anand went on by 10…cxd4 11. Nxd4-Ng4. If 11…Ne5, the White still has two good squares to put his queen: c2, still in white squares, and d2, at least reinforcing the activity of the black square bishop.
The Carlsen’s win has changed the tactics of the match; Anand was now expected to be bolder, and in facts he did immediately in the following game, the sixth, but all he got was a “draw” position: rook final with a pawn less but best king’s position (diagram)
Paraphrasing and blending two famous quotes, between the draw position and the draw result the god have put the wrong judgment. It’s a matter of fact that, maybe because the draw wasn’t draw really, or because some mistakes, Carlsen has got two victories now.
Let’s wait and see.
Paolo Enrico Garrisi