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Challenger Anand springs a surprise with a new idea

The first game of the world chess championship match at Sochi continued into the fifth hour with world champion Magnus Carlsen holding some advantage in an endgame against challenger Viswanathan Anand. Anand has to defend very accurately and it’s likely that this game could carry on for a long time.

Carlsen played very impressively, to first defend against an aggressive new idea from Anand and then taking over the initiative after a few inferior moves from the Indian grandmaster. After move 42, Carlsen, playing black, seemed to have a serious edge but there were still drawing chances for white.

Anand started with a queen’s pawn opening and Carlsen played the Grunfeld Defence. Anand played an unusual sideline on move no:4 and then unveiled a new idea on move 13 when he castled on the queenside. Carlsen found a good reply after a long think of over half hour.

A very double-edged unbalanced position resulted. There was opposite castling. White had more space and more aggressively placed pieces while black had a better pawn structure. Carlsen defended very precisely to ease the pressure and the position seemed to be burning out into a draw. However, Anand drifted into a more passive position with a simplified setup of queen and rook when black had constant pressure. This is the sort of situation where Carlsen always plays brilliantly, slowly generating pressure.

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