29 November 2015

Commentary: GRENKE 2015, Round 4 (Anand - Carlsen)

I selected this game to look at next, from several saved in my analysis queue in 2015, because of the common Stonewall theme with Annotated Game #147.  In this game, Anand as White uses a standard fianchetto approach against the Stonewall, but emphasizes play in the center early on with 8. Ne5.  Carlsen pursues a non-traditional but effective method of play as Black in the Stonewall Dutch, using the a-pawn advance to create chances for him on the queenside; Viktor Moskalenko has long followed and advocated this approach, as most recently seen in the The Diamond Dutch.  Carlsen then selectively and effectively opens the game while combating White's threats on the kingside.  Anand makes an unforced error to lose the game, so it's not a strategic win by force for Black, but Carlsen's play is certainly worthy of study and emulation by those interested in the Black side of the Stonewall.  Carlsen's long history of including it in his repertoire no doubt has given him an excellent feel for the positions, much better than that of his opponents, which gives him additional practical chances when using it in tournament play.

Original ChessBase article and analysis of the game can be found here.

Anand, Viswanathan (2797) - Carlsen, Magnus (2865)

Result: 0-1
Site: Baden Baden GER
Date: 2015.02.06
[...] 1.d4 f5 The Dutch Defense is an opening that often uses alternative move-orders, especially to reach a Stonewall formation, as seen in Annotated Game #147 (a Slav Stonewall). Here Carlsen plays very straightforwardly with the text move. This may have had a psychological element as well, since the Leningrad Dutch - something Carlsen had played recently and lost with - is a more common choice and essentially requires Black to start with ...f5. 2.g3 Anand goes for the standard professional-level approach of a kingside fianchetto against the Dutch. 2...¤f6 3.¥g2 e6 4.c4 c6 a useful illustration of move-order importance, as White could exchange on d5 with a slight advantage if ...d5 were played immediately. 5.¤f3 d5 6.O-O ¥d6 the defining position of the main line of the Modern Stonewall. 7.b3 £e7 8.¤e5 Bb2 and a4 (preparing Ba3) are much more popular choices. The text move is the third most often played and scores well (60 percent) - even better than the other two moves - but this may reflect the quality of opposition as well. The drawback of White's choice here is that it does not immediately help his development. 8...O-O Carlsen drew the one previous game he had played in this line, with the alternate choice of ...b6 (the modern approach to Stonewall development). While the text move is relatively noncommittal, if Black wants to play ...b6 and continue his development by getting the light-square bishop out, the earlier the better.
8...b6 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.¤c4 ¤c6 11.¤xd6 £xd6 12.a4 £d7 13.¥a3 ¢f7 14.¤c3 ¥a6 15.f3 ¦he8 16.£d2 ¢g8 17.¦fc1 ¦ac8 18.¦a2 h6 19.¦ac2 ¤a5 20.¦b1 ¦c7 21.¤a2 ¦xc2 22.£xc2 ¤c6 23.£d2 e5 24.dxe5 ¦xe5 25.¦e1 £e6 26.f4 ¦xe2 27.¦xe2 ¥xe2 28.¤c3 ¥h5 29.¥xd5 ¤xd5 30.£xd5 £xd5 31.¤xd5 ¥f7 32.¤e7 ¤xe7 33.¥xe7 ¥xb3 34.a5 bxa5 35.¢f2 a4 36.¢e3 ¢f7 37.¥a3 g5 38.h4 ¢g6 39.hxg5 hxg5 40.¢d2 ¢h5 41.fxg5 ¢xg5 1/2-1/2 (41) Van Wely,L (2692)-Carlsen,M (2835) Wijk aan Zee 2012
9.¤d2 this may look a bit unnatural, but if White's bishop goes to b2, it will need an unimpeded diagonal to be of any use, so the "natural" square on c3 is not as good. The knight will also be able to transfer to f3 and support e5 that way. 9...a5 the text move is not a new idea, but it is still far from the main line ideas. It appears to have been played to good effect recently by other players, however, so perhaps that also attracted Carlsen to it. 10.¥b2
10.a4 ¤a6 11.¤df3 ¤b4 12.¥a3 ¤e4 13.c5 ¥c7 14.¥xb4 axb4 15.¤d3 ¥a5 16.¤fe5 ¤c3 17.£d2 ¥d7 18.f3 ¥e8 19.h4 ¥c7 20.£e3 b6 21.¦fe1 ¦d8 22.¦ac1 bxc5 23.¤xc5 ¥d6 24.¤cd3 ¦c8 25.¤c5 ¢h8 26.£f2 ¥xe5 27.dxe5 ¦a8 28.£d4 ¥f7 29.¤d3 ¦fb8 30.e3 ¦a5 31.¦xc3 bxc3 32.£xc3 ¦a6 33.¤c5 ¦a7 34.f4 ¢g8 35.b4 g6 36.a5 h6 37.¥f1 g5 38.hxg5 hxg5 39.¥d3 ¦c8 40.¦c1 ¥e8 41.£d4 ¦ca8 42.¦c2 ¥h5 43.¦h2 ¥f3 44.¢f2 g4 45.¦h5 £e8 46.¦h4 ¦h7 47.£a1 ¦xh4 48.gxh4 £e7 49.¢g3 ¢f7 50.£a2 ¢g6 51.£c2 ¢h5 52.£h2 ¦xa5 53.bxa5 £xc5 54.a6 £xe3 55.£f2 £xd3 0-1 (55) Reshetnikov,R (2106)-Tugarin,A (2230) Voronezh 2015
10...¤bd7 it is more common to have reached this position by first playing the text move, then a5. The database shows several games by Moskalenko is this line, for example. 11.£c2 a4!? Moskalenko's idea, to disrupt White's queenside. This goes against traditional ideas of the Stonewall, which feature play exclusively in the center and kingside. However, Black can effectively distract White by using this approach and perhaps (as in this game) later on generate some chances himself on the queenside. Black need not fear White simply taking the a-pawn, as the pawn is not defensible and the capture may cause more problems by weakening the queenside structure. 12.¤df3
12.bxa4 ¤e4 13.¤df3 £d8 14.¤d3 £a5 15.¤f4 ¥xf4 16.gxf4 £xa4 17.£xa4 ¦xa4 18.cxd5 exd5 19.e3 ¤b6 20.¤e5 ¥e6 21.¤d3 ¤d7 22.¦fd1 ¦fa8 23.a3 ¤d6 24.¦a2 ¤c4 25.¦da1 ¢f7 26.¥f3 g6 27.¥d1 ¦4a7 28.¥c1 ¢e7 29.¥b3 b5 30.¢f1 ¢d6 31.¢e2 h6 32.a4 g5 33.fxg5 hxg5 34.axb5 ¦xa2 35.¦xa2 ¦xa2 36.¥xa2 cxb5 37.¤b4 ¤db6 38.¥d2 ¤d7 39.¥c3 ¤b8 40.¥b3 ¤c6 41.¤d3 ¢e7 42.f3 ¢d7 43.¥e1 ¢e7 44.¥g3 ¤6a5 45.¥c2 ¤c6 46.¤c5 f4 47.¥f2 fxe3 48.¥xe3 ¤xe3 49.¢xe3 ¢f6 1/2-1/2 (49) Kiriakov,P (2555)-Moskalenko,V (2540) playchess.com INT 2006
12...¤e4 this is a standard, strong Stonewall move. White will have to either awkwardly attack the knight with f2-f3, or exchange it off, in which case Black gets a freer game from the exchange of minor pieces. 13.e3 this seems like a waiting move on Anand's part, as it doesn't accomplish much for White. 13...a3 the pawn advance now becomes even more annoying for White. 14.¥c3 ¤xe5
14...g5!? is an interesting option more in line with standard Stonewall plans for kingside attacks.
15.¤xe5 ¥d7 16.¤xd7 I'm not sure why Anand chose to exchange pieces here, since it would seem to favor Black slightly. The centralized Ne5 could then be exchanged by Black, it is true, but White would then have a strong central e5 pawn. (16.f3!?) 16...£xd7 17.c5 ¥c7 18.b4 White with his last two moves has gained queenside space, which can't be bad, but it's hard to see any concrete threats as a result of it. 18...h5 the engine agrees this is a strong move, but it's certainly not one a Class player would think of. Its usefulness becomes more apparent later. Among other things, it eventually may threaten ...h4 and it also frees up another escape square for the king.
18...b5!? is something I might be tempted to go with here. For example 19.cxb6 ¥xb6 20.¦fc1 ¦fc8 White will find it difficult to make any progress and Black can think about redeploying the bishop via d8 to e7 or f6, as well as moving the knight to d6 and then onward.
19.¥e1 the piece is doing absolutely no good where it is, so a better place must be found. 19...e5!? Carlsen immediately takes advantage of the relaxing of pressure on e5 and opens the diagonal for his bishop. Note how effective the a3 pawn becomes as a result of this. 20.dxe5 this is not forced, but otherwise Black can get some useful pawn play on the e file (occupying e4 after the knight vacates it) or support a thematic push of the f-pawn. 20...¥xe5 21.¦d1 £e6 moving the queen off the d-file and the pin, while giving it a better diagonal and potential mobility along the 6th rank. 22.f3 White finally kicks Black's central knight from its post. 22...¤f6 23.¥h3 g6 in this position, it's now evident that having Black's pawn on h5 helps restrain any ideas of a White break on g4. 24.e4 the logical next step for White in terms of increasing his activity, especially in terms of pressuring f5. However, the game now becomes more complicated and Black's open lines are just as good as White's. 24...dxe4 25.fxe4 ¥b2! this is a great idea, using an interference tactic to attack the a2 pawn. White, somewhat surprisingly, has no other way of defending it. The strength of the Black bishop and the a-pawn is evident. White still has counterchances, however. 26.exf5 £xa2 27.¥f2 shutting down the discovered check threat.
27.fxg6?? fails to a discovered check tactic, with the Qc2 hanging. 27...¥d4
27...g5 an excellent example of cold-blooded defense. Exchanging on f5 would just give White more lines into Black's king position. The h and g pawns both look weak, but White cannot exploit them. 28.¦fe1 £f7 time to redeploy the queen back to an effective square, among other things defending the 7th rank. 29.¦e6 ¤g4 an aggressive choice. (29...¦fe8) (29...¦ae8)
29...¤d5 is also an interesting possibility: 30.¦g6 ¢h7 and now 31.f6 doesn't quite work, due to 31...£xg6 32.¥f5 ¦xf6 33.¥xg6 ¦xg6ยต looks good for Black, for example. It's interesting to compare the tactics in this line with the main game, since in both cases Black's a-pawn ends up being the deciding factor.
30.¥xg4 hxg4 31.¦g6 ¢h7 32.¦d7?? a fancy move which does not work. (32.¦e6) 32...£xd7 33.f6 this looks devastating - or that it at least could get White a perpetual check - but Black can now return the material with his own deflection tactic. 33...£d1! The cleanest.
33...¥xf6 may have been what Anand expected, which gives White a drawing line: 34.¦xf6 ¢h8 35.¦h6 ¢g8 36.¦g6 ¢h8
33...¦xf6! however also wins: 34.¦xf6 ¢g8 35.¦g6 ¢f8 now there is no longer the Rf8 to block the king and White has no more checks due to the Bb2 controlling f6.
34.£xd1 ¢xg6 35.£d3 ¢h6 with White out of checks and unable to further penetrate Black's position, the passed a-pawn now decides the game. 36.h4 gxh3 now White can postpone the inevitable for a while, but it's only a matter of time before he has to give up material to prevent the a-pawn from queening.
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