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Magnus Carlsen - Viswanathan Anand

Round 10
Grand Slam Final
Bilbao

13.09.2008

After his magnificent start in the tournament, Carlsen suffered two bitter defeats from the leader Topalov and had lost a great deal of his chances to finish first. Nevertheless, while there is a slim possibility one has to go for it. The Norwegian managed to stop his bad streak against Anand, so maybe it is time to try to have even better score than a draw, having in mind the bad form the Indian is experiencing. One thing is sure - this game is likely to be as interesting as any of Magnus' games in Bilbao - and they are worth seeing.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.cxd5 Surprisingly White chose the Exchange variation.

4... cxd5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 a6 (6... Bf5 is the main line but the game continuation gained popularity lately.)

7.Rc1 Bf5 8.Ne5 (8.e3 is the usual move but it is sufficient only to equalize.)

8... Rc8 9.f3 The newest attempt to fight for advantage in this line.

9... g6 (9... Nxe5 10.dxe5 d4 11.e4 favors White, so Anand follows the idea from a game of Bacrot.)

10.g4 Be6 11.e3 Bg7 12.h4 h5 (12... h6 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.Nxc6 Rxc6 15.h5 g5 16.Bg3 is not recommendable as a way to prevent h4-h5.)

13.g5 Nd7 14.Nxc6 Rxc6 15.Bd3 O-O 16.Kf2 Nb6 Both players are deploying their forces to control the central squares and the 'c' file as the kingside is blocked for a long time.

17.b3 Qd7 Besides Rfc8 this move prepares exchange of light squared Bishops in which case White King may become vulnerable.

18.Qd2 Bf5 19.Bxf5 Qxf5 20.Ne2 Rfc8 Because of the threat Rc6-c2 Carlsen has to exchange all Rooks.

21.Rxc6 Rxc6 22.Rc1 Nd7 (22... Qc8 23.Rxc6 Qxc6 would be roughly equal but Anand is growing ambitious.)

23.Kg2 (23.Rxc6 bxc6 24.Qa5 e5 25.dxe5 Nxe5 seems to be very risky.)

23... e5 24.Rxc6 bxc6 25.dxe5 Nxe5 26.Nd4 Qc8 After the pawn structure has been changed, the position is still equal, but there is much more dynamics now.

27.Ne2 Qf5 28.Nd4 Qc8 29.Ne2 Draw agreed. Anand comfortably equalized, then even offered a pawn on 'a6' in order to take over the initiative and Carlsen prudently decided to repeat the moves. The first place in this event is to be decided in the other two games. 1/2