Sunday, 27 December 2015

Home work Xmas 2015

Have a look at the below position.  Its White to play what would you do?

The game is from the first world championship match between Anand and Carlsen in 2013.  Carlsen is White and needed a draw to claim the crown.  He needed to avoid losing and just needed to be careful not to give Black anything to pounce on.  Still he needed only 19 seconds to play his next move.


15.Rac1. Magnus understood that Black has pressure on the c-file and Black wants to play ...b5 to erode the White centre and exploit his pressure on the c-file.

The game continued to a draw and Carlsen was crowned 15th World chess champion.

What would you have played?  Perhaps you have heard that rooks belong on open files and wanted to play Rd1.  General principles are there as advice when there are no other concrete factors on the board.
Lets have a look at the mistake 15.Rad1? b5

Black will play ...bxc4 when the pawn on c4 is terminal.  White's best move would probably be 16.Rc1.

Moving the other rook 15.Rfd1?! b5, 16.Rac1

still allows bxc4, but then White has some tactics with the powerfully placed rooks to defend the weak pawn on c4.

After ...bxc4, 17.bxc4 the c-pawn can't be captured, as White has the cute 17...Qxc4, 18.Nd5

Black can first play 17...h6, 18.Bf4 Rfd8 (Black still can't take the pawn due to the Nd5 trick.) 19.Qf3

White has managed to hold the c-pawn, but it's clear to see that it is forever weak.  It would be a clear target for Black to build an attack around.
Strong players will try not to take on such static weakness, as even if they can be defended it means defending passively hoping the other side runs out of resource.  Of course Magnus Carlsen is a class act and completely understood the position.

Remember general principles only after concrete analysis of the position.