Carlsen-Anand 2014 – Game 10

Today’s game reminded me of game 10 of the Anand-Topalov match. After essaying the Grunfeld in game 1 (and losing due to forgotten preparation) Anand switched to the Slav for his next 3 black games and returned to the Grunfeld in game 10, only to draw a suspiciously looking position.

Carlsen decided to return to the Grunfeld in a critical moment in the match. There are probably several factors for that, but I think one of the main ones is the factor of surprise. I don’t think Anand considered the return of the Grunfeld probable (I didn’t) as it seemed that Carlsen’s main weapon would be the QGD. But from what I can gather Carlsen relies a lot on the surprise factor in the openings in this match as a way to compensate for Anand’s superior preparation. In addition to this factor, he also prepared a relative sideline (or, rather, a line that used to be popular in Kasparov’s time, but now considered inferior to the line with 7…a6), exactly the same thing he did in the QGD in game 8 (the idea with 9…Re8).
Even though surprised, Anand did find the best moves and put a lot of pressure on Carlsen. Carlsen himself admitted he missed 19 Ng5 after which things are difficult for black. Unfortunately for Anand, he couldn’t keep up the highest level of his moves and the slow 24th move let Carlsen escape.
A rest day tomorrow is followed by game 11, a rest day and game 12 (if necessary). I can’t wait to see if Anand will try to sharpen things up in game 11 (like Kramnik did against Leko in 2004 using the Benoni and almost winning in the penultimate game) or he’ll just try not to lose and pile it all up for the last game. I now somehow seem to lean towards the latter option, but let’s see.
Here’s today’s analysis and a download of all the commented games:

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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