I am trying to return to competitive chess after 10+ years of inactivity. I am playing the QGD so the third game of the Carlsen - Anand match is very important for me. It seemed to me that Black had equal position in these lines yet now I am not so sure. That 17.Ng5 leap is really nasty, and after 20.fxe4 White also seemed in command.

Since I don't wish to change repertoire I am asking here for help to improve the game for Black so he can reach fully playable position.

Here are the moves of the game:

[White "Anand, Vishwanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] 
[Event "WCC 2014"]
[Round "3"]
[Result "1-0"]

[fen ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. b5 cxb5 13. c6 Qc8 14. c7 b4 15. Nb5 a4 16. Rc1 Ne4 17. Ng5 Ndf6 18. Nxe4 Nxe4 19. f3 Ra5 20. fxe4 Rxb5 21. Qxa4 Ra5 22. Qc6 bxa3 23. exd5 Rxd5 24. Qxb6 Qd7 25. O-O Rc8 26. Rc6 g5 27. Bg3 Bb4 28. Ra1 Ba5 29. Qa6 Bxc7 30. Qc4 e5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. dxe5 Qe7 33. e6 Kf8 34. Rc1 1-0

2 Answers 2


Analysing the whole game, not just the opening moves, the main problem with black's position was the dark squares. Despite having his dark squared bishop, once the pawn marched to c7 the dominance of Bf4 over Be7 was beyond any doubt. It is true that Carlsen made a few mistakes with several recaptures, but these moves were natural and probably every human would have made them in his position.

This is why my main suggestion is to play the line arising after 6... Nh4, getting rid of that annoying bishop and avoiding the pawn from ever reaching c7. The game may then steer into semi-Slav (if black plays c6) or Tarrasch (if black plays c5) pawn structures, where the choice is only yours.

  • +1, as I too consider ...Nh5 stronger. Still, after 17.Ng5 I feel that he should have played ...Nxg5 ( or ...Bxg5 but this option looks scarier to me ). I think that that was the turning point of the game. What is your view for that position? Nov 12, 2014 at 19:44
  • At first sight, ...Nxg5 definitely looks much better than what was played (and I completely agree, ...Bxg5 does seem somewhat reckless. Why give your dark squared bishop when those squares are bringing so much pain?). I'll have to re-check it as the position is extremely complex and out of my comfort zone (not really my favorite defense, a little too passive), but maybe that was indeed the turning point. Nov 12, 2014 at 22:37
  • 2
    17. ... Nxg5; 18. Bxg5, Bxg5; 19. Nd6.
    – Gerry
    Nov 13, 2014 at 3:46
  • I don't think you can play 18...Bxg5, probably 18...f6 is more sensible, or maybe 18...Nf6. If white recaptures I'm thinking about something like 18...Nf6, 19.Nd6 Qd7, 20.c8=Q Rxc8, 21.Nxc8 Bf8. I'm trying to see if the knight gets out and wether the pawns on the queenside are enough compensation for the exchange in that case. Nov 13, 2014 at 6:48

After 3 days of analyzing the position and searching through the Internet, I have decided to switch from playing 7...c6 to 7...Nh5. It seems that Black has easier time here, with fully equal chances.

Next, I have searched online for comments about 17...Nxg5 as I really liked the move. That didn't turn out too well for Black, so I had to satisfy myself with the game continuation.

I will use this opportunity to give credit to the GM Erwin l'Ami and GM Daniel King. Their analysis was very helpful and helped me to cut the amount of time I spent analyzing the whole game.

[Event "WCC 2014"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "?"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Anand, Vishwanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "1-0"]
[fen ""] 

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 ( 7...Nh5!) 8. Bd3 b6 9. b4 a5 10. a3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Rxa6 12. b5 cxb5 13. c6 Qc8 14. c7 b4 15. Nb5 a4 16. Rc1 Ne4 ( 16...Ra5?! 17. Bd6 Rxb5 18.Bxe7 b3 19.Bxf8 Nxf8 20.O-O ) 17. Ng5 Ndf6 ( 17...Bxg5 18.Bxg5 Ra5 19.Be7!? Rxb5 20. Bxf8 Kxf8 21. Qxa4 Ra5 22.Qxb4+ Ke8! $13) ( 17...Nxg5?! 18.Bd6 Ra5 19.Bxe7 Rxb5 20. axb4! $16) 18. Nxe4 Nxe4? ( 18...dxe4!? 19.Nd6 Bxd6 20.Bxd6 b3 21.Bxf8 Kxf8 $13) 19. f3! Ra5 20. fxe4!N Rxb5 21. Qxa4 Ra5 22. Qc6 bxa3 ( 22...dxe4 23.a4! ) 23. exd5 Rxd5 24. Qxb6 Qd7 25. O-O?! ( 25.Qa6! Rc8 26.Rb1! Rxc7 27.Rb8+ Bd8 28.Bxc7 Qxc7 29.Rc8+-) 25...Rc8 26. Rc6 g5 ( 26...Bf6 27.Qa6 e5 28.dxe5 Bxe5 29.Bxe5 Rxe5 30.Rfc1 Rd5 31.Qxc8+!! Qxc8 32.Rb6+-) 27. Bg3?! ( 27.Be5!? Bb4 28.Qxb4 Qxc6 29.Qe7! $36) 27...Bb4! 28. Ra1! Ba5? 29. Qa6 Bxc7? 30. Qc4! e5 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 32. dxe5 Qe7 33. e6 Kf8 34. Rc1 1-0

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