Magnus Carlsen on verge of world chess title with quick win over champion

Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen is on the brink of becoming his country’s first world chess champion following a stunning 28-move victory over Indian champion Viswanthan Anand Thursday in the ninth game of their scheduled 12-round match in Chennai, India. Mr. Carlsen’s third win in the space of five games gives him a 6-3 lead, and he needs just one draw from the final three games to seize the title that Mr. Anand has held since 2007.

As expected, the champion tried to sharpen the play with an aggressive line in the Nimzo-Indian Defense, building up a powerful line of pawns advancing on Black’s king fortress. While having to ward off continual White mating threats, the 22-year-old challenger based much of his defense on a passed b-pawn on the other wing, which threatened to become a queen if White’s attack failed to break through.

Offense and defense appeared to be in delicate balance until the champion made a terrible oversight on the game’s 28th move, blocking a check by the new Black queen with his knight instead of his bishop. After Mr. Carlsen’s final move, 28…Qe1!, Black can stop any threats along the h-file simply by trading off his extra queen for White’s rook, leaving the second player with an overwhelming material advantage. Mr. Anand instantly resigned.

Mr. Carlsen could clinch the title as early as Friday, when he will have the advantage of the White pieces for Game 10.

Anand-Carlsen, Game 9, World Championship, Chennai, India, November 2013

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 c4 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 O-O 11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb3 13. Ra2 b5 14. Ng3 a5 15. g5 Ne8 16. e4 Nxc1 17. Qxc1 Ra6 18. e5 Nc7 19. f4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3 23. Qf4 Nc7 24. f6 g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6 b2 27. Rf4 b1=Q+ 28. Nf1 Qe1 White resigns.

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About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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