Magnus Carlsen is one step closer to retaining his World Championship title after easily holding Viswanathan Anand at bay in Game 8. Carlsen looked more sluggish than usual as he slouched in his chair, but it made no difference whatsoever as his team had prepared it all at home. IM Lawrence Trent is our guide to a game that had great theoretical and perhaps match significance, but failed to set the pulses racing.
Watch Lawrence's video below:
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Replay the game below (or with computer analysis here):
1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 e6 3. ♘f3 d5 4. ♘c3 ♗e7 5. ♗f4 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 ♗xc5 8. a3 ♘c6 9. ♕c2 ♖e8 10. ♗g5 ♗e7 11. ♖d1 ♕a5 12. ♗d3 h6 13. ♗h4 dxc4 14. ♗xc4 a6 15. O-O b5 16. ♗a2 ♗b7 17. ♗b1 ♖ad8 18. ♗xf6 ♗xf6 19. ♘e4 ♗e7 20. ♘c5 ♗xc5 21. ♕xc5 b4 22. ♖c1 bxa3 23. bxa3 ♕xc5 24. ♖xc5 ♘e7 25. ♖fc1 ♖c8 26. ♗d3 ♖ed8 27. ♖xc8 ♖xc8 28. ♖xc8+ ♘xc8 29. ♘d2 ♘b6 30. ♘b3 ♘d7 31. ♘a5 ♗c8 32. ♔f1 ♔f8 33. ♔e1 ♔e7 34. ♔d2 ♔d6 35. ♔c3 ♘e5 36. ♗e2 ♔c5 37. f4 ♘c6 38. ♘xc6 ♔xc6 39. ♔d4 f6 40. e4 ♔d6 41. e5+
You can rewatch the live commentary with Peter Svidler and Sopiko Guramishvili below. The press conference is also included at the end, though it wasn't without reason that Jan Gustafsson compared that spectacle unfavourably to watching paint dry:
During the game there was essentially one topic that really caught the fans' imagination - Magnus Carlsen's demeanour at the board.
Was Carlsen out of sorts? He was asked after the game and gave perhaps the only interesting answer of the whole press conference (although his quip "it's always a nice surprise!" about the doping control was good):
I was not in the best of shape at the start but I felt I managed to be fresher as the game progressed.
It was suggested not only the long game yesterday but also some early morning preparation had been a factor:
Of course what needs to be added, however, is that this was no one-game occurrence. You're missing out if you haven't been reading Vlad Tkachiev's account of the match. In his preview he commented:
Have you ever played against Carlsen? Some may have, but for the majority, I suspect, the answer is a no. So then, that one-man theatre already starts with the handshake – in Magnus’ case it’s sharp, almost a jolt. That’s matched by his behaviour during a game, which is unusually free and relaxed. Combine that with the aura of a winner and it all weighs down on his opponent’s psyche, which is no surprise – after all, that’s why it’s done, at the end of the day. The magnetism of a strong personality brings a bountiful harvest of extra points.
Vlad has some experience:
Or how about this for a description of Magnus when he went in for the kill in Game 1:
It was impossible to take your eyes off the screen given the mesmerising range of acting techniques Carlsen demonstrated at that moment: sprawling on the table he would then suddenly lean back in the pose of a Chairman of the Board of Directors of a major company, until he carelessly jumped up and ran off. How much better he performs, after all, and not only at chess!
So Magnus Carlsen retains a one-point lead with four games to go:
The players now have a rest day on Wednesday before Magnus Carlsen will have White in Thursday's Game 9. Can we expect another 100+ move monster? Find out by watching our live broadcast here on chess24!
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