WCC R4: Carlsen Nearly Breaks Through with Berlin Defense, Game 4 Drawn in 64 Moves

11.13.13 Anand essayed a Ruy Lopez in Game 4 and the challenger played the rock solid Berlin Defense brought into modern chess popularity by Vladimir Kramnik during his world championship match with Garry Kasparov in 2000. Chess engines and commentators were very satisfied with black's position during the late middle game after Carlsen won a pawn with the Fischer-like 18...Bxa2. A very complicated game ensued, then, after black's 37...Rf8, Anand, visually relieved, went on to quell further threats and steer the game into the quiet harbors of a 64-move draw.

Magnus Carlsen (left) and Vishwanathan Anand shake hands at the beginning of the fourth game of the World Championship Match being played in Chennai, India.

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 Total
Vishy Anand 2775 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 2.0
Magnus Carlsen 2870 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 2.0

Carlsen, playing the black pieces, chose the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez. The queens came off the board after 10 moves in an opening both players were very familiar with. In fact, Carlsen made his first 17 moves in 11 minutes. In this opening, black gains the bishop pair while conceding doubled pawns on the c-file. After 18. Ne2, a critical moment occurred. Carlsen, after his longest think of the game up to this point, decided to capture Anand's pawn on a2. This move harkened back to Game 1 of Fisher-Spassky 1972 when Fisher captured Spassky's king rook pawn with 29...Bxh2. A very tense, complicated battle resulted with John Fedorowicz commenting for the internet Chess Club that the game was one of the most complicated games he had ever seen. Anand literally breathed a sigh of relief after Carlsen's 37...Rf8 and was then able to bring home the draw--a narrow escape for the world champion.

All eyes will be on Carlsen's choice of opening with the white pieces in game 5. Having played to two draws with flank openings in Games 1 and 3, some analysts predict he will turn to a more main line approach with either 1. e4 or 1.d4.

From the minute details department, the players agreed on a tournament room temperature of between 22.5C (72.5F) and 23C (73.4). Anand did not rise from the board until the first time control was reached on move 40, Carlsen, on the other hand, got up and strolled out of the tournament room at every opportunity.

Game 5 is scheduled for Friday, November 15th at 4:30 a.m. eastern time.

Magnus Carlsen looking comfortable with his position in Game 4.

Part 1 of Game 4 Video

Part 2 of Game 4 Video

All the games of the Match can be found here.

Official Match Website

Official Schedule

Time control is 40 moves in 2 hours followed by 20 moves in 1 hour then 15 minutes for the remainder of the game with a 30 second increment beginning on move 61.

Times are on the east coast of the U.S.

11.07.2013 Opening Ceremony 5:30 A.M.
11.09.2013 Game 1 4:30 A.M.
11.10.2013 Game 2 4:30 A.M.
11.11.2013 Rest Day
11.12.2013 Game 3 4:30 A.M.
11.13.2013 Game 4 4:30 A.M.
11.14.2013 Rest Day
11.15.2013 Game 5 4:30 A.M.
11.16.2013 Game 6 4:30 A.M.
11.17.2013 Rest Day
11.18.2013 Game 7 4:30 A.M.
11.19.2013 Game 8 4:30 A.M.
11.20.2013 Rest Day
11.21.2013 Game 9 4:30 A.M.
11.22.2013 Game 10 4:30 A.M.
11.23.2013 Rest Day
11.24.2013 Game 11 4:30 A.M.
11.25.2013 Rest Day
11.26.2013 Game 12 4:30 A.M.
11.27.2013 Rest Day
11.28.2013 Tie Break Games To be decided
11.29.2013 Closing Ceremony To be decided


Thanks, Dan! Great commentary, and a great game.

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