World Chess Championship 2013 round 7: Anand catches his breath with a quiet game

In my continuing coverage of the World Chess Championship between Anand and Carlsen, today I cover round seven, in which apparently Anand took a break by playing safe for a quiet draw.

Game and notes below:


As White, Anand played e4 yet again (I’m still waiting for d4, which he used effectively against Kramnik and Gelfand in past world championship matches), and as in round 4 and 6, Carlsen used the Berlin Defense. Anand played a quiet, unambitious anti-Berlin again with d3, as in round 6, but this time went for a delayed Exchange Variation, giving up the Bishop pair for doubling Black’s c Pawns. Nevertheless, this opening is considered harmless, and Carlsen chose a simple, effective plan that involved trading off his light Bishop for Anand’s Knight, and then after further simplifications, there was nothing left in the game and they created a draw by repetition.

The only interesting points in the game to me were the obvious opportunities Anand chose not to take to try for more aggressive plans: playing g4 or playing fxe3. That he chose not to indicated that he was content to just get the game drawn and over with to stay safe and avoid creating complications that might allow him to lose.

The state of the match

Anand is running out of time to catch up in the match, but may have bought some time to rest and recover psychologically from losing two games in a row.

Some people might criticize his failure to strike back immediately in this game, but if he knew himself and knew he was not ready, then it was the wise thing to do.

However, I believe that the next time he has White, Anand should switch away from opening with e4, to opening with d4 for the win, since it looks like Carlsen can easily neutralize e4.

The game

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