Had meant to post quick summaries earlier, but better late than never. Tonight starts the final quarter of the world chess championship 2014. Carlsen leads by a point, but Anand has two Whites. The games with some commentary can be found by clicking the links below:

Game 7 was a marathon Berlin Wall lasting 122 moves, 2 moves short of the record in world championship matches. In a somewhat equal but unpleasant position, Anand made the brave and inspired choice of sacrificing his bishop for the Carlsen’s two kingside pawns, and tenaciously defended the rook + 4 queenside pawns vs. rook + knight + 2 queenside pawns endgame, eventually trading down to a rook vs. rook + knight endgame where he demonstrated clear understanding of how such piece setups are drawn. Several of us were tired just following the games (which lasted until after 2 am Singapore time).

Games 8 and 9 were short (with Game 9 even shorter) draws, where Black demonstrated excellent opening preparation each time to diffuse White’s initiative. Game 9 was surprising to me for 2 reasons:

  1. Anand chose to defend the Berlin Wall again (i.e. signing up for more torture without any real chance of turning the tables – such positions are comfortable for Carlsen and he hardly ever loses them).
  2. Carlsen opted to repeat moves and drew in 20 moves!

But I guess in a match, the overall match strategy trumps other considerations. Carlsen doesn’t need to win any more games to win the match.  Still, it would seem wise to take some chances to extend the lead where possible. A one-point cushion has sometimes been insufficient for winning world chess championships, as can be seen from Kramnik-Leko in 2004 and Kasparov-Karpov in 1987.

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