Magnus Carlsen wins against Anand, playing the Stonewall

Magnus Carlsen in a good mood at the Press conference after his game.
Magnus Carlsen in a good mood at the Press conference after his game with Nigel Short (left) and Jan Gustafsson (right)

Ever full of surprises, Magnus Carlsen played the Dutch Stonewall variation and won against Vishwanathan Anand in Round 4 of the Grenke Chess Classic at Baden Baden.

Anand resigns in the game against Carlsen
Anand resigns in the game against Carlsen

I don’t think I have ever seen the Stonewall being employed by a World Champion! Maybe back then in the in days of Mikhail Botvinnik it was I don’t think it has happened in a recent times. I have not gone through the Chessbase Database before making this claim.

Carlsen against Anand after move 12
Carlsen against Anand after move 12

 The Stonewall is quite popular among some club players. The strategy behind is quite simple, use a wedge of pawns in the centre and back them up with your pieces to build a space advantage. It is not always an easy opening to play against on either side. The Stonewall is aptly named as it is very difficult to break through. It’s a solid opening choice.  Grandmaster Nigel Short had this to say about playing the Stonewall.

Playing the Stonewall Nigel Short

There are very few players who can rebound from a defeat as well as Carlsen. He seems to just shrug it off and get back to his winning ways. He even poked fun at himself after losing the game against Arkadij Naiditsch in the previous round.

Fun fact from the World Champion
Fun fact from the World Champion

After his win against Anand, Carlsen commented, “I guess the previous round just goes to show that when you play riskily–sacrifice material–you should follow it up by playing well.” Here is another comment from Carlsen on the game.

A3 move Carlsen

With his ever changing openings and defences, Carlsen is sure to keep his opponents guessing. Given that most grandmasters spend a great deal of time working on openings, Carlsen probably gives his opponents even more work.

The win against Anand was Carlsen’s first since their match! Regarding his Opening Carlsen said “I tried to play something unusual in order to get something exciting”.

We recently spoke about the risky chess that Carlsen employed in his match against Naiditsch which did not work too well. He has certainly continued with risks from an opening perspective. The Stonewall is a well-known opening but not at top level meaning that it has a huge surprise element.  Carlsen has often been described as a boring players but his play at Grenke Chess Classic has been anything but boring. It has full of surprises for the chess fans and even the players I am sure.

Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall comments on Magnus Carlsen's play so far
Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall comments on Magnus Carlsen’s play so far

And here is another tweet on the game. Lars Bo Hansen

These are interesting times for chess. Here is the game betwen Carlsen and Anand. Enjoy!

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Bruce Mubayiwa

I am the founder and editor of Africa Chess Net. I have been playing chess for over 25 years and love writing about the game. Our goal is simple, to get more people playing chess in Africa! The game of chess is not only absorbing but a great deal of fun.

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