Anand beat Carlsen first time in a classical game in Morelia Linares in Feb 2007. At that time Anand had a rating of 2779 while Carlsen was yet to break into 2700, with a rating of 2690. In the game Anand showed some amazing endgame technique. But let us join the game in a position in which the game could still have gone either way.
Carlsen (2690)- Anand (2779)
You are in Carlsen's shoes. With which rook would you recapture and why?
Beware: Carlsen got it wrong!
We will need to see a few moves ahead in order to understand why taking with the 'f' rook is better than the 'a' rook. You see the two open files 'c' and the 'd' files and you say to yourself ,yes thats where the rooks need to be. But then why did Carlsen take with the 'a' rook? Lets first see what happened in the game.
Carlsen played the 1.Rad1 because he thought that he was anyway winning the battle of the kingside. He didnt need to think much about which rook to take with. He saw that h7 pawn is difficult to defend and after the most natural move 1...h6 2.Bf6 gf6 3.Nh7 white is just better as he is winning the f6 pawn. So the question to you now is: What should black play?
Its time to save Anands position. What should he play here with his kingside in grave danger?
Anand came up with the stunning move which must have totally shocked Carlsen i.e 1...Kh8!!
The point of this move is so deep that I am confused whether I should salute Anand or the game of chess!!
Can you guess what is the point of this move?
It is to clear the g file for the rook!!Are you serious? Have a look!
After the most obvious 2.Bf6 gf6 3.Nh7? (relatively best was Ne4) black not only saves the day with 3...Rg8! but after 4.g3 Kg7 the poor knight on h7 is trapped!
What a deep idea!!
Carlsen could find nothing better than 2.g3 but after 2...h6 3.Bf6 hg5! 4.Bb2 (4.Bg5 f6 5.Bf4 e5 traps the bishop) 4...Rac8 Anand snatched the initiative as Carlsen had to undo his mistake of placing the 'a' rook to d1 by playing 5.Rc1 and after 5...Rfd8 black was in the drivers seat!
Coming back to the Initial position!
What Carlsen missed was Anand's brilliant idea with Kh8!! If he was more careful, he would have taken back the queen correctly with 1.Rfd1!
White retains an edge if he takes back with the right Rook.
Of course Carlsen saw that taking with the 'f' rook is more natural than with the 'a' rook because of the central open files but he gave more importance to the kingside initiative and didnt take into account opponents best defensive move i.e Kh8!! After Anand made that move, Carlsen must have regretted taking with the 'a' rook but such is life! Once a mistake is made you often cannot correct it! So better be safe than sorry!! Something which is quite difficult for chess players to follow but i like to think that its not impossible!! :)