After two draws, who will blink first?

ChessMagnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand will play their third match on Tuesday (PTI)

Communication theory states that one cannot not communicate. The first two games of the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen ended in quick draws, but must have given the opposing camps plenty of information to work with already.

Game one

Carlsen opened with the unusual 1. Nf3. The Reti opening had not been used in Championship matches for a long time, certainly not in the last 35 games that Anand had been a part of till then. Carlsen's choice would have come as a surprise to Anand in a broad sense, but what the challenger wanted to achieve beyond this is rather unclear.

Home preparation is most effectively translated into an advantage on the board when the game proceeds along theoretical lines of an opening until one of the players springs a surprise. This deviation is either a move that has not been played before at all (a novelty) or a side-line that has not been explored too deeply.

At this stage, one player can bank on the results of the extensive analysis of his seconds while the other will have to find solutions to tricky problems over the board. You either run down the clock trying to find the accurate continuation or end up missing the thread altogether, or both.

It is relatively easier to pull off this kind of an ambush as white because the player who makes the first move is in a better position to steer the game in a particular direction. In a crude example, black may have a novelty prepared in response to a popular queen pawn opening, but if white opens with his king pawn, the trap will have to wait.

Looked at from this perspective, the Reti is not the best choice to usher an opponent towards an ambush. The problem in opening with 1. Nf3 is that black may counter in a variety of ways. In fact, the first game may have started out as a Reti, but eventually transposed into a fianchetto-Grunfeld.

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