Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anand is the World Chess Champion
Game 11. Anand holds it together to retain his title
Anand 1/2 Kramnik; Game 11.
Commentary IM Malcolm Pein
Well this is a pleasant surprise, I thought we were only going to get tengames but Vlad did as he promised and kept fighting to the end.
I had a feeling this was coming. Anand invites Kramnik to play his Petroff Defence which can be very drawish, particularly if White wants it to be
Given the match situation this is the best option Kramnik has to head for an unbalanced position. A Sicilian was widely expected in this circumstance
2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6
A Najdorf, I wonder if Kramnik has ever played this before
[6.Be3 Is another theoretical battleground but Bg5 is a sound choice as it both a proven moveand limits Black's options]
6...e6 7.f4
7...Qb6 the Poisoned Pawn would not suit Kramnik now as White has many forced drawing lines there
7...Qc7 8.Bxf6 gxf6
I recall Anatoly Karpov being forced to play a sharp Sicilian against Nigel Short at their Candidates SF at Linares in 1992. Karpov also allowed Bxf6 gxf6 and Short gave him a good tonking. That was a Richter Rauzer from memory and Black castled kingside.
[9.Be2 Nc6 10.Nb3 Qb6 11.Qd2 h5]
This looks very odd as it contradicts the basic rules of developing your pieces but Kramnik had to prevent fxe6 and Qh5+
10.Qd3 Nc6 11.Nb3
We are following Kavalek - Chandler Bundesliga 1982
[11...Qb6 12.0-0-0 Bh6+ 13.Kb1 Bf4 coming to e5 looks reasonable also]
12.0-0-0 exf5
[12...exf5 Good heavens, Black does not usually do this. It might win a pawn but it ruins the pawn structure and opens lines towards the king. The d5 square is screaming for equine occupation 13.Kb1 Be7 14.exf5 Bxf5 15.Qf3 0-0-0 16.Bxa6!]
We can only admire Kramnik's bravado even if he hasn't got much choice but he is at least making Anand think. The threat is Rd5
[13.Nd5 fxe4 14.Qxe4 Be6; 13.Nd5 Rb8 14.exf5]
13...Bg7 14.Rd5 Qe7 15.Qg3
Now if Rg8 then Qh4 later can be annoying
[15.Qg3 0-0 16.exf5 Ne5 17.Bd3]
15...Rg8 16.Qf4
Hmm, Kramnik may be able to play Be6 and escape with his king to the queenside which seems reasonable
[An implausible variation is 16.Qf4 Be6 17.Rd1 fxe4 18.Nxe4 Bg4 19.Nxd6+ Kf8 20.Bc4 Bxd1 21.Rxd1 Ne5 22.Be2 Rd8 23.Nf5 Rxd1+ 24.Bxd1 Qc7 25.Qb4+ Ke8 26.Nd6+ Kf8 27.Nf5+]
Looks like the king will be headed to f8 now, this is perfect for Kramnik a very wild position
17.Nxe4 f5
[17...Be6 18.Nxd6+ Kf8 19.Rd1 Bg4 20.Qxg4?? Bh6+ is a nice cheapo and this line seems to be sounder for Black than the game]
18.Nxd6+ Kf8
Anand has to watch his back rank now but I wonder if he will be attracted to the idea of taking on c8. Although the knight on d6 is a mighty piece it could come under attack after Be5 for example and after the bishop on c8 is exchanged the f5 pawn is very weak
[18...Kf8 19.Nxc8 Rxc8 20.Kb1 Qe1+ 21.Qc1 Qe4]
19.Nxc8 Rxc8 20.Kb1
[20.Qd6 Nb4 21.Qxe7+ Kxe7 22.Rd2 Bh6-+ Illustrates why it's better to have the king on b1. Now Qe1 can be met by Nc1 or Qc1]
20...Qe1+ 21.Nc1
and now there is a nasty Qd6+ Ne7 Qd8+ cheapo on the horizon
21...Ne7 22.Qd2
Forcing a queen exchange as Rd8+ is threatened
[22.Qd6 Qe6 23.Qd8+ Rxd8 24.Rxd8#]
22...Qxd2 23.Rxd2 Bh6 24.Rf2
Holding g2 so that the bishop can come out. Vishy just has a somewhat advantageous endgame. g3 and Bg2 is a threat. Perhaps Kramnik has to play Be3 to try and confuse matters. Vishy can also be content with the presence of opposite coloured bishops, if he doesn't win they make the draw more likely
and Kramnik offered a draw. After Rf3 he is worse and has no winning prospects. In the end a very decent match indeed
Result: Viswanathan Anand retains World Championship

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