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Grenke Round 10: Anand Triumphs!

  • SonofPearl
  • on 2/17/13, 1:31 PM.

Baden-Baden%20tournament%20logo.jpgPRESS RELEASE: Anand wins the GRENKE Chess Classic

The World Champion has won his first classical tournament in almost five years after an enthralling final day’s play in Baden-Baden. It started fast with Anand and Naiditsch blitzing out a rook ending that might have been drawn but ended in the German’s resignation on move 49. That left Caruana needing to beat Fridman to force a play-off, but he missed a gilt-edged chance in what fittingly became the longest game of the tournament.

Final rounds are sometimes dull, but there was every reason to hope for action at the GRENKE Chess Classic. No round had yet finished in three draws, and that was largely due to Arkadij Naiditsch’s seven decisive games in only nine rounds. He had the white pieces against Anand, and the players didn’t disappoint. Anand went for the Sicilian and followed the remarkable 1999 Kasparov vs. the World internet game, where "the world" played the Sicilian novelty 10…Qe6. Anand said he’d looked at the line and that particular game just before this tournament. Naiditsch deviated from Kasparov's play with 14.Nc3, and after 14…Rxa8 15.Bg5 e6 16.Re1 he played 16…Nd5:

The winner: Vishy Anand

Baden Baden 2013 Round 10 Vishy Anand.jpg


Anand: “Nd5 is a pretty ugly move to make, but I simply didn’t want to keep calculating with the queens on the board”. After 17.Nxd5 Qxd5 18.Qxd5 exd5 19.Rad1 h6 20.Bc1 d4 Black had doubled pawns, but they controlled the position, with the d4-pawn taking the c3- and e3-squares away from white rook and preventing the bishop dropping back to e3. Vishy thought his position was very good, but heaped condemnation on 24…a5?!, calling it a “terrible”, “horrible”, “embarrassing” and even “insane” move. He preferred simply 24…Rc7. Although the move in the game is actually Houdini’s first choice it allowed Naiditsch to bail out into a rook ending with 25.b4! Rc2 26.bxa5 bxa5 27.Rxa5 Nd3 28.Ra7+ Kc6 29.Rxf7 Nxe1 30.Kxe1 Rxc1+ 31.Kd2 Rg1 32.Rxg7 Rxg2.

It seemed, at least from the speed with which Naiditsch was playing, that he had a draw worked out, but Anand thought his opponent, “really underestimated the position”, later commenting that “these rook endings are very, very tricky. You have to play them incredibly precisely”. Here Naiditsch quickly played 33. Ke1? and once again Anand didn’t mince his words, describing it as “a lemon” and “wrong on so many levels”. He thought his opponent had panicked about d3+ after the correct 33.Ke2!, but saw nothing to worry White in that line. In contrast to the game Naiditsch might have managed to queen his a-pawn.

33.Ke1? instead allowed Vishy to gain tempi for the pawn race by giving check – 33…Rxh2 34. Rxg6 Rh1+ 35. Kd2 – and he said he had the winning plan worked out around here. The moves continued to come at almost blitz pace until a shell-shocked Naiditsch resigned: 35…h5 36. Rh6 h4 37. a4 h3 38. a5 h2 39. a6 Kc7 40. Rh7+ Kb8 41. Ke2 d3+ 42. Kd2 Ka8 43. Rh5 Ka7 44. Rh6 d5 45. Rh8 Kxa6 46.Rh6+ Kb5 47. Rh8 Kc4 48. Rc8+ Kd4 49. Rh8 Ke4 0-1

Afterwards Anand reflected on his improved form this year, remarking that his last reasonably successful tournament before 2013 was Wijk aan Zee 2011, where he finished clear second behind Nakamura on +4. “After that basically I went over a cliff and the next five tournaments were pretty awful”. Wijk aan Zee this year also went well until the last round, with the champion commenting, “I was hoping I wouldn’t do a Wang Hao today!”

Anand added later in the press centre: “After Bilbao 2011 my big problem was getting interesting positions where I had chances. This year the new problem has been exploiting those chances – against Fridman here, Hou Yifan in Wijk aan Zee or last year against Nakamura and Adams at the London Chess Classic I’ve been gifting people half points. If it wasn’t for that my results would be much better. Still, it’s a hundred times better to have the second problem! I need to work on my technique.”

The second game of the day to finish was Adams-Meier. The players came into the final round level and with mathematical chances of winning the GRENKE Chess Classic, but they ended up playing a somewhat disjointed game. Meier’s openings have been impressive here in Baden-Baden, and although Adams noted “it’s not easy to play creatively in the final round” he tried to sidestep any preparation with 1.e4 e6 2.d3!?. Instead Meier relished the chance to sharpen play, with Adams summing things up: “I just wanted to get a kind of position where we both needed to think, but it didn’t really work as I was the only one thinking!”

After a confusing middlegame where Adams chose 13.Ne4?! instead of the natural 13.Nd5! and Meier then spent 40 minutes convincing himself not to play the obvious 13…Bf5!? the crisis came on move 19, when Adams blundered an exchange with 19.Nd2? His pieces apparently had plenty of room, and he half-joked afterwards, “how could my rooks possibly get trapped?”

Mickey Adams

Baden Baden 2013 Round 10 Mickey Adams.jpg

Georg Meier was so happy that his opponent had blundered that he overlooked he could play 19…Nc2! and only then 20…Bd3. Instead his 19…Bd3?! allowed 20.Be4!, which discouraged his opponent to the extent that Meier didn’t take the exchange and played 20…Bxe4, after which the game soon fizzled out to a draw. Meier explained his thought processes: “I thought Mickey blundered and instead of winning I blundered straight back. I realised immediately what I’d just done so I tried to be solid.”

Adams described today’s game as his worst of the tournament, but ultimately didn’t feel he’d played badly in Baden-Baden: “I had very few opportunities when I had the advantage. When you play good players and they play well it’s not easy to win.” Meier joked that the spectators probably thought a new player had entered the tournament for the second half, in which he said he could have scored 4.5/5. He noted he’d perhaps made three mistakes in five games in the latter stages, while he was averaging 10 a game at the beginning.

That left only Fridman-Caruana, which kept the audience on tenterhooks for over seven hours. Fridman played the Exchange Slav, which doesn’t have the most combative of reputations, even if Jan Gustafsson in the commentary box noted that its “street cred” has improved since Alexander Morozevich and Vladimir Kramnik adopted the “weapon”, with the latter using it to beat Levon Aronian in one of the games of the 2012 Olympiad. On this occasion, however, the opening lived up to its reputation, with Fridman nursing a small edge deep into the middlegame. It was only in the run-up to the time control that the ice began to shift.

Fabiano Caruana

Baden Baden 2013 Round 10 Fabiano Caruana.jpg

Caruana now knew he needed a win, and his 32…Bg5 provoked his opponent into pushing his pawn to h4. Under normal circumstances that would have changed little, but Fridman was coming off a run of three losses in four games, and short of time he overlooked a simple pawn-winning tactic: 36.Bxd6? Qxd6+ 37.f4 Bxh4 An ending soon arose where Black was the clear favourite, but with both players exhausted and a play-off place up for grabs anything could still happen. Fridman had had a disappointing tournament overall, but he at least managed to demonstrate some endgame wizardry at the close with 54.f5+!.

After 54…exf5 (54…Kf7!? was another try) 55.Ne2 Kf7 56.Nf4 g5 57.Nxd5 Ke6 58.Nc7+ Kf7 59.Nd5 Bb4 60.Nxb6 pawns were suddenly level, although the Italian still had chances of disturbing Vishy Anand’s evening. The final chance came after 65.Ke2.

The 65…f4! break (or 65…g2 and then 66…f4) would have allowed the black king to rush towards the white pawns on b3 and a4. Caruana still had almost twenty minutes to think at this point, but his slow 65…Ke4? allowed 66.d5!. He still had a long time to contemplate the ruins of his position, but there was no longer any way to avoid an inevitable draw.

Caruana cut a disconsolate figure after the game, but retained his objectivity. Although his result couldn’t be called bad – he actually gained rating points – he was unhappy with his overall play and felt that his form had finally come back to haunt him in the last two games.

So World Champion Viswanathan Anand remained undefeated and took clear first place at the 2013 GRENKE Chess Classic.

Final standings:

Anand, Viswanathan  IND  2780
Caruana, Fabiano  ITA  2757 6
Adams, Michael  ENG  2725 5
Meier, Georg  GER  2640 5
Naiditsch, Arkadij  GER  2716 4
Fridman, Daniel  GER  2667


Report: Colin McGourty  Photos: Georgios Souleidis

8621 reads 47 comments
4 votes

Comments


  • 22 months ago

    bagani

    i think anand fast his prime already....his now on the twilight of his career!

  • 22 months ago

    sdb1_in

    anand is getting old, its true he is not as bright he used to be 15 yrs ago but still he is very strong. He needs to invent better manoeuvers and positions. i congratulate him for this long awaited victory from him.

  • 22 months ago

    shaziakhan90

    wish him

  • 22 months ago

    vodkarov

    @narson: I agree with you my friend. Anand is five times World Champion. He no longer needs to prove anything to anyone. But there are players which need to prove to be good enough to win the Candidates Tournament and to face Anand in a match, face to face. Just to remebember, Anand score against Magnus in classical games is 6-2! Impressive. And Anand is getting older and has kids, maybe someone will have a chance.

  • 22 months ago

    jesterville

    Anand wins one at last. I like Anand, but one has to admit that he has lost his shine of late...2013 seem to be an improved version so far. I personally hope that Carlsen faces him for the WCC.

     

  • 22 months ago

    philidor_position

    @SonofPearl: I agree that the report was excellent, but you're being too hard on yourself, I enjoy your reports too. Smile

  • 22 months ago

    narson

     i was wondering how so many people can afford of saying nasty things about anand just because their favorite player is not yet the world champion, yet these same people does'nt even know how to play chess properly what a shame...very disgusting!! Anand have already proven himself! At least he never shy away from the accepted cycle of determining a world champion.

  • 23 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    Caruana is playing one tournament  after another! He is like an Energizer bunny. Just keep on going and going and going.

  • 23 months ago

    SonofPearl

    @ tvvssprao the next one is Zurich, where he will face Kramnik, Caruana and Gelfand, starting Saturday!

  • 23 months ago

    tvvssprao

    what are Anands next tournaments?

  • 23 months ago

    SonofPearl

    There's no question that Anand has struggled to find anything like his best form for some time, but he hasn't suddenly become a bad player.

    He is playing in quite a few tournaments this year, so we will see whether this tournament win is the start of even better things to come.

  • 23 months ago

    EternalChess

    Anand won? What a weak tournament anyways.. surprised he did terrible until the last few rounds.

    Anand should stick to these small tournaments, he's not good enough for the stronger ones.

  • 23 months ago

    vodkarov

    @kingfischer91, I think it's because 24. ...a5 allows the combination (followed in the actual game) which allows white to give back the exchange and to reach the rook endgame where white can still survive with perfect play (if instead of 33. Ke1 Naiditsch had played Ke2! the resulting position would be drawish, altought it still requires precise moves). That's why Vishy said 24. ...Rc7 would be better, keeping pieces on board and increasing the pressure.

  • 23 months ago

    Lawdoginator

    Anand is back! 

  • 23 months ago

    Ramel333

    Congrats to Anand. I love to see the old school chess players win tournaments. Watch out young bucks. Wink

  • 23 months ago

    kingfisher91

    So why is 24...a5 so bad in the game Naiditsch-Anand? 

  • 23 months ago

    satranj_ka_khiladi

    VISHY ANAND PROVES HE IS NO. 1 SATRANJ KA KHILADI>>>>

  • 23 months ago

    GregCachin

    anand won only in a small tournament, he is no longer that he is, no more, done..

  • 23 months ago

    SonofPearl

    @ philidor position - the reports for this tournament were written by Colin McGourty at the official website and distributed to major chess news websites for them to publish if they wanted to.

    I could have ignored them and written something myself, but the reports were excellent IMO, and my own uninformed ramblings would have been less interesting to read! Wink

  • 23 months ago

    WoodPenguino

    I'm a right to think Anand won because of the following plan:

    White Rook has to stay in colum "a" and King has to stay on 2nd rank. then Black King goes (after some checks or not) and capture f2 pawn, then come back to d5 to avoid futher cheecks and finally play Rook a1 so he can promote (with King/Rok pin threat)?

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