Anand's Almost Brilliancy! Anand vs. Sokolov, 1996
This near "Immortal" game in the mode of Nezhmetdinov vs. Chernikov barely slipped away from Anand!

Anand's Almost Brilliancy! Anand vs. Sokolov, 1996

NM SamCopeland

Viswanathan Anand has plenty of brilliancies to his credit, but one game that looked likely to be his greatest brilliancy slipped away at the critical moment.

Playing Ivan Sokolov, Anand sacrificed a queen with the thrilling 21.Qxg4!! The sacrifice reminds me particularly of the classic game, Nezhmetdinov vs. Chernikov. As in that masterpiece, no clear win was available to Anand, but neither could Sokolov unravel.

On move 28, Anand missed an incredible opportunity that would have secured him strong winning chances. Instead, a subtle misstep allowed Sokolov his own chance with 28...Qe3!! when he sacrificed a rook to conduct his own brilliant attack and win the game.

The game definitely feels like the "one that got away" from Anand, but from start to finish, this brilliant game remains one to cherish.

My notes to the game are below. In many cases, I genuinely don't know if Anand or Sokolov had enough to win against best play! That's part of the fun of the game, it is shrouded in thrilling but murky variations.

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