WCC 2008 game 10

Nov 1, 2008, 6:20 PM |

They think it's all over - it isn't yet. The World Chess Championship will go to an eleventh game after the challenger Vladimir Kramnik scored a devastating victory in a game he had to win to make the score 6-4 to Vishy Anand with two to play. The champion plays white today and needs just a draw to retain the title.

The manner of Kramnik's victory was as shocking as the result. The players bashed out 17 moves of opening theory yet Anand resigned in a hopeless situation just twelve moves later. The former champion had promised to "fight to the last" after a missed win in the previous game seemed to have put paid to any lingering chances he may have had.

Needing only a draw with Black, Anand played the Nimzo Indian Defence and was confronted with a move he may not have expected as Kramnik chose the Kasparov Variation. This will doubtless bring a wry smile to the face of the 13th world champion to see his former protege turned nemesis use his invention in desperate times.

Kramnik produced a new 18th move but the point of his subtle manoeuvres were not apparent until a clever "creeping move" took control of the queenside and an inaccuracy from Anand led to the collapse of his position. This was a fine creative achievement from Kramnik who has at least avoided the ignominy of losing the match without winning a game.

Anand will not need reminding that in 1996 on home soil he managed to lose to Gata Kamsky from a similarly overwhelming position in what was one of the biggest chokes in the history of the game. However I think the explanation for his defeat is much simpler. Kramnik finally reached the type of position in which he excels and in which Anand is uncomfortable. When you play through the moves below it appears that very little is going on. Material is equal, there are no attacks, few tactical threats and the position of the pawns in the centre is symmetrical.

However White has some almost imperceptible advantages. His queen is more actively placed, his bishop a little more nimble than Black's knight and his c3 pawn less exposed than its counterpart. One of the joys of playing through this game is that the computer programs do not appreciate the danger until it's too late.

"I didn't have to do anything and the position was winning" said Kramnik after the game.
V Kramnik- V Anand WCC (10) Bonn Nimzo Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3

Kasparov's move which he played frequently against Karpov

5...cxd4 6.Nxd4 0-0 7.Bg2 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3 Qa5 10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.0-0 Bxc3

Not 12...Rb8 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.a3! Bxd2 15.Qxb8 or 12...Nxc3 13.Bxc3 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Qxc3 15.bxc3 and White's bishop is powerful

13.bxc3 Ba6 14.Rfd1 Qc5

14...Bxe2 15.c4 has been shown to be better for White

15.e4 Bc4 16.Qa4 Nb6 17.Qb4 Qh5

Anand follows his game against Kasparov in 2000. After 17...Qxb4 18.cxb4 Rfd8 19.Be3 White's bishops are strong and the c6 pawn weak


New, 18.Be3 Be2 19.Rd2 Rab8 20.Bxb6 axb6 21.Qd6 Bf3 was Kasparov - Anand where Black was in difficulties but drew in the end however 18...Rfc8 is better

18...c5 19.Qa5 Rfc8 20.Be3 Be2 21.Bf4

Intriguing, Kramnik wastes a move to ensure Black's queen is cut off from the action


21...Bf3 22.Qa6 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 e5 24.Be3 f5 was perhaps Black's last chance for counterplay 25.exf5 Qxf5 26.Rad1 but White must have an edge


Just tickling the c5 pawn, not 22.Bxe5 Nc4 23.Qa6 Qxe5 24.Rxe2 Qxc3 25.Rd1 Rd8=


22...Nc4 23.Qa6 Nxe3 24.Rxe2 Nxg2 25.Kxg2 "I am slightly worse" - Anand


I like this "creeping" move it pressure the key squares a7, b7 and c4. The black queen is out of play on the kingside. Not 23.Bxc5 Nc4 24.Qb5 Nd2 with threats to the king


Better 23...Be6 24.Bf1


Black's knight has no stability and his a7 pawn will be vulnerable

24...Qf7 25.Bf1!!

Refuting Anand's plan by controlling c4 tactically now if 24...Be6 26.Reb1 Bc4 27.Bxc4 Qxc4 28.Rxb6; or 24...Be6 26.Reb1 Bc4 27.Bxc4 Nxc4 28.Rb7 wins

25...Be6 26.Rab1 c4?

Anand is being outplayed and the tension of the match induces a blunder. After 26...f5 27.a5 f4 28.Bxf4 exf4 29.axb6 Kramnik wins a pawn

27.a5 Na4

27...Nd7 28.Rb7

28.Rb7 Qe8 29.Qd6! 1-0