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WCC 2008 game 9

Nov 1, 2008, 6:14 PM 0

Vladimir Kramnik appeared distraught after agreeing the draw that left Vishy Anand on the brink of retaining his title. The champion needs just a solitary draw from three games to win the match being held at Bonn. For the first time in nine games Kramnik succeeded in achieving a big advantage but he could not force victory and on move 45 the players shook hands to leave the score 6-3 in Anand's favour.

Playing white, a solid opening seemed a sensible choice for Anand but he plunged straight into complications at the first opportunity which has been his principle strategy in the match. Kramnik produced a new idea in the opening and returned a pawn that Anand had sacrificed to op2en the game advantageously for his two bishops. The champion fell seriously behind on the clock and Anand admitted that: At one stage I thought I was lost". Kramnik won a pawn but then appeared to overlook a couple of promising ideas before his advantage disappeared in a mutual time scramble.

Although he is only 33 years old Kramnik has had six big pay days in his career having played four world title matches and two matches against the computer program Deep Fritz. I suspect he may lose his motivation to fight on in world championship cycles assuming he loses this time. The prize fund of 1.5 million Euros will be shared irrespective of the result. Usually in chess the split is 60-40.

As the players became short of time they both missed chances. Anand could draw with 35.Bxf5! exf5 36.Rfe1 Qg7 37.Re6 Qf7 38.Rg6+ and if 35.Bxf5! Rxf5 36.Rxf5 exf5 37.Qxh6+ Kg8 38.Qg5+ Qg7 39.Rd8+ wins; Kramnik could have set Anand more problems with 35...Bc7 (or 35...Rg8) when Rb8 attacking b3 is possible and if 36.Bc4 Rxg3! 37.hxg3 Qxg3 38.Qg2 Qh4+ 39.Kg1 Bb6+ 40.Rf2 Rg8 wins. After 35...Bc7 36.Qb5 may hold 36...Qxb5 37.Bxb5 Rxb3 38.Bc4 wins back a pawn because 38...Rb6 39.Rd7 Bb8 40.Re7 e5 41.Rd1 gives White too much play but Kramnik could try 36...Qe3 or 36...Qf6. Kramnik explained his Qc7 as panic. He said "I was running a bit short of time and I was afraid to make a blunder in time trouble, because I can admit that in this position for 1 minute I was considering 35... f4." f4 would have allowed mate in one.
Anand - Kramnik WCC Bonn (9) Semi-Slav 5.Bg5

2.5-5.5 down Vlad had to play for a win with black, or win 'away from home'. The last time he managed that was 2006 when Veselin Topalov missed a mate before losing. However, I was following the chess from Stamford Bridge the home of Chelski Football Club (the home of no European Cups) and by the time Anand had played 1.d4 Alonso had already put the mighty Liverpool FC 0-1 ahead and Chelsea, who had not lost at home for 4.5 years were on their way to defeat (hurrah). So one record was about to be broken perhaps another would go.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4

Surprising as

[6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Is the solid Moscow variation and more suited to the match situation. However Anand's strategy has been to play for complications most of the time.]


Kramnik has to accept the challenge and he enters the sharp Anti Moscow Gambit. He must have been delighted to get such an unbalanced position

7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.Qc2

[10.h4 is more cutting edge]

10...Nbd7 11.Rd1 Bb4 12.Ne5 Qe7N

Kramnik finally gets to play a strong novelty. 12...Rg8 and 12...Nxe5 have been played before.

[12...c5 Is the move Black wants to play in general terms but after 13.0-0 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Nxe4 15.Qe3 his position is very ropey and if 15...Nxg3 16.fxg3!; Not 12...Nh5 13.d5!]


[Now the typical thrust 13.h4 is a waste of time after 13...0-0-0]

13...Nxe5 14.Bxe5 0-0 15.Bxf6

[Anand concedes the dark squares and now he cannot be better but if 15.f4 Nd7! Threatening f6 gives Black a big advantage]

15...Qxf6 16.f4 Qg7 17.e5

Anand intends Nc3-e4, fxg5 and Rf3. Kramnik had a long think and correctly decides to sacrifice a couple of pawn to open up the game for his bishops. This is necessary in general terms and the time is clearly right.


[If 17...Bxc3 18.bxc3 strengthens whites centre.; and 17...f5 18.exf6 Rxf6 19.fxg5 Qxg5 20.Rxf6 Qxf6 21.Ne4 gives White sufficient play for the pawn]

[If 17...Bxc3 18.bxc3 strengthens whites centre.; 17...f5 18.exf6 Rxf6 19.fxg5 Qxg5 20.Rxf6 Qxf6 21.Ne4 with sufficient play for the pawn]

18.Nxb5 cxd4 19.Qxc4 a5! 20.Kh1

20.Kh1 Forced according to both players.

[20.Nxd4 gxf4 Threatening mate on g2 21.Nf3 Rac8 22.Qxf4 Rc2 23.Rf2 Rxb2 Is very good for Black]

20...Rac8 21.Qxd4


[21...Bc5 22.Qd2 gxf4 23.Bf3 Be3-/+ Looks even better]

22.Bf3 Ba6 23.a4?!

[23.Qb6 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Rc5 25.Qa4 Rxe5 26.a3 Be7 27.Qxf4=]

23...Rc5 24.Qxf4 Rxe5 25.b3

Anand has decided to give up a pawn to head for a position with opposite coloured bishops which have a drawing tendency

[25.Be4 Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.Rd7 Also looks well playable]

25...Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.Be4 Bc3 28.Bc2 28...Be5 29.Qf2 Bb8 30.Qf3 Rc5 31.Bd3 Rc3 32.g3 Kh8

[32...Rxb3 33.Bh7+]

33.Qb7 f5 34.Qb6 Qe5 35.Qb7

[Anand missed 35.Bxf5! Rxf5 36.Rxf5 exf5 37.Qxh6+ Kg8 38.Qg5+ Qg7 39.Rd8+ wins; 35.Bxf5! exf5 36.Rfe1 Qg7 37.Re6 Bc7 38.Rxh6+ Kg8 39.Qe6+ Qf7 40.Rg6+ Kh8 41.Rh6+=]


[35...Bc7 has a trick 36.Bc4 Rxg3! 37.hxg3 Qxg3 38.Qg2 Qh4+ 39.Kg1 Bb6+ 40.Rf2 Rg8-+; 35...Bc7 36.Qb5 may hold 36...Qxb5 37.Bxb5 Rxb3 38.Bc4 wins back a pawn because 38...Rb6 39.Rd7 Bb8 40.Re7 e5 41.Rd1 gives White too much play; But Black can refine this idea with 35...Rg8! Just ramping up the pressure and Anand would be suffering. I can't see a good move for White after this. Kramnik can calmly consolidate with Bc7 then there are threats to b3 and pressure against the kingside 36.Qb5 Qe3 37.Qd7 Bxg3!-+; 35...Rg8 36.Qf3 Rd8-/+]

36.Qxc7 Bxc7 37.Bc4 Re8

[37...a4 38.Rd7 axb3 39.Bxb3 Rxb3 40.Rxc7 holds comfortably for example 40...Kg8 41.Re1 Rf6 42.Re7 Rb6 43.Kg2 Kf8 44.Rh7]


Perhaps the ramifications of this were overlooked by Kramnik who appeared shattered after this


Tricky but only good for what is most likely a draw 3 v 2 R+P endgame

[38...Bb8 39.Rfd1 a4? 40.Rd8 wins]

39.Rxc7 axb3 40.Rf2 Rb8 41.Rb2 h5

[41...Rc2 42.Rxc2 bxc2 43.Bxe6! (Not 43.Bf1 Rb2!) 43...Rb1+ 44.Kg2 c1Q 45.Rxc1 Rxc1 46.Bxf5 should be drawn ]

42.Kg2 h4 43.Rc6

Threatening to unpin with Bd5, this is good enough to draw

43...hxg3 44.hxg3 Rg8 45.Rxe6 Rxc4


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