WCC 2008 game6

Oct 24, 2008, 4:26 PM |

You have to go a long way back in chess history to find a successful recovery from three games down in a world title match. In the first recognized contest in 1886 Wilhelm Steinitz came back from 1-4 to defeat Johannes Zukertort. That illustrates the scale of the task facing Vladimir Kramnik after he was outplayed by Vishy Anand in the sixth game of their title contest organized by Universal Event Promotion at Bonn. With six to play Anand leads 4.5-1.5 and must surely retain the title unless the challenger can start winning soon. Anand has white again on Thursday, this is because the schedule has the players playing two days on and one day off, the organisers thought it fairer that each player have white the first day after the rest day for half the match.

Game 6 saw another novelty from Anand on move 9 and more strikingly original play. Kramnik was forced to exchange queens and concede the bishop pair which left Anand slightly better. Rather than defend, Kramnik decided to break out and sacrifice a pawn, a decision which did not convince the twelfth world champion Anatoly Karpov who I was able to quiz during play in the analysis room and his insights are referred to below.

It soon became apparent that Kramnik had missed something and to add to his one pawn deficit he was again behind on the clock. Anand was looking very relaxed and obeyed the golden rule of converting technically won endgames, 'don't hurry'. Kramnik decided to give up another pawn for some activity but Anand avoided all the tricks and there was even an echo of the third game as he missed a trivial win before wrapping up the game a few moves later.

A fine game from Anand who always looked slightly better after the novelty 9.h3!. The variations in which the white rook, apparently misplaced on g1, can suddenly appear on g3 were particularly clever. 11.Rc1 was solid, 11.g5 was possible. Kramnik went a pawn down on move 21 because if 21...Nc6 22.Nd3! Nd4 23.e3! but not 21...Nc6 22.Nd3! Nd4 23.cxb6?? Rxc1+ 24.Nxc1 Nc2+ 25.Kf1 Rd1 mate; If 21...a5 22.Bd2 Ne4 23.cxb6 Rxd2 24.Rxc8+ Nxc8 25.b7 Rc2! 26.Kd1! wins.

V Kramnik - V Anand WCC (6) Bonn Nimzo-Indian

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2

A quiet line. 4.f3 was game 2. White avoids the doubling of his pawns on c3 after Bxc3+ and tries to secure the bishop pair

4...d5 5.cxd5 Qxd5

Romanishin's line which aims to exchange queens quickly

6.Nf3 Qf5 7.Qb3 Nc6 8.Bd2 0-0 9.h3!

A new idea. Previously 9.e3 was played. g2-g4 may herald a kingside attack or even snare Black's queen.

9...b6 10.g4 Qa5 11.Rc1 Bb7 12.a3 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Qd5 14.Qxd5 Nxd5

Karpov preferred White after 14...exd5 the bishop on b7 is blocked in

15.Bd2 Nf6 16.Rg1

Avoiding Nxd4 but Karpov liked 16.g5 Ne4 17.Bf4

16...Rac8 17.Bg2 Ne7 18.Bb4 c5?!


18...Rfe8 19.Bxe7 Rxe7 20.Ne5 Bxg2 21.Rxg2 c5 22.dxc5 bxc5 23.Rg3! coming to c3 is unpleasant but better than what follows

19.dxc5 Rfd8 20.Ne5 Bxg2 21.Rxg2 bxc5 22.Rxc5 Ne4

White is a clear pawn up although his rook is temporarily out of play is king is well placed

23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Nd3 Nd5 25.Bd2 Rc2 26.Bc1 f5 27.Kd1 Rc8 28.f3 Nd6 29.Ke1 a5 30.e3 e5 31.gxf5 e4 32.fxe4 Nxe4 33.Bd2 a4?!

33...Rc2 34.Kd1?? Nxe3+; but 33...Rc2 34.Re2! is better, 33...Re8 was worth a try

34.Nf2! Nd6 35.Rg4 Nc4 36.e4 Nf6 37.Rg3 Nxb2 38.e5 Nd5 39.f6 Kf7 40.Ne4 Nc4 41.fxg7

41.Rxg7+ Ke6 42.Ng5+ Kxe5 43.f7 Nxd2 44.Rg8 was quicker

41...Kg8 42.Rd3!

Avoiding the final trap. 42.Nf6+ Nxf6 43.exf6 Re8+ 44.Kd1 Rd8! 45.Kc1 Nxd2 46.f7+ Kxf7 47.g8Q+ Rxg8 48.Rxg8 Nb3+! Norwood

42...Ndb6 43.Bh6 Nxe5 44.Nf6+ Kf7 45.Rc3 Rxc3 46.g8Q+ Kxf6 47.Bg7+ 1-0