WCC2008 game 2
Viswanathan Anand vs Vladimir Kramnik
Nimzo Indian Saemisch
A surprise but not a total surprise. Vishy has played 1.d4 with success occasionally and of course he has a specific idea.
1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4
The solid Nimzo-Indian. Kramnik avoids the sharp lines of Slav Defence in which he recently lost to Alexander Morozevich
This super sharp line appeared in the 1930s. In the Nimzo the battle for the e4 square is fundamental in many lines. 4.f3 has been championed recently by the Russian GMs Viktor Moskalenko and Yuri Yakovich. Now there is crazy stuff after this sequence - 4...c5 5.d5 Nh5 idea Qh4+ 6.Nh3 and if Qh4+ 7.Nf2 Qxc4 8.e4. The line was made famous after Florin Gheorghiu played a beautiful game against Bobby Fischer at Havana 1966.
Of course Kramnik plays the solid answer
Reaching the Saemisch Variation
5...Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5
This is a highly analysed main line. White intends e2-e4 and in some lines he hangs to the c5 pawn for a while to obstruct Black's possible play on the c file
8...f5 9.Qc2 Nd7
A cunning choice to avoid a prepared idea. Kramnik avoids the main lines with [9...0-0 10.e4; 9...f4 10.e4 fxe3 11.Bd3]
10.e4 fxe4 11.fxe4 N5f6 12.c6
As in game one Anand avoids pawn weaknesses. The c3 pawn might be targeted if Black could organise Nd7xc5 and Qd8-c7
12...bxc6 13.Nf3 Qa5 14.Bd2
14.Be2 was possible. Had Vishy managed to place his bishops on c4 and e3 he may have had an edge. Now it seems roughly level
[14.Be2 Nxe4? 15.Qxe4 Qxc3+ 16.Kf2 Qxa1 17.Qxe6+ Kf8 18.Bf4 Qxh1 19.Bd6# Would be calamitous]
Kramnik wants to exchange one bishop because White's bishop pair can be strong
15.c4 Qc5 16.Bd3 Ng4
Definitely the most aggressive move of the match so far !
17.Bb4 Qe3+ 18.Qe2 0-0-0 19.Qxe3 Nxe3 20.Kf2 Ng4+ 21.Kg3 Ndf6
Opening up the rook on d8 to attack the bishop on d3. An active choice but is also risky and entails a pawn sacrifice
22.Bb1 h5 23.h3 h4+ 24.Nxh4 Ne5 25.Nf3 Nh5+ 26.Kf2 Nxf3 27.Kxf3 e5!
Kramnik has compensation for the sacrificed pawn based on the poor bishop on b1, open files for his rooks and the agility of his knight in a closed position
28.Rc1 Nf4 29.Ra2
Rd2 was a threat
29...Nd3 30.Rc3 Nf4
Offering a repetition
Kramnik's knight is a great piece. He might play c6-c5 when Rf8+ is possible. Also there is the idea of Nd4+ and takes on c2 when we get opposite coloured bishops which increase Black's chances of a draw
Black intends to take on c4 at some point. If 33.c5 both white bishops are hemmed in by pawns and Black has decent compensation. Black would like to fix the c4 pawn by playing c6-c5 however after 33.Rb2 there could be danger on the b file so this was Anand's best continuation. Although Anand is losing the c4 pawn it's disappearance would liberate his light squared bishop and it is immune in the final position for example
33.Rb2 Bxc4 34.Rxc4 Rxc4 35.Bb3 Rxe4 36.Bxe6+ or 33.Rb2 Rxc4 34.Rxc4 Bxc4 35.Bc3 Nd4 36.Bxd4 exd4 37.Rb4 Be6 38.Rxd4