Anand Gives Wonderful Masterclass In Gibraltar But Loses Next Day

Anand Gives Wonderful Masterclass In Gibraltar But Loses Next Day

Jan 31, 2016, 2:44 AM |
14 | Chess Event Coverage

A day after Vishy Anand gave a wonderful masterclass, which included a brilliant game as well as a detailed description of his meeting with Bobby Fischer, he lost his game in Gibraltar.

It's one of those special features in Gibraltar that makes the Tradewise-sponsored event a festival, and not just a tournament: the masterclasses. On four nights a grandmaster (and sometimes two!) gives a lecture on one of his games, and then answers questions by the audience.

On Friday night the masterclass was extra special. It was given by none other than five time world champion Viswanathan Anand.

The Indian GM had picked his win over Evgeny Bareev from the 2004 Wijk aan Zee tournament, and went through it in detail. 

The knight sacrifice on move 20 wasn't even the main reason for choosing this one; in his annotations Anand discovered an amazing position where both players give discovered checks one after another. 

The Q&A session was arguably even more interesting. For example, Anand described in detail how he met with Bobby Fischer in Reykjavik in 2006. That was in a car, and later in  restaurant, with his Anand's wife Aruna and Icelandic GM Helgi Olafsson.

“Bobby started talking about how he would sometimes take a bus and just drive around town just to get to know the town better. This was kind of surreal for me, all this stuff. I had never imaged anything like this, but then I had no idea what I'd imagined if I ever met Fischer.”

One girl in the audience asked a great question: “If you had to play anyone in the whole history of chess, who would you pick?” Anand's answer: Paul Morphy (1837-1884).

“I'd probably go for Morphy. He was the first player who made everything seem effortless. In fact I was shocked to see a collection of all his games, because usually we see only the best ones in which the chess looks like effortless. If you saw all his games you realized, first of all he was human, and second, his opponents were not all that bad.

Anand on Morphy: “He was human and his opponents weren't all that bad.“ | Photos John Saunders.

“Of course there are the ones [where] they look amateurish, but there are also the ones where they look... suddenly you can see the beginning of modern chess. You suddenly see pawn structures and you think: they only discovered this in the 1920s.

“Suddenly you see the early versions of this and so on. (...) Somehow they were knocking at the doors but they hadn't worked out the details.“

“Not a rounded picture, but I would be very curious just to play Morphy. And I think Bobby said the same thing. He said Morphy was the best player by far... well he kind of went to the other extreme and said he would crush everyone alive here today. I don't know if that's the case but I would be very curious I guess.”

Sadly for Anand, the very next day he suffered a defeat in the fifth round of the Masters tournament — the first open in 23 years for the Indian. When he played the PCA Interzonal in '93, his Gibraltar opponent, Réunion-born Adrian Demuth, was literally still in his diapers.

Two players started with 4.0/4: Etienne Bacrot and Markus Ragger. The two drew quickly in round five, and were caught by two players: Pentala Harikrishna and Abhijeet Gupta. 

Among the players trailing by half a point is Hikaru Nakamura, who defeated reigning Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk. The American number one made it look easy.

Gibraltar Masters, Round 5 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 rtg+/-
1 14 GM Ragger Markus AUT 2689 4,5 2872 8,9
2 11 GM Bacrot Etienne FRA 2697 4,5 2867 8
3 4 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2755 4,5 2865 4,8
4 32 GM Gupta Abhijeet IND 2613 4,5 2818 10,2
5 7 GM Jakovenko Dmitry RUS 2732 4 2834 3,8
6 33 GM Lenic Luka SLO 2611 4 2811 8,6
7 2 GM Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2785 4 2782 0,5
8 58 GM Harika Dronavalli IND 2511 4 2758 16,2
9 8 GM Wojtaszek Radoslaw POL 2727 4 2757 2,2
10 1 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2787 4 2756 -1
11 9 GM Rapport Richard HUN 2721 4 2734 1,2
12 28 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2625 4 2727 6,7
13 12 GM Ni Hua CHN 2697 4 2723 1,8
14 30 GM Edouard Romain FRA 2617 4 2709 6
15 6 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2747 4 2703 -1,3
16 18 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro CUB 2666 4 2701 2,2
17 26 GM Grandelius Nils SWE 2635 4 2699 4,9
18 41 GM Donchenko Alexander GER 2570 4 2682 7,2
19 43 IM Tari Aryan NOR 2556 4 2679 7,8
20 72 IM Ly Moulthun AUS 2474 4 2673 12,9

(Full standings here.)

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