WCC Kramnik v Anand - Game 1

WCC Kramnik v Anand - Game 1

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DRAW AGREED!  A pyschological victory for Anand, getting an easy draw with the black pieces in game 1. Tune in at the same time tomorrow for Game 2! Cool

Dead drawn now after the rooks have come off and we are left with opposite coloured bishops.

Material is now equal again.  We could be near the end of game 1.

24. e5  Kramnik opts to push the other pawn instead.  The d5 line must have lacked promise, but now the game looks more and more like a draw.   After exchanging on f6, Kramnik will be threatening the pawn on e6 with his rook on e1, but the a2 pawn is now ripe for taking.

Updated clocks: Kramnik now has 35 minutes left to the first time control at move 40.

Kramnik could try 24. a4 here or Rd2 or even d5.

The presence of opposite coloured bishops also makes a draw more likely.

Approximate clock times left:  Kramnik 1 hour, Anand 45 minutes (until move 40).  The players then get an extra hour for the next 20 moves.  It doesn't look like it will last that long, but you never know for sure...

22. Rad1 Rc2 Kramnik supports his d4 pawn and a possible d5 push, but this allows Vishy to counterattack on the newly undefended a2 pawn.

22...Rd8 Anand tries to prevent d5.

21. e4 Kramnik breaks through in the middle.  He opens the line from the bishop on f4 to the c1 square, so that he can now consider challenging the black rooks on the c-file.  He could also try to create a passed pawn on the d-file after 21...dxe4 22.fxe4 and then pushing d5 at some point...

20. b3 f6 Kramnik protects the c4 square against invasion by Vishy's rooks.

Thought: Is Kramnik's strategy for the match as a whole to avoid complications and to play for apparently simple positions where he thinks he can outplay Vishy with his superior positional judgement?

19...Bg6  Vishy drops his bishop back first, out of the way of white's possible pawn push to e4.

Will Vishy finally land his rook on c2, attacking the b2 pawn?  He's having a good think about this move...These so-called 'simple' positions often conceal hidden wrinkles and Kramnik is the master of grinding out wins from small advantages.

19. Rfe1 So Kramnik supports the e4 pawn push with his rook...This is logical, but Rybka prefered 19.h4 or 19.b3.  Did Kramnik have something prepared in this line or is he messing with Vishy's head?

18. f3 Bf5 As expected, but Kramnik can't push e4 immediately as it simply loses a pawn.

17...a5 Vishy has compensation, but needs to play accurately to ensure a draw.  Rybka prefered to bring black's bishop into the game with 17...Bf5.  17...a5 stops Kramnik playing b2-b4.  Kramnik needs to engineer exchanges on the c-file, so needs support on the c1 square.  In order to do this, he may try to push f3, then e4, so that the bishop at f4 covers c1.

17. 0-0 Kramnik castles to bring his other rook into the game.  But he can't contest the c-file yet because of Vishy's powerful doubled rooks.

16.Qxc8 Rfxc8  After the expected exchange, Vishy controls the c-file but remains a pawn down.

15...Qc8 Anand offers an exchange of Queens.  Whether Kramnik accepts or declines, Vishy has seized control of the c-file.  Accepting the exchange seems like a better idea, or else Kramnik's Queen could be vulnerable to attack by Vishy's rooks.

15. Qxb7 Kramnik takes the pawn at b7.  Black has compensation in the form of better development, but is it enough?  Vishy needs to play accurately...Can he use the open c-file to his advantage?

14...Rxc6 Vishy captures with the rook sacrificing the pawn at b7...will Kramnik take it?  If he does, will Vishy have enough compensation?

12...Ng4 Anand offers an exchange of knights on g4 and Kramnik accepts and then moves his Queen off the c-file.  Will Vishy capture the bishop on c6 with the pawn or the rook?  Will this deceptively simple opening throw Vishy off his stride?

The moves have leaked out already and it's an exchange Slav (4.cxd5) - not the most riveting of openings.  Very symmetrical so far.  Is Kramnik playing it safe or does he have some sort of home preparation in this line?

This line is known to be drawish because it leads to a symmetrical pawn structure and doesn't often appear at the top levels.

Picture from chessvibes

Good morning America, good afternoon Britain, g'night Australia and a big hello to everyone else!  We are less than half an hour away from the start of the first game of the big match.  Kramnik has the white pieces and is expected to play 1.d4 as is his custom.  He experimented with 1.e4 for a while but has gone back to 1.d4 lately.  Will he surprise Anand with 1.e4?

The players draw for colours: Pic from Chessvibes


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