WCC Anand v Kramnik - Game 9

WCC Anand v Kramnik - Game 9

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DRAW AGREED! A thrilling game with lots of excitement as both players went for a win.  Kramnik turned the tables with 17...c5 and the hunter - Anand - became the hunted, but in mutual time trouble, Anand managed to hold on and force a draw.  Anand now leads 6-3, so Kramnik MUST win all 3 remaining games to take the match into rapid playoffs.  Game 10 is tomorrow.

45. Rxe6  Looks like we could be liquidating down to a drawn rook ending...

41...h5  Evidently Kramnik doesn't fancy his chances of victory with an immediate Rb2.

41. Rb2  Possible continuation: 41...Rc2 42. Rxc2 bxc2 43. Bxe6 Rb1+  44.Kg2 c1=Q 45. Rxc1 Rxc1 46. Bxf5  Can that ending of Bishop and 2 pawns versus Rook and 1 pawn be held?  Kramnik has another hour for his next 20 moves to mull it over...

40...Rb8  The time control is reached.  Has Anand done enough to draw?  The b-pawn looks unstoppable, but will the ending be won for Kramnik?

Clocks: Anand 7 mins Kramnik 3 mins

35.Qb7  Protects the long diagonal leading to his king.

33.Qb7 protects the b-pawn.  Clocks - 11 mins left for both players!

The opposite coloured bishops may save Vishy if he can survive to the time control...

Clocks: Anand 0:18 Kramnik 0:20

26...Rxb5 Kramnik now has an extra pawn.

24...Re5  Kramnik has the bishop pair and some threats.  Anand needs to be careful.

Kramnik has almost caught up on the clock (34 mins left).  This is going to be a heck of a time scramble!  I'll do my best to keep up!

20. Kh1  After a long think, Anand gets his king off the g-file, and off the a7-g1 diagonal where black's pawn on d4 lies, thus helping avoid nasty shocks with black playing Bc5 if he takes the d4 pawn.  Anand is down to 27 minutes on the clock and is going to be in serious time trouble soon, and Kramnik is not that far behind!

Clocks: Anand 0:41 Kramnik 0:56

19...a5  An incredibly complicated position.  Anand is using up a lot of time on the clock.

Kramnik's bishop at b7 was completely blocked, but now it's a powerful monster!

17...c5  Bravo Kramnik - an aggressive response!  Offering the pawn at b5 to get his b7 bishop into the game, threatening g2 and weakening Anand's centre.  Both players are going for a win!

Clocks: Anand 1:04 Kramnik 1:05

17. e5  Anand clears e4 for his knight to join the attack.  A rook lift with Rf3 followed by Rg3 also looks menacing.  Kramnik thinks deeply...

Anand has voluntarily parted with his powerful bishop on e5, so he is resting all his hopes on a kingside assault.  He is using a lot of time looking for the best moves.

16. f4  Anand aims to start an attack on Kramnik's king.

Clocks: Anand 1:22 Kramnik 1:38

14...0-0  Kramnik's King can't find shelter anywhere, but the kingside is better than the queenside - just.  Leaving the king in the centre and playing 14...Rg8 was also an option.

12...Qe7 seems to be a novelty from Kramnik.

Kramnik has an extra pawn in this defence, by holding on to the pawn at c4.  A case of the Queen's Gambit actually being a REAL gambit for a change!  But the position is very dynamically balanced, with White's powerful centre and Black's ugly pawn structure providing compensation.  A draw is less likely as a result...

10. Qc2 and 11. Rd1 are relatively unusual moves in this line.  Either Anand is avoiding Kramnik's preparation, or he has some of his own...

Hooray - a sharp opening!  Semi-Slav, Moscow varation.  The alternative 6.Bxf6 would have been safer for Anand, but he is sticking to his strategy of aiming for tactical games.  It seems like he would like to finish the match today!

It's now or never for Vlad the Impaler.  This is Game 9 of the World Chess Championship between Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, and Vishy leads by 5.5-2.5 and only needs one more point to win the title.  That means that every game from now on could be the last.  If Anand wins today, the match is over.

Does Kramnik have a plan B?  Or maybe at this point, a plan C?  Surely he needs to throw caution to the wind and mix it up with Vishy in a complicated game.

Will Anand stick with 1.d4?  Very likely yes, after his success so far.  What about a King's Indian, Vladimir?  Let's hope for a memorable game today...

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