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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 6 - Game Analysis & Reports | Third win for Anand

After winning the 6th match game today, reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand increased his lead even further. Three points down, challenger Vladimir Kramnik finds himself in a hopeless situation half-way the match.
Before the game Anand was leading 3.5-1.5 and everybody wondered: would Kramnik go for a win, or would he follow the advice of Kasparov, who said “he should just worry about surviving [...] after such a blunder in game five, then decide on a game plan for the final six games”?
Following the opening of the sixth round, it appeared that Kramnik was having similar thoughts as Kasparov’s, when he went for the Classical Nimzo-Indian with 4…d5 and 6…Qf5. However, it turned out that Anand himself was in the mood for more than just a quiet ending.
The Indian avoided the ending with 7.Qb3 and two moves later he brought an interesting novelty, again taking the initative as it comes to opening theory. This time Kramnik reacted quicker than in previous games, but still he found himself in a slightly worse ending around move 15.
And then Anand just outplayed Kramnik. His advantage got bigger, he won a pawn, he won another one and easily countered his opponent’s threats that weren’t really serious threats anyway. His pieces seemed to lack coordination, but Anand managed to untangle and convert his material quite elegantly.
And so we’re suddenly left with the second half of the match still to be played, but nobody believes it will be a real fight anymore – the general consensus is that Anand has won the match today. For the first time he actually smiled several times during the press conference.

Anand and Kramnik in game six. Photo Cathy Rogers

Vladimir Kramnik effectively agreed that the world match title would be heading to India after a humiliating loss in Game 6 of his World Championship match against Viswanathan Anand in Bonn, Kramnik's third loss in four games.
Anand now leads the best-of-12 contest 4.5-1.5, a deficit Kramnik conceded would probably be too great to overcome. When asked about his chances, Kramnik deflected the question, saying "I just have to try to show good chess, to try to play better, to win a game. If I do this maybe I could get some chances at the end of the match..." Kramnik's voice trailed off at the end of the sentence, not even adding his traditional "I will fight."
Even having a fellow Russian, living legend Anatoly Karpov, make the ceremonial first move was not enough to inspire Kramnik, who played his worst game of the World Championship on Tuesday. Kramnik made a half-hearted pawn sacrifice, Anand took it, and the rest seemed to be just a matter of technique for the Indian.
After the game, at separate press conferences due to the players' varying ability to produce a sample for the drug testers, Kramnik could not even identify where his position had gone downhill - he thought his position was fine but his judgment, once the rock upon which his games were founded, proved fallible.
Karpov was admiring of the accuracy of Anand's play but opined that the match was being lost by Kramnik, rather than won by Anand. Karpov even made the controversial statement that Anand was not as strong as he had been a decade earlier because his creativity had been stifled by working with a computer so much. "Sometimes he plays more like Fritz than like Vishy," was Karpov's comment, intended as a criticism.
Former World Champ Anatoly Karpov with match director, Josef Resc. Photo Cathy Rogers
Karpov also declared that computers had ended the day when a single player - like himself or Kasparov - could dominate the tournament scene. Now there would only be a first among equals - although Karpov conceded that Carlsen might be an exception to his new rule.
Anand, meanwhile, looked more relieved than elated. The 38-year-old Indian had previously blown a two point lead in a Candidates Match against Gata Kamsky but three points up is a different matter. The rest of the match should be a coronation, unless Kramnik pulls off the greatest revival since Lazarus.
Lets look at the game now...
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