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Thursday, October 30, 2008

World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 11 - Game Analysis & Reports

WCC R11: Fighting draw, Anand wins World Championship by 6.5:4.5

It was a game of almost unbearable tension. Anand switched to 1.e4, Vladimir Kramnik went for do-or-die complications, Anand obliged, and for a couple of hours nobody knew what would happen. In the end, Vishy Anand prevailed, got a slightly better position and Vladimir Kramnik offered a draw. Anand remains World Champion.

Anand Wins World ChampionshipViswanathan Anand has retained his world title by drawing Vladimir Kramnik in the 11th game of the World Championship match in Bonn, Germany. The final match score is 6½-4½ for Anand.

It was a task he had never managed to do before: beating Viswanathan Anand with the black pieces. And after his opponent switched to his long-life weapon 1.e4, Vladimir Kramnik couldn’t do it today either. At the press conference the Russian said it was a “difficult day” for him: “It was not easy to prepare for e4 and d4, trying to find forced wins for Black against all these moves.”


He was reasonably satisfied with reaching the Najdorf, because “at least we had a game - it was not easy to just get a game”. But he managed, although then Kramnik soon had to work on his own, because a few moves after Anand’s 6.Bg5 he was out of theory - he actually found 9…Qc5 behind the board.

Black’s seemingly anti-positional 12…exf5 was his only chance, Kramnik said, because “otherwise White simply gets very easy play”; he mentioned the standard moves Kb1 and g3 + Bh3, pressing on e6. “So I decided to mess things up.” However, Anand reacted very well, calculated very well, and forced a liquidation to an ending that White simply cannot lose. “Miracles happen, but very rare, unfortunately,” Kramnik finished his statement about the game.

After the game Anand said he was “happy, but at this point probably more relieved than happy. Obviously it’s really nice to just have the title. Vlady was really pushing me in the last few games. With White I was really hoping to have the world championship title in the evening but I wasn’t sure, you never know.”

With this official and undisputed World Championship, Anand has won every big event that has been organized during his career. In fact, he’s the first player to have won a world championship in three different formats. In the year 2000 Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship which was a knockout event, in 2007 he won the World Chess Championship which was a tournament of six players, and now he has won a World Championship match. If he didn’t yet belong to the list of great names starting with Steinitz, Lasker and Capablanca, he now sure does - nobody can deny it anymore. After all, today Anand has beaten the man who beat Kasparov.

Thanks to his 11 games in Bonn, Anand is also the new world’s number one on the live rating list (for the top ten see the column on the far right) - he shares a virtual rating of 2791 with Topalov but tops the list because of actually having played games in this period.

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Today Anand, who will turn 39 on December 11, won the most important prize of his career. It all started in 1983 when he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship with a score of 9/9. He subsequently became the youngest Indian to win the IM title at the age of fifteen, in 1984. One year later he became champion of India and in 1987 he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship. In 1988, at the age of eighteen, he became India’s first Grandmaster.

Ever since he won the super tournament of Reggio Emilia in 1991, ahead of Kasparov and Karpov, Anand has been among the world’s elite. Among his colleagues he became known as the fastest player in the circuit and this was confirmed by him winning the unofficial world championship of rapid chess many times.

In the year 2000 Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in Tehran after defeating Alexei Shirov in the final. In the same year Garry Kasparov lost his world title to Vladimir Kramnik in London.

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In 2002 Ruslan Ponomariov took over the title of FIDE World Champion and in 1995 Anand finished shared second with Peter Svidler at the San Luis World Championship tournament, behind Veselin Topalov. One year later Topalov lost his title against Kramnik, in a match that decided the first undisputed World Championship since 1993.

In September 2007 Anand became World Champion again by winning the FIDE World Championship Tournament held in Mexico City. He finished on 9 / 14 which was a full point ahead of Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand. Kramnik had agreed to participate in this tournament after FIDE had given him the right, if he wouldn’t finish first, to automatically challenge the new World Champion.

This eventually resulted in the Anand-Kramnik match held in Bonn 14-29 October, that was dominated by the Indian from the start. After two reasonably quiet games he won twice with Black in games 3 and 5, and then scored another full point in game 6. In the final phase of the match Anand lost his concentration in a few games and even lost game 10, but by easily drawing the 11th game, he reached the unbeatable 6.5 points.

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It was Anand’s strategy with the Black pieces that decided the match. It’s possible that the Indian didn’t expect to achieve too much with the White pieces against one of the most solid players in the circuit, and therefore decided to focus the attention on Black. His choice of the sharp Meran positions was a brilliant one and with it he delivered the first major blow in game three. Again under pressure, Kramnik blundered in game 5 and this second blow led to the Russian playing his weakest game, number six, where he lost an ending that he would have drawn in most other situations.

Being 3 points down in a 12-game match is another way of saying: it’s just hopeless. But it can only be admired how Kramnik managed to fight back in subsequent games - he finally started to feel confident, finally started to come up with theoretical novelties and simply… finally started to play on his normal level. But it was too late - Anand’s narrow escape in game 9 earned him a valuable half point and then for Kramnik it was clearly a mission impossible to score 3 out of 3 against this kind of player.

Anand’s victory was based on a combination of excellent preparation and playing almost flawlessly. A deserved champion who has deservedly entered the famous list of World Championship match winners.

Here’s the 11th and final game of the match.

Comments from Garry Kasparov

Game 11: "A difficult position for Kramnik to be in after 1.e4. Final games like this have their own logic, so you cannot compare it to his attempts to play the Sicilian in 2004. 12..f5 was suspect, not something I would have considered. That's what can happen when you are in openings that aren't yours. You want to play by instinct, but they are not used to these positions and this leads to poor decisions. After the Berlin and the Petroff, playing a Rauzer is a shock to the system. He looked very uncomfortable, but of course the match situation was close to impossible. The final position was unpleasant for Black, and this Kramnik understands."

Match in general: "It was a very well-played match by Vishy. Except for the loss of concentration in the tenth game he played consistently and managed to enforce his style. His choice to open with 1.d4 was excellent. He reached playable positions with life in them, so he could make Kramnik work at the board. Anand outprepared Kramnik completely. In this way it reminded me of my match with Kramnik in London 2000. Like I was then, Kramnik may have been very well prepared for this match, but we never saw it. I didn't expect the Berlin and ended up fighting on Kramnik's preferred terrain.

[In this match] Kramnik did not expect tough, sharp challenges with white, and this was the key for Anand. He kicked some sand in Kramnik's face and hit Kramnik's weakness: his conservative approach to the game itself. Suddenly Kramnik had to fight in these sharp positions and he wasn't able to do it. This result ends the illusion that Kramnik is a great match player. London was a unique occurrence and I still stand with Leonid Yudasin as the only players Kramnik has ever beaten in a match! Kramnik now has some work to do. His overly-defensive play seems to represent a general decline in strength.

A great result for Anand and for chess. Vishy deserved the win in every way and I'm very happy for him. It will not be easy for the younger generation to push him aside."

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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 10 - Game Analysis & Reports

WCC Bonn: Analysis of game

"An astonishing game," says Malcolm Pein. "Kramnik got his kind of position with a tiny edge and a clear plan. He appears to do very little, but he does it very well." Later Kramnik admitted: "I didn't have to do anything, and the position was winning". It brought him his first win over Anand in this World Championship match.
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Kramnik after his tenth round victory. Photo Cathy Rogers

Vladimir Kramnik has left his run late – maybe too late – in his World Championship match in Bonn against Viswanathan Anand but at least he has shown that he will not give up his world match title without a fight.

Over the past few days, with the world title almost within reach, Anand has looked shakier and shakier while his opponent has gained in confidence, culminating on Kramnik’s first victory on Monday in Game 10.

The public have been crowding the Exhibition Hall, waiting to see the coronation of the 15th World Champion. In recent days extra rows have been added to the playing hall, standing room used at the back and still fans can be seen holding signs offering to buy tickets. (Though the 35 Euro ($50) price tag for a ticket has generated complaints, there is no doubt that many are prepared to pay that or more – the VIP tickets are about $400 – to watch Anand and Kramnik battle it out for the world crown.)

The warning bells should have rung in game 9, when Anand, leading 5.5-2.5 took on Kramnik in one of the sharpest openings in modern chess. Kramnik not only handled the complications well but also, most importantly, stayed level on the clock with Anand and only a panic attack on move 35 gave the Indian a chance to squirm out with a draw.

Kramnik is famous for his World Championship come-backs but trailing 3-6 with three games to play looked too much even for him.
Yet in Game 10 Kramnik simply destroyed Anand; a quiet position turning bad with astonishing speed. “I didn’t do anything special,” admitted Kramnik, “but the position became winning. It was a surprise.”

Anand arrived late for the post-game press conference and looked downcast as his awful performance was dissected. He had planned to be celebrating the Hindu Festival of Diwali over the next four days as World Champion – instead he had to go back to preparing opening lines and trying to recover his lost form.
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Anand and Kramnik at the 10th round press conference. Photo Cathy Rogers


The organizers’ plans were also thrown into disarray. There was no trophy handover after the game, no extended press conference and the Mainz Hilton were told to put their celebration banquet on ice. Some of the Indian journalists following Anand also looked gloomy – their plans for a post-match holiday in Prague had to go on hold.

Anand still needs only one more draw from the final two games to take the title and Kramnik accepted that he remained the underdog. “I am just happy that I play one more game,” the Russian said when asked about his chances in the match. “I will try to play well – it is better not to think about what are my chances. Still I know they are less than 50%!”

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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 9 - Game Analysis

WCC Bonn: Analysis of game nine
 
It was a critical moment in the World Championship match between Anand and Kramnik. The Challenger was three points behind, with four games to go, and desperately needed to initiate a last-minute comeback with a win. And he came very close to making it, with the black pieces.
Anand-Kramnik, game 9
He came very close to winning today, but in the end Vladimir Kramnik had to accept that his ending agains Viswanathan Anand was a draw. After the 9th game the Indian is now leading the World Championship match 6-3, and just needs a draw to retain his title.
While many expected a not too interesting game today (Anand was supposed to play ultra solid and cruise to match victory by drawing twice, and Kramnik would have no energy left to put up serious resistance) it was completely the other way around: Kramnik invited Anand to a sharp fight in the Semi-Slav, and the Indian went for it by retreating his bishop to h4 after Black’s h6, allowing the complicated lines of the Anti-Moscow Gambit.

At first it looked like Anand took his opponent by surprise yet again, by going for a rare side-variation, but this time Kramnik had done his homework and soon obtained a small advantage. His position got better and better, and at some point the world champion decided to sacrifice a pawn, but still there was one moment where Kramnik could have reached an almost winning position.
But in timetrouble the Russian almost missed a mate in one and was so shocked by it that he decided to exchange queens and in the resulting ending it was not too difficult for Anand to avoid the last few traps Kramnik put up.
And so chances are high that tomorrow will be the last match day in Bonn, although Kramnik stated that he will “fight till the last draw.”

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 8 - Game Analysis


WCC R08: Draw in 39, Anand one point from victory
 
For the first time in this match, Kramnik said, he had a tangible advantage. Not enough, though, for a much-needed win. "The game will be a draw," said his friend GM Evgeny Bareev in the press room. How did he know? By the colour of Anand's sweater. Anand now has 5.5 points and needs just one more from the remaining four games to retain his title.
Publish Post

World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 7 | Game Analysis

WCC R07: Draw in 37, Anand leads by 5:2
 
Playing with the white pieces (at half-time they switch colours) Vishy Anand played 1.d4 for the fourth time in this match, got a Slav and a clear advantage, but agreed to a draw when a pawn up, since Vladimir Kramnik had set up a fortress that the white king could not penetrate. Anand leads by three points and requires 1.5 points for victory

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.




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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.
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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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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 5 - Game Analysis

WCC R05: Anand wins with black in 35 moves
 
"Anand the Brave!" writes Levon Aronian in his assessment of game five of the World Championship. "Not many people would repeat the same risky line against Kramnik, but he did just that." Another sharp game ensued, and Anand gained the advantage. Kramnik faltered in a tough position and the World Champion had won a second valuable point.

Levon Aronian's take on game five

Anand the Brave! Not many people would repeat the same risky line against Kramnik, but he did just that. And his confident approach was very well rewarded. It is a known that Anand likes spicy positions, and with less skilled opponents he walks on a tactical tightrope without fear. But to do it in the match for the greatest trophy? Did he summon the spirit of the great Mikhail Tal to aid him? There is no explanation other than that something magical or surreal is going on in Bonn. No doubt Kramnik will transform soon too. So I expect this amazing circus to continue. The most interesting show is still ahead in the program!

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Game Analysis Video | World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 5

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 5


Vladimir Kramnik vs. Vishy Anand [ Result 0-1 ]

Game Analysis [ Video ] 




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Game Analysis Video | World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 4

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 4


Vishy Anand vs. Vladimir Kramnik [ Result 1/2-1/2 ]

Game Analysis [ Video ] 





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Game Analysis Video | World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 3

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 3


Vladimir Kramnik vs. Vishy Anand [ Result 0-1 ]

Game Analysis [ Video ] 
>
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Game Analysis Video | World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 2

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 2

Vishy Anand vs. Vladimir Kramnik [ Result 1/2 - 1/2 ]

Game Analysis [ Video ]

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Game Analysis Video | World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 1

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 1

Vladimir Kramnik vs. Vishy Anand  [ Result 1/2 - 1/2 ] 

Game Analysis [ Video ] 

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World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 5 | Anand Does It Again

World Chess Championship 2008 - Round 5  | Vladimir Kramnik vs. Vishy Anand (0 - 1)
Viswanathan Anand increased his lead today in the World Championship match after Vladimir Kramnik blundered on move 29. The score is now 3.5-1.5 for Anand.
Who would have thought that Vladimir Kramnik would lose not just one, but two games with the white pieces in this match? It’s a rare thing for someone who’s considered one of the most solid players around. But it happened today; in what was probably already a slightly worse position for him, he took a pawn that was poisened but the reason why only became clear 11 half-moves later.
By then most journalists in the press room had already rushed downstairs and into the playing hall, to witness the final moments of this game. Not just because the engines had started blinking on the screens, but rather because we had seen the tactic already before - it was the reason why White couldn’t take on d4 on move 27.
Soon after one of us actually said that Kramnik “had another chance to make that blunder”, the Russian… did it. Somehow it felt not right, but it happened.

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Anand in the process of playing the winning move, 34...Ne3!, Photo Cathy Rogers

A shocking miscalculation by Vladimir Kramnik in the fifth game of his World Championship match in Bonn against Viswanathan Anand has put the Indian in the box seat to do what Garry Kasparov could not – defeat Kramnik in a world title match.

Despite being a weekday, the Bonn Exhibition Hall was almost full as was the commentary room where GMs Yusupov and Pfleger explain the moves to the public. (GM Bischoff does the same commentary job for the VIPs in a private room.)

The crowd was expecting Kramnik to begin his fight-back today but instead Kramnik lost his second game in succession with White.

Anand’s decision to play for complications with Black has paid off in spades, the Indian completely disrupting Kramnik’s normal “win with White, draw with Black” strategy.

After a very quiet draw in the fourth game, Kramnik challenged the system, which had given Anand success in game 3. However Anand varied first and Kramnik soon found himself an hour behind on the clock and unable to demonstrate any clear advantage.

Then came the moment which will be preserved in every basic combination book for years to come.
“Can White take the d-pawn?” will be the caption under the diagram – a sure signal to solvers that there is a problem. Kramnik – with no one tapping him on the shoulder to warn him about a possible trap - grabbed the pawn on d4; a move so awful that some feared there had been a transmission error.

It was true – Kramnik had missed a simple trick five moves later, which won on the spot. Anand paused only briefly before playing the winning combination.

Anand now leads the 12 game contest 3.5-1.5 and few are giving Kramnik any chance to come back, even though he has survived one point deficits in his last two world title matches. However Anand’s play has been so sure-footed, his opening preparation so well-targeted that at the moment it is hard to see Kramnik winning a game unless Anand gets careless.

Kramnik, naturally, does not see things that way.

“It could have been better,” was Kramnik’s response when asked if the situation was critical. “But it is not totally hopeless and I am going to fight.”
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Anand Heats Up in Bonn

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Anand and Kramnik on the stage in round three. Photo Cathy Rogers
By GM Ian Rogers
After a slow start, the ongoing World Championship match in Bonn between Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand has become an engrossing contest, with the Indian leading 2-1 after three games.

Anand and Kramnik have between them won every title worth winning over the past decade but there was always a suspicion that mutual respect would cause the players to be overly cautious.

Although the first game served to heighten these fears, and the abrupt end to the second also generated criticism, the ultra-violence shown in the third game has already made it clear that the match is likely to be a classic.

So far Anand has had the upper hand, equalising easily in game one, controlling game two until time trouble intervened and then winning a spectacular game three.

The third game saw Anand show the type of opening, which took him to victory in the FIDE World Championship in Mexico City in 2007. Prior to that event, Anand was almost always happy to play for equality with Black in top tournaments but in Mexico Anand introduced some super-sharp variations to his repertoire and scored valuable points with Black. (Meanwhile at the same event Kramnik was making draw after draw with Black.)
.Anand’s one regret may be that he secured his first victory on the day when his countryman Sachin Tendulkar finally broke the world record for most runs in cricket Test matches. Tendulkar and Anand are constant rivals for India’s sportsman of the year but today the front and back pages of India’s newspapers will be all Tendulkar, with Anand’s win relegated to an inside page.

At the press conference after the third game Kramnik, while appearing pensive, remained positive, believing that his sacrifices in game three to disrupt a better prepared opponent should have earned at least a draw.

Anand showed no signs of triumphalism, trotting out the classic “I’ll take it one game at a time” line, which served Boris Gelfand so well in Mexico City. He is of course right that the match is only in its infancy but both players know that a win tomorrow for Anand could put the contest almost out of reach of Kramnik.

The Bonn Exhibition Hall has been near its 400 capacity every day, despite ticket prices ranging between 35 and 280 Euros (for VIP tickets which include drinks and other privileges). The crowds looked visibly disgruntled as they left the playing theatre after game one but were generous in their applause for the players at the end of game three.

Kramnik has never trailed in the early stages of any of his three world title matches so how he reacts to this set-back will determine whether he will be seen as a good or a great Match World Champion.
Article Source : Chess Life Online 
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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 4 - Game Analysis

WCC R04: Draw in 29 moves

 
Vladimir Kramnik solved all opening problems posed by Anand in this Queen's Gambit Declined, and then, with his position basically safe, undertook some tentative attacking attempts. But Anand's position was also secure and so the players agreed that there was nothing left in the position to play for. The draw came after 29 moves.


Vladimir Kramnik in the press conference after round four

Vishy Anand giving his take of the game
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 3 - Game Analysis

WCC R03: Anand wins with black


First blood. World Champion Vishy Anand played a daring new idea in the Slav, put pressure on his opponent, and wound down to an endgames where he had a tremendous attack in return for two pawns. Both players were down to minutes on their clocks, but made the time control, after which Vladimir Kramnik resigned

Vishy Anand going for complications and aggressive lines

Kasparov's take on the game

"Great choice by Vishy! [With 8..a6] he dragged Kramnik into this nightmare instead of allowing him to play slowly. It was good preparation and also good psychology to kick some sand in Kramnik's face and show him he wasn't afraid. I didn't see the whole thing, but when I came back from a meeting and saw the position after 22..Rg7 I thought Kramnik had had it. At first glance it looks like the game was well played by both players. Just looking at it I'm not sure why Kramnik couldn't play 33.Kb3. Maybe he can give up his queen and still draw with the a-pawn." On-the-fly comments from Garry Kasparov, recorded by Mig Greengard.

And game three is under way


At move 36 Kramnik has just 1 min 31 sec left, Anand 4 min 24 sec


And after 41 moves Kramnik sticks out his hand in resignation


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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 2 - Game Analysis

WCC R02: Anand plays 1.d4, game drawn after 32 fighting moves

Vishy Anand surprised his opponent Vladimir Kramnik – and the world – with the move 1.d4 in his first white game of the World Championship in Bonn. The position became complicated and Anand started pressing for a win. However in time trouble the Indian GM decided to accept his Russian opponent's draw offer.

GM Levon Aronian's take on game two


What a wonderful day! Of course we all can pretend that it was an "expected surprise" and that Anand's choice of opening did not make us believe, for one moment, that there is something wrong with the live broadcast. But reality is: Anand has come to Bonn to win, and he is willing to take risks by employing lines he never did before. And he was close to success today.
Kramnik's choice to play Nimzovitsch defence was dictated by simple logic. There was no point for him to play the Slav Defence when Anand has clearly spent ages preparing it before the match, even though for the opposite color. Anand in return answered with a rare and daring line! He played something that would be considered the least likely line to be played in a World Championship match. His intention to confuse his antagonist worked perfectly, as Kramnik, who was trying to avoid an opening trap, tried to come up with new ideas (which is a hard task in such sharp positions), and found himself in an unpleasant endgame. And from that moment on we saw a totally different Kramnik! With brilliant maneuvers he manager to get enough counterplay for a lost pawn, and the position where players agreed to draw seem to be double edged. Of course chess fans around the globe would have liked to see the game continue, but understandably the players did not want to take risks in the time trouble. A very impressive game by two giants, and possibly an invitation for a full contact fight?
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World Chess Championship 2008 | Anand vs. Kramnik, Round 1 - Game Analysis


WCC R01: Draw in 32 moves

The World Championship in Bonn started with an Exchange Slav in which Challenger Vladimir Kramnik was a pawn up, but the World Champion Viswanathan Anand had plenty of counterplay and held the draw in what seemed to be a fairly effortless first game.

Game one Kramnik-Anand drawn

The World Chess Championship started at 15:00h in Bonn with a brief opening ceremony and national anthems. Vladimir Kramnik played a solid Exchange Slav and was soon a pawn up, but Vishwanathan Anand had plenty of counterplay and held the draw in what seemed to be a fairly effortless first game.

GM Levon Aronian's take on the game

Not again! The excitement and anticipation of chess fans was met by a cold hearted opening response from Vladimir Kramnik. Only a handful of maestros in fact understand that it is just a tactical decision. Kramnik wanted to show that he is going to try and torture the Tiger from Madras. We have seen similar approach in Kramnik's match against Leko in Brissago 2004. But I am convinced that such attempts have limited chances of success, and in the upcoming games where Kramnik will again sport the white pieces, I expect a string of explosions. After all the press, the sponsors and the chess world deserve some entertainment.
So, what will the white pieces be serving us next? Tomorrow Anand will be moving first – and I expect him to scare his Russian Petrov-playing adversary. In the past, the Petrov defence has proven to be fertile ground for opening novelties and hotly disputed variations. Surely, the battle for the world title will bring fresh opening revelations (in the Petrov?) and not continue in the same vein that we have witnessed so far.
Kramnik,V (2772) - Anand,V (2783) [D14]
WCh Bonn GER (1), 14.10.2008 [ Game Analysis ]


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Ruy Lopez for White - Berlin Defence Part 2

In the introductory discussion on Berlin Defence, we saw different structural patterns that might arise as a result of this defence by Black. Hope those features are clear in your head now.

Without wasting any time, we will start our study of different variations. The Main Variations in this defence revolves around Black's fifth move alternative, mainly Variation A: 5...Be7 and Variation B: 5...Nd6.

Let's start with Variation A: 5...Be7. Follow carefully:
Well, the next one, Variation B: 5...Nd6 is the most widely played response by Black under these circumstances. So let's see what it has in store for White. Pay very very serious attention. This variation will demand a pretty lengthy discussion owing to the fact that it has a lot of sub-variations. For convenience, we will study it in parts. Sub-variations involve Black's 7th and 9th move alternatives.


Variation B1: 7...Ne4!?
Pretty interesting, isn't it? The truth is, White can always find ways to keep an advantage. Important is to play cautiously.

We will study Variation B2 (much more preferred by Black) in my next post. Hence, it will be much more interesting for White to refute and will have much more options open for both sides.

Stay tuned. We will be back shortly.

Keep visiting and keep reading. Thanks a lot. Enjoy!!
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Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ruy Lopez for White - Berlin Defence Part 1

Before We Start

Hello Chesslovers,

It's time to get very very serious now. 

Until now, we have been discussing those variations in the Ruy Lopez which are now less encountered in real games. The reason being the continuous improvements that has taken place due to the hard work and dedication of great players and masters in this opening. Somehow, both sides was able to find refutations and there was a need for improvement. So, improvement has taken place.......

From now on Ruy Lopez will not be just fun!, it will be full concentration + tremendous brainstorming + very hard work + complete dedication + an open mind, and all these will generate fun in the end. Because at the end of the day, if you want to generate something of very high quality, you have to bind yourself with these parameters.  Every chapters discussed from now on, will be the most adored variations in the Ruy Lopez and there is every possibility that you will turn up facing one of them everytime you go for this opening.

For those, whose chess ideas are like parts of their body they are reluctant to give up, it's time to change your views because now you will come to know what "keeping an open mind" means.

My first and last warning to you will be "do not try to memorize moves". Remember, when we study an opening, we do not study moves, but ideas.

Welcome, all of you, to the deepest and the most wonderful journey in the jungles of Ruy Lopez. Be serious.

The Ruy Lopez - Berlin Defence

We will start with the Berlin Defence, recognized by Black's third move, 3...Nf6. The Berlin Defence is an opening which demands that you should understand certain things first before going for further analysis:
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6


The Berlin Defence is one of Black's most solid and reliable ways of meeting the Ruy Lopez . Recently it has found its way into the repertoires of some of the world's leading young players, including Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik, while it has also been a long-time favourite of Britain's first grandmaster, Tony Miles . Being such a solid defence, there is the drawback that Black finds it difficult to create winning chances if White is content to play for a draw, but of Course, this accusation could be levelled at most black defences .

The Berlin Endgame

The main line of the Berlin Defence gives rise to an endgame after the moves 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8. After White's most flexible move, 9 Nc3, we reach the following position.
  



At first glance the pawn-structure seems to give White a persistent advantage. After all, White has a healthy 4-3 majority on the kingside, while Black should find it difficult to create a passed pawn from his own queenside majority, due to the doubled pawns. However, there are also some factors favouring Black. For example, White's advanced pawn on e5 presents Black with squares on f5 and d5 . The e5pawn could actually become quite weak if it's not well supported. Another plus for Black is that he possesses the bishop-pair.

In fact, White's best chance for an advantage lies in the slightly vulnerable position of the black king, which has lost the right to castle and prevents the black rooks from connecting. White must play actively and attempt to exploit this temporary disharmony in the black position in order to create a concrete positional or tactical advantage.

The ...Bb4xc3 Exchange

This surprising exchange is one of Black 's most potent weapons in the Berlin Endgame. At first sight, it appears a little strange just to give away the advantage of the bishop-pair, but following the trade, the presence of opposite-coloured bishops considerably eases Black's defensive task. Light-square control on the kingside makes it very difficult for White to mobilize his pawn majority, while it's also possible that White's pawns can end up as targets .
 
 







White Plays Ng5xBe6

Similarly, this exchange is one of White's weapons





Play continued 12 Nxe6! fxe6 13 Ne4 and we can see that the exchange has favoured White. Black no longer possesses the bishop-pair, and White can still advance his pawn majority on the kingside. Another point is that White's e5-pawn is less vulnerable, as Black no longer has the long-term option of ...Ke6 to attack it.





The Main Ideas





Since Black will find it difficult to connect rooks, he often tries to activate them on their original squares. In such cases it's common for Black to play ...a5-a4 to activate his a8-rook. Sometimes Black may even play ...h5-h4 to give the h8-rook some scope. It could then go to h5, where it could attack the e5-pawn. Black normally develops his bishops on e6 and b4 and often leaves the e7-square free for a possible knight retreat.

White's main plan will be to try to activate his kingside pawn majority. Hence the need for moves such as h3, which supports a later g4. The f3-knight will want to move so White can create a pawn roller with f4. Normally the bishop goes to b2, but on occasions it can also go to f4, perhaps dropping back to g3 or h2, from where it can support White's pawn advance.

The structural patterns and the main ideas leading to them are the most important thing in the Berlin Defence to understand.

Next post onwards, we will study different variation in this defence. And that will be a very very deep study indeed!! Preparation should be at it's best. Otherwise, refutations will come from Black side pretty fast.

Keep visiting and keep reading. We have just begun.

Thanks a lot. Enjoy !!
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Ruy Lopez for White - Classical Variation Part 2

Hello and welcome everybody.
Today we will study the two remaining variations on the Classical variation of the Ruy Lopez and we will see how White can gain advantage from the position that arrives during the course of play.
Last time we discussed Black's first fourth move alternative, 4...Nge7.
Now we will study another reply from Black, Variation B: 4...Nd4. Pay attention:
So the position still favours White!!

Now let's move on to the next possible reply from Black, Variation C: 4...Nf6:
Variation C: 4...Nf6 is the most critical in the Classical Variation of the Ruy Lopez and the most obvious reply for Black too. White has to play cautiously when faced with this variation. Even without the queen on the board, White can snatch an advantage, and there is a lot of ways to convert this advantage into a victory.

Go through the sub-variations again and again and you will be able to recognize certain patterns that tells you how to gain an advantage.

This was all about The Classical Variation. Hope you liked it throughout.....
From my next post we will start discussion on one of the most famous, critical  and widely played variation of the Ruy Lopez which, if studied well, will completely change your views and approach towards the game (in case you do not play Ruy Lopez or in case you are not comfortable with this opening).

So friends, stay tuned for one of the most respected opening in chess history, the famous Berlin Defence. Believe me, it will be fabulous to get lost in the jungles of this opening.
Until then, bye and take care. 
Keep visiting, keep reading and keep learning.

Thanks, .....Enjoy!
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