Final. Game 3 (25.12.2000)
Anand was bored with the French Defence and chose the Sicilian for this game. Shirov displayed his courage again and rushed to the attack with a sacrifice. The Spanish grandmaster is well motivated, and the game he lost the day before allows him not to be extremely cautious. The stakes are too high. The sacrifice he applied was most probably incorrect but White’s position was not losing even after he lost by an exchange. The main question was whose king was better defended. White was forced to part with his queenside pawns and attempted to undertake an attack – not actually dangerous, though. There were several checks, then the queens were exchanged, White’s queenside pawns perished and Black arranged real mating threats to the squeezed white king. So Shirov was defeated for the second time. Every next round of the match can become the last one: Anand needs to score one point in the remaining three games to become the World Champion.
To all appearances, the game is no wonder of chess strategy.
Shirov - Anand
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qc7 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 a6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 Bb4 9. Na4 Bd6 10. g3 b5 11. Nb6 Rb8 12. Nxc8 Rxc8 13. a4 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5 15. Be3 Bc5
Black only had no time for castling. White’s pawns are not very dangerous, and Anand holds the centre.
16. axb5 Bxe3 17. fxe3 axb5 18. Bxb5
The king should be withdrawn from under possible strikes. There is no threat of a sacrifice on f6.
18... O-O 19. Rxf6
A bitter pill. The knight is much stronger than the bishop, and White won’t keep the extra pawn. We suppose that Shirov sacrificed by the exchange just so, hoping to find something later. As the result, White’s bishop gets to f5, and Black’s king is OK. So the next World Champion and Vice-Champion play.
19... gxf6 20. Bxd7 Ra8 21. Qg4+ Kh8 22. Rf1 Rg8 23. Qh3 Qc5 24. Bf5 Qxe3+
Now Black defends against the mate easily, but White’s king proves to be too vulnerable. Anand only needs to take the queenside pawns, and White won’t escape even with a perpetual check.
25. Kg2 h6 26. Qh5 Kg7 27. Qg4+ Qg5 28. Qf3 Rgd8 29. h4 Qd2+ 30. Kh3 Rd6 31. Rf2 Qd1 32. Kg4 Ra2 33. Qxd1 Rxd1 34. c4 Rb1 35. Rd2 Raxb2 36. Rd7 Rb7 37. Rd6 Rc7 38. Kh5 Rc1 39. g4
This is no castle, just a house of cards, designed to defend the king. White will have to resign very soon. An attack of White’s weak h4-pawn will open the straight way to his king to Black.
39... R7xc4 40. Rd7 Rc7 41. Rd8 Rh1
There is no defence against Rc2 or Rc3. White resigned.
"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch
"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.