Mar 6, 2001

Round 6

Kramnik - Anand [A17]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3 b6 7. e3

This is not the first duel of these opponents in the Anti-Nimzowitsch Variation. It's curious to compare this game with a game that was played two years ago. It developed then as follows: 7. b4 Bb7 (later in another game the Indian grandmaster acted much tougher: 7... a5 8. Bb2 axb4 9. axb4 Rxa1+ 10. Bxa1 c5 11. e3 d6 12. Be2 e5 13. d3 Re8 14. O-O Nc6 15. bxc5 bxc5=, and Black managed to get a solid position (Kramnik - Anand, Dortmund,1998)) 8. Bb2 d6 9. e3 a5 10. Be2 axb4 11. axb4 Rxa1+ 12. Bxa1 Nbd7 13. O-O Qe7 14. Bb2 Ra8 15. d4 c5 16. Nd2 Qf8, (Kramnik - Anand, Frankfurt (active), 1998).

7... Bb7 8. Be2 d6

In the quarter-final of the FIDE World Championship 1999 White failed to break through the fence of black pawns on the fifth horizontal after 8... c5 9. b4 d6 10. Bb2 e5 11. O-O Re8 12. d3 Nbd7 13. Rfe1 a5 in the game Kramnik - Adams (Las Vegas, 1999).

9. O-O Nbd7 10. b4 a5 11. Bb2 Qe7

In comparison with the above mentioned game played in Frankfurt in 1998 there is a difference which can be estimated as certain advantage by White. After 11... axb4 12. axb4 Rxa1 White had 13. Rxa1.

12. d4

White returns the play to a position which is quite for the Classical Variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defence. Previously only 12. Rfc1 and 12. d3 occurred.

12... axb4 13. axb4 Rfc8

13... c5 could possibly be followed with 14. Nd2.

14. Rxa8 Rxa8

In case of 14... Bxa8 Black obviously did not want 15. Ra1.

15. d5!

White closes the diagonal a8-h1 for Black's light-squared bishop.

15.... Nf8

White's idea is tactically based on the fact that in the line 15... exd5 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Qxc7 Black's pawn c7 turns out to be undefended. In case of 15... e5 16. Nd2 b5!? 17. e4 bxc4 18. Qxc4 (if 18. Bxc4, then Black has 18... Nb6 19. Bb3 Na4) 18... Nb6 19. Qc2 Ba6 20. Bxa6 Rxa6 White had the route Nb3-a5-c6 on hand.

16. Rd1 Bc8 17. Nd4 e5 18. Nb3

Now 18. Nc6 was already a blank shot. After 18...Qe8 to be followed with 19... Bb7 White was forced to advance b4-b5 so that one of Black's knights might occupy the square c5.

18... Bd7 19. f3 Qd8 20. Nd2 Ng6 21. Bf1 h6 22. e4 Nh7

After 22... Nh5 23. c5 bxc5 24. bxc5 White had no 24... f5? because of 25. exf5 Bxf5 26. g4 Qg5 27. Kh1.

23. c5 bxc5 24. bxc5 f5 25. Ba3

25... Rc8

Black decides to sacrifice the pawn. The material balance could have been kept with 25... Ng5!?. The point is that in case of 26. cxd6 cxd6 27. Bxd6? Black had 27... Ba4 28. Bc7 and then a very strong intermediate move 28... Nh3+!

26... Bc8 27. Rb3 26. cxd6

26. c6 Be8 27. exf5 Black met with a mere 27... Ne7.

26... cxd6 27. Qb4 Qg5 28. Qxd6 Nf6 29. Bc5

Despite White's extra pawn and the advantage of two bishops he has to be very careful. With his last move he took control over the important diagonal a7-g1. If he scorned this move and played 29. exf5 at once, then after 29... Bxf5 (29... Qe3+ 30. Kh1 Bxf5 was untimely because of 31. Nc4) 30. Nc4 Black might have found 30... Nh4! (in case of 30... e4 good was 31. Qg3 Qh5 32. Be2), and now in case of 31. Nxe5 (if 31. Kh1, then 31... Rxc4!) there would be a very strong tactical blow 31... Nxf3+!! 32. Nxf3 Qe3+ 33. Kh1 Ne4, possible because of the undefended diagonal a7-g1.

29... Kh7

A necessary move. There was no 29... Ba4 30. Ra1 Qxd2 because of 31. Qe6+, but now this threat exists.

30. exf5

After 30. Bb6 Ba4 31. Ra1 Bc2 the square e4 could not be held. If 32. exf5, then there was 32... Nf4.

30... Bxf5 31. Nc4

31... e4!

Black wants to acquire new squares for his pieces closer to the white king. After 31... Nh4 32. Kh1 there was no 32... Nxf3 33. gxf3 Ne4 because of 34. Qxe5 Nxc5 35. Nd6!.

32. Be3

Naturally no 32. fxe4 because of 32... Nxe4, and White's bishop on c5 perished.

32... Qh5 33. Qg3

There was no 33. g4 because of 33... Nxg4 34. fxg4 Qxg4+, and if 33. Nd2, then after 33... exf3 34. Nxf3 Be4 Black would take the pawn d5.

33... exf3 34. gxf3 Nh4 35. Nd2

If 35. Ne5, then there was a really dangerous 35... Re8.

35... Rc2

Black is evidently playing for a win. After 35... Nxd5 36. Bd4 Bg6 37. Bd3 White would have held if he exchanged pieces.

36. Be2

After 36. d6 Rxd2 37. Rxd2 Nxf3+ 38. Kh1 Nxd2 39. Bxd2 Ne4 40. Qf4 Qg6 41. Be3 Nxd6 Black not only took the pawn back but acquired still another one, though White's advantage of two bishops combined with the lack of material on the board made the position close to a draw.

36... Nxd5

After 36... Qe8 White also could repel Black's attack with 37. Kf2! Nxd5 38. Nf1.

37. Bd4 Bg6 38. Qg4

38... Nf5??

A major mistake. Too many black pieces have been put on the diagonal b1-h7. After 38... Qxg4+ 39. fxg4 the game would be drawn.

39. Qxh5 Bxh5 40. Bd3 Bg6 41. Bxc2 Nxd4 42. Bxg6+ Kxg6 43. Kf2

White's extra exchange makes his position winning despite of the sparsity of the material.

43... Ne6 44. Ne4 Nef4 45. Ra1 Nh5 46. Ra6+ Kf7 47. Nd6+ Ke7 48. Nf5+ Kf7 49. Ne3 Ndf4 50. Ng4 Nd5 51. Ne3 Ndf4 52. Nf5 Nd5 53. Ke1 Ndf6 54. Kd2 Nd5 55. Ra5 Ke6 56. Ne3 Ndf4 57. Rf5 Ke7 58. Ng4 Ke6 59. Re5+ Kf7 60. Ke3 Kg6 61. Ke4 Nh3 62. Ra5 Ng5+ 63. Ke3 Ne6 64. Ne5+ Kf6 65. Nd3 1-0 Black resigned. After 65... Kg6 (in case of 65... g6 there was 66. Ra6 Ke7 67. Ne5) 66. f4 Nc7 67. f5+ Kf6 68. Nf4 Nxf4 69. Kxf4 Ne8 70. Ra6+ Kf7 71. Ke5 Nf6 72. Rxf6+! gxf6 73. Kd6 the white king would enter Black's fortress without excessive efforts.

Bareev - Huebner [A20]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. O-O Nb6

Black prevented decisively the opportunity of d2-d4 which would be possible after 6... Be7, probably because he did not want to play the line 7. d4 e4 8. Ne5 f5 f5 9. Nxc6 bxc6.

7. d3 Be7 8. a3 Be6 9. Nbd2

Now that the black knight left d5 on his own White didn't need to develop his knight to c3.

9... f6

After 9... a5 10. b3 f6 11. Qc2 O-O 12. Bb2 Qd7 13. Rfd1 Rab8 14. Nc4 Rfc8 White took the initiative with the move 15. d4! in the game Milos - Assumpcao (Sao Paulo, 1991).

10. b4 O-O 11. Bb2 Qd7

11... a5 12. b5 Na7 13. d4 Nxb5 14. dxe5 fxe5 15. Nxe5 c6 16. a4 Nd6 17. e4 with White's initiative was seen in the game Kharlov - Mashinskaya (Kazan, 1997).

12. Qc2 Rac8 13. Rfd1 Bf7 14. Ne4 Qe6 15. Rab1 Rfd8 16. Ba1 Nd7

In case of 16... Qa2 Black had to reckon with 17. Qc1 as there was no 17... Qxe2 because of 18. Rd2, catching the black queen.

17. d4

White performs the planned advance.

17... exd4 18. b5 Nce5 19. Nxd4 Qa2 20. Bh3!

White develops his initiative notwithstanding any sacrifices.

20... Qxc2

An important moment. Could Black take the pawn with 20... Bxa3 and escape a punishment? Most probably, he couldn't. He would lose some material inevitably after 21. f4! Ng6 22. Bb2 (there was no 22. Qxa2 Bxa2 23. Be6+ Bxe6 24. Nxe6 because of 24... Re8 as then after 25. Nxg7 Rxe4 26. Rxd7 Black had 26... Nf8) 22... Bxb2 (if 22... Bd6, then 23. Ra1 Qc4 24. Qxc4 Bxc4 25. Rdc1, and now 25... Bd5 would be followed with 26. Nxd6 cxd6 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. Bxd7, White winning a piece) 23. Rxb2 Qa3 24. Ne6 Qe3+ 25. Kg2 Re8 26. Nxg7 Qxe4+ 27. Qxe4 Rxe4 28. Rxd7! (no 28. Bxd7 because of 28... Rd8 29. Nh5 Re7 30. Nxf6+ Kg7 so that the binding on the d-file left no chance for a win to White) 28... Kxg7 29. Rxf7+ Kxf7 30. Bxc8.

21. Nxc2 Ra8 22. f4 Nc5!

Black is looking for counterchances. After 22... Bg6 23. fxe5 Bxe4 24. Rxd7 Rxd7 25. Bxd7 Bxc2 26. Rc1 he would get into a trouble.

23. Nxf6+ gxf6 24. fxe5 fxe5 25. Ne3?!

A questionable moment, it seems that White was mistaken when he refused to take the pawn. After 25. Bxe5 Bg6 26. Rxd8+ Rxd8 27. Rc1 Nb3 (in case of 27... Rd2 there was 28. Nd4, and if 27... Bg5, then 28. Bf4) 28. Be6+ Bf7 29. Bxb3 Bxb3 30. Nd4 Bg5 31. Rc3 Black would still have to prove that the advantage of two bishops compensated him White's extra pawn.

25... Nb3!

Just fine. Black preferred an active move to the timid 25... Bd6.

26. Bxe5 Bc5 27. Bf4

27... Re8?

Spoiling the whole idea. White would encounter great problems in case of 27... Nd2!. So, he lost by an exchange after 28. Rbc1 Nc4 29. Kf2 (in case of 29. Rxd8+ Rxd8 30. Kf2 White had to reckon with 30... Bd4!, and if he escaped the binding with 31. Kf3, then he got immediately under the crushing 31... Nxe3! 32. Bxe3 Bd5+ 33. Kf4 Rf8+) 29... Rxd1 30. Rxd1 Rf8 31. Rd3 Bxe3+! 32. Rxe3 (there was also no 32. Bxe3 because of 32... Bg6+) 32... Nxe3 33. Kxe3 Bc4. After the move in the game the binding could not be used so simply.

28. Kf2 Bb6 29. Bg2 Re7 30. Bd5 Nd4 31. Kf1 Rae8 32. Rb4 Rxe3 33. Bxe3 Rxe3 34. Rbxd4 Bxd4 35. Rxd4 Bxd5 36. Rxd5 Rxa3 37. Rd8+ Kf7 38. Rd7+ Kg6 39. Rxc7

All complications are over, the game proceeds to a rook endgame.

39... b6 40. Kf2

40... h5?

Despite White's extra pawn his win in the rook endgame was not a sure thing at all. Having created a passed pawn on the queenside with 40... Ra5 Black would have real drawing chances. With the move in the game he not only lost his time, he also weakened his position on the kingside.

41. Rc6+ Kg7

No better was 41... Kg5 because of 42. h4+ as well as 41... Kf5 42. Rd6 Ra5 because of 43. Rd5+.

42. Rd6!

Black's pawn on b6 deprives the white rook of the important square c5. On the adjoining file it looks much better.

42... h4

If 42... Ra5, then 43. Rd5 Kg6 44. h4, preparing a base for the rook on the square g5.

43. Rd3 Ra5 44. Rb3 hxg3+ 45. hxg3 Kf6 46. Kf3 Ke5 47. g4 Ra1 48. Re3+ Kd4 49. Kf4 a5

49... Rf1+ 50. Rf3 Rb1 did not help because of 51. g5 Rxb5 52. g6 Rc5 53. g7 Rc8 54. Kg5 whereafter White's g-pawn would cost a whole rook to Black.

50. bxa6 b5 51. g5 Rxa6 52. Rg3 1-0 Black resigned.

Adams - Leko [C65]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Bc5 5. Nxe5

The English grandmaster does not want to find out what was prepared by his opponent in the line 5. c3 O-O 6. d4 Bb6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 d6 9. Qd3. It can be mentioned that in the tournament in Frankfurt which was held last month P. Leko lost to V. Anand and A. Shirov in this variation.

5... Nxe4

Another line of the variation implies 5... Nxe5 6. d4 a6 7. Ba4 Nxe4 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Qxe4 Ng6.

6. Qe2 Nxe5 7. Qxe4 Qe7 8. Nc3 Ng6 9. Qxe7+ Nxe710. Ne4 Bb6 11. Re1

11... O-O!

A very precise move. Black does not fear ghosts. In the game Howell-Macieja (Hastings, 1990) White took the initiative after 11... Kf8 12. b4 d5 13. Nc5 c6 14. Bd3 f6 15. Ba3 Kf7 16. b5.

12. Nd6

In case of 12. Nf6+ gxf6 13. Rxe7 Bc5 14. Re1 c6 to be followed with d7-d5 Black had a reliable position because his double pawns were beyond Black's reach.

12... Nc6 13. Nxc8 Raxc8 14. c3 Rfe8 15. Rxe8+ Rxe8

To take use of the advantage of two bishops is not easy when there is a whole army of pawns on the board.

16. Kf1 Nb8 17. d4 c6 18. Bd3 Bc7 19. a4 d5 20. a5 a6 21. Bd2 Nd7 22. g3 g6 23. b3 Nf8 24. Kg2 Ne6 25. b4 f5 26. f4 Kf7 27. Kf3 Kf6 28. Re1 Bd6 29. h3 h5 30. Rh1 Rh8 31. Re1 Re8 32. Rh1 1/2-1/2


Piket - Khalifman [D48]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5

The Meran System of the Slav Defence occurrs indispensably in modern strong tournaments.

8. Bd3 Bb7 9. O-O a6 10. e4 c5 11. d5 Qc7 12. dxe6 fxe6 13. Bc2 Bd6 14. Ng5 Nf8 15. f4 O-O-O 16. Qe1 e5

17. Nd5

The position was seen many times previously. In the game Sadler - Dreev (Groningen, 1997) the line 17. a4 b4 18. Ne2 h6 was checked out, whereas in the tournament in Leon where opponents were allowed to use computers Black got a convenient play after 17. f5 h6 18. Nf3 N8d7 N8d7 19. Bd2 c4 20. Rc1 Qc6 21. a4 Nc5 in the game Illescas Cordoba - Shirov (Leon, 2000).

17... Bxd5

In case of 17... Nxd5 18. exd5 Bxd5 Black had to reckon with the possible continuations 19. Ne4 and 19. Bd2.

18. exd5 exf4 19. Bd2 Re8 20. Qh4 Ng6

There was a reason to go 20... Nxd5 too, but Black probably did not ant to open the long light-squared diagonal a8-h1 that could possibly get under the control of White's pieces.

21. Qh3+ Kb8 22. a4 b4 23. Rad1 c4

23... Nxd5!? deserved attention. The point is that in case of 24. Qd3 which was planned by White there was a rather unpleasant response 24... Re5!.

24. Ne6 Qb6+ 25. Kh1 Nxd5 26. Nxg7 Re3

After 26... Reg8 27. Nf5 Bc7 both sides had chances. Now the game proceeds to the stage of tactical complications.

27. Bxe3 Nxe3 28. a5 Qc6?!

The fact that Black's queen occupies a white square could tell later as a tactical nuance. After 28... Qxa5 29. Bxg6 (in case of 29. Rxd6 Nxf1 30. Qe6 Ne3 31. Rxa6 Black had 31.... Qd5 32. Qb6+ Kc8 whereafter the weakness of the first horizontal and the threat of a mate on g2 would not let White win the game) 29... Be5! White would have problems in finding a decisive continuation notwithstanding his extra rook. For instance, after 30. Qh5 (in case of 30. Ra1 there was 30... Qb6 maintaining all Black's threats) 30... Qc7! (there was no 30... Nxf1 31. Rxf1 Rg8 because of 32. Be4! Rxg7 33. Qe8+ with White's win) 31. Ne6 (Black was OK in the endgame after 31. Rd7 Qxd7 32. Qxe5+ Qc7 33. Qxc7+ Kxc7) 31... hxg6 32. Qg5 Qa5 33. Nd8 Qc7 Black still kept the balance by some miracle.

29. Be4?

White overlooks the winning continuation. After 29. Bxg6! Nxf1 (there was a similar situation in case of 29... Nxd1 30. Rxd1 Be5 31. Be8! too) 30. Rxf1 Be5 he had 31. Be8! Black would have lost a piece without a sufficient compensation.

29... Qxe4 30. Rxd6 Nxf1 31. Rb6+ Ka8 32. Rxa6+ Kb8 33. Rb6+ Ka8 34. Ra6+ Kb8 1/2-1/2 Draw.

Junior 6 - Akopian [B00]

1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Bd3 Nf6 4. Qe2 e6 5. Nf3 d5 6. e5 Nfd7 7. Ng5 Be7 8. Qg4 h5

Playing with the computer, V. Akopian attempts to get a position with maximally long pawn chains. It helps to reduce maximally any concrete tactical play at which the computer is especially strong, and shortcomings of its positional apprehension will have a chance to tell on its play now.

9. Qg3 Nf8 10. O-O

10. h4 occurred in this position previously.

10... Ba6 11. Bxa6 Nxa6 12. c3 c5 13. Rd1 c4 14. Re1 Rc8 15. h4 Nh7 16. Nf3 Rg8 17. Bg5 Nxg5 18. Nxg5 Nb8 19. Nd2 Nc6 20. b3 Na5 21. Re3 Bxg5 22. hxg5 g6

Both sides have got rid of their potentially bad pieces: Black of his light-squared bishop and vice versa. Nevertheless, White has a certain positional advantage as he can open up the play on both flanks.

23. Rf3 Rc7 24. Rf6 Qc8 25. Qf4 Rf8 26. b4 Nc6 27. Nf3 Re7 28. Nh4 Rg8 29. a4 Rg7

30. Qc1

An attempt to open up the play on the kingside in order to put more pressure on the pawn d7 had sense for White. This could have been done with 30. f3 Rc7 31. g4 hxg4 32. fxg4 to be followed with Ra1-f1.

30... Rc7 31. a5 b5 32. Qe3 Kd7 33. Kh1 a6 34. Rd1 Qe8 35. Kh2 Ne7 36. Rh1 Ng8 37. Rf3 Ne7 38. Rh3 Nf5

After the exchange of the knights the game becomes absolutely equal.

39. Nxf5 exf5 40. Re1 Rc6 41. Qf3 Qe6 42. Rh1 Rc8 43. Qe3 Qe7 44. Qf4 Qe6 45. Re1 1/2-1/2 Draw.

"And his six pawns were scattered like the ships of the Armada that should have conquered England; the Lord blew, and they were all isolated."

-Hans Kmoch, Groningen 1946 tournament book

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it."

Anand Vishwanathan

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