Posts Tagged ‘Boris Gelfand’

Anand-Gelfand 2012: A Tale of Two Countries

May 28, 2012

It is common knowledge that the star of Israeli chess, Boris Gelfand, was born and trained in the Soviet Union. In 1998 he imigrated to Israel and immediately became the strongest player in the Israeli chess scene. Despite, leading the Israeli team to two Chess Olympiad medals, Boris Gelfand is not very well-known in his home country and many citizens of Israel are completely unaware that he is close to becoming the first Israeli world chess champion. Should Boris Gelfand manage to win the World Championship, I am sure it will be a mega jackpot for the ISF (Israeli Chess Federation) and the overall popularity of chess in Israel. Should Boris Gelfand fall short, he can return to sipping his coffee at the cafe without the slightest concern of being hounded by fans.

Viswanathan Anand is one of the most recognisable celebrities in all of India and has even been considered India’s greatest sporting talent ever. Anand achieved the admiration of a billion Indian people despite the fact that he declined to play for India in the Chess Olympiads, does not take part in chess tournaments organised by the All India Chess Federation and allowed his Indian citizenship to lapse when he became a citizen of Spain. Regardless of these indiscretions, India has bestowed many prestigious local and national awards upon their hero and his success in chess has created popularity explosion for the game on a subcontinent where there had never been a high level master before him. Whether or not Anand wins will have little effect on the popularity of chess in his country of origin. Viswanathan Anand’s previous world championships have already inspired millions of young chess players who dream of following in the foot steps of their hero.

 

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 11

May 27, 2012

Game 11 of the 2012 World Chess Championship match between Anand and Gelfand was nearly decided by the clock. Inexplicably, Boris Gelfand became uncomfortable with the position and used 40 minutes of his time to choose a relatively routine move early in the game. Gelfand is truly lucky that his clock management  issue in game 11 did not end up becoming the deciding factor in the  world championship match. Many of Anand’s fans, however, are left wondering about what would have happened had Anand not thrown his opponent a life raft on move 24.

My analysis of Anand-Gelfand 2012 game 11 is below: (Try copying the text and pasting it into your favorite chess program for easier reading.)

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.26”]

[Round “11”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “E55”]

[Opening “Nimzo-Indian”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 {Anand is going to play the Nimzo-Indian Defence again. It seems that he grew tired of defending in his early a6 Semi-Slav.} 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 {As in game 9, Boris chooses the Rubinstein method of meeting the Nimzo-Indian. .} O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 {All of this is a replay of game 9.} 7. O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 Bd7 {Viswanathan Anand employs a rare move here and Boris Gelfand seems very flustered.} 9. a3 {48 minutes later, the visibly frustrated Boris Gelfand plays a3. To be perfectly blunt, Gelfand needs to improve his gamesmanship. I see absolutely no reason why deciding between a3 or Qe2 here should put a player in severe time trouble. A position like this is less about calculating and more about choosing a plan. Gelfand’s epic indecisiveness put him at a distinct disadvantage. Should a position occur that does need deep calculation later, Boris will not have time to handle it properly. Furthermore, his painful facial expressions and long thinking time tells Anand that he is now in the driver’s seat and that Gelfand is not comfortable in this position.} Ba5 10. Qe2 {In the end, I don’t think it really matters much as to which order Gelfand played his moves in. Starting with the more forcing a3 seems to make sense as it leaves Anand less wiggle room. I just don’t understand why Boris Gelfand would put himself behind the “8 ball” because of the time difference.} Bc6 {This plan was introduced and played regularly by Ratmir D. Kholmov in the mid 1960’s.} 11. Rd1 {Michael Aigner once told me, “if you don’t know what to do, try placing your rook in the same file as your opponent’s queen.” It’s solid advice.} Bxc3 {Viswanathan Anand introduces a novelty to this game. Anand has always liked his knights but I was more than a little surprised to see him trade-off his bishop here.} 12. bxc3 Nbd7 {I am totally shocked by this move. Everyone who knows anything must have been expecting Anand to play Ba4 here. Viswanathan is really thinking “outside the box.” Getting back to Ba4… If Anand had played Ba4 then once Gelfand moves his rook he can play Nc6.} 13. Bd3 Qa5 {I had been considering Be4 here. Clearly Anand feels comfortable in this position because he played the moves as if he only had half-an-hour to live.} 14. c4 {It was either this or Bd2.} cxd4 15. exd4 Qh5 {Not to be underestimated is the value of a queen on an open rank.} 16. Bf4 {I spent some time studying the possibility of Ng5 here. After Anand takes Gelfand’s queen then Gelfand takes back with his bishop. Anand looses his open rank queen and Gelfand has the bishop pair for the end game.} Rac8 17. Ne5 {This is similar to the plan I mentioned on move 16.} Qxe2 18. Bxe2 Nxe5 19. Bxe5 Rfd8 {Boris Gelfand must have been happy to see simplification as he was really getting low on time.} 20. a4 {I understand the logic of moving the isolated pawn forward to cramp black’s queen side pawns, however I do not like allowing Anand to play Ne4.} Ne4 21. Rd3 f6 {At this point, Gelfand is down to just 30 minutes while Anand still has over an hour.} 22. Bf4 Be8 {This is a very drawish endgame for these two champions under normal conditions. Boris Gelfand’s misapplied time usage put him in a very dangerous position.} 23. Rb3 Rxd4 24. Be3 Rd7 {I can not believe Anand offered Gelfand a draw here. Boris Gelfand was down to 13 minutes on his clock and Anand still had over an hour. If, somehow, Anand does not end up retaining the world title, chess analysts will definitely be questioning this sportsman like decision for decades to come. As a fan of chess, I would have loved to see Anand try to swindle a win from his opponent under time pressure.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 10

May 26, 2012

Before the start of the 2012 World Chess Championship, many notable experts on chess considered Boris Gelfand to be a weak contender and a huge underdog against Viswanathan Anand. Now that ten hard games have been fought, the underdog has proven himself to be the equal of the world champion. Perhaps Boris Gelfand will surprise the world again by demonstrating his superiority over Viswanathan Anand in the last two games. Regardless if Gelfand is successful or not, this should be very exciting chess to watch.

Below is my analysis of game 10 from the 2012 World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand:

 

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.24”]

[Round “10”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “B30”]

[Opening “Sicilian”]

[Variation “Rossolimo, 3…e6 4.b3”]

1. e4 c5 {Another Sicilian defence.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 {I was surprised to see Anand play the Rossolimo (3. Bb5) rather than the classical line of 3 d4. The Rossolimo and its cousin the Moscow (2. …d6 3. Bb5+) are favorites of players who want to avoid constantly relearning new trends in the ever-changing Sicilian.} e6 {Often times you see black play g6 or d6 here as well.} 4. Bxc6 {White has plenty of other options if he does not want to trade his bishop this early. However, capturing on c6 does score fairly well for white.} bxc6 {Taking back with the d-pawn is not to be recommended.} 5. b3 {This move is a bit of a rarity. More often white plays d3 here.} e5 {Speaking of rare moves! This move has only been used twice previously to this game. Wow! Boris Gelfand is incredibly confident and very well prepared.} 6. Nxe5 {This line is from the game Dmitry Bocharov vs. Evgeny Shaposhnikov, 2001. There are no other recorded games that contain this position.} Qe7 7. Bb2 d6 8. Nc4 d5 {Shaposhnikov played Qxe4 here. Boris Gelfand has other plans. It is immediately obvious that Gelfand gains space free of spending tempi.} 9. Ne3 d4 {Gelfand gains even more space. This is an interesting line. The added space and bishop pair roughly equals white’s advantage in pawn structure.} 10. Nc4 Qxe4+ {Now the queens will come off the board and we will have an equal yet imbalanced endgame ahead.} 11. Qe2 Qxe2+ 12. Kxe2 Be6 13. d3 Nf6 14. Nbd2 O-O-O {Boris Gelfand wants his king on the side of the board with his weak pawns. Now that Anand is missing his queen and light bishop, Gelfand feels confident that his king should be a useful piece and no longer hidden.} 15. Rhe1 Be7 16. Kf1 Rhe8 {I like all of Gelfand’s pieces except for his bishop on e7.} 17. Ba3 {Anand’s bishop was of very limited use on b2. Now it is targeting a weakness. Another way to gain influence for the bishop and the rook on a1 would be to play a3 followed by b4.} Nd5 {Anand should have been expecting this. Gelfand’s plan is to put his knight on b4.} 18. Ne4 Nb4 19. Re2 Bxc4 {This move might not be the first choice among amateurs. However, after the game, Anand claimed Gelfand’s exchange was necessary otherwise he would double his rooks in the “e” file and then move his bishop to f4 by way of c1.} 20. bxc4 f5 21. Bxb4 {Anand could have also placed his knight on g3. At least the move he chose is slightly more complex.} cxb4 22. Nd2 Bd6 23. Rxe8 Rxe8 24. Nb3 c5 {A beginner mistake is taking a2 with the bishop. After white plays b3 your bishop is trapped.} 25. a3 {Anand plans to get rid of his weak pawn and give his rook more scope. After the move was played, however, he offers Gelfand a draw.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 9

May 24, 2012

Game 9 of the 2012 World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand was a very exciting affair. Boris Gelfand came  close to a win but in the end Viswanathan Anand defended like a world champion. Scholastic chess players would be very wise if they try to comprehend the method in which Anand avoided a loss in this game. As is usually the case, my analysis of game 9 from the 2012 World chess Championship is below.

(For ease of reading try copying the text below and pasting it into your favorite chess program.)

 

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.23”]

[Round “9”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “E54”]

[Opening “Nimzo-Indian”]

[Variation “Main Line, Karpov, 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Rc1”]

1. d4 Nf6 {Anand has chosen to play a different defense to d4. This will not be a slav or semi-slav as in game 2, game 4, game 6 and game 7. After he lost in game 7, I can’t say that I blame Anand for trying a different opening.} 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 {This is the Nimzo-Indian Defence. Over the years, Viswanathan Anand has had tremendous success with this opening.} 4. e3 {Gelfand chooses the Rubinsten line of the Nimzo-Indian.} O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 {Neither Gelfand or Anand is straying from the main line.} 7. O-O dxc4 {Anand chooses the second favorite here. Most popular is Nbd7.} 8. Bxc4 cxd4 {Again, Anand chooses the second most common move. Nbd7 is played three times as often as Anand’s choice.} 9. exd4 b6 {Anyone wanting to learn more about this position should consult the games of Anatoly Karpov. Incidently, Karpov turned 61 today.} 10. Bg5 {Boris Gelfand seemed comfortable and prepared for the Nimzo-Indian.} Bb7 11. Qe2 {I’ve seen this move recently in Nakamura-Giri 2011.} Nbd7 {Anand likes the second favorite choice today. More common and much better scoring is Bxc3.} 12. Rac1 Rc8 13. Bd3 {Boris Gelfand still seems at home in this opening even when choosing this rarely played move. Anand, on the other hand, seems very nervous.} Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qc7 15. c4 Bxf3 {This move has only been played once before and that was on 2/12/12 in the game Kari Pulkkinen vs Jyrki Parkkinen. I doubt Anand knows of this obscure game from Finland. At any rate, I do not like the idea of black voluntarily giving away his bishop, which has great range, for a knight of common placement.} 16. Qxf3 {Boris Gelfand must be pleased to have the bishop pair in an open position.} Rfe8 17. Rfd1 h6 18. Bh4 Qd6 19. c5 {I definitely noticed Anand relax here. It is my guess that he was more concerned about seeing Bg3. Some have criticized Gelfand’s choice as being inaccurate. I do not see this as being the case. In fact, for the remainder of the game, Boris Gelfand has very little chance of loosing but maintains good attacking chances.} bxc5 {Anand must know he will lose his queen in a discovered attack but feels he can defend the position to a draw afterwords.} 20. dxc5 Rxc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23. Rd1 Rec8 24. h3 {Now that the fireworks are finished, Gelfand chooses a slow move to see what the World Champion’s plan will be.} Ne5 25. Qe2 Ng6 26. Bxf6 {Gelfand must take here or else Anand will get his knight to d5 and then a rook on c7. This type of structure is known as a fortress. Using a fortress is not very fun at all but if successful can keep a player from receiving a loss.} gxf6 27. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28. Kh2 Rc7 {Now Anand needs to place his knight on d5 and the fortress will be complete.} 29. Qb2 Kg7 30. a4 {Boris Gelfand is playing like a computer and that is not a good thing. His move does nothing to stop Anand from playing Ne7 and then Nd5. A move like g4 would offer the most difficult complications for both white and black.} Ne7 31. a5 Nd5 {With his fortress in place, Viswanathan Anand will have to wait and see if his opponent can crack his improvised defence.} 32. a6 {At some point, if Gelfand wants to, he can place his queen on b7!} Kh7 {Anand will wait and see what Gelfand may have up his sleave.} 33. Qd4 {If Boris Gelfand wants a draw he could begin a repetition sequence with Qb1+. Then if Anand plays Kg7 he can place his queen back onto b2.} f5 34. f4 {The move g4 was also playable but I fail to see how it would break Anand’s fortress. Perhaps starting with pawn to h4, then pawn to g4 and then g5 could create some king safety issues for Anand.} Rd7 35. Kg3 {Gelfand is planning on bringing his king to h4. I am not sure how that will help break Anand’s defence.} Kg6 36. Qh8 {Gelfand has nothing left but to try and swindle Anand into making a blunder. It’s nice to see a top grand master using a strategy commonly employed by a chess hustler.} Nf6 {Scholastic players would be wise to study how Anand handles this endgame.} 37. Qb8 h5 38. Kh4 Kh6 39. Qb2 Kg6 40. Qc3 Ne4 41. Qc8 Nf6 42. Qb8 Re7 43. g4 {This is Boris Gelfand’s final attempt to trick Anand into a blunder.} hxg4 44. hxg4 fxg4 45. Qe5 Ng8 {Now Boris Gelfand knows this will be a draw.} 46. Qg5+ Kh7 47. Qxg4 f6 48. Qg2 Kh8 49. Qe4 Kg7 {Boris Gelfand came very close to a win but in the end Viswanathan Anand defended like a world champion.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 8

May 21, 2012

Round eight of the 2012 World Chess Championship saw reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand return to form and deliver a stunning knock-out blow to his opponent Boris Gelfand. Anand’s decisive plan began with the deceptively quiet move of “10 Qd2” and finished with Boris Gelfand’s queen being trapped on move 17. After Boris resigned, chess enthusiasts realised that this game was, in fact, the shortest World Chess Championship game in the history of chess. Below is my analysis of the game:

(For ease of reading try copying the text below and pasting it into your favorite chess program.)

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.21”]

[Round “8”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1-0”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 {Thus far this is the dame as game 3. Obviously, Anand must have liked his chances with this Anti-Grunfeld move.} c5 {What? Boris Gelfand is deviating. I thought for sure Gelfand would continue as in game 3 with pawn to d5. Gelfand and his team must feel that his best chances are to keep surprising Anand.} 4. d5 {After this move the opening has transposed to being more of a Benoni (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5) than a Grunfeld.} d6 5. e4 Bg7 {Gelfand puts his bishop “in the house.” Normally this is done right after black plays g6.} 6. Ne2 {The pawn on f3 helped Anand achieve an intimidating center but has the disadvantage of taking the f3 square away from his knight.} O-O 7. Nec3 {Anand is very prepared. This rare move looks starnge but has scored very well for white. In this position, 7 Nec3 was first played by Walter Arencibia Rodriguez in his game against Julio Boudy at the 1986 Capablanca Memorial. In that game white lost, but Walter’s idea has proven to be very successful in the twenty-first century.} Nh5 {Boris Gelfand probably had not prepared for the position he finds himself in. I believe a6, as in Klauser-Vogt 1994, was probably his best bet. However, I find Boris’ invention to be very intriguing.} 8. Bg5 {The most logical choice and an invitation to Boris to play h6.} Bf6 {Very strange. I am not a fan of this move at all. Strong players generally try to preserve their fianchetto. There is nothing wrong with accepting Anand’s invitation and playing h6. If Boris did not want to oblige Anand he could have also played a standard move like Nbd7.} 9. Bxf6 {Here I was prepared to see Gelfand play Nxf6. Instead he surprise me and captured with the pawn so that he can play f5.} exf6 10. Qd2 {At the time this move surprised me. After seeing the conclusion of the game, this marks the start of Anand’s diabolical plan. I am sure Anand already had ideas about the tactics he would eventually use to force Boris to resign. Indeed, this is my favorite move of the match thus far.} f5 {Boris played as expected.} 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. g4 {Boris thinks Anand is just playing aggressively to win the match. If he only knew the brilliant trap his opponent has set for him.} Re8+ 13. Kd1 Bxb1 14. Rxb1 Qf6 {Boris Gelfand blunders his queen!! Play should have continued 14…Ng7 15.Kc2 Nd7 16.Be2 Qh4 17.Nb5 Qe7 18.Rbe1 Rad8. Perhaps Gelfand thought Anand was just going overlooking the obvious tactic winning the pawn and the exchange. In chess it is wise to never accept your opponent’s gifts without first checking to see that they do not contain poison.} 15. gxh5 Qxf3+ 16. Kc2 Qxh1 17. Qf2 {Surprise Boris! Your queen is trapped.} 1-0

Anand-Gelfand 2012: The World Awaits Game 7

May 20, 2012

Chess fans the world over are eagerly awaiting the start of game 7 in the 2012 Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship. Many visitors to this site from India are becoming more concerned that their national hero’s best years are behind him and he may not have enough desire to keep the world chess championship in an Indian’s hands. Likewise, chess fans in Israel are concerned that Boris Gelfand will likely be their only world championship contender in the forseeable future. If he fails, so does Israel in producing a world chess champion. Indeed, the stakes are very high for these two ageing stars and money takes the back seat to fulfilling the dreams of their countrymen.

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 6

May 19, 2012

Game six of the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand began in exactly the same manner as games two and four. By move six, Boris Gelfand decided to try a different line against Anand’s Semi-Slav.  The real fun began when Anand decided to gambit a pawn on move 14. Unfazed by his opponent’s ingenuity, Gelfand guided the position into a “soft landing” and another draw. Below are my light comments on the game:

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.18”]

[Round “6”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[Opening “Semi-Slav”]

1. d4 {Boris Gelfand continues to start with 1 d4.} d5 2. c4 c6 {Again, Anand plays 2 c6.} 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 {A Semi-Slav as in games two and four.} 5. Nf3 a6 {Anand has been liking this Chebanenko style move.} 6. Qc2 {Boris Gelfand chooses to play Qc2. In games two and four he played b3.} c5 {Anand starts the action. Nbd7 is more conservative but very popular.} 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Be2 {8 dxc5 scores poorly for white.} Be6 9. O-O Nc6 10. Rd1 cxd4 {Nb4 here has been producing good results for black. If white responds with 11. Qd2 then black can play Ne4. If white plays 11. Qb1 then Qc8 is best. We may see Anand use this line later in the match.} 11. Nxd4 Nxd4 12. Rxd4 {exd4 looks more natural but leaves white with an isolated pawn.} Bc5 {Develop with threats.} 13. Rd1 Qe7 {This is from Elkin-Jakovljevic 2010. Black won in that encounter. Since then there has been 1 win for white and 1 draw from this position.} 14. Bf3 O-O {Here is something new. In the three other games, black has played Rd8 in order to add a defender to d5. Anand is willing to lose the pawn and play a gambit. In other words, Viswanathan Anand is definately trying for a win.} 15. Nxd5 {Taking with the knight or bishop leads to the same result.} Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Rxd5 Rac8 {The point of the gambit. Now black has a dangerous discovered attack.} 18. Bd2 {Boris Gelfand plays the best move. Qd3 would allow Anand even more dangerous development with Rfd8.} Bxe3 {Anand gets his pawn back.} 19. Bc3 Bb6 20. Qf5 Qe6 21. Qf3 {If Qxe6 then Bxf2+.} f6 22. h4 {Kind of odd. Most strong players would play Rab1 and thus stack their rooks.} Qc6 23. h5 {Now we see the Boris intends to keep Anand’s pawns where they are on the dark squares.} Rfd8 24. Rxd8+ Rxd8 25. Qxc6 bxc6 26. Re1 Kf7 27. g4 Bd4 28. Rc1 Bxc3 29. Rxc3 Rd4 {In Anand-Gelfand 2012 this is a draw. If I was playing Anand or Gelfand, I am sure they could teach me how to lose from here.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 5

May 18, 2012

Game 5 of the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand began with 1 e4. Gelfand, as was expected, opted for a Sicilian Defence. This game, like its four predecessors, was incredibly well-played and ended in a draw. Anyone who was hoping this match would be a blood sport must be disappointed. Chess purists, on the other hand, can delight in two humans playing superb chess. Below are my thoughts on game 5:

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.17”]

[Round “5”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “B33”]

[Opening “Sicilian”]

[Variation “Pelikan, Chelyabinsk, 9.Nd5 Be7, 11.c3”]

1. e4 {Anand changes course and uses 1 e4.} c5 {This is what I expected to see from Gelfand should the opportunity arise.} 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 {The Sicilian Pelikan is a fun change of pace for this match.} 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 {I have only 43,412 serious games where this move has been played.} 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c4 {More popular here is c3. C4 has only been used 2332 times.} b4 12. Nc2 O-O {Other options here are a5 and Rb8.} 13. g3 a5 14. Bg2 Bg5 15. O-O Be6 {Now we are getting down to the point where this move has only been played 59 other times.} 16. Qd3 Bxd5 {Boris Gelfand surprises me here. I figured he would try the relatively new Qb8. Instead he opts for a line with which white has won on all three occasions against fairly low rated black opposition.} 17. cxd5 {Taking this way forces black to retreat the knight.} Nb8 18. a3 {Finally something new. I think Jabukowski’s 18.h4 is more exciting.} Na6 {Again Gelfand surprises me. Why not just take the pawn on a3 and have a slightly better game?} 19. axb4 Nxb4 20. Nxb4 axb4 21. h4 Bh6 {Retreating the bishop anywhere else would allow white to get the c-file.} 22. Bh3 {Now Anand surprised me. I wonder why he didn’t play Qc4.} Qb6 23. Bd7 {That’s why. He wants his bishop on c6.} b3 24. Bc6 Ra2 25. Rxa2 bxa2 {The pawn is one step away but will go no further.} 26. Qa3 Rb8 27. Qxa2 1/2-1/2

 

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 4

May 17, 2012

The World Chess Championship of 2012 saw yet another draw in round 4. As in game two, Boris Gelfand played 1. d4 and Anand opted for another Slav style defense. The key point on this game came on move 16 for black. Viswanathan Anand played Re8 instead of Rc8 and thus avoided whatever diabolical plans his opponent had in store for him. Another point of interest was the potential for a d-file to be completely stacked with pieces. Unfortunately for the artist/chess players like myself, the players avoided the temptation of playing into such a bizarre formation. Below is the game with light analysis:

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.15”]

[Round “4”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “D46”]

[Opening “Semi-Slav”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 Nbd7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O Bd6 {Reposting the Bishop to d6 is the most common choice of the modern grand masters. It is of little use on b4 once white has castled and often become a liability if left there.} 10. Qc2 e5 {This move has only been played 14 times previously. The average rating of those that played e5 here is 2504.} 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. e4 {A wonderfully complex and beautiful position.} exd4 13. Nxd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 {The first time this position was used was way back in 1999 when Timoscenko played Godena. More recently, Irina Krush played white in 2005.} Nf6 15. h3 Bd7 16. Rad1 {This is a very high level move. To most chess players, this move does not look as tempting as Rfe1. However, Boris Gelfand forsees knights taking d-pawns and then eventually having his bishops move out-of-the-way to reveal a rook upon Anand’s queen. Simply amazing planning by Gelfand.} Re8 {I could almost here a expletive shout from Gelfand’s head when Anand did not play Rc8 attacking his Queen. I believe Boris Gelfand was hoping to play Qb2, then Qxd4 and finally Qh4. Having his Queen over on h4 would give him some attacking chances.} 17. Nxd4 Rc8 {Now that Gelfand’s queen can not capture on d4, Anand attacks it and forces it to retreat.} 18. Qb1 h6 19. Nf5 Bxf5 {Anand gladly trades his bishop away to remove the knight which is lurking to close for comfort.} 20. Bxf5 Rc5 {Anand plays the perfect move here and things are starting to look drawish.} 21. Rfe1 Rxd5 22. Bc3 Rxe1+ {definitely drawish.} 23. Rxe1 Bc5 24. Qc2 {Gelfand does not bother playing Bxf6 and exposing his opponent’s king as it would not lead to anything substantial against a player of Anand’s ability. For most of us, Bxf6 would be the most aggressive choice.} Bd4 25. Bxd4 Rxd4 26. Qc8 g6 27. Bg4 h5 {Forcing the trade of queens.} 28. Qxd8+ Rxd8 29. Bf3 b6 {Beginners take note of how Anand plays b6 here. Other pawn moves could lead to trouble.} 30. Rc1 Rd6 {Anand wants the draw. Tournament level players should proceed by playing Rd2 and taking “the seventh.”} 31. Kf1 a5 32. Ke2 Nd5 33. g3 Ne7 34. Be4 Kg7 {No hope for a win by either player.} 1/2-1/2

Anand-Gelfand 2012: Round 3

May 15, 2012

Game three of the 2012 World Chess Championship began with Anand playing 1. d4 and Gelfand playing a Grunfeld as in round 1. As we would expect, Anand’s team has done some preparation with the current world champion on how to counter Boris Gelfand’s new-found strategy. Their strategy of playing 3. f3 nearly produced the first decisive result of the match. Fortunately for Boris Gelfand, Viswanathan Anand missed a possible winning line late in the game and thus did not cash in on his team’s preparation.

[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.14”]

[Round “3”]

[White “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Black “Boris Gelfand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 {Boris Gelfand is probably going “back to the well” of the Grunfeld. Before game 1, he had never employed this defense in serious play.} 3. f3 {Anand has prepared an Anti-Grunfeld for this game.} d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 {This line gives white a beautiful pawn center.} Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 {Black gets a long diagonal for his bishop and easier castleing as compensation for the center.} 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 e5 9. d5 {Anand is happy to keep blacks’s pawn on e5 which limites the value of Gelfand’s Bishop.} c6 {Trying to open the center since white has not castled and attacking white’s space advantage.} 10. h4 {This exciting attacking move is the only choice worth considering for white.} cxd5 11. exd5 {White gets an isolated passed pawn.} N8d7 12. h5 {These moves are straight out of many books on the Grunfeld.} Nf6 13. hxg6 fxg6 14. O-O-O Bd7 15. Kb1 Rc8 16. Ka1 {Nh3 seems more natural here. However, stronger players than myself have played Anand’s move.} e4 {Boris Gelfand’s novelty certainly seems to make sense.} 17. Bd4 Na4 18. Nge2 Qa5 {Gelfand is getting good activity for his pieces.} 19. Nxe4 {Nowe they are basically equal and heading toward an endgame.} Qxd2 20. Nxf6+ Rxf6 21. Rxd2 Rf5 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. d6 Rfc5 {Slightly better here is getting the knight off the rim and back to b6.} 24. Rd1 a5 25. Rh4 {Anand gets his other rook to have more presense in the game.} Rc2 26. b3 Nb2 27. Rb1 Nd3 28. Nd4 Rd2 29. Bxd3 Rxd3 {Gelfand has survived the tricky maneuver but Anand still has the passed pawn.} 30. Re1 Rd2 31. Kb1 {This is where Anand should have “went for it” and played Re7+. Instead, he takes the safe route.} Bf5+ 32. Nxf5+ gxf5 33. Re7+ Kg6 34. Rc7 {Again Anand elects not to play the most aggressive move. Surely d7 would have given Gelfand more trouble.} Re8 35. Rh1 Ree2 36. d7 {Too late now.} Rb2+ 37. Kc1 Rxa2 1/2-1/2

 


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