Clash of the Titans: Kasimdzhanov-Anand rapid chess match

4/7/2011 – No, that is not one of the titans, but 11-year-old Timur Igonin, who managed to beat World Champion Vishy Anand in a simultaneous exhibition the next day – and become a darling of the international news media. In the match against Rustam Kasimdzhanov Anand showed no mercy, winning 3.5:0.5. Big illustrated report from Tashkent by Jamshid Begmatov with GM annotations.

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Clash of the Titans: Kasimdzhanov-Anand rapid chess match

Report from Tashkent by Jamshid Begmatov

It was one of those early March evenings, with the winter chill still present, but fruit trees already engaged in a humble attempt to blossom. I received a call from the Uzbek Chess Federation asking me if I’d like to spend some time with Vishy Anand, accompanying and interpreting for him during his forthcoming visit. Well, the Kasim-Vishy match had been in the air for quite some time. It was supposed to take place back in 2006, and had been postponed time and again, until finally confirmed for late March 2011.

The match was organized jointly by the Uzbek Chess Federation and the Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan foundation. Four games with 25 min + 10 sec time control, no blitz tiebreaks, no Armageddon: it was actually a promotional friendly match.

Arrival

Vishy Anand, greeted with flowers, walking out of the VIP lounge at the Tashkent International Airport. It was actually the first time I saw him. Rustam had arrived a day before.

The two champs, friends and rivals, walk out of the airport area. I join them at the car, introduce myself to Vishy, and we proceed to the hotel. This was my very first conversation with the Tiger of Madras:

JB: Mr. Anand, can I call you by your first name?
VA: Sure, please call me Vishy. But to confuse you a bit, it is not my first name.
JB: I believe it’s your patronymic?
VA: Yes, and we don’t have family names.

Preparation

Luxury suites at the Intercontinental hotel had been booked for both players. The same hotel was the venue for the match. A 300-seat Chrystal Ballroom was booked. The match was so popular that the seats were full, and there were half as many people standing, as you will see in the video below!

The day before the match, Rustam visited the playing hall and checked all the conditions: lighting, height of tables and chairs, location and possible noise of cameras, etc. And here’s the ‘discussion’ I had with Vishy about playing conditions:

JB: Would you like to see the playing hall?
VA: Why?
JB: Well... just to see the conditions.
VA: Hmm... Do they have a table, chairs and a chess board?
JB: Yes.
VA: Ok, I'm fine with that.

The match

The match was opened by the unannounced surprise guest – FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (right) and the President of the Uzbek Chess Federation Abdulla Aripov.

Before the match, many people believed it would end in a friendly draw. One journalist even told me the score of each game: according to him, game one would be won by Anand, followed by two fighting draws, and Kasim would win the last game to save the match and please the public.

From the final score (3.5:0.5 for Anand) you may get the wrong impression that it was a complete rout for Kasim, and you would be wrong. Had he been able to take the much deserved full point in either of game one or game two, who knows how the match would end. But after going down in game two, Rustam really lost the thread and I guess his spirit broke. You better look through the games with commentaries by GM Anton Filippov.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

Grandmaster Anton Filippov doing game commentary in my home studio. Anton shared first in the 5th Agzamov Memorial on which I was supposed to publish a report here on ChessBase, but couldn’t due to time constraints.

Most of the time I was busy with my first time experience doing a live broadcast on the Playchess server. As soon as I left my desk, I’d be grabbed by journalists for an interview or something. So I owe big thanks to Julia Panchuk of the Chess Federation for replacing me as the photographer, and that young lady at the laptop – Irina Gevorgian – for her invaluable assistance during live broadcasts. Between us is the Kazakh GM Anuar – the Poker Star – Ismagambetov.

As the last game finishes, walks in another unannounced surprise guest, Gulnara Karimova, the President of the Forum of Culture and Arts of Uzbekistan Foundation. In her closing speech, Ms. Karimova gave a clear message that her foundation was increasingly interested in developing chess in Uzbekistan, and that best effort would be made to bring one of next year’s Grand Prix’s to Tashkent.

To give you a better feel of the atmosphere, I’ve prepared this short video. My apologies for the rather imperfect quality.

The simuls

It was a terrific experience for Uzbek youngsters to play the World Champion and World Number one. Twenty of the strongest young players were selected to try and give Vishy a hard time.

In this photo, I’m telling Vishy who plays how well, and with whom to be more careful. Actually, four players were rated above 2300, another few above 2200 – a very tough opposition for a simul!

The simul underway. Of the 20 games, Vishy won 12, drew 6, and lost 2. One of the winners was 11-year-old Timur Igonin, the other – a member of the women’s national team Hulkar Tahirjanova!


A short video from the simul, with Uzbek voiceover and English subtitles

Here are the two games Vishy lost (with apologies to the World Champion):

Anand,Viswanathan - Tokhirjanova,Hulkar [A26]
Simul Tashkent, 28.03.2011
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 f5 6.d3 Nf6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Rb1 d6 9.b4 Be6 10.b5 Ne7 11.a4 b6 12.Ng5 Bd7 13.Ba3 Rc8 14.Bb4 h6 15.Nf3 Kh7 16.a5 Be6 17.axb6 axb6 18.Nd2 Qd7 19.Ra1 f4 20.Ra7 Bh3 21.Nde4 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Qe6 23.Nxf6+ Rxf6 24.Ne4 Rf7 25.Qd2 Nf5 26.Rfa1 Nd4

27.Bxd6? cxd6 28.Rxf7 Qxf7 29.Nxd6 f3+ 30.Kh1 Qd7 31.Nxc8 Qh3 32.Rg1 Nxe2 33.Qe1 Nxg1 34.Qxg1 Qxc8 0-1. [Click to replay]


Hulkar in the YouTube report above

Anand,Viswanathan - Igonin,Timur [A26]
Simul Tashkent, 28.03.2011
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 Nge7 6.0-0 0-0 7.d3 d6 8.Rb1 f5 9.Bd2 h6 10.b4 g5 11.b5 Nd4 12.Nxd4 exd4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxd5+ Kh8 15.a4 f4 16.a5 Rb8 17.Qc2 Bh3 18.Rfc1 fxg3 19.hxg3 Qf6 20.Be1 h5 21.c5?

21...h4! 22.cxd6 hxg3 23.f3 Qxd6 24.Be4 Qf4 25.Bd2 Qh4 26.e3 Bg2 0-1. [Click to replay]


I beat Anand!! 11-year-old Timur Igonin won a game in the simul


A somewhat exhausted Anand poses with his opponents in the tough simultaneous exhibition

Next day it was Rustam’s turn to play a simul against Uzbek youngsters. He played 22 boards and actually performed much better: 16 wins and six draws.

Copyright Begmatov/ChessBase


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