GM Mihail Marin: Anand's triumph in the final round

9/30/2007 – Anand chose a safe plan against Leko's Marshall Attack and had little trouble to reach the draw that ensured him the supreme title. In a sharp line of the Najdorf, Svidler defeated Grischuk. Morozevich-Gelfand was an interesting hard-fought game. Aronian reacted badly against Kramnik's novelty and went down without too much fight. GM analysis and video interviews with Anand.

World Championship 2007 Mexico

The World Championship 2007 will take place from September 12 to 30 in the Sheraton Centro Histórico Hotel in Mexico City. Eight players are qualified – the tournament will be a double round robin. The prize fund is US $1.3 million.

Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

GM Mihail Marin in his analysis kitchen at home in Romania

The following express commentary was provided by Romanian Mihail Marin, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Marin will study the games of the World Championship tournament in much greater detail and provide the full results of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine.

Round fourteen commentary by GM Mihail Marin

In a sharp line of the Najdorf, Svidler improved upon his play against Topalov in San Luis 2005. Grischuk was just one move too slow in building his counterplay and found nothing better than simplify to a hopeless ending. Anand chose a safe plan against Leko's Marshall Attack and had little trouble to reach the draw that ensured him the supreme title.

Morozevich-Gelfand was an interesting hard-fought game. After missing a far from obvious possibility to get an advantage, Morozevich was left with just compensation for the sacrificed exchange, eventually leading to a draw. Aronian reacted badly against Kramnik's novelty in a modern line of the Queen's Indian and went down without too much fight.

Svidler,P (2735) - Grischuk,A (2726) [B90]
WCh Mexico City MEX (14), 29.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3 Ne5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 Nbc6 13.Nd5 e6 14.fxe6 fxe6 15.Ne3

15...Qa5+ 16.c3 Nf3+. In San Luis, Topalov managed to surprize and defeat Svidler with this slightly exotic variation. Grischuk's decision to repeat the experiment looks a bit risky, because Svidler had obviously analyzed the position himself, disposing over the invaluable advantage of having faced the variation in a practical game. 17.Qxf3 Bxc3+ 18.Kd1 Qa4+ 19.Nc2 Bxb2

20.Rc1!? Here comes the novelty! The aforementioned game went 20.Qb3 Qxb3 21.axb3 Bxa1 22.Nxa1 Ke7 and White's pieces were more passive than in the present game. 20...Bxc1 21.Qf6 Kd7. Another possibility would be 21...Bb2 22.Qxb2 e5 , but after 23.Bd3 White's position looks preferable anyway. 22.Kxc1 Qxa2. I suppose that this move was not so much dictated by grediness as by the concern about the e6-square. However, the developing move 22...Rac8 might have offered better chances for counterplay. 23.Bd3 Rac8 24.Rd1

White has completed his development (true, not in a very ortodox way) and is the first to create strong threats against the enemy king. 24...d5. For instance, the tempting 24...Nb4? , threatening mate in two, loses to 25.Bb5+! followed by Rxd6+. 25.Bf5 Rhe8 26.Qf7+ Kd8. It might seem that Black has defended and can think about finally launching his counterplay against the c2-knight. 27.Re1!! A very strong move, increasing the pressure against the e6-pawn. 27...Qa3+ The simplifications initiated by this move will not bring Black any relief, but it is hard to suggest an improvement. The key point is that Black is still slow with his counterplay. For instance, 27...Nd4? loses the knight to 28.Qf6+; while 27...Nb4 allows an attack with checks: 28.Qf6+ Re7 29.Qf8+ Kd7 30.Bxe6+ Rxe6 31.Qf7+ Kd8 32.Qg8+! 28.Nxa3 Ne5+ 29.Kd2 Nxf7 30.Bxe6 Rc6 31.Bxf7 Rxe1 32.Kxe1 b5 33.Kd2

White has a decisive material advantage, maintaining an acceptable coordination. The rest is easy. 33...b4 34.Nc2 b3 35.Nd4 Rb6 36.Kc1 a5 37.Bxd5 a4 38.Be5 b2+ 39.Kb1 a3 40.Ba2 Rb7 41.Bd6 Rd7 42.Nb5 1-0. [Click to replay]

Anand,V (2792) - Leko,P (2751) [C89]
WCh Mexico City MEX (14), 29.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5. Nowdays, the Marshall Attack can hardly be considered an aggressive weapon. White can make a draw almost by force, if he really wants to. 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.Re1 Bd6 13.d3 Bf5

14.Nd2 Instead of sticking to his small material advantage, White hurries to complete his development and... win the World title. 14...Nf4 15.Ne4 Nxd3 16.Bg5 Qd7 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.Bc2 Qg6 19.Bxd3 Bxd3 20.Be3. Opposite coloured bishops, symmetrical position, no significant weaklnesses for any side... Yes a draw is the most liley result. Long live the new Champ! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Morozevich,A (2758) - Gelfand,B (2733) [C42]
WCh Mexico City MEX (14), 29.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 This Gelfand's fourth game with the Petroff in this tournament, but the first time when he faces the classical main line. His opponents from the previous games played 5.Nc3. 5...d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Re1

8...Bg4. Nowadays, 8...Bf5 is almost universally played and White usually gets big headaches trying to break Black's fortress. We cannot know whether Gelfand had prepared the slightly more active bishop for the whole tournament or just specially for this game. 9.c4 Nf6 10.Nc3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Nxd4 12.Qd1 Ne6 13.Bf5

13...d4!? Almost never played before. The main continuation is 13...dxc4. 14.Ne2 d3 15.Nf4 Nd4 16.Bxd3. As expected, White has won the courageous pawn, but his pieces have been distracted from the control of the d4-square, allowing Black to install his knight there. 16...0-0 17.Be3 Bc5. A new move. In the only game where 13...d4 was played, Black prefered 17...Bb4 , Polgar-Shirov 1999. We can note Gelfand's different treatment of his bishops. His queen's bishop made a longer move than in the main stream of theory, while his colleague stopped just one square earlier than in the previous game. 18.Qb1!? The start of a far from natural regroupment. 18...Qd6 19.Rd1 Qe5 20.Bxh7+!? Nxh7 21.Nd3 Qf5 22.Nxc5 Nc2 23.b4

A curious position. White has won a pawn and keeps the enemy knight pinned. However, his queenside pieces are temporarily stuck. For instance, the queen cannot move because of ...Nxa1. 23...Qg6?! This careless move, dictated by the understandable desire to unpin the knight as soon as possible, will remain unpunished. Only further analysis will prove which would have been the bets way to maintain the tension. 24.a4. Missing the spectacular 24.Ne6! The knight's incursion with gain of time is unpleasant enough (it could soon reach such a central square as d5), but the point is that after 24...fxe6 the queen remains undefended, allowing 25.Rd2 with a sound extra-pawn for White. 24...Nxa1 25.Qxg6 fxg6 26.Rxa1 Nf6 27.h3 Rfe8 28.a5

White has sufficient compensation for the exchange, because of his active minor pieces and advantage of space on the queenside. 28...b6 29.Nb3 Ne4 30.c5 bxc5 31.Nxc5 Nc3 32.Na6 Nd5 33.Rc1 Nxe3 34.fxe3 Rxe3 35.Rxc7 Re2 36.Kh2 Rf8 37.Rxa7 Rff2 38.Kg3 Rxg2+ 39.Kf3 Rgf2+ 40.Kg3 Rg2+ 41.Kf3 Rgf2+ 42.Kg3 g5 43.b5 Rf4 44.b6 Re3+ 45.Kg2 Re2+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Kramnik,V (2769) - Aronian,L (2750) [E15]
WCh Mexico City MEX (14), 29.09.2007 [Mihail Marin]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3. For the first time in this tournament, Kramnik refrains from the Catalan. Aronian usually answers 3.g3 with 3...c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 b5 and in fact lost his last two games (against Kramnik himself, in their rapid match earlier this year and against Gelfand, here in Mexico.) 3...b6 4.g3. Still, the bishop goes to g2, which seems to suit Kramnik's taste these days. 4...Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3. This was the last chance to transpose to a genuine Catalan with 8.0-0 d5 9.Qc2 , although some might call it a Bogo Indian. 8...d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 b5 15.Re1 bxc4

There have been some discussion in this line lately, but theory is far from being settled yet. 16.Bf1. The main alternative is 16.Qe2. 16...Nb6. Aronian had had this position before, but with the white pieces. However, this previous experience hardly was useful to him for this game because in Aronian-Nakamura, Armenia 2005, a draw was agreed right here. 17.Rb1!? It is curious that this natural developing move, bringing the last piece into play (true in a not entirely "normal" position) is a novelty. Earlier, White mainly tried 17.Nc5. 17...Nd5 18.Ba1 Bb4. These last attacking moves win an exchange almost by force, but leave Black poorly coordinated. Maybe he should look for a way to answer 17.Rb1 with just another developing move, but which? The only possibility that comes up to mind is 17...Re8, but it is not easy to spot in which way this move could be useful. Maybe by avoiding the fork on d7 in case of the generally desirable ...Qb6!? 19.Nc5! Bxe1 20.Qxe1 cxb3. This move is hard to understand. Black will simply lose material, without getting any compensation for it. True, after 20...Nc7 21.bxc4 , Black's minor pieces are miserably placed, but then the criticism should be focused on the 17th and, possibly, 18th moves only. 21.Nxa6 bxa2 22.Rb2

The rest is a matter of technique. 22...Nc7 23.Rxa2 Nxa6 24.Rxa6 Qd7 25.Qc3 f6 26.Qc5 Rf7 27.Bc3 Qb7 28.Qc4 Qd7 29.Bg2 Kh8 30.Bxc6 Qb7 31.Kg2 h6 32.d5 Qb8 33.dxe6 Re7 34.Bb4 Rec7 35.e7 1-0. [Click to replay]

Interviews with Anand

By Vijay Kumar

Click to replay interview

Click to replay interview

Click to replay interview

All results of the round

Round 14: Saturday, Sept. 29th 2007, 14:00h
Peter Svidler 
 Alexander Grischuk
Viswanathan Anand 
 Peter Leko
Alexander Morozevich 
 Boris Gelfand
Vladimir Kramnik 
 Levon Aronian

Final standings


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