Hot start for stars in Petrosian Memorial

6/11/2004 – The world's top two players, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand, wasted no time in living up to their status. In round one they beat van Wely and Lputian, respectively. The other decisive game was Svidler's win over Gelfand, giving the World team a 3.5-2.5 advantage. Games and analysis here.

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World takes early lead

Round 1 (Thursday, June 10, 2004)
Petrosian Team
2.5 - 3.5
World Team
Kasparov
1-0
van Wely
Leko
½-½
Adams
Gelfand
0-1
Svidler
Akopian
½-½
Vallejo
Vaganian
½-½
Bacrot
Lputian
0-1
Anand

The heavyweights provided all the points on the first day in Moscow. van Wely missed the best defense and fell to a wicked Kasparov kingside attack. Anand squeezed Lputian until he cracked to even the score. The tiebreaker came from Peter Svidler, who downed Boris Gelfand in a powerful game. The other three games were drawn, including the other clash of top-tenners, Leko-Adams.

The pairings weren't quite what we expected, although the top-rated player on each team did face the lowest rated on the other. That meant Kasparov-van Wely, and the world #1 brought his career score against the Dutch champion to 4.5/5 in a very aggressive performance. Anand-Lputian was even more predictable. The Indian has had white against the Armenian twice before and both times beat Lputian's predictable French Defense. It was the same sad song this time around: C18, 1-0. At least the Armenian tried the main line instead of his pet 5...Ba5 that Anand beat him with last time.

Kasparov – van Wely after 31.gxf6

Here is the scene of the crime. Kasparov unleashed a sacrificial combination and here van Wely has quite a few ways to lose and only one way to survive. Taking the bishop is a loser to Qg5, so the knight or the pawn?

Van Wely took the knight and went down in flames after 31..Rxd6 32.Rg2 g6 33.fxg6! 1-0. Mate is forced. 33..Rxf6 34.g7 or 33...fxg6 34.Rxg6+ Kf8 35.Qh8+.

Black could have forced Kasparov to take a repetition draw with 31..gxf6, although opening the g-file looks suicidal. White has nothing better than a draw after 32.Qxf6 Rxd6 33.Rxd6 Bxf3 34.Qg5+ with a perpetual check.

Anand – Lputian after 56...Ra8

Rook and pawn endgames can make us all look bad. It will take more time than we have today to get this one beyond 98.6% certainty (the human limit). Our special endgame helper Shredder says that White missed a forced win and then Black missed excellent drawing chances.

Anand played 57.Kd4, which gives Black a great chance to drag things out with 57...Rf8!. If White takes the pawn Black cuts off his king: 58.Rxa5 Rf4+. White needs to keep the king active with 58.Ke4. 57.Re5! avoids that trick and prepares Kd5.

Lputian instead played 57...Rd8+, pushing the king where it wants to go, and resigned on move 61.


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