The World Chess Championship started at 15:00h in Bonn with a brief opening ceremony and national anthems. Vladimir Kramnik played a solid Exchange Slav and was soon a pawn up, but Vishwanathan Anand had plenty of counterplay and held the draw in what seemed to be a fairly effortless first game.
Not again! The excitement and anticipation of chess fans was met by a cold hearted opening response from Vladimir Kramnik. Only a handful of maestros in fact understand that it is just a tactical decision. Kramnik wanted to show that he is going to try and torture the Tiger from Madras. We have seen similar approach in Kramnik's match against Leko in Brissago 2004. But I am convinced that such attempts have limited chances of success, and in the upcoming games where Kramnik will again sport the white pieces, I expect a string of explosions. After all the press, the sponsors and the chess world deserve some entertainment.
Kibitzing: GM Levon Aronian of Armenia, world number seven ranked player
So, what will the white pieces be serving us next? Tomorrow Anand will be moving first – and I expect him to scare his Russian Petrov-playing adversary. In the past, the Petrov defence has proven to be fertile ground for opening novelties and hotly disputed variations. Surely, the battle for the world title will bring fresh opening revelations (in the Petrov?) and not continue in the same vein that we have witnessed so far.
Kramnik,V (2772) - Anand,V (2783) [D14]
WCh Bonn GER (1), 14.10.2008 [Comments by Malcolm Pein]
It wasn't a riveting start, but you don't get many risks taken in game one when the score is still level. Kramnik asked a question, Anand answered confidently 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5. The Exchange Slav, the sure way to play with zero losing chances so an ideal choice for game one. 4...cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Nf3 e6. Black cannot continue symmetrically for too long of course but this is the most solid choice
8.Qb3 Bb4 9.Bb5 0-0. Black breaks the symmetry but this is still the main line of chess opening theory. 10.Bxc6. 10.0-0 Bxc3 11.Bxc6 Bxb2 12.Bxb7 Bxa1 13.Rxa1 Rc8 14.Bxc8 Qxc8 15.Qa3 Qb7 16.Rc1 Rc8 17.Rxc8+ Qxc8 18.Ne5 Nd7 19.Nxd7 Qxd7 20.Qa6 and in Malakhov-Ivanchuk White calmly exploited his better placed queen by playing Bf4-b8 x a7 and he won. This shows the pleasant edge White can achieve sometimes in this line and Black has to struggle to equalise completely. 10...Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Rc8. Here and on the next move Anand avoids bxc6 when the pawn would be very weak. White can easily exert control over c5 and then lay siege to the pawn. 11...bxc6 12.Qxc6 Qa5+ 13.Qc3 Qxc3+ 14.bxc3 Ne4; 11...bxc6 12.0-0 Qb6 13.Rfc1 and the c5 square is weak. 12.Ne5 Ng4. 12...bxc6 Leaves Black with a permanently weak pawn on an open file. 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.Qb4. 14.Qa3 Rxc6 15.Qxa7 Rc2 16.0-0 Be2 17.Rfc1 Rxb2. 14...Rxc6!
Avoiding the structural weakness referred to above even at the cost of a pawn. If there is one man who can make your life miserable if you have a bad pawn structure it is Kramnik 15.Qxb7 Qc8 16.Qxc8. 16.Qb3 Qa6 and Rfc8 and Rc2 is coming. 16...Rfxc8
Black has compensation for the pawn. He controls the c file completely and has active rooks. 17.0-0 a5 18.f3 Bf5 19.Rfe1 Bg6 20.b3. 20.Kf2 Rc2+ 21.Re2 Rxe2+ 22.Kxe2 Rc2+. 20...f6 21.e4. There is nothing else active White can undertake but now Anand gets some real counterplay. 21...dxe4 22.fxe4 Rd8 23.Rad1 Rc2
White cannot stay a pawn ahead and d4-d5 is well met by e6-e5. The next few move just force simplification and a draw, a minor victory for Anand, he made light of the attempted squeeze. 24.e5. 24.a4 or Rc3 24...e5 25.dxe5 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 fxe5 27.Bxe5 Bxe4; 24.d5 e5. 24...fxe5. 24...Rxa2 25.exf6 gxf6 26.Rxe6 Bc2=. 25.Bxe5 Rxa2 26.Ra1 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Rd5 28.Rc1 Rd7. 28...Rb5 29.Rc7 Rxb3 30.Rxg7+ Kf8 is also harmless. 29.Rc5 Ra7 30.Rc7 Rxc7 31.Bxc7 Bc2 32.Bxa5 Bxb3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay and download this game]
First the national national anthems of India, Russia and FIDE
Anand during the Indian National Anthem (Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he...)
Vladimir Kramnik during the Russian Anthem (Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii...)
During the anthems scores of photographers crowd around the players to get a frontal shot
Chief arbiter Panagiotis Nikolopoulos gives the two players final instructions...
... before the start of the first game of the championship
And finally the World Championship 2008 in Bonn is under way
The venue is the very impressive theatre of the State Art Gallery in Bonn
In the spotlight: Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand battling for the world title
Vladimir Kramnik makes full use of the swivel chair...
... and often leaves Anand to ponder on his own
In the commentary room German GMs Klaus Bischoff and Helmut Pfleger follow the moves
In the press center Aruna Anand (right) greets a first group of Indian journalists (more are awaited)
Outside the Art Gallery we meet an old friend, Ukrainian WIM and Economist Olena Boytsun
That Gucci handbag costs more than the camera and notebook it is used to transport
In the theatre the game is tensing up
Kramnik searches for a way to improve his position, Anand keeps his cool
Vladimir Kramnik makes the penultimate move of the game (31.Be5xRc7)
"There was nothing I could do." When they were asked in the press conference who had
offered the draw the two players were not quite sure. Anand ventured: "the position offered a draw".
After the game the players attend the obligatory press conference, with GM Klaus
Bischoff moderating, with four young ladies in the background representing the sponsors
The hall is packed, only accredited journalists are allowed to ask the players questions
Anand makes a point about the game
Vladimir Kramnik with a backdrop of Gazprom and Evonik girls
This is Madeleine and Yameein representing Evonik and Gazprom
And this is Olga, originally from Russia
Florence, who has completed her studies in comparative European literature and
is looking for a job as a theatre director
All photos by Frederic Friedel in Bonn
|When:||From October 14 – November 02, 2008|
|Where:||Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn|
|Prize fund:||1.5 million Euro (= US $2.35 million)|
|Patron:||German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück|
|Main sponsor:||Evonik Industries AG|
The match consists of twelve games, played under classical time controls: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61. The prize fund is 1.5 million Euro (approximately 2.35 million US Dollars) including taxes and FIDE license fees, and is split equally between the players.
Tickets cost 35 Euro (= US $54.80) per round. They include entry to the playing hall and to the commentary room, where there is analysis and discussions with prominent grandmasters. The tickets are available at all ticket agencies in Germany. You can also buy tickets for the match in advance via BONNTICKET, by email (email@example.com) or telephone (+49-180-5001812).
World Championship live broadcast
Live coverage is available on FoidosChess, an application based on Mircosoft's Silverlight technology. The system uses five parallel video streams to present the players and commentary by grandmasters in German, English, Spanish and Russian.
The games will be also broadcast live on Playchess.com, but without videos and commentary. If you are not a member you can download ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games.