(1) Anand,V - Kramnik,V [B96]

Vlad promised to keep fighting to the end, and he made good on that in game 10 with a stunning win but long experience tells us that having to win with black to stay in a match is a feat rarely managed.

A change from the 1.d4 we saw in games 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. Anand invites Kramnik to play his favourite Petroff Defence which can be very drawish, particularly if White wants it to be. The Petroff is one of the reasons Kramnik has not won with black for 2 years

Given the match situation this is the best option and was widely anticipated. Kramnik has to head for an unbalanced position.

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6
A Najdorf! Hardly a Kramnik speciality but needs must. Having missed a win in game 9 and won game 10 at 4-6 down it's win or bust

[6.Be3 Is the main move nowadays but ever since Radjabov and others including Anand have revitalised the Poisoned Pawn for White it has increased the popularity of Bg5]

6...e6 7.f4
7...Qb6 the Poisoned Pawn would not suit Kramnik now as it's Anand's territory and White has many forced drawing lines.

[7...Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 is the focus of attention]

8.Bxf6 gxf6
In 1992 Anatoly Karpov needed a win with Black against Nigel Short at their Candidates match at Linares in 1992. Suffering in 1.e4 e5, Karpov played the Sicilian, allowed Bxf6 gxf6 and Short gave him a good tonking. in a Richter Rauzer in which Black castled kingside into the weakened pawns.

[9.Be2 Nc6 10.Nb3 Qb6 11.Qd2 h5 ]

This looks very odd as it contradicts the basic rules of development but this move prevents both Qh5 and fxe6 and Qh5+

10.Qd3 Nc6 11.Nb3
We are following Kavalek - Chandler Bundesliga 1982

[11...Qb6 12.0-0-0 Bh6+ 13.Kb1 Bf4 coming to e5 looks reasonable also]

12.0-0-0 exf5
Black does not usually do this. It might win a pawn but it ruins the pawn structure and opens lines towards the king. The d5 square is screaming for equine occupation. In fact Kramnk judged this well, Black is doing reasonably well

We can only admire Kramnik's bravado and he was making Anand think. [13.Nd5!? ]

This looks grim but the bishop will emerge

14.Rd5 Qe7 15.Qg3 Rg8
[15...0-0 16.exf5+/= ]

[An implausible variation is 16.Qf4 Be6 17.Rd1 fxe4 18.Nxe4 Bg4 19.Nxd6+ Kf8 20.Bc4 Bxd1 21.Rxd1 Ne5 22.Be2 Rd8 23.Nf5 Rxd1+ 24.Bxd1 Qc7 25.Qb4+ Ke8 26.Nd6+ Kf8 27.Nf5+= ; 16.Qh4!? ]

This surprised me. I was expecting Kramnik to try and get the king to c8

17.Nxe4 f5
[17...Be6 18.Nxd6+ Kf8 19.Rd1 Bg4 20.Qxg4?? Bh6+ is a nice cheapo and this line seems to be sounder for Black than the game]

18.Nxd6+ Kf8
White's back rank is a little weak but now Anand has a simple path to advantage

19.Nxc8 Rxc8 20.Kb1!
[20.Qd6 Nb4 21.Qxe7+ Kxe7 22.Rd2 Bh6-+ Illustrates why it's better to have the king on b1. Now Qe1 can be met by Nc1 or Qc1]

20...Qe1+ 21.Nc1
Anand threatens Qd6+ Ne7 Qd8+ and mate. Kramnik's bishop may look fearsome but it can be neutralised by c2-c3 in most lines

21...Ne7 22.Qd2!
The practical choice forcing a queen exchange as Rd8+ is threatened [22.Qd6 Qe6 23.Qd8+ Rxd8 24.Rxd8# ]

22...Qxd2 23.Rxd2 Bh6 24.Rf2
Defending g2 so that the bishop can come out. Black's weak f5 pawn makes this endgame comfortably better for White. g3 and Bg2 is a threat. Anand is also helped by the presence of opposite coloured bishops, if he doesn't win they make the draw more likely

and Kramnik offered a draw. After Rf3 he is worse and has no winning prospects. In the end a very decent match indeed [24...Be3 25.Rf3 f4 26.g3 Ng6 27.Bh3 Rc7 28.Nd3+/- ] 1/2-1/2