Anand leads at the Champions Showdown

by Priyadarshan Banjan
11/12/2016 – The Showdown in Saint Louis sees two former World Champions take on two of the brightest youngsters in the world of chess. Veselin Topalov led the field at the end of two rounds with a score of 1.5/2. On day two, it was Vishy Anand who scored the only decisive victory over Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces. The Indian now leads the tournament with 2.5/4. We have an illustrated report along with analysis by a 12-year-old Fide Master, who explains you the intricacies without the use of a computer.

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Pictures from the Facebook page of Saint Louis Chess Club

Champions Showdown 2016

Follow games live on Playchess 

The Schedule of the tournament: There will double round robin time control event with 60 minutes and five seconds delay. This will be followed by six rounds of Rapid chess (15 minutes + 5 seconds delay) and finally there will be twelve rounds of 3 minutes + 2 seconds delay blitz on the final day.

This is how the standings looked after day one

Previous report on round one and two

Round three

Topalov came into the third round the next day in good spirits — he was leading after a crushing win over Caruana and now had black against an equally uncompromising player.

Naka was also looking forward to a titanic struggle when something unbelievable happened!

Topalov blundered on the 12th move with ...Bf5??! White to play and win..

[Event "2016 Champions Showdown"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.11.11"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E35"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2760"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [TimeControl "3600"] [WhiteClock "0:55:03"] [BlackClock "0:47:51"] 1. d4 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 2. c4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} e6 {[%emt 0: 00:01]} 3. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:01]} Bb4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 4. Qc2 {[%emt 0:00:01]} d5 {[%emt 0:00:02]} 5. cxd5 {[%emt 0:00:02]} exd5 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 6. Bg5 { [%emt 0:00:01]} h6 {[%emt 0:00:13]} 7. Bh4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} c5 {[%emt 0:00:44]} 8. dxc5 {[%emt 0:00:01]} g5 {[%emt 0:00:37]} 9. Bg3 {[%emt 0:00:01]} Ne4 { [%emt 0:00:00]} 10. e3 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Bf5 $4 {28 Topalov blunders.} 11. Bxb8 {235} Nxc3 {457} 12. Qxf5 {[%emt 0:00:18]} Ne4+ {[%emt 0:00:00]} 13. Ke2 { [%emt 0:00:15]} Qxb8 {147} 14. Qxd5 {13 White is already two pawns up. But not only that! He is also winning a piece!} 1-0

Caruana put Vishy under pressure with black!

But Anand turned the tables and gained an edge. It was not enough as the long game ended in a draw.

Round 3 
White Result Black
Nakamura,Hikaru 1 - 0 Topalov,Veselin
Anand,Viswanathan ½ - ½  Caruana,Fabiano

Round 4

Caruana took on Topalov again. After losing so quickly in the previous round, Topalov didn't do anything 'amazing' this time around and settled for a draw.

Nakamura was leading the event after defeating Topalov and now had white against Vishy. But Anand roared with the black pieces in an unbalanced game. 

12-year-old FM Nihal Sarin has annotated this game. He says, "Anand sacrificed an exchange early in the opening and got excellent compensation. I think white could and should have delayed Ne5 move." But what should Naka have played instead? Nihal proposes a crazy idea:

[Event "2016 Champions Showdown"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.11.11"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A21"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2779"] [Annotator "Nihal, Sarin"] [PlyCount "84"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] [SourceDate "2003.06.08"] [TimeControl "3600"] [WhiteClock "0:00:55"] [BlackClock "0:02:40"] 1. c4 {[%emt 0:00:03]} e5 {20 This is a very popular response against 1.c4. It leads to some kind of Sicilian with an extra move for white, but black gets good play in the center.} 2. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Bb4 $5 {0 Intending to take on c3 at some point.} 3. Nd5 {0 This is the most natural move.} Bc5 {0 This is by far the main move. (372 games in Mega 2016)} (3... Be7 {is also very popular.(371 games in Mega 2016)}) 4. Nf3 {[%emt 0:00:12]} c6 {[%emt 0:00:01]} (4... e4 5. d4 Bf8 6. Ng5 c6 7. Nc3 f5 8. h4 $5 {Tomashevsky,E (2758) -Moiseenko,A (2692) Wch Blitz Berlin 2015 (3) 1-0}) 5. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:00]} d6 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 6. e3 {[%emt 0:00:05]} Bb4 {22 Again going behind the knight.} 7. d4 {[%emt 0:00:07]} e4 {[%emt 0:00:02]} 8. Nd2 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Bxc3 { [%emt 0:00:00]} 9. bxc3 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:00]} 10. Ba3 {4 A novelty from Nakamura.} (10. f3 {was tried in Nepomniachtchi,I (2740)-Anand,V (2776) Moscow Tal Memorial 10th 2016 (8) 1/2-1/2.}) 10... O-O {[%emt 0:00:10]} 11. c5 {0 The pawn structure is changing.} (11. Be2 Re8 12. O-O h5 $5 {Black plans h4 or Bg4.} 13. Rb1 (13. Bxh5 {falls into a cute trap...} Qa5 $1 { Attacking both the bishops.}) 13... h4 14. h3 Na6 (14... b6 $5) 15. Qa4 (15. c5 dxc5 (15... d5 16. Bxa6 bxa6 17. Qa4 Re6 {is not bad for black.}) 16. Bxa6 Qa5 17. Bxb7 Bxb7 18. Bxc5) 15... c5 16. Qb3 (16. Nb3 b6 17. Qc6 Bf5 18. Rfd1 Qc7 ( 18... Qe7 19. dxc5 dxc5 20. Nd4 $1) 19. Qb5 Bd7 20. Qxa6 Bc8 21. Qa4 Bd7 22. Qa6 Bc8 23. Qa4 (23. Qb5 a6) 23... Bd7) 16... Qa5 17. Qb2 b6 18. Nb3 Qa4 19. Nd2 Nc7 20. Bd1 Qd7 {Black is comfortable here.}) 11... d5 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 12. Be2 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Re8 {55 Very logical move.} 13. O-O {[%emt 0:00:34]} (13. c4 $5 Qa5 {This seems to be the best reply. Maybe this is the reason why Naka rejected 13.c4.} 14. Qb3 Na6 15. Rd1 b6 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. c6 (17. Bb5 Bd7 18. c6 Bg4 19. Rc1 Nc7 20. Bf1 b5 21. Bb4 Qb6) 17... Bg4 18. Bxg4 Nxg4 19. O-O Rac8 $15) 13... b5 $5 {213 This move is aimed against c4.} 14. Bc1 {[%emt 0:00:52]} a6 {99} 15. a4 {[%emt 0:00:03]} Qd7 {44 A very closed position has arisen. Black wants to play something like Qb7, Bf5 and Nbd7, or Ra7 and Rb7 followed by Qf5 and Qg6/ g5 with a comfortable position.} 16. f4 {315 Naka tries to close the position on the kingside.} exf3 {129 This is, of course, a natural and strong move.} 17. Nxf3 {[%emt 0:00:19]} Ne4 {462} 18. Ne5 {87 I think white could have delayed it.} (18. Qc2 $5 f6 (18... Qb7 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Bxd2 Nd7 21. Rxf7 $5 {This could be dubious, but not easy to defend against it in a practical game.} (21. c4 $5 {This is really crazy!} bxc4 22. Rxf7 Kxf7 23. Qxh7 Nf6 24. Rf1 $13 {May be white is losing here, but it not easy to defend this position for black.} Ke6 $2 (24... Bf5 $3 $11) 25. Bg4+ $1 {Here a good move!} Nxg4 26. Qf5+ Ke7 27. Qf7+ Kd8 28. Ba5+ $18 {No pawn on c3!}) 21... Kxf7 22. Qxh7 Nf6 23. Rf1 Ke6 24. Qf5+ (24. Bg4+ $1 Nxg4 25. Qf5+ (25. Qg6+ $1 Nf6 26. Rxf6+ gxf6 27. Qxe8+ Qe7 (27... Kf5 28. g4+ Kxg4 29. Qg6+ Kf3 30. Qg2#) 28. Qxc6+ $18) 25... Ke7 26. Qf7+ Kd8 {White unfortunately has a pawn on c3!}) 24... Ke7 25. Qg6 Kf8 26. Bh5 Be6 27. e4 Bf7 28. Rxf6 gxf6 29. Qxf6 Kg8 30. Qg5+ Kf8 31. Qh6+ Kg8 32. Qg5+ $11) 19. Nd2 Nxd2 20. Bxd2) 18... Rxe5 {91 Forced, but strong.} 19. dxe5 {[%emt 0:00:04]} Nxc3 {[%emt 0:00:39]} 20. Qc2 { 274} Nxa4 {162 Black gets two pawns for the exchange, and white has two more( atleast one more)weak pawn/s But his small problem is that his queenside pieces are still at their starting positions, but they will come out soon.} 21. e4 {274 White has to try to open the game as fast as possible.} Qe8 {35 Anand attacks the e5 pawn, and has some intentions of playing Be6 and Nd7.} 22. Bd3 { 831} (22. exd5 Qxe5 23. Bf4 Qc3 24. Qxc3 Nxc3 25. Bf3 Nxd5 26. Bxd5 cxd5 27. Rfd1 Bb7 {Black has excellent compensation.}) 22... d4 {194} 23. e6 {113 Only try. Otherwise white is almost completely hopeless after Be6.} Bxe6 {[%emt 0: 00:09]} 24. Bf4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} a5 $1 {101 Anand wants to play Na6.} 25. Bd6 { 116} Na6 {[%emt 0:00:10]} 26. e5 {[%emt 0:00:00]} g6 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 27. Rf4 { 397 With some hopes of attacking along the h-file.} Nb4 {646} 28. Qd2 {[%emt 0: 00:00]} Nxd3 {15 It is important to eliminate the bishop.} 29. Qxd3 {82} Nc3 { 126} 30. Rxd4 {[%emt 0:00:07]} b4 $17 {131 The black pawns are very fast.} 31. Qd2 {113} h5 {102 Reducing the effect of Qh6.} 32. h3 {[%emt 0:00:53]} Qd8 { 217 Anand wants to prevent Bc7 in future.} 33. Rf1 {[%emt 0:00:14]} Kh7 { 97 A useful prophylactic move, preventing Qh6.} 34. Rf6 {124} Nd5 {[%emt 0:00: 55]} 35. Qg5 {[%emt 0:00:02]} Qg8 {116 There is no need to take on f6 immediately.} 36. Qh4 {294} (36. Rh4 {May look scary, but black has nothing to fear after...} Qg7) 36... Nxf6 {73} 37. exf6 {[%emt 0:00:18]} b3 $19 {14 The game is decided. Nakamura fights desperately, but Anand wins easily.} 38. Be5 { [%emt 0:00:10]} Qf8 {[%emt 0:00:15]} 39. Rd6 {89} Bd5 {[%emt 0:00:17]} 40. Kh2 {152} a4 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 41. Qb4 {[%emt 0:00:21]} Qe8 {[%emt 0:00:23]} 42. Bb2 {[%emt 0:00:14]} a3 $1 {83 A good game. Anand sacrificed an exchange early in the opening and got excellent compensation. I think white could and should have delayed Ne5 move. The sacrifice with Rxf7 looks interesting.} 0-1

Image result for Nihal Sarin chessbase

The above game has been annotated by FM Nihal Sarin, who is 12 years old and has a FIDE rating of 2340

Round 4 
White Result Black
Nakamura,Hikaru ½ - ½ Anand,Viswanathan
Caruana, Fabiano ½ - ½ Topalov,Veselin

Vishy Anand is now leading the tournament with 2.5/4

In this 1-minute interview, Anand talks about chess in India and if he will play in the Olympiads for Team India!

The official commentary is being done by GM Yasser Seirawan and IM Tania Sachdev along with...

...GM Alejandro Ramirez (right), who is seen here interviewing Hikaru Nakamura

One of the brilliant initiatives taken by the commentary team is that anyone can make a phone call to the commentators and ask any question that they have. It gives you a unique opportunity to speak to great chess players and ask them questions about chess which have always been on your mind. The live commentary can be followed here and the phone number to call is 314-361-5465. The live broadcast begins at 1 p.m. local time in Saint Louis.

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Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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philidorchess philidorchess 11/13/2016 03:50
Beautiful
genem genem 11/12/2016 11:00
Quote from introduction: "...sees two former World Champions...".
False.
Just *one* former World Chess Champion, at least just one related to the 1-on-1 match legacy which can trace its lineage back to W.Steinitz.
Kirsan's FIDE has made numerous alternative claims about the WCC over the years, but few are fooled.
1