No Castling Chess: Anand misses his chance

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/18/2021 – Vishy Anand is still leading the No Castling chess match against Vladimir Kramnik. The Indian took the lead in game 1 and could have secured match victory in game 3, as he had a much better position with the white pieces. However, Kramnik managed to hold the draw in the end. The last game is set to take place today at 13.00 CEST.

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“It’s an alien game”

Press spokesman at the Dortmund Chess Festival, Patrick Zelbel, asked Vishy Anand whether it is difficult to avoid thinking about castling during these games. Anand responded:

I feel very uncomfortable, of course. It’s an alien game, but okay, that’s the rule. Of course, you want to castle all the time.

In the third game of the match, the sequence 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 was seen for a third time in Dortmund. Much like in the first encounter, Vladimir Kramnik pushed his pawn to h5 — on Wednesday he had done it on move 9, while now he did it earlier, on move 6. 


Famously known for being extremely dangerous with his knights, Anand found himself in a better position with a pair of knights against a pair of bishops in the middlegame. Kramnik was lacking ways to activate his pieces, especially his dark-squared bishop. He tried to untangle on move 25.


There followed 25...Bg6 26.Qxg6 Qxd4 27.Nd5 Rh6 28.Qc2 Qh4


White has the better minor piece and will soon occupy the f-file with his rooks. The queens soon left the board, and Black finally played f5 (on move 32) to free his bishop, but the ensuing endgame clearly favoured White.

Anand’s 40th move was inaccurate.


Instead of 40.Nf4 — which led to a double-rook endgame after 40...Be5+ 41.Rf3 Bxf4 42.exf4 — White could have gone for the simple 40.Rf3, and Black is all but paralysed.

After the text move, White still had a winning ending, but converting it was not at all trivial. Kramnik defended resourcefully and managed to get a 61-move draw. The players discussed the game with Zelbel afterwards.

The fourth and last game will be played today, July 18, starting at 13.00 CEST. The final round of the Deutschland Grand Prix will be played concurrently, with four players still with chances to win the tournament after Dmitrij Kollars beat former sole leader Pavel Eljanov in round 7.

All games



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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