Superbet Poland: Anand’s perfect day

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/19/2022 – Vishy Anand scored three wins in as many games to take the lead at the rapid section of the Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz Tournament. With six rounds of rapid left to go, the former world champion has a 2-point lead over a chasing pack consisting of Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Jan-Krzysztof Duda — players receive 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw in the rapid. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Still quick

At 52, Vishy Anand is still capable of scoring three wins in a row against top opposition in rapid chess. The Tiger from Madras was known early in his career for his ability to play quickly, even in classical events. As time went by, he became more patient in slow games, but as he proved on day 1 of the Superbet Poland GCT event, he has not lost his touch when needing to rely mostly on intuition.

Anand’s perfect start has left him a full two points ahead of his closest chasers — in the rapid section, players receive 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw — as Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Jan-Krzysztof Duda all finished the first three rounds with +1 scores. Anand has yet to face all three of them.

It was an exciting first day of action in Warsaw, with 11 out of 15 games finishing decisively and plenty of tactical skirmishes making for an entertaining show for the spectators.

Kirill Shevchenko, Richard Rapport

Kirill Shevchenko playing white against Richard Rapport in round 1 | Photo: Bryan Adams

Anand’s success on Thursday is all the more impressive given the players he took down in the first three rounds. The veteran started off with a win over his former second Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and then got the better of two rapid-play specialists, Wesley So and Anton Korobov.

Facing So with black in round 2, the former world champion was a pawn down but had the safer king and the better development in a sharp middlegame.

 

So had bravely castled queenside on move 12 (a novelty), but had also seen his opponent handling the double-edged position exemplarily. Here, the Filipino-born star had just played 24.e6, and followed by doubling his rooks on the e-file via 24...fxe6 25.Rhe1.

However, Anand’s initiative on the queenside was stronger than So’s counterchances in the centre. The game continued 25...Rc6+ 26.Nc3 (26.Kd1 or 26.b3 were stronger, albeit difficult to find) Qa1+ 27.Kd2 Qxb2

 

28.Rb1 can be successfully responded by 28...Qa3, since the knight on d7 protects b8, while the other knight on f8 also plays a vital role, as it defends the weak e6-square. 

So resigned two moves later, with his pieces all but paralysed, unable to create counterplay.

 

Wesley So, Viswanathan Anand

Vishy Anand beat Wesley So with the black pieces | Photo: Lennart Ootes

In the next round, from the white side of a French Defence against Korobov, Anand’s e6-push had much better results.

 

25.e6 is the strongest move in the position, much like Korobov’s 25...f4 in the next turn. The Ukrainian’s pawn advance prompted Anand to spend 4 minutes on his reply (games are played with a 25+10 time control) — the Indian was in the zone, though, as he found 26.gxf4, the only manoeuvre that keeps his advantage.

After 26...fxe6 27.Rg3, Korobov blundered with 27...Qxh4

 

The obvious 28.Rxg6+ wins for White, but Anand’s 28.Qe5 is even stronger — the queen attacks the rook on c7 and creates deadly threats against the vulnerable black king. Korobov played 28...Rc4 and then resigned.

 

Superbet Poland Grand Chess Tour 2022

The tournament is taking place at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Notably, another living chess legend, Garry Kasparov, visited the tournament in Warsaw. The ardent critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime and Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation also met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. 


Standings after round 3 (2 pts for a win, 1 pt for a draw)

 

All games

 

Links


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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