Times of India: Will Viswanathan Anand win it in style?

10/26/2008 – For the first time in this 12-game tussle, Anand and Kramnik have played two successive draws. What will happen in game nine? Is Anand thinking of clinching the title by winning a game, or by playing cautiously for two draws in the final four games? "Go for a win, Vishy!" says Amit Karmarkar of the Times of India. In his article Amit has compiled some interesting facts and statistics.

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World Chess Championship in Bonn

The World Chess Championship is taking place from October 14 – November 02, 2008 in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn. 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.

The games are being broadcast live by FoidosChess, with video and commentary for €10 per game; and on Playchess.com. Details are given at the end of this report. Games start at 15:00h CEST (=17:00h Moscow, 9 a.m. New York).


First a technical note:

The organisers have informed us what will happen on the day the World Championship is decided. The match will be over as soon as one of the players has achieved 6.5 points – further games will not be played! Then the schedule will be as follows:

  1. After the decisive game: a hort break
  2. Prize giving on stage
  3. Press conference with both players in the commentary room (Ostgalerie).

Will Viswanathan Anand win it in style?

26 Oct 2008, By Amit Karmarkar

For the first time in this 12-game tussle, Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik have played two successive draws. But hey, wasn't that expected? Like slumber after a big feast.

Anand's performance in this World chess championship in traditional, classical format has been so dominating that it would be just perfect if the Indian goes on to clinch the title by winning the game. Game 9, with Anand having white pieces, will be played on Sunday.

Instead of drawing two of the last four games, if Anand beats the Russian to reach 6.5 points – now leading 5.5-2.5 after eight games – he will break a jinx. Except Garry Kasparov in 1985, no classical world champion has defeated his opponent in the last game to claim winning points.

Of course, Kasparov and Kramnik defeated Anatoly Karpov (Sevilla 1987) and Peter Leko (Brissago 2004) respectively, but that was to 'tie' the match which gave them a right to retain the title. Despite dominating his title bouts against Nigel Short (1993) and Anand (1995), Kasparov didn't win the last game of these battles to finish it in style. Even Veselin Topalov (San Luis 2005) or Anand (Mexio City 2007) could not win their last game in round robin format.

This also tells a story. Perhaps, a player who is trailing doesn't go all out into attack to save himself from further embarrassment.

And, after taking a crucial lead, even the eventual champion is generally reluctant to take unnecessary risks. Hence draws are common in the last quarter of the World championship matches. Even if Anand wins this match by drawing two games, he will become the first World champion of this millennium to win by a three-point margin (see box). It would be a significant figure, underlining his superiority.

If Anand is indeed thinking of clinching the title by winning a game, how should he go about it?

Well, he has already showcased his supremacy in uncorking novelties, playing in Slav Defence and Meran Variation of Queen's Gambit Declined. Maybe, it's time to get Catalan (opening) out of the bag.

When Kasparov defeated Karpov 13-11 by winning the last game in Moscow 1985, he had opted for the Sicilian defence. Since then, these two great Russians crossed swords against each other on more than 50 occasions. But the trauma of that defeat was such that Karpov never dared to play 1.e4 and give his nemesis an opportunity to go Sicilian.

Of course, Anand hasn't sealed the title and anything can happen, technically. But the Indian shouldn't waste this opportunity to inflict further scars on Kramnik's mind. Go for a win, Vishy.

Key facts

Champions clinching titles with a draw (Since 1986):
2007 Mexico City: Anand drew with Leko, 2006 Elista: Kramnik drew Game 12 against Topalov and took it to tie-break.
2005 San Luis: Topalov drew with Polgar, 2000 London: Kramnik drew Game 15 vs. Kasparov.
1996 Elista: Karpov drew Game 18 vs. Kamsky.
1995 New York: Kasparov drew Game 18 vs. Anand.
1993 London: Kasparov drew Game 20 vs. Short.
1993 Holland: Karpov drew Game 21 vs. Timman.
1990 New York and Lyons: Kasparov drew Game 24 vs. Karpov.
1986 London, Leningrad: Kasparov drew Game 24 vs. Karpov.

Note: Kasparov and Kramnik retained the title by winning the last game in 1987 and 2004 respectively. They did not win the match but merely tied it.

Will Anand win by three-point margin? The following couldn't do it:
Mexico 2007: Anand 9 points; Kramnik 8;
Elista 2006: Kramnik beat Topalov in the tie-break;
San Luis 2005: Topalov (9.5 points), Svidler, Anand (8 points each);
Brissago 2004: Kramnik tied with Leko and retained title;
London 2000: Kramnik 8.5, Kasparov 6.5.


Live broadcast

The games are being broadcast live by FoidosChess, which provides five parallel video streams to present the players and commentary by grandmasters in German, English, Spanish and Russian. The cost is €10 per game. The games are also being broadcast live on Playchess.com,


If you are not a member of Playchess you can download ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access to the chess server.

You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. Owners of Fritz 11 or Rybka 3 automatically get a full year's subscription to Playchess.

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