WCC Bonn: Analysis of game nine

by ChessBase
10/27/2008 – It was a critical moment in the World Championship match between Anand and Kramnik. The Challenger was three points behind, with four games to go, and desperately needed to initiate a last-minute comeback with a win. And he came very close to making it, with the black pieces. Watch the drama unfold and the game turn to virtually end the match. Commentary by IM Malcolm Pein.

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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).

Game nine analysis

Before we take you to the commentary by our London Chess Center analyst IM Malcolm Pein here is a pictorial move-by-move depiction of the start of game nine. The times of the execution of the moves were extracted from the Exif information of the camera. They are given in hours, minutes and seconds Central European Time.

15:02:08h (3:02 p.m. local time): Anand makes the first move: 1.d4

15:02:32h: Kramnik replies with 1...d5

15:02:42h: Anand plays 2.c4

Kramnik plays 2...e6

Anand plays 3.Nf3 (37 seconds of thought)

15:03:31h: Kramnik plays 3...Nf6

15:03:49h: Anand plays 4.Nc3

15:03:55h: Kramnik plays 4...c6

15:04:07h: Anand plays 5.Bg5

15:04:15h: Kramnik plays 5...h6

15:04:22h: Anand plays 6.Bh4

15:04:36h: Kramnik playing 6...
dxc4 (he's got the c4-pawn in his hand)

15:04:46h: Anand plays 7.e4

15:04:57h: Kramnik plays 7...g5

15:05:03h: Anand plays 8.Bg3

15:05:07h: Kramnik has played 8...b5 and presses the clock

Anand,V (2783) - Kramnik,V (2772) [D43]
WCh Bonn GER (9), 26.10.2008 [Commentary by IM Malcolm Pein]

2.5:5.5 down Vlad had to play for a win with black, or win 'away from home'. The last time he managed that was 2006 when Veselin Topalov missed a mate before losing. However, I was following the chess from Stamford Bridge the home of Chelski Football Club (the home of no European Cups) and by the time Anand had played 1.d4 Alonso had already put the mighty Liverpool FC 0-1 ahead and Chelsea, who had not lost at home for 4.5 years were on their way to defeat (hurrah). So one record was about to be broken perhaps another would go.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4. Surprising as 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 is the solid Moscow variation and more suited to the match situation. However Anand's strategy has been to play for complications most of the time. 6...dxc4. Kramnik has to accept the challenge and he enters the sharp Anti Moscow Gambit. He must have been delighted to get such an unbalanced position. 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.Qc2. 10.h4 is more cutting edge. 10...Nbd7 11.Rd1 Bb4 12.Ne5 Qe7N. Kramnik finally gets to play a strong novelty. 12...Rg8 and 12...Nxe5 have been played before.

12...c5 Is the move Black wants to play in general terms but after 13.0-0 Bxc3 14.Qxc3 Nxe4 15.Qe3 his position is very ropey and if 15...Nxg3 16.fxg3! 13.0-0. Now the typical thrust 13.h4 is a waste of time after 13...0-0-0. 13...Nxe5 14.Bxe5 0-0 15.Bxf6. Anand concedes the dark squares and now he cannot be better but if 15.f4 Nd7! Threatening f6 gives Black a big advantage. 15...Qxf6 16.f4 Qg7 17.e5. Anand intends Nc3-e4, fxg5 and Rf3. Kramnik had a long think and correctly decides to sacrifice a couple of pawn to open up the game for his bishops. This is necessary in general terms and the time is clearly right.

17...c5! If 17...Bxc3 18.bxc3 strengthens whites centre.; and 17...f5 18.exf6 Rxf6 19.fxg5 Qxg5 20.Rxf6 Qxf6 21.Ne4 gives White sufficient play for the pawn. 18.Nxb5 cxd4 19.Qxc4 a5! 20.Kh1. 20.Nxd4 gxf4 Threatening mate on g2 21.Nf3 Rac8 22.Qxf4 Rc2 23.Rf2 Rxb2 Is very good for Black. 20...Rac8 21.Qxd4

21...gxf4. 21...Bc5 22.Qd2 gxf4 23.Bf3 Be3-/+ Looks even better. 22.Bf3 Ba6

23.a4?! 23.Qb6 Bxb5 24.Qxb5 Rc5 25.Qa4 Rxe5 26.a3 Be7 27.Qxf4=. 23...Rc5 24.Qxf4 Rxe5 25.b3. Anand has decided to give up a pawn to head for a position with opposite coloured bishops which have a drawing tendency. 25.Be4 Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.Rd7 Also looks well playable. 25...Bxb5 26.axb5 Rxb5 27.Be4 Bc3 28.Bc2.

19 minutes left each. Kramnik is a clear pawn up but it's not easy. 28...Be5 29.Qf2 Bb8 30.Qf3 Rc5 31.Bd3 Rc3 32.g3 Kh8. 32...Rxb3 33.Bh7+. 33.Qb7 f5 34.Qb6 Qe5

35.Qb7. Anand missed 35.Bxf5! after which 35...Rxf5 36.Rxf5 exf5 37.Qxh6+ Kg8 38.Qg5+ Qg7 39.Rd8+ wins; but 35.Bxf5! exf5 36.Rfe1 Qg7 37.Re6 Bc7 38.Rxh6+ Kg8 39.Qe6+ Qf7 40.Rg6+ Kh8 41.Rh6+=. 35...Qc7?! 35...Bc7 has a trick 36.Bc4 Rxg3! 37.hxg3 Qxg3 38.Qg2 Qh4+ 39.Kg1 Bb6+ 40.Rf2 Rg8-+; 35...Bc7 36.Qb5 may hold 36...Qxb5 37.Bxb5 Rxb3 38.Bc4 wins back a pawn because 38...Rb6 39.Rd7 Bb8 40.Re7 e5 41.Rd1 gives White too much play; But Black can refine this idea with 35...Rg8! Just ramping up the pressure and Anand would be suffering. I can't see a good move for White after this. Kramnik can calmly consolidate with Bc7 then there are threats to b3 and pressure against the kingside.

Analysis diagram

36.Qb5 Qe3 37.Qd7 Bxg3!-+; 35...Rg8 36.Qf3 Rd8-/+.

36.Qxc7 Bxc7 37.Bc4 Re8. 37...a4 38.Rd7 axb3 39.Bxb3 Rxb3 40.Rxc7 holds comfortably for example 40...Kg8 41.Re1 Rf6 42.Re7 Rb6 43.Kg2 Kf8 44.Rh7. 38.Rd7! Perhaps the ramifications of this were overlooked by Kramnik who appeared shattered after this. 38...a4. Tricky but only good for what is most likely a draw 3 v 2 R+P endgame.

38...Bb8 39.Rfd1 a4? 40.Rd8 wins. 39.Rxc7 axb3 40.Rf2 Rb8 41.Rb2 h5. 41...Rc2 42.Rxc2 bxc2 43.Bxe6! (Not 43.Bf1 Rb2!

Analysis diagram

43...Rb1+ 44.Kg2 c1Q 45.Rxc1 Rxc1 46.Bxf5 should be drawn.

42.Kg2 h4 43.Rc6. Threatening to unpin with Bd5, this is good enough to draw. 43...hxg3 44.hxg3 Rg8 45.Rxe6 Rxc4

Draw. [Click to replay].

IM Malcolm Pein is the Executive Editor of CHESS Monthly magazine
and runs the London Chess Center and ChessBase USA.

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