WCC R02: Anand plays 1.d4, game drawn after 32 fighting moves

by ChessBase
10/15/2008 – Vishy Anand surprised his opponent Vladimir Kramnik – and the world – with the move 1.d4 in his first white game of the World Championship in Bonn. The position became complicated and Anand started pressing for a win. However in time trouble the Indian GM decided to accept his Russian opponent's draw offer. Full illustrated report with comments by Levon Aronian and Malcolm Pein.

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Game two: Viswanathan Anand vs Vladimir Kramnik

Anand,V (2783) - Kramnik,V (2772) [E25]
WCh Bonn GER (2), 15.10.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5 f5 9.Qc2 Nd7 10.e4 fxe4 11.fxe4 N5f6 12.c6 bxc6 13.Nf3 Qa5 14.Bd2 Ba6 15.c4 Qc5 16.Bd3 Ng4 17.Bb4 Qe3+ 18.Qe2 0-0-0 19.Qxe3 Nxe3 20.Kf2 Ng4+ 21.Kg3 Ndf6 22.Bb1 h5 23.h3 h4+ 24.Nxh4 Ne5 25.Nf3 Nh5+ 26.Kf2 Nxf3 27.Kxf3 e5 28.Rc1 Nf4 29.Ra2 Nd3 30.Rc3 Nf4 31.Bc2 Ne6 32.Kg3 Rd4 draw. [Click to replay]



Levon Aronian: My take on game two

What a wonderful day! Of course we all can pretend that it was an "expected surprise" and that Anand's choice of opening did not make us believe, for one moment, that there is something wrong with the live broadcast. But reality is: Anand has come to Bonn to win, and he is willing to take risks by employing lines he never did before. And he was close to success today.

Watching from the side: GM Levon Aronian of Armenia, world number seven ranked player

Kramnik's choice to play Nimzovitsch defence was dictated by simple logic. There was no point for him to play the Slav Defence when Anand has clearly spent ages preparing it before the match, even though for the opposite color. Anand in return answered with a rare and daring line! He played something that would be considered the least likely line to be played in a World Championship match. His intention to confuse his antagonist worked perfectly, as Kramnik, who was trying to avoid an opening trap, tried to come up with new ideas (which is a hard task in such sharp positions), and found himself in an unpleasant endgame. And from that moment on we saw a totally diffirent Kramnik! With brilliant maneuvers he manager to get enough counterplay for a lost pawn, and the position where players agreed to draw seem to be double edged. Of course chess fans around the globe would have liked to see the game continue, but understandibly the players did not want to take risks in the time trouble.

A very impressive game by two giants, and possibly an invitation for a full contact fight?

Pein on Bonn

Anand,V (2783) - Kramnik,V (2772) [E25]
WCh Bonn GER (2), 15.10.2008 [Express comments by IM Malcolm Pein]

1.d4. A surprise, but not a total surprise. Vishy has played 1.d4 with success occasionally and of course he has a specific idea. 1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4. The solid Nimzo-Indian. Kramnik avoids the sharp lines of Slav Defence in which he recently lost to Alexander Morozevich. 4.f3.

This super sharp line appeared in the 1930s. In the Nimzo the battle for the e4 square is fundamental in many lines. 4.f3 has been championed recently by the Russian GMs Viktor Moskalenko and Yuri Yakovich. Now there is crazy stuff after this sequence: 4...c5 5.d5 Nh5 idea Qh4+ 6.Nh3 and if Qh4+ 7.Nf2 Qxc4 8.e4. The line was made famous after Florin Gheorghiu played a beautiful game against Bobby Fischer at Havana 1966.

4...d5 Of course Kramnik plays the solid answer. 5.a3. Reaching the Saemisch Variation. 5...Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5. This is a highly analysed main line. White intends e2-e4 and in some lines he hangs to the c5 pawn for a while to obstruct Black's possible play on the c file. 8...f5 9.Qc2

9...Nd7. A cunning choice to avoid a prepared idea. Kramnik avoids the main lines with 9...0-0 10.e4 or 9...f4 10.e4 fxe3 11.Bd3. 10.e4 fxe4 11.fxe4 N5f6 12.c6. As in game one Anand avoids pawn weaknesses. The c3 pawn might be targeted if Black could organise Nd7xc5 and Qd8-c7. 12...bxc6 13.Nf3 Qa5 14.Bd2. 14.Be2 was possible. Had Vishy managed to place his bishops on c4 and e3 he may have had an edge. Now it seems roughly level. 14.Be2 Nxe4? 15.Qxe4 Qxc3+ 16.Kf2 Qxa1 17.Qxe6+ Kf8 18.Bf4 Qxh1 19.Bd6# would be calamitous. 14...Ba6 Kramnik wants to exchange one bishop because White's bishop pair can be strong 15.c4 Qc5 16.Bd3 Ng4 Definitely the most aggressive move of the match so far ! 17.Bb4 Qe3+ 18.Qe2 0-0-0 19.Qxe3 Nxe3 20.Kf2 Ng4+ 21.Kg3

21...Ndf6 Opening up the rook on d8 to attack the bishop on d3. An active choice but is also risky and entails a pawn sacrifice 22.Bb1 h5 23.h3 h4+ 24.Nxh4 Ne5 25.Nf3 Nh5+ 26.Kf2 Nxf3 27.Kxf3

27...e5! Kramnik has compensation for the sacrificed pawn based on the poor bishop on b1, open files for his rooks and the agility of his knight in a closed position 28.Rc1 Nf4 29.Ra2 Rd2 was a threat 29...Nd3 30.Rc3 Nf4 Offering a repetition.

31.Bc2 Ne6 Kramnik's knight is a great piece. He might play c6-c5 when Rf8+ is possible. Also there is the idea of Nd4+ and takes on c2 when we get opposite coloured bishops which increase Black's chances of a draw 32.Kg3 Rd4

Black intends to take on c4 and if 33.c5 then both white bishops are hemmed in by pawns and Black has decent compensation. A well played game by Kramnik who probably avoided some sharp preparation. Anand did not look totally at home in the positions that arose and perhaps he might have played on with 33.Rb2. Although he is losing the c4 pawn this inevitably releases his light squared bishop 1/2-1/2 Notes by Malcolm Pein who runs www.chess4less.com and the London Chess Centre www.chess.co.uk Players who want to study this line can check out the book by Yuri Yakovich. 1/2-1/2

Picture gallery

Before the start of game two: I wonder what he will play...

The chief arbiter Panagiotis Nikolopoulos starts the clock

What is he doing? Anand has started his first white game with 1.d4!

Once again in the spotlight: Anand vs Kramnik, WCC 2008, game two

The players are behind a gauze curtain, which is invisible to the public (the organisers had to put up a ribbon barrier to prevent people from walking into it). Only at high zoom and manual focus the camera reveals the curtain.

In the press center: chief press officer of UEP Rolf Behovits

Robert Huntington, reporting for AP, found an interesting solution for his overheating notebook

Visitors in the press room: Kramnik manager Carsten Hensel, second Peter Leko (who is also managed by Hensel)

Peter Leko was the surprise revelation in a recent Kramnik interview

Kramnik second Russian GM Sergey Rublevsky

Kramnik second French GM Laurent Fressinet

Chess Grandmaster and journalist Ian Rogers from Australia

... and his wife Kathy, one of the most diligent photographers in Bonn

c4 or not c4, that is the question – Anand pondering his critical 15th move

Okay, 15.c4 it is – Anand is playing for a win

Vladimir Kramnik emerges from his rest room to whip out the reply: 15...Qc5

Anand plays 16.Bd3, having used eight minutes more on his clock

Relaxed in thought: Vladimir Kramnik ponders his 16th move

The press conference after game two, with GM Klaus Bishoff moderating, and the
Evonik-Gazprom girls building the background

Anand pensive after a complex game in which he had chances

Vladimir Kramnik clearly relieved with the outcome of game two

Photos by Frederic Friedel and André Schulz in Bonn

2008 World Chess Championship Anand vs Kramnik in Bonn

When: From October 14 – November 02, 2008
Where: Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn
Prize fund: 1.5 million Euro (= US $2.35 million)
Patron: German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück
Main sponsor:   Evonik Industries AG

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.


    Tuesday October 14   Game 1
    Wednesday   October 15 Game 2
    Thursday October 16 Free day
    Friday October 17 Game 3
    Saturday October 18 Game 4
    Sunday October 19 Free day
    Monday October 20 Game 5
    Tuesday October 21 Game 6
    Wednesday   October 22 Free day
    Thursday October 23 Game 7
    Friday October 24 Game 8
    Saturday October 25 Free day
    Sunday October 26 Game 9
    Monday October 27 Game 10
    Tuesday October 30 Free day
    Wednesday   October 29 Game 11
    Thursday October 30 Free day
    Friday October 31 Game 12
    Saturday November 1 Free day
    Sunday November 2   Tiebreak

Tickets cost 35 Euro (= US $54.80) per round. They include entry to the playing hall and to the commentary room, where there is analysis and discussions with prominent grandmasters. The tickets are available at all ticket agencies in Germany. You can also buy tickets for the match in advance via BONNTICKET, by email (tickets@bonnticket.de) or telephone (+49-180-5001812).

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