Saturday, May 12, 2012

Game 1

GAME 1 World Championship 2012.

Each World Championship match brings with it 2 different types of personality battling out on the board!
In this Match between Anand-Gelfand, though the two have almost identical age, their playing styles highly differ!
Anand The agressive tactician and Gelfand the the cool strategist make this duel mouth watering for chess fans! But Gelfand who has always been so loyal to his openings, shocked the world by playing Grunfeld Defense which he has never played since the last 10 yrs! So lets have a look at Game 1

1.d4 I am of the opinion that Anand has played d4 just so that Boris thinks that he is facing the queens pawn openings in this world Championship and then Anand will revert to 1.e4 from game 3 where he will try to rip apart Boris's Najdorf! Well we need to wait for game 3 to see if i am right!
1...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 Grunfeld it is! It must be a surprise for Anand because Gelfand rarely plays this!


4.Nf3 Bg7 5.cd5 Nd5 6.e4 Nc3 7.bc3 c5!


Of course for Gelfand this move was very natural. It was met with a sneaky check on b5! That might lead us to think that why not first 0-0 and then break with c5!  7...0-0 and believe me when i say there is a huge difference!! after 7...0-0 8.Be2 c5 whats the big deal is what many would ask! we the point is after 9.0-0 cd4 10 cd4 Nc6 11.Be3 logically defending the center. And now of course d4 must be subjected to more pressure and hence 11...Bg4 It might seem that white center is too saturated but....
     Analysis variation (W)

White now plays the brilliant 12 d5! Ba1 (Ne5 13.Ne5 Be2 14.Qe2 Be5 15.Rad1+/- it might seem that the position is equal but on closer inspection we realise that whites central majority is easier to mobilise than blacks queenside majority and hence white holds a significant edge.) 13.Qa1 Na5 14.Bh6 white wins back the exchange and forces the small weakening of the kingisde with f6.
What was all this analysis for? Well it was to prove that 7...c5 was necessary and black cannot 0-0 first and then play c5 trying to avoid Bb5+. Back to the game now

8.Bb5+ Nc6 (8...Nd7 is one option. But i think what black needs to do is to put pressure on d4. and once the N is forced to develop on d7 instead of c6, i think Bb5+ has done its job! Also playable was 8...Bd7 but after the B exchange we see that our light squared B was in no way helping to defend the d4 square but his Light squared B was indirectly attacking our center by putting pressure on N on f3 who was defending the d4 pawn! Well so much for the strategy with the little check! Gelfand chose the Principled 8...Nc6

9.d5 this is rarely played. the much more common move is 9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3 cd4 11.cd4 Bg4 and now white can make use of his move Bb5 to play 12.Bc6 bc6 13.Rc1
     Analysis variation (B) 

This position could have been reach and after this 13...Qa5 14 Qd2 Qd2 15.Nd2 we reach such a wonderful imbalanced ending. black has a weak pawn on c6 but to compensate for it he has two Bs and pressure on d4. Such endings if studied in depth can really help one to improve his game!

9...Qa5!? ( 9...a6 was an option but after 10.Be2 Bc3 11.Bd2 Ba1 12.Qa1 Nd4 13.Nd4 cd4 14.Qd4 f6 15.h4! was seen in Gustafsson-Lagrave when white has a dangerous initiative.)
10.Rb1 defending the Bishop and putting the rook on a better file cannot be bad. its downside though is that the a2 pawn is undefended.
10...a6 (snatching a pawn with Bc3 was an option 11.Bd2 Bd2 12.Qd2 Qd2 13.Kd2 a6 14.Bc6 bc6 15.dc6 and we reach a similar ending as in the anand game but black has no 2 Bishops and hence white can try for an advantage here.)
11.Bc6 bc6 12 0-0! Anand gives first priority to king safety and i think it is a very logical move. the ball is now in Gelfands court and i am sure you need nerves of steel to make the next move that he made!


12...Qa2! such pawn snatching in such a huge game and that too with your king in the center! Phew! Gelfand i think must have seen it at home or he was in extremely good form because the next few moves that he made virtually took the game to a position from where only he could press! Gelfand's philosophy: i have taken a pawn, anand will attack me tooth and nail but with grim defense i will hold my fort and in the worst case anand will win a pawn which means that the material will be equal as i have already snatched the a2 pawn! this is exactly what happened in the game.

13.Rb2 Qa5 14. d6!


What a move by Anand! he has prevented Gelfand from castling and at the same time ed6 will be met by Qd6 with a very dangerous attack for white. It might seem that black is dead but on closer inspection, one will see that if black could control the d7 square one more time then he can safely 0-0. and hence we find Boris's next amazing defensive move
14...Ra7! beautiful defense ( Qd8 also defended the d7 square but after 15.Bf4 black cannot 0-0 as it is met by de7 Qe7 and Bd6 winning an exchange.)
15. Bg5 (15.Bf4 was another option because we are controlling the all important c7 square. but then cant black just 15...0-0 and yes i think black should be alright after that. With Bg5 Anand is forcing black to take on d6.Also after 15.Bf4 pinning the d pawn with 15...Rd7 gives black a adequate game.
15...ed6 16.Qd6


Gelfand now produces two accurate moves which leaves anand struggling! 16...Rd7! aking the queen to go away so that black can 0-0 17. Qc6 so finally Anand's efforts have been rewarded with a pawn! but wait a second arent the number of pawns just equal? dont you forget that black had risked everything to snatch a pawn on a2 and this is the reward for his courage! though white has recovered his pawn, he still faces the unpleasant task for facing the two strong Bishops.
17....Qc7 18.Qc7 Rc7 this position is a tribute to the modern day sharp battles. Scintillating attacks are often countered with brave defense and the result is that the excitement peters out and what is left is a chessboard with only bruises and fights of the past few moves!


To say that this position is equal would of course be a mistake. black holds the advantage due to his two strong Bishops. But lets just say that Anand was alert enough not to let blacks advantage turn monsterous, he kept his cool and achieved a draw. Here are the last few moves.
19.Bf4 Rb7 20 Rc2 0-0 21 Bd6 Re8 22.Nd2 f5 23 f3 fe4 24.Ne4 Bf5 And a draw was agreed.

Game 1 was exciting! Both the players were surprised. First Anand must have been surprised by Gelfand's choice of Grunfeld and then Anand stunned Gelfand by the surprising 9.d5. But i overall think that Gelfand played better in this game and with him being white in Game 2 the Madras Tiger might just be feeling a tad uneasy!