Rudolf Spielmann had once said: Play the opening like a book, the middlegame like a magician and the endgame like a machine!
In this game that we are looking at Anand does just that. He plays a very safe but solid line against Carlsen's Alekhine Defense and gets a pleasant advantage. With imaginative play he increases his advantage in the middlegame and finally with accurate moves he finishes Carlsen off in the endgame! This all could have been great but we expect this from Anand. But to do this in a blindfold game! Well thats what I call a genius!!
Vishy Anand(2799) vs Magnus Carlsen (2733), Amber Blindfold 2008.
Anand (white) has an obvious advantage. Would you recommend him to take on a7. Bear in mind that you must try to calculate as accurately as possible and as far as you can. I would even ask you to set this position on a chess board and to take a book and pen write down the analysis after thinking for 20 mins.
24. Qxa7!! (accurately calculated by Anand.) ( there were other options like 24. dxc6 followed by Nd5 but this move is the strongest. 24... Ra8 looks like the most logical move. So is the queen trapped now?
Definitely Anand had seen this coming. What had he prepared?
25. d6 ! extremely strong move. The black queen has to keep an eye now on b6 and b7 both, a task which is impossible and hence the queens have to be exchanged
25.. Rxa7 26. dxc7 Rc8 This move is what you should have calculated. Its true Anand is a pawn up but Now the c7 pawn is hanging. What would you do now?
If the c7 pawn is lost then everything is gone! What would you do?
27. c5!! beautiful play by Vishy Anand. He gives his opponent just no chance at all.27... bxc5 (27... Rxc7 28. cxb6 is a very nice pawn fork!) (27... b5 also doesnt help as now white uses his remaining pawn for a breakthrough on the queenside. 28. a4! bxa4 29. b5 ! all the forces come one by one to
the rescue of the c7 pawn. cxb5 30. c6! Rxc7 31. Nxb5 +- a beautiful variation.)
28. b5 ! superb play! the c pawn created the way for the b pawn to waltz forward. Now b6 is threatened and so is bc6!) 28... cxb5 (28... Rxc7 29. b6 +-) 29. Nxb5 Rxa2
Its time to put the last nail in blacks coffin. How does white win now?
We just need to control the c8 square and how do we do it?
30. Bf1! (the bishop is going to come out on h3 to help the c7 pawn to queen!) 30...g5 31. Ra1! this is the reason why Anand is a genius. He is making all the best moves in the position. exchanging the only active black piece reduces black to complete passivity.31... Rxa1 32. Rxa1 Now Ra7 is threatened and black can do nothing about it 32...Nd8 Carlsen gives back the piece effectively ending the game! Anand's play has been sublime!} (32... g4 33. Ra7 +-) 33. cxd8=Q+ Rxd8 34. Nc3+-
White is the a piece up and in a few moves Anand wrapped up the game.
What i found amazing was Anands accurate play. We often cannot relate Anand with a particular style like a positional player or a tactical player and do you know why? Its because more often than not he makes the best moves in the position. The move can be tactical or positional, he finds them. Thats why he is called a player with a universal style. Right from move 24 to 34 he made all the best moves and that too in blindfold. I really feel proud of being able to see his games and understand them! In chess we usually dont think about nations and all but I really feel great that I am from the same country as the brilliant player Vishwanathan Anand! Such games make us understand that he truly is a genius.