29 October 2008

Anand-Kramnik: Game 11

Will Anand win today? He deserves the title, but not if he cannot find the resources to draw with White. However, as they say, attepting to draw with White is a good way to lose a game. Anand must play actively to get what he needs and finally exorcise those demons that place footnotes next to his World Chess Championship title indicating that he did no earn it through a match. He might today. We''ll know soon.

World Chess Championship, Bonn 2008


Anand returns to his own style, and what is going on?

1...c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

Kramnik started his career with the Sicilian Defense, and he's playing it again. Anand plays both sides of the Sicilian in tournament after tournament, year after year.

6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7

7:07am PDT; 3:07pm in Bonn

8.bxf6 gxf6 9.f5

Fifty-eight games dating back to 1960. I choose to highlight one by a couple of less known players because I have faced the White player in OTB play:

Pitre,H - Hoeffler,D [B96]
Seattle op Seattle (3), 1994
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.f5 Nc6 10.Bc4 Qb6 11.Nde2 Ne5 12.Bb3 Bh6 13.Qd4 Qxd4 14.Nxd4 Ke7 15.Na4 Nc6 16.c3 Nxd4 17.cxd4 b5 18.Nb6 Rb8 19.Nxc8+ Rbxc8 20.Kf2 Rc7 21.Rhd1 Rhc8 22.Rab1 Rc1 23.Ke2 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Rc1 25.Rxc1 Bxc1 26.a4 bxa4 27.Bxa4 Bxb2 28.d5 exd5 29.exd5 Kf8 30.Kd3 Kg7 31.Kc4 Kh6 32.Kb4 Kg5 33.Bd7 Kf4 34.Ka5 Ke5 35.Be6 Kf4 36.Kxa6 Ke3 37.Bxf7 Kf2 38.g4 Kf3 39.Bh5 Ke4 40.Bf7 h5 41.Bxh5 Kxd5 42.h4 Ke4 43.Kb6 d5 44.Kb5 Bd4 45.Bf7 Bf2 46.g5 fxg5 ½–½


They are slowing down. Now we're down to nineteen games in the ChessBase online database. Across these games, White and Black have an even score, and there is a low drawing percentage. The data is thin, but my intuition tells me that both players are playing to win today.

7:21am PDT

Anand has used twenty minutes and is using more.

10.Qd3 Nc6

11.Nb3 is usual. Anand is thinking about it almost certainly. 11.O-O-O has been played, as has 11.Nxc6.

11.Nb3 Qe5

It looks as though the game is within Kramnik's preparation.

7:38am PDT


Three games in database, including one from the 1991 Russian Correspondence championship.

Zelinskis,J - Kopylov,I [B96]
URS-ch19 corr Russia, 1991
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.f5 Qc5 10.Qd3 Nc6 11.Nb3 Qe5 12.0–0–0 Bd7 13.Kb1 Be7 14.Na4 Nb4 15.Qd2 Bxa4 16.Qxb4 Bc6 17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Nd4 d5 19.Qb3 Bc5 20.exd5 Bxd5 21.Bc4 Bxd4 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.Qxd5 exd5 24.Rxd4 0–0–0 25.Rf1 Rhe8 26.Rd2 Kc7 27.Rdf2 Rd6 28.Kc1 Ree6 29.Kd2 Kd7 30.Rf5 Ke8 31.Rh5 Rd7 32.Re1 1–0

Is Kramnik forced to think here, or is he bluffing?

12...exf5 has not been played prior to this game, so far as I have found. Will Kramnik's fourth novelty in eleven games give him his much needed second victory?


8:15am PDT

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go. I'm off to train some youth chess players without the aid of silicon and software, and most of all, my internet connection. When I'm able to check in again, this game almost certainly will be history.

If Kramnik pulls off a win, I'll be here for the blow by blow tomorrow. If not, I'll be forced to become content with blogging about things with less immediacy. Thank you to all that have joined me in this enterprise the past two weeks. Let's not be strangers.

Kramnik is ahead on the clock and has an interesting pawn formation.

11:37am PDT Update

Lunch is served at the Classic Cafe in Deer Park, Washington where the coffee is great and the service excellent. Moreover, they have a wireless connection available. The game in Bonn is over, and appears to have been an interesting but relatively short draw.

13...Bg7 14.Rd5 Qe7 15.Qg3 Rg8 16.Qf4 fxe4 17.Nxe4 f5 18.Nxd6+ Kf8

19.Nxc8 Rxc8

As pieces come off the board, Kramnik's chances vanish. Or, do they improve?

20.Kb1 Qe1+ 21.Nc1 Ne7 22.Qd2 Qxd2 23.Rxd2 Bh6 24.Rf2 Be3 ½–½

There's a bit more that White might play for in this position than for Black, as White has fewer weaknesses. Both players have their pieces in the game, and their coordination might improve, but when White is seeking a draw, there's precious little hope for Black to subvert his plan.

Excellent match for World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand! Vladimir Kramnik showed signs of making a comeback in the past few days, but it was too little, too late. It appears that Anand's excellent preparation prior to the match gave him an early and decisive edge.

It was a WCC match that was good for the players, organizers, fans, and, in short, good for chess.


  1. 9. f5 - Shipov says, it's a strike against weakness on e6.

  2. Shipov knows his stuff. I used to read a lot of articles by GM Shipov, back when Garry Kasparov had a nice website that Mig Greengard helped maintain. In those days, Yasser Seiriwan's Inside Chess was one of the best print magazines. We have a lot more information now, but I still miss those old publications.

  3. Hiya,
    I am leaving my comments here

    Feel free to join me. Your verification is driving me nuts. Sorry.

  4. course you can....
    Settings - comments - verification radiobutton - untick

    You might want to look into the embedded comment version as well. Easier to access for commenters.

    Don't work to hard ;-)

  5. Thanks joco,

    You're asking me to revisit questions I'd answered a year ago, and then forgotten that they had ever come up. So I will. I enjoy your comments, as well as those from rolling pawn, and others that have been reading.

    I'll work at making communication easier.

    No worries about working too hard. My work is simply another form of play: I teach chess to youth, and history to adults. Where's the work in all of that?

  6. Yes!!!! Anand World Champion!!!!!

  7. Congratulations indeed are due Anand. I expect he will continue to be a World Chess Champion that brings the highest standards to his play at the board, and deep respect for the game and its players away from the board.

  8. Hiya James,

    We missed you during game 11. RP and myself chatted a little whilst the Rybka 8cpu predictions rolled in. Nothing very startling in that game, was there? Still, it was nice to have Shirov's take translated from time to time.

    I will certainly keep looking in here, as you seem to cover such a wide range of chess subjects so competently.

    What is the next interesting tourney on the horizon? WaZ I suppose and then Linares. Which Candidate matches will you follow? Or they are now called something else. I enjoy confrontations between Aronian and Carlsen most. Or Morozevich and Grischuk.

    Anyway, it was nice to meet you and you were very welcoming. Your students are fortunate.

    See you,

  9. joco,


    I often follow Wijk aan Zee, partly because Wijk aan Zee Grandmater Chess Tournament 1975 (1976) was one of the first chess books I bought, and the tattered paperback still holds a cherished place on my shelf.

    Blogging during the WCC games was rewarding enough that I'm unwilling to wait for the next World Chamnpionship to do it again. Earlier today I was thinking about watching the tournament schedule more closely to look for the next live games worth following so intensely.