Advantage Anand - First Move Chess -First Move Chess


There’s just no substitute for experience. If you don’t believe me, then just ask the record-breaking newly-crowned Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer. And if 35-year-old Federer doesn’t convince you, then how about five-time ex-world champion Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand, as the 47-year-old veteran responds to those critics constantly asking about his ‘imminent retirement’ by rolling back the year in the 5th Sinquefield Cup at the Chess Club and Scholastic Centre of Saint Louis.

Going into the final round, Anand defies his critics and the age-gap by being one of the three co-leaders alongside Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian, and the Indian ace stands a good chance of snatching the title outright, especially as his last round opponent is the free-falling Wesley So, who is bleeding games at such an alarming rate he’s in jeopardy of missing out on one of the two rating qualifying spots into next year’s Candidates’ Tournament, that once looked a shoo-in for the defending champion.

And on the eve of Federer’s record-breaking 19th Slam victory at Wimbledon, Anand, in a major interview with ESPN India, also noted the comparisons between himself and the timeless tennis veteran. Both have the same foes – age and younger opponents. Both hold the promise of one more big winning in them. “You have these people you’re worried about, your main rivals whom you think heavily of and then they suddenly drop out,” said Anand.”Now that Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are gone it could either help him or he could relax.

“You can roughly compare a 35-year-old tennis player and a 47-year-old chess player. I try to learn from him. People like Federer tell you that you can still hang in there.”

Is there one more title for Anand?

Round 7
Anand 1-0 Nepomaniatchtchi
Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Karjakin
Svidler ½-½ Carlsen
Nakamura 0-1 Aronian
So ½-½ Caruana

(Photo opposite | © Lennart Ootes GCT)


Round 8
Anand ½-½ Vachier-Lagrave
Aronian ½-½ Svidler
Karjakin 1-0 So
Caruana ½-½ Nakamura
Nepomniachtchi ½-½ Carlsen

1-3. V. Anand (India), M. Vachier-Lagrave (France), L. Aronian (Armenia) 5/8; 4-5. S. Karjakin (Russia), M. Carlsen (Norway) 4½; 6. F. Caruana (USA) 4; 7. P. Svidler (Russia) 3½; 8-9. H. Nakamura (USA), I. Nepomniachtchi (Russia) 3; 10. W. So (USA) 2½.

GM Vishy Anand – GM Ian Nepomniachtchi
5th Sinquefield Cup, (7)
Sicilian Najdorf, Adams Attack
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 The Adams Attack – named not after the top English grandmaster Michael Adams, but after the early 20th-century American master Weaver Adams (1901-63), and was a big favourite of Bobby Fischer back in his early playing days. It’s also sprung back into life by being added to the Sicilian arsenal of both Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. 6…e5 7.Nde2 h5 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 The key to just about all Sicilian systems where Black has played …e5 is control over the d5 square. If White can safely secure control of this square, then Black faces a tough time of it. If Black can get a hold of the d5 square and push for his own …d5, then he frees his game. 10…Qd8 11.Qd3 Nd7 12.O-O-O g6 13.Kb1 Nc5 14.Qf3 Bg7 15.Nec3 b5 16.Ne3 As we can see, Anand has total control over d5 – and Nepo faces a tough time of it trying to stay in the game. 16…O-O 17.Rg1 Bh6 18.Ncd5 Bxe3 19.Qxe3 Nepo may have lessened Anand’s control over d5 – but it comes at the cost of weakening the dark-squares around his king. 19…Rc8 20.Be2 Kg7 21.f4 Bxd5 There’s no time for the immediate 21…exf4 as White has the awkward 22.Qd4+! Kh6 23.Nxf4 Qg5 24.Qe3 leaving Black in deep trouble here, with d6 being the least of his worries, as White is threatening h4 and a winning discovered check on the Black king. 22.Rxd5 exf4 23.Qxf4 Re8 24.Rxd6 Anand spots an ending that’s in his comfort zone with the queens exchanged – and he probably didn’t like the tactical shot with 24.Bxh5, as after 24…Nxe4 25.Bf3 Rc4 26.Bxe4 Rcxe4 27.Qd2 Re2 28.Qc3+ R8e5 29.Rgd1 Qb6! Black’s rooks and queen become very active. 24…Qe7? A sad error from Nepo, who up to here had battled hard to stay in the game. He should have played the tricky 24…Qc7!? with pressure down the c-file that also comes with a tactical twist. If 25.Bd3 Nxe4! 26.Bxe4 Re6! more or less forces now 27.Bxg6 (White can’t play 27.Rgd1? as 27…Rd8! and Black is winning due to the pin on queen.) 27…fxg6 28.Rd4 Qxc2+ 29.Ka1 Rc7 30.Rf1 Kh7 with equality and a symmetrical ending. 25.e5 Qxe5 26.Qxe5+ Rxe5 27.Bf3 Ne4? The knight was well-placed on c5 defending a6 and stopping White’s rook getting to d7. Nepo would have been better first looking to exchange off a set of rooks with 27…Rce8! and equality. 28.Bxe4 Rxe4 29.Rxa6 Re2 30.c3 h4 31.Ra5! (See diagram) 31…b4 Nepo has gambled everything on his doubled rooks on the seventh – but he’s miscalculated that Anand has a simple winning plan. But he has no other better option here, as after 31…Rb8 32.a3 Re3 (Trying to stop White playing g3 activating his Rg1) 33.Rc1! White has Rc2 defending g2 and will then begin to push for c4 or a4 and the two passed queenside pawns will win the day. 32.cxb4 Rcc2 33.b3! Now Anand’s king simply goes to a1, forcing Nepo into a hopelessly lost rook and pawn ending. 33…Rb2+ 34.Ka1 Rxg2 35.Rxg2 Rxg2 36.b5 The queenside pawns rushing up the board will decide the game. 36…Re2 37.b6 Re8 38.b7 Rb8 39.Rb5 f5 40.Kb2 1-0 Nepo resigns, as Anand’s king quickly shuffles over to stop the Black f-pawn, meanwhile the unstoppable a4-a5 etc. quickly wins.


News STEM Uncategorized