Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Anand v Gelfand round 12 World Chess Championship

It's the last regular game. Anand plays a Bb5 Sicilian and surprises with a rare sixth move.

Former World Champion GM Kramnick commenting suggests playing the tiebreaker games before the regular games to make for fewer quick draws. I do not think that this would help. Prior WCC matches have had quick draws even though the champion retained the title if the match was drawn. Also, he suggests

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc5 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Ne7 6.b3

Gelfand takes about 20 minutes to think through the position. 6...d6 7.e5 Ng6 Anand gambits a pawn with 8.h4 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Nd2
Gelfand starts another long think. Kramnick suggests 10...Qd4 to hinder white's development, because white wants to maintain the options of long castling and developing the bishop to b2. Gelfand chooses to give the pawn back with 10...c4 and Anand must begin to think. Each of the three ways of retaking the pawn have long term implications.

My first impression is to favor the knight capture, because its a nice post for the knight and the pawns remain undoubled, but black can disturb this knight with Ba6, or the knight may be needed elsewhere.

Taking with the d-pawn removes the restraint of black's e-pawns, but makes a queenside pawn mass that can be dangerous in the long term, but this pawn mass can be created anyway if black challenges a Nc4 with Ba6.

Taking with the b-pawn may keep black's bishops restrained, but definitely removes the option of long castling.

11.Nxc4 Ba6 12.Qf3 Qd5 13.Qxd5 cxd5 14.Nxe5 f6 

Anand is a pawn up, but Gelfand's problems are solved. Black will have a strong center and be able to use his bishop pair.  Gelfand will seize the initative, and Anand must find places for his pieces. 15.Nf3 e5 16.O-O Kf7 17.c4 Be7 18.Be3 Bb7 19.cxd5 Bxd5 20.Rfc1 a5 21.Bc5 Rhd8 22.Bxe7 [½ - ½]

Anand offers a draw and Gelfand accepts. Kramnick is a bit shocked. He thinks there is quite a bit of play left in this position. I suspect that Anand thinks he will have a big advantage in the playoff, and Gelfand does not see a path to a win with the two bishops gone.

Wednesday, Rapid games if even then blitz if even then an Armageddon game to decide things. The playoff will start 3 hours earlier, which is the middle of the night for me.

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