Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 WCC Anand v Gelfand round 3

The third game started out promising. Another Grunfeld, but Anand chose a different line than the first game.  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd55.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 e5 9.d5 c6 10.h4 cxd5 11.exd5 N8d7 12.h5 Nf6 13.hxg6 fxg6 14.O-O-O Bd7 15.Kb1 Rc8 16.Ka1

Gelfand offered a gambit with 16...e4, but Anand avoided taking it until he could make a bunch of exchanges and enter an endgame. 17.Bd4 Na4 18.Nge2 Qa5 19.Nxe4 Qxd2 20.Nxf6+ Rxf6 21.Rxd2 Rf5 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.d6. Here after his move 23.d6, Anand has an extra pawn, but his pieces are horribly placed, and he has difficulty finding squares for his minor pieces. It seems to me that white will have to relinquish his advanced d-pawn in order to unravel his pieces.

Instead of releasing the bind on white to gain the d6-pawn with 23...Nb6, Gelfand increased the pressure on Anand with 23...Rfc5 and 24...a5. Gelfand is trying to prevent white from playing Nc3 or b3. This leaves Anand's light square bishop on f1, but it does not have any good squares. Developing this bishop is a common problem in positions where white plays f3 to bolster the e4 and g4 squares. This can tend to trap the rook on h1 as well, except when black has a kingside fianchetto, and the h-pawn yearns to throw itself on the spiky structure of the opponents pawns. In this position, Anand can bring the Rh1 into the game by advancing up the h-file, and Anand does this with 25.Rh4.

Gelfand fairly quickly occupies the 2-rank with 25...Rc2. The b2 pawn is threatened and Anand plays 26.b3, which seems forced, and now black must move the Na4, but white's Ne2 now has no support on c3. After 26...Nb2 27.Rb1 Nd3 28.Nd4 Gelfand looked uncomfortable. Perhaps he thought to play ...Nb4, but saw that it did not work. 28...Rd2 29.Bxd3 Rxd3 and Anand has solved his problem with what to do with his bishop, and found a good square for his knight, as it dominates black's Bd7 and controls the entry square c2.

And the fireworks end with 30.Re1 Rd2 31.Kb1 Bf5+ 32.Nxf5 gxf5 33.Re7+ and we arrive at a rook ending with Anand holding an advantage, but one that may be difficult in converting to a win.

33...Kg6 34.Rc7 Re8 35.Rh1 Ree2 36.d7 Rb2+ 37.Kc1 Rxa2 1/2-1/2

A much more exciting game than the first two.

Update: It appears that Anand might have continued the game with 34.d7, but the lines after 34...Rcc2 35.Rc4 Rb2+ 36.Kc1 Rxa2 37.Rc8 Rf2 are very complicated and risky.

after 37...Rf2
With Anand short on time, it was hard to see that 35...Rxc4 was forced. (The idea refuting black's attack is to force the black King on the h4-d8 diagonal, so white can queen with check and then either trade the queen or both rooks for a black rook to stop the checkmate threats.) After 36.bxc4 h5 white has an advantage, and it would be fairly easy to get to time control.

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