Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 WCC Anand v Gelfand round 7

I notice that the link to the video archive is not very easy to see. This is one you will want to watch.

GM Leko has lots of interesting comments in the coverage of the opening after the first break. No art history lecture during the interesting phase today! Ack, I spoke to soon, but the game did not get too far along and there is plenty of life left in the positon when Leko's resumes his commentary. When Leko starts to run out of commentary, they go to commercial break and drag Karpov away from the Russian language broadcast. This game is definitely the second most interesting of the match so far. This game should spring Anand into action and we should see more dynamic games to come.

Gelfand diverges again on move 6, this time with c5. This is a promising move for us spectators. The pawn structure is unlikely to be balanced. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.c5 
Gelfand has released the tension very early, but has made the activation of black's Bc8 very difficult. Generally, black would want to attack the pawn chain at the base to release that bishop, but it is difficult to get enough force together to make the e5 break. Anand choses to go after the head of the pawn chain first.

6...Nbd7 7.Qc2 b6 8.cxb6 Nxb6 9.Bd2 c5 10.Rc1 cxd4 11.exd4 Bd6 12 Bg5 O-O 13.Bd3 h6 14.Bh4 Bb7 
This position is going to be about control of they central squares on the e and c files. In particular, the e5 square. If Gelfand can place and maintain a knight on e5, he will have a lasting advantage, which will keep the Bb7 bad and enable a kingside initiative. A permanent knight outpost on c5 would be almost as good. It would tend to dominate black's light square bishop and support the advance of the queenside pawn majority. The pawn structure is long term good for white, because of the queenside pawn majority.

If Anand can break with e5 at a good time, he will be able to solve the problem of the Bb7 and transform the pawn structure in a way that balances white's queenside majority with central control.

15.O-O Qb8. Leko has a nice explaintion of why Gelfand should not play 16.Bxf6; however, Houdini likes this move. I think Anand would be able to hold the kingside attack that Houdini favors, and the resulting pawn structure would in the long term be good for black, because it will enable him to control the central squares.


Just after Gelfand makes this move, they go to a commercial break, and we get our art history lesson. This is very inappropriately timed. They need to have a better director, that can time the commercials properly. It would have been better to go to commercial early. The art history lessons need to be broken up into shorter segments, also.

Gelfand's repositioning of this bishop makes me question 13...h6. I wonder if this move only pushed the bishop where it wanted to go.

16...Rc8 17.Qe2 Bxg3 18.hxg3 Qd6 19.Rc2 Nbd7 20.Rfc1 Rab8

A pass move perhaps? Anand is asking Gelfand if he has a way to improve his position. Leko points out that 20...Rab8 has a subtle point, it discourages Na4, but Gelfand plays it anyway.


And they break to commercial, but Leko was running out of commentary. When they return Karpov joins them. Leko and Karpov both think 21.a3 to prepare b4 and Na4-c5 would have been better.

This is a key position. In retrospect, it is clear that Anand must play precisely here.

21...Ne4 Karpov and Leko were expecting ...Rxc2 22.Rxc2 Bc6 where Anand's Rb8 puts pressure on the b2 pawn.

Anand's move offers a pawn, but Gelfand declines as this would free up black's game. What he chooses leads to a permanent advantage.

22.Rxc8+ Bxc8 23.Qc2 g5 Surprise! I think Anand thinks he is in more trouble than I see. I expect he is right. He clearly looks uncomfortable with his position.

24.Qc7 Qxc7 25.Rxc7 With the queens off, it is hard to see how Anand generates counterplay. The Bc8 is horrible and the Rc7 is incredibly strong. Gelfand's knights should spring into action.

25...f6 26.Bxe4 dxe4 27.Nd2 f5 28.Nc4 Nf6 29.Nc5 Nd5 30.Ra7 Nb4 

31.Ne5 Nc2 32.Nc6 Rxb2 33.Rc7 Rb1+ 34.Kh2 e3 35.Rxc8+ Kh7 36.Rc7+ Kh8 37.Ne5 e2 38.Nxe6 1-0

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