Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012 WCC Anand v Gelfand round 9

Anand pulls out the Nimzo! Gelfand ends up with an isolani, which indicates a dynamic game ahead. The first commercial break comes at a time that Svidler is winding down in his commentary, and he has plenty to say when the break is over. Anand is taking a lot of time in the opening. Gelfand may have played a line in the Nimzo that Anand was not expecting. Gelfand gets a material advantage, but Anand built a fortress. Instructive game on how to defend.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.O-O dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Qe2 Nbd7 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Bd3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.c4 Bxf3 Svidler thinks that this move was likely a mistake, that Bxf3 is a move for another position. 16.Qxf3 Rfe8

Rfe8 is a novelty according to the live display (presumably Houdini Aquarium). It is not clear to me how Gelfand can improve his position after Rfd1, but Anand has trouble. If the pawns were locked, the knights can combine to attack a single square, but the pawns are mobile. The bishops might be rearranged to provoke weaknesses in Anand's position. Anand needs to find some way to provoke a weakness in Gelfand's position, to get one of those hanging pawns to advance, so they can be blockaded.

17.Rfd1 h6 18.Bh4 Qd6 19.c5 bxc5 20.dxc5 Ah, now I see Gelfand can make a passed pawn.

20...Rxc5 Anand decides to eliminate the pawn at the cost of his queen for a rook and bishop.

21.Bh7+ Kxh7 22.Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23.Rd1 Rec8

If Anand can convert his pressure into an exchange of a-pawns it will be very difficult for Gelfand to win. A queen is more than a pawn better than a rook and knight in general, but if Anand's can keep his pieces active it is likely to be a draw.

24.h3 Ne5 25.Qe2 Ng6

Now it looks like Anand is trying to build a fortress after an exchange of rooks. Svidler thinks Anand does not have enough time for the clear draw fortress of  Kg7, Rd5, Pa5, Ph5

27.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28.Kh2 Rc7 28.Qb2 Kg7 29.a4 Ne7 

Anand is headed toward another fortress with the knight on d5. Will Gelfand push his kingside pawns forward find a way to break in? But first get the a-pawn as far as it can go. 31.a5 Nd5 32.a6 Kh7

The commentary is reduced to talking about chairs, but for us non-masters Anand is showing us how to build a fortress and modify it to prevent winning chances. He has to keep his rook on the 7th and protected while preventing Gelfand from creating a passed h-pawn

33.Qd4 f5 34.f4 Gelfand cannot allow Anand to play f4 34...Rd7 prepares for the knight coming to f6 35.Kg3 Kg6 36.Qh8 Nf6 

The first transformation. The rook still controls the 7th. It is protected by the knight, and the knight controls checking and infiltration squares. Anand's h-pawn will advance to h5 to set up for the exchange on g4. 37.Qb8 h5 38.Kh4 Kh6 39.Qb2 Kg6 40.Qc3 Ne4 Time control is reached and Gelfand takes a long think (40 mins). 41.Qc8 Nf6 42.Qb8 Re7 Gelfand places his queen on what he thinks is the optimal square,
and then comes 43.g4 hxg4 44.hxg4 fxg4 45.Qe5 Is it zugswang?

No, Anand finds a move to preserve the fortress 45...Ng8 controls the squares around his King, defends the rook on the 7th, and the King can defend the knight if threatened. White regains the g-pawn, but there is nothing left. 46.Qg5+ Kh7 47.Qxg4 f6 48.Qg2 Kh8 49.Qe4 Kg7 [1/2-1/2]

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