Friday 25 May 2012

Anand vs. Gelfand after 10 games

Moscow in 1908
A second part of match between World Champion  Vishvanatan Anand and a challenger Boris Gelfand is by far more interesting than first half of it.
Let´s begin with Gelfand´s wins in game number seven. As I was told by one grandmaster, Anand probably played a Meran variation one time more than he should.
If I recall something from a famous match between Kramnik and Kasparov in London 2000, everybody knows that Kramnik played the Berlin defence of Ruy Lopez and that he stopped Kasparov´s 1.e4 with it.
In one of his last black games in that match Kramnik played completely different variation in Ruy Lopez, just to avoid Kasparov´s preparation in the Berlin variation. If I remember correct, he played Berlin one more time after that, but in that moment Kasparov probably expected something else and could not build a momentum for that game.
Something similar could be used by Anand, but as I was told (although this is just a speculation by me and anonymous gm) he probably played it one time to much and Gelfand did his job. He got some advantage and a position which suits him very well.
What happened in that moment in his head I don´t know, but the next game he played in completely different manner than the whole match.
I am not talking about his blunder on move 14 but a complete strategy in that game.
His position was quite all right before he blundered, although both players claimed an advantage for white, but a style was different. That was not a rock solid Boris who barley made two or three inaccuracies in the first seven games.
As a result of that state of mind we got a shortest decisive game in World Championship matches.
Anand levelled a score.
Game number 9 and game number 10 were two draws but much more interesting than games 1-6.
In game number 9 Anand played a Nimzo-indian defence for the first time in this match, and in a standard position he made very strange decision to give his light squared bishop with Bxf3 without getting something in return.
Gelfand got an advantage and everybody expected a real try for a new lead.
What happened next is something what I am trying to explain for a whole match. He had a choice of going for endgame with some winning chances but Anands drawing chances were huge. A risk was minimal, because he played on two results.
Gelfand went 19.c5?!
Cleaver choice one would say, but seriously how big was his winning chances in an endgame. I think that he could count on 5-10% chances to win a game, and as a huge favourite for a draw Anand construct a fortress without to much efforts.
His chances to win a middlegame on the diagram was according to me at least 20-25% which is by far more that his chances in the endgame Q against R+N+P. 
Gelfand know this very well, but Anand chances to win this position with black is maybe 3% which is much more that a chances to win an endgame (approximately 0%).
I am not talking about usual tournament games on GM or IM level when you can expect higher percetage of misstakes and than you can expect that playing for a two results is much more practical. I am talking about WC match when playing 19.c5 Gelfand knew it that Anand will with huge probability save a game and still went for that.
I don´t know how you will interpret that but for me this is a highly destructive approach.
Red square in Moscow
It seems that Anand understood that he is a real favourite if he plays unknown positions and he played very unusual opening in the game number 10.
He has some chances and when I expected a real fight, they took a draw.
I and a few friends who discussed a game with me thought that white has obvious advantage.
How to call that? Again, destructive approach.
I am not complaining about Anands overall strategy which is to play for a draw with black pieces (it can be a real surprise for Gelfand who maybe expected that Anand will employ a same strategy like in his match against Kramnik in Bonn when he played sharp positions with black pieces and practically won a match with black pieces) and to make some chances in interesting positions with white (combine 1.d4 and 1.e4 and play something like Sämisch), I am complaining about his decisions to play a draws like this in final position in game number 10.
Maybe he would play on if this was game number 1, 3 or 5, but now he wants to play two more draws and than try to exploit his even more advantage in rapid and blitz games.
A next few days will give us an answer.
However Red square in Moscow deserved old fashioned demonstration tables like during time of Botvinnik, Tal, Petrosian and Smyslow and surly deserved a World Champion of that calibre.

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