Bathing of Black Knights

Время публикации: 24.05.2012 02:32 | Последнее обновление: 28.05.2012 03:23

Anand made a mistake in the opening and then managed to escape to a draw

The ninth game of the World Championship Match in Moscow has ended as a draw. Boris Gelfand wasn't able to use Viswanathan Anand'opening mistake: after a long and stubborn defence the World Champion saved half a point. The game was commentated in detail on the Chess-News Twitter page.

The World Championship Match 2012 (Game 9)

The Nimzo-Indian Defence


The ninth game has started.

1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3

It's the Nimzo-Indian Defence. 4.e3, "is a variation full of play", thinks one of the commentators of the official site Alexander Grischuk.

4...O-O 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.O-O

The central collision. This system has been in the spotlight for many years; an unbelievable amount of theory has been accumulated here.

According to Grischuk, Black now has problems in the variation from the game Kramnik - Kasparov (London match in 2000).

7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 cxd4 9.exd4 b6

Anand went for the variation with White's isolated pawn, which is also one of the main ones.


In another game Kramnik - Kasparov there was 10...Bb7 11.Re1 Nbd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qb3 Be7 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.Bxe6.

Black can hold, but Kramnik won the game. What's more, he revealed that the idea to go for this position was suggested by Gelfand. Kasparov wasn't happy.

10...Bb7 11.Qe2

Gelfand chose 11.Qe2: the most popular continuation. There are 382 games with this position in the ChessBase Online Database.

11...Nbd7 12.Rac1

12.Rac1 has been played energetically by Gelfand. Anand has shrunk. In reality, even Vera Menchik played like this before the Second World War; there are 144 games in the database on this subject.

Although the famous tournament Margate 1939, where Menchik played like that against Milner-Barry, was held not so long before the start of the Second World War: only several months prior to that.

Keres, the winner of Margate, made this move in 1972 (San Antonio) in the game against Karpov, which was a quick draw. Karpov played like that himself another 30 years later.

Anand is thinking after 12.Rac1 for an unexpectedly long time. Perhaps, it's true that he's not that well prepared for this position. The official site is on a lengthy break for adverts.

Grandmasters Akopian, Bologan, Onischuk and others tried 12...Qb8!?, but such move would create unpleasant associations with the game seven for Anand.


Anand chose 12...Rc8, quite a usual move. The official site is entertaining with Petrov-Vodkin today (Bathing of a Red Horse).


For some reason 13.Ne5 is played a lot more often. S.Gligoric was one of the first who placed the bishop on d3 in this situation.

13...Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.c4

There are no games of big stars any more here, which commentators so much like to qote. An early example on this topic is Littlewood - Hulak, 1980.

Let's say hello to Katya Lahno! (PHOTO)


There are paintings on the official site's live transmission: Boys At Play painting has been mentioned. Anand destroyed the second knight as well: 15...Bxf3; it's almost a novelty.


In this year's Finland's team championship there was 16...e5 (logical) 17.Bf5!, and Black has problems.

Perhaps Anand is going to sacrifice an exchange after 17.Bf5 (17...exd4); at the moment the impression is that he's made a mistake.


What Anand did defies comprehension: 15...Bxf3?! 16.Qxf3 (it seems, here he realised that 16...e5 doesn't solve the problems) Rfe8. White has an advantage.

White's bishops are stronger. Gelfand is thinking how he can arrange bathing of Black's knights. 17.Rfe1!? is one of the most obvious moves.


Gelfand has played 17.Rfd1!?. Anand allowed his opponent to obtain an advantage of two bishops and Black's position, quite probably, just isn't possible to hold.


Although if Black defends very stubbornly, White would have a lot of work to do. 17...h6 has been played. It's possible to retreat with the bishop to h4 or f4 is also possible.

Let's be honest: what Anand did after 15.c4 is not high level chess. He had to look at the moves Rfe8, h6 without the exchange on f3.

Grischuk is interested to know if there is an antonym for the word "art". (We assume that's precisely what Anand did on moves 15-16 of the game).

The idea ...e5 remains relevant; it's possible that the retreat Bh4! works best against it. Gelfand is thinking for a long time.

If e5 is played after Bh4, then the typical 19.Bf5! is strong. And after 18.Bf4 e5 19.Bg3 there is 19...Qc6!

Natan Sharansky is in the press centre. PHOTO


It's hard to believe, but there is another tale about art on the official site. 18.Bh4 has been played.

(It's possible that it was a little bit more precise to move the rook from f1 to e1 instead of d1 on the previous move, but that's not a simple question).


Anand has played 18...Qd6, it's a logical attempt to get at least some activity. Black has to do something.

Houdini suggests the restricting move 19.a3!? That is a good strategy for Gelfand: try to minimise activity of Black pieces.

There also is a concrete try 19.Bg3 with the idea of moving the queen to b7 (if possible).

(After 18...Qd6). Stockfish assesses White's position to have more than a conditional pawn advantage and suggests Bg3. There's also a prophylactic move 19.h3!?.

Gelfand is thinking for a long time again. Should he start concrete play now (Bg3) or wait a little? It's hard to imagine how disgusted Anand is.

If Boris wants to win by force now, the position probably isn't ready for it. It's easier to win by tried and tested prophylactic moves.

Gelfand is probably not particularly pleased either: the opponent didn't do the cleverest thing, so this won't be a good game, but it's not easy to win.

Gelfand may be thinking about 19.c5, but it's definitely shouldn't be played: Black has real drawing chances in that variation.

19.c5 bc 20.dc Rxc5 21.Bh7+ Kxh7 22.Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23.Rd1 it's possible to win such a position, but it's unlikely to happen.


Nevertheless, Gelfand played precisely that. Perhaps he thinks that the winning chances are very real. Or he's trying to play without a risk.

19...bxc5 20.dxc5 Rxc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22.Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23.Rd1

Smirin, "Sasha [Grischuk] and I think that White short-changed himself"

Smirin, "However, Gelfand still has serious winning chances". 23.Rd1 is on the board. Black can play ...Rec8.

After 23...Rec8 it's possible to play 24.h3, not being afraid of 24...Ne5 attacking the queen. The d5 square for the knight is one of Black's hopes in the endgame.

23...Rec8 24.h3 Ne5

After 25.Qe2 ("by the way, Qb3 is quite possible", Grischuk) the computer shows 25...Ng6 as one of its first lines, allowing Bxf6.

There's a lot of food in the press centre, but there's nothing to eat: PHOTO

The commentators of the official site Grischuk and Smirin are leaning towards the fact that Boris has winning changes, but he shouldn't have gone for this endgame.

Indeed, in the variations after 25.Qe2 Ng6 Black has high chances of building a fortress.

Each journalist was presented with a large, heavy and, of course, beautiful album by a painter Viktor Popkov.

25.Qe2 Ng6

In case of 25.Qb3 it's necessary to consider activation 25...Ne4!. That's probably why Gelfand retreated to e2 with the queen. 25...Ng6 has been played immediately.

In the variation 25...Ng6 26.Bg3 R8c2 Black take the pawn a2. Smirin and Grischuk didn't predict the move 25...Ng6.


That's why Gelfand took on f6. (Grischuk said that he could rather expect the earlier transition into the endgame from, "some computer boy").

Black has great chances of a draw; however, White has a fallback plan with the advance of the kingside pawns: that can be quite dangerous sometimes.

It's still a long way from the full harmony in the arrangement of the black pieces on the kingside.

26...gxf6 27. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28.Kh2


The rooks were exchanged and 28...Rc7 has been played. It's too late to assess this... Now both sides must weigh up future developments on the kingside.

In theory, Black would like to put the rook on d5, the pawn on a5 (the king on g7, of course). White should stop that from happening for now.

Smirin is again saying that Gelfand short-changed himself.

Smirin/Grischuk, "White has traded a brilliant position for a mess of pottage". And he doesn't even try to find a winning plan. But the pawns should go forward.

29.Qb2 Kg7 30.a4

Gelfand decided to move the queenside pawn first: 30.a4. If possible, it would go further, to a5. Black could be thinking of moving the knight to d5.

The draw is more likely, bit not obvious yet. White still has resources to fight for a win.

Sutovsky, "The commentators didn't understand what Gelfand miscalculated. с4-с5 break would have made sense if White was able to keep the bishop".

It's possible that Black shouldn't move the knight to d5 just yet: the kingside would be weakened. It's important that in case of g4, Black still has a reply e5!.

Sutovsky, "Obviously, Gelfand didn't notice Ne5-g6. If he was able to keep the bishop, then the winning chances would have been considerable".

Sutovsky, "The evaluation made by a lot of commentators, who thought it was a bad idea for White to move to the endgame, is wrong, in my opinion".

Edit: On the other hand, the grandmaster Alexander Motylev had doubts about the move 25...Ng6. Listen to and read his interview for our site (in Russian).

The English-speaking commentator Svidler doesn't see an easy draw for Black, "There will be more problems".


Anand placed his knight on e7 anyway, not necessarily with just the aim of moving it to d5. There are nuances about playing on both sides of the board.

It's not a fortress yet. The fortress may be built when White moves his kingside pawns or, on the contrary, Black's defence may collapse.

Svetlana Matveeva is in the press centre. PHOTO:


Gelfand chose to move his queenside pawn for now: 31.a5. The advantages are evident, but disadvantages can appear if the pawn becomes vulnerable.

31...Nd5 32.a6

Has Boris pushed the pawn too far? It was possible to play 32.Qd4 and White would have been ready to push the kingside pawns.

Since the players don't need to get distracted, they can submerge themselves into the endgame deeper than any commentator and better than a computer in this case.

The concept of a fortress is difficult for a computer to understand; it still gives absurd evaluations of positions where this motif is applicable.


With his move 32...Kh7, Anand showed that he's not afraid of anything: not worried about the pawn attack on the kingside.

The commentator Peter Svidler is leaning towards the opinion that Gelfand won't be able to break down Black's defence.


Gelfand has positioned his queen on d4; Svidler agrees that it's a good square. We agreed with that even on the previous move.

In certain variations the black knight, of course, may need the base on the b6 square, which was provided by White after playing a5-a6.

"Objectively, Black should hold", thinks Svidler.

33...f5  34.f4

It turns out that Anand was ready to move his kingside pawn first; Gelfand responded with 34.f4. He is preparing g4 and moving of his king to h5, in some cases.

It's possible to try preventing both of White's ideas by playing h5!?. Of course, only a deep analysis can give an ACCURATE evaluation of moves at this stage.

It's worth noting that the knight now has another base: the e4 square. Smirin, "There are still some winning chances".

Anand is thinking for a good reason. Which pawn to move, f6 or h5? What are the nuances in both case? It's very important to make the right choice of a defence plan.

Whether the move 34.f4 is good or bad, certainly not every grandmaster would have played it.


Smirin is suggesting to arrange the pieces as Kg6 (not being afraid of neither g4 nor Qh8), Nf6 and Rd7. Meanwhile, Anand has played 34...Rd7!? straight away.

There is still no definitive fortress for Black: various structures can result after g4. White could think of moving the king to h4 before g4.

In case of 35.g4 Black can play 35...Kg6, not being afraid of the capture on f5, after which it's possible to take not just with the pawn, but, importantly, with the king as well.

35.Kg3 Kg6 36.Qh8 Nf6

The following has been played: 35.Kg3 Kg6 36.Qh8 Nf6, which wasn't unexpected. The commentators' general impression is that it's quite hard for White to break through.

37.Qb8 h5

After 37.Qb8 Anand has played 37...h5!?, which didn't appear to be forced. The g4 idea has been stopped for now, but the kingside squares have been weakened.

38.Kh4 Kh6 39.Qb2 Kg6 40.Qc3 Ne4

Smirin and Grischuk have long since found a variation where White penetrates onto the g5 square with the queen, takes the h5 pawn, but loses at the end.

This is the key position, which White MUST AVOID. Black wins.

41.Qc8 Nf6

Since the plan with moving of the queen to g5 is losing, White has to find other ideas. But no one really sees them. Gelfand is searching.


Gelfand has played 42.Qb8 after thinking thoroughly, but it's important whether he has some plan.

42...Re7 43.g4

Was it inaccurate to play 42...Re7? It allowed 43.g4 (already played) and then the queen goes to e5.

It seems that Gelfand didn't have a plan, but there was a trick. Nevertheless, it still looks like a fortress and a draw further down in the variations.

43...hxg4 44.hxg4 fxg4 45.Qe5 Ng8

Anand had to make a precise move 45...Ng8, which he did. An exclamation mark is optional.

It's definitely more solid on g8. After 45...Nd5 in the variation 46.Qg5+ Kh7 47.f5 f6, a draw isn't so obvious; it's possible to consider even 48.Qd2.

46.Qg5+ Kh7 47.Qxg4

Computer recommended 47.f5, but it seems like the fortress can't be broken after 47...exf5 unless there is some super endgame study with a rare zugzvang.


(It was possible to play 47...f5)

48.Qg2 Kh8

Anand stubbornly avoids playing ...f5. It's probably not necessary.

49.Qe4 Kg7

Gelfand doesn't want to play f4-f5, as it became clear earlier. What should be done? Moving the king into the centre is senseless. The game is DRAWN!

At the end, Gelfand didn't manage to use the world champion's blunder in the opening.

Grischuk: It's better if the press conferences are held apart. It's easier for the players to say foul things about each other. 

The press conference has started. Anand, "I stood much worse, but I managed to provoke c5, where I hoped to build a fortress". 

Anand on the question what kind of fortress to build, "When he played f4 and I moved f5 and h5, I already was out of danger". 

Gelfand showed some unclear positions in the endgame. About the move c4-c5, "I spent a lot of time on thinking if it was worth taking the queen."

Gelfand: "I thought that there would appear another weakness in the endgame, which would help me to win." Later, Boris thinks he should have tried 35.g4.

Anand, "He controlled [the field] as Barcelona did, but the fortress is an important resource in chess and it helps to hold."

Karlovich asked about the variation where White could win h5-pawn, but the players avoided giving a clear commentary.

Gelfand, "I haven't met a single chess player in my entire career who'd be happy to draw a winning position."

Gelfand, "There are also other stages between 'friends' and 'enemies'. We are rivals... But what has happened in Elista won't be repeated here." (Anand agreed)

Gelfand, "I haven't visited any of the matches; I've only read about them in books."

Anand (answering a question), "I guess White was unable to move his king to a6 in the endgame..." Gelfand agreed.

Gelfand visited the Gallery before the match had started, "but during the match there's not much time left for the cultural programme." Anand agreed. The press conference is over.

Gelfand's brief summary of the encounter:
"It seems to me that chess is a quite a hard game to be explained briefly... It's hard to avoid using chess terms. White had an advantage of two bishops, which converted into the advantage of a queen for the rook and the knight; however, the defence was stubborn enough to enable Black to hold the game." 

The current score of the match is 4.5-4.5. Game 10, in which Anand is White, will be held tomorrow, May 24th. 

[Event "World Championship Match"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2012.05.23"] [Round "9"] [White "Gelfand, Boris"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E54"] [WhiteElo "2727"] [BlackElo "2791"] [PlyCount "98"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "RUS"] 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 16. Qxf3 Rfe8 17. Rfd1 h6 18. Bh4 Qd6 19. c5 bxc5 20. dxc5 Rxc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23. Rd1 Rec8 24. h3 Ne5 25. Qe2 Ng6 26. Bxf6 gxf6 27. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28. Kh2 Rc7 29. Qb2 Kg7 30. a4 Ne7 31. a5 Nd5 32. a6 Kh7 33. Qd4 f5 34. f4 Rd7 35. Kg3 Kg6 36. Qh8 Nf6 37. Qb8 h5 38. Kh4 Kh6 39. Qb2 Kg6 40. Qc3 Ne4 41. Qc8 Nf6 42. Qb8 Re7 43. g4 hxg4 44. hxg4 fxg4 45. Qe5 Ng8 46. Qg5+ Kh7 47. Qxg4 f6 48. Qg2 Kh8 49. Qe4 Kg7 1/2-1/2 

All materials about the match


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