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The game of the year? In my mind, there is no doubt: just two weeks before the old year gave way, so did Anatoly Karpov. He lost his second place in the newly published world rankings, and was promptly thrashed by the man who had supplanted him. Here's the brilliant way young Anand upset the established order.

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Anatoly Karpov

Las Palmas 1996

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e4

Never one to shun the direct approach, Anand seizes the centre rather than steer the safe path of mainline theory with 4.e3.

4...b5 5.a4 c6 6.axb5 cxb5 7.b3 Bb7 8.bxc4 Bxe4 9.cxb5 Nf6

Karpov must now have been content. He will play a6, exchange the last Q-side pawns and perhaps even enjoy a slight initiative thanks to the isolated white d-pawn. But life is never as easy as it seems.

10.Be2 Be7 11.0-0 0-0 12.Nc3 Bb7 13.Ne5 a6 14.Bf3 Nd5 15.Nxd5 exd5

15...Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Qxd5 17.Qa4 would have left him tied up.

16.Rb1 Qb6 17.Be2 axb5 18.Rxb5 Qc7 19.Bf4 Bd6 20.Bd3! Ba6

With 20...f6 met either by 21.Qh5 or 21.Qb1, Black was in trouble. He hopes to buy White off with an offer of the d-pawn (see diagram).


Bravo! Not only does White sacrifice a piece, but he leaves his rooks impaled.

21...Kxh7 22.Qh5+ Kg8 23.Rb3!

The point! The rook is redirected to h3 to aid the assault.

23...Bxe5 24.Rh3! f6 25.dxe5

The threat is nor 26.e6, taking away the black king's last flight square.

25...Qe7 26.Qh7+ Kf7 27.Rg3 Ke8

After 27...Rg8 28.Qg6+ Kf8 29.exf6 Qxf6 30.Bd6+ Black is dead.

28.Rxg7 Qe6 29.exf6 Nc6

The threat of Re7+ had to be met.

30.Ra1 Kd8 31.h4! Bb7 32.Rc1 Ba6 33.Ra1 Bb7 34.Rd1

After toying with his opponent for a move or two, White gets serious again.

34...Ba6 35.Qb1! Rxf6

Short of time, Black cracks under the relentless pressure.

36.Bg5 Kc8 and Black resigned.

37.Bxf6 Qxf6 38.Rg6 kills him.