Chess: Anand's timely win

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The Independent Culture
VISWANATHAN Anand's share of first place in the Euwe Memorial in Amsterdam was helped, as so often before, by his tactical sense and great speed of play, writes William Hartston. His total thinking time over six games was nearly four-and-a-half hours less than his opponent's.

In today's position, playing White against Jeroen Piket, Anand used his opponent's time-trouble and tension to win a game he might have lost. If White does nothing, the mobile centre pawns ensure Black a big advantage, so Anand took the plunge with 34. Bxb5 Bxb5 35. Nxb5. 35 . . . Na4 is met by Qxe5, so Piket played 35 . . . d4] Now any move of the knight from e3 does lose to Na4, so 36. Rc7 was forced. Piket continued with the second best move, 36 . . . Qa6 (Anand was more afraid of 36 . . . Qb8] when after 37. Rxe7 dxe3 38. Bxe3 Nc4 Black emerges a piece ahead) and play continued 37. Rxe7 Qxb5 38. Ng4 Nc4.

Black is still doing well, but he must have been shocked by Anand's reply, 39. Bh6] when 39 . . . Nxb2 40. Bxg7+ or 39 . . . gxh6 40. Nxf6 both lead to mate. Piket reached the time control with 39 . . . Nxg4 40. Bxg7+ Kg8 and after 41. Qc1 settled down for a long think.

If Black plays 41 . . . d3] he may still be winning. White cannot reply 42. Qg5 because of mate on a1. After half an hour, Piket played instead 41 . . . Qxb4?? and after 42. Bf6] Kf8 43. hxg4 he had nothing better than 43 . . . Qd2 44. Qxd2 Nxd2 45. Rd7 and White, a good pawn ahead, won in 61 moves.

As so often, the decisive error came one move after the time control.

(Graphic omitted)