Chess: Innate vision

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The Independent Culture
THE MARK of a great tactician lies not so much in the ability to calculate complex variations, as in the knack of guessing correctly how they are going to turn out. In the following game, from last year's Fide Interzonal tournament in Biel, Viswanathan Anand turns the tables with a brilliantly calculated 21st move, but the real skill lay in judging even earlier that White's central breakthrough would be stronger and quicker than Black's Q-side attack.

In the opening, Anand adopted an aggressive system made popular by the English grandmasters Short, Nunn and Chandler. White's g4 and h4 makes the K-side unsafe for Black's king, and when 10 . . . d5 led to blocked pawns in the centre after 11. e5, Anand took steps to open it again with 17. f5] The material loss of the e-pawn was an easy decision - its absence creates more open lines for the White attack - the difficult part was to invite Black's knight on a quick trip to c4. With Nxe5, Nc4, Qa5 and Nxb2 all coming in quick succession, it looked as though Black's attack had raced into the lead.

Black must have calculated 21. Kxb2 Na4+ 22. Kc1 Nc3 23. Qd3 e5 when he has a clear advantage. Anand's surprising 21. fxe6]] changes all that. After 21 . . . fxe6 22. Kxb2 Na4+ 23. Kc1 Nc3 24. Qd3 White would be threatening Qg6+. Since 21 . . . Nxd1 also leads to a miserable game for Black after 22. exf7+ Kxf7 23. Rxd1, Ftacnik felt obliged to get his king out of the way with 0- 0-0, but he never obtained enough for the piece as Anand threaded his way brilliantly through the threats to his king.

Earlier in the game, there was another bit of tactical genius: after 19. Qe2 Black can fork the knights with 19 . . . e5, against which Anand had prepared 20. Nxd5] Bxd5 21. Nc6] leading to a winning attack. The amount this young Indian grandmaster sees during his games is phenomenal, but his innate judgment of tactical positions is even more impressive.

-------------------------------------- White: Anand Black: Ftacnik -------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 20 Kb1 Nxb2 2 Nf3 d6 21 fxe6 0-0-0 3 d4 cxd4 22 Kxb2 Na4+ 4 Nxd4 Nf6 23 Kc1 b3 5 Nc3 a6 24 Nxb3 Ba3+ 6 Be3 e6 25 Kb1 Nc3+ 7 f3 b5 26 Ka1 Qa4 8 g4 h6 27 Qd3 Bb4 9 Qd2 Bb7 28 Nc1 Kb8 10 h4 b4 29 Bd4 Rc8 11 Nce2 d5 30 Be5+ Ka7 12 e5 Nfd7 31 Qe3+ Rc5 13 f4 Nc5 32 Rd3 Qxc2 14 Bg2 Nbd7 33 Bxc3 Bxc3+ 15 0-0-0 Be7 34 Rxc3 Qxc3+ 16 g5 h5 35 Qxc3 Rxc3 17 f5 Nxe5 36 exf7 Rf8 18 Nf4 Nc4 37 g6 1-0 19 Qe2 Qa5 --------------------------------------

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