Independent Pursuits: Chess

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
WHEN THE two best players in the world play each other it's worth taking notice, even if the game itself appears rather slight. Viswanathan Anand held Gary Kasparov as Black in the 10th round at Wijk aan Zee on Thursday with apparently effortless ease; but beneath the surface a drama burned, much of it before the game had even begun.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Kramnik played a long clean technical game eventually to grind down Timman and move up on Anand's shoulder just half a point adrift; and Ivan Sokolov, with confidence replenished after a fine victory against Kasparov, won his second game in a row against Loek Van Wely.

With just three rounds to go, the scores were Kasparov 8, Anand 7, Kramnik 6.5, Ivanchuk and Svidler 5.5, Sokolov, Shirov, Piket and Topolov 5, Timman 4.5, Kasimdzhanov and Yermolinsky 3.5 and Reinderman 2. And though Kasparov faced a reasonably tough finish with Kramnik, Svidler and Timman while Anand had Topalov, Van Wely and Yermolinsky, it would be a brave man indeed who bet against Kasparov winning outright.

In the diagram, Anand had played 14 ...g6 against Miguel Illescas in the sixth game of their match in Leon last year and after 15 Rxe7 Qxe7 16 Bg5 Qd6 17 Qd4 Nh5 18 Nxd5 Nc6! he beat off the attack and won. But Anand himself says that, two hours beforehand, his second, Elizbar Ubilava, told him there was a huge gap in that line.

It certainly isn't obvious; even armed with this information, I can't immediately see what he's on about. But presumably Kasparov too had found the weakness and so Anand took evasive action: "Fortunately, I had a cop- out line. The only thing that worried me was that I hadn't had the time to check it. But it worked out all right."

Kasparov spent some time trying to refute 14 ...Nc6 and then settled for a draw. Of course not 15 ...Qxc7? 16 Nxd5 Nxd5 17 Qxh7 mate. At the end 22 ...Rb8 23 Ne7+ Kh8 24 Qxd8 Rxd8 25 Nxc8 Rdxc8 26 Rxa6 Rxb2 is dead equal but not 22 ...Ra7? 23 Qe3! winning material.

White: Gary Kasparov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Queen's Gambit Accepted

g,dx ba,

, , chnh

h, , v ,

vh,h, ,

, , C ,

, VS,F,

HND, NHN

B , B Z

1 d4 d5

2 c4 dxc4

3 Nf3 a6

4 e3 e6

5 Bxc4 c5

6 0-0 Nf6

7 Bb3 cxd4

8 exd4 Nc6

9 Nc3 Be7

10 Re1 0-0

11 Bf4 Na5

12 Bc2 b5

13 d5 exd5

14 Qd3 (see

diagram) Nc6

15 Bc7 Qd7

16 Ne5 Nxe5

17 Bxe5 g6

18 Bxf6 Bxf6

19 Nxd5 Bg7

20 a4 bxa4

21 Bxa4 Qd8

22 Bc6 1/2-1/2

Comments