Games: Chess

The game in the Belgrade tournament between the players ranked two and three in the world fully lived up to expectations. Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand both gave spectacular displays of imagination, with the Indian player ending up victorious after meeting Kramnik's sacrificial attacking play with an astonishing counter-sacrifice.

The position after 5.Bg5 was one that Kramnik has had countless times as both colours. Those games generally entered the wild territory of the Botvinnik System with 5...dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7, but Anand by-passed that line with 5...h6. Theory now recommends 6.Bxf6 Qxf6, which is said to leave White with a more comfortable position, but Kramnik instead played a supposedly dubious pawn sacrifice.

At move 12, he sacrificed a piece to destroy the pawn cover around Black's king. Black was able to defend in the short term by huddling pieces round his king, but after 19.b4! White clearly had good compensation for the piece. 19...cxb3 20.Qxb3 would have left e6 impossible to defend, while otherwise White's grip on c5 makes it difficult for Black to untangle. The critical moment came after 25.Ne4 (see diagram). Black cannot play 25...Be3 because of 26.Rxf8+ when 26...Qxf8 loses to 27.Bxe6+, 26...Nxf8 loses to 27.Nf6+, and 26...Kxf8 loses the bishop to 27.Qf3+ (and 27.Qh8+ Kf7 28.Rf1+ Kg6 29.Nf6 is even stronger).

Anand found the extraordinary 25...c5!! 26.Nxg5 Bd5!! (26...Rxg5 27.Qh6 favours White). White's best continuation may then have been 27.Nxe6 Bxe6 28.Bxe6+ Qxe6 29.bxc5, but Kramnik's decision to keep the piece he had just won back was understandable. As the game went, White was a pawn down, but the black passed pawns on c4 and b4 were too powerful.

Kramnik's 37.bxe6!? was a last despairing effort to confuse the issue, but a final combination with 38...Rxf3! put the matter beyond doubt. White had rook and three pawns for Black and knight, but his position was hopeless. One of the most exciting and eventful games I have seen for a long time.

White: Vladimir Kramnik

Black: Viswanathan Anand

1 Nf3 Nf6 23 Qe2 Ba8

2 c4 e6 24 Qxh5 Rf8

3 Nc3 d5 25 Ne4 c5

4 d4 c6 26 Nxg5 Bd6

5 Bg5 h6 27 Nf3 cxb4

6 Bh4 dxc4 28 axb5 axb5

7 e4 g5 29 Nh4 Qg5

8 Bg3 b5 30 Rxf8+ Nxf8

9 Be2 Bb7 31 Qe8 Rf7

10 e5 Nh5 32 Nf3 Qg6

11 a4 a6 33 Qxb5 b3

12 Nxg5 Nxg3 34 Rf1 Qd3

13 Nxf7 Kxf7 35 Kg1 Qe3+

14 fxg3 Kg8 36 Kh1 c3

15 0-0 Nd7 37 Bxe6 Bxe6

16 Bg4 Qe7 38 d5 Rxf3

17 Ne4 Rh7 39 gxf3 Bh3

18 Nd6 Rb8 40 Qc4 Bxf1

19 b4 h5 41 Qg4+ Kh7

20 Bh3 Bh6 42 e6 Ng6

21 Kh1 Bg5 White resigns

22 Qc2 Rg7

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

    Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

    £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

    Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

    £26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen