Chess: Anand's ambush

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The Independent Online
THE MOST satisfying way to win a game is to discern your opponent's plan and ambush him half-way, when he is too far committed to escape. Today's game, won by brilliant young Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is a fine example.

The opening is a standard Slav Defence until Anand's 10 . . . Bh5]? If White replies 11. g4, Black can force a draw with 11 . . . Nxg4 12. hxg4 Qxh4 13. gxh5 Qg5+ with perpetual check, or fish in murkier waters with 11 . . . Nd5 or 11 . . . Bxc3 and 12 . . . Ne4. Piket played to leave the bishop on h5, staring into space, but with 18. g4, he became too ambitious.

The critical moment with 24. Nxc4. Piket must have planned something on the lines of 24 . . . Nxc4 25. f5] exf5 26. Rxc4] Rxc4 27. Rc1 Rxc1 28. Qxd5 Rxe1+ 29. Kf2 when the threats of Kxe1 and gxf5 force the win of material. It looks as though White has fallen into an elaborate trap, but Anand showed that he had seen further.

Delaying the recapture on c4, Anand played 24 . . . Be4]] keeping the knight pinned in two directions. With his king vulnerable to attacks based on Bh1, White's position became immediately desperate. His next few moves were the only way to try to gain some activity, but in the face of Black's growing initiative, it never had a chance to succeed.

The final straw came with 27 . . . g5] both opening further lines of attack and avoiding back-rank mates. At the end, 31. Qh2 would lose to any of Bf3, Bd3 and Rxe2, while 31. Qb8+ Kg7 32. Qe5+ f6 only delays the end for a couple of moves.

The game comes from the four-player Euwe Memorial Tournament currently taking place in Amsterdam. After three rounds, Anand shared the lead with Vladimir Kramnik on 2 points, and then Nigel Short and Jeroen Piket a point behind.

White: J Piket

Black: V Anand

1 d4 d5 17 Bd2 Ne4

2 c4 c6 18 g4 Bg6

3 Nc3 Nf6 19 Rfc1 Qd5

4 Nf3 dxc4 20 Bd1 Nc4

5 a4 Bf5 21 Be1 Ned6

6 e3 e6 22 Be2 Rc7

7 Bxc4 Bb4 23 Ne5 Rfc8

8 0-0 Nbd7 24 Nxc4 Be4

9 Nh4 Bg6 25 Nxa5 Rxc1

10 h3 Bh5 26 Rxc1 Rxc1

11 Qb3 a5 27 Qxb4 g5

12 f4 0-0 28 fxg5 Qxg5

13 Nf3 Nb6 29 Kf1 Qxe3

14 Be2 c5 30 Qxd6 Rc2

15 Na2 Rc8 White resigns

16 Nxb4 cxb4