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Viswanathan Anand won the ninth game of his PCA world championship match against Garry Kasparov, at last breaking the deadlock that had stretched to a record eight consecutive draws at the start of the contest. And what a splendid victory it was.

Anand was the first to vary from earlier games in the match when he played his bishop to f3 instead of d3 at move 11. In the same position against Karpov 10 years ago, Kasparov had replied 11...Rb8, but this time he adopted a slightly different plan, saving that rook for duties in the centre with 15...Rad8.

With hindsight, his 16...Bc6 looks like a misjudgment. After 17.b4! Qc7 (17...Qxb4? loses to 18.Rdb1 Qa5 19.Bb6) 18.b5 Bd7 19.Rab1, he must have expected White's apparent weaknesses on the c-file to count for more than his Q-side initiative. Anand's vigorous play with 22.c4! and 25.a5! proved him wrong.

After 27.Rd5!, Black had an unenviable choice: accepting the sacrifice would give White a mobile mass of pawns romping down the board, while leaving it there would result in terminal cramp.

Kasparov accepted the sacrifice and tried to launch his own attack, but Anand defended coolly. After 35.Kh2, preventing the threatened Rxh3+, Black had both rooks attacked as well as the threat of d7 and d8=Q to contend with.

Realising that 35...Qe5 would be purely bluff - there is no good reply to 36.Qxa8 - Kasparov resigned. The spectators finally had something to applaud, and they took full advantage of the opportunity.

The match has begun at last, and the champion must fight for his life. Anand leads 5-4 with 11 games to play.

Anand-Kasparov Game nine

1 e4 c5 19 Rab1 axb5

2 Nf3 d6 20 Nxb5 Bxb5

3 d4 cxd4 21 Qxb5 Ra8

4 Nxd4 Nf6 22 c4 e5

5 Nc3 a6 23 Bb6 Qc8

6 Be2 e6 24 fxe5 dxe5

7 0-0 Be7 25 a5 Bf8

8 a4 Nc6 26 h3 Qe6

9 Be3 0-0 27 Rd5 Nxd5

10 f4 Qc7 28 exd5 Qg6

11 Kh1 Re8 29 c5 e4

12 Bf3 Bd7 30 Be2 Re5

13 Nb3 Na5 31 Qd7 Rg5

14 Nxa5 Qxa5 32 Rg1 e3

15 Qd3 Rad8 33 d6 Rg3

16 Rfd1 Bc6 34 Qb7 Qe6

17 b4 Qc7 35 Kh2 resigns.

18 b5 Bd7