Then the gloves came off. Kasparov, like any other cornered animal whose territory is threatened, snarled into action with a sudden increase in hostility in moves and actions.
In game 10, he crushed Anand with a fine piece of opening preparation, a banged- down bishop sacrifice and some impromptu door-banging.
In game 11, he did little to disguise his anger after Anand declined an early draw offer. The game was decided by a very uncharacteristic blunder by Anand, when he fell into a pretty, but not particularly deep trap.
From one-up with 11 to play, Anand had slumped to one- down with nine games left. His defeat in game 10 could be shrugged off as as an occupational hazard of playing sharp openings with Black, but the loss in game 11 was more serious.
Anand, whose phenomenal speed of calculation is the stuff of which legends are made, simply does not make such oversights.
Kasparov's aggressive demeanour may be partly responsible, but that is nothing new. His very posture at the board - glaringly hunched over the pieces, almost infringing his opponent's air space - could hardly be more intimidating. If Anand has no antidote to such venom, then his entire preparation for the match has been at fault. This week's games will show what the challenger is made of.
In the meantime, here is the blunder he will want to forget:
From the diagram position, Anand playing White, the game continued 27.Nd5 Be6 and now White has two perfectly good moves: 28.Nf4 invites a draw by repetition; 28.Nxe7 Re8 29.b4! axb4 30.axb4 Rc4 31.Nd5 Bxd5 32.Rxd5 Rxb4+ gives White the edge in a probably drawn endgame. Instead he played 28.b4? axb4 29.axb4 Rc4 30.Nb6? Rxb4+ 31.Ka3 when, rather than winning a rook as planned, White lost at once to 31...Rxc2!! After 32.Rxc2 Rb3+ 33.Ka2 Re3+ White ends up two pawns behind.Reuse content