Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Anand-Leko: Denouement

In the last round, Anand had his fate in his control. The task was simple - draw, and the title was his. For the third time in the tournament Anand faced the potentially dangerous Marshall attack, but he had a plan to pour cold water on the attack.

Anand has firsthand evidence that it does, in fact, feel good to be a gangster

With this draw, Anand finished in 1st by a clear point over the field. My impressions: Anand played critical lines in sharp openings round after round, and did not vary from this strategy even when he pulled into the lead. Well into the era of computer analysis, Anand continued to debate unclear positions with positional and material imbalances. He was rewarded with an impressive +4 overall score, including +1 =2 against the Marshall Attack and +1 =2 in the razor-sharp Anti-Moscow Gambit. Three of those draws came in tournament situations where a draw was a strategic victory. His only shortcoming came against the Petroff where he was not able to pose any problems against the world's experts in Kramnik and Gelfand. For their part, Kramnik and Gelfand can perhaps be faulted for a lack of ambition. Each finished 2nd on +2, but in the end settled for draws in those same Petroff games where they had their best practical chances against the future champion.
All this could be seen in evidence later in the fascinating Anand-Kramnik world championship match of 2008, where Anand scored blistering wins from the Black side in sharp openings whereas Kramnik played no less than the Exchange Variation of the Slav in game 1 with a quick draw. Anand represents a departure from the reign of Kramnik, playing in the universal style of Spassky which is comfortable both in attack and on defense, playing for complications where it is demanded. He proved as much by adopting a constricting positional style three years later in his successful match against Topalov. Luckily, the story is not finished, and we'll see another championship match from Anand in the future...


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