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Vishy Anand helps Baden Baden win Bundesliga 2016-17

by Sagar Shah - 03 May 2017

It's been nearly 15 years since Vishy Anand has been playing for the Baden Baden team in the German Bundesliga. Sixteen teams fight against each other in the strongest chess league event in a round robin format. Fifteen rounds are spread out over a period of seven months from October to April. Vishy Anand played only four games for Baden Baden this season. He scored 3.0/4. On 29th and 30th April rounds 13 and 14 were held and Vishy managed to score 1.5/2 with a draw against Robert Ruck and a win against Erwin l'Ami. Deep analysis of these highly interesting battles.

India has become a super power in the chess world. Anand and Harikrishna are right at the very top and we have a horde of talented youngsters backing them up. We have chess academies spread all over the country, capable chess coaches, employment for top players in public companies and even private companies ready to sponsor young and upcoming talents. If there is something that India lacks in a big way it definitely is an Indian chess league.

 

Almost every top chess country in the world has its league - Russia, China, Germany, France, Netherlands etc. you name it. It still baffles me as to why All India Chess Federation, which is such a powerful organization and has taken so many innovative steps in the past, is not thinking seriously about coming up with an Indian chess league. One of the biggest advantages will be best players from all over the world will travel to India and play against our players. Imagine a youngster like Praggnanandhaa or Nihal Sarin playing in the same team as Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian or MVL! What a learning experience for them!

The German Bundesliga

The biggest chess league in terms of prize money and stature in the world is definitely the German Bundesliga. 16 teams play a round robin event of 15 rounds over a period of seven months. The last three rounds of the 2016-17 league were held on 29th, 30th April and 1st of May. 

...it was nice to see Vishy back on the chess board

Anand played for the team Baden Baden in the 13th and 14th round with the white pieces. In the 13th round he was up against Hungarian player Robert Ruck.

Ruck, playing for Schwegenheim, played some motivated chess and had the former World Champion on the ropes

Black is clearly the one pushing here. Anand has just pushed his pawn to f4. How should Black play for a win?
[Event "Bundesliga 2016-17"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2017.04.29"]
[Round "13.2"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Ruck, Robert"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2566"]
[Annotator "Sagar,Shah"]
[PlyCount "86"]
[EventDate "2016.10.15"]
[EventType "team"]
[WhiteTeam "Baden-Baden"]
[BlackTeam "Schwegenheim"]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Nd7 6. O-O Ne7 7. c3 {Nd2 and Nh4
are the main moves, but Anand strengthens his centre.} Ng6 8. Re1 {Now this is
really rare. Only one game has seen this move before. What is Anand's plan?
Well perhaps he is planning Nd2-f1-g3 or he could be just preparing against a
future f6 break.} Be7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nh4 (10... O-O {This seems like a
comfortable position, but Ruck might have been afraid of} 11. g3 {When the
knight on g6 feels a little uncomfortable with the idea of h4-h5.} f6 $1 12.
exf6 Rxf6 13. Nbd2 c5 {Black should be happy with his position.}) 11. Nxh4 Bxh4
12. Nd2 Qb6 13. Qh3 Be7 14. Qg3 O-O 15. Nf3 Kh8 16. h4 c5 {The battlegrounds
are clearly drawn. White will try and checkmate Black's king. Black on the
other hand will try to generate quick play on the queenside and distract White.
} 17. Rd1 $6 {Anand goes too slow and gives the initiative to his opponent.} (
17. Bg5 $5 Bxg5 18. Qxg5 Qxb2 19. Rab1 Qxc3 20. Rxb7 $36) 17... Rac8 18. b3
cxd4 19. cxd4 Rc2 {Black is already pushing.} 20. Ng5 Bxg5 (20... Qa6 $5) 21.
Bxg5 Rfc8 22. Rd3 Qb4 23. Qf4 Qf8 24. Rg3 {It seems like White is getting some
attack brewing, but Black has sufficient resources.} h6 $5 {A brave move. Ruck
sees nothing wrong in moving a pawn in front of his king.} 25. Bf6 Nxf6 $1 (
25... gxf6 26. exf6 $44 {Black's pieces are absolutely not moving. Rg7 is a
big threat.} Nxf6 27. Qxf6+ Kh7 28. Re1 $14) 26. exf6 g6 27. h5 g5 $17 {
The kingside is safe. It's time for Black to strike back.} 28. Qe5 Qa3 29. f4
Rc1+ {Black checks out too soon. It was important to withstand the pressure
and find the best continuation.} (29... Qb2 $1 30. Re1 (30. fxg5 Qxa1+ 31. Kh2
Rc1 $19) (30. Rf1 Re2 $1 31. Qd6 Qxd4+ 32. Kh2 Qxf6 $19) 30... Rc1 31. Kh2 (31.
Rxc1 Rxc1+ 32. Kh2 Qb1 33. Rf3 Re1 34. Qb8+ Kh7 35. Qc7 Rh1+ 36. Kg3 Qe1+ 37.
Rf2 gxf4+ 38. Qxf4 Rxh5 {Black is cruising towards victory!}) 31... Rxe1 32.
Qxe1 Qxd4 33. fxg5 Qh4+ 34. Kg1 hxg5 $19 {Black is just winning.}) 30. Rxc1
Qxc1+ 31. Kh2 Qxf4 32. Qxf4 gxf4 33. Rg7 {Black is not worse, but he has lost
all his advantage.} Rc2 $1 34. Kh3 Rxa2 35. Rxf7 Kg8 36. Rxb7 a5 37. Rg7+ Kf8
38. Rg6 Kf7 39. Rxh6 Rd2 40. Kg4 Rxg2+ 41. Kxf4 Rf2+ 42. Ke5 Re2+ 43. Kd6 Re4 {
A great game by Robert Ruck. Draw against five-time World Champion is no mean
feat. But what differentiates 2550 grandmasters from 2750 GMs is the moment
where Black had to calculate accurately, have loads of will power and play the
move 29...Qb2. That would have given Ruck the full point.} 1/2-1/2

Anand and Aronian playing for the same team!

The draw against Robert Ruck was some sort of rude awakening for Vishy, who went to the 14th round in an inspired mood. His opponent was the strong Dutch grandmaster Erwin l'Ami. Erwin played some sort of a hybrid of 3...Bc5 in the Ruy Lopez and Schliemann. Anand soon got a comfortable position, much easier to play for white.

How would you continue as White here?

Anand played some brilliant chess starting with 21.g4! Every move after that point was a treat to watch. It is obvious that a move like g4 weakens your own king, but Vishy had assessed the dangers accurately. He used his piece activity to play with computer like precision and force l'Ami to resign.

The way Anand finished Erwin l'Ami was really impressive. Check out the game:
[Event "Bundesliga 2016-17"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2017.04.30"]
[Round "14.4"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "L'Ami, Erwin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C64"]
[WhiteElo "2776"]
[BlackElo "2605"]
[Annotator "Sagar,Shah"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2016.10.15"]
[EventType "team"]
[WhiteTeam "Baden-Baden"]
[BlackTeam "Solingen"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 (4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nxe5 Qd4 6. Nd3 Qxe4+ $15
) 4... f5 $5 {Erwin plays a mixture of Schliemann and 3...Bc5. This is quite a
dangerous system, but maybe not the best idea to try it against Anand, who is
always so very well prepared.} (4... Nf6 {is the main move. The game could
continue something like this.} 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 Ne4 7. cxd4 Bb4+ 8. Nbd2 O-O 9.
O-O Nxd2 10. Bxd2 Bxd2 11. Qxd2 $14 {1-0 (50) Anand,V (2779)-Vallejo Pons,F
(2711) Doha 2016}) 5. d4 fxe4 (5... exd4 6. cxd4 (6. exf5 Qe7+ 7. Be2 d5 8.
cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Nc3 $14) 6... Bb4+ 7. Bd2 fxe4 8. Bxc6 Bxd2+ 9. Nfxd2 dxc6 10.
Qh5+ Kf8 11. Nxe4 $14) 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. Nxe5 Bd6 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qe2 (9. Nxg6 Nf6
10. Qh4 Rg8 {is already a fine position for Black.}) 9... Bf5 10. h3 {is not
played often.} (10. Nd2 Bxe5 11. dxe5 Qd3 12. Qxd3 exd3 13. Nf3 Be4 $11) 10...
Qe7 11. Bf4 Nf6 12. Nd2 O-O-O 13. O-O (13. g4 Be6 14. Nxe4 $2 Nxe4 15. Qxe4 Bd5
$19) 13... Rhg8 14. Bh2 h5 15. Ndc4 Nd5 16. f3 $5 exf3 17. Qxf3 {This position
logically should be better for Black because of his bishop pair. However, the
knight on e5 is just strong. I would say that it is evenly balanced or
slightly easier for White to play.} Bxe5 $6 (17... Rgf8 18. Nxd6+ cxd6 19. Nc4
Rf6 20. Rae1 $14) 18. Nxe5 Qh7 19. c4 Ne7 20. Rad1 {The best thing about
Anand's play is the simplicity of his moves.} Kb8 21. g4 $1 {An extremely bold
move. White moves the pawns in front of his king, but clearly understands that
Black cannot make use of it. This is world class play.} hxg4 22. hxg4 Be6 23.
Qf6 Bc8 (23... Rh8 24. Rf2 $16) 24. Nf7 $1 {A brilliant move.The knight will
be well placed on g5.} Rd7 (24... Bxg4 25. Rde1 Rde8 26. Rxe7 $18) (24... Rde8
25. Bxc7+ $1 Kxc7 26. Qd6+ Kb6 27. c5+ Ka6 28. Qg3 $18) 25. Ng5 Qh4 26. Qf4 Rh8
27. Bg3 {Anand is in top notch form. The check on h1 is nothing. White has
complete control.} Qh6 28. Kg2 $1 b6 29. Qe5 {Another powerful move.} Re8 30.
Rh1 Qf8 31. Ne6 {The c7 pawn falls and the game ends. What a game by Anand! He
was like a machine, one good move after another! Lot to learn from the great
master!} 1-0

Anand's interview after his win against Erwin l'Ami

The super strong Baden Baden team. Caruana, MVL and others with their winner's trophy. Anand and Aronian had already left for some other commitments.

Anand will be giving a master class in Marrakech, Morrocco from 4th to 8th May.

This looks spectacular!

All pictures in this report have been taken by Theo Heinze.

 

 


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