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Nielsen on 10 years of Mexico: No gamble in time scramble! (R04)

by Sagar Shah - 19/09/2017

Anand and Nielsen had prepared a new idea in the Semi Slav and it worked wonderfully against Morozevich. The Indian champion had a completely winning position in the middlegame. But then he started to play inaccurately and his advantage started to diminish. Yet, in the final position Anand (Black) was clearly better, but he agreed to a draw. Well, some might argue that this was an incorrect decision, but this is just the way that Vishy is. He is not the sort of a person who would gamble away his position in some time scramble. Know what sort of a player Anand is in more depth through this article. 

All pictures from Mexico provided by Ali Nihat Yazici


After three rounds Anand and Kramnik were leading jointly with 2.0/3. The opening of the third game had not gone well for Anand as he had to struggle for a draw with the white pieces against Kramnik's Petroff. Now he had the black pieces in the fourth round against Morozevich.

Anand is his white NIIT shirt

Morozevich is always an unpredictable opponent. You have to tread carefully against him
Get a feel for the atmosphere of round three (video by Vijay Kumar)
Anand is very critical of his play (Video by Vijay Kumar)

Standings after round four rounds - Anand and Kramnik lead together

Alexander Morozevich vs Vishy Anand

By Peter Heine Nielsen

Peter Heine Nielsen analyzes game four with Sagar Shah

Important points from the above video:

Playing against Morozevich is not like playing against Ivanchuk, but still quite unpredictable. We prepared this line quite thoroughly, because we had the feeling that Morozevich would play it. At that time Moro was working with Kasimdzhanov who would later become Anand's second. For this game I remember the quote by Bent Larsen who said, "In this game I again had the advantage of black pieces!" Well it's a joke, but you can see the way Vishy fares in the first four rounds of this event, this quote is absolutely apt for him. With black Vishy would feel that he would get an interesting playable position, while against the Petroff, he was not really sure what is to be done.

The first 15 moves were quite common. Here Nf3 was a possible move. I remember Kasparov playing against Kasimdzhanov (he had prepared it for his game against a computer) and the game went Nf3 Be7 Ng5 and here Kasparov sacrificed an exchange with 0-0! and got a good position.

As Nf3 was doing well for Black, we had guessed that White would go for Nf5, and here we had prepared the novelty g6. This was very typical of Vishy, who wanted to get fighting positions with the black pieces. This strikes me very difficult these days, but in 2007 it was possible. Today, you can analyze an variation to death, while in those days you could analyze a position with a computer, and get to know more about it, but it wouldn't kill the line.


These days the trend is to play openings like the London System and Giuoco Piano which were considered some kind of joke back then. But now people are playing it for an opening advantage. You can imagine that when Magnus plays a line like London he is playing it for fresh positions, but when Kramnik does it, you can be sure that he is looking for an opening advantage. This just shows that the trend is changing and things are not the same as they were back in 2007. For example when Kasparov made his comeback recently Aronian played the London, which for Kasparov back in 2005 was a completely non-existent opening! Now it's the most fashionable!

Vishy had outplayed Morozevich and got a winning position. He lost quite a bit of his advantage and in the final position Vishy forced a draw with Rg2+ and Rh2+. I remember that I was quite disappointed with this outcome. In this position Anand can still play for a win but he agreed to split the point. You can have two theories about this decision made by him:

1. You can think he felt nervous and he didn't want to play and lacked the killer instinct, or

2. You can also think that things are going pretty well for Vishy. He is getting good positions out of the opening and in general +1 after four rounds is not a bad score. The position in front of him didn't go the way he liked and he is low on time. Do you want to gamble everything on time scramble?


I think Anand was in a similar situation in game two of Bonn as well against Kramnik and a similar thing happened where he had the advantage and then he lost a bit of it and when he was still considerably better, he agreed to a draw. I think this is Vishy's way of doing things. He doesn't believe in gambling away his good tournament. Other players might play on, and they maybe right, but this is how Vishy is and you cannot argue with a five-time World Champion! After the game ended we never really discussed about this position with each other. But I think he was fine with this decision.

Round three game analyzed by Mihail Marin

Peter Heine Nielsen met ChessBase India CEO Sagar Shah in Vilnius, Lithuania and the two of them recorded Nielsen's game by game thoughts about Mexico 2007. 

This series of articles intends to celebrate this huge occasion in Indian chess - our star becoming the undisputed World Champion. Follow us on the journey. 17th of September was a rest day. The fifth round was played on 18th of September. 

Previous articles:

Road leading up to the tournament

R01: Anand saved against Gelfand

R02: Beautiful novelty 17...c5 against Aronian

R03: An opening debacle in the Petroff