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Anand finishes fourth in rapid

by Sagar Shah - 19/06/2016

After a rocking day one at the Leuven rapids Anand led the tournament with a score of 7.0/10. He followed it up with an excellent win over Anish Giri on the next day. Just when things were looking perfect for the Indian he suffered two back to back losses against Kramnik and Carlsen. The first one against Kramnik is a mind boggling rook endgame and the loss to Carlsen was thanks to a reckless king move. A final round draw against Wesley So gave Anand the fourth spot. We have the detailed report along with some beautiful pictures sent to us by our Dutch friend.

Photos by Lennart Ootes


Vishy Anand started day two as the leader of the Your next move Grand Chess Tour held in Leuven, Belgium.

7.0/10 and one point lead over the field after the first five rapid rounds

Game six

Day two started off beautifully for Anand as he won with the white pieces against Anish Giri.
To beat the most solid player on the planet is never an easy task
[Event "GCT Rapid YourNextMove"]
[Site "Leuven BEL"]
[Date "2016.06.18"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Giri, Anish"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2782"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "51"]
[EventDate "2016.06.17"]
[EventType "rapid"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. c3 d6 7. Nbd2 a5 8. a4
Be6 9. Bxe6 fxe6 10. Nc4 Qe8 11. Be3 Bxe3 12. Nxe3 {The position is nearly
symmetrical but a subsequent d3-d4 can prove to be annoying for Black. Also it
is not very easy for him to undertake something active.} b6 13. Re1 Rd8 14. Qe2
Qf7 15. Nd2 d5 16. Nc2 Rd7 17. Nf3 Re8 $6 (17... Nh5 $1 {With the idea of Nf4
would have been strong.} 18. exd5 exd5 19. Nxe5 $2 Nxe5 20. Qxe5 Qxf2+ 21. Kh1
Nf4 $19) 18. b4 $1 {Now the e5 pawn is in trouble.} Qh5 19. exd5 Nxd5 (19...
exd5 20. b5 Nd8 21. Nxe5 $16) 20. b5 Nd8 21. Qxe5 {White has won a pawn and
Black has very little in return.} Qg6 22. c4 Nf6 (22... Qxd3 23. Qb2 Qc3 $1 24.
Qc1 Nb4 25. Nxb4 axb4 26. Qxc3 bxc3 27. Rac1 $14) 23. Qb2 Nf7 24. d4 $16 e5 $2
{Anish becomes desperate and blunders but the position was pretty difficult in
any case.} 25. dxe5 Nh5 (25... Nxe5 26. Nxe5 $18) 26. e6 $1 (26. e6 $1 Rxe6 27.
Rxe6 Qxe6 28. Re1 $18 {And the queen is lost.}) 1-0
With this win it seemed as if Anand would run away with the event. However, little did the fans know that his old friend cum foe Vladimir Kramnik would be the one to give Vishy his first defeat at the event.

Round seven

Two legends in action!
It is well known in recent years that Kramnik has lost his interest in opening theory. He likes to play off beat lines, get fresh positions and grind down his opponents in endgames. However, to do that against an experienced campaigner like Anand is no easy task. But Vladimir was able to do that and this is what makes the game really special.
[Event "GCT Rapid YourNextMove"]
[Site "Leuven BEL"]
[Date "2016.06.18"]
[Round "7.1"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A14"]
[WhiteElo "2812"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2016.06.17"]
[EventType "rapid"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. b3 c5 7. Bb2 Nc6 8. cxd5
Nxd5 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. Bxc3 Bd7 11. Qb1 Rc8 12. Rd1 Bf6 13. d4 Qe7 14. Qb2 cxd4
15. Nxd4 b6 $5 (15... Nxd4 {was what I was considering but I realised that
after} 16. Bxd4 Bc6 (16... Bxd4 17. Qxd4 Bc6 18. Qxa7 $16) 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 (17...
gxf6 18. Rd4 $14 {also seems clearly better for White.}) 18. Qxf6 gxf6 19. Bxc6
Rxc6 (19... bxc6 20. Rd7 {is definitely not what you want against Vladimir.})
20. Rd7 $14 {is a very unpleasant endgame to play.}) 16. Nxc6 Bxc6 17. Bxf6
Qxf6 18. Qxf6 gxf6 19. Rac1 Bxg2 20. Kxg2 Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Rd8 {At this point I
was sure that Anand could hold the draw without too many difficulties. But it
turns out things are not so simple when you face Vlad.} 22. Rc7 Rd2 23. Rxa7
Rxe2 24. Kf3 Rb2 {This move makes sense because now a4 is impossible and the
moment the white rook picks up the b6 pawn, then a2 falls.} 25. g4 Kg7 26. h4
e5 (26... f5 $5 {not an easy move to make but looks the best as after} 27. gxf5
exf5 {The f2 pawn doesn't allow White to be active.} 28. Ke3 Kg6 29. f3 f6 30.
Kf4 Rh2 31. Kg3 Rb2 $11 {It seems impossible for White to make progress.}) 27.
Ra6 Kg6 $6 28. Rxb6 Rxa2 29. g5 {Is Black losing a pawn?} Kh5 30. Rxf6 Kxh4 31.
Rxf7 Kxg5 32. Rxh7 Rb2 33. Rb7 Kf5 {In spite of the exchanges, little has
changed fundamentally: White has an extra passed pawn on the queenside, but
Black's strong king and rook should be more than enough to neutralize it.} 34.
Ke3 Rc2 (34... Ke6 35. f3 Kd5 36. Kd3 Rf2 37. Ke3 Rb2 $11) 35. Kd3 Ra2 (35...
Rc1 {was the principled move. The reason is simple: it keeps the white king
cut off from supporting his pawn.}) 36. Rc7 Rb2 37. Kc3 Ra2 38. Rd7 Kf4 $2 {
In spite of struggling, Black had been holding on, but short of time, he
misses a subtlety.} (38... Ke4 $1 {was correct. The point is that} 39. Rd2 {
cannot be stopped anyhow, but this prepares the flight of the black king to
stop the b-pawn's march.} Ra8 40. b4 Rc8+ 41. Kb3 Rb8 42. Rc2 Kd5 {and White
will be very hard-pressed to make progress.}) 39. Rd2 Ra8 40. b4 Rc8+ 41. Kb3
Rb8 42. Rd6 (42. Rb2 $1 {also wins.} Ke4 43. Kc3 Rc8+ 44. Kd2 Kf3 45. Kd3 e4+
46. Kd4 $18) 42... Ke4 43. Rd2 Kf3 $2 44. Rb2 $1 e4 45. Ra2 Rh8 (45... Rf8 {
would have pressed White to show the winning idea.} 46. Rb2 $1 {It is
important to keep the rook behind the passed pawn.} (46. b5 Kg2 47. Kb4 Rxf2
$11) (46. Rc2 Rf5 $1 $11 (46... Kg2 47. Re2 $1 Kf3 48. Re3+ Kf4 49. b5 $18) 47.
Kc4 Rf8 48. Kd5 Rb8 $11) 46... Rb8 (46... Rf5 47. Kc4 Rf8 48. b5 $18) 47. Rc2
$1 Rf8 48. Ra2 $1 (48. b5 $2 Kg2 49. b6 Rb8 $11) 48... Rb8 (48... Rf5 49. Kc4
Rf8 50. b5 $18) 49. Rb2 {Zugzwang time!} (49. Kc4 Rc8+ 50. Kd5 Rb8 51. Kc5 Rc8+
52. Kd6 Rb8 53. Rb2 Rd8+ 54. Kc7 Rg8 55. b5 Rg2 56. b6 e3 $1 57. b7 Rg7+ 58.
Kc6 Rxb7 59. Rxb7 exf2 $11 {What a variation!}) 49... Rf8 (49... Kg2 50. Kc4
Rc8+ 51. Kd4 $18) (49... Rb7 50. Kc4 Rc7+ 51. Kd5) 50. b5 Rb8 51. Kc4 $18) 46.
b5 Rh2 47. b6 Rh6 48. Ra6 $1 {The threat is b7 of course.} Rh1 49. Kc2 Rh6 50.
Ra3+ Kxf2 51. b7 {A highly instructive endgame which needs to be dug deeper
but you can understand that it is really complex.} 1-0
The loss was a big blow not only to Anand's standings in the tournament but also to his confidence levels. A natural question that would come in the mind of any player is that how in the world could he not hold such a simplified endgame. After such a setback it is not easy to play the next game without much time to recuperate. And Vishy had a huge challenge in the form of Magnus Carlsen!

Round eight

After the two World Championships that they have played against each other, a game betweeen Anand and Carlsen is always viewed with great enthusiasm by chess fans!

Magnus went for the Guioco Piano but got very little out of the opening. But then... one inaccuracy and the Magnus massage (a term coined by Eric Hansen) began!
[Event "GCT Rapid YourNextMove"]
[Site "Leuven BEL"]
[Date "2016.06.18"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2855"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2016.06.17"]
[EventType "rapid"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 Ba7 8. Na3
Ne7 9. Nc2 O-O 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. Nxe3 Ng6 12. a5 Ng4 13. h3 Nxe3 14. fxe3 Qe7
15. Qb3 c6 16. d4 (16. Ng5 Qxg5 17. Bxf7+ Kh8 18. Bxg6 Bxh3 $19) 16... Be6 17.
Bxe6 fxe6 18. Rad1 Rae8 19. Qb4 exd4 20. cxd4 {Keeping the f4 square under
control.} e5 21. dxe5 dxe5 22. Qxe7 Rxe7 {White doesn't seem to have much here
but the a5 pawn makes sure that Black's majority is also passive. All in all
it should be round about equal.} 23. Rd6 Nh8 24. Nd2 Nf7 25. Rd3 Ng5 26. Rf5 h6
27. h4 Nh7 28. Nb3 Nf6 29. Nc5 Rff7 30. h5 Kh7 $6 (30... Re8 $11) 31. Rd8 $1 {
Just what Magnus wanted. An entry into the black position.} g6 32. hxg6+ Kxg6
33. Rd6 Kg7 34. Ne6+ Kg6 35. Nd8 Rf8 36. g4 {And out of nowhere Anand is
completely tied up. Just the one inaccuracy Kh7 was the cause for all the
grief.} c5 37. b3 Ree8 38. Nxb7 {Anand saw it was futile to continue and
resigned.} (38. Nxb7 Rb8 39. Nxc5 $18) 1-0

The margin for error is very small when you face the World Champion

With two losses Vishy had effectively bowed out from the fight for the first place in Rapid. However, he still had a final game to play against Wesley So.

Round nine

Although Anand had the white pieces, he couldn't really get anything out of the opening and a curious repetition ended the game.

[Event "GCT Rapid YourNextMove"]
[Site "Leuven BEL"]
[Date "2016.06.18"]
[Round "9.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "34"]
[EventDate "2016.06.17"]
[EventType "rapid"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. Nc4 Re8 8.
Qe2 b5 9. Ne3 a5 10. O-O Nh5 11. g3 Bh3 12. Rd1 Qf6 13. Nh4 Nf4 14. Qf3 Bxe3 $6
{Agreeing to a draw.} (14... g6 {And Black cannot be worse. In fact he is the
one who can be slightly better here.}) 15. fxe3 (15. Bxe3 Bg2 $1 {is similar.})
15... Bg2 16. Qg4 (16. Nxg2 Nh3+ $19) 16... Bh3 17. Qf3 Bg2 {A unique three
fold repetition!} 1/2-1/2

Wesley gave Anand no real chances

With this draw Anand finished fourth with a respectable 10.0/18.

A fourth place in the rapids for Anand. What a comeback by Carlsen to score four wins on a trot and win the rapid event! But the tournament isn't over yet. We are going to see 18 rounds of Blitz on the 19th and 20th of June and those points will be added to the rapid points and the overall winner of the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour will be determined.

Video report of day two by Vijay Kumar

The live blitz action begins at 5.30 p.m. IST and you can watch the Indian maestro over here. We have the live games as well as commentary for you.

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