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Vishy Anand on cloud "nine" in Leon

by Sagar Shah - 17/06/2016

It was dubbed as a match between the ex and the future World Champion. The fast and furious talent from China Wei Yi took on the Madras Tiger Vishy Anand. It was one of those cases where the adage of old is gold was 100% true. Anand played some solid chess and with some luck emerged as the winner. We have pictures, analysis and videos from Ciudad de Leon - an event which Vishy has now won for the record ninth time!

In our previous report we took you through the four semi-final games that helped Anand to overcome the young Spanish talent Anton Guijarro. In the finals Anand was up against a much fierce opponent, who is often touted as the future World Champion.

Vishy Anand vs Wei Yi was the line up of the finals that took place on the 12th of June 2016
Wei Yi is a huge talent in the world of chess and the youngest player ever to reach the 2700 Elo mark in the game. He is tactically very sharp and his career graph is on the rise. Vishy Anand on the other hand is legend of the game and has won the Leon event for a record eight times prior this match! Although he is not as swift as he was before at rapid chess, he is still a force to reckon with. No wonder, this clash between Anand and Wei Yi caught a lot of eyeballs.
The format of the Match was also quite interesting. It was a match of four rapid games with a time control of 20 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move. The games were closely fought but in the end it was Anand's experience that came out on top. He won the Match by a score of 2.5:1.5 with one win and three draws. The games were instructive and had some important moments. So let's have a closer look at them. 

The final score

Game one

The match settings

Anand came to the board focused and concentrated

1.e4 and off we go!

This was the only decisive game of the Match. It was one where Wei Yi had quite easily equalized out of the opening but slowly went wrong. Anand played strong and solid chess and gradually increased his advantage. The weaknesses in Black's position were too much for the Chinese player to handle and the game ended in a victory for Anand.

[Event "29th Leon GM 2016"]
[Site "Leon ESP"]
[Date "2016.06.12"]
[Round "2.1"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Wei, Yi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2694"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2016.06.10"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 {Anand goes for the Guioco Piano which served him
well at the Candidates where he beat Levon Aronian.} Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6.
c3 a6 7. a4 h6 8. Re1 O-O 9. Nbd2 (9. Na3 {Na3-c2 was Anand's idea at the
Candidates. Here he sticks to the normal development of Nd2-f1-g3 or e3.}) 9...
Re8 10. Nf1 Ba7 11. Ng3 Be6 12. Bxe6 Rxe6 13. b4 {The position is round about
equal but White has some initiative on the queenside.} d5 14. Qc2 b5 15. Be3
Bxe3 16. Rxe3 d4 17. Ree1 dxc3 18. Qxc3 Qf8 19. axb5 axb5 20. Rxa8 Qxa8 21. Nf5
Qf8 22. Rb1 {With two of white pieces having to passively defend b4 this
should not be a huge problem for Black to hold this position.} g6 23. Ne3 Qd6
24. Nc2 Qd8 25. h3 Kh7 $6 (25... Nd7 {would have kept an eye on c5.}) 26. Na3
$1 Nd4 (26... Qb8 27. Qc5 $16) (26... Nh5 $5 27. Nxb5 Nf4 28. Qc2 Rf6 29. Ne1
Qd7 {and Black is a pawn down but has counterplay.}) 27. Nxd4 exd4 28. Qc5 c6
29. Nc2 $16 {d4 and c6 are weak. White is clearly better.} Rd6 30. Ra1 Nh5 31.
Ra7 Kg8 32. Ra8 $6 {A careless move by Anand.} ({Correct was} 32. e5 $1 Rd7 33.
Rxd7 Qxd7 34. Nxd4 $18) 32... Qxa8 33. Qxd6 Qa2 34. Nxd4 Qb1+ 35. Kh2 Qxd3 36.
f3 Qd2 (36... Kh7 $5) 37. Nxb5 Qg5 $2 (37... Qf2 $5 38. Nd4 (38. Nc3 g5 {
with the ugly threat of Nf4.} 39. Nd1 Qe1 40. Qxh6 Qg3+ 41. Kg1 Qe1+ $11) 38...
g5 $132 {White is better but Black is fighting on.}) 38. Na7 $1 Nf4 39. Qd2 Kh7
(39... c5 40. bxc5 Qxc5 41. Qxf4 Qxa7 42. Qxh6 {This should win in the long
run without too many difficulties.}) 40. Nxc6 $18 Qf6 41. e5 Qf5 42. b5 Ne6 43.
b6 Nc5 44. Qb4 Nb7 45. Qe4 Qe6 46. f4 Nc5 47. Nd8 Qxb6 48. Qd5 Ne6 49. Nxe6
fxe6 50. Qd7+ (50. Qd7+ Kg8 51. Qe8+ Kg7 52. Qe7+ Kg8 53. Qf6 Kh7 54. Qf7+ Kh8
55. Qxg6 $18) 1-0

Game two

Vishy had very little difficulties in equalizing out of the opening. Just when it seemed like the draw ws on cards, the Indian grandmaster faltered.

Vishy (Black) has just moved his rook to d1. This is a mistake. How will you take advantage of it? (Solution in the game below)
[Event "29th Leon GM 2016"]
[Site "Leon ESP"]
[Date "2016.06.12"]
[Round "2.2"]
[White "Wei, Yi"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E11"]
[WhiteElo "2694"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2016.06.10"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8.
Qb3 c6 9. Rc1 b6 10. Bf4 (10. cxd5 cxd5 11. Bb4 {was an interesting idea
suggested by Krishnan Sasikiran.} Bb7 12. e3 $14) 10... Bb7 11. cxd5 Nxd5 $1 {
Anand would like to break with c5 and equalize the position.} 12. Nc3 c5 13.
Nxd5 Bxd5 14. Qa4 cxd4 15. Bc7 Qe8 16. Nxd4 Bxg2 17. Kxg2 Nc5 18. Qxe8 Rfxe8 {
One could say that the position is around equal. But White has some chances
because of the weakness of the c6 square.} 19. Nb5 Rec8 20. Bf4 g5 21. Be3 Bf6
$6 (21... a6 {seems pretty natural and after} 22. Nd4 Bf6 {the position is
round about equal.}) 22. Rab1 Be7 $6 23. Rc2 (23. b4 $1 {was strong as after}
Na4 24. Rxc8+ Rxc8 25. Nxa7 Rc2 {White can play the cool and calm} 26. a3 $1
Rxe2 27. Rc1 $1 $16 {With a clear cut advantage.}) 23... a5 24. Rbc1 Rd8 25.
Na3 Na4 26. Nc4 b5 27. Ne5 (27. Nd2 {With the idea of Nf3 is also strong.})
27... Bf6 28. Nc6 Bxb2 29. Rxb2 (29. Rb1 $1 $16) 29... Nxb2 30. Nxd8 Rxd8 31.
Bxg5 Rd1 $2 (31... Rd5 32. Bf6 {threatening mate} Nc4 33. a4 Rc5 34. Rd1 $1 Rd5
35. Rxd5 exd5 36. axb5 Kf8 $14 {White is better but the games is not over.})
32. Rc7 $2 (32. Rxd1 $1 Nxd1 33. Bf6 $18 {catches the knight.} b4 34. Kf1 $1 (
34. Kf3 $2 a4 35. Ke4 b3 36. axb3 axb3 37. Kd3 Nxf2+ $15) 34... Nc3 35. Bxc3
bxc3 36. Ke1 Kf8 37. Kd1 Ke7 38. Kc2 Kd6 39. Kxc3 Kc5 40. Kb3 Kb5 41. g4 $18 {
The extra pawn makes the difference.}) 32... Kg7 $11 33. Rb7 Rd5 34. h4 Nc4 35.
e4 Nd6 36. Ra7 Nxe4 37. Rxa5 1/2-1/2


Vishy Anand was saved by the skin of his teeth in the second game.

Game three 

Anand's Guioco Piano didn't really go as planned and Wei Yi snatched the advantage which he kept until the late endgame. Finally through some resourceful defending Anand managed to save the game.

[Event "29th Leon GM 2016"]
[Site "Leon ESP"]
[Date "2016.06.12"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Wei, Yi"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2694"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2016.06.10"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 h6 8. Re1 Ba7
9. Nbd2 g5 10. Nf1 g4 11. Nh4 $1 {Such a move can be made only by a player who
has a heightened sense of compensation through positional means.} Nxe4 12. dxe4
Qxh4 13. Be3 {White is a pawn down but has excellent co-ordination. This forms
the basis of his compensation.} Be6 (13... Bxe3 14. Nxe3 $14) 14. Bxe6 $6 (14.
Qd3 {was better according to the engine.}) 14... fxe6 15. b4 (15. Qb3 Kd7 $1 {
saves everything!}) 15... O-O (15... Bxe3 16. Nxe3 h5 $15) 16. g3 Qh3 17. b5
Bxe3 18. Nxe3 axb5 19. axb5 Rxa1 20. Qxa1 Nd8 21. Qa2 Kg7 22. Rd1 Nf7 $1 {
Giving up the e6 pawn to get to the white king.} 23. Qxe6 Ng5 24. Qxg4 Qxg4 25.
Nxg4 Nxe4 26. b6 $1 cxb6 27. c4 h5 28. Ne3 Rf3 29. Rb1 (29. Rf1 Nxf2 30. Rxf2
Rxe3 31. Rd2 $11) 29... Rxf2 30. Rxb6 Rf7 31. Kg2 Rf2+ 32. Kg1 Rf7 (32... Rd2
33. Rxb7+ Kg6 {And thanks to his king Black has the advantage.}) 33. Kg2 Kf8
34. Kh3 Ke8 35. Kh4 Rf2 36. Kxh5 Rxh2+ 37. Kg4 Rh7 38. Kf3 Ng5+ 39. Kg4 Ne4 40.
Kf3 Ng5+ 41. Kg4 Nf7 42. Nf5 Kd7 43. Rxb7+ Ke6 44. Rb6 Kd7 45. Rb7+ Ke6 1/2-1/2

Game four

This was the game where Wei Yi with white decided to go for his main move 1.e4. He didn't get anything out of the opening and Vishy played the entire game quite well. A draw was a logical result and Anand emerged as the champion of the "29th Ciudad de Leon Masters Chess".

[Event "29th Leon GM 2016"]
[Site "Leon ESP"]
[Date "2016.06.12"]
[Round "2.4"]
[White "Wei, Yi"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2694"]
[BlackElo "2770"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "95"]
[EventDate "2016.06.10"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. Nbd2 Be6 7. Nb3 Bb6 8.
O-O Qd6 9. Bd2 Nd7 10. Ng5 Bxb3 11. axb3 f6 12. Nf3 O-O 13. Nh4 Qe6 14. Kh1
Rad8 15. g4 g6 16. Qf3 Bd4 17. Rg1 Bxb2 18. Rxa7 Bd4 19. Rxb7 Bb6 20. Be3 c5
21. Qf5 $5 {A spectacular move but not one doing too much damage.} Kf7 22.
Qxe6+ Kxe6 23. b4 cxb4 24. Bxb6 cxb6 25. Ng2 Rb8 26. Ra7 b3 $1 {Just like in
the last game Anand sacrifices his b-pawn.} 27. cxb3 Nc5 28. Rc1 Rfc8 29. Ne1
Nxb3 30. Rxc8 Rxc8 31. Rb7 Rc6 32. Kg2 h5 33. gxh5 gxh5 34. Rh7 Nd4 35. Rxh5 b5
36. Rh8 Rb6 37. Nf3 b4 38. Rc8 b3 39. Nxd4+ exd4 40. Rc1 b2 41. Rb1 Rb3 42. h4
Kf7 43. Kf1 Kg6 44. Ke2 Kh5 45. Kd2 Kxh4 46. Kc2 Rc3+ 47. Kd2 Rb3 48. Kc2 {
With this draw Anand sealed the victory 2.5-1.5.} 1/2-1/2


All the participants along with organizers

Wei Yi receives his runner-up trophy

Anand with his beautiful cup

Beating a young and upcoming talent like Wei Yi must have been a pretty sweet feeling

The four participants of 29th Leon Masters: Anton Guijarro, Vishy Anand, Wei Yi and Santos Latasa

The legendary Indian videographer Vijay Kumar was in Leon to record Anand's historic victory

Check out the video captured by Vijay Kumar

A video of the event posted by the Facebook page of Leon Chess