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London 08: Yes, I pay him well!

by Sagar Shah - 18/12/2016

Vishy Anand pays his second Grzegorz Gajewski well. How do we know that? Because after reeling out one novelty after another in this tournament, Vishy was asked this question by Maurice Ashley. And why shouldn't he. Thanks to these novelties he is able to take his opponent's in uncharted territory and beat them convincingly. This is what he did to Veselin Topalov. Wesley So drew his game and won the Grand Chess Tour 2016. Pictures and analysis from the penultimate round.

Pictures by Lennart Ootes

Anand took on Veselin Topalov with the black piecesin the eighth round of the London Chess Classic 2016

Veselin Topalov is six years younger to Vishy Anand but has clearly lost the drive and motivation to work hard at chess. His dismal result at the London Chess Classic 1.0/8 is definitely the result of his lack of hard work. While Topalov's farmlands are withering away, Vishy Anand's pastures are flourishing like never before.


After his fantastic 10...Bxa3 novelty against Wesley So, Vishy Anand showed the world that he had more tricks under his sleeve by revealing another very interesting novelty on the twelfth move against Veselin Topalov.

12...b5 had never been played before and this was the idea of Grzegroz Gajewski, Anand's second

The man who makes such novelties possible Grzegorz Gajewski, walks with Vishy Anand during the Candidates in Moscow 2016 (picture by Amruta Mokal) 

When commentator Maurice Ashley asked Anand whether he paid Gajewski well, Anand jokingly put a finger on his lip as if asking Maurice to not ask such personal questions and with a smile said, “Yes, I do pay him well.”

[Event "8th London Chess Classic 2016"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2016.12.17"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2760"]
[BlackElo "2779"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "68"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]
[SourceTitle ""]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[TimeControl "40/7200:3600+30"]
1. d4 {4} Nf6 {9} 2. c4 {4} e6 {5} 3. Nf3 {9} d5 {7} 4. Nc3 {4} Be7 {6 After
having a pretty long stint with 4...Nbd7, Vishy reverts to the old Classical
line with 4...Be7.} 5. Bf4 {41} O-O {9} 6. e3 {11} c5 {10} (6... Nbd7 {is what
has been favoured more at the top level because of its complex nature. However,
Vishy paves his own path.}) 7. dxc5 {9} Bxc5 {6} 8. a3 {89} Nc6 {85} 9. Qc2 {
15 This is all well known theory and you can find nearly thousand games with
this position. Qa5 is the main move here and has been played extensively.
Anand plays a move that was tried against him by Magnus Carlsen.} Re8 $5 {
28 The idea of this move is pretty obvious. Black would like to play e5.} 10.
O-O-O $5 {223 The most aggressive move. Topalov played this after four minutes
of thought.} (10. Bg5 {is the move that Anand played against Carlsen in their
World Championship Match.} Be7 (10... d4 {was tried by Thejkumar against
Lalith. We reach the same position in the game through another move order.} 11.
O-O-O e5 12. Nd5 Be7 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. exd4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Rxd4 Qe5
17. Be3 {It definitely seemed like Black had compensation. But Lalith managed
to win that game. Lalith Babu-Thejkumar, National Premier 2013.}) 11. Rd1 Qa5
12. Bd3 h6 13. Bh4 dxc4 14. Bxc4 a6 $14 {Although the game Anand-Carlsen,
Sochi 2014 ended in a draw, one thing was clear White was the one pressing and
Black is under pressure.}) 10... e5 {39} 11. Bg5 {31} d4 {13} 12. Nd5 {82} b5
$5 $146 {10 You can bank on Anand to find new ideas and that dangerous ones.
Credit must be given to his second Grzegorz Gajewski for finding such amazing
moves. When Anand was asked by Maurice Ashley whether he pays enough to
Gajewski, he jokingly asked him to keep quiet and then said, "Yes, I pay him
well!"} (12... Be7 {As mentioned before this was played in Lalith-Thejkumar.})
13. Bxf6 {253 From his talks with Topalov after the game Anand felt that the
Bulgarian had seen the move 12...b5 before. This just goes to show how well
these guys prepare. But this is definitely not the most challenging
continuation.} (13. Nxf6+ gxf6 {could be an interesting line after} 14. cxb5 (
14. Qe4 Be6 $1 15. Qxc6 Rc8 16. Qe4 bxc4 $44) 14... Na5 $13) (13. cxb5 {
is also worth looking into.} Na5 14. exd4 exd4 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. Kb1 Qd5 17.
Bxf6 Be6 {Once again it's a complete mess.}) 13... gxf6 {13} 14. cxb5 {896} Na5
{610} (14... Qxd5 15. bxc6 $16) 15. exd4 {464} (15. Qxc5 Nb3+ $19) (15. b4 $6 {
This just seems to weakening to be even thought of.} Qxd5 16. bxc5 Be6 $17)
15... exd4 {187} 16. Nb4 {479 The knight looks at the attractive c6 square to
block the c-file.} (16. Nf4 Bd6 $1 17. Nd3 Be6 $19) 16... Bxb4 {1023 Anand
played this after 17 minutes of thought.} 17. axb4 {15} Be6 {17} 18. Nxd4 {426}
(18. bxa5 Rc8 $19) 18... Rc8 {18} 19. Nc6 {219} Nxc6 {14} 20. bxc6 {11} (20.
Rxd8 Nxd8 $17) 20... Qb6 {39 Although the pawn cover in front of the black
king is also shattered, this is clearly a better position for Black because
his king is much safer.} 21. Qa4 {409} (21. b5 a6 $17) 21... Rxc6+ $6 {758} (
21... Bg4 $1 {would have been very strong. The idea is to provoke f3 and then
come back to f5.} 22. f3 Bf5 {So what difference does this make as compared to
the game?} 23. Bd3 Qe3+ $1 {That was the point of Bg4. The e3 point is weak.}
24. Kc2 Qe2+ 25. Rd2 Bxd3+ $19) (21... Bf5 22. Bd3 {Now there is no Qe3+ and
hence White is fine here.}) 22. Kb1 {4} Rd8 $1 {96 A very nice move. Anand
wanted to prevent his opponent from playing Bd3 and hence this move is very
logical in that respect.} 23. Rxd8+ {346} Qxd8 {282} 24. Be2 {201} (24. Qxc6
Qd1+ 25. Qc1 Bf5+ $19) 24... Bf5+ {226} 25. Ka2 {189} Rc2 {925 At this point
Vishy thought that he was winning but Topalv defended tremendously.} 26. Rd1 {
103} Qb6 {477} (26... Qc7 {was th original intention of Anand, but he couldn't
make the line work after} 27. Qe8+ Kg7 28. Rd8 Be6+ (28... Rxe2 $1 {seems
stronger.} 29. Qh8+ Kh6 30. Qxf6+ Bg6 31. Rd4 Re5 $17 {Black is better.}) 29.
Ka3 Qc3+ $1 {Usually such a queen sacrifice is the end of the line. But here
it is not the case. White king can keep running.} 30. Ka4 Qb3+ 31. Ka5 Rxe2 32.
Qh8+ Kh6 33. Qxf6+ Kh5 34. Rd4 {When the position is really complex.}) 27. Bg4
$1 {829} Qe6+ {416} (27... Bxg4 28. Qxc2 Bxd1 29. Qxd1 Qxb4) 28. Ka3 {411} Qe5
{158} 29. Qb3 {159} Bg6 {127} 30. Bf3 {158 At this point White is out of
danger. Seeing nothing better Anand took the pawn on f2.} Rxf2 {79} 31. h4 $2 {
371 Anand was threatening the move Bc2 here. So it is interesting to see what
exactly did Topalov think when he went for this move. Well after this Black is
better.} (31. Qc3 {seems like the simplest way to reach an equal position.})
31... Bc2 {251} 32. Rd8+ {44} Kg7 {21} 33. Qc3 $2 {74} (33. Qc4 {was the only
move to stay in the game. Keeping the b5 square controlled.}) 33... Qb5 $1 {
17 It's a forced mate now on a4.} 34. Qc6 {163} (34. b3 Qa6+ 35. Kb2 Bxb3+ 36.
Kxb3 Qa2#) 34... Rxf3+ {6 Topalov's nightmare continues. A good day for Vishy
as he managed to show some outstanding opening prep. It is true that if he
would have found ...Bg4 the game would have ended much quicker. But in any
case a point is a point.} 0-1

Taking a selfie with a five-time World Champion - recommended!

The most important game of the day was between Caruana and Wesley So. But there was a technical problem. The little girl who had to make the move couldn't reach the d-pawn that she wanted to play. 

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