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Life found on planet Vishy Anand!

by Sagar Shah - 14/02/2016

While many people had written off Vishy Anand (as usual), the tiger of Madras once again growled back, "not so soon!" Anand played some sublime chess and simply mated both his opponents on the first day of the Zurich Chess Challenge. While Levon Aronian slumped in 20 moves, Anish Giri lasted for 45 moves before he threw in the towel. The games were high class and worth having a look at! 

While the discovery of gravitational waves hasn't really affected the lives of earthly creatures, it surely has made a difference to the energy levels of people with planets named after them! After a horrible couple of months, life seems to have been discovered on the minor planet 4538 Vishy Anand! While many had predicted an end of Anand's career (as usual) after his debacle in Gibraltar, Vishy once again proved that he never can be written off, never.


After a nice win against Nakamura in the final round of the blitz, Vishy played some sublime chess on the first day of the Zurich Rapid (40 mins + 10 sec increment) to beat Levon Aronian and Anish Giri. And he didn't just beat them, he dug his way to their king and massacred them in broad daylight! Don't believe me? Have a look at the games for yourself!

The only man in the event to be on 2.0/2 - the tiger from Madras! (picture by David Llada)
Let's first have a look at Anand's 20 move win over Levon Aronian with comments by GM Alejandro Ramirez:
[Event "5th Zurich CC 2016"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2016.02.13"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Anand, V."]
[Black "Aronian, L."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C48"]
[WhiteElo "2784"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "2016.02.12"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Nc3 {The four knights opening is a
surprisingly unpopular version of avoiding the Berlin, mainly due to the fact
that Black has plenty of options that supposedly give him an acceptable game.}
Bd6 {ultra-solid. The point is that the bishop will retreat to f8 eventually
or move to c5 when e5 is properly defended.} 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 Re8 7. a3 {
I can't find any super-high level example of this move, though it does make
sense to clear a2 for the bishop.} h6 8. Bc4 Bc5 9. Be3 Bxe3 10. fxe3 d6 {
In this position Black's rook would rather be on f8. White has a couple of
extra tempi, but I feel Black is solid enough to be ok.} 11. Nh4 Be6 12. Nf5
Bxc4 $6 {Even though it is natural to break up the structure, Black's position
is so underdeveloped and the pressure on the kingside is mounting at such an
alarming rate that this trade may already be too ambitious.} (12... Nb8 {
immediately was probably a safer choice}) 13. dxc4 Kh7 $2 (13... Re6 {trying
to hold on to the kingside, was been better.}) 14. Qf3 $1 {Anand smells blood!}
(14. Nd5 {was also good enough for a big initiative, but is not as accurate as
the text-move.}) 14... Nb8 {With the idea of solidifying the kingside with
Nb8-d7. But this is too late.} (14... Ng8 {is a sad move to make, but might
have already been necessary. After} 15. c5 {clearly White stands better.} (15.
Qg3 $5)) 15. Nxh6 $1 Kxh6 (15... gxh6 16. Qxf6 Qxf6 17. Rxf6 Kg7 18. Raf1 {
is hopeless. White is too active and has an extra pawn.}) 16. Qh3+ Kg6 (16...
Nh5 17. Rxf7 (17. g4 {are both winning easily.})) 17. Rf3 {not the only
winning move, actually, but the most exact. White threatens Rg3+ or Qf5+ and
Rh3.} Nh5 18. Rf5 Nf6 19. Qh4 {Black gets mated next move.} 1-0
After Aronian, next on the agenda was Anish Giri (picture by David Llada)

Anish Giri - Vishy Anand (Analysis by GM Alejandro Ramirez)

[Event "5th Zurich CC 2016"]
[Site "Zurich SUI"]
[Date "2016.02.13"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Giri, A."]
[Black "Anand, V."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]
[WhiteElo "2798"]
[BlackElo "2784"]
[Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"]
[PlyCount "90"]
[EventDate "2016.02.12"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 a6 7. a4 O-O 8. Re1 h6
9. h3 Be6 10. Bxe6 fxe6 11. Be3 Bxe3 12. Rxe3 Qd7 13. Nbd2 Qf7 14. g3 Nd7 15.
Kg2 a5 16. Qc2 Nc5 17. Rf1 Qd7 18. b3 Ne7 19. Nc4 b5 20. axb5 Qxb5 21. Rb1 Nc6
22. Ncd2 Rab8 23. d4 exd4 24. Nxd4 Nxd4 25. cxd4 Na6 26. Qc3 Qb6 27. Nf3 Nb4
28. Qc4 Rbe8 29. Rc1 Rf7 {The position is relatively level. Black's strong
knight on b4 has a comfortable outpost, but White enjoys more space and some
pressure against c7.} 30. Nd2 Ref8 31. f4 $6 (31. Rf1 {should keep the balance,
but Giri gets too ambitious.}) 31... e5 $1 {The Dutch player must have
underestimated this move. White has no good way of dealing with this break.}
32. Nf3 (32. fxe5 d5 33. exd5 (33. Qe2 Rf2+ 34. Qxf2 Rxf2+ 35. Kxf2 Qxd4 {
is also very bad.}) 33... Rf2+ 34. Kh1 Rxd2 {gives Black an extra piece.}) (32.
dxe5 Qxe3 {is impossible.}) (32. f5 exd4 $17) 32... exf4 33. gxf4 d5 $1 34.
exd5 Qd6 $1 {Black is in no hurry: with the powerful blockade of the d5 pawn
and the weakness on f4 he is almost winning, the king on g2 is too exposed.}
35. Ne5 Rxf4 36. Kg1 Kh7 37. Rg3 R8f5 38. Rg4 Qf6 39. Rxf4 Rxf4 40. Rf1 Qg5+
41. Kh2 Re4 {When you're attacking, don't trade pieces} 42. Nf3 Qf4+ 43. Kg2
Re3 44. Qc1 Re2+ 45. Kh1 Qg3 {White is soon getting mated. A nice start for
Anand!} 0-1

Rapid Standings

Note: Rapid results count for double points. (Two for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss).

This Valentine's day, let's hope that the love of Indian chess keeps up his good form and entertains us with more exciting games from Zurich!

Watch live Vishy Anand games here from 7.30 p.m IST onwards.