Lessons from Anand

Anand's easy manner sits on top of a breathtaking attacking verve and capacity for creative counterplay.

Opening

The imaginative attacking finish seems to belong to an earlier era, while the opening play is all modern. The leads to an early release of central tension, and, if Black can develop smoothly, will have no problems. This line is an attempt to prevent Black from developing smoothly, and no end of rule-breaking goes on to that end.

[Event "Biel"]
[Site "Biel"]
[Date "1997.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Lautier, Joel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "2765"]
[BlackElo "2660"]
[Annotator "Alexander Volzhin"]
[PlyCount "49"]
[EventDate "1997.??.??"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2010.01.22"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 c6 (5... Bg4) (5... Bf5 {
are the alternatives.}) 6. Bc4 (6. Ne5 {was tried in the World title match
between Kasparov and Anand. White didn't obtain any advantage from the opening,
moreover the World Champion, who is famous for his great knowledge of opening
theory, found himself in an inferior position after 15 moves! The game
continued:} Be6 $1 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. f4 $6 (8. Nxd7) 8... g6 $1 9. O-O Bg7 10. Kh1
Bf5 $1 11. Bc4 ({After the game Kasparov recommended} 11. Be3 $1 Bxd3 12. Qxd3
O-O 13. Nxd7 Nxd7 14. f5 {although in my opinion, Black keeps a tiny advantage.
}) 11... e6 12. Be2 {( threatening g2-g4 )} h5 $1 13. Be3 Rd8 14. Bg1 O-O 15.
Bf3 Nd5 $1 16. Nxd5 {Forced, as} (16. Ne2 {fails to} Nxf4 $1) 16... exd5 {
with a clear edge.}) 6... Bf5 7. Ne5 e6 8. g4 Bg6 9. h4 Nbd7 $1 {The best line}
(9... Bb4 {does not solve Black's problems as the game Campora - Cu. Hansen,
Palma de Mallorca GMA 1989 proved:} 10. Bd2 Ne4 11. f3 $1 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Bxc3
13. Rb1 b5 14. Bb3 Nd7 15. Nxc6 Bxd2+ 16. Qxd2 Qc7 17. d5 {with a clear
advantage.}) 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. h5 Be4 12. Rh3 (12. O-O {gives White nothing
real:} Bd5 13. Nxd5 cxd5 14. Bd3 Bd6 15. c3 g6 16. Bd2 Qd8 17. Kg2 gxh5 18. g5
Qe7 19. Qxh5 O-O-O $11 {with equality, Westerinen - Prie, Andorra 1994}) 12...
Bg2 {The idea of this move is that if White plays Rg3, then Black will gain a
tempo with a later Bd6.} (12... Bd5 {is the main Black reply and is probably
best as the move played here was disastrous for Black. White then usually tries
} 13. Bd3 O-O-O (13... Bd6 14. Bd2 Qc7 15. Nxd5 cxd5 16. Qe2 Bf4 17. O-O-O {
gave White a small edge in the game Ochoa de Echaguen - Denker, New York 1989})
14. Bd2 Qb6 15. Nxd5 exd5 {with good counterplay in the game Rublevsky -
Lastin, Russia (ch) Elista 1995.}) 13. Re3 $1 ({Stronger than} 13. Rg3 Bd5 {
although White's chances are still preferable.}) 13... Nb6 (13... b5 14. Bd3 b4
{does not solve Black's problems as he will soon be forced to part with a
Bishop by taking on e4 after} 15. Ne4) 14. Bd3 $1 (14. Bb3 $6 c5 $1 {would
give Black good counterplay}) 14... Nd5 15. f3 $1 {The point. The bishop is
trapped on g2 and White's task now is not to give up too much material for it.}
({Previously} 15. Rg3 {had been played, the game Bauer - Prie, France (ch)
1996 continued with} Nxc3 16. bxc3 Bd5 17. Bd2 Qa4 18. Qe2 b5 19. h6 O-O-O {
with complicated and double-edged play.}) 15... Bb4 ({After} 15... Nxc3 16.
bxc3 Qxc3+ 17. Bd2 Qxd4 18. Kf2 Bxf3 19. Kxf3 {White has a big advantage,
according to Anand.}) (15... Nxe3 $5 {was interesting:} 16. Bxe3 Ba3 17. Bc1 (
17. bxa3 Bxf3 18. Qd2 Bxg4 19. h6 {Black is slightly better}) 17... Bb4 18. Kf2
Bxc3 19. bxc3 Qxc3 20. Bd2 Qxd4+ 21. Kxg2 {and White's chances looks
preferable.}) 16. Kf2 $1 Bxc3 (16... Nxc3 {was not better:} 17. bxc3 Bxc3 18.
Rb1 Bxd4 19. Kxg2 Bxe3 20. Bxe3 {with a clear advantage.}) 17. bxc3 Qxc3 18.
Rb1 Qxd4 ({Both alternatives} 18... Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Qxd4 20. Rxb7) ({and} 18...
Nxe3 19. Bxe3 Bxf3 20. Qxf3 {fail to make Black's life easier.}) 19. Rxb7 Rd8 (
19... Bh3 {was another try which would be met by} 20. Rxf7 $1 c5 21. Rf5 $3
Nxe3 22. Bxe3 Qb2 23. Rxc5 O-O 24. Kg3 $1 {with a decisive advantage, as was
pointed out by Joel Lautier.}) (19... Nf4 20. Kg3 Qd6 {does not help either
because of the beautiful} 21. Ba3 $1 Nxh5+ (21... Qxa3 22. Be4 $1 {winning})
22. Kxg2 Qg3+ 23. Kf1 {winning}) 20. h6 $3 {The idea behind this spectacular
move is very beautiful and was not appreciated by Lautier.} gxh6 $2 ({Black
could still fight with} 20... Nxe3 21. Bxe3 Qe5 22. hxg7 Rg8 23. Qg1 (23. Bh6
Qh2 $1) 23... Bxf3 24. Kxf3 {with a big advantage, according to Anand.}) 21.
Bg6 $3 {The point! It's not very often you see such a beautiful combination on
the board, especially in a game between two top players.} Ne7 ({Other moves
were also losing:} 21... Qxe3+ 22. Bxe3 fxg6 (22... hxg6 23. Qd4) 23. Bc5) (
21... Qf6 22. Bxf7+ Qxf7 23. Rxf7 Nxe3 24. Qxd8+ $1 Kxd8 25. Bxe3 Bh3 26. Rxa7)
(21... Nxe3 22. Bxf7+ Kf8 23. Qxd4 Rxd4 24. Bxe3) ({and the main idea is to
checkmate the Black King after} 21... Qxd1 22. Rxe6+ {with Bh6 and Bf7 to
follow.}) 22. Qxd4 Rxd4 23. Rd3 $1 {The simplest.} Rd8 24. Rxd8+ Kxd8 25. Bd3
$1 (25. Bd3 Bh1 26. Bb2 Re8 27. Bf6 {It is remarkable that White still has not
won the trapped Bishop, but he doesn't need it! Black resigned. A very
beautiful game by Vishy Anand.}) 1-0


Not sure if this is exactly encouraging, but the TN on move ?? shows just how deep opening preparation has become. Anand has a reputation for being a little lazy, but I suggest his is the sort of talent that doesn't need a lot of work to maintain, and his output of Theoretical Novelties was prodigious. That one was computer-generated, but what if your opponent owns a computer too? Then, among the GMs, the knack was to try and find a move that your opponent's computer was likely to misjudge! That is, one where the surface features said one thing, but the longer-term play said another. (Nowadays, says Karjakin, "the idea is to get a playable position and maintain the tension".)

[Event "FIDE World Cup-C"]
[Site "Hyderabad"]
[Date "2002.10.05"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Rustam Mashrukovich Kasimdzha"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B33"]
[PlyCount "60"]
[EventDate "2002.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.
Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. Bd3 Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. O-O O-O 14. c4 f5
15. Qf3 bxc4 16. Nxc4 d5 17. exd5 e4 18. Qe3 Bb7 19. d6 Qf6 20. Bc2 f4 21. Qh3
Rac8 22. b3 Qg5 23. d7 {TN "I left the computer running and went for dinner".}
Rc6 24. Bxe4 Rh6 25. Qf5 Qh4 26. h3 Rf6 27. d8=Q Rxd8 28. Qa5 Bxe4 29. Qxd8+
Bf8 30. f3 Bf5 1-0


I doubt that is the record for the latest TN!

Middlegame

Kramnik points out Anand's skill with Knights attacking on the King's-side. The long-range power of Queens Rooks and Bishops can take a while to develop, while the dancing Knights can quickly overload a King's defences.

[Event "Fujitsu-Siemens Giants"]
[Site "Frankfurt GER"]
[Date "2000.06.24"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Morozevich, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2769"]
[BlackElo "2748"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2000.06.22"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2010.01.22"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nce2 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. f4 b5 8. a3 c4
9. Nf3 Nb6 10. g4 f5 11. gxf5 exf5 12. Bg2 Be7 13. O-O h6 14. Rf2 Be6 15. Bf1
g5 16. fxg5 hxg5 17. h4 $1 {This allows the Knights to dance on the dark
squares.} g4 18. Ng5 Bc8 19. Rh2 a5 20. Ng3 Ra6 21. Be3 Na4 22. Qc2 Rf8 23. Rf2
Qd7 24. e6 Qc7 25. Bf4 Bd6 26. Bxd6 Qxd6 27. Nxf5 1-0

Anand's talent for the game has scarcely dulled with age. Caruana fancied his chances on the King's-side but suddenly the position exploded in his face. Kramnik also notes Anand's endless capacity for finding counterplay; this may be a good example!

[Event "Sinquefield Cup"]
[Site "Saint Louis, MO USA"]
[Date "2017.08.06"]
[EventDate "2017.07.31"]
[Round "5"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Fabiano Caruana"]
[ECO "A29"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2807"]
[PlyCount "57"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2
Bc5 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 Bb6 9. Bd2 Bg4 10. Rc1 Nxc3 11. Bxc3 Re8
12. b4 Qd6 13. Nd2 Qh6 14. Nc4 Qh5 15. Rc2 Rad8 16. Nxb6 cxb6
17. f3 Be6 18. Qd2 b5 19. f4 Bg4 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. fxe5 f6
22. exf6 Rxe2 23. f7+ Kf8 24. Bxg7+ Kxg7 25. Qc3+ Re5 26. Qd4
Qg5 27. Rc5 Rxd4 28. f8=Q+ Kg6 29. Qf7+ 1-0

Endgame

To win the endgame, you must create a passed pawn.

[Event "MTel Masters"]
[Site "Sofia, Bulgaria"]
[Date "2006.05.14"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Ruslan Ponomariov"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B18"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[EventDate "2006.??.??"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. h4 h6 8. h5
Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Ngf6 12. O-O-O Be7 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4
Nf6 15. Qd3 Qd5 16. c4 Qe4 17. Qxe4 Nxe4 18. Be3 O-O 19. Ne5 Bd6 20. f3 Ng3 21.
Rh3 Nf5 22. Bf2 Rad8 23. g4 Ne7 24. Nd3 b5 25. b3 Bc7 26. Rhh1 Bb6 27. Nc5 Rfe8
28. Kc2 bxc4 29. bxc4 Bxc5 30. dxc5 e5 31. Rd6 Rb8 32. Rhd1 Rb7 33. Rd8 Rxd8
34. Rxd8+ Kh7 35. Rf8 f6 36. Be1 Rd7 37. Bc3 Ng8 38. a4 g6 39. a5 gxh5 40. gxh5
Kg7 41. Rb8 Ne7 42. a6 Kf7 43. Ba5 Nf5 44. Bb6 Ne3+ 45. Kc3 Ke6 46. Rc8 Kf5 47.
Rxc6 Nd1+ 48. Kb4 Rd2 49. Bxa7 Rb2+ 50. Ka3 Rb1 51. Rb6 Ra1+ 52. Kb3 e4 53.
fxe4+ Kxe4 54. c6 Kd3 55. c7 Rb1+ 56. Ka3 1-0


Opposite coloured bishops draw? By themselves, yes, but when they have pieces to cooperate with, they are hard to resist!

[Event "World Championship Candidates"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2016.03.24"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Sergey Karjakin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C65"]
[PlyCount "139"]
[EventDate "2016.03.10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. d4
Bb6 9. Bd3 d5 10. Nxe5 Nxe4 11. Nd2 Nd6 12. Nb3 c6 13. Nc5 Ng6 14. Qh5 Bxc5 15.
dxc5 Ne4 16. Bxe4 dxe4 17. Rd1 Qe7 18. Nxg6 hxg6 19. Qg5 Qxg5 20. Bxg5 f6 21.
Be3 g5 22. Rd6 Re8 23. Rad1 Be6 24. b3 Kf7 25. R1d4 Bf5 26. a4 Re7 27. g4 Bh7
28. b4 Bg8 29. b5 Rc8 30. Rd7 Rce8 31. b6 a6 32. Rc7 Kf8 33. c4 Be6 34. Rxe4
Kf7 35. f4 Rxc7 36. bxc7 Rc8 37. f5 Bd7 38. h4 g6 39. Rd4 Rxc7 40. hxg5 fxg5
41. Bxg5 Be8 42. f6 Kf8 43. Bf4 Rh7 44. Kg2 Bd7 45. Bg5 Be6 46. Rd8+ Kf7 47.
Rb8 Bxc4 48. Rxb7+ Kg8 49. Rb8+ Kf7 50. Kg3 Ke6 51. Re8+ Kf7 52. Rc8 Bd5 53.
Kf4 Ke6 54. Re8+ Kd7 55. Ra8 Ke6 56. Re8+ Kd7 57. Re3 a5 58. Kg3 Rf7 59. Kf4
Rh7 60. Re1 Kc8 61. Kg3 Rf7 62. Re8+ Kd7 63. Ra8 Kc7 64. Kf4 Rd7 65. Bh4 Kb7
66. Re8 Bf7 67. Re4 Bd5 68. Re3 Bf7 69. Kg5 Ka6 70. Re7 1-0

Class: