martedì 5 giugno 2018

Elegance in an Age of Crisis

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Viswanathan Anand
6th Altibox Norway Chess; Stavanger, June 5, 2018
Spanish Game C83

Five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand gave today a display of his outstanding talents, which seem to be immune to time’s passing. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. c3 Be7 10. Nbd2 0-0 11. Re1 Nc5 12. Nd4. Richard Clewin Griffith & ‎John Herbert White gave this move a question mark in their “Modern Chess Opening” (1939). 12. ... Nxd4 13. cxd4 Nd3 14. Re3. The above mentioned (outdated) book also quotes 15. Bc2 c5! 16. Nb3 c4 17. Nd2 f5 18. Nf1 Rf7∓ Flamberg – Alekhine, Meisterturnier, Mannheim 1914. 14. ... Nf4. A not too old classic is 14. ... Nxc1 15. Rxc1 c5 16. dxc5 Rc8 17. Rec3 b4 18. R3c2 Bf5 19. c6 Bxc2 20. Rxc2 Qa5 21. Nf3 Rfd8 22. Nd4 g6 23. e6 Bf6 24. exf7+ Kxf7 25. h4 Qb6 26. Rd2 Rd6 27. Nf5 Rdxc6 28. Bxd5+ Kf8 29. Bxc6 Rxc6 30. Ne3 Bxh4 31. Qf3+ Rf6 32. Qa8+ Kg7 33. Qe4 b3 34. axb3 1 : 0 Shirov – Carlsen, 2nd Tal Memorial, Moscow 2007. 15. Nf3 Bg4 16. h3 Bh5 17. Rc3!? A novelty. After 17. Bc2 Ne6 18. Bf5 c5 the game is quite unclear but basically balanced, 叶江川 (Yè Jiāngchuān) – Norri, Helsinki 1992. 17. ... Ne6 18. g4 Bg6 19. Be3 a5 20. Bc2 Bb4 21. Rb3 f5! 22. exf6. The alternative 22. Qb1 c5 would have lead to complex lines, which probably Anand had deeply analysed. 22. ... Bxc2 23. Qxc2 Qxf6 24. Ne5


24. ... c5! A brilliant Exchange sacrifice by which Black seizes the initiative. 25. Nd7 Qf7 26. Nxf8 Rxf8 27. Qf5(!) cxd4!? Stockfish gives 27. ... Qd7 28. Qe5 c4 29. Rxb4 axb4 30. Bd2 h5!? which could actually offer Black better chances to keep the initiative. 28. Qxf7+ Rxf7 29. Rxb4? This is too soon! White had to interpolate 29. a3! as 29. ... Nc5 30. Rxb4 axb4 31. Bxd4 Nb3 32. Rd1 Nxd4 33. Rxd4 bxa3 34. bxa3 Rf3 35. Rxd5 Rxh3 36. Rxb5 Rxa3 would have lead to a dead draw. 29. ... axb4 30. Bd2 b3! Now everything is smooth, and Anand confidently finished the game as follows: 31. axb3 Rf3 32. b4 Rd3 33. Re1 Kf7 34. Bc1 Rxh3 35. Re5 Rd3 36. Kf1 Rd1+ 37. Re1 Rxe1+ 38. Kxe1 Rxe1+ 38. Kxe1 g6 39. f4 Nd8 40. g5 Ke6 0 : 1.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (left) vs. Viswanathan Anand (right). Photo: Lennart Ootes/Altibox Norway Chess.

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