Friday, October 24, 2008


Game Seven of the Anand-Kramnik match - Vlad's second Black in a row the poor bugger - saw the Russian ditching the Nimzo-Indian and turning instead to the Slav.

The game opened 1. d4 d5, 2. c4 c6, 3. Nf3 Nf6, 4. Nc3 dxc4, 5. a4 Bf5, 6. e3 e6, 7. Bxc4 Bb4, 8. 0-0 Nbd7

at which point Anand played 9. Qe2.

As far as I know this is the mainline but there are other choices here. He could, for example, have gone 9. Qb3 when play can continue 9. ... a5, 10. Na2 Be7, 11. Qxb7 Rb8, 12. Qa6 (12. Qxc6?? Rb6 -+) Ra8, 13. Qxc6 Rc8

and here neither side can avoid a repetition. Years ago, when S&BCC were still playing at The Sultan, one of my own games (as Black) finished exactly this way.

Given the match situation it is interesting that Anand ignored this book draw. His strategy for the final games seems to be to keep the pressure on and try to notch up yet another point. This is the complete opposite of Leko's approach when one point up with few to play against Kramnik in 2004 but why not? Having already taken his man down, why not try to administer a further kicking?

No coasting to the title for Vishy it seems, not yet anyway, but what of Kramnik? Anybody want to punt an opinion as to what the thinking was behind this tacit early draw offer?


ejh said...

I suppose by a similar token one could ask "why didn't Anand play the Exchange?" - the answer being, one assumes, that Kramnik still has three Whites left, had lost two games in row and would welcome a break if he can get it, even though time is running out.

Jonathan B said...

Yes that's a reasonable point EJH.

Chess Vibes have Kramnik saying in the press conference that he was in the mood to play for a win yesterday. Their notes to the game also say he offered a draw around move 20 or so. That fact, plus Anand's turning it down, also mirror the main theme of my post I think.

ejh said...

The a-pawn advanced on move five - no wonder Kramnik was under presure.

Today it's still at home after move twelve and showing no sign of getting into the game...