Viswanathan Anand, the world champion from Chennai (formerly known as Madras), defends his world title in a $5 million match in his home town in November against Magnus Carlsen. The venue will be the five-star Hyatt Hotel. This week, in my occasional series previewing the championship, I give a fine win by Anand against an ingenious but erratic opponent. A feature of Anand’s play has been an extraordinary facility to counterattack decisively with the black pieces.
Ivanchuk-Anand: Linares 1998; Sicilian Defence
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 Be7 8 0-0-0 0-0 9 f3 Nxd4 10 Qxd4 (see diagram 1) 10 … a6 In the game Adams-Rachels, Manila 1990, Black here tried a complicated manoeuvre to force White’s queen’s bishop to withdraw from the g5-square. However, after the moves 10 … Qa5 11 Bd2 Qc7 12 g4 a6 13 g5 Nd7 14 h4 b5 15 Qf2 Bb7 16 Kb1 White went on to win. In this game Anand prefers to accelerate his queenside counterplay. A key component of this will be occupation of the c-file with the queen’s rook bearing down directly against White’s king. Meanwhile, on the other side of the board, White’s chances lie in an onrush of his kingside pawns. 11 h4 b5 12 Kb1 Qc7 13 h5 h6 14 Bh4 I would prefer 14 Be3, in some cases preparing g4-g5 whilst also retaining the option of Qb6 offering a trade of queens in case Black’s queenside counterplay becomes too threatening. 14 … Bb7 15 Ne2 Rac8 16 Qd2 Rfd8 Black’s opening problems are already long gone. His development is more efficient than White’s and he has a clear target of attack, namely the white king. 17 Re1 e5 18 Bxf6 This is already a counsel of despair. Black is threatening … d5 with an immense initiative and Ivanchuk sees this exchange as the only method of postponing that eventuality. But as a result of the exchange Black’s dark-squared bishop becomes a monster. 18 … Bxf6 19 Nc3 Bg5 20 Qd1 Qa5 Already threatening a powerful sacrifice on c3. 21 Nd5 Bxd5 22 exd5 (see diagram 2) The upshot of White’s feeble play is that Black can now carry off a crushing sacrifice to drive the white king into the open. 22 … Rxc2 23 Kxc2 Of course if 23 Qxc2 Qxe1+. 23 … Qxa2 24 f4 Rc8+ 25 Kd2 Bxf4+ 26 Ke2 Qxb2+ 27 Kf3 Rc1 White resigns After 28 Qe2 Qc3+ causes the instant collapse of White’s position.
This week’s puzzle has been kindly supplied by the British Chess Magazine. For further information about this monthly publication which is the oldest running chess magazine in the world, please see www.britishchessmagazine.co.uk.