Kramnik,V (2772) - Anand,V (2783) [D39]WCh Bonn GER (8), 24.10.2008
If Kramnik is going to pull back a 3 point deficit then this is the moment where it must start.
1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4
Kramnik give's Anand the option to play 4....c6 and possibly take the game into the sharp Meran where Kramnik has suffered two defeats already. Obviously he is confident in white's position, Anand of course would be ill advised to play anything sharp his only goal in the coming games is not to lose.
Susan Polgar "This is not a solid opening one would expect Anand to play given the current score. He instead goes for the sharp Vienna Variation."
Shows what I know, Anand still insists on sharp openings!
I like the slav as much as the next guy but thankfully we have some variety.
5...Bb4 6.Bg5 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qa5
8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qa5 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bxd7+
(12.Qb3 a6 Peter Wells is a confirmed participant for Queenstown 09. 13.Be2 Nc6 14.0-0 Qc7 15.Rad1 Rc8 16.Qa3 Na5 17.Qc1 Ke7 18.Rd3 Qc5 19.Kh1 Rhd8 20.f4 Bb5 21.Nxb5 Rxd3 22.Bxd3 axb5 23.e5 Qxc3 24.exf6+ Kxf6 25.Qe3 Nc4 26.Qg3 Ke7 27.f5 Qe5 28.Qf3 Rc6 29.fxe6 Qxe6 30.Qg3 Rc5 31.Qh4+ Kd7 32.Qxh7 Nd6 33.Qh4 Qxa2 34.Re1 Qd5 35.Qe7+ Kc6 36.Be2 Ne4 37.Bf3 f5 38.g4 Qd2 39.Re2 Qf4 40.Bxe4+ fxe4 41.Qxe4+ Qxe4+ 42.Rxe4 Rc4 43.Re6+ Kd5 44.Rb6 Kc5 45.Rxb7 Rxg4 46.h3 Rg3 47.Kh2 Re3 48.h4 b4 49.Kg2 Kc4 50.h5 Re5 Draw San Segundo Carrillo,P-Wells,P/Escaldes 1998)
12...Nxd7 13.0-0 a6 14.Rb1 Qc7 15.Qg4 h5 16.Qh3 Ke7 17.f4 h4 18.Qf3 Rac8 19.e5 Qxc3 20.exf6+ Kxf6 21.Qxc3 Rxc3 Draw. Kramnik,V-Anand,V/Dortmund 2003
9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bxf6 Bxb5
Anand makes the first new move. Kramnik's preparation is looking weak compared to Anand. In his match with Topalov he was also on the back foot concerning opening novelties.
11.Ndxb5 gxf6 12.0-0 Nc6 13.a3 Bxc3 14.Nxc3
14. ... Rg8?!
Both players at the press conference after the game thought this was a mistake as white now builds an advantage.
14...Rd8 Kramnik thought this would equalise.
15.f4! Rd8 16.Qe1 Qb6+ 17.Rf2 Rd3 18.Qe2 Qd4
18...Rh3 19.Kh1 Re3 20.Qf1 Ke7 21.Rd1
19.Nb5 This looks like a good move to me as I can't see how black can avoid the knight taking a beautiful outpost on d6. 19...Qe3 (19...Qd8 20.e5±) 20.Nd6+ Ke7 21.Qxe3 Rxe3 22.Rd1 Rd8 23.Rfd2 Rb3 24.Kf2 a5 25.g3 White has a killer knight on d6 and at first it looks bad for black but maybe white has a hard time making progress because all his pieces are on good squares but are not able to move!
Now Nb5 will be alot stronger because white can safely play e5 and protect the knight when it reaches d6 with a pawn, hence Anand plays 19...a6
If 19...Kf8 20.Nb5 Qd8
A) 21.e5?! fxe5 22.fxe5 Rg5 23.Ref1 f5 24.Nd6 (24.exf6 Rxb5) 24...Nxe5 25.Nxf5! Nf3+! 26.Rxf3 Rxf3 27.Rxf3 Rxf5 28.Qxe6 Rxf3 29.gxf3 Qd4+ 30.Kh1 Qxb2 The position looks drawn but Queen endings are exrtremely tricky.;
B) 21.Qh5 21...Qb6 White has an edge but it is still not so easy
20.Nd5 exd5 Black must take or be clearly worse. 21.exd5+
A) 21...Kf8 22.dxc6 (22.Qe8+ Kg7 leads nowhere for white) 22...bxc6 23.Qe8+ Kg7 24.Qxc6 Rd2 25.Qf3 Rxb2 black is still fine but maybe 21. ...Kd7 is better.;
B) 21...Kd7! 22.dxc6+ Kxc6 The king looks rather insane on the open c-file with all the heavy pieces on the board but white is somehow not crashing through.
My understanding is Kramnik is trying to force a break through down the e and f files by f5 or e5. f5 is the most obvious break because if black ever plays e5 his position is positionally very bad because white will be able to hop his knight to d5 with crushing effect. So most likely black will take on f5 and and then white is hoping to use his heavy pieces to open up black's king and attack down the f file targeting the f6-f8 squares. At the press conference the players explained things better than me and it was quite instructional.
In the press conference Kramnik considerd this the first game where he was able to get a slight advantageand push for a win.
21.f5 exf5 (21...e5? 22.Nd5) 22.Qf1 White is no hurry to reacpture more important is to pressure the weak f6 and f7 squares. 22...Rd2 (22...fxe4? 23.Nxe4) 23.Rxd2 Qxd2 24.Re2 Qh6 25.Rf2 Rg5 black is defending so pushing f5 is premature.
Kramnik is just trying to build on his advantage as there is no immediate break through promising white much.
22.f5 exf5 23.Qh5 fxe4 24.Qxh7 Ne7 White has nothing.
23.f5 exf5 24.exf5 Rh6 25.Rf4 Qd7 26.Rd1 Rxd1+ 27.Qxd1 Qc8 28.Qg4+ Kh8 29.Rf1 Ne5 And black doesn' t have any worries again. Another important factor to note when pushing f5 is it gives black's knight the e5 square.
23...Rxd1+ 24.Nxd1 Kh8 25.Nc3
Kramnik has softened black's control of the d-file but it is still not so easy to break through. 25...Rg8 26.Kg2 Rd8 27.Qh5 Kg7 28.Qg4+ Kh8 29.Qh5 Kg7 30.Qg4+ Kh8 31.Qh4 Kg7 32.e5 f5
32...fxe5?! Anand correctly sees that white's attack gains some momentum after this move. The idea of keeping the position closed on his weak side of the board is clear here. 33.Qg5+ Kh8 34.Qf6+ Kg8 35.fxe5 Nxe5 36.Rf4 Qd6 37.Ne4 Qd5 38.Kh3 Ng6 (38...Rf8? 39.Qg5+ Kh8 40.Nf6 Qd3 41.Qxe5 + -) 39.Qxf7+ Kh8 40.Qf6+ Kg8 41.Rf3 White is not winning instantly but has a good position.
33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qg5+ Kh8 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.Re2 Qc4 37.Qg5+ Kh8 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Qg5+ Kh8
Anand successfully holds on still refusing to make any major mistake's. He is now one point away from retaining the World Championship title and officially becoming the 15th World Champion.
I don't consider the Fide WCh Knockout winners like Khalifman, Ponomariov, Topalov, etc as carrying on the tradition, starting with Steinitz. In 2006 Kramnik did the chess world a big favour by accepting certain conditions and playing a match with Topalov to unify the chess title's classical and fide. Which have been split since the 93 Kasparov-Short match. The WCh tournament in Mexico 2007 was a consequence of this agreement Anand won this event, but many critics still didn't consider him the 15th World Champion because many thought that the title should only be fought in classical match style.
This match was critical for Anand to silence the critics once and for all and he is now one point away from achieving probably his greastest achievement.