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World Chess Championship 2012 (6)

Anand preparation holds Gelfand in Game 6 as Kasparov opines

Kasparov in the English Commentary box. Photo ©

Kasparov in the English Commentary box. Photo © | http://moscow2012.fide.com

Boris Gelfand tried a different approach against Viswanathan Anand's Semi-Slav in Game 6 of the World Chess Championship in Moscow but the result was the same, a short draw. 6 draws, 3-3 at the halfway point. Yet again this was deep opening preparation from Anand that took him pretty much to the endgame. Whilst I'm sure the players weren't that happy to hear Kasparov was making a visit most probably everyone else was. Kasparov came with pearls of wisdom to cast before the journalistic swine. His theory was that Anand has been "sliding downhill" since 2008, that he lacked motivation, the draws were mostly Anand's fault because of his unambitious "Maginot Line", defensive wall tactics with black and that Gelfand best strategy (as he hasn't beaten Anand since 1993) was to heighten the tension by keeping the match level as long as possible as Anand is "not the most stable player psychologically." Transcript (that took much longer than I expected) below along with IM Malcolm Pein's notes combined with some Kasparov and Svidler suggestions. Game 7 with Gelfand white again follows on Sunday 3pm Moscow time, 12pm UK.

Garry Kasparov visits the World Chess Championship on 18th May

Garry Kasparov gave a Press Conference first which lasted about 45 minutes which I haven't seen much of yet although some of it was included in the short report above from Europe-Echecs who may produce a fuller version later. The official site has a full version now.

I think as an Indian chess fan you shouldn't be disappointed with my statement but with the state of Anand's Chess

Kasparov's reponds to an Indian journalist who didn't like what he said about Anand,

Kasparov in the English Commentary box

Then Kasparov visited the English Video commentary booth to talk with editor of New in Chess Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam and Peter Svidler. I've produced a transcript of their chat following their discussion of the current position but the conversation was very fast at various times. This started at 16:12:25 on the Round 6 video.

Kasparov: "Definitely the main line he prepared for the match, no doubt he looked at all these key things. It strikes me that I just saw it somewhere. "

"Vishy is very good in neutralising small initiatives. He was always very good in finding very precise defensive moves just to make sure that a small edge cannot materialise as something more significant."

The Match so far

Dirk Jan: How do you see the match so far?

Kasparov: "We're not seeing very much. One surprise that I'm sure you know [the Gruenfeld Defence], pleasant surprise for Peter"

Svidler: "Heartwarming"

Kasparov: "Heartwarming that Boris is playing the Gruenfeld. And it seems that he caught Anand by surprise."

Svidler "Somewhat."

Kasparov: "Also in game 3 Anand was close

Svidler: Yeah he got close. I was very surprised how quickly he got this ending, it seemed to me that around move 30 Vishy had serious chances for a win.

Kasparov: Also huge time.

Dirk Jan: "What was your conclusion."

Game 3 missed chances

Gelfand - Anand Game 6 Press Conference

Gelfand - Anand Game 6 Press Conference. http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/.

I think Vishy was a little bit too shallow he saw it was almost there but it required a precision which Vishy definitely doesn't show in last years.

Kasparov "I haven't analysed the game, my instincts told me that somehow white probably had a winning move but it was not so easy. I think Vishy was a little bit too shallow he saw it was almost there but it required a precision which Vishy definitely doesn't show in last years. He's a little bit too quick. He had to be very precise, by anticipating black's counterp-lay and he just totally missed that black could quickly create counterplay which was sufficient for a draw.

Svidler I've seen some, I haven't done any myself, but I've seen some really detailed analysis starting from around move 30 and the conclusion seems to be there were at least huge chances, if it wasn't mathematically winning, it was very, very close.

Boris Gelfand

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Viswanathan Anand

Position after 30.Rd2. Kasparov thought Anand should have thought for 20 minutes here. Not his best suggestion, Anand had only 10 minutes left.

31. Kb1 Bf5+ 32. Nxf5+ gxf5 33. Re7+ Kg6 34. Rc7 Re8 35. Rh1 Ree2 36. d7 Rb2+ 37. Kc1 Rxa2 1/2-1/2

Kasparov: The position wasn't an advantage you could press just simply playing by your hand [instinctively] you had to concentrate, this is what Spassky used to call the climax of the game and the form of the great player can be defined by an ability to smell the moment. The moment of crisis, where you have to spend more time. [Vishy was unfortunately down to a minute a move from move 30] and clearly Vishy missed this moment. He needed just to spend 20 minutes just to maybe relax and bit and maybe to look at the position from a different angle because of a unique chance of winning.

Svidler: I was surprised, I was at home and I was doing something and I left it when the bishop was on d7 on the board and I did something else for 15 minutes and I came back and the game was finished and I thought this is very odd. Because in a match like this, I understand that after three games you can't draw really many conclusions but it seems like a very tight match where one game might decide so it's a golden opportunity to do something, it was an opportunity missed.

Prognosis for the match and assessment of Anand and Gelfand

Dirk Jan: The longer it goes, the bigger chances it is for Gelfand?

As for Vishy, I think he's sliding downhill these [last] years. He wants to win, he knows he's a better player, but it's not enough.

Kasparov: I wouldn't say that the protracted crisis benefits one player or another, I think they're both under huge pressure. I said at the press conference, Gelfand hasn't won a single game against Vishy since 1993. So really puts you in a psychological.... To make you defensive. As for Vishy, I think he's sliding downhill these [last] years. He wants to win, he knows he's a better player, but it's not enough. You know that but big deal! you still have to win. There's a huge pressure on both sides for different reasons. Safety is definitely the buzzword of the event and I compare this match to the previous matches, since I left chess, professional chess. It's Kramnik-Topalov, Anand-Kramnik and Anand-Topalov and all these three matches they were very tense, a lot of ideas, and not just about decisive games, you could see there was so much fighting spirit by both sides and they were not, despite the fact they were also players of the highest callibre and they had a lot at stake, but no-one was afraid to take risks.

The way Vishy played against Kramnik 2008 I think was phenomenal, his preparation for the match, and his determination and the quality of chess he showed it was absolutely phenomenal.

The way Vishy played against Kramnik 2008 I think was phenomenal, his preparation for the match, and his determination and the quality of chess he showed it was absolutely phenomenal. Dirk Jan: And this was what everyone was hoping, his recent results were not good but so they were before.

But now you very often see a "Maginot Line", defensive wall tactics.

Kasparov: His match with Topalov was already clearly a drop in quality when you look at the Kramnik match. He survived the match and in some games you saw sparkle of genius. Very often in the match he was struggling. But now you very often see a "Maginot Line", defensive wall tactics.

Dirk Jan: How do you explain that, is it age, is it motivation, what is it?

The Indian journalist criticised me for being so blunt and saying that Anand lost motivation but I said that as an Indian chess fan you should be more concerned about Anand losing motivation than me saying it.

Kasparov: What I think with Vishy is that he lost motivation. The Indian journalist criticised me for being so blunt and saying that Anand lost motivation but I said that as an Indian chess fan you should be more concerned about Anand losing motivation than me saying it. I don't know but everyone has his own reasons for that.

Dirk Jan: I think he was eager. What I spoke to him before the match he said you don't... I mean it's a World Championship match your entire body reacts to that.

Kasparov: Hopefully we can still see some sign of greatness of the past but if you look at the record from 2008 to 2012 there are four years and it's not very inspiring and the way he played in London, in Moscow, Tal Memorial...

Svidler: He hasn't been a great tournament player for years and I think that's a concious decision by him because he just conserves energy.

Kasparov: But it's not about tournaments it's about sparkle in the eyes, when you are really in it. And by the way he won many, many top tournaments. Very impressive.

Svidler: But not in the recent past.

I mean if he played Aronian and Carlsen it would be a very different ball-game.

Kasparov: Not in the recent past but I think in tournaments there's more difficult because the lack of motivation makes you very vulnerable. Because in tournaments you have to win x number of games to be on the top. In a match you can still be cautious and maybe over-cautious but you still can prevail and obviously that's his tactics, especially as he is playing an opponent that is by many factors inferior. I mean if he played Aronian and Carlsen it would be a very different ball-game.

Dirk Jan: So what is your assessment of Boris Gelfand? Has he been doing more or less what you expected him to do? Or is he doing better?

As a chess kibitzer I would like to see more aggressive chess played by both players I just want to have some fun but as someone who played enough World Championship matches I know there are certain situations where you have to be more concerned about the result.

Kasparov: "Considering the score Gelfand had against Anand and the huge pressure on him because most likely it's his first and only chance to gain the crown I think by being under such pressure he is doing fine. As a chess kibiter I would like to see more aggressive chess played by both players I just want to have some fun but as someone who played enough World Championship matches I know there are certain situations where you have to be more concerned about the result. I think Boris is probably trying to raise the stakes. Maybe at the very end, both can stumble but I think the chance of Anand getting confused I think are a bit higher because Vishy very often stumbled in critical moments and maybe Boris' calculation. If he keeps pressure, if he brings the match to the last two games maybe he has a chance.

Svidler: A bit of pre-match analysis by Sutovsky, I don't know if you've seen it, that was his argument, he said, and I may be misquoting him, and I apologise if I am, but I thought it was an interesting observation. There are three ways this match can go: A very tense match which Vishy Anand will win eventually, a very tense match which Gelfand will win eventually or a runaway victory for Anand. And he said that number three is the likeliest of the three but of the other two the two is the likelier than the one. Basically Vishy needs to try and win this match quickly because if it doesn't go quickly the pressure on him might be bigger.

Kasparov: Lets say we go from the chess and mathematics into the casino line definitely Gelfand's chances are improving so lets say there are more draws his overall chance to be victorious is probably better because psychology will probably play a more and more important role and in the last couple of games it will be dominant if you have an equal score. Anand was not the most stable player psychologically, again considering the other factors, if chess becomes subordinate to psychology Gelfand's chances are improved.

If the first 8 games are drawn it becomes very interesting, then I would say chances are absolutely even.

He [Gelfand] showed he could handle it in his triumph in Kazan was clearly a demonstration of despite the fact he was the oldest player in the field he managed to preserve the energy to the very last moment. Even not just playing regular matches but also tie-breaks. The final game with Grischuk is a clear demonstration of Gelfand's ability to throw the novelty and also to preserve the energy to land one blow. So that should be a warning signal for Vishy. If he doesn't do anything in game 7. If the first 8 games are drawn it becomes very interesting, then I would say chances are absolutely even.

Kasparov's enthusiasm for the Aronian - Kramnik Match

Commentary Box Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam and Svidler

Commentary Box Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam and Svidler http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/.

Dirk Jan: It was great to hear you describe yourself as a kibiter, it's difficult to find a person who loves chess more than you. How have you been following this? You've been on the road a lot. Been extremely busy.

Kasparov: I cannot tell you that I watch all the games but the moment I am in front of the screen I look at the game... The six games played in Zuerich unfortuately you know the unofficial match provided more reasons for inspiration. I liked the match I think it was very entertaining.

Svidler: It was that.

Levon Aronian

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Vladimir Kramnik

Position after 18...Rfxc8. The players could easily have just agreed a draw here. Instead they found something interesting to do.

19. Ne5 Bd6 20. Nd3 Ne8 21. Kf1 Kf8 22. Ke2 Ke7 23. h3 Rc4 24. b3 Rcc8 25. a4 Ba3 26. Rc2 Rc7 27. Ra1 Bd6 28. Kd2 a5 29. Rcc1 Rac8 30. f3 f5 31. g4 g6 32. Ne2 Rxc1 33. Nexc1 Nf6 34. Ne2 Nh7 35. Ne5 Ng5 36. Nf4 Bb4+ 37. Kd1 Rc3 38. Rc1 Rxe3 39. Rc7+ Kd8 40. Rg7 Kc8 41. Rg8+ Kb7 42. Rg7+ Kc8 43. Rg8+ Kb7 1/2-1/2

Kasparov: Of course there was not such pressure. You have to admit playing an unofficial match doesn't put them under the same constraints as a World Championship match and if Kramnik and Aronian played a World Championship Match maybe they would be a bit more cautious but still even as an unofficial match I think it was a clear proof that classical chess can be attractive. There was a lot of fun, we saw the match, between two top players, clearly players who belong to the top notch, to the elite, they had a lot of fantasy, determination and they were fighting to the very to the very last moment. I think game 5 where there was total symmetry and in many tournaments the game would be shaking hands and walk away and they created more complications and that's impressive. That's a refutation of the theory that classical chess is dead unless you make drastic changes in the rules Fischer or whatever then the games will be all dull draws.

Dirk Jan: The death of classical chess clearly depends on the players.

Kasparov: If you had Kramnik and Aronian and they could create a very interesting spectacle which for me as an ex-professional was a great joy because I saw classical chess is still alive and well.

Looking forward to the Candidates 2013

Anand and Gelfand at the start of play

Anand and Gelfand at the start of play. http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/.

Dirk Jan: You're looking forward to the Candidates tournament next year with all the guys around.

Kasparov: Yes that will be a lot of fun. The tournament definitely there will be a lot of excitement there. The only problem with a tournament is that it's a long event but probably in the middle of the event some of the players will have lost their motivation, they are no longer seeing a chance of winning the event and then you can see a drop in their interest from their side which may effect the results because...

Dirk Jan: The may play a dubious part in the final result

Kasparov: Exactly that's why I always thought the system will require an extra match between number one and number two where the winner of the tournament has draw odds, some sort of 6 games encounter to minimise the potential influence of the negative effects of the last couple of rounds where players from the bottom of the tournament could influence the over all result.

Svidler: It's a valid point of course.

Dirk Jan: Your also here to play a simul I see. [vs Russian young talents]

Kasparov: I hope they are not too strong. I do play some exhibitions. It's not as aggressive as before ...

Dirk Jan: What's your estimate of new talents in Russia?

Russian Juniors

Kasparov: I don't know. Looking at the recent results in the under-18 championships Russia is doing better than 5 or 10 years ago.

Svidler: Definitely

Kasparov: But it's still not as mighty as before. We definitely missed a strong player in the Carlsen, Giri [Giri learned much of his chess in Russia] generation because when you look at this late teenager early 20 plus... Nepomniachtchi is a good player but definitely not the level that can compete with Carlsen and Aronian. So after Grischuk basically Russia doesn't have a player of that caliber who can compete.

Svidler: We have Karjakin.

Kasparov: Even if you consider Karjakin Russian which is of course quite a big question mark I think that he's... [He then trailed out and pointed to the board that showed his Qc6 prediction worked out] Hopefully next few days will provide more fire on board.

IM Malcolm Pein's notes with some Kasparov and Svidler quotes and lines added

Gelfand,Boris (2739) - Anand,Viswanathan (2799) [D45]
WCh 2012 Moscow RUS (6), 18.05.2012
[IM Malcolm Pein]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 a6

Why not, Gelfand has not demonstrated advantage yet

6.Qc2

Diverging but not thought to be very testing

6...c5

Black effectively goes into a Tarrasch Defence less a tempo but White's extra move Qc2 is not very useful as the queen can be vulnerable on an open 'c' file

7.cxd5 exd5 8.Be2 Be6 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Rd1

Viswanathan Anand

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Boris Gelfand

Position after 10.Rd1

Mamedyarov and Grischuk have played this way with white.

10...cxd4

[10...Nb4 Stopped being so much fun [for black] after they found Bd2 was Svidler's comment here. "Almost 10 years old the line with Nb4 - Kasparov. I remember the game Aleksandrov - Bacrot." - Kasparov...." Svidler - "Even I played it a couple of times." 11.Qb1 (11.Qd2 Ne4 'Sadler-Hodgson 1995' 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.a3 (13.Ne5 cxd4 14.exd4 Bd6 15.a3 Nd5 16.Qc2 f5 17.f3 0-0 18.fxe4 Rc8 19.Bc4 Bxe5 20.exd5 Bxd5 21.Bxd5+ 1-0 Grischuk,A (2717)-Svidler,P (2765)/Monte Carlo MNC 2006/ The Week in Chess 594) 13...exf3 14.Bxf3 Nc6 15.d5 Ne5 16.dxe6 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 fxe6 18.Qc2 Qg5+ 19.Kf1 Rd8 20.Bd2 Be7 21.Bc3 Qg6 22.Qe4 Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Qxe4 24.fxe4 Rg8 25.Ke2 g6 26.Be5 b5 27.h4 c4 28.Kf3 Kf7 29.Ke2 Ke8 30.f4 Kf7 31.Kd2 a5 32.Ke2 a4 33.Kd2 Ke8 34.Bc3 1/2-1/2 Aleksandrov,A (2659)-Bacrot,E (2718)/Izmir TUR 2004/The Week in Chess 518) 11...Qc8 12.Bd2 (12.e4 Mamedyarov-Griscuk is sharp) 12...Bf5 13.Qc1 c4 14.Ne5 Bd6 15.b3 b5 16.bxc4 bxc4 17.a3 Nc6 18.Nxd5 Bxe5 19.Qxc4 Be6 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.d5 Ne5 22.Qa2 Bg4 23.f3 Bd7 24.Rac1 Qb8 25.Bb4 Ba4 26.Rd4 a5 27.Bc5 Qb3 28.Qd2 Rc8 29.Bd1 Qxd1+ 30.Rxd1 Bxd1 31.Qxa5 Bc2 32.Rd2 Bf5 33.f4 Nd3 34.Qa4+ Kd8 35.Qa5+ Ke8 36.Qb5+ Bd7 37.Qxd3 Rxc5 38.Rc2 Rxc2 39.Qxc2 Bd8 40.Qe4+ Kf8 41.Qb4+ Ke8 42.a4 h5 43.a5 Rh6 44.d6 Bc6 45.a6 Kd7 46.a7 Rxd6 47.Qc4 Bb6 48.Qxf7+ Kc8 49.Kf1 Rd7 50.Qf8+ Rd8 51.Qxg7 Rd7 52.Qg8+ Rd8 53.Qf7 Rd1+ 54.Ke2 Rc1 55.Kd2 Rc5 56.Qf8+ 1-0 Wang Yue (2716)-Rublevsky,S (2688)/Ningbo CHN 2010/The Week in Chess 823]

11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.Rxd4 Bc5 13.Rd1 Qe7 14.Bf3

It looks like White is better but Anand's reply proves otherwise.

14...0-0! 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Bxd5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Rac8

Viswanathan Anand

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Boris Gelfand

Position after 17...Rac8

Malcolm Pein - "White's queenside takes a long time to develop and Black has good play for the pawn" Kasparov "This is the only critical moment of the game that deserves our attention If white has no option but to give up a pawn on e3" - Svidler "I couldn't find anything better. I had maybe 5 minutes with this position before Boris played Bd2 but in those 5 minutes I couldn't find any particular improvement." Kasparov "Vishy played very quickly, this is why I assume he analysed this position. It's not such a complicated position where a machine could stumble. They checked it and giving up a healthy central pawn means that he was very confident that white had nothing significant. No way to consolidate the postion."

18.Bd2

Gelfand returns the pawn to secure a small advantage.

[18.Qe2 Rfd8 And White still cannot develop. (18...Qe4 19.Bd2

a) 19.Qd1 Be7 20.f3 Qe6

(20...Qc2 21.e4 Qxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Rc2 should be a draw.) 21.e4 Rfd8 22.Be3;

b) 19.Rd1 Be7 20.Bd2 Rc2 21.b3 Bf6; 19...Qc2) 19.Rxd8+ Rxd8 20.Bd2; 18.Qf5 Rfd8 And White still cannot develop 19.Bd2?? Rxd5 20.Qxd5 Rd8-+]

18...Bxe3 19.Bc3 Bb6 20.Qf5 Qe6 21.Qf3

[21.Qxe6 Bxf2+ 22.Kh1 fxe6 23.Rd7 e5 24.Bxe5 Rf7 25.Rxf7 Kxf7 26.Rf1 Kg6 and black has succeeded in opening the c-file so that the bishop on f2 is not en-prise. - Svidler's line.]

21...f6

Blunting any tactical threats against g7. Black is close to equality.

22.h4

Viswanathan Anand

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Boris Gelfand

Position after 22.h4

Malcolm Pein "Trying force h6 fixing Black' pawns on dark squares. Even in an endgame this wouldn't be enough to seriously trouble Black, his queenside pawns are fine." Svidler - "He's trying to maximise what little he has here." Kasparov - "But even if he puts his pawn on h5, even if black goes h6, big deal!" Svidler - "I'm not even sure the bishop endgame will be lost." Kasparov - "With weak pawns on one side it is not enough."

22...Qc6

Kasparov "I think maybe now he goes Qc6." - predicting Anand's continuation before he made it. "and just start trading the rooks. Even Rad1 Rd8 trading the rooks." Svidler "If you trade all four rooks and you slightly spoil the structure on the queenside it's just never going to be enough." - Kasparov "No big deal."

23.h5 Rfd8 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Qxc6 bxc6 26.Re1

Viswanathan Anand

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Boris Gelfand

Position after 26.Re1

Now I suspect Bd4 with the point Rd1 Bxf2+ will lead to a drawish rook an pawn endgame but perhaps mild suffering. Kf7 is solid.

26...Kf7 27.g4

[27.Kf1 Rd5 28.g4 Bd4 also equal.]

27...Bd4 28.Rc1 Bxc3 29.Rxc3 Rd4

Completely level 30.f3 allows Rd1-d2+ winning the b2 pawn. Good prep from Vishy but Boris has another shot with white on Sunday.

1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand

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Boris Gelfand

Position after 29...Rd4

WCh Moscow
Anand, Viswanathan - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 24 D85 Gruenfeld Defence
Gelfand, Boris - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 25 D45 Anti-Meran Variations
Anand, Viswanathan - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 37 D70 Gruenfeld Defence
Gelfand, Boris - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 34 D45 Anti-Meran Variations
Anand, Viswanathan - Gelfand, Boris ½-½ 27 B33 Sicilian Sveshnikov
Gelfand, Boris - Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ 29 D45 Anti-Meran Variations

WCh Moscow (BUL), 11 v - 31 v 2012
Name Ti NAT Rtng 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Perf
Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2791 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . . . . . . 3 2727
Gelfand, Boris g ISR 2727 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ . . . . . . 3 2791

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