Kramnik faced off against Anand in Game 1 of the World Chess Championship Match on October 14, 2008. The “Battle of Bonn” began with little surprise as Anand chose to play one of his main weapons referred to as the Slav Defense to the Queen’s Gambit Declined. The game concluded after move 32 when a draw was agreed to.
2… c6 Anand chooses to play the Slav.
4. cxd5 Kramnik decides to use boxing strategy. Rather than go for a knock-out in the first round, Kramnik feels his opponent out and takes little risk. This move also gave Kramnik little chance for a win against Anand as the resulting positions tend to be very symmetrical and drawish.
9… 0-0 Anand breaks symmetry but continues along the well known Slav Exchange mainline.
11… Rc8 Anand avoids the trouled pawn weaknesses occurs should he have played bxc3.
12… Ng4 Anand does not play Ne4 13.Qa3 bxc6 because it would lead to problems for Black due to the weakened pawn structure. White was victorious in Ivanov vs. Torres Los Angeles, 1992 when play continued 12…bxc6 13. Rc1 c5 14. 0-0 Ne4 15.Qa3 f6.
14. Qb4 To my knowledge this is an original idea by Kramnik. Previously, 14.Qa3 Rxc6 was played in the game Reynaldo Vera and Ivan Morovic-Fernandez in 2002. This idea can be risky for white if play continues 14.Qa3 Rxc6 15.Qxa7 Qe7 16.O-O Rfc8.
14… Rxc6 I believe this was the best move of the game. Black takes the file and avoids the previously discussed pawn weakness. 14… bxc6 15.Bd6 would also leave Kramnik with a much better Bishop.
16… Rfxc8 For the sacraficed pawn, Anand gets two very active rooks and control of the open “C” file.
17… a5 Anand stops Kramnik from playing b4 and moves a weak pawn closer to wear it can be traded.
21. e4 Kramnik attempts to create some counter play.
23… Rc2 Anand gets a rook to the “seventh.”
25. Bxe5 Kramnik finally improves his Bishop.
25… Rxa2 Anand gets his sacrificed pawn back. A position such as this between players such as these will produce a draw. Kramnik began the match cautiously while Anand spiced up the game with a pawn sacrifice leading to significant initiative which in the end was enough to secure the draw.
[Event “Anand-Kramik World Championship”]
[Site “Bonn, Germany”]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Nf3 e6 8.Qb3 Bb4 9.Bb5 O-O 10.Bxc6 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Rc8 12.Ne5 Ng4 13.Nxg4 Bxg4 14.Qb4 Rxc6 15.Qxb7 Qc8 16.Qxc8 Rfxc8 17.O-O a5 18.f3 Bf5 19.Rfe1 Bg6 20.b3 f6 21.e4 dxe4 22.fxe4 Rd8 23.Rad1 Rc2 24.e5 fxe5 25.Bxe5 Rxa2 26.Ra1 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Rd5 28.Rc1 Rd7 29.Rc5 Ra7 30.Rc7 Rxc7 31.Bxc7 Bc2 32.Bxa5 Bxb3 1/2-1/2