Anand-Gelfand 2012: Game 9

Game 9 of the 2012 World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand was a very exciting affair. Boris Gelfand came  close to a win but in the end Viswanathan Anand defended like a world champion. Scholastic chess players would be very wise if they try to comprehend the method in which Anand avoided a loss in this game. As is usually the case, my analysis of game 9 from the 2012 World chess Championship is below.

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[Event “Anand-Gelfand World Chess Championship”]

[Site “Moscow, Russia”]

[Date “2012.05.23”]

[Round “9”]

[White “Boris Gelfand”]

[Black “Viswanathan Anand”]

[Result “1/2-1/2”]

[ECO “E54”]

[Opening “Nimzo-Indian”]

[Variation “Main Line, Karpov, 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Rc1”]

1. d4 Nf6 {Anand has chosen to play a different defense to d4. This will not be a slav or semi-slav as in game 2, game 4, game 6 and game 7. After he lost in game 7, I can’t say that I blame Anand for trying a different opening.} 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 {This is the Nimzo-Indian Defence. Over the years, Viswanathan Anand has had tremendous success with this opening.} 4. e3 {Gelfand chooses the Rubinsten line of the Nimzo-Indian.} O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 {Neither Gelfand or Anand is straying from the main line.} 7. O-O dxc4 {Anand chooses the second favorite here. Most popular is Nbd7.} 8. Bxc4 cxd4 {Again, Anand chooses the second most common move. Nbd7 is played three times as often as Anand’s choice.} 9. exd4 b6 {Anyone wanting to learn more about this position should consult the games of Anatoly Karpov. Incidently, Karpov turned 61 today.} 10. Bg5 {Boris Gelfand seemed comfortable and prepared for the Nimzo-Indian.} Bb7 11. Qe2 {I’ve seen this move recently in Nakamura-Giri 2011.} Nbd7 {Anand likes the second favorite choice today. More common and much better scoring is Bxc3.} 12. Rac1 Rc8 13. Bd3 {Boris Gelfand still seems at home in this opening even when choosing this rarely played move. Anand, on the other hand, seems very nervous.} Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qc7 15. c4 Bxf3 {This move has only been played once before and that was on 2/12/12 in the game Kari Pulkkinen vs Jyrki Parkkinen. I doubt Anand knows of this obscure game from Finland. At any rate, I do not like the idea of black voluntarily giving away his bishop, which has great range, for a knight of common placement.} 16. Qxf3 {Boris Gelfand must be pleased to have the bishop pair in an open position.} Rfe8 17. Rfd1 h6 18. Bh4 Qd6 19. c5 {I definitely noticed Anand relax here. It is my guess that he was more concerned about seeing Bg3. Some have criticized Gelfand’s choice as being inaccurate. I do not see this as being the case. In fact, for the remainder of the game, Boris Gelfand has very little chance of loosing but maintains good attacking chances.} bxc5 {Anand must know he will lose his queen in a discovered attack but feels he can defend the position to a draw afterwords.} 20. dxc5 Rxc5 21. Bh7+ Kxh7 22. Rxd6 Rxc1+ 23. Rd1 Rec8 24. h3 {Now that the fireworks are finished, Gelfand chooses a slow move to see what the World Champion’s plan will be.} Ne5 25. Qe2 Ng6 26. Bxf6 {Gelfand must take here or else Anand will get his knight to d5 and then a rook on c7. This type of structure is known as a fortress. Using a fortress is not very fun at all but if successful can keep a player from receiving a loss.} gxf6 27. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28. Kh2 Rc7 {Now Anand needs to place his knight on d5 and the fortress will be complete.} 29. Qb2 Kg7 30. a4 {Boris Gelfand is playing like a computer and that is not a good thing. His move does nothing to stop Anand from playing Ne7 and then Nd5. A move like g4 would offer the most difficult complications for both white and black.} Ne7 31. a5 Nd5 {With his fortress in place, Viswanathan Anand will have to wait and see if his opponent can crack his improvised defence.} 32. a6 {At some point, if Gelfand wants to, he can place his queen on b7!} Kh7 {Anand will wait and see what Gelfand may have up his sleave.} 33. Qd4 {If Boris Gelfand wants a draw he could begin a repetition sequence with Qb1+. Then if Anand plays Kg7 he can place his queen back onto b2.} f5 34. f4 {The move g4 was also playable but I fail to see how it would break Anand’s fortress. Perhaps starting with pawn to h4, then pawn to g4 and then g5 could create some king safety issues for Anand.} Rd7 35. Kg3 {Gelfand is planning on bringing his king to h4. I am not sure how that will help break Anand’s defence.} Kg6 36. Qh8 {Gelfand has nothing left but to try and swindle Anand into making a blunder. It’s nice to see a top grand master using a strategy commonly employed by a chess hustler.} Nf6 {Scholastic players would be wise to study how Anand handles this endgame.} 37. Qb8 h5 38. Kh4 Kh6 39. Qb2 Kg6 40. Qc3 Ne4 41. Qc8 Nf6 42. Qb8 Re7 43. g4 {This is Boris Gelfand’s final attempt to trick Anand into a blunder.} hxg4 44. hxg4 fxg4 45. Qe5 Ng8 {Now Boris Gelfand knows this will be a draw.} 46. Qg5+ Kh7 47. Qxg4 f6 48. Qg2 Kh8 49. Qe4 Kg7 {Boris Gelfand came very close to a win but in the end Viswanathan Anand defended like a world champion.} 1/2-1/2

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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