Pein on Bonn
Kramnik,V (2772) - Anand,V (2783) [D49]
WCh Bonn GER (3), 17.10.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 No Exchange Slav today, a real fight instead. 4...e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3. Kramnik invites the sharp Meran Variation. 6...dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.0-0 Qb6 14.Qe2. Up to here all well known. Anand's next is a new move in this position and set Kramnik thinking.
14...Bb7. A brilliant novelty and brilliant preparation. Black has always tried to defend the b5 pawn here with Ba6 or b4. [Actually 17...Bb7, while brilliant, was not really a novelty. It has been used at least four times before, but at a much lower level of play] 15.Bxb5 Bd6. Anand intends Ke7, Rg8 and Ne5 16.Rd1. Even at this stage I was wondering in my live commentary whether White should play cautiously here with 16.Bd3 Ke7 17.Rd1 Rag8 18.Be4. 16...Rg8 17.g3. 17.Bd3 Ne5 18.Be4 d3!; Rxd4 was not good 17.Rxd4 Rxg2+ 18.Kxg2 Qxd4. 17...Rg4
18.Bf4. Credit to Kramnik he comes out fighting. At first sight 18.Nd2 wins material but it does leave the king undefended. Anand may have intended 18...Ke7!! 19.Bxd7 (19.Qxg4 Qxb5) 19...Rag8 20.Bb5 d3 21.Qxd3 Rxg3+ 22.hxg3 Rxg3+. 18...Bxf4. Vishy was still playing fast, he's been here before. 19.Nxd4. What a shot, Kramnik chooses to sacrifice a piece himself and attacks the rook on g4. 19...h5 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Rxd7 Kf8 22.Qd3
Now it was clear Kramnik would remain two pawns up but with his king is very exposed. 22...Rg7! 22...Bc8 23.Rh7 Kg8 24.Re7! threat Qh7 is good for White 24...f5 25.Rd1. 23.Rxg7 Kxg7 24.gxf4 Rd8 25.Qe2 Kh6!
Look how safe Black's king is from now on. 26.Kf1. 26.f5 Rg8+ 27.Kf1 Bg2+ 28.Ke1 Bc6 29.Qd2+ Kh7 30.Bxc6 Qxc6! 31.Ke2 forced 31...Qb5+ 32.Kf3 (32.Qd3 Qxb2+ 33.Kf3 Qxa1 34.fxe6+ Kh8) 32...Rg4 Deep Hiarcs tells me this wins for Black. So we can conclude Kramnik has problems here. 26...Rg8 27.a4? With time ebbing away Kramnik errs. The silicon consensus is 27.Rc1 Bg2+ 28.Ke1 Bh3 when White has time for 29.f5! Rg1+ 30.Kd2 Qd4+ 31.Bd3 Qxb2+ 32.Rc2 Qb4+ 33.Rc3 Bxf5 34.Bxf5 exf5=/+. 27.Rd1 Bg2+ 28.Ke1 Qa5+ 29.Rd2 Bh3 wins.. 27...Bg2+ 28.Ke1 Bh3!
29.Ra3. Desperate but 29.Rd1 Bg4 30.Qe3 Qxe3+ 31.fxe3 Bxd1 32.Kxd1 Rg2 should be winning 33.b3 Rxh2 34.a5 Ra2 35.a6 h4; 29.Kd2 Rg2 30.Rf1 Rxh2! 29...Rg1+ 30.Kd2 Qd4+ 31.Kc2. 31.Rd3 Qxb2+ 32.Ke3 Qa1 wins, Re1 follows. 31...Bg4 32.f3. 32.Rd3 Bf5.
32...Bf5+. 32...Bf5+ 33.Kb3 Rc1 with either Qd5+ or e5 and Be6 in reserve surely Vlad can't survive this 34.a5 Qd5+ (34...Rc2 35.Qxc2 Bxc2+ 36.Kxc2 Qc5+ 37.Kb1 Qxb5 38.a6 saves the game) 35.Bc4 Qb7+ 36.Bb5 Rc5 37.Kb4 Rc2 38.Qe3 Rxb2+ 39.Rb3 Qe7+-/+ 40.Kc4 Rxh2 41.a6 Qc7+.
33.Bd3?? 33.Kb3 Rc1 34.a5 Bc2+ 35.Qxc2! Rxc2 36.Kxc2 Qc5+ 37.Kb1 Qxb5 38.a6 saves the game, but Black can also play; 33.Kb3 Rc1 34.a5 Qd5+ 35.Bc4 Qb7+ 36.Bb5 Rc5 37.Kb4 Rc2 38.Qe3 Rxb2+ 39.Rb3 Qe7+ when it's grim but not totally over. That would have been a spectacular time scramble. 33...Bh3? Vishy had seen he was winning but he could have ended it now with 33...Bxd3+ 34.Rxd3 (34.Qxd3 Rg2+) 34...Qc4+ 35.Kd2 Qc1#. 34.a5. Kramnik has one swindling idea left. 34...Rg2 35.a6 Rxe2+ 36.Bxe2 Bf5+ 37.Kb3 Qe3+ 38.Ka2 Qxe2 39.a7 Qc4+ 40.Ka1 Qf1+ 41.Ka2 Bb1+ 0-1. [Click to replay]
A great game by Vishy. Wins with black are rare. He showed he was not afraid of the sharpest lines and takes the lead 2-1!
Malcolm Pein runs ChessBase USA and the London Chess Center. To learn more about the opening in today's game see The Meran Semi-Slav or Alexei Dreev: Meran Variation [41...Bb1+ 42.Kb3 Qxf3+ 43.Kb4 Be4 wins].