Anand Wins Again! Takes 3.5-1.5 Lead Print
Monday, 20 October 2008 15:00

V. Kramnik (2772)-V. Anand (2783)
20.10.2008 - World Championship - Game 5

(LIVE Commentary and Analysis by GM Susan Polgar on 

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 cxd4 11.Nxb5 axb5 12.exf6 gxf6 13.O-O Qb6 14.Qe2 Bb7 15.Bxb5
So far we have a repeat of game 3.


This is the first deviation from game 3. Anand played 15...Bd6 in the third game which led to a wild game where Kramnik misplayed and lost.

16.Bf4 Bd6

The players were moving at a fast pace until this move. Kramnik is taking his time with this next move. He has several options: 17. Bg3 and 17.Bxd6. I like 17.Bg3 better and its idea is to strengthen the g file from the threat of Black's Bishop on b7 and Rook on g8.


Black has a few logical options such as 17...f5, 17...Ke7, 17...Rd8, etc. Black's plan is to create an attack on the Kingside and White's plan is to exploit Black King's position as well as eventually trying to advance his a and b connected passed pawns. 17...f5 seems to be the most aggressive option 


This is one possible wild continuation 18.a4 f4 19.Bh4 Qc5 20.Rfd1 Qh5 21.Kh1 Rxg2 22.Kxg2 Qxh4 23.Bxd7+ Ke7 =+. This is another possibility 18.Rfd1 f4 19.Bh4 Ra5 20.a4 Rxb5 21.axb5 Ne5 -/+. Here is another one 18.Bxd6 Qxd6 19.Rfd1 Ke7 =+ It is obvious why Kramnik is spending a lot of time on this move. This is the critical moment and he could be worse in some of the lines. Frankly speaking, I am very surprised that Kramnik repeated this variation which suits Anand's style a lot better. I am not privy to the preparation from the players but it seems that Kramnik is surprised by 15...Rg8. He is now more than 30 minutes behind on time. Here is another line I just looked at 18.Ne5 Bxe5 19.Qxe5 f6 20.Qe2 Just like other lines above, White has nothing. This is now becoming really curious. Kramnik is now down by more than 50 minutes on the clock.


This is a move I did not anticipate. The most obvious and logical move that came to my head is 18...f4 since that is the reason why Black played 17...f5. Let's examine it 18...f4 19.Bh4 Be7 20.Bxe7 Kxe7 21.Bxd7 Kxd7 and I think it is unclear. I cannot imagine Black playing something else.

18...f4 19.Bh4 Be7

This is what I anticipated. White has no way of stopping the eventual exchange of the dark color Bishop which makes the g2 pawn more vulnerable to Anand's attack. Kramnik does have a few options such as 20.Bxe7, 20.Qd3, 20.a4, etc. I like 20.a4 the best. It strengthen the Bishop on b5 to allow the Queen to do other things.


This is now the crucial moment for Anand. Two possible options are 20...Qd6 or 20...Rd8. I personally prefer 20...Qd6 because I would want my Rook to be on the a file for now. If Black tries 20... Bxh4 21. Nxh4 Ke7 22. Qh5 Qd6 and it is also unclear.

20...Bxh4 21.Nxh4 Ke7

It is very difficult to come up with the right plan here given the high stake of the game and how complicated the position is. Their ability to make the right decisions more often than not is one of the reasons why they are World Champions. An interesting try is 22.g3 Rg5 23.Bxd7 Kxd7 24.Nf3 Bxf3 25.Qxf3 Rb8 and White is a little better. Another could be just to get the King out of the g file with 22.Kf1. This game is crucial for both players. If Kramnik falters again, it will be virtually impossible for Kramnik to come back with just 7 games left. On the other hand, if Kramnik wins, it will give him an incredible boost and the momentum will be back on his side. The state of mind of the players could be the most important factor in such a high stake close match such as this. Having been through this myself, I can tell you that it is not fun :)


A complete surprise and an interesting idea. I did not anticipate this move at this juncture. I am not sure if it is the strongest choice. Black has 2 main ideas: To pile the Rooks on the g file with 22...Rg5 or to make a play for the c file with 22...Rac8. Both are playable although I prefer playing for the c file a little more. This is why I do not believe that 22.Ra3 is the most accurate move.


Anand chose to make a play for the c file which I believe is the correct idea. 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Ra1 Qc5 25.Qd2 Qd6 26.Rd1 Ne5 27.Kf1 =

23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Ra1

Now the Black King is safer than it was a few moves ago. But so is the White King. 24... Rg8 25.a5 Qc5 26.a6 Ba8 27.Bxd7 Kxd7 +=; 24... Rc5 25.b4 Rg5 26.Nf3 Rg8 27.Rd1 Nf6 =; 24...Qc5 25.Qd2 Qd6 26.Rd1 Ne5 27.Kf1 =

24...Qc5 25.Qg4

Kramnik played this move very fast. This would be a mistake for Black 25...Qc1+ 26. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 27. Bf1 Ba6 28. h3 +-. 25...Qe5. 25...Qc2, or 25...Ne5 are all better options. I think 25...Qe5 is the most interesting.

25...Qe5 26.Nf3

Another instant response by Kramnik.


Anand also responded very fast, which may be dangerous in such a complicated position. Another posibility is 26... Bxf3 27. Qxf3 Rc2 =


This would have been a mistake 27.Nxd4? Qxd4 28.Rd1 Nf6-+. 27.Rd1 is also a good move. In fact, I like it better than 27.Re1.

27...Rc5 28.b4 

I think the clear choice here is 28...Rc3 to attack the Knight on f3. Anand's position is quite comfortable now.


The pressure now is on White. The worst possible move is 29.Nd4 Qxd4 30.Rd1 Nf6 31.Rxd4 Nxg4 32.Rd7+ Kf6 and Black wins due to to White's back rank problem.


This is a poison pawn. White is now in serious trouble. I think it is over.

29...Qxd4 30.Rd1 Nf6 31.Rxd4 Nxg4 32.Rd7+ Kf6 33.Rxb7 Rc1+ 34.Bf1 Ne3!

And it is about over! I think Kramnik missed this move in his original calculation.

35.fxe3 fxe3


A devastating loss for Kramnik. I am not counting him out but it is very difficult to score a +2 against Anand in the last 7 games to even up the match.

Score after 5 games:

Anand 3.5-Kramnik 1.5

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