Anand Wins Game 6, Takes 3 Point Lead! Print
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 14:34

Anand, V. (2783) - Kramnik, V. (2772)
21.10.2008 - World Championship - Game 6

(LIVE Commentary and Analysis by GM Susan Polgar on
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4
Kramnik employs the Nimzo Indian.

4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Qf5 7.Qb3 Nc6 8.Bd2

So far, these are all book moves. The common move here is 8...0-0

8...0-0 9.h3

I have not seen this move before. It does not seem to be too dangerous. I think it is more to gain an edge psychologically. Kramnik is now taking his time after moving quite rapidly until now.


With this move, Black has a few options to develop his light color Bishop (b7 or a6) based on how his opponent will develop his f1 Bishop. White has a potentially interesting plan with 10.g4, eventually castling on the Queenside and launch an attack on the Kingside. However, I am not sure if it is wise to play in risky fashion when up by 2 points. On the hand, if he succeeds, the match is basically over.


Yes, he is going for it! A very brave Anand!


White has a variety of moves here such as 11.g5, 11.O-O-O, 11.e4, and even 11.Rc1. I like 11.g5 best among the choices. 11. g5 Nd7 12. O-O-O += Anand is spending a lot of time on this move. This is one of a few times where he is actually behind on time, about 10 minutes right now. Black's plan will depend on what White does.


This is a tactical move. The threat is a3. Once the Bishop is removed, Black faces a potential double discovery. One way to solve this problem is to play 11...Bb7.


Well, I still like pushing g5. Even though Anand is playing aggressively so far, he is thinking things through very carefully on the board. He is down by about 20 minutes on the clock. Kramnik has around 98-99 minutes and Anand has about 77-78 minutes.


Now Black has to play 12...Bc3 13.Bxc3 Qd5 14.Qxd5 += Moving the Bishop away is very bad for Black due to the discovery.

12...Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Qd5 14.Qxd5

Just as I expected. Black can recapture with either exd5 or Nxd5. It is a matter of preference.


White must play 15.Bd2 to keep the Bishop pair. This is a very comfortable position for White. He is in no danger to lose this game. He has no risk trying to squeeze out the position.


From the look of this position, I do not see a high chance for a decisive result. 


The idea of this move is simple. Black does not want to allow White to play e4


The only problem for Black is the c7 pawn. Once Black puts a Rook on c8, the Knight on c6 can freely move away.


Now that White cannot play e4, e3 is needed eventually to protect the d4 pawn and allows the Knight on f3 to do other things. A small problem with that is it would leave the Knight on f3 unprotected. Therefore, it would be logical to put his f1 Bishop on g2.


I think it is important for Black to move his Knight on c6 away to possibly e7 to get out of any potential pin now that White already played Bg2.

Black still has to solve the c7 pawn problem. White can attempt to stop it from advancing to c5 with 18.Bb4. However, Black can probably do it anyway with 18...c5 19. dxc5 Rfd8 =. If Black play 18...Nfd5 then 19.Ne5 +=

18...c5 19.dxc5

I think the strongest move to give Black a chance to equalize is 19...Rfd8. All other options would allow White to maintain an edge. The time is now about equal for both players at around 59-60 minutes. Kramnik has to be very careful. There is little chance that he can win this game but he must be very careful not to lose and basically put this match out of reach.


Kramnik found the strongest reply. A logical continuation for White is 20.Ne5 Bxg2 21.Rxg2 Nc6 22.Nxc6 Rxc6 +=

20.Ne5 Bxg2 21.Rxg2

Now Kramnik faces a few choices: 21...a5, 21...Nc6, 21...bxc5, 21...Nfd5. Which one will give Black the best path to equalize? 21... a5 22. Bd2 Rd5 23. Nd3 bxc5 24. Rc4 +=. I briefly looked at all lines and White maintains an advantage in all of them.


Let's examine one possibility 22.Bxc5 Ne4 23.b4 Ng6 24.Nd3+= White is basically playing for 2 results. With Black's best play, he can only hope for a draw.

22..Rxc5 Ne4 23.Rxc8 Rxc8

Black is down a pawn but his White's Rook is temporarily out of play. White is still better.

24.Nd3 Nd5

Black will have his work cut out to draw this game. Either 25.Bd2 or 25.g5 is good.


Black has a couple interesting moves here. One is 25...Rc2 26.Bc1 and the other is 25...Nb6 with the idea of going to c4.

25...Rc2 f5
White has a few reasonable responses. 26.Kd1, 26.gxf5 or 26.Rg1. White is better in all three lines.

27.Kd1 Rc8 28.f3 Nd6

White is still working on getting his Rook active. If he is able to do that, he will have good chances to score a full point. It is obviously not a simple task.


An unusual move in this position but it does not do any harm to his position. 29.Rg1 is more logical to me.

29...a5 30.e3 e5

This is dangerous as Black is about to sacrifice another pawn. 30...a5 is safer for Black.

31.gxf5 e4 32.fxe4 Nxe4 33.Bd2 a4

White can slowly unlock his position and capitalize on the material advantage with 34.Nf2 Nd6 35.Ke2 +/-. Even though it is not an easy task, White has chances to win this endgame

34.Nf2 Nd6
Kramnik and his team must be scratching their heads. He is being outplayed in complicated positions which typically favor Anand and he is also being outplayed by Anand in a dull and quiet position which supposed to favor Kramnik. They have to figure things out quickly as we are at the half way point of this very short match.

35.Rg4 Nc4

Kramnik chose not to win back one pawn with Nxf5. He instead chose to go after the b2 pawn. 36.Nd1 would give White a serious advantage.

36.e4 Nf6 37.Rg3 Nxb2

I think a better move is 37..Nxe4 38.Nxe4 Re8

38.e5 Nd5

And now 39.f6 is coming. Kramnik is in serious trouble. 38...offers more resistance but it is still extremely very difficult to hold. 

39.f6 +- 

It looks like the score may be 4.5-1.5 after this game. The connected passed pawns are just too much for Black to handle. This is why I think Kramnik should have played 35...Nxf5.

39...Kf7 40.Ne4 Nc4

Next will be 41.Rxg7+ and the game is about over 41...Ke6 42. Ng5+ Kxe5 43. f7 Rf8 44. Nxh7 +-


Not as decisive as 41.Rxg7+ but still winning. Rg8 42. Nd6+ Nxd6 43. exd6 Ke6 44. Bh6 Kxd6 45. Rf3 +-


Now Anand can close it out with 42.Rd3. All other lines will just prolong things.

42.Rd3 Nbd6

White has 43.e6 Kxg7 44.Rg3+ Kf8 45.Bb4+ and mate coming soon.
43.Bh6 Nxe5 44.Nf6+ Kf7

White can play 45.Rc3 and Black will lose more material to the threat of g8(Q)

45.Rc3 Rxc3 46.g8=Q+ Kxf6 47.Bg7+


Anand is now leading 4.5 - 1.5! Now the match is about over. Kramnik has to score 3 wins in the last 6 games just to tie up the match. I do not think anyone could have predicted this result so far. Absolutely amazing!

Having been in a World Championship before, I can tell you that this is obviously not the Kramnik we know. But when he lost game 3 and 5 the way he did, the entire match dynamics changed. At this point, he cannot look ahead at the next 6 games. He must focus on one game at the time.

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