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Game 9 in Moscow

As far as I can see, here at move 35 we are heading for a draw. Gelfand did not play the ending in the most dangerous way, but it was even a bit worse than that. At move 19 he decided to win the queen, when 19.Bg3 was immensely strong as far as I could see. After 19…Qb4 White has 20.Qb7! with strong pressure. For example 20…Qa5 21.Bd6 and as far as I could see, Black is just busted. Disappointing…

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  1. Hesam
    May 24th, 2012 at 04:26 | #1

    That is only half the story. Black came out of the opening slightly ahead but then messed it up with 19…Bxf3?. For example after 19…h6 20.Bh4 Nh5 Black has a few threats: Nf4, Qf4 and e5, the main line seems to be: 21.Be4 but after 21…Bxe4 22.Qxe4 Ndf6 23.Qd3 Rfd8 White’s position does not look very encouraging, more so because Black can force another pair of minor pieces off the board whenever he likes …

  2. Jacob Aagaard
    May 24th, 2012 at 06:25 | #2

    @Hesam
    You probably talk about 15…h6. I agree that giving up the bishop was a mistake – Anand probably thought …e5 was inevitable. But to think that Black has something clear there after Gelfand played the whole sequence in a few minutes with White, including the less known 15.c4, is a bit optimistic :-).

  3. Hesam
    May 24th, 2012 at 07:58 | #3

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Hesam
    You probably talk about 15…h6. I agree that giving up the bishop was a mistake – Anand probably thought …e5 was inevitable. But to think that Black has something clear there after Gelfand played the whole sequence in a few minutes with White, including the less known 15.c4, is a bit optimistic .

    Sorry messed up my move numbers.

    I never said Black had something clear.But playing with hanging pawns with one minor piece left is no delight. It should be objectively equal but it would be “practically” better for Black. Unless White had something concrete after 15…h6 16.Bh4 Nh5 which I could not find, of course that does not mean it does not exists, but after skimming through various commentaries online I could not find anyone else who had found it either.

    To summarize, Anand gifted Gelfand with a great opportunity to score a win but then defended flawlessly after his initial mistake.

  4. Nikos Ntirlis
    May 24th, 2012 at 08:49 | #4

    He even said in the press conference that in his preparation had the position with the move a3 instead of his played c4-c5 (he said: “a3, an idea from Smirin”), but he thought that he could press a bit after c5! I am impressed!

  5. middlewave
    May 24th, 2012 at 12:52 | #5

    “a3, an idea from Smirin” was referring to Smirin’s live commentary in Russian, which was conveyed to him after the game. The position was not part of his preparation.

  6. middlewave
    May 24th, 2012 at 12:54 | #6

    And, yes, he did have something in mind against …h6; to play the much more logical Bd2 instead of Bh4, intending Bc3 later on. This was one of the points behind 15.c4.

  7. Hesam
    May 24th, 2012 at 22:58 | #7

    middlewave :
    And, yes, he did have something in mind against …h6; to play the much more logical Bd2 instead of Bh4, intending Bc3 later on. This was one of the points behind 15.c4.

    After 15…h6 16.Bd2, Anand’s idea works: 16…Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qd6 18.Bc3 e5 19.d5 e4 20.Bxe4 Rxc4 and although my engine gives +0.25 I think Black has in fact a slight advantage.

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