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Anand wins Novelty of the Year award

Anand in Zurich

Anand in Zurich

Viswanathan Anand is the clear winner of the 2013 New In Chess Yearbook Novelty of the Year. He received 48% of the votes for his dazzling display of fireworks in his win over Levon Aronian in the Tata Steel Chess tournament 2013. The move 12… c5! in a Meran Slav opened up the position and initiated brilliant attack that reminded chess fans of the famous game Rotlevi – Rubinstein.

Magnus Carlsen came second and fourth in the contest with two novelties in the Ponziani! He got his second place for his novelty 9…f6 when he was playing black against Hou Yifan in Tata Steel and he got his fourth place for 12.b4 in the same opening in the same tournament, but playing white against Harikrishna.

The third place was for Peter Svidler in his favorite Grünfeld. With white he played 7.f4 in the 5.Bd2 Grünfeld.

Yearbook 110 has just been published and is packed with 250 pages of opening news. Among the higlights of this issue are the fairytale chess openings of Baadur Jobava, the reversed Budapest that Magnus Carlsen played in a Blitz game (against Anand!) and three surveys on an early h4 in the Caro-Kann.

Anand has annotated his game against Arionian for New In Chess magazine 2013#2:

SL 9.2 – D46
Levon Aronian – Vishy Anand
Wijk aan Zee 2013 (4)
[Annotator: Vishy Anand]

This game was played in Round 4. So far my tournament had gone very well, with my third-round win over Caruana.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3

01_5_e3

Levon has done a bit of everything against the Meran, and every time he makes a choice at the board you have to think, ‘Ah, so what do I want against this?’

5…Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6

01_5_e3

By the time we got this far I had the feeling we might be moving towards the line that would arise shortly.

9.0‑0 0‑0 10.Qc2

This is the main move here.

10…Bb7 11.a3

And this, too, is the main move. You can also play 11.e4 e5 12.h3 or 11.h3 immediately, or other moves.

03_11_a3

11…Rc8

And now I was happy to play this, because I had this big idea. 11…Rc8 in itself should not be a shocker, because Kasimdzhanov already used it against Topalov in the Grand Prix in London. That game saw 12.b4 c5 13.bxc5 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Nxc5 15.dxc5 Rxc5 16.f4 Nd5 17.Bb2 Nxc3 18.Bxc3 Qc7 19.Rfc1 Rc8 20.Bxh7+ Kh8 21.Bd3 Rxc3 22.Qxc3 Qxc3 23.Rxc3 Rxc3 24.Bxb5 Bxa3 25.Kg2 g6 26.Rd1 Rc7 27.Rd7 Rxd7 28.Bxd7 Kg7 29.e4 Kf6 30.Kf3 a5 31.e5+ Ke7 32.Ba4 Bc5 33.h3 Bb6 34.Bb5 Bc5 35.Ba4 Bb6 36.Bb5 Bc5 37.Ba4 draw.

12.Ng5

At first sight this seems more logical. If instead of 11…Rc8 I had played 11…a6, then 12.Ng5 is an important line there. And if I continued 12…Bxh2+ then I’d rather have the pawn on a6 than the rook on c8. But the advantage of 11…Rc8 is that I can now play:

12…c5!

The point of 11…Rc8, and easy to miss. Black ignores White’s move.

04_12__c5

13.Nxh7

After 13.Bxh7+ Kh8 14.Be4 Nxe4 15.Ngxe4 Bb8 Black has good compensation.

05_15__Bb8_analysis_diagram

Either I take on d4 and you have an isolated pawn there, or he takes on c5 and you have two bishops staring at his kingside, plus a rook ready to swing over to the kingside. That’s a helluva lot for a pawn. Plus you have drawing mechanisms like 16.Nxc5 Bxh2+ 17.Kxh2 Qh4+ 18.Kg1 Bxg2.

After 13.dxc5 Black takes with the rook, 13…Rxc5, and once he frees himself, his play is quite easy.

Finally, in case of 13.Nxb5, 13…Bxh2+ now works: 14.Kxh2 Ng4+ 15.Kg1 Qxg5, as White’s kingside is much more exposed, because my light-squared bishop is not staring at a pawn on c6, but it’s actually staring at g2, and after 16.f3 Black plays 16…cxd4, with a clear advantage.

13…Ng4

This, too, was more or less prep.

06_13__Ng4

14.f4

After 14.h3 I remembered 14…Bh2+! (on 14…Qh4 15.f4 is strong) 15.Kh1 Qh4, with good compensation for Black both after 16.Be4 Bxe4 17.Qxe4 f5 18.Qxe6+ Kxh7 19.Qxd7 cxd4 20.exd4 Bb8 21.Kg1 Bh2+ 22.Kh1 and the bishop goes back to b8 and you repeat, and 16.d5 Rfd8.

However, after 14.f4 I couldn’t remember all the details.

14…cxd4 15.exd4

07_15_exd4

Here I spent about half an hour trying to remember what exactly Black was supposed to do. But of course it’s a big help if you know that basically Black is OK. That bit is clear; you just have to figure out how. And I remembered a line in which I got a knight to d3 and from this I figured out that the right move had to be 15…Bc5! So it was my prep, but I worked it out at the board again.

For the sake of completeness, taking the exchange with 15.Nxf8 would give Black excellent compensation after 15…Bxf8 16.h3 dxc3 17.hxg4 Nf6.

15…Bc5!

As you may have noticed, after 15…Qh4 White could have transposed to the first comment between brackets after White’s 14th move (the one in which Black doesn’t interpolate 14…Bh2+!) 16.h3

08_15___Bc5

16.Be2

This is actually a mistake. But at the board everything looks scary and unlike me he didn’t know that White’s position was good.

After 16.dxc5 Nxc5 17.Nxf8 Nxd3 I get my knight to d3, but he manages to free his pieces:

09_16___Nxd3 analysis_diagram

18.h3 Qd4+ 19.Kh1 Ndf2+ 20.Rxf2 Nxf2+ 21.Kh2 Kxf8 22.Qh7 Nd3 23.Qh8+ Ke7 24.Qh4+ f6 25.Qg3 Kf7 26.Be3, and this should end in a draw.

10_16_Be2

16…Nde5!!

Found after a little bit of effort. It’s obviously important to start in this order. As 16…Bxd4+ 17.Kh1 Nxh2 (17…Nde5 18.fxe5) runs into 18.Ng5!. And, to be honest, once you see the right ideas, the rest of the game plays itself.

17.Bxg4

The knight cannot be taken, 17.fxe5, because of 17…Qxd4+ 18.Kh1 Qg1+ 19.Rxg1 Nf2 mate.

11_16___Nde5

17…Bxd4+ 18.Kh1 Nxg4

Here I had to see that 19…f5 wins against both his 19th moves.

19.Nxf8

After 19.Ng5 f5 the win is a bit slower, but White is still helpless after 20.h3 Rf6 21.Nf3 Rh6.

13_19_Nf8

19…f5!

Here it’s important too. I should avoid 19…Qh4, because of 20.Qh7+, and White saves himself.

20.Ng6 Qf6 21.h3

There is not much left to say. If he plays 21.Ne5 then 21…Nxh2 wins.

21…Qxg6 22.Qe2 Qh5

Attacking the h3-pawn.

14_22___Qh5

23.Qd3?

I guess he got a bit tired at the end of the game.

He could have prolonged the agony with 23.Rf3, but I don’t think it would have changed the outcome: 23…Nf2+ 24.Kh2 (or 24.Rxf2 Qxh3+ 25.Kg1 Qxg2 mate) 24…Bxf3 25.Qxf3 Qxf3 26.gxf3 Bxc3 (26…Nd3 also wins) 27.bxc3 Rxc3, and Black wins.

15_23_Qd3

23…Be3

And after this move he had to resign immediately.

At the press conference I brought up the comparison with Rotlevi-Rubinstein, which came to mind during the game. But I am sure Gelfand would have recognized it immediately as well, because he is also a big Rubinstein fan. I saw some very flattering reactions to our game, evergreen being one of them, and it would be silly to pretend that I didn’t find this game incredibly beautiful, especially to play. I am quite proud of it.

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