Vladimir Kramnik - Viswanathan Anand

Round 10
WCC 2008


The main question today is if Kramnik is going to score a win or this match will be over. Last two games the Russian had at some moments considerable advantage but couln't convert it into a point. If he doesn't manage to win today, the record of shortest World Championship match will be equaled. But in Lasker-Schlechter the champion needed 4.5 points to defend his title. Under such regulations, this one would be over in only 6 games. The numerous fans of Kramnik crave for a single victory, so let's hope that he'll do his best in order not to disappoint them.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Kramnik has to be in a very aggressive mood if he enters the Nimzo-Indian instead of his favorite Queen's Indian after 3.Nf3 followed by g3 and Bg2.

3... Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 ( Anand prefers the more solid continuation. Complex positions tend to arise after 4... b6 5.Bg5)

5.g3 cxd4 There are other options but let's not get into details.

6.Nxd4 O-O 7.Bg2 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Qb3 Qa5 ( For about a decade the topical line was 9... Qb6 but finally it was proved that Black experiences difficulties after 10.Bxd5 exd5 11.Be3)

10.Bd2 Nc6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.O-O Bxc3 13.bxc3 Ba6 14.Rfd1 This is considered to be the main line nowadays.

14... Qc5 15.e4 Bc4 16.Qa4 Nb6 17.Qb4 Qh5 18.Re1 After the opponents reached this position in blitz tempo, Kramnik comes up with a new move. (18.Bf4 e5 was tested in numerous games but White failed to demonstrate any real advantage.) The game continuation is very subtle. As the Bc4 in many lines goes to 'e2', this prophylactic move prevents it. (18.Re1 Be2 19.Bf4 and 19... e5 is bad because of 20.Bxe5)

18... c5 19.Qa5 Rfc8 20.Be3 Anand is playing the most natural moves, the Russian's replies are instant.

20... Be2 If White was given time to squeeze in h2-h3, this square would become inaccessible. Now Nb6-c4 is being prepared.

21.Bf4 e5 (21... Bf3 (21... Nc4 22.Qa6) 22.Qb5 weakens the light squares and a march of the 'a' pawn could be quite annoying.) Anand spent a lot of time - 1.34 1.04 - and obviously came to the conclusion that has to enter complications or the White Bishops will completely paralyze his pieces.

22.Be3 ( It is not easy to find a way to progress in the line 22.Bxe5 Qxe5 23.Rxe2 Nc4 24.Qa6 Qxc3 25.Ree1 Ne5 An example line: 26.Rec1 Qd4 27.Rd1 Qc3 28.Rac1 Qb2 29.h3 Qb6 30.Rd6 Qxa6 31.Rxa6 c4 32.f4 Nd3 33.Rc3 h5 34.h4 Rab8 35.Rxa7 Rb1+ 36.Bf1 Nb2 37.e5 Rd8 and Black obtained sufficient counterplay.)

22... Bg4 (22... Nc4 23.Qa6 Nxe3 24.Rxe2 Nxg2 25.Kxg2 leaves Black Rooks way too passive.)

23.Qa6 (23.Bxc5 Nc4 followed by Nc4-d2-f3 gives Black dangerous initiative.)

23... f6 Prepares additional control over the 'c4' square by Be6 and Qf7. (23... Be6 24.Bf1 Bh3 25.f3 doesn't solve the problems.)

24.a4 Qf7 25.Bf1 Be6 ( 'c4' has been secured but Kramnik's strategy seems to be more appropriate, as 25... Be6 26.Reb1 is very unpleasant.)

26.Rab1 The other Rook move is a bit more precise as 'a4' will be covered in some lines. Time: 0.58 0.18

26... c4 Positional capitulation.

27.a5 Na4 28.Rb7 Qe8 29.Qd6 With the Knight stranded on 'a4' and the 'a7' pawn to be lost, Anand is in real trouble. Black resigned. Kramnik was just perfect this game. He is entering good form, but isn't it a bit too late? Game 11 is going to be decisive for the outcome of this match. Anand should better recover quickly or we may still witness a miracle - Kramnik's comeback. 1-0