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Vassily Ivanchuk vs Viswanathan Anand
Linares 55/227 (1992), Linares ESP, rd 1
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Neo-Modern Variation Early deviations (B62)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-04-04  Benjamin Lau: This is one of Anand's favorite games. It's a subtle masterpiece that advanced the theory of doubled pawns.

Some brief remarks from Watson and Anand (I don't have the time to post all the annotations):

17. Nxf6+ gxf6!!

18... h5!

19... Bc4!!

23 Re2?!

26... Be7!

30. Rf5!


31. Ref2?


42... e4!

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: Only one kibitz on this great game?!

I'll give the comments that <Benjamin Lau> didn't have time to post from Watson's Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy.

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<This is a typical Sicilian position.White now embarks upon a standard simplifying procedure.>

16 ♘d5 ♕xd2 17 ♘xf6? gxf6!!
<But he had not taken this fine reply into account. Normal would be 17...♗xf6 18 ♖xd2 ♔e7 19 h4, with White "perhaps a little better"(Anand).>

18 ♖xd2 h5!
<Anand comments: "At first glance White is better, or at least not worse, in view of Black's damaged pawn structure. However, White is actually seriously worse. If White could consolidate his kingside pawn structure by h3 then he would indeed be better, but just at the moment this is impossible.">

19 ♖g1 <Anand gives 19 ♗e2 hxg4 20 fxg4 ♖h3 with Black better.>

19...hxg4 20 fxg4 ♗c4!!
<A paradoxical move in the modern spirit. This stops h3, but at the seemingly devastating cost of trading Black's very good bishop for White's very bad one. Just look at those weaknesses on d5 and f5! Anand comments: "Black's 'bad' e7-bishop will protect his pawns while he forces pawn exchanges eventually leading to connected central passed pawns.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: 21 b3 ♗xf1 22 ♖xf1 ♖h3
<"Black appears to have committed a whole list of positional sins: allowing doubled f-pawns giving White an outside passed h-pawn and exchanging his 'good' bishop with ...♗c4; yet he is better. Paradoxical? Yes, but this doesn't mean that the old positional rules have been suspended for the course of this game."(Anand). He goes on to explain that his rook on h3 disrupts the white position and that Black has the long term plan of exchanging his d-pawn for White's e-pawn by ...d5, and his f-pawn for the g-pawn by ...f5, to give him connected central passed pawns.>

<... how many other players in the world would have played 17...gxf6, at the same time foreseeing 20...♗c4(or come to think of it, even played 20...♗c4 given the enormous advantage of being given that position to think about)? My guess is: very, very few (after all, Anand gives '!!' to both moves). But why? Because we would automatically reject this combination of ideas 'on principle'. We put our faith in these rules, and dogmatically assume that the good bishop and far better pawn structure will favour White. It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has to play the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: 23 ♖e2?! <Better was 23 ♗g1, after which Anand gives a lengthy analysis based on the line 23...♔d7 24 ♖d3 ♖h4!, with Black better in every variation.>

23...♔d7 24 g5 ♔e6 25 gxf6 ♗xf6 26 ♗d2 ♗e7! 27 ♗e1 f6 28 ♗g3 <This reorganization took just a bit too long, since now Black gets ...d5 in.>

28...d5 29 exd5+ ♔xd5 30 ♖f5! ♔c6! 31 ♖ef2?
<Anand points out that White's last chance was 31 ♖f3!, forcing 31...♖h7 32 ♖c3+ ♔b7, when he says that Black has 'a hard technical task ahead'. The rest of the game has to do with getting ready to push the passed pawns:>


42 ♖g3 e4!
<"After all the fuss about Black's connected passed pawns, he gives one of them up! However, it does win the exchange."(Anand).>

43 ♖xe4+ ♗e5 44 ♖xe5+ fxe5 45 ♔b2 ♖d2 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  samikd: <KingG> Thanks a lot for posting the comments from Watson's book. Recently I was also reading that book, and about this game. Fantastic game of the most brilliant in Anand's career.
Dec-02-05  mr. nice guy: A truly fine game indeed. I just discovered it today. Also it seems like Anand has Chucky's number: 21 wins to 10 losses.
Dec-02-05  lopium: Why not 33...e4, Rxe4, then Kf5? Or simply 33...e4, then continue in the mood of white. ?
Dec-03-05  mr. nice guy: If 33...e4, white simply takes the rook on b8.
Dec-03-05  lopium: I meant at move 37, I'm sorry.... So?
Dec-12-05  mr. nice guy: <lopium> 37..e4 might be a good move if you want to attack, but black has no need to attack since he has the two passed center pawns that should remain connected. Saludos amigo desde Puerto Rico! Espero que continues estudiando Espaņol ya que vas muy bien.
Jun-14-08  sheaf: I was going through vishys games recently, to have good idea about his "real" strengths (apart from his unbelievable tactical eye ) so that I could provide some meaningful insights during his match with kramnik; This game appears to be one of the finest example of positional play I have seen, Can you believe it White is very close to being completely lost (human point of view of course, maybe a string of computer moves might hold the position but I doubt that) by the move 17..!! in a completely normal position with no "sunday cg puzzle" like tactics involved anywhere!!... just a positional strangulation.Although, it takes another 20 moves for black to prove his undeniable advantage; the error which white made was completely conceptual .; And probably 18..h5! was the actual killer move, which essentially was the main point of gxf6. Bc4 and the following bishop exchange probably decided the game immediately. This game marks the begining of 21st century chess.

Anyway, this game along with a couple of technical grinds against karpov, his win against <svidler wijk ann zee 04>, both his wins <against judit wcc san luis 05.>; his win <against Gelfand corus 06>, <topalov wijk ann zee 08>.. and a whole lot of games, which I would like to call uncharacteristic anand games (while calling a typical anand win as his win <against moro wcc mexico>, or his win at amber rapid <against kramnik 08> or his win against <lautier 96, Karjakin 06,kasparov 95>..razor sharp) suggest that anand can be a very good technical player very different from most of the tactical players of last/ Current century. Probably Anands opening preparation along with his tendency to play unnecessarily fast are the only two areas where he has to sheild himself from others assault.

Nov-03-08  you vs yourself: <acirce: In short about that match, <The idea for this match came at the end of the Linares tournament in 1992. Luis Rentero, sponsor of the tournament, was disappointed that Ivanchuk and Anand didn't make it to the late stages of the Candidates' matches. Undaunted by this development, he decided to hold such a match anyway. Since many people believe that this match may one day take place for more important stakes, its progress and outcome might prove very interesting.> -- Patrick Wolff, New In Chess 1993/1.

Anand won 5-3 after winning the first two games.>

Jun-08-09  ski: the reason why i probably will never achieve GM status is because at move 17, if i were playing black, i would have taken with the bishop and NOT the pawn. that's thinking outside of the box. way to go vishy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whatthefat: This is a very deep game. I wonder whether today's engines validate Anand's concept.
Dec-21-10  Salaskan: Really nice, but why does Ivanchuk play g5/gxf6? That just seems to liquidate black's weakness and give up the f5 square, I don't see a plan for black to advance to f5 if white didn't play this, but perhaps he wanted some activity.
Dec-21-10  Salaskan: It seems passive play by white would've lost too, e.g. 24.Rg1 Rbh8 22.Rgg2 R3h4 dropping a pawn, or that black could even have sacrificed the f-pawn to break through with his center pawns. It's hilarious and very instructive how much better black's bishop is than white's.

<whatthefat <This is a very deep game. I wonder whether today's engines validate Anand's concept.>> My Fritz doesn't suggest 17...gxf6 (even rates it as 0.5p worse than Bxf6) or 20...Bc4, maybe that's just not obvious for a computer! It doesn't refute Anand's brilliant play either, though 23.Bg1 would've been an improvement for white.

Jun-04-11  MumbaiIndians: The move ...Bc4!! is indeed a really sound positional move by Vishy.
Nov-14-11  bronkenstein: More detailed analysis of the game (second half of the article) Hmm strange, not even a full page of kibitzing o,O
Premium Chessgames Member
  rilkefan: <<whatthefat>: This is a very deep game. I wonder whether today's engines validate Anand's concept.>

Stockfish on my 2009-era laptop chooses 17...gxf6 at a depth of 22 in under a minute, evaluating the position as -0.3 after a few minutes (depth of 28) with main line 18.Rxd2 h5 19.Be2 hxg4 20.fxg4 Rh3. Advancing to move 19 it prefers gxh5 at first, then switches to 19.Rg1 hxg4 20.fxg4 Bc4 after a minute, then back to 19.Be2. Advancing past 20.fxg4 in the game line it is already using ...Bxc4 as its main line; with a cleared cache it first considers ...Bd7 with a sizable advantage (around -0.5) based on taking the e pawn in a few moves after 21.h3 b4 22.axb4 Rxb4 and ...Bc6. I got bored at 1 Gnode (depth of 30) with it still mostly just considering ...Bd7 and switched it to ...Bc4, which it soon prefers. I guess to properly handle pruning the engine (at least as it comes configured out-of-the-box) needs to start from an earlier position to explore the possibilities fairly.

Jun-03-12  meppi: It seems like 17. gxf6 is about doubled pawns, but it is not! It is all about a tempo. Just for one Tempo is why it was played, see if 17. Bxf6 then d6 is undefended. and there is no tempo to play h5 because black must defend d6 from the white rook. See doubled pawns *can* be corrected but this tempo right here that black saved, *could not* be got on move 17 if black ate with bishop. See usually with tempo comes initiative. Move like Bc4 is continuation of this theme, to not lose temp and to keep initiative burning. Bravo V.A!
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Anand really showed his class in this game. gxf6!! with the followup h5! and Black takes over the initiative. Genius, pure genius.
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