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Viswanathan Anand vs Hikaru Nakamura
Tata Steel (2013), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 1, Jan-12
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: en passant (short comments from the players):


Anand: (Can someone please post the sharp line Vishy mentioned there)

Jan-12-13  Nerwal: Anand suggested 20. ♖a7 or 20. ♖c6 as critical, with the line bothering him being 20. ♖c6 ♖xc6 21. ♗xd8 ♗c5.

click for larger view

Apparently he had the position with 20. ♖c6 analyzed and found something there but just forgot his home preparation and since it's too sharp for improvisation he chose to bail out with 20. ♖xc8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Thanks, <Nerwal>!
Jan-12-13  IndigoViolet: Pathetic to hear Anand bemoaning his forgotten preparation, like a child bereft without his comfort blanket.

Still, it was nice to hear from Vishy that, 'Obviously, you don't want to waste a white.'

Jan-12-13  Nerwal: Well, 50 years ago, theory was not as extensive as it is now. Players were forced to improvise all the time, hence they were not afraid of doing so, and opening preparations very often had holes. At the world championships the defending champion had draw odds, so the challenger had to make things happen at the board, he couldn't sit and wait for rapid tie-breakers. Nowadays it's quite a different story. Tournaments and championship matches are shorter, reflection time has been cut, it's harder to take risks. Opening theory is much more vast and deep, and it's quite possible to make a thorough preparation that cannot be refuted by normal means since it's computer checked. Which means that trying to play a sharp line without preparation is basically as wise as trying to cross a minefield. So very often the player out of his comfort zone resorts to drying up the game because the odds of outplaying in complications a prepared opponent are very low, much lower than they were before (with the odd exception like the famous Kramnik - Leko game). Still opening preparation is maybe overrated by modern players. Magnus Carlsen proved it's possible to play at +2850 level by playing normal, simple lines without big opening research.

In this game it's hard to blame Anand for not trying 20. ♖c6. As he said the diagram position looks totally unwinnable by normal moves and at the first mistake there's a chance to be worse with a position hard to play to follow. Maybe his biggest mistake is to go for this theory-heavy line he struggled to remember...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: On the first day of this tournament we (that is to say us French Defense players) get to see three french defenses! Pardon my obnoxious little happy dance but I just love seeing the french at top level play. It seems to be making a comeback. Back in the 1990's and 2000's every tournament seemed to feature the najdorf or the petroff and only a few frenches here and there but now it's showing up all the time.

Who was the best french defense player? It's so hard to choose because we have petrosian, nimzowitsch, botvinnik, morozevich...

Who do you think really is/was the best french defense player and why?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <IndigoViolet> That sounds like gangsta talk :-)
Jan-13-13  RookFile: The whole game looks like memorized computer analysis on the part of both players.
Jan-14-13  12.12.12: <Big Pawn>
<Who do you think really is/was the best french defense player and why?>

I'd go for Korchnoi.

Jan-14-13  latviangambit: Korchnoi, Moro, Raja are my 3 fav frenchers...
Jan-14-13  paavoh: Best French players are surely the Armenians?!
Jan-14-13  paavoh: And do not forget Uhlmann!
Jan-14-13  RookFile: Yes, I think Korchnoi is a good choice, placing him ahead of Botvinnik and others for this particular question.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Vaganian is worth a mention. He and Korchnoi inspired me to start playing the French over 30 years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Teh French> is my 1st luv, 2, eternally!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <sharky> Je t'aime aussi, <teh Fernch>.
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