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Viswanathan Anand vs Hikaru Nakamura
Zurich Chess Challenge (2014), Zurich SUI, rd 2, Jan-31
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-31-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Ouch. 0/2 to start the tournament. From here, I'm not sure if it's getting better, as he has to face black against Caruana and Gelfand while in Round 5, it's white against Carlsen.
Jan-31-14  schweigzwang: Oh, so today's Short Loss was part of a strategy?
Jan-31-14  devere: It seems that the obvious 15.a6 would have given Anand a strong advantage, so I wonder why he played 15.d4 instead.
Jan-31-14  SirRuthless: <devere> If it was so obvious he would have played it. a6...b6 then what? Stockfish was having a "plusgasm" for white but that is understandable given blacks pair of doubled pawns, in an opposite castled position the Nxh gx Bx ideas in the air and the possibility of having to defend the open king for the rest of the game d4 was a natural option but I think vishy should have eliminated the possibility of a knight sac first with Bxf4 and then d4 would have been much stronger. I'm sure before too long someone will come in with some computer line involving a6 b6 or a6 bx and white plays some sequence of only moves to consolidate a pawn somehow.
Jan-31-14  rickycota: Anand has lost his killer instinct. Those games with Carlsen looked like he didn't wanted to lose instead of fighting to win. Shame but these and the game vs Aronian are so not Vishy
Jan-31-14  John Abraham: Anand is playing strangely. He is deliberately entering inferior positions and then trying to defend to obtain a draw. I don't see any aggressiveness from Anand's side, he is playing over-defensively.
Jan-31-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Jim Bartle> - < There's also the possibility of semi-intentionally dropping below the elite to enjoy playing at the next level. Seems to me that is what Short is done, playing as well as he can without putting in the punishing hours needed to remain in the top ten.> I think Nigel would love to be back in the elite. Instead, finding himself a level down, he makes the best of it.
Jan-31-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessguru1: What's happening to the tiger of madras? The young guns have already figured him out or he's just playing for the draw?
Jan-31-14  mrbasso: Anand doesn't play for the draw. This is nonsense. He just plays quite bad. If you want to draw against the Berlin you play 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1.
Jan-31-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 37. Qg2 h3 (no need to snatch the ♙) 38. Qg4 Rf2+.
Feb-01-14  Shams: <chessguru><What's happening to the tiger of madras?>

"This thing all things devours..."

Feb-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Anand played quite well but not as sharply as he would have done when he was younger. He seems either psychologically "beaten" (I think even before the World Champs) or somehow just "tired": but you cant go by this game as it is hard to defend that kind of attack.

Overall though he might do better to retire as Kasparov wisely did.

Fischer's coup wasn't only winning in 1972 it was "retiring" about 3 years later!

But there is a huge contrast with the Anand up to say 2011 or so. Then he starts to dive or decline. Carlsen and Nakamura will find it the same in countable numbers of years time.

Feb-01-14  rune ohlsson: Anand played very well in the opening. After 15.a6 b6 16. Bxf4 exf4 17. Re1 he probably wins. Some moves later 23. Qxg7 Rdd8 24. Kf1 Rhg8 27. a7+ Ka8 28. Qh6 and he has good chances. Some terrible mistakes destroyed his day.
Feb-01-14  latvalatvian: Anand is still the best player in the world. He'll come around eventually.
Feb-01-14  IndianFan: Naka just turned a +8.53 position to equality against Carlsen and will certainly lose now (the shock of a winning position turning into a draw is devastating).

So I guess Anand's Nemeses are human after all.

Feb-01-14  IndianFan: The machine went to -1.60 immediately after equality - Carlsen will now convert with frightening accuracy.
Feb-01-14  rune ohlsson: No Anand is not the best player in the world, but he is good enough to beat Nakamura.

He overlooked some good chances in this game.

Feb-01-14  SirRuthless: He is "good enough" to beat nakamura like nakamura is "good enough" to beat carlsen I guess. Close but it just hasn't happened for him.
Feb-02-14  Ulhumbrus: 5 Bxc6? concedes the bishop pair and perhapos most of White's wunning chances with it.

6 h3? moves a pawn in the opening and disturbs the king side pawns without necessity. Does White have to play this? One possible explanation is that this move is part of a plan which contained some flaw which Anand saw too late.

One alternative to of 7...Qd6 is 7...Nd7 making way for ...f6 woth ...g5 to follow later. The consequence of 7...Qd6 is that White can remove Black's bishop pair later.

8 0-0 is a questionable choice after having exposed his king side by 6 h3, but on the other hand White may stand worse if he tries to castle on the queen side.

One alternative to 9 a3 is 9 Qe1 preparing Be3 and if the black squared bishops get exchanged White may try Rb1 followed by the pawn storm b4, a4 and b5

If 12 a4 is too optimistic, it suggests that Anand overrated his side of the position at this point. If so,that may have been Anand's main mistake. If Anand had assumed that he had no more than a slight advantage at this point perhaps he would remained with a slight advantage.

Feb-05-14  tranquilsimplicity: Interestingly, notwithstanding my "patzer-ness", I have observed Anand's play change from that of an aggressive and creative nature during his career, to an overly defensive style in the last few years. It was this defensive style that characterized the World Championship against Carlsen. Perhaps the only recent game where Anand had a lapse of his former self was against Aronian; a game that Anand lost. This might further damage Anand's confidence. I cannot presume to advise a former World Champion, and one of the greatest players the Chess world has seen but I would hope that Anand internally relinquishes the hunt for elite Chess awards and instead goes back to his natural style dishing out a full course of aggressive, creative and fighting Chess that will ensure Anand remains a darling of the Chess world. Win or lose it will not matter much as there would be the understanding that Anand has already been there, done it and has the t-shirt!

And for those who may argue that aggressive Chess becomes a liability at the elite level, I would point out Nakamura whose aggression has not faded at all, and who is still very much in the elite bunch.

Feb-20-14  xanadu: Why Anand allowed BxR? Why not 17.Re1, just keeping the piece?
Feb-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: My guess is that getting some protection for his exposed king was more important.
Feb-20-14  haydn20: 15. a6! bxa6? 16. Rxa6 is suicide, so 15...b6 16. Bxf4 exf4 17. Re1 and Black probably can't hold both the center and his gashed Qside. I think this may be a case where VA's vaunted computational power deserts him. As others have suggested, this may bea matter of aging. [I hate to think about what has happened to my CP.]
Oct-26-14  tranquilsimplicity: And yes Anand has to go for his natural style in the forthcoming 2014 World Championship; he has the ability to win it!#
Oct-26-14  SirRuthless: Interesting that this game should be bumped today... The cube of pawns as seen after 11...axb6 made an appearance in Karjakin-Jobava Tashkent GP 2014 today except it was on black's Kingside not the Queenside. This pawn structure must be a good omen or somthing.
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