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Jan Smeets vs Viswanathan Anand
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 5, Jan-20
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Breyer Defense Zaitsev Hybrid (C95)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-20-11  Marmot PFL: Looks like 57 g3 just threw the game away.
Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: On Anand!
Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessgames.com: Thanks to everybody for stopping by today. The next round is tomorrow morning at 7:30am USA/Eastern, hope to see you then.
Jan-20-11  Marmot PFL: Carlsen about to win if you want to see a different rook dance.
Jan-20-11  Ulhumbrus: On 66 Ke2 Rb2+ skewers White's King to the Rook, producing a King and pawn ending which is lost hopelessly for White, and on 66 Ke4 Kd6! threatens 67...f5 mate, and White has no answer to the threat.
Jan-20-11  Fanques Fair: As I pointed out in the main page of the tournament, I think Smeets missed a very strong move, in my opinion : 49-Rd5+ ! ... I think it would hold the position, because 49...Bxd5 is met by 50-Rxd3 !, and if 49...Rc7, 50-Rd7+,Kxc6 , 51-Rxg7, at least one of Whites rooks is active, and its defending the g2 pawn ...
Jan-20-11  Ulhumbrus: <Fanques Fair: As I pointed out in the main page of the tournament, I think Smeets missed a very strong move, in my opinion : 49-Rd5+ ! ... I think it would hold the position, because 49...Bxd5 is met by 50-Rxd3 !, and if 49...Rc7, 50-Rd7+,Kxc6 , 51-Rxg7, at least one of Whites rooks is active, and its defending the g2 pawn ...> Then on 51...Ba2+ 52 Ka1 d2 threatens 53...Rc1+
Jan-20-11  Fanques Fair: Ulhumbrus, youre absolutely right ...
I think the right continuation would be 50-g4 !, Kxc6,51-R5xd3,Bxd3 and its probably a draw position, dont you think ?
Jan-20-11  Caissanist: Players who manage to stay on top into their forties (most of the ones that i can think of, anyway) usually become more pragmatic and universal as they get older. Anand's exchange sac may not have been the theoretically "best" move, but it created problems for an opponent who was in time pressure, and who sometimes seems to have problems with his physical and/or psychological endurance in the late middle game.
Jan-20-11  GilesFarnaby: On move 31, after 30...Rc8:


click for larger view

White should just assume that is going to have some kind of backward pawn on the Q-side, so a logic (and I think better than what was played) move would have been 31.b4, to limit the scope of Bb5 and also choosing the less evil of the pawns to be backward (because c3 will be confronting c4 and thus hardly attackable by black) Game could have continued 31...g6 32.Be3 Kg7 33.h4 Rd6 34.g4 Rcd8...


click for larger view

...35.Kh2 f6 36.Kg3 R6d7 37.Rad1 Rh8

Also, instead of 33.Bxd3, with the permanent weakness (the passed pawn that white will have to block) that created it would have been better to try to block K-sides pawns (h4-h5 and g3) and then just try to hold the position (oscillating with Kh2 and Kg2 until black offers a draw or compromises himself further) When the time comes (i.e. when Rd6 leaves that file) white can play b3 and get some dominion and initiative in the Q-side. The position that white could have aimed for in pursue of safety and health would be similar to this:


click for larger view

Perfectly defensible from both sides, but also hard to improve. Clearly Smeets lost his nerve when he saw that Anands N was controlling the whole of the white camp, and that Bb5 was potentially a monster if a6-f1 opens (cfr. with the empty diagonal that Bf2 roams), so he treated the position like an assisted suicide.

48.Ra4 would have aimed at controlling the b file after Rb4 instead of pushing the c pawn nowhere.

And the losing blunder is, of course, 57.g3; theres no much difference between playing that and surrendering. Smeets treated his position in the late middle-game as if it was a flexible one, when it clearly wasnt.

Jan-20-11  Fanques Fair: I agree with you, but I insist that White would be able to draw, with all his previous inaccuracies, with 49-Rd5+ !
Jan-20-11  Ulhumbrus: <Fanques Fair: Ulhumbrus, youre absolutely right ... I think the right continuation would be 50-g4 !, Kxc6,51-R5xd3,Bxd3 and its probably a draw position, dont you think ?> On 52 Rd1xd3 Rh2 attacks the pawn on h3.
Jan-20-11  Ulhumbrus: 21 Nxf6+ brings Black's KB into the game on f6 where it defends the e5 pawn.

This suggests, instead of 21 Nxf6, 21 Nfe3.

On 21 Nfe3 Nxg4 22 Qxg4 (22 Bxe7? Nxe3 23 fxe3 Rxe7 wins a piece) 22...Rg6 23 Qh5 Nf6 24 Qxe5 Bd6 25 Qf5 Bc8 26 Qf3 seems adequate.

On 21 Nfe3 Nxg4 22 Qxg4 Nf6 23 Qf3 seems adequate, and Nf5 may follow.

An alternative to 21 Ng4 is to prepare it by 20 Nfe3. After 20 Nfe3, 20...Be7 can be answered by 21 Nf5.

Jan-20-11  Ulhumbrus: Allowing the exchange sacrifice 43...Rxc5 by 43 Bc5 may have been a mistake, but Smeets may have hoped to be able to play c4 and then win the d3 pawn. As it turned out however, Anand got too much for the exchange.

Moreover White isn't able to arrange to play the pawn advance c4 in a way which wins the d3 pawn after winning the exchange, either.

After 44...Bc4 suppose that White tries to expel the Bishop by 45 Ra4, so as to be able to play c4. Then on 45...Rb2+ all three possible moves on the part of White's King lose.

On 46 Ke3 Re2 is mate. On 46 Ke1 d2+ forks the K on e1 and the Rook on c1. On 46 Kd1 Bb3+ forks the King on d1 and the Rook on a4.

Jan-20-11  YouRang: Very nice recovery by Anand (from the shock of seeing Smeets play 57.g3??).

But really, it was brilliant maneuvering afterwards to see the win, starting with 57...hxg3 58.h4 g6!, putting white in zugzwang.


click for larger view

What can white do?

59.Ra5 leaves c6 unguarded: 59...Rxc6+ and the a-pawn is safe.

59.Rd5 similarly allows ...Rxc6.

59.Rc4 allows 59...a5! The white K can't go to the b2 or else black has 60...g2! 61.Rxg2 d2!. If 60.Rc5 a4! and white has no good way to stop the a-pawn without losing the c-pawn and getting burned by the g & d pawns.

But why Smeets thought it was a good idea to give black another passed pawn at g3 is beyond me. Perhaps he didn't realize that he could waste a tempo with Rf2.

Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Fanques Fair: I insist that White would be able to draw, with all his previous inaccuracies, with 49-Rd5+ ! [] I think the right continuation would be [49Kc7] 50-g4 !, Kxc6,51-R5xd3,Bxd3 and its probably a draw position, dont you think ?>

The rook endgame after 50... h4! 51.R5xd3 Bxd3 52.Rxd3 Rh2 53.Rd7+ Kxc6 54.Rxg7 Rxh3 55.Rh7 Kc5 looks very bad for White hes probably losing.

Actually, White didn't need such drastic measures at that stage his losing mistake came, as was already noted, later with the horrible 57.g3?? (perhaps he missed that 57.hxg3 58.Rg2 would simply lose to 58d2! 59.Rxd2 Rxd2 60.Kxd2 g2) instead, he was holding with 57.Rf2, and it doesn't seem as if Black can make any progress.

Jan-20-11  MarvinTsai: Anand was leading in time, it's quite natural to put pressure on his opponent. Yeah, that's what he always does.
Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Some of white's moves didn't seem to make sense. After 51. RxR at c2, doesn't white have at least a draw? His remaining rook can get behind blacks pawns, munch a pawn or two, and push a pawn on the kingside.
Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <After 51. RxR at c2, doesn't white have at least a draw? His remaining rook can get behind blacks pawns, munch a pawn or two, and push a pawn on the kingside.>

No - after the exchange on c2 the rook on d1 is not going to munch any pawns; it gets skewered by 52...Ba4+, and Black wins the pawn endgame due to the outside a-pawn passer.

Jan-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Anand's exchange sac may not have been the theoretically "best" move, but it created problems for an opponent who was in time pressure, and who sometimes seems to have problems with his physical and/or psychological endurance in the late middle game.>

Yes, a very good practical decision by Anand. In fact, in the position after 43.Bc5:


click for larger view

since White is threatening to play c4, Black has only two playable options: either settle for repetition with 43...Bc4, or sac the exchange. I suppose Anand saw that even if he didn't have a clear win in case of the latter, he wasn't in real danger of losing either, and it gave him a chance to keep posing problems for his opponents, giving him various opportunities to go wrong.

Btw, 48.c6 by Smeets set up the little trap of 48...Kd6?? 49.c7! Kxc7 50.Rc5+ winning the bishop, but of course Anand didn't fall for that.

Jan-21-11  Hesam7: <Eyal: Actually, White didn't need such drastic measures at that stage his losing mistake came, as was already noted, later with the horrible 57.g3?? (perhaps he missed that 57.hxg3 58.Rg2 would simply lose to 58d2! 59.Rxd2 Rxd2 60.Kxd2 g2) instead, he was holding with 57.Rf2, and it doesn't seem as if Black can make any progress.>

57. Rf2 g5! (57. ... Rxc6? 58. Rxc6 Kxc6 59. f4! and White is now better) 58. Rf1 Rxc6 59. Rxc6 Kxc6 60. Ra1Kb6 61. Rb2 a5 62. Rb2+ Kc5 63. Rb8 a4 64. Rb7:


click for larger view

And here Stockfish 1.9.1 gives 0.00 @ depth 48. White's active rook is enough for a draw.

Jan-21-11  Hesam7: When I was watching the game I thought Black came out of the opening on top and then somehow lost his advantage by playing less than optimal moves. One critical point is after 18. N3h2:


click for larger view

Here Anand played 18. ... Re6. But I am not sure it is the best move available to him, he could try: 18. ... g5; 18. ... Qb6 and 18. ... Qc8. From the diagram above Stockfish 1.9.1 gives the following @ depth 30:

18. ... Qb6 19. Ng4 Rad8 20. Qe2 g5 21. Nxf6+ Nxf6 22. Bg3 Bc5 23. Nh2 Re7 24. axb5 axb5 25. Red1 Rxd1+ 26. Rxd1 Qc6 27. Ng4 Nxg4 28. hxg4 Kg7 29. Kf1 (-0.08)

Jan-21-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Perhaps Anand could have played more aggressively there. Alex Yermolinsky on ICC made an interesting comment about what Black does achieve at this stage of the game (moves 18-23) - by prompting Nxf6 and then with Bg5-Bxe3 he prevents White from playing Nd5. With that move, White would either have a strong central knight, or the scope of his LSB would be increased after exd5 if this knight is exchanged (especially if it's for Black's LSB). This was a key idea, for example, in several games of Fischer, who liked the Spanish setup with an open center after the exchange of pawns on e5
Jan-21-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: We are seeing a totally different Anand here than the peaceful Vishy of 2010, who was merely practising solid play before the Sofia match. Behold: J Smeets vs Anand, 2010

and compare the champion's approach in these two games.

Jan-21-11  kurtrichards: <57. g3> I can't see the idea behind this move by GM Jan Smeets.
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