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Viswanathan Anand vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
London Chess Classic (2015), London ENG, rd 7, Dec-11
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation (B92)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-11-15  Fanques Fair: What a game ! Materpiece, which even Anandīs irregular perfomance on the tournament canīt be blamed of. White seems to go well with a grip in the white central squares, when suddenly LaGraveīs thunder move 19..., f5 !!! , followed by strong attack 21-...Qg5, 22-..., Ra3 and 23-..., c4 ! . Anand manages to find apparently the best defence , trading his queen for some kind of counterattack, until 33-...Rf2!! clears everything. Securelly one of the best games by Maxime and easily the best game in this otherwise boring "Berlin defence" London Tournament .
Dec-11-15  fisayo123: Tremendous game by Maxime!
Dec-11-15  fisayo123: The maneuver of 17...♗g5 and 18...♗f4 is pretty impressive to find otb.

If 19. g3 then black has 19...f5! 20. gxf4 fxe4 21. ♕e3 exf3 22. ♗xf3 ♘f5! 23. ♕xe5 ♘d4)

Dec-11-15  Ulhumbrus: 13 Bxc5 concedes the bishop pair but this time White is not able to keep a N on d5 for it. Instead of this 13 Nxe7+ gains the bishop pair

14...Bxd5 returns the bishop pair in order to remove White's N. Should White retake with the c pawn or the e pawn?

Nimzowitsch might say that in order to answer that we have to consider the following question: After which capture can White advance his pawns advantageously on either wing?

After 15 exd5 Black can play his knight to d6 and the advance f4 seems to gain White little.

After 15 cxd5 following Philidor's advice to capture so as to preserve the greater pawn mass Black can play his N to d6 but now White can play f4 with more prospects of attack because in place of a blockaded pawn on c4 he has an e pawn that may advance.

The conclusion is that 15 cxd5! as Anand played is correct.

17 a4 ? seems inconsistent. Why did Anand capture on d5 with his c pawn instead of with his e pawn if not to make his e pawn a weapon by f4? This suggests that 17 f4! is correct.

Nimzowitsch would say that with 17 a4? Anand has been untrue to his king side: the just punishment shall lie in Black's becoming strong there.

After Anand neglects his f pawn retribution is immediate. Vachier-Lagrave develops his bishop on the king side by 17...Bg5! and Anand's game starts going downhill from this point.

The moral is that at least sometimes conventional play is the right play. Having followed Philidor by conserving his king side pawn mass and his e pawn, better to make the e pawn a weapon by f4 then to attack on the queen side by a4.

Dec-11-15  varishnakov: 15...Ne8!

Nimzowitsch is proud.

Dec-11-15  Sularus: what a birthday gift from MVL!
Dec-11-15  shintaro go: My favorite MVL game as of today
Dec-11-15  Pulo y Gata: A brilliant win by MVL. He's one player who reminds me of Kasparov, Wei Yi is another.
Dec-11-15  Sularus: Instead of 34. Ng5, isn't Rxd6 better (though still losing)?
Dec-11-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Great birthday gift by MVL to Anand. :p
Dec-12-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: nothing dull about this game.
Dec-12-15  Emmykarpov: Brilliant absolutely Brilliant!! MVL!
Dec-12-15  Ulhumbrus: 13 Bxc5 concedes the bishop pair but this time White is not able to keep a N on d5 for it. Instead of this 13 Nxe7+ gains the bishop pair

14...Bxd5 returns the bishop pair in order to remove White's N. Should White retake with the c pawn or the e pawn?

Nimzowitsch might say that in order to answer that we have to consider the following question: After which capture can White advance his pawns advantageously on either wing?

After 15 exd5 Black can play his knight to d6 and the advance f4 seems to gain White little.

After 15 cxd5 following Philidor's advice to capture so as to preserve the greater pawn mass Black can play his N to d6 but now White can play f4 with more prospects of attack because in place of a blockaded pawn on c4 he has an e pawn that may advance.

The conclusion is that 15 cxd5! as Anand played is correct.

17 a4 ? seems inconsistent. Why did Anand capture on d5 with his c pawn instead of with his e pawn if not to make his e pawn a weapon by f4? This suggests that f4 is correct, either immediately, or after preparation by eg g3.

Nimzowitsch would say that with 17 a4? Anand has been untrue to his king side: the just punishment shall lie in Black's becoming strong there.

After Anand neglects to advance his f pawn on the king side, retribution is immediate. Vachier-Lagrave develops his bishop on the king side by 17...Bg5! and Anand's game starts going downhill from this point.

The moral is that at least sometimes conventional play is the right play. Having followed Philidor by conserving his king side pawn mass and his e pawn, better to make the e pawn a weapon by f4 then to attack on the queen side by a4.

If an immediate 17 f4 is premature an alternative is 17 g3 preparing f4. Then on 17...Bg5 18 f4 is possible.

Dec-12-15  Mehem: Another blunder by Anand 24.Qc2?? 24.Qf3 would've kept the position equal.
Dec-12-15  arnaud1959: < Mehem: Another blunder by Anand 24.Qc2?? 24.Qf3 would've kept the position equal.> 24.Qc2 is obviously a mistake but repeating a computer evaluation for one move doesn't help us so much. Show us why this position is equal after 24.Qf3 please.
Dec-12-15  clement41: Thrilling game by MVL!
Dec-12-15  VaselineTopLove: It's understandable when Anand loses to really strong young players who've posed him problems in the past-like Aronian and Nakamura.

But when he loses to Grischuk & loses a Najdorf with the white pieces to MVL, then it means that the overall quality of his play is deteriorating. Perhaps it's time for him to hand up his boots.

Dec-12-15  messachess: One can only hope that play like MVL's continues consistently forward to a confrontation with the c-man like Kasparov v. Karpov. That's what it could be like. Chess desperately needs it.
Dec-12-15  fisayo123: <messachess> In order for that to happen, he's going to have to keep on improving his positional skills and believe in his talent more. There's no reason why he should have agreed to a draw in his game vs Adams today. But he's arguably the strongest tactician in the chess world.
Dec-17-15  vkv: In move 34) why did not white take the queen? 34. RxQ, RxR 35.KxB, Pb8 36. Rd8 mate. Otherwise, 34. RxQ, BxR and white has more material and should be able to defend from the pawn queening?
Dec-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Good Lord, Lagrave ripped Anand a new arse hole...LOL
Dec-18-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <vkv> After 34. Rxd6 Black would play 34 ... Bxd6:


click for larger view

Now 35. Rxf2 would allow 35 ... b1=Q+, then maybe 36. Rf1 Qb2 followed by 37 ... Qe5. Notice the Bd6 protects Black's weak back rank. If White tried 35. Rb1, then Black would respond 35 ... Rc2:


click for larger view

Here the threat is 36 ... Rc1+ while also hitting the Bc4; 36. Bf1 Rc1 wins.

Dec-27-15  Ayaend: Waaw incredible victory bye MVL.
Bien joué maxime ;-)
Nov-17-16  bachiller: Max: well, smart.
Apr-19-19  Richangles: MVL is just monstrous!!!
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