Chess

Anand close to the title at the World Chess Championship

Anand wins against Kramnik

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand took a commanding two-point lead over challenger Vladimir Kramnik on Monday when the Russian handed him a victory by making a horrible blunder under time pressure.

The win gave Anand, of India, a 3.5-1.5 lead after five games in their 12-game match. It was Anand’s second victory with the black pieces; the other three games have been drawn.

Kramnik called his situation “difficult but not completely hopeless.”

Anand repeated the same line of the Meran Variation that brought him spectacular success in game three but varied from that game on move 15, thus sidestepping anything that Kramnik and his team might have come up with in the meantime.

Still, the outlines of the position were similar to the previous game.

Black’s king was stuck in the center while he had pressure against White’s castled king along the half-open g-file with support from his bishop on b7.

In addition, White had two outside passed pawns on the queenside and Black had a central pawn majority.

“I had a feeling I should be better,” Kramnik told reporters after the game.

On move 19, Anand had only used 20 minutes while Kramnik had used more than an hour. Each player has two hours to make the first 40 moves or forfeit the game.

Anand tried to blunt White’s chances by exchanging dark-square bishops, a plan he later acknowledged was “very risky” — but was certainly part of his pre-game preparation.

On move 23, Kramnik exchanged rooks in a move that was criticized by some experts. Kramnik admitted that another move was “probably better, but I was running short of time and trying to simplify.”

Black still had to defend carefully but both players agreed that he stood no worse when Kramnik blundered.

Anand said that “I saw the result coming” after Kramnik’s 27th move. His response set the trap that Kramnik stepped into on move 29.

This move grabbed a pawn in a pseudo-sacrifice where White gives up a piece and regains it a few moves later.

Unfortunately for Kramnik, this pawn was poisoned. At the end of this combination, Anand had a devastating check on the back rank and his own pseudo-sacrifice that won decisive material. Kramnik resigned after Black’s 35th move.

Although Kramnik referred to his time trouble after the game, in fact he had more than 15 minutes for his last 11 moves. Anand still had about 50 minutes.

Source: AP

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