positionalgenius: From <the hindu>on Dec 13:
NEW DELHI, DEC. 13. A slight stumble by Michael Adams allowed Viswanathan Anand to surge ahead with a huge stride. At the halfway stage of their race for a place in the final of the World chess championship here, the favourite has surely set the pace. It is now up to the Briton to do all the catching up.
In the second game of their four-match semifinals, Anand punished Adams in a positional battle lasting 36 moves. Reasonably placed until the middle-game, Adams looked like matching Anand but the match turned on its head once the former erred on the 20th move.
The sudden turn of events could not be foreseen for the major part of this Ruy Lopez game. The first 12 moves were straight from Adams' match with Joel Benjamin played at Lucerne in the World team championship in 1997. In fact, on that occasion, Adams playing white had won on the 22nd move. This year, playing black, Adams had lost from a similar start against Peter Svidler in the Cup European Club final.
But today Adams pieces struggled to breath easy after the 15th move. The knight at `a7 and bishop on `g6 were crammed for squares and virtually out of play, while Anand's pieces began to make their presence felt. To make matter worse, Adams opted for `c5 on the 20th move. It did not take him long to realise that he was at the receiving end of a variety of complications.
The move allowed Anand to virtually monopolise the central `d5 square, from where his knight supported by two pawns could exercise control on the strategic squares. Though Adams managed to exchange one of the knights, Anand's other knight came into play and the position was no different.
``Basically, a positional blunder,'' was how Anand described Adams pawn-move that dictated the course of play. ``Once he played this inexplicable move, its lost.''
Once Anand doubled his rooks on the `b file on the 30th move and then planted one of them on the seventh rank, the Briton began to choke. Adams rooks and queen could do no better than occupy the back-rank. On the other hand, Anand's strategically-placed bishop on the queen's side began looking ominous. With Anand's queen threatening further damage from the kingside, Adams saw the inevitable.
``He could have played on for a few moves but its hopeless,'' Anand was to say later. In the final position Adams managed to get his queen out of the back-rank but there was really nothing for him to play for.