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Etienne Bacrot vs Viswanathan Anand
Corus Group A (2006), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-22
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation Quiet Line (E15)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-22-06  Hemmeireoid5: 28... Bc6 hmm Good job I took on f6 with the pawn! that way my Knight still protects c5 coz in covering all those weak white squares around my opponents king I must temporarily block the connection between my c Rook and the c5 Pawn. It also does a fine job here coz the b3 Pawn is now no longer poisoned if I choose to take it in the future. The B rook now pressures down the file and no danger from B*h7+ .Will definately have to keep hold of this bishop now no matter what.
Jan-22-06  Hemmeireoid5: 29... Bd5 Absolutely the best square for my bishop. My own blockage of the c file has no more meaning. Best put the Bishop on its proper square and keep pressuring on b3
Jan-22-06  who: <jmi> what about 58...Re4 59.Nd2 Re1+ 60.Nf1
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <very rusty> I think another threat is ...Nf3+, i.e., 63.Rb4,Nf3+; 64.Kh3,Nd2 is a pin on the Nb3, and 64.Kh1,Nd2+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <jmi> 58. Bd1?? loses the exchange. 58... Re4 59. Kf1 Bc4 60. Rc4 Rc4.

<who: <jmi> what about 58...Re4 59.Nd2 Re1+ 60.Nf1> 60... Rd1 wins the Bishop.

<Veryrusty: Am I right that Bacrot resigned because 63. Rd3 is met by 63. ... Ra2, and (x) if 64. Rd2, Nf3+, (y) if the Bishop moves, Rxf2+, (z) if the Knight moves, Rxa5? Is that enough advantage?> 63. Rd3 Be4 (much stronger than <63. ... Ra2>) 64. Rc3 Bc2 65. Rc2 Rb3, Black wins a piece.

62. Bc2?? was a blunder. Bacrot should have played 62. Bf3.

Jan-23-06  csmath: Errors by white in this game:

32. b4? (32.a4! was better)

49. g4?? (This was the time to admit there is nothing better than a draw for white and go 49.Kh2)

53. Nb3? (After Anand allowed a draw again with previous move. 53. f3! most likely leads to a general exchange with theoretical draw.)

58. Bd1? (the game is probably already lost for white but this is making it worse. Anand will miss 58. ... Re4! though, that wins the exchange)

62. Bc2? (there is 62. Bf3 as more resilient and it might have been good enough for draw)

Jan-23-06  jmi: <who: <jmi> what about 58...Re4 59.Nd2 Re1+ 60.Nf1>

No... 58. ♖e4 59. ♘d2 ♖e1+ 60. ♘f1 ♖xd1 and quickly followed by 61... ♘f3+ forcing a trade of the White ♖ for the Black ♘ and then the White ♘ also falls in due time.

Jan-23-06  Ulhumbrus: 18...Rb8 removes the last target which the White KB has on the long diagonal. Instead of 19 Na4, 19 d5! prepares to make the KB useful on the a2-g8 diagonal.
Jan-23-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 32 b4, 32 Nxc5 exchanges a pair of Ns. On 32...Nxc5 33Rxc5 Bxb3 34 Bxb3 Rxb3 35 Rc8+ White has a passed a pawn in the rook and pawn ending which may however be drawn. Perhaps Bacrot wants more.
Jan-23-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 34 Re3, 34 Ra1 places a rook behind white's passed a- pawn without delay.
Jan-23-06  Ulhumbrus: 35 h4 disturbs the king side pawns
Jan-23-06  Ulhumbrus: 35 Nc6 allows Anand to place a rook behind Bacrot's passed a pawn.36 Bf3 gets ready for Ra1, placing a rook behind Bacrot's passed pawn before doing anything else.
Jan-23-06  csmath: <Instead of 32 b4, 32 Nxc5 exchanges a pair of Ns. On 32...Nxc5 33Rxc5 Bxb3 34 Bxb3 Rxb3 35 Rc8+ White has a passed a pawn in the rook and pawn ending which may however be drawn. >

That was most likely drawn. I am sure Bacrot wanted to avoid that but a4 was a better option than b4.

Jan-23-06  csmath: Bacrot strikes me as a player that can easily get demoralized. In the history of chess champions were usually the examples of the opposite so I don't see Bacrot as somebody that can be ever a champion. More similar to Adams though, excellent positional player without necessary guts or so it seems.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <Ulhumbrus: Instead of 32 b4, 32 Nxc5 exchanges a pair of Ns. On 32...Nxc5 33Rxc5 Bxb3 34 Bxb3 Rxb3 35 Rc8+ White has a passed a pawn in the rook and pawn ending which may however be drawn. Perhaps Bacrot wants more.> Like you said the Rook ending shoud be a draw. See, for instance, Tiviakov-Adams in the same tournament. Even with the advantage of a pawn, White could not get a win.
Jan-24-06  controlaltdelete: everybody is talking about Bacrot's mistakes; but did Anand make one within 10 moves?! (8..a5) this can be countered with 9.Bxb4 a5xb4 10.Qd2 Qe7 11.Qg5 and Bacrot is up at least up a pawn, so y did he play 9.0-0?! Interesting fact: Anand stated that after for example had White played 36.Bf3, Vishy said he would have given the exchange on b4, after which the game most likely would have been drawn. Bacrot did not go for the draw at the 16th move because he had better position at that point in the game.
Jan-27-06  Caissanist: <CtrlAltDelete> Congratulations on finding what appears to be a significant improvement in this opening line. Curiously, your move appears to have been underestimated (overlooked?) not only by Anand and Bacrot, but by Michael Adams as well,in Arkell vs Adams, 1993. After the loss of the pawn and the trade of queens black does get some initiative, but probably not enough to be worth a pawn. Crafty gives 10...Nc6 as better than Qd7, but still with advantage to white.

Here is Crafty's evaluation of the position after 9.Bxb4:

depth=16 1/30 +0.46 9. ... axb4 10. Qd2 Nc6 11. Qg5 Nd5 12. Qxg7 Qf6 13. Qxf6 Nxf6 14. Nbd2 d5 15. e3 O-O 16. Ng5 h6 17. Ngf3 Nodes: 163604647

which compares quite favorably to the eval after 9.O-O:

depth=14 1/39 -0.03 9. ... O-O 10. Nc3 Bc6 11. Qc2 Ra7 12. Rac1 Qe7 13. Bg5 Rd8 14. Qd3 Ba3 15. Rc2 Bb4 Nodes: 55560161

Jan-28-06  Ulhumbrus: Bacrot went too far trying to win and lost. In avoiding exchanging pieces, in an unjustified attempt to win, he let Anand get a rook behind his passed a pawn . This was the unfavourable transaction which passed any advantage to Anand.
Feb-23-06  patzer2: Here's an analysis with Fritz 8, the Opening Explorer and five other online sources:

<1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6> Entering the Queen's Indian. <4. g3> This is the most popular reply. However, also frequently played are 4. Nc3 as in I Sokolov vs Ivanchuk, 2006 or Jobava vs Naiditsch, 2006 and 4. a3 as in N Vitiugov vs Shirov, 2006 or Tregubov vs Judit Polgar, 2005. <4...Ba6> This is the usual move, but also frequently employed at the super GM level is 4...Bb7 as in Kamsky vs Adams, 2006. <5. b3 b5> This "line of the Queen's Indian (first played by Adorjan in 1983) is seldom played at the GM level, and apparently this is Anand's first test of it. More often observed is 5...Bb4+ as in Van Wely vs Adams, 2006 or Topalov vs Aronian, 2006. <6. cxb5 Bxb5 7. Bg2 Bb4+> The alternative 7...d4 looks logical, but may be out of favor due to White's wins against it in R Akesson vs J Stocek, 2004, Carlsen vs G Tallaksen, 2005 and Onischuk vs Ra Mateo, 2004. <8. Bd2> According to, theory assesses the position as equal to unclear. <8...a5 9.O-O d5!?> This is the only game with this move in the database. Perhaps it's another Anand opening novelty! Previously played were 9...0-0 as in http:Karpov vs Christiansen, 1993 or G Andruet vs Adorjan, 1990 and 9...Bc6 as in Zhou Jianchao vs S Fedorchuk, 2005 or S Krivoshey vs S Fedorchuk, 2005. <10. Nc3 Ba6 11. a3 Be7 12. Ne5 O-O 13. Re1 Nfd7 14. Nf3 Nf6 15. Ne5 Nfd7 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 17. e4 dxe4?!> Per the tournament report at, "Anand criticized his own 17...dxe4?!, suggesting 17...c6 instead."

Feb-23-06  patzer2: <18. Bxe4 Rb8 19. Na4 Nf6 20. Bf3 Qxd4 21. Bxa5 Qxd1 22. Bxd1 c5 23. Rc1 Rfc8 24. Bc3 Nd7 25. Bc2 Bb5 26. Nb2 Bf6 27. Bxf6 gxf6 28. Re3 Bc6 29. Bd1 Bd5 30. Rec3 Rc7 31. Nd3 Rcb7 32. b4 cxb4 33. Nxb4 Be4> So far the game has been relatively mistake-free by both sides, and according to Mark Crowther at, "The game is probably just equal here." Though not necessarily referring to this move, the Corus report states "Bacrot was another player who must have been miffed after his game against Anand. He was doing fine all through the game, forcing the Indian GM to defend accurately." <34. Re3 Bg6 35. h4 h5 36. Nc6?!> White overlooks a stronger and more solid continuation. According to the Corus Tournament Report, "had White played 36. Bf3, Vishy said he would have given the exchange on b4, after which the game most likely would have been drawn." Also, IMO White can also hold with the Fritz 8 suggestion 36. Rec3! For example after 36. Rec3! Ne5 37. f4 Ng4 38. Bf3 Rd7 39. Rc8+ Rxc8 40. Rxc8+ Kh7 41. a4 Rd4 42. Rb8 Rc4 43. a5 Rc3 44. Bc6 Rc1+ 45. Kg2 , White is in no danger and the pressure is on Black. <36... Rb1 37. Rec3 R8b2 38. a4> White can simplify to an even endgame with 38. Nb4 Ne5 39. Kf1 Kg7 40. Ke1 Ng4 41. Bxg4 hxg4 42. Rxb1 Bxb1 43. Rc4 Bf5 44. Rc1 e5=. <38... Kf8 39. a5 Rxc1 40. Rxc1 Ra2 41. Bf3 Kg7 42. Kg2 Kh6 43. Re1 Nc5 44. Re2 Ra1 45. Re3 Kg7 46. Rc3 Nd3!> According to, "Now White is in serious difficulty."
Feb-23-06  patzer2: <47. Be2 Ne1+ 48. Kh3 Bf5+ 49. g4?!> White can probably hold the draw with 49. Kh2! Be4 50. Bxh5 Nd3 51. f3! Ra2+ 52. Kg1 Bxc6 53. Rxc6 Rxa5 54. Rd6 . Per the Corus Tournament report, "The best structure would have been to play 46. Kh2! with Bg2 and f4 to follow, which should be sufficient for a half a point. Instead, with Vishy moving fast and time getting shorter, the Frenchman went wrong. Sometimes when you create threats your opponent panics - Anand." <49... hxg4+ 50. Bxg4 Be4 51. Nd4 f5 52. Be2 Ra4 53. Nb3?!> Black overlooks a potential saving move in 53. f3! According to, " White would have had much better drawing chances in the diagrammed position after 53. f3! Rxd4 (53...Bd5 54.Rc1 Rxd4 55.Rxe1 Ra4 56.a6; 53...e5 54.Nb5=) 54.fxe4 fxe4 55.Rc4 (55.Bc4 Rd7 56.a6 Rc7 57.Ra3 Rxc4 58.a7 Rc8 59.a8Q Rxa8 60.Rxa8 f5 61.Kg3=) 55...Rd5 56.Ra4 Nd3 57.Kg3 f5 58.a6 Rd8 59.a7 Ra8 60.Bxd3 exd3 61.Kf3 e5 62.Ke3 e4 63.Ra6=." <53...Bg2+ 54. Kg3 f4+ 55. Kh2 Bd5 56. Kg1 Ng2 57. h5 Nh4 58. Bd1 Ra3> According to the Corus Tournament Report, "58 Re4! would have been an instant winner, but by then it didn't matter." Fritz 8 gives the winning line 58...Re4 59. Kf1 Re5 60. f3 Bxb3 61. Bxb3 Rxa5 62. Rc4 Nxf3 . <59. Kh2 Nf5 60. Rd3 Nd6 61. Rd4 Ne4 62. Bc2?!> Perhaps White can draw with the Fritz 8 line 62. Bf3! f5 63. Nd2 Nxf2 64. Rxf4 Rxa5 65. Bxd5 Nd3 66. h6+ Kh7 67. Rh4 Rxd5 68. Nf3 f4 69. Kg2 Rf5 70. Kh3 Kh8 71. h7 Rf6 72. Ng5 e5 73. Kg4 f3 74. Nxf3 e4 75. Kg5 Rxf3 76. Rxe4 Kxh7 . In this R vs. R & N ending position, an endgame tablebase at indicates White can secure the draw with any reasonable move (e.g. 77. Rc4=). <62... Ng5 0-1> Black resigns in lieu of 63. Rd1 (63. Rd3 Be4 64. Rc3 Bxc2 65. Rxc2 Rxb3 ; 63. Nd2 Rh3+ 64. Kg1 Rh1#) 63... Nf3+ 64. Kh3 Bxb3 65. Rd3 Ne1 66. Rxb3 Nxc2 67. Rxa3 Nxa3 .
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Wow! controlaltdelete: This is the same finding that we have in the Chessworld ROW correspondence game vs GM Ivar Bern which is at :-

Instead of castling Anand, could have played Bxb4 and then Qd2 with the idea of then playing Qg5 hitting the enprise bishop on b5 and the pawn on g7. This seems to blow a whole in this 5...b5 variation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Sorry I mean Bacrot could have played Bxb4 instead of routinely castling.
Dec-29-06  dramas79: Inspite of the flaws in it,this is my favorite Anand game of 2006.
Aug-10-10  YoGoSuN: I don't think that White winning a pawn after forking the Bb5 and pawn at g7 is all that bad for Black.

On 9.Bxb4 axb4 10.Qd2 Nc6 11.Qg5 Ra5 12.Qxg7 Rg8 13.Qh6 d5 14.Qd2 Qa8 15.0-0 Qa6 16.Re1 Kd7 Black is actually looking good. Of course this is just shallow speculative analysis on my part, but I believe that this variation shows how White's position is actually quite difficult to play. Black has notable compensation for the pawn deficit: White's Bg2 slams into a tock solid pawn at d5, Black has notable pressure against White's backward a2 pawn and Black can easily land his pieces onto good squares while White will have development problems. I rather prefre Black's game to White's.

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