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Hao Wang vs Viswanathan Anand
Tata Steel Group A (2013), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 13, Jan-27
Scotch Game: Schmidt Variation (C45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-27-13  computer chess guy: Something went badly wrong for Anand here. Once Wang Hao had obtained a q-side majority and played 24. b4! and 26. a4!, Black was in big trouble. It is not clear to me where Black went wrong. Maybe he should have gone for 10. .. Re8 as in Kramnik-Aronian, Tal Memorial 2012.
Jan-27-13  Ulhumbrus: The Houdini evaluations on the official page suggest that after Wang Hao played the eccentric 10 h3?! Anand did not find the right reply.

From that point Anand's game began to go downhill and Wang Hao's advantage began to increase move by move.

This suggests that Anand was upset by Wang Hao's innovation.

Perhaps Anand thought that he had walked into an opening ambush.

However according to Houdini the move 10 h3 is an error which gives immediately a slight advantage to Black.

All the same it worked.

This suggests that Wang Hao tried to surprise Anand, and succeeded.

Jan-27-13  csmath: When was the last time Anand lost Scotch game?

<It is not clear to me where Black went wrong. >

The awkward position of black king was hard to play with. Eventually when it was activated it was too late. The black attack late in the game was too hard to evaluate as well although I am sure Anand knew fully well it is not going his way.

The whole game started with little ambition but turned into a tricky ending. I don't know what is going on with Anand last few years. Gotta be the age thing.

Jan-27-13  csmath: <However according to Houdini the move 10 h3 is an error which gives immediately a slight advantage to Black.>

h3 is on the books, it has been played before, it is still even game. I think the source of Anand's trouble is eagerness to exchange all pieces and go for worse ending. Not a good thing to do against such a strong opponent.

The weakness on white squares around his king made it very hard to activate the king in the ending and Anand did not find a good plan to do so. When he did activate the king it was already too late.

Jan-27-13  Marmot PFL: Good example of playing for the draw instead of working for it.
Jan-27-13  Eyal: <the eccentric 10 h3>

10.h3 isn't new, but 10.Bg5 used to be a huge favorite here, played almost automatically (Opening Explorer). The game that apparently gave a big push to the interest in 10.h3 and the resulting White resources in this "Four Knights' Scotch" variation is Kramnik vs Aronian, 2012 from about half a year ago, where Kramnik managed to get a clear edge, even though Aronian held the draw in the end. (Take a look at - there's one game from 1894, then Kramnik-Aronian - the earliest from 2012 - then all the others.) I suppose this game would help to attract even more attention toward 10.h3 - which might also mean that the days when it's considered useful at the top level are numbered...

Jan-27-13  csmath: Yes, they are generally in theory and reasonable up to the point Anand decided to do the queen exchange. That was positionally unsound. I guess his evaluation of center pawns might have been too optimistic but you can clearly see how bad are white squares around his king.

From that point on he had difficult ending and while perhaps durable he did not find a good plan.

He is known as a magician with knights but in this game his knight manouvres were a source of even more trouble.

It does look to me as less than optimal game for Anand, he has not played the way he can or could just a few years ago.

Jan-27-13  csmath: Wang played very well. And he generally does not play for a draw just like that because it is the last round. I think Anand was simply not prepared for the effort needed.
Jan-27-13  solskytz: <Pedro> it isn't that elementary, and takes a bit of looking to see that you're not just dropping a rook in any case after 49. Rf7.

Wang Hao had to predict the whole sequence a bit earlier, which makes it all the more astonishing.

Jan-27-13  csmath: Wang's video comments are funny, he looks like a guy that needs a good sleep, I barely understand anything he says. :-)

This win saved his result (and spoiled Anand's) but he cannot be very happy to be below 50%. He keeps on complaining that he is not prepared and yet he plays a tournament every month. I do not believe him any more.

Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: I would have crumpled like a cheap suit, if faced by an attack like Anand's. Kudos to Wang Hao, beautifully played!
Jan-28-13  stst: <...and yet he plays a tournament every month. I do not believe him any more.>

Believe only in the results, not the words of any player!!

In the game, the logic of 37...Nf3+, which is essentially suicide, is very hard to understand of a champion?!?

Jan-28-13  jvasea1990: Continuation by Houdini 3 Pro w32
10.21 (depth 19) R2d4 50.Re3 Rxb4 51.Rexf3+ Kh4 52.Rf8 Rbd4 53.a8=Q Rxa8 54.Rxa8 g5 55.Rf6 g4 56.Rxh6+ Kg5 57.Raa6 Kf4 58.Rag6 Kf5 59.hxg4+ Rxg4+ 60.Rxg4 Kxg4 61.Kf2 Kg5 62.Rd6 Kf4 63.Rd4+

10.21 (depth 19) Rb2 50.Re3 Rxb4 51.Rexf3+ Kh4 52.Rf8 Rbd4 53.a8=Q Rxa8 54.Rxa8 g5 55.Rf6 g4 56.Rxh6+ Kg5 57.Raa6 Kf4 58.Rag6 Kf5 59.hxg4+ Rxg4+ 60.Rxg4 Kxg4 61.Kf2 Kg5 62.Rd6 Kf4 63.Rd4+

10.50 (depth 19) Ra2 50.Re3 Kh4 51.b5 Rd1 52.Rexf3 g5 53.b6 Rb1 54.Rf2 Raa1 55.R2f6 h5 56.Rg7 Ra3 57.Rg8 Rxb6 58.Rxb6 Rxa7 59.Rb4+ Kg3 60.Rxg5+ Kf3 61.Bg2+ Ke2 62.Rxh5 Kd2 63.Kf2

11.11 (depth 19) Ra8 50.Re3 Kh4 51.b5 Ra2 52.b6 h5 53.Rexf3 Ra1 54.Kg2 Ra2+ 55.Rf2 Ra3 56.R2f4+ Kg5 57.h4+ Kh6 58.R4f6 Ra2+ 59.Kf3 Ra3+ 60.Kf4 Ra4+ 61.Ke5 Ra5+ 62.Kd6 Ra4 63.Bg2

Jan-28-13  znsprdx: Has anyone looked at 35...R[1]d4 - it certainly provides more options than the suggested lines...since winning a2 may not so easy
Jan-28-13  Ulhumbrus: After 10 h3 three alternatives to 10...c6 are 10..Re8 ( Houdini), 10...Bxc3 11 bxc3 Ne4 ( because White has not played Bg5 to pin this knight) and 10...c5
Jan-28-13  haydn20: 13....Bxf4 giving up a just developed piece doesn't seem logical. After the natural 13....Rb8 if 14. Bxd6 Qxd6 15. b3 (or Rb1) Be6, then Black is ready to discuss the merits of his center Pawns.
Jan-28-13  haydn20: Also 20....Nd7 is passive. Maybe 20....e5!? 21. f3 d4 holds some hope for activity.
Feb-02-13  QueentakesKing: A new challenger to the crown?
Feb-02-13  Ulhumbrus: The opening explorer suggests that the move 12 Re1 was an innovation over the move 12 Bf4 played previously with good results for Black, but that Anand either did not find the right reply to it, or else mishandled the game at some point later.

If the pair of moves Bg5 and Bxf6 does not constitute any threat that Black need worry too much about, one alternative to 12...h6 is some developing move eg 12...Bd7 or 12....Be6 or 12...Rb8 developing the queen's rook and hindering the development of White's QB or even 12....Bb7 with ...c5 to follow.

Another alternative is 12...c5. On 12...c5 13 Bg5 Be6 14 Bxf6 Qxf6 15 Qxf6 gxf6 we have an ending similar to that in the game Spassky vs Fischer, 1972

Feb-09-13  cbbishop: Looks like Wang could have finished it quicker (assuming Anand would resign earlier, of course) with: 42. Rxe4 Rf8+ 43. Ke1 h5 44. Bb1 Rg3 45. Re3+ Nf5 46. Rxg3+ Kh7 47. Bxf5+ Rxf5 48. Rbxg7+ Kh8 49. Rg8+ Kh7 50. R8g7+ Kh8 51. R7g5 Rf7 52. Rxh5+ Rh7 53. Rxh7+ Kxh7 54. a7 Kh6 55. a8=Q Kh7 56. Qe4+ Kh6 57. Qh4#
Feb-14-13  whiteshark: Some m.o.l. game-related observations by Steve Giddins:


Feb-17-13  wordfunph: ..and he beat his fave player Vishy!

"Vishy Anand. He is the best Asian player ever and I admire his calmness during the game."

- GM Wang Hao (when asked by NIC for his favorite chess player of all time)

Aug-04-15  Whitemouse: According to CGs Wang Hao record against V. Anand 2-1...
Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: You know you’re looking at a super GM game when you can’t figure out how black lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Excellent technique by GM Wang Hao! Truly remarkable!
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