"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Anand Tries 1.e4 - Gelfand Goes For Sveshnikov

In the game 5, Vishy Anand  changed his opening repertoire. After two games when he employed 1.d4 he did not want to continue the debate in the Grünfeld Defence and tried  Boris Gelfand by 1.e4. 
There were two possible and predictable answers; Petroff's Defence or Sicilian Najdorf.
Much to Anand's surprise Gelfand opted for  Sveshnikov's line. Funnily enough, Evgeny Sveshnikov, the spiritual father of this line, was present in the audience this afternoon.
Anand decided to play 9.Nd5 - more positional continuation then 9.Bxf6 - and then he decided for 11.c4 and after 11...b4 12.Nc2 0-0 he played 13.g3 which is nowadays perhaps by far the most popular continuation.
The theory of this line has been deeply studied over the years so at the level of general ideas is just possible to conclude that Sveshnikov has convinced all sceptical chess world that the weakening of the d5-square is not the only determinant of the position - Black has got some dynamic trumps.

An interesting assessment of the position after move 16.Qd3 was given by GM Evgeny Gleizerov who commented the game together with IM Maxim Notking for ChessPro.ru: "This is the position with mild but constant pressure. I think, that Gelfand will suffer. The basic plan is - Qd3, Rd1 and possibly to exchange light-squared Bishops; h4, Kh2 and Bh3."
GM Smirin & GM Grischuk commenting the game 5
After move 22...Qb6 - it was first time in the game when Gelfand took longer thought - Gleizerov added: "White has the chance only if he would be able to win the b4-pawn and prevented Black to activate his Bishop. Frankly speaking, I do not believe that this will happen."
Well, in five moves Anand successfully regrouped his forces and put his Bishop on c6-square, however, in the meantime Gelfand successfully exchanged the pawns on the queen-side and doubled heavy pieces on the b-file. The time has come to call it a day...
Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam & GM Joel Lautier 
Despite of the length it was really interesting game. Now it is quite obvious that Gelfand wants to play sharp lines with Black pieces, so we can look forward to watching future games.
After the game, the press-conference, as usually, took place. Gelfand was asked why he chose Sveshnikov and not Petroff's of Najdorf and who advised him to do so. Gelfand was rather evasive about this subject and he replied he would answer this question after the match.
Game No 6 will be played tomorrow at 15:00 of Moscow time.

Current score: Anand - Gelfand 2½ - 

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