By Sagar Shah, ChessBase India
Viswanathan Anand bounced back with a stunning victory against Peter Svidler at the sixth round of the World Candidates Tournament in Moscow on Thursday. The Indian ace attacked without a care in the world throwing pieces at Svidler’s king and the game ended in just 24 moves.
Svidler has the unique distinction of winning the Russian Championships for a record five times. Though he has never quite matched his achivements to his potential, the Russian had looked highly motivated while playing on home soil at Candidates. He came to the board extremely well prepared. In one of his games against Hikaru Nakamura from the third round, Peter stayed true to the script right until the 25th move. Against such a meticulous opponent it could have been natural for Vishy to go for some off beat system, but the Indian stuck to his plan.
He began by advancing his king’s pawn and Svidler replied with his favourite move 1…e5. On the eighth move Svidler deviated from the move he had played in his earlier encounters. This move 8…Bb7 came as quite a huge surprise for Vishy because he hadn’t prepared it before the game. The critical moment was reached on move 16.
As Anand said after the game it was a tough decision for him to make. “On one hand keeping the a-file closed would keep the back rank safe. But on the flipside the rook doesn't take part in the game.” Such decisions are extremely difficult on the fly because their repercussions are felt 10 moves after and it is impossible for anyone to see all the possibilities. That’s where intuition comes into the picture and Anand once again proved that when it comes to the feel for an attack, he is the best in the business. He was ready to sacrifice an exchange and then an entire rook, but in that process he got four of his pieces into the attack.
Svidler knew that his position was on the ropes but tried to keep his calm. He would quickly make the move and walk around. Anand on the other hand sat with his heads on his face, intermittently biting his nails, looking a tad nervous. Maybe more than nervousness, it was the excitement of having seen the win and trying to make sure that no defensive ideas were overlooked.
Anand carefully played his rook to g4. The Russian rushed back to the chair and put his queen to a5. And then came the coup de grace. Anand pushed his rook pawn to h4, challenging Svidler's king and forcing him to reveal his cards. The Russian was bereft of an answer and shortly threw in the towel.
Vishy Anand describes his win against Peter Svidler
Going into the second rest day, Vishy is now in joint second spot with 3.5/6, only half a point behind Sergey Karjakin. With today’s win he also consolidated his India number one position in the live ratings with a five Elo point difference between him and Harikrishna. In other games today, Levon Aronian showed immaculate endgame technique to beat Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri and Veselin Topalov made a draw and so did Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin.
On 19 March, Anand will play with the black pieces against Anish Giri.