16 May 2010

Chess960 'as a Spectator's Sport'

Continuing with 'Hardly Ever Played Chess960 Before', we saw that Anand qualified along with Aronian into the final match for the FiNet Chess960 Rapid World Championship at Chess Classic Mainz in 2007. I once used the second game of that match to illustrate a post on Castling: The Longest Possibility. A full account of the match can be found at Chesstigers.de: Chess as a spectator's sport, 'Aronian wins Chess960 World Championship in dramatic match against Anand'. The first game ended abnormally.
Aronian fell behind on the clock and around move 20 had only 20 seconds left while Anand still had five minutes on the clock. But Aronian fought back, played quickly and used the five seconds increment to master all tactical tricks. Meanwhile Anand tried to find a clear way to advantage, spending more and more time on every move. Then, suddenly, it was all over: Aronian pointed to Anand's clock, the players shook hands and left the stage. The spectators could hardly believe it: Anand had lost on time, after his loss against Kamsky in the final of the PCA World Championship in Las Palmas 1995, [it was] the second serious game in his 25 years long career he had lost on time.

There followed two draws in the four game match.

Anand had to win the fourth game to tie the match, and this game turned into a fascinating struggle, giving the spectators everything they looked for. Despite needing only a draw, Aronian sacrificed a pawn on the second move which led to an exchange of blows and counterblows that lasted until the end of the game. If one player seemed to get an advantage, the other came up with an amazing resource only to be countered by an even more amazing move. After an early exchange of queens, both sides sacrificed material repeatedly and tried to mate their opponents. In the end Anand came out on top: He managed to stop Aronian's passed pawn and won material. However, even with only a few pieces left Aronian conjured up dangerous counterplay, creating mating threats out of nowhere. But Anand coolly defended and forced the match into a tie-break.

Aronian's Pawn sacrifice is shown in the following diagram. Note how closely the pieces match the traditional start position.

Mainz 2007, Final Match, Game 4
Aronian, Levon

Anand, Viswanathan
(After 2...d7-d5)

Anand accepted the sacrifice with 3.cxd5. After 3...Qa4+, he was forced to keep his King in the center with 4.Kd2, since 4.b3? loses to 4... Qd4. The PGN score for the complete game is given below (SP535 RNBKQNRB).

[Event "FiNet Chess960 Rapid World Championship"]
[Site "Chess Classic Mainz"]
[Date "2007/8/16"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Anand"]
[Black "Aronian"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "rnbkqnrb/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBKQNRB w GAga - 0 1"]

1.c4 g6 2.d3 d5 3.cxd5 Qa4+ 4.Kd2 c6 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.e4 Nfd7 7.Ne3 b5 8.Ke2 Ba6 9.Ncd1 Qc7 10.g3 b4 11.f4 cxd5 12.Nxd5 Qc2+ 13.Qd2 Bxd3+ 14.Ke1 a5 15.e5 Ra6 16.Rg2 Qxd2+ 17.Rxd2 Bb5 18.a3 e6 19.axb4 axb4 20.Rxa6 Nxa6 21. Nb6 Ke7 22.Nxd7 Rc8 23.Nb6 Rxc1 24.Bb7 Nc5 25.Nc8+ Kf8 26.Rd8+ Kg7 27.Bf3 Rc2 28.Nf2 Rxb2 29.Nd6 Rb1+ 30.Nd1 Ba4 31.Kd2 Rb3 32.Be2 Ra3 33.Bc4 Ra1 34.Nb2 Bc6 35.Rc8 Ne4+ 36.Kc2 Bd5 37.Bxd5 exd5 38.Rc7 Ra3 39.Rxf7+ Kg8 40.Rd7 b3+ 41.Kb1 Nc3+ 42.Kc1 Ra2 43.Rc7 d4 44.Ndc4 Bg7 45.Rc8+ Bf8 46. Rb8 Kg7 47.Rxb3 Nd5 48.Rb5 Ne3 49.Kb1 Ra4 50.Nxa4 Nxc4 51.Rb7+ Kh6 52.Kc2 Na5 53.Rb5 1-0

To break the tie after four games, the players continued with a pair of blitz games. Aronian won the first game with the White pieces and held the second with Black to retain the title he had first won the previous year.

No comments: