[Event "Chess.com"] [Site "Chess.com"] [Date "2022.05.31"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B52"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Bojkov,Dejan"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2022.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ {Anand is solving the problem of the Najdorf in the most effective way—by avoiding it.} Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4 g6 9. f3 {The best way to build the Maroczy setup.} ({The other main move was faced by the former world champion, but as Black, in the following sharp encounter} 9. O-O Bg7 10. Nde2 Qe6 11. Nd5 Qxe4 12. Nc7+ Kd7 13. Nxa8 Qxc4 14. Nc3 Rxa8 15. Bg5 e6 16. Re1 Nd5 17. Nxd5 Qxd5 18. Qxd5 exd5 19. Rad1 h6 20. Bc1 d4 {and Black was eventually happier in Naiditsch,A (2716) -Anand,V (2780) Baden-Baden 2013}) 9... Bg7 10. Be3 O-O 11. O-O {Here we have a Hedgehog pawn structure, with a typical bind for White, but without the pair of light-squared bishops. On the surface, this seems to favor White, as the majority of his pawns are positioned on the opposite color of his remaining bishop. However, after} a6 {Vachier-Lagrave prepares a typical pawn spike on the queenside with b7-b5 and it becomes obvious that White is missing his light-squared bishop.} 12. Nb3 {Avoiding the trade.} ({Another way to prevent the break is:} 12. Qd3 {but Black did well recently in the following game.} Rfc8 13. b3 b5 14. cxb5 Ne5 15. Qd2 d5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. exd5 axb5 18. Qe2 Qxd5 {Xiong,J (2687)-So,W (2772) Chess.com INT 2021}) ({Black's idea is well-illustrated by the line} 12. Qd2 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 b5 {when Black equalizes at once.}) 12... e6 $146 {Now the French GM is getting ready to strike in the center.} ({The predecessor was an email game that ended peacefully after:} 12... Rac8 13. Na4 Qe8 14. Nb6 Rd8 15. Qe2 Nd7 16. Na4 Nce5 17. Rac1 Nd3 18. Qxd3 Ne5 19. Qb1 Qxa4 20. Nd4 Rc8 21. b3 Qa5 22. Rf2 Nc6 23. Nxc6 Rxc6 24. Qd3 {1/2-1/2 (24) Wilhelmi,D (2473)-Tleptsok,R (2448) ICCF email 2013}) ({The immediate} 12... b5 13. cxb5 axb5 14. Nxb5 Qb7 15. Qe2 {does not promise Black enough compensation.}) 13. Qe2 Qe7 {More preparation is mandatory.} ({Not yet} 13... d5 14. Rad1) 14. Rfd1 Rfd8 15. Rac1 Rac8 {Both sides have brought their pieces into the game and Anand decided to bring his knight back to the center.} 16. Nd4 ({But there was also an argument for the generally useful move} 16. Kh1 $5) 16... Nd7 {Vachier-Lagrave spent a lot of time on this move, apparently carefully checking the consequences of the principled break.} ({And indeed} 16... d5 $1 {might have been the way to the equality, as after} 17. Nxc6 { which is the only way to try and control the situation in the center, Black can recapture either way.} Rxc6 ({Or also the more natural} 17... bxc6 18. e5 Nd7 19. f4 {when Black can again attack the center with} f6 ({Or even with} 19... g5 $5)) 18. e5 Ne8 19. cxd5 exd5 20. f4 {For a moment it seems as if it is very ugly for Black, but he can get his pieces out with} ({Nothing yields.} 20. Nxd5 Qxe5) 20... Nc7 21. g3 f6 {and slowly even the chances.}) 17. b3 b5 { And the Frenchman decided to go for his original break, even at the expense of a pawn!} ({The computer suggestion} 17... Nxd4 18. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 19. Rxd4 Qg5 20. Rcd1 {is hardly appealing to many human beings.}) 18. cxb5 Nxd4 19. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 20. Rxd4 axb5 21. Qd2 $1 {A neat reply! The pawn is not going anywhere, and Anand consolidates before picking it up.} ({Instead, the immediate capture} 21. Qxb5 {would have allowed Black too much play with} Rc5 22. Qe2 Qg5 $1 ({But not } 22... Rdc8 23. Qe3 $1) 23. Qe1 Ne5 {and this looks scary for White, to say the least.}) 21... Rb8 ({There is not enough for the pawn in case of} 21... Nf6 22. Nxb5 Rxc1+ 23. Qxc1) 22. Rxd6 b4 23. Ne2 $1 {Another accurate move by the former world champion! His pieces somehow manage to stick together all the time.} ({A more \"active\" retreat instead} 23. Na4 {would have allowed} Nb6 $1 24. Rcc6 Rxd6 25. Rxd6 Nxa4 26. bxa4 Qa7+ {with full equality.}) 23... Ne5 24. Rd1 {This seems to be the final consolidation.} Nc6 $1 {But Vachier-Lagrave has not yet said his final word. The threat of a capture on d6, followed by Rb8-d8, is hard to parry.} ({But there was an alternative way to try and defend. Surprisingly, the endgame after} 24... Rxd6 25. Qxd6 Qxd6 26. Rxd6 Rc8 27. Rd2 g5 $1 {looks quite difficult for White to convert. Although, as we know, a pawn is a pawn.}) 25. e5 $1 ({Correctly avoiding} 25. Rd7 $4 Rxd7 26. Qxd7 Rd8 $1 27. Qxe7 Rxd1+ {check! And wins.}) 25... Qa7+ 26. Kh1 Qf2 {Alas, this does not allow enough activity.} ({A more resilient try was} 26... Qa5 $1 27. Nd4 Nxd4 28. Qxd4 Rdc8 $1 {although here, too, White has all the winning chances with} 29. h4 $1) 27. Rc1 Rxd6 28. exd6 Ne5 29. h3 $1 {While in control, Anand uses the time to open air for his king.} ({Certainly not} 29. d7 $2 Nxd7) ({Less convincing is} 29. Rd1 Rc8 30. Ng1 Qxd2 31. Rxd2 Nd7 {and Black is still too active.}) 29... Rb5 {The last active chance, but it comes short due to a tactical detail.} 30. f4 Nd7 31. Qd4 $1 {That is it! The queens must be traded.} Qxd4 ({For} 31... Qxe2 {leads to a mate after} 32. Rc8+ Nf8 33. Rxf8+ Kxf8 34. Qh8#) 32. Nxd4 Rd5 33. Nc6 Rxd6 34. Nxb4 {This time White has both the material and the positional advantage. Anand quickly finishes the job.} e5 35. fxe5 Nxe5 36. Rc5 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 f6 38. a4 Rb1 39. Rc3 Ra1 40. Rc7 {PLAY CHESS, NO WAR!} ({Black resigned because of the line} 40. Rc7 Rb1 41. a5 Rxb3 42. Nc2 {and the a-passer is unstoppable.}) 1-0