Wednesday, 15 October 2008

2008 WCC Game 1

Game 1 of the 2008 Anand v Kramnik match was played last night (starting midnight Canberra time) and ended in a 32 move draw. It what may be a signpost for the direction of the match the opening was an Exchange Slav, which isn't particularly noted for its exciting middlegames. (There was a collective online groan when the first half dozen moves appeared on the internet) Nonetheless I found the game interesting enough, at least from a positional point of view.
Kramnik's choice of 8.Qb3 was intended to pressure Black's queenside pawns, and the exchange on c6 left Black with a decision about how best to recapture. Obviously taking back straight away loses the c pawn, meaning that Black resorts to the tactical device of 11. ... Rc8 (pinning the Bishop) to maintain material equality. Kramnik then pressed with 12.Ne5 and 14.Qb4, forcing Anand to sacrifice the b pawn, rather than submit to defending a weak c pawn after bxc6. However Anand had no difficulty in demonstrating that his better placed pieces (control of the c file, well placed bishop) made up for the missing pawn. The it was a simple matter of Kramnik returning the material for positional equality, and the game ended in a draw.
I watched the game at which seems to be carrying the moves in real time. The official site is only showing the games on a half hour delay (to encourage you to pay for the real time coverage).
Also another site where you can get post game coverage is, where GM Ian Rogers is reporting from Bonn. He is even planning to do some radio reports on Adam Spencer's Breakfast Show (702 AM in Sydney) although the scheduled time of 5:45am may be daunting for some.

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