Grenke Round 9: Anand Catches Caruana

  • SonofPearl
  • on 16.02.2013, 14:00.

Baden-Baden%20tournament%20logo.jpgPRESS RELEASE: Round 9 - Anand catches Caruana

The script of the GRENKE Chess Classic had seemed to be carved in stone – a single decisive game a day, the World Champion struggling to win and Caruana surviving scares on his way to an inevitable first place – but in the penultimate round the script was tossed out of the window. Caruana fell to defeat against Adams, Anand joined him in the lead by beating Fridman, and Naiditsch was tamed by Meier.

The 'Tiger from Madras' has at times exhibited the frustration of a caged animal here in Baden-Baden, but he remains unbeaten and today chose the perfect moment to pounce. Although Anand was giving little away in the press conference, his victory over Daniel Fridman was obviously cooked up in his home laboratory.

Vishy Anand

Baden Baden 2013 Round 9 Vishy Anand.jpg


Fridman had out-prepared Fabiano Caruana in the fashionable 5.Nc3 line of the Petroff in Round 5, but this time it was Anand who sprang a surprise in the classical main line. 20.Ra2 was a deviation on a 2009 game between Vladimir Akopian and one of Anand’s current seconds, Rustam Kasimdzhanov (who back then was seconded by Fridman himself!). After 20…b6 21.Rae2 Fridman took the bait, noting that capturing the pawn was the point of his 20…b6, so it was a little late to turn back now.

21…Bxa3!? Vishy’s venomous response was 22.Bg4!! which Fridman said he’d “blundered”, although GM Jan Gustafsson on the live commentary said such a quiet move was far from an obvious follow-up to the pawn sacrifice. The natural 22…Bxg4? loses instantly to 23.Nf6+! Houdini recommends the madness of 22…Be6! 23.Bxh6! Bxg4 24.Nf6+!… and at least initially claims a draw. Fridman’s 22…Rf8 was a decent human response, but after 23.Bxf5 Qxf5 24.Bxc7 Anand had re-established material equality while retaining an attack on Black’s uncoordinated forces. It was only after 24…Rd7 25.Be5 f6 26.Ng3 Qe6 27.Qa4, however, that the outcome of the game was determined.
27…fxe5! would have left Black only a pawn down, but Fridman’s 27…Nc4? ran into 28.Bd6! (he was only expecting 28.Bxf6). If 28…Qxd6 29.Qxc4+ Kh7 Black’s problem is that 30.Ra2 (and countless other moves) win the homeless a3-bishop – yet another reason to regret taking the poisoned pawn! In the game after 28…b5 Black was simply an exchange down, and things could have ended very quickly.

Fridman turned interviewer in the post-game press conference: “My main question about the game is why didn’t you just play 33.Rxb6! axb6 34. Ne2! and resigns?” Anand had a good rejoinder – “I never know what’s going to make my opponents resign,” but then admitted he’d simply missed that trick to trap the bishop. It made precious little difference. Anand played 33.Ra6, saying his plan was just “to sit there and hold it tight,” and he did, with Fridman eventually resigning on move 47.


Georg Meier probably wants this tournament to go on and on as his play, and especially his preparation, is improving by the round. He said Naiditsch had wanted to surprise him, but he was ready with the novelty 11.b3 (improving on a game Le Quang Liem had won after playing 11.Qf4 against Mickey Adams at the 2012 Olympiad) and had prepared the position up to 12.Ne5. Visually it looked nothing much for White, but Meier afterwards kept emphasising his long-term pressure, adding, “Black doesn’t have a clear plan and I have a ton of moves to improve my position”. The crisis came after 25…Na8?!

Baden Baden 2013 Round 9 Georg Meier Arkadij Naditsch.jpg


White was finally able to play 26.e4! and Naiditsch lashed out with 26…g5!? (a move he manages to make in most of his games with Black!), although here it was born of desperation. Meier explained there was little else Black could do about White advancing his f-pawn. Naiditsch’s brief flurry of activity on the kingside only resulted in his having to sacrifice an exchange to avoid positional strangulation. Meier summed it up: “I got everything I could dream of and just had to calculate a straightforward win”.
The finishing touch to Meier’s strategic triumph came just after the time control with 42.Rd1! White threatens mate after either white rook goes to d8, and Naiditsch could only avoid the mate by entering a trivially lost rook vs. knight ending. Meier was of course happy to claim his second win, but he had some slight regrets: “I’m a little bit sad – I’d prefer to take points off Fabiano than off my friends”.


The last game to finish was a fiendishly complex Catalan battle between Fabiano Caruana and Michael Adams. In terms of the tournament standings the young tournament leader really only needed a draw. When he avoided a possible repetition guest commentator Jan Gustafsson joked, “there’s something in the code of a 2750 GM forbidding early repetitions with the white pieces”. As the game went on it became clear Fabiano wanted to win, and his 25.g4!? was already double-edged.

Baden Baden 2013 Round 9 Fabiano Caruana Mickey Adams.jpg


Mickey Adams said afterwards that 31.f3-f4?! was a strategic error. He felt Caruana was hoping to win the d5-pawn but had underestimated 31…Qe6! when the focus switches to the e3-pawn and it’s White on the defensive. Adams later played Bf6-h4-f2 to up the pressure, and although Caruana managed to hold things together until the time control his draw offer after 41.Nxe4 was a little optimistic. Adams saw that he was running no risks by continuing 41…dxe4 42.Qd1 Qf7! (a multi-purpose move that stops Qh5, hits b3 and prevents d5) 43.Rg1 Kh7 Adams played this last move because, in his words, “it’s very hard for White to make a move that doesn’t lose material”. Sure enough, Caruana went wrong immediately with 44.Qe1?

It was a tense moment for the audience watching both in the hall and on-line, but Adams had actually been contemplating the winning 44…Ne5! for a few moves now. White’s position collapsed like a house of cards: 45.Qb1 Ng4 46.h3 Nf2+ 47.Kh2 Qh5 48. Kg3. Black had all kinds of ways to take home the full point, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with Adams’ 48…Nxh3! 49. Bxh3 Rg6+. As he said after the game: “After so many rounds without a win I was very happy when I saw a safe continuation.”

Round 9 wreaked havoc on the tournament situation. Not only are Anand and Caruana now locked together on 5.5 points, but the only other players with a chance of catching them on the final day are Adams and Meier – something you would have given long odds against just a round or two ago.


Caruana, Fabiano  ITA  2757
Anand, Viswanathan  IND  2780
Adams, Michael  ENG  2725
Meier, Georg  GER  2640
Naiditsch, Arkadij  GER  2716 4
Fridman, Daniel  GER  2667 3


As you can see, Naiditsch and Fridman have no winning chances, but they still have an absolutely crucial role to play. Fridman, known for his solidity, has the white pieces against Caruana, while Naiditsch, whose fighting chess has made him the man of the tournament, has White against the World Champion. In case of a tie for first place a play-off will be played.

Fridman - Caruana
Adams - Meier
Naiditsch - Anand

Don’t miss our live coverage of the final games on Sunday 17 February. Play starts TWO HOURS EARLIER THAN USUAL at 13:00 CET!

Report: Colin McGourty  Photos: Georgios Souleidis

Czytano 10460 razy 32 komentarze
3 głosów


  • 4 lat temu


    I watched the whole Grenke Classic Tournament.  Most of the games were great!  Good job guys.  Congratulations Viswanathan Annand !


  • 4 lat temu


    And Anand wins the competition...!!

  • 4 lat temu


    Okay to clear things up the point of my post was that I find it odd that anand just claimed that he will play better in 2013 because he has suddenly found the reason why he's "out of form". How can he conclude that he'll play better during an entire year all of a sudden. That's what reminded me about that astrological thing. I'm still a big anand fan and hope he holds onto the title but I don't want a WC match like last time.

    P.S. anand won again today, so unless Caruana does too he wins the event.

  • 4 lat temu


    Does that mean that my Chicken Madras, is now a Chicken Chennai?

  • 4 lat temu


    Thanks crazayabchess...wish many anand hater could be wise and see deep things like you..:)

  • 4 lat temu


    @ balanchandar - although Madras is now Chennai, when Anand got his nickname the city was called Madras, so it would seem a bit odd (to me, at least) to change the nickname now.

    In any case, thanks again to mishanp for writing these official round-by-round reports for the media - it's greatly added to my enjoyment of the tournament, and I'm sure many other members feel the same! Cool

  • 4 lat temu


    All i want say is that Anand has not lost his charm......but due to over exposure of technology and computer practises all the other GM has well preapred for this 2 reasons

    1) All Gm's play cautious (waiting) game against Anand the world champion

    2) GM's try to play for draw lines rather winning lines. 

    Aronian try in tata steel champion winning line and Anand came out the beauty of the game which even carlsen was amazed to see..

    So All anand bashers have some respect towards him, seeing the totality of games.

    Cheers Chess

  • 4 lat temu


    I hope I am too, but that's just what I read on an article on a chess site a while ago. I'm not sure how much truth there is to it since its been a while and I can't recall it. However at the same time I wish I'm right because I don't want anand to be in this kind of form. He's always been a tactical powerhouse and to see him play like this is kind of disheartening. Also I'm not talking about this tournament or this game, I mean his performance of late. He's started to play a bit normal this year though so who knows.

  • 4 lat temu


    Aknaim, I really hope you are wrong about Anand believing in astrology.  To be that talented at chess I would hope he has the intelligence to not fall for such stupidity. 

  • 4 lat temu


    Madras is now Chennai, you need to update that SoP! Tiger from Chennai.

  • 4 lat temu


    Well done,Anand!

  • 4 lat temu


    I want anand and caruana should acquire same result in the last round either win or draw so they face off in two rapid game and iwant to see whether anand could justify that he is one of the greatest rapid player in chess history.

  • 4 lat temu


    All of the great chess players deserve a better language and respectful comments about them, after all, they play waay much better than we do. In chess like in life nothing is permanent. Strong players will come and go, but the world will stay the same. 

  • 4 lat temu


    Patience is a virtue!

                                Behold! Anand still has some tricks up his sleeve that he's 

                                waiting patiently to unleash.

  • 4 lat temu


    Carlsen will beat them all!

  • 4 lat temu


    I think the "boy wonder" Carlsen has spoilt us...he takes equal and turns it into win...but he is just exceptional. The next level of Anand, Kramnik, et al play not to loose first, and only go for the win if it is there...that's why it is difficult to beat Anand. Calsen takes more risks...and of course it is favoured by us chess fans.

  • 4 lat temu


    I think Caruana should stick with 1. e4

  • 4 lat temu


    Another good win by the Champ.

  • 4 lat temu


    Going undefeated and still pulling out 2 wins is no easy feat

  • 4 lat temu


    Lol wow, I'm not saying anand is bad calm down. Just saying he's lost his taste for winning.

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