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Old But Deadly Poison

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Lull or no lull, the Bundesliga is still on and world champ Vishy Anand just showed Stellwagen that his surprising use of the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn against Grischuk in Linares last month wasn't a one-off. The Dutchman went for 13.Bb5, which in some lines is little more than a spectacular forced draw -- one of many in the PP. (Shabalov-Areshchenko 2006 is typical of the breed.) But Anand gave up his queen right off in a sideline that goes back to 1968 and both sides played to win. A wild game ensued with White pinning hopes on his passed h-pawn and Black generating threats and hoping to keep his king safe long enough to use his material advantage. Wonderful chess. Vishy won the day, but it's wasn't as one-sided as you might think. PGN after the jump. Svidler beat Nikolic, who missed class the day discovered attacks were covered. Ouch.

[Event "Bundesliga 2008-9"]
[Site "Baden Baden GER"]
[Date "2009.03.28"]
[Round "14"]
[White "Stellwagen, D."]
[Black "Anand, V."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B97"]
[WhiteElo "2605"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[PlyCount "104"]
[EventDate "2008.10.03"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2
Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. e5 dxe5 11. fxe5 Nfd7 12. Ne4 h6 13. Bb5 axb5 14. Nxb5 hxg5
15. Nxa3 Rxa3 16. O-O Nc6 17. Rb5 Ra4 18. Nxg5 Ndxe5 19. Rxe5 Nxe5 20. Qc3 Nc6
21. Rxf7 Ra5 22. Rxg7 Bc5+ 23. Kh1 Rf8 24. Qd3 Rxa2 25. h4 Ra1+ 26. Kh2 Bd4 27.
Qg6+ Kd8 28. Rf7 Rxf7 29. Qxf7 Bg1+ 30. Kg3 e5 31. h5 Nd4 32. Qf6+ Kc7 33.
Qxe5+ Kb6 34. Qd6+ Ka7 35. Qc5+ Kb8 36. Qd6+ Ka8 37. Qd8 Nf5+ 38. Kh3 Kb8 39.
Ne6 Ra3+ 40. Kg4 Nh6+ 41. Kf4 Bh2+ 42. Ke4 Nf7 43. Qf8 Nd6+ 44. Kd4 Ka7 45. Nc5
Ra5 46. h6 Bg1+ 47. Kd3 Bf5+ 48. Qxf5 Nxf5 49. h7 Ra3+ 50. Nb3 Bd4 51. Ke4 Bh8
52. Kxf5 Ra2 0-1


Nice win by the World Champion.

@Mig: What other superstars are playing in this final Bundesliga weekend? You've mentioned Anand and Svidler so far.

@Mig: Could you please post PGN of the Nikolic-Svidler game so we can see the discovered attack that Nikolic overlooked?


@Mig: my personal home on the Web, at chessgames.com: http://www.chessgames.com/~notyetagm

Wow. Who needs a queen, who needs guarding his king, when you can make your other pieces dance like this...

Don't know how you define superstar ... boards 3 and 4 of Baden-Baden were Adams and Movsesian (they also have Carlsen and Shirov on their team, but not all of them play all the time).
From the other teams, Stellwagen and Nikolic were already mentioned - today next by rating were, I think, Fressinet and Gustafsson [yep, there are also Germans playing in the German league].
And Ivanchuk is also officially board 1 on another team, but hasn't played a single game in this season ... in the Bundesliga, that is ,:)

Crickey game! now that's why Vishy is the champion. He can make some magic with the pieces. Ask the former dimwitt champ to do the same? ;-)

Clearly you never seen the list of WC before to make a statement as dumb as that.

Anand's game was a brawl. That's the kind of tactical game that would terrify Botvinnik. We don't see three minor pieces for a queen too often. Kudos to Stellwagen as well. I thought it could go either way till the very end. It must have attracted quite a number of onlookers in the playing hall.

Can I say how much I appreciate that the Bc8 didn't move at all until move 47!

Not a classic but an excellent slugfest. Stellwagen missed a couple of chances to play for decisive advantage but kudos to him for taking the Vish head on.
Btw under which rating list do these games appear?

"Can I say how much I appreciate that the Bc8 didn't move at all until move 47!"

You could engrave that comment with a picture of that wooden Bishop just before he was about to be moved.

Marvelous, it is certainly remarkable.

white seem to have the upper hand in the pp variation.grischuk was very close to a win against anand at linares.anand got lucky that time.i don't think he is gonna play this variation against grischuk or some other 2700+ player,again.still it works good against weaker players,only because he knows he can outplay them at some point in a complicated position.

Chessbuff, you underestimate Botvinnik.. He was terrified of nothing on the Chessboard. He was actually a very good tactician, as was Petrosian, as was Euwe, two other WCs perhaps perceived as being tactically weak sometimes.

What is the rationale behind playing bundesliga and other alike legionare league competitions? Where does the money come from? Can someone point me to an article about this or just explain the story as I do not understand why top players such as Anand would play it.

Live games on now with Anand, Svidler, Adams and others. Never thought I'd see 1: Anand 2783 (BAD) :)


Wow, thanks for the link to the live games.

Anand played a super-strong game to obtain a winning position against Macieja. But I wonder if he has been tricked into a draw now...Not sure how white makes progress at all, if black keeps his rook on the fourth rank forever...

You could ask the same question concerning other sports, first and foremost professional football (soccer) ... . The money comes from, well, sponsors - for example Baden-Baden is sponsored by the company Grenke Leasing (don't ask me what their core activity is and exactly why they are interested in chess).
BTW, as sponsors come and go [they may lose interest and/or get into financial problems], so do top clubs. Some clubs were at the top for a few years (e.g. Stadthagen near Hannover and Luebeck in Northern Germany) and then 'disappeared' (at least from the first division).
Maybe this still doesn't answer why Anand and other world top players are interested. Actually, Vishy only plays this weekend, Carlsen (also on the Baden-Baden team) also played only two games this season, Adams will play a total of four (out of 15). On the other hand, the Bundesliga (and other team competitions) are a stable source of income for slightly weaker players (say, rated 2500-2700).
From the bright side, the rationale for inviting foreign grandmasters is to provide stronger competition for the best German players. From the not-so-bright side, they hardly get to play ... only two teams out of 16 have a German player on board 1 (Gustafsson for Hamburg, Maiwald for tailender Dresden).

Another perfectly Kramnikian win by Anand! Shows how much he has invested in assimilating the style. The king manoeuvre for winning a tempo for penetrating to the f file is very instructive!

Actually, the "poisoned pawn" phrase is being used the wrong way here. The poison is meant to be deadly for black, but it was white who died...!

But Anand did not see it the first time and needed to re-set the position to try again. That's what strong players can do.

Impressive game by the champ. 2/2 admittedly from weaker opposition. still its a pity he doesen't have anything for the next 3 months. it looks like he has just played himself into form.

If one likes endgames, the most spectacular game today was McShane-Gustafsson, 1-0(124) - an (apparently drawish) rook ending turning into a pawn ending, than a queen ending.
This game decided over second place in the competition (behind almighty Baden-Baden): Of course all other games in the match Bremen-Hamburg were long finished, and the score was 3.5-3.5.

Pali, I just found some more info on the official Bundesliga webpage (all my translation from German):
"Clubs have many different ways of sponsoring: one main sponsor (e.g. Baden-Baden), chess division of a major football club (Werder Bremen), several small sponsors, "Maezen" (one person sponsoring), donations and contributions from club members. Sponsoring by towns or villages used to be widespread, but is nowadays the exception [read: little if any tax money involved].
The top teams pay all their players, most other clubs only part of the team or only the foreign GM's."

Bit harsh on Shabba-Areshchenko. I watched that live and it was obvious that Shabba had a lot of computer prep and caught Areshchenko cold, and the kid had to make it up from an early stage (for the second Isle of Man event in a row, as it goes). It might be theory now and the machine might show it all easily, but, trust me, it was a fine achievement by the young Ukrainian which not many could have replicated.


I wasn't implying that they knew it was a forced draw or were trying for one, only that there are many games like that one which boil down to a long series of only moves for both sides resulting in a repetition. Of course the first time they happen they are quite spectacular. Would have helped to know the clock times, of course, but that's another rant.

Thomas, Thanks for the info, appreciated. Do you know how much the players are being paid?

Pali, no I don't have such inside information, and I presume this is kept relatively secret. Even the most generous sponsor may not want to enter into discussions such as "I deserve more than my team colleague, my rating is 10 points higher ...".
To give a tentative lower limit: Even in lower ("amateur") leagues, several hundred to maybe 1000 Euros is not unheard of for players of IM strength - per game or maybe per point (so they have to prove they are worth the money). GM's, certainly those rated above 2700, most probably claim more (plus travel expenses).
And on the upper end of the scale, how much more does Anand get compared to his team colleagues Carlsen, Shirov, Svidler, Movsesian and Vallejo? Good question ... .

I don't know about now or the validity of this "fact" but I heard Karpov used to be able to draw 15k for such things like this.

Just found this at Susan Polgar's site (as quoted from an Indian source):
"The Bundesliga and the French chess leagues offer good returns for Grandmasters. They get paid according to the number of games they play and also according to their ratings. Anand commands a good appearance package and generally the pay-per-game is in excess of 1,000 euros"

I guess 'generally' in the last sentence refers to "average grandmasters", and 'good appearance package' is (much) more than that ... .

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 28, 2009 2:35 PM.

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