(1) Anand,V (2755) - Ponomariov,R (2743) [B90]
Duel of the WCh Mainz GER (4), 17.08.2002
[Viswanathan Anand]

Ruslan had just taken the lead with a fine win in our 3rd game.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6
Following our 2nd game. Since he dominated the play on the first day, I felt that it wasn't enough to try and come up with some little refinement on our 2nd game. I wanted to go for really sharp lines to try and fight for the initiative in the match.

'!' This skips the Ng4 line and takes the play into sharper lines.

6...e6 7.Be3 b5 8.g4 Nfd7 9.Qd2 Bb7
[ 9...Nb6 10.0-0-0 N8d7 Ponomariov has some experience with this position, but earlier this year Grischuk had a famous win against Dvoiris from the Aeroflot open . ( 10...Bb7 Transposing back to the game.) 11.Ndxb5! ]

10.0-0-0 Nb6 11.Nb3 N8d7 12.Na5 Qc7
Of course, Black isn't going to play Bc8.

Maybe technically a novelty, but simply one of the "useful" moves one makes in the Sicilian - the kingside equivalent is Kh1.

[ 13...b4 14.Ne2 d5 The thematic reaction in the centre. 15.Ng3 Be7 16.Nxb7 Qxb7 17.f4 0-0 ( 17...dxe4 18.Nxe4 ) 18.Bd3 ]

Here I already saw the possibility of playing Bg5, but decided to wait a bit. [ 14.Bg5 Bxg5 15.Qxg5 0-0 16.Nxb7 Qxb7 17.Rxd6 Qc7 ]

[ 14...Ne5 15.Qd4! Nbd7 16.Nxb7 Qxb7 17.f4 b4 ( 17...Nf3 18.Qd3+/- ( 18.Qxg7 Bf6 19.Qh6 Bxc3 20.bxc3 Qxe4 21.Bc1 ) ; 17...Nxg4 18.Qxg7 Nxe3 19.Qxh8+ Nf8 20.Re1+- ) 18.Na4 Nxg4 19.Qxg7 Nxe3 20.Qxh8+ Nf8 21.Re1 Qxe4 22.Bd3 Qxf4 23.Qg8+/- ; 14...b4! 15.Ne2 d5 16.Nd4 ( 16.Nxb7 Qxb7 ( 16...Nc4 17.Qc1 dxe4 18.Ng3 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Qxb7 20.Nxe4 0-0 21.g5+/= ) 17.Ng3 0-0~~ ) 16...dxe4 17.Nxb7 Qxb7 18.fxe4 0-0= ]

The point of the previous move. White can recapture with the h-pawn and attack on the h-file.

This weakens the e6 square and gives White an easy target. The only thing that concerned me was that White has lost some time. [ 15...Nf6 16.h5! White just continues his attack. ( 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 ( 16...gxf6 17.g5+/- ) 17.Qxd6 Rac8 18.Qxc7 Rxc7 19.Ne2 Black has enough ~/= with his two bishops. ( 19.Nxb7 Rxb7 ) 19...Na4 ) ]

16.Be3 Ne5 17.Qf2 Nbc4 18.Nxb7 Qxb7 19.Bd4
[ 19.Ne2 f5! 20.gxf5 exf5 21.Bh3 fxe4 22.Be6+ Kh8 23.Bd5 Qc8 24.Bxa8 Qxa8=/+ ]

19...Rac8 20.Ne2
[ 20.Qg3 This stops f5, but White has to take some sacrifices into account. 20...b4 21.Ne2 Na3+! ( 21...Qc6 22.Ka1 ) 22.bxa3 bxa3+ At the board, I felt that this was very dangerous and decided to stick to 20.Ne2. Later analysis confirmed this: 23.Kc1 Counter-intuitively, White ambles off to the other side. The obvious tries don't break through. ( 23.Ka1 Rxc2 24.Rb1 Rb2!! 25.Bg2 ( 25.Bxb2 Rb8-+ ; 25.Rxb2 axb2+ 26.Kb1 Nc4-+ ) 25...Rb8 26.Qe1 Nc4-/+ ) However, an unusual knight retreat keeps Black going. 23...Nc6! ( 23...Rxc2+ 24.Kxc2 Rc8+ 25.Kd2 ; 23...Rc7 24.Ba1 Rfc8 25.Nd4 ; 23...Qb4 24.Ba1 Rxc2+ ( 24...Rb8 25.Nc3 Rfc8 26.f4 ) 25.Kxc2 Rc8+ 26.Nc3 ) 24.Ba1 ( 24.Kd2 d5! 25.Ke1 Nxd4 26.Nxd4 e5 ) 24...Nb4 25.Nc3 d5! A sample variation follows. 26.exd5 Rxc3 27.Bxc3 Nxa2+ 28.Kd2 Nxc3 29.Kxc3 Bb4+ 30.Kd3 Qxd5+ 31.Ke2 Qxd1+! 32.Kxd1 a2 ]

[ 20...f5 21.gxf5 exf5 22.Qg3! This looks fine for White. ( 22.exf5 Qxf3 23.Qxf3 ( 23.Bh3 Nd2+! 24.Ka1 ( 24.Rxd2 Qxh1+ ) 24...Rxc2-+ ) 23...Nxf3 24.Bg2 Rxf5 ( 24...Nxd4 25.Nxd4 Ne3 26.Rde1 Bf6 27.Rxe3 Bxd4 28.Ra3 ) 25.Bh3 Nxh4 26.Ng3 Rcf8 27.Nxf5 Nxf5 ) /\22...fxe4 23.f4 ]

[ 21.Bh3 b4 22.g5 This also looked strong, but I wanted to get my knight to f4 and for that I have to move my B.]

[ 21...f5 22.exf5 exf5 23.g5 N6e5 24.Nd4+/- ; 21...Nb4 22.Nd4 ( 22.c3 Nc6 23.Nf4+/- ) 22...e5 23.Nf5 ( 23.Bxc4+ Rxc4 ) 23...Nxb2 24.Kxb2 Rxc2+ 25.Qxc2 Nxc2 26.Kxc2+/- ]

22.Qxe3 Qa7?
Probably he just missed White's next. However, his position was already difficult. [ 22...Ne5 23.Nd4 Qd7 24.Bh3|^ ]

23.Qb3! d5
[ 23...Qd7 24.Nf4 Kf7 No further commentary is needed.]

24.exd5 Na5 25.Qd3 Nc4
Here I found the simplest way.

26.Nf4 Ne3 27.Nxe6 Nxd1 28.Qxd1!
I couldn't bring myself to calculate Nxf8 since this move wins trivially. White just plays Bd3 and follows up on the kingside - Black is helpless. [ 28.Nxf8 Nc3+! ( 28...Nf2 29.Qxh7+ Kxf8 30.Bd3! Nxh1 31.Qh8+ Kf7 32.Bg6+ Kxg6 33.Qh5# ) 29.bxc3 Bxf8 30.Qf5+- ]

28...Rfe8 29.Bd3
There is no way for Black to counter White's attack. White just pushes his kingside pawns.

29...Qf2 30.f4 Bd6 31.g5

31...Rxe6 32.dxe6 Qxf4 33.Rf1 Qe5 34.Re1 Qc5
[ 34...Qf4 35.e7+- ]

35.gxf6 gxf6 36.Qg4+ Kh8 37.Rg1 Qc7 38.e7 1-0