How did the World Champions and other top stars in chess begin their journey to the top is a question which would raise the curiosity of any follower of the game.
Were they nervous while playing the then established stars? Was there awe or fear which might have inhibited their playing style?
The game below was played in the early nineties when Viswanathan Anand had just started to make his presence felt amongst the established international stars. Anatoly Karpov was one of the players most difficult to beat and this encounter seems apt to go through on December 11 which incidentally is Anand’s birthday. The game which follows is annotated by Anand himself.
White: Anatoly Karpov (2725) – Black: V Anand (2635) Linares, 1991 The English opening
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nd4!? A provocative move but not easy to refute 4.e3 Nxf3+ 5.Qxf3 g6 6.b3 Bg7 7.Bb2 d6 8.g3 Rb8 9.Bg2 Nf6! The most precise move order. If 9…Bd7 10.0–0 Bc6 11.Qe2 Bxg2 12.Kxg2 Nf6 13.Ne4 And if 9…Nh6 10.Qd1 a6 11.0–0 0–0 12.d3 b5 13.Qd2 Bb7 14.Bxb7 Rxb7 15.Nd5 Bxb2 16.Qxb2 Ng4 with an unclear position 10.h3 If 10.Qd1 0–0 (10…Bg4) 11.d4 Bg4 12.Qd2 Qc8 13.0–0 Bh3 10…0–0. If 10…b5 11.Nxb5! Bb7 12.Qxb7 Rxb7 13.Bxb7 0–0 14.Bg2 was suggested by Karpov 11.0–0 a6 12.Qe2 b5 13.d3 b4 14.Nd1 Worth a look is 14.Nb1 14…a5 15.a4 e5 16.e4 If 16.d4 e4 ×d1(16…cxd4 17.exd4 Nd7 18.dxe5 dxe5 19.Ne3 And if 16…exd4 17.exd4 Re8 with the idea 18.Ne3 Ng4) 16…h5 17.h4 Ne8 18.Ne3 Nc7 If 18…Bh6 with the idea Ng7 19.Kh2 Ne6 20.Bh3 Bh6 21.Ng2 Here White can also look at 21.Nd5 21…Bg7 22.Rae1 [ If 2.f4 exf4 23.gxf4 Bxb2 24.Qxb2 Nd4 22…Rb7 23.Bxe6 Bxe6 24.f4 Bg4 25.Qd2 Re7 26.Ne3 If 26.f5 gxf5 27.exf5 f6 with the idea 28.Ne3 Bh6 with an equal position (28…Bh6 29.Qf2 Bxe3 30.Qxe3 Rh7) 26…f5 27.exf5 gxf5 28.Nd5 Re6 Can think of 28…Ree8 29.Qf2 If 29.fxe5 dxe5 30.Nf4 exf4 31.Rxe6 fxg3+ 32.Kg1 a)32.Kxg3 f4+; b)32.Kg2 f4 33.Rg6 f3+ 34.Kxg3 (b)34.Kg1 f2+ 35.Kg2 Qa8+) 34…Qb8+ 35.Kf2 Qh2+ 36.Ke1 f2+ 37.Qxf2 Re8+ 38.Kd2 Re2+ 39.Kc1 Rxf2 and Black is better. And if 32…Bd4+! 33.Bxd4 Qxd4+ 34.Kg2 f4 35.Re4 Qc3 (35…f3+ 36.Kxg3 Qd6+ 37.Rf4) 36.Qxc3 bxc3 …37.Rc1 f3+ 38.Kxg3 f2 39.Kg2 f1Q+ 40.Rxf1 Rxf1 41.Kxf1 c2 42.Re1 Bd1 And if 29.d4 e4 (29…cxd4 30.Bxd4 ×a5,b4 ) 30.Qe3 with the idea Rf1–f2-d2,Qe3-f2,Nd5-e3] 29…Rfe8 30.Bc1 If 30.fxe5 Bxe5 31.Bxe5 Rxe5 32.Rxe5 Rxe5 33.Qf4 Kg7 34.Rf2 with advantage for White 30…e4 31.dxe4 Rxe4 32.Rxe4 Rxe4 33.Re1 33.Be3 leads to equality 33…Rxe1 34.Qxe1 Kf7 35.Qd2 35.Kg2 and it is better for Black 35…Bf3 36.Ne3 Be4 37.Bb2 Bxb2 38.Qxb2 Qf6 The right time to exchange queens. 39.Qxf6+ If 39.Qe2 Kg6 40.Qd2 Qd4 41.Qxd4 cxd4 42.Nf1 Bc2 43.Nd2 Kf7 44.Kg2 Ke7 45.Kf2 Kd7 46.Ke2 Kc6 47.Kf2 Kc5 48.Ke2 d5 49.cxd5 Kxd5 50.Kf2 d3 51.Ke3 Kc5 and Black is better 39…Kxf6 40.Kg1 Bb1 41.Nf1 Bc2 42.Nd2 Ke6 43.Kf2 d5 44.cxd5+ Kxd5 45.Ke3 Bd1 46.Kd3 Bxb3 0–1