In rapid and blitz, opening surprises can be so important. There will be very little time to find the right plans. We’ll see what they have.
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. e4 exd4 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. exd5 They are moving extremely fast. Here is the first time either player is pausing to think.
12… exd5 h6 13. b3 I believe this might be a novelty.
13…Ne5 14. Nxe5 Bxe5 15. Re1 This is a trap. White is giving up the d5 pawn with a trick in mind. If Black plays 15…Qxd5 then 16.Ba3 Rd8 17.Bc4 and then 18.Qg6 with initiatives.
15…Re8 16. Bb2 Bd7 17. Qd2 It clearly seems to me that Gelfand is still in home prep mode and has a very comfortable position. White is +=
17…Qf6 18. g3 I like white’s position better. But Anand handled the opening surprise pretty well.
18…Rac8 In the near future, I expect f4 from Gelfand. White has a pleasant position. Could something crazy like this happen? 19. Qb4 b6 20. f4 Bxf4 21. Rxe8+ Rxe8 22. gxf4 probably not in rapid 🙂
After thinking for a while, Gelfand played 19. a4 I don’t like this move at all. 19…Qf3 maybe coming. Sorry but I don’t like 19. a4 There is no time for that.
Of course Anand played 19…Qf3 White is now in trouble.
20. Be4 Qxb3 21. Reb1 I think Gelfand is gambling right now. He’s hoping Anand will falter in a complicated position. In a rapid playoff like this, it is about nerve. I think Gelfand is trying to confuse and rattle Anand. 19. a4 was a risky move to allow this.
21…Bxg3 Anand is going for complications. If Anand can calculate correctly, he may win this game. White’s position is now vulnerable. 22. Ra3 Qc4 23. Rc1 Bf4 24. Qxf4 Qe2 25. Rxc8 Bxc8 26. Bg6 =+ I expect plenty of mistakes to come as both players are low on time. Very complicated position.
22. Ra3 Qb6 23. Bxd4 Bxh2+ 24. Kxh2 Qd6+ 25. Rg3 Rxe4 26. Bxg7 Kh7 27. Rxb7 Anand was not able to find 22…Qc4 now White is slightly better again. I’m not sure if Gelfand intentionally allowed this position but it certainly is wild. The question is who can calculate better with no time.
27…Rg8 28. Qxh6+? Much stronger would have been 28. Qd3. But mistakes are expected when both sides have little time.
28… Qxh6+ 29. Bxh6 Rxg3 30. Kxg3 Bc8 31. Rc7 Kxh6 32. Rxc8 Rxa4 ½-½