Viswanathan Anand (2715)Gata Kamsky (2710)
Las Palmas (1) 1995
Ruy Lopez Zaitsev [C92]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5 O‑O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6

No Marshall Attack today.

8.c3 O‑O 9.h3 Bb7

The Zaitsev has become a part of Gata’s defense system.

10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a4 h6 13.Bc2 exd4 14.cxd4 Nb4 15.Bb1 g6!?

An interesting idea. Black keeps the center fluid for the moment and intends to fianchetto before …c7-c5 and d4-d5, which seems quite sensible.

16.Ra3 Bg7 17.e5! 17:09 00:46:40

Good and probably forced. White’s problem is that his d2-knight is tied to the defense of the e4-pawn and can’t maneuver around. If the d2-knight is stuck, how is White to unlock his queenside? The text is a good answer. The d2-knight can be released for Nd2-e4 type action, while e5-e6 will undermine the g6-pawn.

17…dxe5 18.dxe5 Nh5

An awkward response. Black doesn’t like the looks of 18…Nd7 19.e6 Rxe6 20.Rxe6 fxe6 21.Bxg6 or 21.axb5 axb5 22.Qb3, leaving Black facing problems. Gata likely rejected 18…Nfd5, as he was hoping for a queen exchange. After 18…Nfd5, 19.Ne4, aiming for the c5-square, gives White the easier play. Note that 19…Bxe5 20.Nxe5 Rxe5 21.Bxh6 is good for White.

19.axb5 axb5 20.Qb3 c5 21.Ne4! 23:42 01:23:13

Vishy used a lot of time for this natural move. After 21.e6 Bd5! 22.exf7+ Bxf7, Black completes a thematic defensive maneuver. That Vishy thought so long can be attributed to a little rust from a long layoff. He was probably recalculating a lot.

21…Bxe5 11:54 01:12:13

Gata feels compelled to mix it up tactically. But it’s not an equal fight, because the h5-knight isn’t taking part.


The simplest solution. After 22.Nxe5 Rxe5 23.Bxh6, 23…Qe7 is an awkward pin. Now White wins the two bishops in an open position.

22…Bxf3 23.Qxf3 Rc8 24.Ne4 Kg7 25.Rd1

Black has fallen into a very difficult position. His pieces are far flung and lack coordination. Also his king is a little looser and the b5-pawn is weak. Not an inspiring result from the opening.

25…Qe7 26.Be3

With the threat 27.Ra7 Rc7 28.Bc5, winning material.


After 26…Nc6 27.Bc5, White clamps down on the d6-square.

27.Ra7 04:20 01:50:22

The amount of time used for this natural move is amazing.

27…Qe6 06:44 01:54:13

As his position grows more difficult, Gata gets into time trouble too.


A five-minute think to attack the queen? First round jitters and too much double-checking of variations are the likely faults.

28…Rxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Qd5! 30.Qg4! 00:42 01:56:08

Looks convincing. White hits the c8-rook, b4-knight and g6-pawn.

30…Rc7! 01:39 01:56:45

The only move. Black has a back rank mate in mind.

31.Rxc7 Bxc7 32.g3! 01:45 01:59:38

Leaving himself with twenty-two seconds on his clock. What could be simpler than making luft?

32…Qc4 0‑1 01:31 01:58:20

There is nothing to do. After 32…Nc6 33.Be4 Qd6 34.Nb7 Qf6 35.Qd7, White wins a piece. Now in this final position … Vishy watched his flag fall. After 33.Bd4+ Nf6 (33…Kh7 34.Bxg6+ ) 34.Bxg6 Qxc5 35.Bf5+, White wins. A tragic loss for Anand, who played excellent chess. As for Gata, his rise was like a storybook tale with a fairy godmother watching over him.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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