mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: Well, as I hope you remember from the last Lesson, Anand is a pretty good positional
player. Karpov, on the other hands, is widely considered as the world's best positional player, and not much has
happened to prove this wrong. So, to beat him, you need... tactics, and big time
tactics, for that matter! Does Anand have them? You betcha!
As a matter of fact, the position above comes from a game that Anand did play with the white pieces against Karpov in 96. As you can see, he has already achieved a better position. Most of his pieces are actively placed, and putting serious pressure on the lesser developed black pieces. Furthermore, there is the little detail of that undefended pawn on d5 white could take right away. So, should he?
Well, he certainly could! Then black would probably play a move such as 1...Nc6, the light squares bishops would get traded, then the knights, and suddenly you would end up in a position where black's pieces are finally out, and all white has is the extra pawn. Yes, his position is better, but trust me when I say that winning it is a whole different story.
This last part comes especially into play when you consider that might have a better alternative. Didn't a world champion once say that "if you see a good move, don't make it - you might find a better one." Well, this is exactly the case here. After all, there are some things that should have drawn white's attention to some other opportunities.
What things? How about the fact that black's king is absolutely alone, with no knight on f6 to defend him. And that we have two bishops, a knight, and a queen, pointing in that exact direction. And that there is that pawn on h7 which is traditionally the weakest link in a defense. So, isn't this reason enough to at least check it out, before we just jump in and take that free d5 pawn dangling in front of our eyes.
So, let's see: what happens after 1.Bh7!!
Black's reply is not that unexpected: 1...Kh7. And
our next move is fairly obvious for that matter too: 2.Qh5 Which after 2...Kg8
leaves the question of what we do next?
This is a good question, but it too, shouldn't be too hard to answer. Why have we sacrificed our bishop? Because I said so? No - because that broke a little hole through black's defense that might even be enough for us to sneak in. Unfortunately, though, we have lost our d3 bishop, so then how can we take advantage of the 'h' file? Only one way: by combining the impressive show of force of our queen and rook on that same file.
It is this reason that prompts 3.Rb3! as the next obvious move.
If, you can call a move that now sacrifices a rook, an obvious move...
But of course, 3...Bf1 would quickly run into deep trouble after 4.Rh3.
Which is why Karpov chose instead to play 3...Be5, a move that at least gets rid of another one of white's attacking pieces. Anand responded with 4.Rh3 a move that thanks to its checkmate threat forces black to create a little bit of breathing room with 4...f6.
At this point white decided to recuperate some of the sacrificed material while creating some further threats with 5.fe5. The idea is to once again make taking on f1 a terrible option because of the e5-e6 push.
I can assure you that at this point black is practically lost, regardless of what moves he makes. If you would like to, you could spend a few hours looking at all the possible defenses, and see how in every single line white manages to win thanks to his amazing piece activity.
The game itself continued with 5...Qe7 6.Qh7 Kf7 7.Rg3 Ke8 [7...Rg8 8.ef6 Qf6 9.Bg5] 8.Rg7 Qe6 9.ef6 Nc6 [9...Rf6 10.Bg5] 10.Ra1 Kd8 11.h4 Bb7 12.Rc1 Ba6 13.Ra1 Bb7 (move repetition due to time pressure) 14.Rd1 Ba6 15.Qb1 Rxf6 16.Bg5 Kc8 and the world champion finally resigned, for reasons quickly revealed by looking at the position, especially after white would continue with Qh7.
Now the reason I think the world of this game, is not so much the sacrifice - the one on h7 is fairly common. What is interesting, is that as you can see, there is no forced win after the sacrifice. What there is, is a very dynamic position, which Anand's intuition correctly identified as winning for white. And it is exactly this kind of intuition that is required to beat a man of Karpov's caliber...