A few hours after India had beaten Pakistan in a thriller to win the ICC World Twenty20, another thriller happened at the Sheraton Centro Hist?rico Hotel in Mexico City. It was again played out in a little more than two hours, though at a much more relaxed pace (from the spectator’s point of view). There was no live telecast, though there were several webcasts. It started late by Indian time (0030 hrs) so I don’t know how many would’ve actually watched the webcast.
Anand-Kramnik last week had proved to be an unmitigated thriller, with the former managing to hold on in a tough rook ending in order to draw the game. Yesterday was the return game, and though it barely reached the endgame, it was no less a thriller. Anand managed to transform the normally sedate semi-Slav opening with a few aggressive moves and Kramnik got back at him with equal measure. Anand was forced to castle to an unprotected queen side and soon embarked on a pawn-eating spree.
Kramnik responded to that with fierce attack and soon had a Steinitz knight in place (it’s a knight placed on d6 or e6 (if you are playing white). the first world champion Steinitz had remarked that if you can establish a knight on that position you can go off to sleep and let the game win by itself!), though it was quickly got rid of by Anand by way of an exchange sacrifice (rook for minor piece). He got two pawns and excellent counterplay for the sacrifice and was threatening to roll his passed pawns on the queen side when Kramnik managed to infiltrate Anand’s last rank and soon a draw was agreed.
Anand continues to lead by a point, with 6.5 after 10 rounds. His nearest rival is the Israeli veteran Gelfand at 5.5. With four rounds to go, Anand should be firm favorite to win the tournament from here.
You can see all the games so far at the official website www.chessmexico.com . The games are also webcast live here. The next four rounds will be played today, 27th, 28th and 29th, with 26th being a rest day. Games begin at 1400 local time which translates to 0030 hours on the next day in India.
cross posted at sportsnob