REBEL versus ANAND Day-3
From July 21 till July 23,1998 REBEL in Italy on the island Ischia
played 8 games against World's SECOND BEST chess player VISHY ANAND.
Rebel vs. Anand: Day 3 by Jeroen Noomen ---------------------- The last game was played on Thursday 23rd of July. My preparations already started the day before. A difficult choice for me: What to play? My first impression was simply play 1. e4 and strive for an open position. What would Vishy do against 1. e4: A Sicilian, Caro Kann, Ruy Lopez or perhaps the Modern Defence? Because 1. e4 was so obvious for a chess computer, I decided on a little surprise by opening 1. d4 instead. Of course I prepared for all openings Anand plays: Grunfeld, Queen's Gambit Accepted, Slav Defence. The game started around 14:30 p.m. and to my big surprise Vishy had decided on a Queen's Indian. That was not expected! My pre-prepared book had Petrosian's 4. a3 against the Queen's Indian, but as soon as the game was going I was a bit angry at myself for not choosing 4. g3 instead. Anyway, we got an interesting position after the opening, where Anand's ... Qc8 put Rebel out of book. Here a small incident took place: One of the people taking care of the power supply accidently touched the ESC-key, after which Rebel immediately played its move, Bb5. Taking this back and restarting the thinking process costed Rebel about 4 minutes on the clock. Besides, I was not too happy about Rebel's plan of giving up the pair of bishops and following it up by Ne5 and Qd3. After Anand's move b6-b5 (presumably to prevent Nc4 tricks), Rebel came up with the very interesting Qf3! This contains a huge trick: If Black tries to castle quickly by playing ... Be7, he will be surprised by Bg5! Anand thought for nearly 20 minutes and came up with the positional sacrifice ... Bd6! Rebel's score went up immediately, the following moves were pretty forced, leading to an exchange of queens and a very unclear ending. Although White has many pawns, it is not easy for him. Black has a clear plan of invading on the c-file, combined with advancing the a- and b-pawn, making a very strong passed pawn. In the meantime it is very difficult for White to get his pawns on the King's side going. I wonder if there is a program that evaluates this position correctly. In the further course of the game Rebel could not find the correct plan. When the Black rook came to c2, I began to feel very pessimistic about White's chances. He is paralysed, Black is going to make a passed pawn and White's passed pawns are incredibly helpless. Rebel tried to make something out of the passed d-pawn, but after d5, exd5 it appeared that taking back on d5 would lose. So there came Rh3?! (honestly, I was thinking about resigning at this point!), later followed by the little trick f4! At last the unfortunate rook was activated. After f4 Anand thought again for a while, but came up with the decisive push d5-d4. Now with two Black passed pawns it was a hopeless business. It's crazy to see that 4 White passed pawns can do absolutely nothing. Black keeps his king on g7 or h7, puts his bishop on e4 and the pawns are stopped. With the strong ... Rc3! Anand got his pawn to b3, after which I resigned on behalf of Rebel. The score dropped to -2, furthermore White is completely helpless against the Black majority on the queen's side. Anand was visibly relieved and we spoke about 5 minutes with each other. The first thing he said was that he appreciated my draw offer in the first tournament game. He told me that the position was drawn, but he was afraid that I would continue playing, trying to take advantage of his fatigue. This had never been in my mind, I have too much respect for Vishy to try to win in such a manner. I told him that I don't like to try for a win this way. He appreciated that very much, which gave me a good feeling! Next we spoke about today's game. Anand said that the idea of Bb5xd7, Ne5, Qc2-d3-f3 seemed very strong to him. After Qf3! he saw only one other alternative, ... h5?! According to Anand the ending was very unclear, Rebel's h4? being a clear mistake. Vishy expected Ke2! with the idea of activating the King and to connect the rooks. Now the rook came to c2 and this paralysed White. After this we had to pose for the cameras, after which there was a press conference with Anand and Ed Schroder. Anand told he first wanted to rest and maybe later analysing the games of this match. When asked about a re-match, Anand said that he will have to think about that. So the match ended in a 5-3 victory for Rebel. For me the most important was that Rebel played very interesting chess, all the games were full of tense moments and I think a lot of positions need more analysing to come to a final conclusion. Especially the first tournament game is something to be very proud of. I hope you all liked this match and our coverage. And maybe, maybe more of such events will be organized in the future!
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