Viswanathan Anand vs. Alexei Shirov – 2011 Masters Tournament – Rounds 1 & 2
About the Match and Players
The 24th Magistral Ciudad de Leon is taking place June 2-6, with Spanish #1 Alexei Shirov taking on current World Champion Viswanathan Anand (India). While Anand’s FIDE rating is 100 points higher, Shirov is in great shape having just won the recent 3rd International Grandmaster’s Tournament in Lublin, Poland. Shirov is one of my favorite players ever, as he always manages to steer games into extremely complicated tactical slugfests. His style is reminiscent of the late, Great Mikhail Tal as he is never shy to intuitively sacrifice a piece to achieve an unclear, dynamic imbalance. However, Anand is the current World Champion and highest rated player – a very tough opponent as his balanced style enables him to forcefully attack or resourcefully defend. The time control for this exhibition match is 40 minutes + a 30 second increment from move one. My prediction for the final match score is Anand winning outright with 2 wins and 4 draws (4/6 points).
Watch the Chess Video – Game #1 – Draw
Game Description: 24th Masters Tournament, Leon 2011: June 3rd – 5th in Cuidad de Leon, Spain. Time control is 40 minutes + 30 second increment. Shirov opens with e4 and Anand responds with the Caro-Kann. Shirov plays a topical line involving 4. Nf3 and 5. Be2, and Anand answers with 6. …c5 and the interesting maneuver 7. Nec6 to attack white’s center. Shirov attempts to deviate from well-known territory by playing 8. Bg5, however he is unable to achieve an advantage. Shirov calmly completes his development, safeguards his king, and begins chipping away at white’s central pawn on e5 and knight on d6. White attempts to complicate the position with 17. h3 and 18. g4, however black is easily able to prove White’s attack to be superficial. With solid defense by the current World Champion Anand, a draw is agreed on move 39.
Watch the Chess Video – Game #2 – Anand Wins
Anand vs Shirov – 24th Masters Tournament in Ciudad de Leon, Spain: Game 2 – Anand opens with d4 and is greeted by the Queen’s Gambit Accepted by Shirov as black. This opening is extremely dangerous for both sides, and the overall evaluation has constantly flip-flopped from the beginning. The use of computer can be misleading, as positional factors are often more important than material considerations. Shirov mis-steps with the novelty 11. Nh5?!, and commits a downright blunder with 13. Qb6?? – removing the queen as a defender of the black king. Anand immediately capitalizes on this error with series of forceful moves and never looks back. A fantastic game by Anand, the current World Champion showing his class by seizing the initiative and forcefully punishing the inaccurate mistakes of his opponent.