Reports | October 16, 2008 3:38

World Championship: second game also drawn

Anand-Kramnik Game 2 drawn as wellUpdate: press conference video added
In the second game of the World Championship Match Viswanathan Anand started with 1.d4 and in a very complicated Nimzo-Indian the players agreed on another draw at move 32. We have photos and the game with comments - a video with the press conference will follow later.

The second day here at the Art & Exhibition Hall was much less hectic than yesterday. It's logical that all media that are remotely interested want at least to cover the start of such an important match, and in that sense a second game is of course much less important. However, apart from feeling slightly less nervous perhaps, it doesn't really make a difference for the players if they're entering the beautiful stage and take their seats under the theater spotlight to begin their first, second or seventh game - it's all part of the big match that's so very important for both players.

About half an hour before the start of the game, the familiar opening guessing started in the press room, and probably in many places elsewhere:
- "What do you think, a Petroff?"
- "Yeah, sure, probably a quick draw again."
- "Not but that's too obvious, Kramnik will have prepared something else, like against Kasparov."
- "Or maybe Anand won't even go for 1.e4; he's played 1.d4 a few times, right?"

And then everybody went downstars to witness the start of the second game, and it turned out that the last person was right.


Anand has played 1.d4 and Kramnik goes for a Nimzo-Indian

Like yesterday we're happy to present IM Merijn van Delft again, who has followed the game during the day here in Bonn and shares his thoughts of game 2:

Name Nat. Rtg
Anand IND 2783
Kramnik RUS 2772


The setting on stage, where the players spend so many thrilling hours


Sponsor logos are everywhere, perhaps even at the bottom of the pieces!


A World Championship Chair


Reigning World Champion playing with the white pieces...


...against Vladimir Kramnik with Black this time


3...Bb4 - an Nimzo is on the menu today


A lot of photographers, you think? Well, just about 1/4 of those who were there yesterday!


An old line from the Nimzo-Indian S?ɬ§misch Variation leading to a complicated, queenless middlegame


Look who paid a visit to the press room today: Kramnik's seconds Peter Leko...


...Laurent Fressinet...


...and Sergei Rublevsky, who turned 34 today


At the press conference the players discussed some lines with GMs present in the audience

Here's our playlist of videos. A video of the second game press conference will be added as soon as possible.


Share |
Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Pure Logic's picture

John: If Anand/Kramnik had 2.5 hours for the 40 moves (as Fisher had), I'm sure they would have played further than the 32 moves. But they didn't: they had only 2 hours and they were both in new territory very early on. The problem was that the position was too complex and time was short, and so Anand did not take chances. Fisher is not a fan of making inaccurate blitz moves to make time control - that's why Fisher suggested a new type of clock that he thought would prevent the scramble to make time control. If Fisher saw this draw he would have said that they need more time, not that they should scramble and make inaccurate moves.

luis's picture

Well, I was disapointed with the draw, at least at the time when it was suggested.
And, agree until a certain point wit the previous criticisms on this draw offer.
But, if you think about this as also a fight of personalities, i would say that
Kramnik's draw offer was the best "move" in the game since, as Vassillios said,
it gave Anand a crucial dilemma.

Rubinstein's picture

You are talking rubbish Vassilios. Kramnik did nothing wrong in a moral sense.
Theres is absolutely nothing wrong wih making a draw offer in your opponents time trouble. If You keep on making draw offers then its a different storry.

luis's picture

As I said, a good "move"!

Ricardo's picture

I agree with Pure Logic. And in my opinion, considering the small percentage of decisive games in matches at this level, Anand didn't do anything wrong accepting the draw offer. Why risk the game, and possibly the match, if the position is complicated and you don't have enough time to assess it correctly? There are still plenty of games to be played.

goldaxe's picture

Everyone is saying Anand was much better/missed a big chance etc.

But does anyone have any improvements or analysis?

Bill M's picture

Maybe Vassilios is talking rubbish, but his remark does remind us that a draw offer may be used not only to seek peace but also to provoke and intensify the struggle and to test the confidence and will of the opponent. The real intention behind Kramnik's draw offer in game two is not clear.

peter's picture

Vassilios certainly has a point. The existence of the draw might well be one of the most important reasons why it's so difficult to get a bigger audience interested in the game. He formulated it quite radically and then obvious a lot of people won't agree with him.

Theo's picture

Draw is a normal part of the game of Chess. Many draws are a much harder fight than some wins by 1 or 2 move blunders!

If public don't like that, they should go watch football or something else that they like.

Christos (Greece)'s picture

This is not the first time Kramnik offers a draw in this way.
I think Kramnik, who is an expert in drawing games, has also mastered the art of offering draws. His draw offers come at unusual moments, for example often when he is Black, he has (or had) a slightly inferior position and his offer implies "ok, I have equalized now", but it can also imply "now is your chance for a draw, because afterwards I might play for a win".
In his match against Kasparov he offered the draw twice in the inferior position of the endgame (games 3 and 8, both times it was a draw, but normally he should have waited for Kasparov to offer).
Actually I remember some years ago in a super tournament he was black against Anand and the following happened: (I remember it only vaguely)
Kramnik offers a draw.
Anand plays a move and offers a draw(!).
Kramnik: "But you are already being offered a draw".
Anand:"Yes, but since I am playing white, I should be the one who offers the draw" (!)
And of course Topalov accused him of an "unethical" draw offer in 2006, because Topalov believed he had a better position and because Kramnik was leading 2-0 in the match.

peter's picture

Well, I just prefer that position being played until at least the time control over some draw offer psychology.

Mark's picture

Pure logic, I've deeply enjoyed your insightful comments :-)

I agree that a slightly slower rate of play would increase the quality of games, but in an age where adjournments are no longer an option, the current limit of some 7 or 8 hours of play cannot be pushed any further without harming the players' health and ability to stay concentrated. So why not adopt a rate of 1:30 for 40 moves, 0:30 for 20 moves and 0:30 for the rest of the game, but with a 45 second increment from move 1 ? This wouldn't make the games significantly longer or shorter, but it would avoid extreme cases of time trouble (which can get much worse than in game 2, by the way) and discourage timetrouble-related draw offers.

Matches of 16 or 20 games would also be better than 12, even if this means we have to accept a few more draws in between brilliant games (think of the Karpov-Kasparov matches).

And last but not least, an undecided outcome should lead to a rematch. I could still live with a rapid tiebreak, but blitz games and especially a sudden death game don't have that much in common with classical chess.

Mark's picture

Let there be larger audiences for televised rapid and blitz events, take chess to every primary school, but please don't make boxers of such fine minds as Kramnik's and Anand's, and if possible show the sponsors in a less sexist and more interesting way than by having 4 girls smile silently during some 15 consecutive press conferences.

Why does chess have to be reduced to a sport, a science, an art, an educational tool or a game when it is exactly the combination of all this that makes it unique ? (Of course I understand that you focus on its sporting aspect.)

I agree with you that many draws are a much harder fight than some wins by 1 or 2 move blunders. Let organizers be free to invite whom they want and to give higher money prizes for a win, but let's not distort the scoring system by imitating football.

Vassilios's picture

Hello, I am a GM and would like to express my opinion regarding draws.
I think that draw offers should be banned at chess. You can disturb your opponents concentation with them, he can disturb yours, particularly when you are in time trouble. It is bad for spectators, sponsors, everyone.
There are some ramifications that should be made regarding the 50 move rule, it should be extended in some cases, decreased in others, so more chesswise arbiters and regulations are required.
I think Kramnik's draw offer belongs to the category of particularly disturbing draw offers and he took advantage of the stupid chess rules to present Anand with a crucial dilemma. Indeed, from my own experience it is very hard for the recipient of the draw offer to recover and readjust to the chess situation when he is in time pressure.The fact that Anand accepted the draw should not drive us to the conclusion that Kramnik's gesture is justifiable in a moral sense. He just took advantage of the existing stupid rules, it is as simple as that.
Many people say that chess is a tiring sport and that draws are needed as a conservation of energy. I would say to them: If you don't have stamina, do something else. Chess is above else a sport, and we should finally see its best side.

R.Mutt's picture

John - I got your point, it's just that I was amused by the fact that you used Fischer as an example of a player who didn't "walk away" - figuratively - when that is exactly what he did so often - literally: the Reshevsky-Fischer match, Sousse 1967, Spassky-Fischer game 2, not to mention the Fischer-Karpov match.

R.Mutt's picture

John: "...chess is the only sport that, at a crucial and interesting point, the players just walk away. Say what you want about Fischer, he was crazy, nuts, psychotic, etc. But this game 2 is a disgrace to what Fischer tried to bring to chess: a fierce, take-no-prisoners competition..."

You mean like the game 2 in his WC match? Talk about players just walking away...

John's picture

R. Mutt: my post was not meant to be a blanket defense of Fischer, i thought i pointed that out. Look at the 20 games of that 1972 match. How many draws in a complex position do you see agreed to? I'll tell you in case you werent alive at the time: ZERO. Sure there were draws, but all of them were fought to the known conclusion..

Lajos Arpad's picture

Mark: You speak out of my heart! I totally agree with your thoughts!

Rubinstein's picture

Kramnik is not going to play the Exchange slav again.

arne's picture

Kramnik makes a pretty confident impression. He's not afraid to sacrifice material for the initiative, even when his opponent surprised him in the opening. Anand on the other hand looked a bit feeble; that fact that he was actually better in this game but still accepted a draw, seems to confirm this. I think Anand will switch to 1.e4 pretty soon.

franciscus's picture

Sinds dat "achtelijke vertaal engels kom ik hier zelden meer.
Ooit was dit een goede site..jammer.

neil's picture

annand's 2nd game opening choice was suspiciously carlsenesque; anti-computer- bishop pair, safe long-term positional advantage approach

xtra's picture

I agree with Arne, 1.d4 is a good choice against kramnik but it wont do anand any good if he is so uncomfortable with the positions that he has to spend too much time finding the right plans. (if that was indeed the could also be that he is simply not in his greatest form. but in that case playing systems you know well is probably also to great help.)

@nony, I dont think 25 years old makes you a kid...he was a "young man" in 1995.

Deepak's picture

Anand will win the World Championship

A Viswa's picture

It is time for the Russian establishment to move aside. Time for changes, new light, new times. Go Anand!

Max's picture

Once in a while i look at the girls when bored with the analysis discussed by the GMs to refresh my mind. Good idea to put them there to neutralized the views.

luis's picture

In general, people have been criticizing Anand for accepting the draw offer.
However, I am not sure that is correct.
It appears to me that at the time of the peace offer, Kramnik was going up
and Anant had already seen that he was not as good as he thought he was.
I have no guess of what would happened if they have played the reaming 8 moves until time control.

Pure Logic's picture

Actually, it was pretty simple what happened. Anand had a better position when he accepted the draw. However, he had little time on his clock and to win from that position he would have to navigate some very complicated variations against one of the best players in the world. Kramnik had more time on his clock and he had been able to find some interesting defensive resources, but if Anand played accurately till he reached time control, Kramink could be in big trouble. So, from both sides draw was a good option since they are not yet desperate to win.

I think those who think Anand's accepting a draw shows some kind of weakness are not looking at things logically and objectively. When Kramnik did Nd7 instead of 0-0, the game was most likely out of Anand's preparation. BTW, if the game had followed Anand's preparation, there was no chance in hell Anand would be in time trouble. So obviously both of them were dealing with a completely new situation on the board - OK Anand had slight advantage because he got the ball rolling with d4 and later f3. I think the correct way to look at the game is that both are equally matched with a slight edge to Anand because he had the guts to go into completely new territory and was able to obtain a superior position. Kramnik needs to step up in the next game and come up with something more than what he did in the first game. If all of his white games are going to be like the first, then it is pretty clear that Anand is going to win this championship.

xtra's picture

yes in a sense you are correct, "Pure Logic". But you seem to think that it is likely many more of anands white games will look like this. Why? The main point among those that say Anand should have played on is that he missed an important opportunity, *because* he might not get many of those unclear tactical positions. he only has 5 more white games, it really isnt that much. suppose anand loses one black game, then he needs to win two white (I think you?Ǭ¥d have to realisticly calculate the match like that). then if Kramnik, "prepared to the teeth", manages to equalize in four of his black games, it will be a draw, maybe a loss if Anand didnt manage to win the white where he had an advantage,

but no one is (correctly) saying that he was -stupid- to accept the draw offer, just mildly asking what he expects from this match, and consider how this draw and way of play affects his chances.

dave's picture

Anand played a great opening, but needs to bring home the bacon when he gets such positions, or he won't win this match. Had the positions been reversed, I believe Kramnik could well have squeezed out a win.

John's picture

Ya know, these players need to grow some you-know-what. Play for a darned win. It's a disgrace that chess is the only sport that, at a crucial and interesting point, the players just walk away.
Say what you want about Fischer, he was crazy, nuts, psychotic, etc. But this game 2 is a disgrace to what Fischer tried to bring to chess: a fierce, take-no-prisoners competition. To a slightly lesser extent, Kasparov did too. Perhaps that's why THOSE guys are better than these guys.
Make up all the excuses you want: time trouble, "why take chances" (geez, why are you even playing the game if yo don't want to take chances), play-it-safe, but the plain fact is such games should be required to be played to conclusion.

Ark's picture

terrible terrible Anand, not many pple get such chances against Kramnik and let it slip

Tyche's picture

Not all draws are equal, especially in a World championship match. This draw is more of a victory to Kramnik than the first draw was to Anand. In my opinion, this draw is a harbinger of bad outcome for Anand. Kramnik clearly showed a great deal of fight by playing sharp moves (e.g. 21. ... Ndf6), inspite of the surprise choice of 1.d4 employed by Anand. Also, the fact that Anand was running into time trouble towards the end is indicative of his weak nerves.

noyb's picture

There are still 10 games to go, so it's too soon to say for certain what game 2 means. It is interesting that Anand is obviously prepared to try some unusual things to win, but Kramnik is equal to that task. Hard to say what may happen in such a short match. Makes me think of Fischer's point that someone may get lucky in a short match; better to test who's the stronger player in a long match.

nony's picture

I think Kram did well as Black, but the fact is that Anand got him in a tight spot and even a small mistake would have been fatal for Kramnik. Anand is mentally very tough (in 1995 against Kasparov he was still a kid, but this is a much older, much tougher Anand). Anand has won many tournaments in which he lost a game only to bounce back later. As long as Anand keeps pushing Kramnik and getting Kramnik into these tight spots, sooner or later he will make a breakthrough. Kramnik on the other hand still has to show that he can get Anand into a tight spot. Anand seemed to have a pretty easy time in the first game. If that's the kind of stuff Kramnik is going to play with White, he's in big trouble.

Bartleby's picture

The girls stand where in lesser tournaments a demo board used to be...

Bartleby's picture

Logically and objectively, since the over-all probability of the outcome was almost certainly not exactly 50:50, to agree to the draw must have been a mistake for one of them.
Of course, human beings know fear, and like to have complete control, and it's understandable neither wanted to take the risk of losing by the lottery of time-trouble in such an important event. But objective logic says one of them should have played on.

arne's picture

Well peter, who cares about a 'bigger audience' if it can't even grasp the logic and the exciting psychological nuances of draw offers? In my opinion, chess does not need such an uneducated audience.
I've always liked draw offers: the subtle mind games remind me of boxing, or indeed of any individual game of any importance where psychology is important. A well-times draw offer can break any chess player, especially in matches. As long as it's according to the most basic code of ethics, isn't it just wonderful that we can enjoy these little 'battles' off the board? Aren't these little details, in fact, the reason why matches are so exciting?

sjef's picture

Wat zit Kramnik daar relax bij de persconferentie zeg! Ik heb hem nog nooit zo humoristisch gezien. Eerder ook al. Na die eerste partij zei die op een vraag wat ie die avond ging doen: going to have a party!!!!!!!!!!!! Schitterend schitterend Go Kramnik!!!!

Latest articles