Reports | October 29, 2008 19:01

Viswanathan Anand retains world title

Anand Wins World ChampionshipUpdate: video added.
Viswanathan Anand has retained his world title by drawing Vladimir Kramnik in the 11th game of the World Championship match in Bonn, Germany. The final match score is 6?Ǭ?-4?Ǭ? for Anand.

It was a task he had never managed to do before: beating Viswanathan Anand with the black pieces. And after his opponent switched to his long-life weapon 1.e4, Vladimir Kramnik couldn't do it today either. At the press conference the Russian said it was a "difficult day" for him: "It was not easy to prepare for e4 and d4, trying to find forced wins for Black against all these moves."

He was reasonably satisfied with reaching the Najdorf, because "at least we had a game - it was not easy to just get a game". But he managed, although then Kramnik soon had to work on his own, because a few moves after Anand's 6.Bg5 he was out of theory - he actually found 9...Qc5 behind the board.

Black's seemingly anti-positional 12...exf5 was his only chance, Kramnik said, because "otherwise White simply gets very easy play"; he mentioned the standard moves Kb1 and g3 + Bh3, pressing on e6. "So I decided to mess things up." However, Anand reacted very well, calculated very well, and forced a liquidation to an ending that White simply cannot lose. "Miracles happen, but very rare, unfortunately," Kramnik finished his statement about the game.

After the game Anand said he was "happy, but at this point probably more relieved than happy. Obviously it's really nice to just have the title. Vlady was really pushing me in the last few games. With White I was really hoping to have the world championship title in the evening but I wasn't sure, you never know."

With this official and undisputed World Championship, Anand has won every big event that has been organized during his career. In fact, he's the first player to have won a world championship in three different formats. In the year 2000 Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship which was a knockout event, in 2007 he won the World Chess Championship which was a tournament of six players, and now he has won a World Championship match. If he didn't yet belong to the list of great names starting with Steinitz, Lasker and Capablanca, he now sure does - nobody can deny it anymore. After all, today Anand has beaten the man who beat Kasparov.

Thanks to his 11 games in Bonn, Anand is also the new world's number one on the live rating list (for the top ten see the column on the far right) - he shares a virtual rating of 2791 with Topalov but tops the list because of actually having played games in this period.


Today Anand, who will turn 39 on December 11, won the most important prize of his career. It all started in 1983 when he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship with a score of 9/9. He subsequently became the youngest Indian to win the IM title at the age of fifteen, in 1984. One year later he became champion of India and in 1987 he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship. In 1988, at the age of eighteen, he became India's first Grandmaster.

Ever since he won the super tournament of Reggio Emilia in 1991, ahead of Kasparov and Karpov, Anand has been among the world's elite. Among his colleagues he became known as the fastest player in the circuit and this was confirmed by him winning the unofficial world championship of rapid chess many times.

In the year 2000 Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in Tehran after defeating Alexei Shirov in the final. In the same year Garry Kasparov lost his world title to Vladimir Kramnik in London.


In 2002 Ruslan Ponomariov took over the title of FIDE World Champion and in 1995 Anand finished shared second with Peter Svidler at the San Luis World Championship tournament, behind Veselin Topalov. One year later Topalov lost his title against Kramnik, in a match that decided the first undisputed World Championship since 1993.

In September 2007 Anand became World Champion again by winning the FIDE World Championship Tournament held in Mexico City. He finished on 9 / 14 which was a full point ahead of Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand. Kramnik had agreed to participate in this tournament after FIDE had given him the right, if he wouldn't finish first, to automatically challenge the new World Champion.

This eventually resulted in the Anand-Kramnik match held in Bonn 14-29 October, that was dominated by the Indian from the start. After two reasonably quiet games he won twice with Black in games 3 and 5, and then scored another full point in game 6. In the final phase of the match Anand lost his concentration in a few games and even lost game 10, but by easily drawing the 11th game, he reached the unbeatable 6.5 points.


It was Anand's strategy with the Black pieces that decided the match. It's possible that the Indian didn't expect to achieve too much with the White pieces against one of the most solid players in the circuit, and therefore decided to focus the attention on Black. His choice of the sharp Meran positions was a brilliant one and with it he delivered the first major blow in game three. Again under pressure, Kramnik blundered in game 5 and this second blow led to the Russian playing his weakest game, number six, where he lost an ending that he would have drawn in most other situations.

Being 3 points down in a 12-game match is another way of saying: it's just hopeless. But it can only be admired how Kramnik managed to fight back in subsequent games - he finally started to feel confident, finally started to come up with theoretical novelties and simply... finally started to play on his normal level. But it was too late - Anand's narrow escape in game 9 earned him a valuable half point and then for Kramnik it was clearly a mission impossible to score 3 out of 3 against this kind of player.

Anand's victory was based on a combination of excellent preparation and playing almost flawlessly. A deserved champion who has deservedly entered the famous list of World Championship match winners.

Here's the 11th and final game of the match, in which I included some notes by co-editor IM Merijn van Delft as well:

Match score:

Name Nat. Rtg
Anand IND 2783
Kramnik RUS 2772

Here's our playlist of videos. If the game 11 video is not appearing, please remove your "temporary internet files" and / or press (Ctrl-)F5.


(Note that the comments below this article started during our live coverage of the game)

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.


Viji Reddy's picture

ND2 is most apporpiate!@ this jucture!! Correct me please !

DoctorSpock's picture

Very interestingly, Anand is now 17 minutes behind on the clock.

peter's picture

12...exf5 seems to be a novelty compared to Cullip-Le Quang, Oakham 1992. It looks a bit dangerous but hey, that doesn't matter for Kramnik of course. White should also be careful - what a great game already!

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

the prise on f5 is in favor of Black:
13.exf5?! Bxf5

if Anand does not capture on f5, does the closure of the center by kramnil (f5-f6) in his favor.??

It is hard to find a plan here ... the tactics are very present

mihajovics's picture

Computer has a British sense of humour... :)
"12... exf5 Novelty of doubtful advantage" at ChessOK-s live computer annotations

Merijn van Delft's picture

12...exf5?! quit a shocking move! I very much like the solid 13.Kb1! indeed, with comfortable longterm compensation. But Anand's truly amazing 13.De3!? may even be stronger. I put my money on Anand ;-)

DoctorSpock's picture

Black might as well consider playing 13...fxe4 since he already played exf5.

Krishna's picture

it is not fair to cut and paste the commentary of Susan Polgar here.

mihajovics's picture

@ DoctorSpock
Hey, why are you copy-pasting Susan Polgar's comments at
Just curious, no offense.

mihajovics's picture

Qe3? This just doesn't seem right...

erpizn13's picture

Thanks for copying from Susan's blog! I expected some position clearer ;-)

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to ali, 13.Nd5 has a refutation:

13.Nd5 fxe4

Debashish's picture

possible continuation can be exf5 Bxf5 ...Kb1 Be7 ....Qf3 ...can anybody suggest a diff .idea..

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

the prise on f5 is in favor of Black:
13.exf5?! Bxf5

if Anand does not capture on f5, does the closure of the center by kramnil (f5-f4) in his favor.??

It is hard to find a plan here ... the tactics are very present

DoctorSpock's picture

If 13.Re1 Bh6+ 14.Kb1 Be6 and the position is unclear.

erpizn13's picture

weird move 13. Qe3.... more risky than safe?

M R Ali's picture

Qe3 what is the idea here ?

DoctorSpock's picture

13.Qe3 I personally did not expect this move. In addition to clearing the diagonal for this Bishop, the square b6 will be something White would have an eye on.

Willem's picture

Fritz is positive about 13. De3. It makes for instance Td5 possible (unless 13. ... Le6). On the other hand its now easier for black to play ...h5 and ... Lh6.

Karthik's picture

Probably Anand played Qe3 because there is a high chance of draw with forced exchange of pieces

Ruth's picture

Kramnik is finished...

arne's picture

I agree with Merijn, this is definitely a brave attempt by Kramnik, but perhaps a bit too brave against such a player as Anand.

Debashish's picture

can anybody explain why I'm feeling Qe3 is a good move...b6 & d6 are Black's weaknesses...

DoctorSpock's picture

is 14. ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶h5 interesing with the threat of Bh6 ???
15. Qb6 !?

Karthik's picture

There is a possibility , quick exchnage of pieces would lead to a draw ,but i doubt if Kramik plays that line(fxe4 Rd5, Qe6 Nxe4 f5, Nxd6+ Bxd6 , Qxe6 with score 0.00

M R Ali's picture

Nd5 Fe4 Qe4 Qe4 Nf6 + and Ne4 waht you say ?

Bharat's picture

Lots of tactics -- black cannot castle q-side yet -qb6,nd5,bxa6etc; so how does Kramnik stop a white central breakthrough? He has to try and exchange queens

Panos's picture

Qe3!? The game is becoming very sharp. I predict they will get into time pressure.

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

is 14. ...h5 interesing with the threat of Bh6 ???

Shiv GAur's picture

@ Dr.Spock,

Why shamelessly copying and pasting not only fro Susan's but also from this site!! Go and take star hike!

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to Ali,
nice variation Nd5 Fe4 Qe4 Qe4 Nf6 + .

and then Nxe4 Kc7 :
Kramnik knight would be go to e5 (strong) + he has weak structure of pwans + the pair of bishops... a very complicated position .. it is very dynamic ...

muralinath's picture

kramnik will play Be7

Bharat's picture

I feel h5 (popuscu) is too dangerous --after Kb1 black is stuck -- bh6 is a waste of time with Kb1 and makes Qb6 really dangerous -- I agree with doctorspock that Black has to logically play fxe4 and hope for the best

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to DoctorSpock,
I considred 5. Qb6 !?. This move would paralyse Kramnik pieces..

KK's picture

"Black is not so comfortable as Polgar suggests: White tends to have the safer king and white square pressure, which adds up to the famous +="

What exactly does that "+=" mean? Sorry if this is a really dumb question. Does it mean, like in C programming, "greater than or equal to" or something else?


Tom's picture

I think the idea of Qe3 is to threaten Rd5 or Nd5, and maybe Bc4. All of which can be prevented by Be6, except this allows the dangerous-looking Qb6.

M R Ali's picture

who is leading in time ?

mihajovics's picture

Yes, I agree. I didn't get it, but it seems as if black doesn't go into exchanges, it is simply bad for him, but if he does go into exchanges, the draw is more probable...
Rybka thinks:
13... fxe4 14. Rd5 Qe6 15. Nd4 Nxd4 16. Qxd4 Bg7 17. Rxd6 Qe7 18. Qxe4 Qxe4 19. Nxe4
with +0.13

Tom's picture

PS. += ('plus equals') means white is 'slightly better'. (=+ means black is slightly better and so on: +/- is a clear advantage, +- a winning one, = an equal position (although not necessarily drawn.) The infinity sign means 'unclear' but has somewhat gone out of use in this computerized age.)

DoctorSpock's picture

Kramnik is taking his time.
Understandingly so. He has a tough decision to make. What should he play? Take on e4? Bd7, Be6, Ng7, or h5? The dynamics of the game will change quite a bit with these choices.

robinson's picture

kramnik is winning, 13h5 with plan Bh6 or13f4 with plan f5 and Rg8, this time kramnik will usee g file. no castling

Karthik's picture

Rybka says fxe4 is the best option for black which would lead to a draw , all other moves give good advantage to white. Kramnik has a lot think , luckily i am karthik not kramnik

mihajovics's picture

Bg7, now thats a suprise!

Mrt's picture

+= means white is slightly better.

Bharat's picture

One simple line is fxe4 bc4be3 bxe3 fxe3 nxe4 where white has enough for the pawn because blacks king position is so compromised. Anyway, I predict fxe4 followed by a development of the f1 bishop the next move -- fxe4 rd5 is also fine but less exciting for white

Ravi B's picture

This game is too complicated, and it the positional advantages for both players are almost NIL. with 1 percentage point for BLACK.
This is headed for a draw, unless Time Pressure >> Blunder by either!
Polgar Blog is mediocre. & Sounds too political.

parag's picture

I think Kramnik is planning for attack on King, with lot of risks, after clearing the central pawns ...

Karthik's picture

Anand seems to have good advantage with Nd2, Again Bg7 was commpletely unexpected may be Kramnik dares to castle kingside

DoctorSpock's picture

What's Rybka's assessment after 13. ..., Bg7?

mihajovics's picture

@Ravi B
Yeah, it is mediocore, to say the least. And as someone mentioned somewhere "hideously self-adoring". Couldn't have said it any better.


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