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.


Vijayendra's picture

At the same time Black's Bishop, Queen & Rook at c8 are waiting like hawks

Karthik's picture

Anand is playing the right moves its advantage Anand

M R Ali's picture

in place of Kb1 Bc4 was interesing

mihajovics's picture

Oh, crap... Kramnik can't win this any more, white is just clearly better, well not winning perhaps, but better. The best is a draw for black I guess...

MG42's picture

Thanks Popuscu. Good point. I'm just a beginner, so I don't think deep. :)
They are playing very fast now. What is the time for each? Why did Anand prefer Kb1 to Bd3?

Bill's picture

17....f5? was a blunder
17...Be6!? was way better try to keep his Bishop in the game
light Bishop was a good attacking (a2-g8) and defencing piece

Wrong Rook's picture

Kramnik is lost..Bd3 and Qf5 or Rf5 is curtains...Where is black's counterplay?

JasonKid's picture

Okay, but he is still a lot better.

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

Now at the 20th move the tension has dramatically diminushed.

Thanks Vijayendra is there any chapati???

Wrong Rook's picture

maybe c3 and then Bd3-Rf5 and Rf1 slaughtering the poor black king on f8!!

MG42's picture

If he had Kc1 then he could have bought the Rd1 and chased away the queen. The black queen does not seem to have a nice spot on the board.

Karthik's picture

At the best kramnik can hope for a draw ; with some forced exchanges with Nc1 Qb4, Nd3 Qxf4, Nxf4.

robinson's picture

i am correct to say that kramnik will not castle, now black has penetrated to whites territory

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to MG42,
you can follow the game with the clock monitoring here :

Vijayendra's picture

Sure welcome to India. How do you manage to tell long variations. Small tactic problems are ok for me but not positional stuff. Kramnik played Qe1+ whats your comment?

MG42's picture

Continuing the same idea I had, Anand needs g3 to free his back rank pieces and bring out the heavy weapons (Rook) into action.

Wrong Rook's picture

and now the threat is Rf5 and if Nd8 Bc4 and Qd6+ +-!!

JasonKid's picture

Kramnik has a lor of problems right here.
Perhaps he can still draw if he plays perfect moves.
I don't believe anybody can win such a position against a beast like Anand.

mihajovics's picture

How to defend against Nb5? It shouldn't be OK, because Rybka says +046 and 21... Qb4 22. Nd3 Qxf4 23. Nxf4 Be5 24. Nd3
But I don't understand. Anyone, some help?

mihajovics's picture

sorry, Nb4

Wrong Rook's picture

Bye Bye Kramnik!!nice to watch you play!!

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to robinson,
Ok you got right.
But at the middle game there were many planes: some of them requires casteling even (long or short) and some of them does not require casteling...

Look, Kramnik's king is slightly out of danger because he is a dark square and anand has got just the light square bishop.

robinson's picture

this is a familiar position (sicilian najdorf) for kramnik. three of white pieces are tied down. black can play Ne7 then Be5 or Qd1 with target square c2 and b2. (liporov)

MG42's picture

Polgar says Ne7, but why not a more aggressive Nb4?

Panos's picture

Qd2! Now after the forced exchange white will press to win the endgame without risk.

JasonKid's picture

Why does Anand offer the exchange of queens?

Karthik's picture

kramnik would have better playing Qb4 , now white has a good advantage of 0.62 with Qd2

robinson's picture

robinson(Saudi Arabia)

Ne7 is correct. now what kranmik plan is to fully utilize his pieces at the maximum
pressure he can give to anand. frowrd the two pawns at the a and b file.

KK's picture

"Why does Anand offer the exchange of queens?"

Not offer, but force (otherwise checkmate). I think exchange to simplify and go for draw at the minimum instead of complicated position where one mistake can lose the game as they are both short of time.

Willem's picture

24. ... Le3 and 25. ... f4=

Popuscu (Bulgaria)'s picture

to MG42 21. ...Nb4 is a very big blunder:

21. ... Nb4? 22.Be2! Qxh1 23.Qxb4+ Ke8

The Black king will be matted in the center, the Black queen is out of play on h1.

anon's picture

isn't this a draw?

robinson's picture

now this time kramnik can bring his king closer to the center at this situation of ending ...knght (black) vs bishop(white)

Panos's picture

Kramnik is worse now, maybe he will offer a draw considering the match situation.

MorpH's picture

Wasn't 22. Qc7 a win for Anand - or have I missed something?

DoctorSpock's picture

Draw. It's all over now !!!

MG42's picture

Anand remains world champ! Congrats!

MorpH's picture

Wasn't 22.Qc7 a win for Anand - or have I missed something?

Suneet's picture


Hail the Champion!


Krishna's picture

wow! Anand is the WC !!

Shiv GAur's picture

Yoo Hoo! We r d champions! Way to go Anand!!

Karthik's picture

Congrats Anand .

Postma's picture

Not 22 Dc7, then Dxc1 and Lh6check

Willem's picture

22. Dc7? Lxb2! (or Lh6 or Dxc1) -+

Satish's picture

It's all over, Well Played Kramnik, Make way for the king (Anand). Long live the King.


J1's picture

congrats, Vishy. I knew you'd crush him today.

Beautiful win!

hansie's picture

Hail Anand!!! The 15th World Champion!!!!

roy's picture

congratulations ANAND

Evi's picture

Congrats, Anand!!

satish's picture

It's all over, Well Played Kramnik, Make way for the King(Anand). Long live the King.



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