Bareev Heart 

3/27/2005 -    
I saw the movie Brave Heart recently. It was about William Wallace a 13-century warrior who led his countrymen to over throw English rule. What kind of man would defy a king? Only a brave one can. What kind of player can defy Anand in rapid chess? Only the Brave or the Bareev can defy Anand at rapid/blitz. Vishy Anand cut through the first 5 rounds of Amber like a hot knife through butter. He won 8 out of 10 games with two draws. He took both games from Shirov, Vallejo Pons, and Topalov, the last man to defeat the retired Garry Kasparov. Anand even took a game from the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, and one from Ivanchuk.

    The Indian express was cruising along fine, however it would slow down when it ran into Morozevich in the 6th round. Alexander Morozevich gave Anand all he could handle in their blindfold game.  Lets recall at the 2004 Amber Tournament, Morozevich won both of his games against Anand. In round 7 the Indian Express picked up Evgeny Bareev.

      In the early 1990s, Evgeny was the 3rd rated player in the world, behind Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.  Anand and Bareevís round-7 blindfold game ended in a 26-move draw. In the rapid game Anand would have the white pieces. Lets recall that Anand is the rapid world champion. He won that honor by defeating Vladimir Kramnik in the finals at Cap deí Age in late 2003. 

Today, Anand is peerless in rapid/blitz chess.  Since more and more chess is played at rapid speed, Anand wants FIDE to change the rating system to incorporate these games into the rating calculation.  Clearly Anand is in the hut for the 2800-rating barrier.  Only two men in the history of the game have broken this barrier. Both the 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov and the 14th   World Champion Vladimir Kramnik have broken it. What kind of man would defy a king? I think that in order to take a full point from Anand you must defeat him 3 times, once in the opening, middle and endgame phases of the game.

     Bareev and Anand debated the Caro-Kann defense. By move 14 both sides had castled queenside. By move 19 Anand had a space advantage by virtue of his e4 pawn. Bareevís pawns had not past his third rank, however his pieces were well placed. Bareev would take Anandís 4th rank pawn and replace it with one of his own. This pawn would prove to be Anandís Achilles heal. With the next move, it would be Bareev who would grab the lead in space. He took away Anandís space advantage and grabbed it for himself with his freeing move 20..c5. This move allowed Bareev to free his game and establish his own pawn on the 4th rank, however it came at some expense.  In chess pawn moves create weakness, with 20 ..c5 Bareev king shelter became less secure. However it allowed him to free his game and grab some space for his own. Bareev snatched Anandís d4 pawn with 21..cxd4. Anand responds by bringing his rook into play with 22. Rxd4. Bareev completed the space grab with 22..e5, thus winning the opening phase of the game. 

    Anand went on the offensive, with his rook-lifting move 25 Rh4.  With his queen on f3, rooks on d3 and h4, and a c4-knight, Anand was poised to storm Bareevís weakened barricade.

    With aggressive military operations, assaults are sustained when the attacking army is properly supplied. If the communication or supply lines are severed, an attack can fail horribly.

    While trying to triple  up on Bareevís b7-pawn, Anand miscalculated when he played 26 Na5.  Anandís plan was to take advantage of Bareevís over worked queen, however Anand failed to appreciate his opponents space advantage. He failed to see the e4 push coming. This aggressive pawn advance disrupted Anandís supply and communication lines.  It also put Anandís queen under direct attack.  With his a5-knight now hanging and under attack, Anand needed to undertake aggressive, desperate actions. With move 26.. e4, Bareev won the middle game battle against Anand.

    Rather than allow his attack to dissipate, Anand sacrificed his rook with 27.Rxe4.  Bareev quickly grabbed up the rook with 27..Rxe4 and with it a significant lead in material. Anand was now committed to a desperate full blow attack. Anand traded his a5-knight and b3-rook for his opponent's b7-pawn and queen.  Anand was hoping his intact queenside pawns and his opponent's dangerously exposed king would be enough to hold the position. 

Bareev realizing the danger quickly regrouped his pieces. The game evolved into a  battle of Bareevís 2 rooks and 2 minor pieces against Anandís queen, bishop and queenside pawns. By move 53 the bishops came off the board. Anand queen was out number 3 to 1. Bareevís rooks and knight were perfectly placed and control the board   With move 53.. Rdb5 Bareev would double both rooks on the b-file. 

   With his rook-battery bearing down the b-file, Bareev would force the rooks and queen off the board and trade down to a winning endgame.  When the smoke cleared it became a battle of Bareevís blocked a-pawn and knight against Anandís two isolated pawns.  Bareev completed his hat trick and took home the full point from Anand.

      As far as the reasons for Anandís loss today, I think it can be attributed to several things: The brave play of Bareev, Anand being over confident with a commanding lead in the tournament, but lastly it might be due to the Hangin song parody curse.  I recently wrote and recorded the Anand steamroller song, the next day Anand loses. The same think happened to Peter Leko during his world championship match against Kramnik. I wrote the Leko song, then Leko lost the final game and with it the world championship title. I think itís too early to tell if the Hangin song parody curse is real or not.

Replay the game - Anand vs. Bareev round 7 rapid
Amber Tournament report
Anand's quest for 2800-plateau
Hangin's Anand Steamroller song 
Anand vs. Morozevich round 6 blindfold
More on Vishy Anand from Chess Reporter
Hangin's Leko song
The Brave Heart movie