Vishy Anand beats Ian Nepomniachtchi in 17 moves | Online Nations Cup Day 3
The FIDE chess. com online nations cup saw humans trumping the machines (at least the weak ones!) as Vishy Anand unleashed a powerful mating attack against Ian Nepomniachtchi, which the computers were unable to understand for a few minutes! Turns out this was Vishy's preparation not just before the game, but from ten years ago when he was playing a World Championship match! Anand managed to beat Nepo in a mere 17-move miniature. The Indian team however, remains winless at the event as we drew our match against Russia and lost to the USA. China is simply unstoppable at the top with 11/12. A detailed round three report.
Vishy Anand's performance at the Online Nations Cup in the first four rounds had been very solid. He had drawn his games against Nakamura, Radjabov, MVL and Ding Liren. Yet, when it comes to Vishy, everyone expects him to win games! And so after four draws, there were talks of Anand having lost his edge and the Madras Tiger unable to hunt anymore! Well, as always Vishy let his chess do the talking and in round five he beat Ian Nepomniachtchi in just 17 moves! Nepo has always been an uncomfortable opponent for Vishy and this win against the Russian is going to do Anand's confidence a world of good in future events as well. Let's have a look at the game!
Anand vs Nepo, Round 5
Believe it or not, but this is already a novelty. White has dabbled in the past with Bc4 (instead of Nf3), the latest example being Giri playing it against MVL at the Candidates 2020. Nepo has also played this line against Tomashevsky in 2018. However, to Bc4 Black has the powerful response ...b5! So Vishy just develops his knight and sees what Black has up his sleeve.
Some facts about this move f5!!
1. Anand had prepared it for one of his World Championship Matches ten years ago! However, he did not remember it. His former second Wojtaszek informed him about it after the game.
2. As Anand was commentating on the Candidates 2020 for chess .com he was aware of this line in general because of the game between Giri and MVL.
3. His second Gajewski had sent him notes on this line before the game and Anand had gone through it carefully and this trap was fresh in his mind.
4. Anand has won many games using his leftover World Championship preparation. The best example was Aronian vs Anand from Wijk Aan Zee, 2013. According to Vishy this was not such a deep preparation and was just a blunder on Nepo's part.
Check out this video on chess. com for an interview with Vishy Anand towards the end.
In spite of Anand's miniature win against Nepo, India could not beat Russia. Adhiban managed to hold Karjakin on board three to a draw. Harika played her first game against Olga Girya and also managed a solid draw with the black pieces. It was now on Harikrishna's shoulders to hold his inferior position against Vladislav Artemiev. Hari fought with all his might and was extremely close to a draw. In the end he lost the game due to a mouse slip.
Artemiev vs Harikrishna, Round 6
Harikrishna was extremely close to a draw and touched his knight on f3 to give Ne1+. However, his mouse slipped and he played Nd2 which left the rook on c2 en-prise and White won the game. The mouse slip not only cost Hari the game, but also a match point to India. If Harikrishna had managed to draw the game, India would have won the match by a score of 2.5-1.5. In the end it was a draw with 2-2.
Round 6: India vs USA
USA with Hikaru Nakamura on board one, Fabiano Caruana on board two, Wesley So on board three is a really strong team. If there is any chink in their armour it is on their fourth (women's board). Humpy was facing Irina Krush. India decided to give Harikrishna a rest for the round and the two youngsters Vidit and Adhiban placed themselves on board two and three respectively against Caruana and So. Anand took on Nakamura. Things began looking very positive for team India when Vishy got an excellent position against Nakamura.
Nakamura vs Anand, Round 6
Vidit had a very pleasant advantage against Caruana which he converted into an extra pawn. The technical phase of the game was not well executed by Vidit and the game ended in a draw. Adhiban played in his typical aggressive style, but against a player of Wesley So's calibre it did not work. India was already 2-1 down. The country was expecting another miracle win from Humpy, but it was not to be. Irina Krush held her fort staunchly and in the end it was Humpy who had make several accurate moves to get the half point.
USA beat India with a score of 2.5-1.5