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“Everyone has their nemesis. For me it was clearly Kasparov. I don’t think I want to make excuses for that” – Viswanathan Anand.
Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand had some insane battles back in the 1990s as Kasparov was at the height of his power and Anand was explosively shooting up the ranks to challenge for the title of world chess champion. While he did face Garry Kasparov in the World Chess Championship in 1995, Vishy Anand would have to wait until after Kasparov retired to finally claim the title in 2007, beating the man who beat Kasaparov: Vladimir Kramnik.
While Garry was still around, however, Anand had a tough time in their personal battles. Considering the close relative strength of the 2 players, you’d expect honors to be close to even. But they weren’t. Decisive games: 16 Garry Kasparov vs Viswanathan Anand 4. Kasparov won 80% of their decisive classical games, a record that shows how great his psychological edge was over Anand.
A marked feature of the Kasparov vs Anand matches was the clashing of two iron-willed competitors. Both Kasparov and Anand have playing styles distinguished by dynamic attacks and energetic piece play. At the time of this game in 1996, Vishy Anand was one of the few players in the world who dared open with 1.e4 against Kasparov, with most players simply too scared to play against Kasparov´s pet weapon against 1.e4 – the Sicilian Najdorf!
With Vishy Anand playing White in the Kasparov vs Anand mini-match in the final of the Grand Prix, he wanted to win and opened 1.e4. We get a Sicilian Defense, Najdorf variation and Anand opts for the English Attack with 6.Be3.
Interestingly, Kasparov goes for the “anti-English Attack” 6…Ng4, chases Anand’s bishop a little bit then expands on the kingside with h6, g5 then h5.
Soon we have a blocked position, level material with Kasparov having the bishop pair but his light-squared bishop being horribly restricted by his pawns. However, the entire long diagonal a8-h1 is open and Anand doesn’t have a light-squared bishop to defend it.
The Anand vs Kasparov battle centers around whether Kasparov can take advantage of this weak color complex now or if Vishy Anand will make him suffer in an endgame.
Watch the video for some very instructive attacking ideas and an epic Kasparov vs Anand battle in the Sicilian Najdorf!
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