Anand, V. - Kovalyov, A., Tibilisi 2017, Sicilian Defence 0-1
 Return to: Annotated Games

Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov stunned the chess world at the 2017 World Cup Candidates Qualifier event held in Tibilisi, Georgia by eliminating the strong GM Akobian in round 1 and then eliminating the 5 time World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand in round 2. However the story was far from over. Anton was subjected to threats and a racial slur prior to his 3rd round match by the tournament organizer who decided to take exception to Anton's Bermuda style shorts. These were the same shorts that Anton wore in the previous two rounds! Further - FIDE Regulations specifically allow them. In fact, Anton wore the same shorts in the previous World Cup qualifier with no issues. Obviously upset by the treatment, Anton left the tournament hall, checked out of his hotel and caught a flight home. A full report on this outrageous abuse by the tournament organizer will appear in the Chess Controversies section. Here is Anton's decisive victory over GM Anand. The notes are by John Upper. - WAC

[Event "2017 World Cup"] [Site "Tibilisi"] [Date "2017.09.06"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Kovalyov, Anton"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2794"] [BlackElo "2649"] [Annotator "John Upper"] [PlyCount "86"] {"I think I got a bit lucky today. I think he overpushed in a more-or-less equal position. He made a sacrifice that, if it would have worked it would be the Game of the Year. But, it didn't work, hopefully for me." - Anton Kovalyov, in postgame interview with Anastasia Karlovich. Notes by John Upper.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 {"Today, my opponent surprised me. I played one game a long time ago, instead of ...h5 I played ...Nbd7, and I won, but it was many years ago and I remember checking that position and it is probably a bit better for White. So, during the game I didn't know what to play, so I just played ...h5 without much thinking" - Anton Kovalyov.} h5 $5 {This is a standard move against f2-f3, but here it is rare. Here, White's best is to continue with f4!:} ({This is the game Anton refered to in his post-game interview:} 8... Nbd7 9. g4 Rc8 10. g5 $6 Rxc3 {Only move.} 11. bxc3 (11. gxf6 Rxe3+ $1 12. fxe3 Nxf6 $15) 11... Nxe4 12. Qd3 d5 $15 13. Bg2 Qc7 14. c4 Bb4+ 15. Kf1 d4 16. Qxe4 dxe3 17. fxe3 O-O 18. Kg1 Rb8 19. Rd1 a5 20. Bf1 Be7 21. h4 f5 $1 22. Qf3 a4 23. Nc1 Bc5 24. Kg2 Qb6 (24... Nb6 $1 $19) (24... Rf8 $1) 25. e4 $1 Rf8 26. Bd3 $2 f4 ({The computer finds a preposterous winning attack for Black:} 26... fxe4 $1 27. Qxe4 Rf2+ 28. Kg3 Be3 ) 27. Ne2 h5 $3 {trying to force in ...Bg4.} 28. Rb1 (28. gxh6 Nf6 $1 $19) (28. Qxh5 $2 f3+ $19) 28... Qa5 29. Qxh5 f3+ $19 {0-1 (39) Fier,A (2588)-Kovalyov,A (2601) Sabadell 2010}) 9. Be2 (9. f4 $1 exf4 (9... Qc7 10. f5 Bc4 11. Bxc4 Qxc4 12. Nd2 $14 {1/2-1/2 (49) Kryvoruchko,Y (2640)-Nyzhnyk,I (2530) Cappelle-la-Grande 2011}) 10. Bxf4 Nc6 11. Qe2 (11. Qf3 $5) 11... h4 12. O-O-O Nh5 13. Qd2 Nxf4 14. Qxf4 g6 15. Kb1 Ne5 16. Be2 Bg7 17. Nd5 Rc8 18. Rhf1 O-O 19. Nf6+ Bxf6 20. Qxf6 Qxf6 21. Rxf6 Kg7 $11 {1/2-1/2 (31) Ni,H (2637) -Miroshnichenko,E (2624) Dubai 2012}) 9... Nbd7 10. O-O Rc8 11. Qd2 $146 (11. a4 Nb6 ({How does a Sicilian player not do this:} 11... Rxc3 $5) 12. Nd2 d5 13. Bxb6 Qxb6 14. exd5 Nxd5 15. Nxd5 Bxd5 16. Bxh5 Qxb2 17. Nf3 Rd8 18. Rb1 Qc3 19. Nxe5 Qxe5 20. Re1 Be4 21. Qg4 $16 Be7 22. Rxe4 Qxh5 23. Rbe1 Qxg4 24. Rxe7+ Kf8 25. hxg4 $16 {1/2-1/2 (106) Yu,Y (2675)-Chu,W (2257) China 2013}) 11... b5 12. Rfd1 Nb6 13. Bxb6 $5 {Surprising, but good: White is going to try to exploit Black's advanced queenside pawns and needs to thin out Black's queenside defenders.} Qxb6 14. a4 b4 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Bd7 (16... Bf5 17. a5 Qb7 18. Qe3 $1 Bxc2 $2 19. Rdc1 {And White's development lead becomes overwhelming; for example:} Bxb3 20. Rxc8+ Qxc8 21. Qxb3 Be7 (21... Qb7 22. Ra4 $18) 22. Qa4+ Qd7 23. Bxa6 $18) 17. a5 Qb7 18. Qe3 Be7 19. Qb6 $1 Qxb6 20. axb6 Rb8 {Only move.} (20... O-O 21. Bxa6 Rb8 22. b7 $18 {and White supports the b7-pawn with Na5 and/or opening the c-file.}) 21. Rxa6 Bd8 22. b7 {Very committal, and not necessary.} (22. Na5 $5 {trades the b for the d pawn with an extra pawn and a clear advantage:} Bxb6 (22... Rxb6 23. Ra8 O-O 24. Nc4 $16) 23. Nc4 Bc5 (23... Bd4 $1 ) 24. Nxd6+ Bxd6 25. Rxd6 Ke7 26. Ra6 $16) 22... Ke7 $1 {[#]} (22... Rxb7 $6 23. Rda1 $1 (23. Rxd6 Ke7 24. Ra6 Bb6 $16) 23... Bc7 (23... Ke7 24. Ra8) 24. Ra8+ Rb8 25. Rxb8+ Bxb8 26. Ra6 Ke7 27. Rb6 $16) 23. Nc5 $6 {"When he sacrificed I wasn't sure, to be honest. I thought I have to find some only moves, but I felt that I shouldn't be lost in that position." - Anton Kovalyov } dxc5 24. d6+ Kf6 25. Bf3 Kf5 $1 {When I played ...Kf5 I thought I had very good winning chances. - Kovalyov} 26. Bd5 e4 $1 27. Re1 (27. Rda1 {is too slow: } Ke5 (27... Bf6 28. Ra8 Be5 $19) 28. Ra8 Bb6 $19) 27... Bf6 (27... Re8 { was the computer suggestion,} 28. Bxf7 Rxb7 29. Bxe8 Bxe8) 28. Bxe4+ Kg5 29. Ra5 Bxb2 $1 30. Rxc5+ Kf6 31. Re3 g6 $1 32. Rf3+ Ke6 $1 33. Rd3 Rhd8 34. Ra5 f5 35. Bf3 Bc3 36. h4 Kf6 {Both players had 11 minutes here to reach the time control.} 37. g3 {[#]} f4 $1 38. Be4 (38. gxf4 Bf5 $19) 38... Bf5 $17 {I think Anand is considering resigning. - Sokolov} 39. Bxf5 gxf5 40. Rb5 Ke6 {Players reach the time conrol and gain an extra 30 min.} (40... fxg3 41. fxg3 Rd7 42. Rdd5 Ke6 $1 43. Rxf5 Rbxb7 44. Rxb7 Rxb7 45. Rxh5 Kxd6 {Black's R attacks the c-pawn and White's pawns are controlled by the B.}) 41. Kf1 Rd7 42. gxf4 Rbxb7 43. Re3+ Kf6 {From the postgame interview: I am doing my Masters in Texas. I am studying now, so my studies are suffering a bit. I am not a really ambitious player; I think I played only two or three tournaments this year. I try to play decent chess, it doesn't always work, but sometimes I have good results. It is very nice to play against such strong opponents, but I'm really stressed, so I'm not really enjoying myself here, but I will try to survive as long as I can. - Anton Kovalyov} 0-1

 Return to: Annotated Games