Rakesh Rao

BONN: Vladimir Kramnik asked for trouble and Viswanathan Anand made sure the Russian got it in good measure.

Having lost a similar game on Friday, Kramnik showed the audacity to test the Indian again and failed miserably.

For the second time in four days in this chess-loving city of Bonn, the brilliant Indian gave a packed house at the Art and Exhibition hall no reason to yawn.

In yet another gripping and complex battle, Anand saw much more than Kramnik in less much time and finished the job with a temporary knight sacrifice leading to a second successive victory with black pieces in the World Chess Championship match here.

The result doubled Anand’s lead and left him leading 3.5-1.5 points. Anand plays white in the sixth game on Tuesday.

Commanding position

Anand’s 35-move triumph trampled Kramnik’s hopes of making an immediate comeback in the 12-game contest.

With seven games remaining, Anand will have only to guard against complacency for the rest of the journey.

“Such positions are very sharp. I had seen the resources we both had in the position and I didn’t see what more black could have done. And then came a blunder and it was all over,” said Anand before rushing to the waiting car.

Kramnik looked downcast but was gracious in defeat and defended the choice of playing along the lines of Semi Slav.

“I was one down and so I had to try and win. It was a very sharp line and one mistake from a player would have ended in a result.

“I was down on time and later I committed a blunder (on the 29th move),” he said.

When asked if he felt his position was rendered critical after two losses, Kramnik was quick to reply, “It could have been better.”

“There are a few games to go but minus two is a difficult situation. It is not hopeless. I will continue to fight.”

Up to the challenge

Down a game and desperate to draw level, Kramnik was expected to come hard at Anand with white pieces.

And he did. But Anand was more than equal to the challenge.

In more ways than one, the game was similar to the third game played on Friday.

The two reeled off the first 15 moves, five minutes into the game, to tell the world that there were ready to test each other along a well-prepared line.

As compared to the third game, Anand chose to interchange the 15th and 16th move, a trick Kramnik later described as a novelty.

A move later, Kramnik’s move-blitz game to a halt.

The Russian took a little over 50 minutes for the 18th move and left Anand 54 minutes ahead on the clock, like in the third game.

All this while, Kramnik held his head with both hands and stared at the board. Anand, looking almost bored of waiting for his rival to make a move, showed signs of restlessness.

Driving it home

Over the next few moves, Anand succeeded in maintaining the tension and with Kramnik in danger of running out of time, it was not so difficult. With time ticking away, Kramnik finally cracked under mounting pressure and played a dubious knight-move on the 29th move.

Anand latched on to this opportunity and scrambled to victory in a six-move sequence. When Kramnik resigned, he had a rook, a bishop and two extra pawns against Anand’s all-powerful rook and an advanced pawn that made the decisive difference.

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