Chess Analysis Spotlight: Anand Vs. Kamsky

26.Nd1(!) One Move, So Many Outcomes!

Today we go back in time to Round 9 of the PCA (Professional Chess Association) candidates tournament final, that took place in Las Palmas, Spain. Anand and Kamsky were competing for a spot to play against Garry Kasparov in the world championship. 26.Nd1  by Anand was a brilliant move that is not only worth reminiscing on, but a great lesson for chess players of all levels. 

Anand vs. Kamsky, PCA Candidates (1995), Round 9, 26.Nd1

anand vs kamsky 1995. Round 9, 26.nd1

The entire game is available for download at Chess Games, or simply head over to our Examples tab inside the DeocdeChess app.

Why is 26.Nd1 Such a Good Move?

26. Nd1 was a brilliant move by Anand which secured his momentum in the game and contributed to his win. Quoting Anand from his book (Vishy Anand, My Best Games):

“The point of the move is both to Prevent …Ng5 and to prepare Nc3, striking at the weak b5 pawn.”

26.Na1 not only responds sharply to Black’s threats (Knight at g5) by enabling the queen to guard g5 and avoid the knights’ exchange

but also activates the Knight, preparing it for an attack on the unsupported b5 pawn. 

In addition, the Nd1-c3 manoeuvre creates pressure on the b5 pawn such that Black has no time to play
Ra8 and to take control over the a-file.

Anand’s move is in one line with the engine’s recommendation, and in the above image, you can see what DecodeChess has to say about it.

If you decode this position at DecodeChess, you not only get the above explanations for 26.Nd1. Go to the Functionality and Concepts tabs to find more chess analysis gems:

White can play e5
 26. Nd1 Ra8 27. Rxa8 Rxa8 28. Nc3 Ba6 29. e5
 26. Nd1 Nf6 27. Nc3 Ba6 28. e5

This shows one of the themes of the position – the e5 break by White. Nc3 is part of this plan as it supports the d5 pawn, releasing the e4 pawn from this duty.

Black uses the open a file
26. Nc2 Nxc2 27. Bxc2 Ra8 28. b4 Rxa1
Black threatens26. .. Ra8 27. Nc2 and Black can play 27… Rxa1

This shows that White has to be very active in this position otherwise Black takes control of the a-file and equalizes.

And here’s the analysis for White’s next best move, 27.Nc3:



Anand won the final and competed against Kasparov later that year, at the World Trade Center. Kasparov eventually won the championship with a 10.5 vs 7.5 points lead.

You are welcome to look at the entire game and the decoded positions by accessing our Examples folder: