Back when I was just starting out in chess, way back in 1998 or 1999 (can’t remember exactly) I was pouring over an old chess magazine and seen a  tournament report containing an amazing game between chess stars Vishy Anand and Alexei Shirov.

This game made an enormous impression on me.

Vishy Anand vs Alexei Shirov

The Two Stars in Action…

The apparent simplicity of the game had me wondering how the hell Vishy would let his Grandmaster opponent grab a “free” pawn, but then proceed to crush him mercilessly anyway…


I can clearly remember playing through this game multiple times over the course of weeks and trying to understand what the hell had happened.

If any of you guys have seen any of my games before, you’ll see that I often play queenside openings involving a kingside fianchetto and have no problem sacrificing my c-pawn if it allows my bishop on g2 to breath fire down the long diagonal.

Catalan Structure

White sacrificed his c-pawn and gets compensation in the centre.

I originally learnt this concept from former World Chess Champion Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand.

In this post (and the video it contains) I’ll be showing you the original game I learnt from 16 years ago and then showing you a game I played recently which has suspiciously similar properties.

I hope the game influences you as much as it did me.  🙂

This Vishy Anand vs Alexei Shirov game will teach you:

  • How to play on both sides of the board
  • How to increase positional pressure when an opponent is tied down defending
  • A backward pawn on an open-file (black’s b-pawn in this game) can be a serious weakness.
  • When an opponent is tied down, you can make tiny improvements to your position (such as taking measures which pre-empt the opponent’s possible counterplay) before finally doing something big.

After this, I’ll show you the game where I played against the International Master (who is around 2350 ELO) and you’ll learn:

  • Another way to dominate in the centre when an opponent grabs the c-pawn (as in the Anand game)
  • An example of playing consecutive forcing moves when an opponent is defending and keeping the killer blow up your sleeve (assuming the chance to play this move is always available). The opponent experiences this like a boxer receiving a flurry of punches before the killer hook. He feels frustrated and overwhelmed.
  • Another example of the mighty Exchange Sacrifice theme, which as mentioned elsewhere features a lot in my games.

If you watch the video below and take notes of all themes from both games, and then download the games below the video, you are sure to gain a ton of ELO.

Every little bit of gained knowledge helps.

Grab a coffee and let’s have a look at Vishy Anand’s strategy.

Ok did you get something from it?

I hope I explained the ideas well enough and made myself clear…  😀

Action Steps:


Click Here to Download Anand’s Self-annotated games