A surprise! In Anand's practice the French Defence meats very rare. True once he managed to defeat even Kasparov with its help, but this was a very long time ago - in1991 in the Redgio-Emilia. Most likely Anand has noticed that Shirov's results in this opening are not very impressive, also an effect of a home preparing could play its role.
2.d4 d5 3.e5 The Nimzo system - one of the favorites Shirov's reply on the French Defence, therefor Anand should be fully armed in this variation. In our days the main apologist of this system is GM E,Sveshnikov .
3...c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 Another popular continuation is 5...Bd7
6.a3 a5 Such way Black prevents a suppression of the queenside by means of b2-b4. However this is not so terrified for Black as proved A.Khalifman in his meeting with Shirov in Linares-2000. After 6...Nh6 7.b4 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nf5 9.Bb2 Be7 10.Bd3 a5! 11.Bxf5 exf5 12.Nc3 Be6 13.b5 a4! Black has got a competent game.
7.Bd3 Bd7 8.0-0!? A promising gambit continuation. In case of 8.Bc2 Nge7 9.0-0 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nf5 11.Bxf5 exf5 12.Nc3 Be6 13.Na4 Qb5 14.Be3 Be7 15.Rc1 0-0 Black keeps the equality.
8...cxd4 Another possibility consists in a refuse to capture the pawn 8...a4!? Taking an opportunity of a close position in the center Black in spite of a lag in development continue to expand the space for his pieces on the queenside. Now this plan often employs the Champion of Russia S.Volkov. In case of 9.dxc5?! (better 9.Qe2 ) 9...Bxc5 10.Nbd2 f6 11.Qe2 Nge7 Black intercepts initiative, Douden-Beliavsky (Luzern 1982)
9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.Nc3 This position frequently meets without including the moves a2-a3 and a7-a5, but then thanks to an opportunity of a7-a6 Black could take under control an important square b5. Meanwhile now this square irreparably weakened which is to White's profit. It is strange that Anand has go on this rather suspicious variation - Shirov is always glad to capture initiative in the opening (and here is only for a pawn!) and to pursue the rival's King.
11...Qb6 It were tested also others sequels: 11...Ne7 12.Nb5 Qxe5 13.Re1 Qb8 14.Qf3 Bxb5 15.Bxb5+ Nc6 16.Qxd5 Qd6! With a complicated play, I.Zaitsev-Lempert (Moscow 1994); 11...Nh6 12.Nb5 Qxe5 13.Re1 Qb8 14.Qf3 Bd6 15.Nxd6+ Qxd6 16.Bf4 Qe7 17.Qg3 f6 1/2-1/2 I.Zaitsev-Geller (Moscow 1982); Risky looks 11...Qxe5 12.Re1 Qd6 13.Nb5! Qb8 14.Qf3 Bd6 15.Qxd5 with strong initiative for White.
12.Qg4 A standard 12.Kh1 (with an idea f2-f4) here unhappy in view of 12...Ne7 13.f4 d4! 14.Nb5 Nd5 15.Qa4 Bc5 16.b4 Be7 with an obvious Black's advantage Grosar-Korchnoi (Bratto 1998); An alternative to the move in the game - 12.Qe2 After 12...Bc5 13.Bd2 a4 14.Nb5 Ne7 15.Rac1 Bxb5 16.Bxb5+ Nc6 (Khalaz-Serenji, correspondence 1970) White according to T.Florian's analysis with the Exchange's sacrifice - 17.Rxc5! Qxc5 18.Bb4 develops a strong pressure on the stuck in the center black King.
12...g6 A novelty, but its value in my opinion is hardly doubtful. Such a weakness of the kingside even for the sake of the dark-squared Bishop's development in the French defence is rare valid. Better looks 12...f5 (it was met also 12...h5 and 12...Ne7) 13.Qg3 with a double-edged play.
13.Be3 Bc5 Dangerous is 13...Qxb2 14.Bd4 Qd2 15.Rfd1 Qh6 16.Rab1 , and the Black's advantage in development becomes threatening.
14.Na4 Lets out a significant part of the advantage. Much more better was 14.Qf4! (indicated by S.Shipov). Now it is difficult for Black to find an useful move, and in case of a natural 14...Rc8 (14...Ne7 15.Qf6 Rg8 16.Bxc5 Qxc5 17.Rac1 Qb6 18.Rc2 with an idea Rfc1, Nb5; 14...d4 15.b4!) already very strong 15.Na4 Bxa4 16.Qxa4+ Kd8 (16...Kf8 17.Rac1! , and since a bunch on c-file Black perish.) 17.Bxc5 Rxc5 18.b4 , and the "centralized" black King gives to White a good view on a success.
14...Bxa4 15.Qxa4+ Kf8 16.Bxc5+ Here also desired the attention 16.Qf4!? Kg7 17.Bxc5 (17.Rac1!?) 17...Qxc5 18.Rac1 Qb6 19.Rc2 , and for Black is difficult to complete the development and to unite the Rooks.
16...Qxc5 17.Rac1 Qb6 18.Qd7 White has already to undertake something concrete otherwise the rival will finish the development and completely equalize the chances:18.Rc2 Ne7 19.Rfc1 Nc6 20.Bb5 Kg7=
18...Rd8! And now also the "pawn eating" is hardly risky: 18...Qxb2 19.Rc7 Nh6 20.Qd6+ Kg8 21.h3! , and an attaching to the play the white f1-Rook threatens to decide the outcome of the game.
19.Qc7 Qxc7 20.Rxc7 Rb8 21.Rfc1 Ne7 For Black significantly easier to play without the Queens. It remains only to find a method how to enter the h8-Rook in the play.
22.f4 Nc6 23.Rc5 With such slightly artificial maneuver White returns the pawn. In case of a suggest itself 23.Bb5 possible are not only 23...Nd4, but also 23...Kg7!?
23...Kg7 24.Rb5 g5 25.g3 h5! It is interesting how Black develops his Rook, keeping it on the initial position! After 25...Rhc8 26.Rxc8 Rxc8 27.Rxb7 White has retained a certain advantage.
26.Rbxb7 Rxb7 27.Rxb7 h4 28.Kg2 28.b4 is very straightforwardly - after 28...hxg3 29.hxg3 gxf4 30.gxf4 axb4 31.axb4 Rh4 Black wins a pawn.
28...hxg3 29.hxg3 gxf4 30.gxf4 Rh4 31.Kg3 Rh1 32.Kg2 Nothing gains White by way of 32.Bb5 Nd4 33.Be8 Kf8! , since impossible 34.Bxf7? Rh7-+]
32...Rh4 The black Rook must be placed on the h-file as on 32...Rd1 will follow already 33.Bb5 Nd4 34.Be8
33.Kg3 Rh1 34.Kg2 An interesting beginning point of the match. Anand unexpectedly (firstly for the rival) has chosen the French defence in reply on 1.e4, but employed an old but hardly doubtful variation. Shirov has had a few favorable opportunities for developing initiative but alas has not used them. The game passed in the endgame and after that Anand with rather original method (by way of pushing the h-pawn) "developed" his kings Rook the draw became inevitable. 1/2-1/2