Topalov Starts with a Win

Impressions from the match
Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V [D87]
Sofia BUL, WCC2010 Sofia BUL (1.22), 24.04.2010
1.d4 The most difficult move in the game as it was produced by the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. This time, unlike the last year's Mtel Masters tournament he did not block the live-transmission of the game... 1...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0–0 10.0–0 Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Qd2 e5 13.Bh6 cxd4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.cxd4 exd4 16.Rac1

Topalov is the first one to surprise. His game against Kamsky in Sofia continued with: [16.f4 and was eventually drawn later. This time the Bulgarian uses: "an old analyses, that we prepared some time ago".] 16...Qd6 The only predecessing game in my Megabase saw: [16...Bb7 17.f4 Rc8 18.Rxc8 Qxc8 19.f5 Nc6 20.Rf3 Ne5 21.Rh3 Rh8 22.f6+ Kg8 23.Qh6 Qf8 24.Qxf8+ Kxf8 25.Nxd4 Ke8 26.Bb5+ Kd8 27.Rc3 a6 28.Ba4 b5 29.Bb3 Re8 30.Nf3 1/2 Karjakin,S (2732)-Carlsen,M (2765)/Foros 2008/CBM 125] 17.f4 f6 18.f5 Qe5 19.Nf4 g5 20.Nh5+ Kg8 21.h4 h6 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Rf3

This was the moment when I arrived in the venue, avoiding the usual fuss of the starting round. Both players had 1.41 at their clocks, which meant that they have spend mere nineteen moves on their 22 starting moves. Anand thought for about twenty minutes, but produced a fatal mistake: 23...Kf7? Topalov did not hesitate too long: [23...Bd7 is probably the best move, and most probably the game should end a draw after some knight sacrifice on f6, followed by a perpetual check. But who knows, probably Topalov had something deeper on his mind...] 24.Nxf6!! And it seems that White is already winning. At the short press-conference Peter Doggers from chessvibes.com asked him if this was still part of his home preparation since he thought for some 5-6 minutes and continued to practically blitz after that. Topalov hesitated for a while, and then replied that "This is quite a typical sacrifice". However, later on he confessed for the Bulgarian National Television that the game was very easy since Anand felt into an opening preparation. I am pretty sure that 24.Nf6 is home made. Zurab Azmaiparashvili who is annotating for the audience in Sofia live was also fully convinced that the game is practically over. The attack that followed was a piece of cake for Veselin: 24...Kxf6 [24...Qxf6 looks somewhat more stubborn, but White wins as well after: 25.Rc7+ the best, though there are two more very interesting moves that might also win- (25.e5; 25.Rh3) 25...Ke8 (25...Kg8 26.e5 Qh6 27.Rh3+- loses control over the vital g5 point) 26.Bb5+ Kd8 27.Rfc3 a6 28.Ba4+- the situation is quite similar to the one that appeared in the game. Black's pieces are completely discoordinated, and helpless. The game may conclude: 28...b5 29.R3c5 Nc4 30.Rxc4 bxc4 31.Qa5

and mate in three follows.] 25.Rh3 Rg8 Or: [25...Rf7 26.Rh6+ Ke7 27.Qxg5+ Ke8 28.Bb5+ Bd7 29.Re6+ Black lacks the time to include more pieces into the defense:; 25...Bd7 26.Rh6+ Ke7 27.Qxg5+ Ke8 28.Be2+-

] 26.Rh6+ Kf7 27.Rh7+ Ke8 [27...Rg7 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 (28...Qxg7 29.Rc7+) 29.Qxg5+ Kf8 30.Qd8+ Qe8 31.Qxd4 Bd7 32.Rc7 and White is completely winning; 27...Kf6 28.Rcc7 forces Black to sacrifice his queen in order to prevent immediate mate on f7.] 28.Rcc7 Kd8 Even an average GM like me was already clearly seeing what is about to happen: 29.Bb5! Including the last pieces in the assault. 29...Qxe4 [29...Qxb5 30.Qxd4+ is mate; 29...a6 would have givven White a chance for one more nice shot: 30.Rce7! Qd6

31.Qxg5!! Rxg5 32.Re8#] 30.Rxc8+ [30.Rce7 was winning similarly like the line above, but Topalov sees a more prosaic win:; 30.Rxc8+ Kxc8 31.Qc1+ Nc6 32.Bxc6 Qe3+ 33.Qxe3 dxe3 34.Bxa8 with a sure extra piece rather than mate.] 1–0
The press conference was short, and Anand confessed that he simply played badly, rather than being tired after the long trip. “Tomorrow is a new day, and a new game”, said the world champion.
The start of the match is great, and I am expecting a great battle now.

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