Game Eleven is a Draw, Noone Wants to Step back

Anand,V (2787) - Topalov,V (2805) [A29]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_11 Sofia BUL (11), 09.05.2010
1.c4 Anand decided to try something completely new and to astonish his opponent. At the press conference Topalov admitted that he did not expect the English opening as it did not practically appear in Anand's normal games. 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0–0 Be7 8.a3 0–0 9.b4 Be6 10.d3 f6 11.Ne4 A rare move. Usually White includes Rb1 before this manouver. 11...Qe8

According to the Megabase, this is a novelty, but I found a couple of games in a correspondance base. The idea is to bring Ra8 in the center. Another usual plan to control the center is connected with Rf8-f7-d7 (when the black bishop goes to f8). 12.Nc5 Probably a bit premature. Very interesting was the course of one other game: [12.Bb2 a6 13.Rc1 Qf7 14.Nc5 Bxc5 15.Rxc5 Na4? a bit too tricky to be true 16.Qxa4 Bb3 17.Nxe5! Nxe5 18.Qxb3 Qxb3 19.Bd5+ Qxd5 20.Rxd5 and Black is lost, although managed to escape later–1/2 Figueiras,J-Neves,J/corr 1992/UltraCorr2 (56)] 12...Bxc5 13.bxc5 Nd5 14.Bb2 Rd8 15.Qc2 Nde7 Black comfortably equalized. In return for the white bishop pair he has owes the better pawn structure, and control over the center. 16.Rab1 Ba2 17.Rbc1 Qf7 18.Bc3 Rd7 19.Qb2 Rb8 20.Rfd1 Be6 21.Rd2

21...h6 This semi-waiting move brings some trouble for Veselin. One reasonable idea was to plant a knight on d4: [21...Nf5?! but it has a tactical flaw- 22.Ng5 fxg5 23.Bxc6±; However, the simple: 21...Nd5= followed by exchange on c3, and Be6-d5 leads to complete equality.] 22.Qb1 Nd5 23.Rb2 b6 24.cxb6 cxb6 25.Bd2 Rd6 26.Rbc2 Qd7 Black concentrates his pieces along the d file in order to prevent possible d3-d4 break, which is White's most dangerous idea in the position. 27.h4 Rd8 Black has to be careful if he wants to start exchanges along the c file: [27...Nce7? self-traps the knight after: 28.e4] 28.Qb5 White would like to get rid of his isolated a pawn: [28.a4?! with the idea a4-a5 however is not good due to: 28...a5 followed by Nc6-b4, and White did nothing but created a weakness on a4.] 28...Nde7 With the idea Be6-d5xf3, followed by Nc6-d4. 29.Qb2 Bd5 30.Bb4 This move practically seals the equality as Black starts reliefing exchanges along the c file. However, both players kept on searching their piece of luck. 30...Nxb4 31.axb4 Rc6 32.b5 Rxc2 33.Rxc2 Be6

Topalov plays for a win, and keeps the pressure. A calm continuation is: [33...Rc8=] 34.d4!? e4 [34...exd4?! does not win a pawn, but only brings headaches after: 35.Rd2 Nf5 36.e4 Nd6 37.Rxd4 Qe7 38.e5 and White is better] 35.Nd2 Qxd4 36.Nxe4 [36.Qxd4 Rxd4 37.Bxe4=] 36...Qxb2 37.Rxb2 Kf7 Black is completely out of danger and can play for a win thanks to the weakness on b5. 38.e3 g5 [38...Rd3!? with the idea Ne7-d5 seems like a good idea. Still, this also should end in a draw.] 39.hxg5 hxg5 40.f4 Reducing the number of pawns to the minimum. 40...gxf4 41.exf4 Rd4 42.Kf2 Nf5 43.Bf3 Bd5 44.Nd2 Bxf3 45.Nxf3 Ra4 46.g4 Anand plays for activity. He could prepare this advance with: [46.Rd2 Ke7 47.Re2+ since if Black wants to play for a win now he has to abandon the king's flank- 47...Kd6 (47...Kf7=) 48.g4 Ne7 49.Kg3 and the king on d6 rather than f7 is clearly in White's favour.] 46...Nd6 47.Kg3 Ne4+ 48.Kh4 Nd6 49.Rd2 Now it is Anand who plays for a win. None of the opponents wants to give in to the will of the other even for a second. This is a real match strategy. [49.Kg3 though was objectively better with possible move repetition.] 49...Nxb5 50.f5 Re4 [50...Nc3! bringing the knight back in the game was Black's best chance. Then the world champion would have to be very precise in order to achive a draw. Here is a lengthy line fruit from my analyses- 51.Kh5 (51.Rd7+ Ke8 52.Rb7 is another defensive direction (52.Rd3 Ne4 53.Kh5 Nf2 54.Re3+ (54.Rd6 Nxg4 55.Nd4 Ne5 56.Nc6 Nxc6 57.Rxc6 Ke7–+) 54...Re4 55.Ra3 Nxg4 56.Rxa7 Ne3 57.Rb7 Nd5 58.Kh6µ does not seem perfectly sufficent for a draw, as Black has progress after Re4-e7, and advance of the b pawn.) ) 51...Rf4 (51...Ne4 52.Rd7+ Ke8 53.Rb7) 52.Rd7+ (52.Nh4!?) 52...Ke8 53.Rd3 Ne4 54.Nd4

54...Rxg4!? (54...Nf2 55.Rd2 Rxg4 (55...Nxg4 56.Nc6 Ne5 57.Rd8+ Kf7 58.Nxe5+ fxe5 59.Kg5 is sufficient for a draw as the last white pieces cooperate in perfect harmony.) 56.Nb5 Rg5+ (56...Rg2 57.Nxa7 Rg5+ 58.Kh4 Rxf5 59.Nc8 Ne4 60.Re2 Rf4+ 61.Kh3 f5 62.Nxb6 and one extra pawn is not enough for a win.) 57.Kh4 Rg2 58.Re2+ Kd7 (58...Kf8 59.Nxa7) 59.Rd2+ Kc8 60.Nxa7+ Kb7 61.Rd7+ Ka6 62.Nc8 Rg8 63.Nd6 b5 64.Rf7 Ng4 65.Ne4 b4 66.Nxf6 (66.Kh5) 66...Nh6 67.Nxg8 Nxf7 68.Nf6 b3 69.Ne4 b2 70.Nd2=) 55.Re3 Rf4 56.Kg6 (56.Ne2 Rxf5+ 57.Kg6 Re5–+) 56...a5 57.Ne2 Rg4+ 58.Kh5 Rg5+ 59.Kh4 Rxf5 60.Rxe4+ Kd7 (60...Re5 61.Rxe5+ fxe5 62.Kg5 Ke7 63.Kf5 Kd6 64.Nc3 Kc5 65.Kxe5 Kc4 66.Nd5 b5 (66...Kc5 67.Nxb6 Kxb6 68.Kd4=) 67.Nb6+ Kc5 68.Nd7+ Kc6 69.Nf6 b4 70.Kd4 Kb5 71.Nd5=) 61.Kg4 Rc5 62.Kf4 b5 63.Nd4 and this should be a draw, although with some difficulties.] 51.Kh5 Re3 52.Nh4 Nc3 53.Rd7+ Re7 54.Rd3 Ne4 55.Ng6 Nc5 56.Ra3 Anand rejects the line: [56.Nxe7 Nxd3 57.Nc8 with an immediate draw.] 56...Rd7 Since Black wants to push his pawns on the queen's flank, logical seems to be to support them with: [56...Rb7 However, this square is not perfect either. White plays: 57.Re3 with the idea to force drawish mechanism 57...Kg7 Here is the mechanism- (57...b5 58.Kh6 b4 59.Nh8+ Kf8 (59...Kg8?? 60.Re8#) 60.Ng6+ Kf7 (60...Kg8?? 61.Re8+ Kf7 62.Rf8#) ) 58.Nf4 b5 59.Rc3 Nd7 60.Ne6+ Kh7 61.Nd8 Rb8 62.Ne6= as White threatens Rc3-c7.] 57.Re3 Kg7 58.g5 b5 Another exciting draw line occurs after: [58...a5 59.Nf4 a4 60.g6 Ra7 61.Kg4 a3 62.Nh5+ Kh6 63.Re8 Ra4+ 64.Kf3 a2 65.g7 Ra3+ 66.Kg2 a1Q 67.Rh8+ Kg5 68.g8Q+ Kxf5

69.Ng3+ Rxg3+ 70.Qxg3 Qa2+ 71.Qf2+ Qxf2+ 72.Kxf2=] 59.Nf4 b4 60.g6 b3 Black cannot play for a win, as his king is too vulnerable- [60...a5 61.Re8 Rd4 Here is what happens if the second player becomes too greedy: (61...b3? 62.Rc8 b2 63.Rxc5 b1Q 64.Ne6+ Kg8 65.Rc8+ Rd8 66.Rxd8#) 62.Rc8 Rxf4 63.Rxc5 a4 64.Rc7+=] 61.Rc3 Rd4 [61...b2? loses as above. 62.Rxc5 b1Q 63.Ne6+] 62.Rxc5 Rxf4 63.Rc7+ Kg8 64.Rb7 Rf3 65.Rb8+ Kg7 1/2
Topalov solved the problem of his black colour, and tomorrow will have the opportunity to try his luck for a straight match win with the white pieces. Both players seem extremely exhausted but have to bring this match to its end.

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