Anand,V (2787) - Topalov,V (2805) [E54]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_9 Sofia BUL (9), 06.05.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Anand changes the opening at a very early stage. He needs to make the maximum of his white colour today, after the painful defeat from Tuesday. 3...Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 d5 7.0–0 cxd4 8.exd4 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Re1 Nbd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Bd3 Re8 14.Qe2 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Qc7 16.Bh4 Nh5 17.Ng5 g6 18.Nh3N
White takes control over the important f4 square. [18.Qd2 is the game Psakhis-Hillarp Persson] 18...e5 19.f3 Qd6 20.Bf2 exd4?! This move is contraversial, and is probably the start of Black's troubles. Rooks appear to be better in the particular position than the queen. Safer was: [20...Nhf6! 21.Qb2 the tactical justification is: (21.Bg3? Rxc3! 22.dxe5 Qxd3 23.Qxd3 Rxd3 24.exf6 Nxf6 and Black is clearly better) 21...e4 22.Bg3 Qf8 23.fxe4 Nxe4=] 21.Qxe8+ Rxe8 22.Rxe8+ Nf8 23.cxd4 Nf6 24.Ree1 Ne6 25.Bc4 Bd5 26.Bg3 Qb4 27.Be5 Nd7 [27...Bxc4 28.Bxf6 b5 29.d5 (29.Nf2±) 29...Qc5+ 30.Nf2 Qxd5 31.a4 is awkward for Black.] 28.a3 Qa4?! Second inaccuracy after which Black's king will be in real danger. [28...Qa5 29.Bxd5 Qxd5 30.Rc8+ Nef8 31.Nf2 Nxe5 32.dxe5 Kg7 was a better defense.] 29.Bxd5 Nxe5 30.Bxe6 Qxd4+ 31.Kh1 fxe6 32.Ng5± Qd6 33.Ne4 [33.Nxe6!?±] 33...Qxa3 34.Rc3 Qb2 35.h4 b5? [35...Qb4 was the only move, bringing the queen to defense.] 36.Rc8+ Kg7 37.Rc7+ Kf8 38.Ng5 Ke8 39.Rxh7 Black is desperately lost as his king is cut on the back rank, and white pieces can harmoniously cooperate. The world champion now needed only to bring his second rook for the decisive blow. However time-trouble takes its toll. Except for the move in the game there was another convincing line: [39.Nxe6! Probably Anand got scared from the blow: 39...Nxf3! But White is not in a need to accept the sacrificed knight- (39...a5 40.Ng5 Kd8 41.Rc5 Nd3 42.Nf7+ Kd7 43.Rd5+ Kc6 44.Rxd3+- White is not only material ahead, but he continues the attack after 44.Ne5 and this decides quickly.) 40.Rd1! and as all the lines are cleared for the rooks, and white king is sequre, White's attack proves decisive- (40.gxf3? Qf2= leads to a perpetual) 40...Nd2 41.Ng5 Qe5 (41...Nc4 42.Re1+ Kd8 43.Ne6+ Ke8 44.Rf1; 41...h6 shows White's main idea- 42.Re1+ Kd8 43.Ne6+ Ke8 44.Rxa7 and there is no defense against 45.Ng7+ and 46.Re8 mate.) 42.Rc8+ Ke7 (42...Kd7 43.Rc2+-) 43.Rd8!!
traps the knight in a study-like manner. 43...Qf4 (43...Kxd8? 44.Nf7+; 43...Qg3 44.R8xd2 Qxh4+ 45.Nh3 leads to the same) 44.R8xd2 Qxh4+ 45.Nh3 and as the black queen cannot be exchanged for the two rooks White has a decisiive attack. 45...a5 (45...g5 46.Rd7+ Ke8 (46...Kf6 47.Kg1 Qc4 48.R1d6+ Kf5 49.Rd5+ Kg6 50.Nxg5+-) 47.R7d5 g4 48.Re5+ Kf7 49.Rf1+ Kg6 50.Rg5+ Kh6 51.Rf6#) 46.Rd4 Qh5 47.Rd7+ Ke8 48.R7d5 Qg4 49.R1d4 Qg3 50.Re4+ Kf8 51.Rxb5+- It is hard though to blame the world champion for this inaccuracy, as he was short in time, and the line is extremely difficult to find even with a lot of time on the clock.] 39...Qc3 40.Rh8+? Instead two moves were winning surely: [40.Re2! a5 (40...b4 41.Rxa7 b3 42.Rb7 Qc4 43.Re4 Qc1+ 44.Kh2 b2 45.Ra4+- is similar as the lines after 40.Re4!) 41.Nxe6 b4 42.Rc7 Qa1+ 43.Kh2 b3 44.Rb7 a4 45.Re4 Black's pawn are fast, but king is more important! 45...a3 (45...b2 46.Rxe5 b1Q 47.Ng7+ Kf8 48.Re8#) 46.Nd4 Kd8 (46...Kf8 47.Nxb3 before concluding the attack, White can snack some pawns 47...Qc3 48.Ra4 Qc8 49.Nc5 and Black is helpless) 47.Nxb3 Nxf3+ 48.gxf3 Qf1 49.Kg3 a2 50.Ra4 Kc8 51.Re7 Qg1+ 52.Kf4 Qh2+ 53.Kg5 Qg3+ 54.Kh6+-
and the white king hides behind the enmy pawn.; 40.Re4! is another winning option. White must not permit the opponent's king to leave the dangerous back rank. 40...a5 (40...b4 41.Rxa7 b3 42.Rb7 b2 43.Kh2 Qc1 44.Ra4 Nd7 (44...Qa1 45.Rab4 Nd3 46.R4b6 Qa4 47.Ne4 with total domination.) 45.Rab4 Qe1 46.Rxb2 Qxh4+ 47.Nh3+-) 41.Nxe6 with the loss of this pawn black's king becomes absolutely helpless. 41...a4 42.Nd4 Kf8 a) 42...Qc5 cannot save the knight 43.f4+-; b) 42...Kd8 43.Nxb5 The threat is not only to win the knight, but mate after 44.Rd4 43...Qa1+ (43...Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Nxf3+ 45.Kg3! g5 46.Nc7 gxh4+ 47.Kxf3 Qf1+ 48.Ke3 Qe1+ 49.Kf4 Qf2+ 50.Ke5 Qg3+ 51.Kf5 Qf2+ 52.Ke6 Qxg2 53.Rd4+ Kc8 54.Nd5 with decisive attack) 44.Kh2 Nxf3+ (44...a3 45.Rd4+ Ke8 (45...Kc8 46.Na7+ Kb8 47.Rd8#) 46.Nc7+ Kf8 47.Rd8#) 45.Kg3! (45.gxf3 Qb2+ 46.Kg3 Qxb5 might not be sufficient enough) 45...Qb2 46.Rxa4 Qe5+ 47.Kxf3 Qd5+ 48.Kf4+-; ] 40...Kd7 41.Rh7+ Kc6 42.Re4 b4 43.Nxe6 Kb6 44.Nf4 Qa1+ This appeared to be a mistake. Computers proved it. The difference is that the queen is vulnerable on a1, contrary to c1... After: [44...Qc1+ 45.Kh2 Nc6 46.h5 gxh5 47.Nd5+ Ka5 48.Rxh5 Ka4 the king is away from the danger zone.] 45.Kh2 a5 [45...Nc6 46.h5 g5 (46...gxh5 47.Nd5+ Ka5 48.Nxb4 Nxb4 49.Rxa7++-) 47.Nd5+ Kc5] 46.h5 gxh5 47.Rxh5 Nc6 48.Nd5+ Kb7 Now the king is cut for the second time in the game, and again this had to be decisive. 49.Rh7+ Ka6 50.Re6 Kb5 51.Rh5 Nd4 [51...Nd8 52.Nb6+ Ka6 53.Rg6 Qb1 54.Rhg5 changes nothing, the king is naked: 54...Kb7 55.Nc4 Qe1 56.Rg7+ Kc6 57.Nxa5+ Kd6 58.Nc4+ Kc6 59.R7g6+ Kd7 60.Rd5+ Kc7 61.Rc5+ Kd7 62.Rd6+ Ke7 63.Rc7+ Ke8 64.Rd4 and White is completely winning.] 52.Nb6+ Ka6 53.Rd6 Anand is winning again, but he felt in time-trouble for a second time in the game. For me this means that he is either clearly out of physical strenght, or he does not really thrust himself. 53...Kb7 54.Nc4
[54.Nd5! is more subtle, as the game resource is not possible: 54...Nxf3+ 55.gxf3] 54...Nxf3+! The only way to prolong the battle. 55.gxf3 Qa2+ 56.Nd2 Kc7 57.Rhd5 Cutting the king on the sixth rank seemed to be more important: [57.Rhh6! b3 58.Kg3 b2 59.Rdg6 Qf7 (59...b1Q 60.Rg7+ Kd8 61.Rh8+ Qg8 62.Rhxg8#) 60.Rc6+ Kd7 (60...Kb7 61.Rb6+ Ka7 62.Ra6+ Kb7 63.Rhb6+ Kc8 64.Ra8+ Kc7 65.Ra7+ wins the queen as well as in the main line) 61.Rhd6+ Ke7 62.Rc7+ Kxd6 63.Rxf7+-] 57...b3 58.Rd7+ Kc8 59.Rd8+ Kc7 60.R8d7+ Kc8 61.Rg7 The best square for the rook, although another move is also sufficient for a win: [61.Ra7 b2 (61...a4 62.Rd4 a3 63.Kg3 Qb2 64.Re4! Kb8 (64...Kd8 65.Rg4 Qe5+ 66.Kf2 Qc5+ 67.Ke2 Qxa7 68.Rg8+ Kc7 69.Rg7+ Kb6 70.Rxa7 Kxa7 71.Nxb3+-) 65.Rh7 nets the queen) 62.Rh5 Kb8 63.Rg7+-] 61...a4 62.Rc5+ [62.Rdd7! is still winning. The world champion got extremely tired. 62...a3 63.Kg3 Qa1 64.Rc7+ Kd8 65.Rgd7+ Ke8 66.Re7+ Kd8 67.Rcd7+ Kc8 68.Nxb3+-] 62...Kb8 63.Rd5 Kc8 64.Kg3? Qa1! 65.Rg4 b2 And Topalov survived! 66.Rc4+ Kb7 67.Kf2 b1Q 68.Nxb1 Qxb1 69.Rdd4 Qa2+ 70.Kg3 a3 71.Rc3 Qa1 72.Rb4+ Ka6 73.Ra4+ Kb5 74.Rcxa3 Qg1+ 75.Kf4 Qc1+ 76.Kf5 Qc5+ 77.Ke4 Qc2+ 78.Ke3 Qc1+ 79.Kf2 Qd2+ 80.Kg3 Qe1+ 81.Kf4 Qc1+ 82.Kg3 Qg1+ 83.Kf4
Another bitter disappointment for Anand. Indeed, some draws are even more painful than losses. On the other hand Topalov did not felt down, kept on fighting till the end and was rewarded with the most precious half point. Nerves are starting to rule the match, there are three more games in which obviously anything is possible. 1/2