Sixth Game is a Full-Blooded Draw

Anand,V (2787) - Topalov,V (2805) [E04]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 game_6 Sofia BUL (6), 01.05.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 a6 6.Ne5 c5 7.Na3 cxd4 8.Naxc4 Bc5 9.0–0 0–0 10.Bg5 Again Anand is the first one to deviate. 10...h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6N

According to Megabase this logical move is a novelty. The only predecessing game saw: [11...gxf6 12.Nd3 Be7 13.Qd2 Kh7 14.Rac1 Ra7 15.Qf4 Nc6 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Qe4+ Kg7 18.Qg4+ Kh7 19.Qe4+ f5 20.Qxc6 and the game was eventually drawn 1/2 Raetsky,A (2399)-Panchanathan,M (2441)/Biel 2004/EXT 2005 (52)] 12.Nd3 Ba7 13.Qa4 Nc6 14.Rac1 e5! Topalov finds a clever way to bring his pieces in the game. He gives back his extra pawn, and is ready to sacrifice another one in order to get rid of the Catalan bishop (remember the troubles he had in the second game because of that piece?) and to occupy the long diagonal with his light-squared bishop. [14...b5 15.Qa3 bxc4 16.Rxc4 Rb8 17.Rxc6 is good for White] 15.Bxc6

15...b5! The point. Weaker is: [15...bxc6 16.Ncxe5 c5 17.Nd7 or even better: (17.Rc2 Bh3 18.Nd7 Bxd7 19.Qxd7 with better prospects for White) 17...Bxd7 18.Qxd7 gives White comfortable edge as he had blocked the isolated pawn pair.] 16.Qc2! Anand rejects the sacrifice, and tries to keep the position blocked. After: [16.Bxb5 axb5 17.Qxb5 e4 Black gets huge compensation for the pawn, and firm control over the initiative. Possible line is: 18.Nf4 d3! 19.exd3 exd3 …20.Nxd3 Bh3 and White must sacrifice the exchange in order to avoid mate.] 16...Qxc6 17.Ncxe5 Qe4 Topalov solved the opening problems, and Anand has nothing but to exchange the queens and play roughly equal game. 18.Qc6 Bb7 19.Qxe4 Bxe4 20.Rc2 Rfe8 21.Rfc1 Both sides have their assets: White-the better pawn structure, and control over the open file, Black-a pair of strong bishops, and more space. If White manages to exchange one of the black bishops (especially the light-squared one) he will have big advantage in most cases, and if Black manages to push away the knights from their blockading positions he will be much better. 21...f6

22.Nd7 With this move Anand started a knight manouver that was widely described as the new Guiness record of the tireless knight. 22...Bf5 23.N7c5 Bb6 [23...Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Bxd3 25.exd3 Re2 26.R5c2 Rae8 27.Kf1 is better for White as he holds the more important open file. The difference between the c and e files was greatly explained by M. Botwinnik in his game against A. Alekhine.] 24.Nb7 Bd7 25.Nf4 Rab8 26.Nd6 Re5 27.Nc8 Ba5 28.Nd3 Re8 29.Na7 Bb6 30.Nc6 The knight keeps on offering itself for a bishop, this time at the price of a pawn. 30...Rb7 Typical Topalov who keeps on fighting. The pawn gain leads almost by force to a draw: [30...Bxc6 31.Rxc6 Rxe2 32.Kf1 Rd2 (32...Re7 33.Nb4 a5 34.Nd5 Reb7 35.Rxb6 Rxb6 36.Nxb6 Rxb6 37.Ke2=) 33.Rc8+ Rxc8 34.Rxc8+ Kh7 35.Rc6

(35.Ke1 with the idea to trap the rook 35...Rxd3? does not work due to the simple: (35...Ba5) 36.Ke2+-) 35...Ba5 (35...Bd8 36.Rxa6± Rxd3? 37.Ke2+-) 36.Rxa6 Rd1+ 37.Kg2 Bc3!? 38.bxc3 Rxd3 39.cxd4 Rxd4= with full equality] 31.Ncb4 a5 32.Nd5 a4 33.Nxb6 Phew. So much work to exchange one of the bishops! And the weaker one! The game continues to ve roughly equal, but Black has to be careful now. 33...Rxb6 34.Nc5 Bf5 35.Rd2 Rc6 36.b4 Of course not: [36.Rxd4? Rec8 37.Rd5 Be6–+] 36...axb3 37.axb3 b4! Temporarily sacrificing the pawn in order to get absolute control over the second rank, but this is not enough for a win, since there is not much material left on the board. 38.Rxd4 Rxe2 39.Rxb4 Bh3 40.Rbc4 Rd6 41.Re4 Rb2 42.Ree1 Rdd2 43.Ne4 Rd4 44.Nc5 Rdd2 45.Ne4

45...Rd3 46.Rb1 Not: [46.Nc5?? Rf3–+] 46...Rdxb3 47.Nd2 The last subtlety. Topalov gets nothing from his pressure than the better half of the point- 47...Rb4 48.f3 g5 49.Rxb2 Rxb2 50.Rd1 Kf7 51.Kf2 h5 52.Ke3 Rc2 53.Ra1 Kg6 54.Ra6 Bf5 55.Rd6 Rc3+ 56.Kf2 Rc2 57.Ke3 Rc3+ 58.Kf2 Rc2 This was Veselin's first draw in the match as black. He managed comfortably to equalize in the opening, and even tried to play for a win. It looks like that he is back in his usual strenght, and the second part of the match is quite promising for the chess lovers. 1/2