Tenth Game is a Draw, Topalov Misses Good Chances in the Endgame

Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V (2787) [D87]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_10 Sofia BUL (10), 07.05.2010
1.d4 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 b6 11.Qd2 Bb7 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Rfd1 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qd6

15.d5N [15.e5 was seen before.] 15...Na5 16.Bb5 Rxc1 17.Rxc1 Rc8 18.h3 Rxc1+ 19.Qxc1 e6! Black is freeing his positions after the pawn exchanges in the center and levels the game. 20.Nf4 exd5 21.Nxd5 f5 [21...Qe5!? intending to exchange the queens with Qe5-a1 was a good way to prove equality.] 22.f3 fxe4 23.fxe4 Qe5 24.Bd3 Nc6 This move shows that Anand is still suffering after the last games. Black could have won a pawn, but White would have rich compensation for it, and the second player needs to be careful as his king is in danger, and Na5 out of play; it is only Black who risks after: [24...Bxd5 25.exd5 Qxd5 26.Qc8+ Bf8 27.Be2 h5 although objectively the position is balanced - a) 27...Qe5? shows the risks that Black might face- 28.Bc4+ Nxc4 29.Qxc4+ Kg7 30.Bd4 Bc5 31.Qxc5!+-; b) 27...Qd6 28.Bf3 Qe5= 29.Bf2 since (29.Bh6 is countered by- 29...Qc5+ although even the endgame with a pawn down should not be a problem for White, too powerful his bishops are.) 29...Kg7 30.Qd7+ Kh6; 28.Bf3 Qe5 29.Kf2 Qb2+ 30.Kg3 Qe5+=; However: 24...Qa1!? though was a safe option.] 25.Ba6!

Excellent practical chance. Although the position remains equal Anand will have to solve difficult problems. 25...Nd4?! [25...Bxa6 was a better option, and should lead to a draw by force: 26.Qxc6 Qa1+ 27.Kh2 (27.Bc1 Probably this was a line that bothered the world champion: 27...Qd4+= But not:(27...Bb2? 28.Qa8+ Kg7 29.Qxa7+ Kg8 30.Qb8+ Kg7 31.Qc7+ Kg8 32.Qd8+ Kg7 33.Qe7+ Kg8 34.Kh2 Qxc1 35.e5 Bxe5+ 36.Qxe5± with large plus for White thanks to the favourable Q+N pair.; 27...Bh6?? is even worse 28.Qe6+ Kg7 29.Qe7+ Kh8 30.Kh2! Qxc1 31.Qf6+ Kg8 32.Ne7#) ) 27...Be5+ 28.Bf4 Bxf4+ 29.Nxf4 Qe5 30.Qa8+ Kg7 31.Qxa7+ Kg8 32.g3 (32.Qxa6 Qxf4+ 33.Kg1 Qe3+ 34.Kf1 Qf4+ 35.Kg1 Qe3+=) 32...Qb2+ 33.Ng2 Bf1 34.Qb8+ Kg7 35.Qc7+ Kg8 (35...Kh6? 36.Qf4+) 36.Qd8+ Kg7 37.Qe7+=; 25...Ba8?! Brings Black only trouble 26.Bb5 Ne7 (26...Qe6? 27.Bxc6 Bxc6 28.Qxc6 Qxc6 29.Ne7+) 27.Nxe7+ Qxe7 28.Qc8+ Qf8 29.Qc7 and Black will lose both his pawns on the queen's flank.; 25...Qb8? loses a whole piece 26.Bxb7 Qxb7 27.Qxc6 Qxc6 28.Ne7++-] 26.Qc4 Bxd5 27.Qxd5+ Qxd5 28.exd5

The arising endgame is not only unpleasant for Black, it is very difficult. White owes the bishop pair, more space, and has a strong passed pawn. He also can make progress on both flanks. Black should look for fortresses or ways to exchange the pawns on the queen's flank. In any case his defense is an ungrateful task. The fact that the game was seemingly effortlessly drawn by Anand is misleading, he was in great danger, and probably even losing at some stages: 28...Be5 29.Kf2 Topalov improves his position by bringing the king in the center, and gaining space on the king's flank. 29...Kf7 30.Bg5 Nf5 31.g4 Nd6 32.Kf3 Ne8 33.Bc1 Nc7 34.Bd3 Bd6 35.Ke4 So far the Bulgarian GM made all strong and logical moves. However now he could advance the kingside pawns: [35.h4!? The idea is to create a second weakness in the opponent's camp either on g6, or even better on h7, then to force an opponent's piece to protect it, and finally to penetrate with his king: 35...b5 36.h5 a6 (36...gxh5 will live the h7 pawn vulnerable, and will "stretch" Black's defense thus making it more difficult (if possible at all) 37.gxh5 Nxd5 38.Bxb5 Nf6 39.Bc4+ Ke7 40.h6±) 37.hxg6+ hxg6 38.Ke4 Ne8 39.g5 Bc5 40.Ke5 Nd6 41.Bd2 Ke7 (41...Nc4+ 42.Bxc4 bxc4 43.d6+-) 42.Bc3 followed by Ke5-f4 and Bc3-f6 and further improvement of the position. Black's defense is getting harder and harder with each move, and I am not sure that he can survive that.] 35...b5 Anand gains space on the queen's flank and eventually likes to exchange the pawns there. [35...Ke7 36.Bg5+ Kf7 37.Kd4 and White can proceed with the above-mentioned plan- h3-h4-h5, etc.] 36.Kd4 a6 37.Be2 Ke7 38.Bg5+ Kd7 39.Bd2 Bg3 40.g5 Bf2+ 41.Ke5 Bg3+ 42.Ke4 Breaking in does not prove sufficient. [42.Kf6 Nxd5+ 43.Kg7 Bf4 44.Bg4+ Kd6 45.Bxf4+ Nxf4 46.Kxh7 a5 47.h4 a4=] 42...Ne8 43.Bg4+ Ke7 44.Be6 Topalov goes for a wrong plan. He had play for a zugzwang: [44.Kf3! I borrowed this line from Sergey Shipov: 44...Bd6 45.Bc8 engaging the opponent's knight with the defense of the pawns. 45...Nc7 46.Ke4 Kd8 47.Bb7 Ke7 48.Bc3 Ba3 49.Be5 this is Shipov's line, though: (49.Bf6+!? Kf7 (49...Kd7 50.Bc6+ Kc8 51.Be5+- and d5-d6) 50.Be5 Ne8 51.Bxa6 is even stronger.) 49...Bd6 50.Bc6

Black is in zugzwang, and when the pawns start to move new weaknesses will be created and that will be the end- 50...a5 51.Kd4 b4 52.Bf6+ Kf7 53.Bd8 Kg7 54.Kc4 Kf7 55.Kb3 Kf8 56.Ka4+- This is how close to a defeat the Indian was.] 44...Nd6+ 45.Kf3 [45.Kd4 Bf2+] 45...Nc4 46.Bc1 Bd6 47.Ke4 a5 48.Bg4 White cannot go for the h7 pawn. [48.Bg8 Kf8 49.Bxh7? Kg7] 48...Ba3

After this exchange draw is inevitable. 49.Bxa3+ Probably more practical is to sign the peace treaty after: [49.Bf4 Bd6 50.Bc1=] 49...Nxa3 50.Ke5 Another possible draw continuation is: [50.Be6 b4 51.Bg8 Nb5 (51...Kf8 52.Bxh7 Kg7 53.d6 Nc4 54.d7 Nd6+ 55.Kd5 Nf7 56.Bxg6 Kxg6 57.Kc5 Kxg5 58.Kb5 Kf6 59.Kxa5 Ke7 60.Kxb4 Kxd7= Black's king will stop the a passer, and the knight can deal with the h one.) 52.Kd3 a4 53.h4 (53.Kc4?? b3 54.axb3 a3–+) 53...Kf8 54.Be6= since none of the sides can make progress.] 50...Nc4+ 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.Be2 Na3 53.h4 Nc2+ 54.Kc3 Nb4 55.Bxb5 Nxa2+ 56.Kb3 Nb4 57.Be2 Nxd5 58.h5 Nf4 59.hxg6 hxg6 60.Bc4 1/2Anand survived his extra black colour and the chances before the decisive two games seem equal. Topalov's better physical form can be a factor at the end, but more important are the psychological aspects. Both players have their deserved rest today getting ready for their final efforts.

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