Anand still Reigns the Chess World!

Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V (2787) [D56]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_12 Sofia BUL (12), 11.05.2010
Game twelve from the Sofia match was meant to be the last one. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0–0 7.e3 Ne4 The Lasker Defense came as a reserve back-up line. However as the Bulgarian's seconds discover during the game there was no player rated over 2500 ever to win a game as black. 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Be2 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 13.0–0 b6 14.Bd3 c5 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Qc2 Nf6 17.dxc5 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5

At first sight it seemed that Black has problems as his pawn structure is ruined and in the long term this can be lethal. However, the strong bishop, and active heavy pieces nivelate this drawback. 19.Qc2 Bb7 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 Ba6N [21...Qd6 22.Nb3 Ba6 23.Rd1?? Qxd1+ 0–1 Bellmann,H (2158)-Schulze,G (2012)/corr 1998/UltraCorr2/]] 22.Rf2?! Not the best place for the rook. Topalov could have tried: [22.Rc1 instead.] 22...Rd7 23.g3 [23.Ne4? Rxb2 24.Qxb2? Rd1+ 25.Rf1 Rxf1#; 23.h3 Rbd8 is good for Black.] 23...Rbd8 24.Kg2 Bd3 25.Qc1 Ba6 26.Ra3 White had to settle for a draw with: [26.Qc2=] 26...Bb7 27.Nb3 Rc7 28.Na5 Ba8 29.Nc4 e5 30.e4 f5!

Anand plays in accordance with the position trying to prolong the diagonal for his bishop. 31.exf5? The beginning of the end. Topalov should not lose control over the e4 square in particular, and the long diagonal in any case. Safer and stronger is: [31.Nd2 Qg5 (31...fxe4 32.Nxe4 Rd4 (32...Bxe4 33.fxe4 Rd4 34.Re3 is a draw as White's only weakness on e4 can easily be protected.) 33.Re3 c4 34.Qc3=) 32.exf5 e4 (32...Qxf5 33.Re3 Rcd7 34.Ne4=) 33.Qc2 exf3+ (33...e3? 34.Qb3+±) 34.Nxf3 Rf7 (34...Rf8 35.Qc4+ Kh8 36.Qf4 (36.g4 Rxf5 37.Kg3 is a recommendation by the comuter, but it is impossible for a human to play this way.) 36...Qxf4 37.gxf4 Rxf5 38.Kg3= Black has a strong bishop, but white knight on e5 won't be worse.) 35.Qxc5 Rxf5 36.Qxa7 as the best that Black can profit from the pin is perpetual: 36...Rxf3 37.Raxf3 Bxf3+ 38.Rxf3 Rd2+ 39.Rf2 (39.Kg1 Rd1+ 40.Rf1 Rxf1+ 41.Kxf1 Qc1+=) 39...Qd5+ 40.Kg1 Rd1+ 41.Rf1 Rd2=] 31...e4 32.fxe4? Played in less than a minute thought! After this move White's game is beyond salvation and the world crown stayed in India. [32.Re3 exf3+ 33.Kg1 could have still kept the hope alive, although the position after: 33...Qg5 34.Qc2 Rcd7 is disgusting for White.] 32...Qxe4+ 33.Kh3 Rd4 34.Ne3 [34.Rf4 Qg2+ leads to a forced mate.] 34...Qe8

It is hard to imagine what did Topalov missed as this move is quite obvious for this level. At the press conference he gave part of the explanation "Five years ago I lost the title in rapid games on the date 13. If I had drawn this game we would have to play the rapid at the same date, therefore I tried to press too hard today." 35.g4 h5 36.Kh4 The line: [36.Ng2 Bxg2+ 37.Rxg2 hxg4+ 38.Kh4 g3+! 39.Kxg3 Qe5+ 40.Kf2 Rcd7 underlines the lack of coordination in White's camp.] 36...g5+ [36...Qd8+ is an alternative win, with the point: 37.Kxh5 Kf7 and Qd8-h8-h6 mate to come.] 37.fxg6 [37.Kxg5 Rg7+–+] 37...Qxg6 38.Qf1 Rxg4+ 39.Kh3 Re7

With the threat Rxe3+, Rh4+ and Qg4 mate. [39...Qg5 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Qf2 Re4–+ is a computer-made line.] 40.Rf8+ Kg7 [40...Kh7 41.Rh8+ Kxh8 42.Qf8+ Qg8 43.Qxe7 Qc8 44.Qf6+ Kg8–+] 41.Nf5+ Kh7 Anand has calculated everything thorougly. [41...Kxf8?? 42.Nxe7+ Qf7 43.Ng6+ Rxg6 44.Qxf7+ Kxf7 45.Rxa7+ at least saves White.] 42.Rg3 Rxg3+ 43.hxg3 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Re2+ 45.Kg1 Rg2+ 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Kxg2 [47.Rf7+ will win back the queen but will not save the game: 47...Kg6 48.Rg7+ Kxf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50.Kxg2 Ke4 51.Kf2 Kd3–+] 47...Qe2+ The rest is easy for the world champion as there is not even a hint of a fortress. 48.Kh3 c4 49.a4 a5 50.Rf6 Kg8 51.Nh6+ Kg7 52.Rb6 Qe4 53.Kh2 Kh7 54.Rd6 Qe5 55.Nf7 Qxb2+ 56.Kh3 Qg7

Unfortunately in a match of two one has to lose. Flawless game for the World Champion who retained his title. As a consolation for Topalov we can say that thanks to his efforts small Bulgaria saw a match for the World Championship for the first time in our history, and this was one of the greatest matches ever. Congratulations for Topalov for his uncompromised play, and congratulations for Anand for being the more complex player. Long live the Champion! 0–1


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.


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.


Nine Game is Draw, Anand Misses Win(s)

Anand,V (2787) - Topalov,V (2805) [E54]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_9 Sofia BUL (9), 06.05.2010
[Dejan Bojkov]
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


Topalov Levels the Score after another Thriller

Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V (2787) [D17]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 Game_8 Sofia BUL (8), 04.05.2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 c5 8.e4 Bg6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Qxd4 11.Bxd4 Nfd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc4 Rc8 Anand changed his defensive set-up, but Topalov seemed prepared for that. 14.Bb5 a6 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Ke2 f6 17.Rhd1 Ke8

There are only two games in Megabase featuring the position, and both were defended by F. Amonatov: 18.a5N [18.Rac1 was the more recent try, when Black could not hold after: 18...Rc6 19.Na2 Rxc1 20.Nxc1 Be7 21.Bb6 e5 22.Nd3 Bf7 23.Rc1 Bd8 24.a5 Ke7 25.Rc8 Re8 26.Rb8 and later 1–0 Maletin,P (2545)-Amonatov,F (2650)/Novokuznetsk 2008/CBM 126 (49); The other try was: 18.Bb6 Bc5 19.Bxc5 Rxc5 20.Rd6 Ke7 21.Rad1 Be8 22.R6d3 a5 23.Ke3 Bc6 with ballanced position in Bocharov,D (2614)-Amonatov,F (2574)/Voronezh 2007/CBM 118 ext (60)] 18...Be7 [18...Bb4!? might be an improvement for Black, with the idea: 19.Ra4 Be7 20.Bb6 Kf8!? followed by Bg6-e8-c6.] 19.Bb6 Rf8 With the idea Rf8-f7, followed by Be7-f8 and finally Rf7-d7. If Black manages to exchange this rook he will not have any problems. 20.Rac1 f5?! I believe this is the first inaccuracy by Black. He had to proceed with his plan: [20...Rf7!? 21.Na4 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Bd6 23.Nc5 (23.Be3 Rd7) 23...f5 with good chances for equality.] 21.e5 Bg5 22.Be3 f4?! The world champion missed an important detail. However, the move: [22...Bxe3 which he mentioned at the press-conferense does not really look perfectly safe: 23.Kxe3 f4+ 24.Kf2 (24.Kd4 is harmless for Black- 24...Ke7 25.Ne4 Bxe4 26.Kxe4 g5=) 24...Rf5 25.Re1! Here the idea from the game: (25.Ne4 Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Rxe5 27.Rc5 Rd5 28.Rxd5 exd5 29.Nd6+ Ke7 30.Nxb7 Bd3 is not dangerous at all for Black, as the white king cannot reach d4 square easily-the pawns on g2 and f3 are targets.) 25...Rc5 (25...Kf8!? followed by Bg6-e8-c6 might be Black's best) 26.b4 Rcxe5 27.Ne4± looks awkward for Black; while 22...Be7 23.Na4 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 followed by Nb6 and Rc8 (c7) cannot be recommended for the second player.] 23.Ne4!

23...Rxc1 24.Nd6+ Kd7 25.Bxc1 The mighty knight on d6 and the more active pieces give White comfortable advantage. 25...Kc6 26.Bd2 Logical and good move. Another resonable option is: [26.Rd4 Kc5 (26...b5 27.axb6 Kxb6 28.g3 Kc6 (28...fxg3 29.Bxg5 gxh2 30.Rh4+-) 29.h4 Bd8 30.Bxf4±) 27.Rc4+ Kd5 28.Bd2 Kxe5 29.Nxb7 Be7 30.Rc7 Re8 31.b4± as the king on e5 is vulnerable, White preserves his large advantage.] 26...Be7 27.Rc1+ Kd7 28.Bc3?! [28.Bb4! was much better and natural. White will need this bishop later on b4 and eventually on d6 in some lines. Now: 28...Bxd6 29.Rd1 Rc8 30.Rxd6+± nets a healthy pawn on e6.] 28...Bxd6 29.Rd1! Topalov will have to find only moves in order not to let the advantage slip away: 29...Bf5 [29...Rd8!? trying to exchange the rooks is a good alternative. At first I though that White should be winning after: 30.Rxd6+ Ke7 31.Rb6 (31.Rxd8 Kxd8 32.Bd2 is a draw, as only one extra pawn is not enough to create enough passers. If White wants to go for an opposite-coloured bishops endgame he needs to snatch at least two pawns) 31...Rd7 32.Bb4+ Kf7 33.Bd6 Bf5 34.Kd2 as I saw the plan king going to a7, and then even to c8 if needed. But closer looks shows that Black has good counterplay- 34...g5 35.Kc3 h6 36.Kd4 Kg6 37.Rb3 (37.Kc5 Bd3 and Black threatens Bd3-f1xg2) 37...g4 38.Kc5 Kg5 39.Kb6 h5 and Black has strong counter-chances; 29...Rc8 30.Rxd6+ Ke7 31.Rb6 Rc7 32.Rb4±; 29...Kc8 30.Rxd6 Bf5 31.h4 might lead to the game continuation] 30.h4! Otherwise Black will connect his pawns with g7-g5 and will be out of danger. 30...g6 This is not bad, but Anand could have defended even better: [30...Kc7! 31.exd6+ (31.Rxd6 Rd8 32.Rb6 Rd5 followed by Rd5-b5 should be a draw) 31...Kd7 uses the fact that the g file is open, and if: 32.Bxg7 (32.Be5 keeps practical winning chances for White, as well as good drawish chances for Black after: 32...Rc8) 32...Rg8 33.Be5 Rxg2+ Black takes back the pawn with comfort.] 31.Rxd6+ Kc8 32.Bd2! Why? Why did Topalov need to exchange the rooks when he could have continued the game without the resources that the opposite-coloured bishop endgames always have. I thought that it was much better: [32.Rd4 And now: Passive defense does not save: 32...Rd8 a) However: 32...h6!! With the idea g6-g5 seems to lead to a forced draw thanks to an important tactical detail: 33.Bb4 (33.Rxf4 Bd3+! 34.Ke3 Rxf4 35.Kxf4 Bf1 36.g4 Kd7 37.Bd2 Ke7 38.Kg3 h5=) 33...Rf7 34.Rxf4 Bd3+! Black will win an important tempo to harass the white pawns from behind. As the pawn on h6 stops the manouver Kf4-g5-h6 Black is just in time to build a fortress: 35.Ke3 Rxf4 36.Kxf4 Kd7 37.Bf8 h5 38.Kg5 Ke8 39.Bc5 Kf7 40.Bd4 Bf1 41.g4 Be2=; b) 32...Bb1 33.Bd2 (33.Bb4 Rf5 (33...Rf7 34.Bd6 Ba2 35.Rd1 Bd5 36.Rc1+ Bc6 37.Kd3) ) 33...Rf7 34.Bxf4 Rc7± gives White an extra pawn, but with rooks still on the board, and excellent winning chances.; 33.Rxf4 Kc7 34.g4 Bc2 35.Rf6 (35.Rf7+ Rd7 36.Rf6) 35...Bb3 36.Ke3 followed by Ke3-f4-g5-h6 and Rf6-f7 (or Rf6-f8-h8 if the opponent's rook is on the seventh rank).] 32...Rd8 33.Bxf4 The only move to play for a win. If White does not have a passed pawn, he has nothing to fight for: [33.Rxd8+? Kxd8 34.Bxf4 Bc2 and the bishop is transfered to attack the white pawns 35.Ke3 Ba4 36.Kd4 Bb5 37.Kc5 Bf1 38.g3 Kd7 39.Bg5 Bg2 and the pawns are blocked] 33...Rxd6 34.exd6 Kd7 The arising endgame is far from trivial, and it is a great pleasure to analyse it. 35.Ke3 Bc2 36.Kd4

36...Ke8!! Fantastic move. The idea of exchanging the functions of the defensive pieces is surely not new, but is quite impressive nevertheless. If Black allows the opponent's king to penetrate via f6, White will create a second passer that is more than enough distant from its collegue on d6: [36...Bb3 37.Ke5 Bc4 38.Kf6 Bf1 39.g4 Be2 (39...Bd3 40.Kg7 h5 41.gxh5 gxh5 42.Kh6 Be2 43.Kxh5 Bxf3+ 44.Kh6+- and White wins as there are three lines between the passed pawns) 40.g5 This is what I was thinking should be the right plan during the game but White can win prosaically after: (40.Kg7 Bxf3 41.Kxh7 g5 42.hxg5 e5 43.Bxe5 Bxg4 44.g6 Bf5 45.Kg7+-) 40...Bxf3 I just cannot stand showing you one beautiful line that I discovered: 41.Kg7 Be2 42.Kxh7 Bh5 43.Be5 Kc6 44.Kg7 Kd7 45.Kf7 Zugzwang, black loses the pawn, but this is still not enough- 45...Kd8 46.Kxe6 Bg4+ 47.Kd5 In order to reach progress White must also use the queen's side pawns: 47...Ke8 48.Kc5 Kd7 49.Kb6 Bf3 50.b4 Bc6 (50...Kc8 51.Bf4 Kd7 might actaully save Black; 50...Bd5 51.h5 gxh5 52.g6 h4 53.g7 h3 54.Bf4 and the win is similar like in the main line) 51.h5! gxh5 52.g6 h4 53.g7 Bd5 54.Bf4 h3 55.Bh2 Kd8

This endgame without the a, b and black's h pawn is a theoretical draw. However here White wins after: 56.b5!! axb5 57.a6! bxa6 58.Kc5! and there is no defense against the idea Kc5-c6, d6-d7, Kc6-d6 and mate with the bishop on one of the diagonals: 58...Bb3 59.Kc6 b4 60.d7 Ba4+ 61.Kd6 Bb3 62.Bf4 a5 63.Bg5#] 37.Ke5 Kf7 38.Be3 Ba4 39.Kf4 Bb5 [39...Kf6 is a resource offered by Peter Doggers, but it is not sufficient, as after: 40.Bd4+ e5+ 41.Bxe5+ Ke6 42.Bc3 Kxd6 43.Kg5 Ke6 44.Kh6 Kf7 45.Kxh7 Bc6 46.Kh6 Bd5 White is technically winning: 47.h5 gxh5 48.Kxh5+- then he simply advances the pawns on the king's flank, wins the bishop, and thanks to the fact that there are still b pawns on the board (no fortress with a wrong-colour bishop idea) wins.] 40.Bc5 Kf6 41.Bd4+ Kf7 Here I left the hall, sure that the game should be a draw. I saw only one plan for White- to exchange the his h for the g pawn of the opponent, and then to create a second passer on the f line. But then, the distance between the passers is only one line, and this should be a draw. However, Topalov kept on playing and finally, the world champion erred: 42.Kg5 Bc6 43.Kh6 Kg8 44.h5 Be8 45.Kg5 Kf7 46.Kh6 Kg8 47.Bc5 gxh5 48.Kg5 Kg7 49.Bd4+ Kf7 50.Be5 h4 51.Kxh4 Kg6 52.Kg4 Bb5 53.Kf4 Kf7 54.Kg5 Bc6?? The decisive mistake. Black had to switch the functions of the defenders one more time: [54...Ke8 55.g4 Be2 56.f4 Bd3 57.f5 exf5 58.gxf5 and now the simplest is: 58...h6+ Although the position that arises after: (58...Kf7 59.f6 Bb5 should also be a draw, for example: 60.Kf4 (60.Kh6 Kg8) 60...h6 61.Ke3 Ke6 62.Kd4 h5 63.Kc5 h4 64.Kb6 h3 65.Kc7 Kxe5 66.f7 h2 67.f8Q h1Q=) 59.Kf6 Kd7 hitting the pawn on f5 with a draw.] 55.Kh6 Kg8 56.g4 And Anand resigned due to:[56.g4 Bd7 57.g5 Be8 (57...Bc6 changes nothing as White has many reserved moves 58.Bg7 Be8 59.f4‡+-) 58.Bg7

58...Bc6 59.g6 hxg6 60.Kxg6 Be8+ 61.Kf6 Bb5 62.Bh6 followed by Ke7 and material gains. A painful defeat for the world champion. Topalov finally managed to materialize his playing advantage from the last games. The score is levelled, and as the match is approaching its final phase the most important question is if the players will continue to risk and search for a win in the regular part of the match, or will settle for solid play. I hope that it will be the first option.] 1–0

Great Draw in Game Seven

Anand,V (2787) - Topalov,V (2805) [E11]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 game_7 Sofia BUL (7), 03.05.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 This is new for the match, but not for Topalov himself and probably is the better strategy from him-to change the lines all the time as Anand is relatively new in the Catalan. 6.Bg2 0–0 7.0–0 c6 8.Bf4 dxc4 9.Ne5 b5 More usual is: [9...Nd5 10.Nxc4 Nxf4 11.gxf4 Qc7 12.e3 b6 13.Qb3 Bb7 14.Nc3 Nd7 15.Rfd1І but this is slightly better for White, the last sample being: Sharevich,A (2322)-Kovalevskaya,E (2439)/Kallithea 2008/CBM 126 Extra (59)] 10.Nxc6 Nxc6 11.Bxc6

11...Bd7!N Another strong novelty by Ivan Cheparinov. Ivanchuk used similar sacrifice, but Topalov likes to keep his bishop working on both sides: [11...Ba6 12.Bxa8 Qxa8 13.Qc2 Qc6 14.Bg5 Bb7 15.f3 e5 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.d5 Bxd5„ 1/2 Gelfand,B (2750)-Ivanchuk,V (2748)/Nice FRA 2010/The Week in Chess 803 (33)] 12.Bxa8 Anand accepts the challenge, and the following play is quite forced: 12...Qxa8 13.f3 This seems logical as it closes the long diagonal. However, the king's flank is somewhat weakened now. Another possibility is: [13.a3!?] 13...Nd5 14.Bd2 e5 15.e4 Bh3! The point of Black's play, he now sacrifices a whole piece for a pawn, but the strong central pair will give him excellent counter-chances. 16.exd5 Bxf1 17.Qxf1 exd4

18.a4! Everything is correct, Anand needs some air for his pieces. 18...Qxd5 19.axb5 Qxb5 20.Rxa7 Re8 [20...Bc5? 21.Ra5] 21.Kh1 So far Topalov was practically blitzing (while Anand used an hour from his time), spending mere three minutes mainly for technical operations (moving the pieces, writing the moves, pressing the clock, etc.). Now was the first moment that he took his time to decide what to do (and his choice was should he continue, or just force a draw). Two other natural moves must have been analyzed by the Bulgarian's team: [21.Kg2 Bd6 and the play will be similar like in the game with the move Re8-e2 coming a tempo in some lines.Here is a sample line: (21...Qxb2? 22.Qxc4 Qxb1 23.Rxe7+- as the back rank is weak) 22.Qd1 Qxb2 23.Qa4 Rf8 24.Qxc4 Qxb1 25.Qxd4 Bb8 26.Bc3 Qc2+ with perpetual check. ; 21.b3 is another option, that seems to lead to a forced draw: 21...Qb6 (21...d3!?) 22.Rxe7 (otherwise c4-c3 is coming) 22...Rxe7 23.Qxc4 (23.bxc4?! d3+ 24.Kh1 Qb3 25.c5 Qc2 26.c6 h6 and Black is much better as he will soon snck with the white c pawn) 23...h6 24.Qc8+ (24.Qd3 Ra7 25.Be1 Ra1 is too dangerous for White) 24...Kh7 and the players should force repetition of moves: 25.Qf5+ Kg8 as (25...Qg6 26.Qxg6+ Kxg6 27.Kf2 is worse for Black) 26.Qc8+ Kh7=] 21...Bf8 Topalov wants to get the maximum from the novelty. He could drew by simple means: [21...Qxb2 22.Qxc4 Qxb1+ 23.Kg2 Qb2 24.Rxe7 Qxd2+ 25.Kh3 Qh6+ 26.Kg2=] 22.Rc7 Another good defensive manouver by Anand. He is fixing the pawns thus freeing squares for his light pieces for a stable blockade. 22...d3 23.Bc3 Bd6 24.Ra7 h6 25.Nd2

25...Bb4! The only move. The pseudo active: [25...Re2? 26.Qh3 gives White the opportunity to bring his pieces into the game with decisive attack. Among the possible threats is Ra7-a8-h8 and Qxh6xg7 mate. And in case of: 26...Qg5 27.Ra5 Qe3 28.Ra8+ Bf8 29.Qc8 the knight successfully defends the white king and Black needs to go into passive defense.] 26.Ra1! The Indian brings reserves to fight the mighty passer on d3. 26...Bxc3 27.bxc3 Re2 28.Rd1 Qa4! Again rejecting the draw, that was possible after: [28...Qe5 29.Nxc4 Qxc3 30.Nd6 Qc2 (The threat is Re2-f2xh2, and after the exchange of the rooks and the queens Black promotes his pawn. 31.Ne4 only move f5 32.Rc1 fxe4!? (32...Rxh2+ 33.Kg1 Rg2+ 34.Kh1 Rh2+=) 33.Rxc2 dxc2

and White can still make a mistake: 34.Qa1 (34.fxe4? Rd2 35.Qc4+ Kh7 and Black wins as the e4 square is unavailable for the white queen.; 34.f4 should be also draw; while 34.Qxe2 c1Q+ 35.Kg2 e3 leaves some practical chances for Black) 34...exf3 35.Qc3 f2 36.Kg2=; 28...Qb2 might lead to the previous line, or White can force a draw with: 29.Qh3 Rxd2 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Qf5+=] 29.Ne4 Qc2 Or: [29...f5 30.Rd2 fxe4 31.Rxe2 dxe2 32.Qxe2 Qa1+ 33.Kg2 Qxc3 34.Qxe4= and White is ready for perpetual.] 30.Rc1 Rxh2+ 31.Kg1 Rg2+ [31...Qb2 32.Rb1 Qc2=] 32.Qxg2 Now it is Anand who rejects the drawish line: [32.Kh1 Rh2+ 33.Kg1=] 32...Qxc1+ 33.Qf1 Qe3+ And again Topalov who insists on winning. But this time it seems that he is very close to crossing the boarder. [33...d2 34.Nxd2 Qxd2 35.Qxc4=] 34.Qf2 Qc1+ 35.Qf1 Qe3+ 36.Kg2 These repetition rejections have also strong psychological impact on the match. Both players want to show their courage, and to stress the fact that they are not afraid. After being into the defensive for the bigger part of the game now it is the Indian's term to play a bit without risk. 36...f5 37.Nf2 Kh7 38.Qb1 Qe6 39.Qb5 g5 40.g4 fxg4 41.fxg4 Kg6 42.Qb7

Shipov proposed a plan for a win after: [42.Qa4!! (not letting the black pawn reach the d2 square). At first I could not find anything convincing after the simple exchange of material: 42...h5 43.gxh5+ Kxh5 But then some computer manouvers clarify the situation: 44.Qa7 Qd5+ (44...Qf5 45.Qd4±) 45.Kf1 Kg6 46.Qe7 Kf5 47.Qf8+ Kg6 48.Qe8+ Kf5 49.Qc8+ Kg6 50.Qg4± and probably Black is really losing.] 42...d2! Now it is draw, that was signed a few moves later. 43.Qb1+ Kg7 44.Kf1 Qe7 45.Kg2 Qe6 46.Qd1 Qe3 47.Qf3 Qe6 48.Qb7+ Kg6 49.Qb1+ Kg7 50.Qd1 Qe3 51.Qc2 Qe2 52.Qa4 Kg8 53.Qd7 Kf8 54.Qd5 Kg7 55.Kg3 Qe3+ 56.Qf3 Qe5+ 57.Kg2 Qe6 58.Qd1 This was another great game from a great match. Topalov made perfect preparation and was pressing for the biggest part of the game. Anand in his term showed his excellent defensive skill and self control, and was even close to winning at the end. The world champion is still leading, but the challenger has one extra game with the white pieces in the remaining five classical games. 1/2


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

Fifth Game Drawn

Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V (2787) [D17]
Sofia BUL, WCC 2010 game_5 Sofia BUL (5), 30.04.2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 c5 8.e4 Bg6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Qxd4 11.Bxd4 Nfd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc4 a6 14.Rc1

Anand spent some minutes here, obviously trying to figure out what had the Topalov team prepared. Then he went- 14...Rg8 just like in the third game, but after: 15.h4 opted for 15...h5 The idea of placing the pawn on h5 is not new, but it was used usually when the the white king is on e2, and he is deprived from the manouver Ne2-f4. However probably this is the main line that was prepared from the champion. For example he used the same method against Kramnik in their match in Bonn when he did not show his best move in the famous Slav games. 16.Ne2 Bd6 17.Be3 Somewhere around here the electricity stopped. It appeared that there is a problem in the central part of the city, but the actual mistake was made by a worker, who forgot to switch on the reserved generator in advance, and the players had to wait for some fifteen minutes to resume the game. 17...Ne5 [17...Ke7 is not a solution of the problems, as after: 18.Nf4 Bxf4 19.Bxf4 f6 the white bishops force concessions from the black side- 20.Bd2! a5 21.Bb5± and since the a5 pawn is a target White has a powerful threat- 22.Rc7 that is hard to be prevented.] 18.Nf4 Rc8 Topalov is not afraid from the opposite-coloured endgame that can occur after: [18...Nxc4 19.Rxc4 Bxf4 20.Bxf4±

since the black bishop on g6 is excluded, and White has large endge thanks to his superb pieces.] 19.Bb3 Rxc1+ 20.Bxc1 Ke7 21.Ke2 Rc8 22.Bd2 This is inaccurate, and White is throwing away his advantage. After the correct: [22.Rd1!

with the general idea not to let the black bishop get back in the game with: 22...f6? a) 22...Rc6 is the computer defense, when play may continue: 23.Be3! not (23.Bd2? Rb6) 23...Bc5 24.Bd2 Rb6 25.Bc3 Rxb3 26.Bxe5 and Black has serious problems, for example, the piece sacrifice: 26...Bxe4 27.fxe4 Re3+ 28.Kf1 Rxe4 29.Nd3 Bd4 is not enough as White is clearly better here after the simple 30.Bg3±; b) Also no good is: 22...Nc6 as it will gain the bishop pair for White, and break Black's pawn structure. 23.Nxg6+ fxg6 24.Bg5+ Kd7 25.Bf4 e5 26.Be3±; 23.Nxe6 Bf7 24.Nxg7 Bxb3 25.Nf5++- So, after 22.Rd1 Anand would have faced definite problems. After the game continuation he comfortably equalized.] 22...f6 23.Nxg6+ Nxg6 24.g3 Ne5 25.f4 Nc6 26.Bc3 Bb4

The bishops are exchanged, there is a perfect symmetry, and draw is inevitable. 27.Bxb4+ Nxb4 28.Rd1 Nc6 29.Rd2 g5 30.Kf2 g4 31.Rc2 Rd8 32.Ke3 Rd6 33.Rc5 Nb4 34.Rc7+ Kd8 35.Rc3 Ke7 36.e5 Rd7 37.exf6+ Kxf6 38.Ke2 Nc6 39.Ke1 Nd4 40.Bd1 a5 41.Rc5 Nf5 42.Rc3 Nd4 43.Rc5 Nf5 44.Rc3

Another good defense for the champion, and Topalov is a real danger now, as he has to defend two black games in a row. Any mistake from the challenger might bring the match beyond salvation. 1/2