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World Chess Championship 2010 (2)

Anand - Topalov World Championship Game 2

Anand - Topalov Game 2. Anand struck straight back. Photo © Europe-Echecs.

Anand - Topalov Game 2. Anand struck straight back. Photo © Europe-Echecs. |

Anand had white in game two of the World Chess Championship in Sofia.His reaction to his terrible beating in game one was a fine performance to level the match.

Game two: Anand played 1.d4 and an Open Catalan Defence emerged. At first it seemed that Anand had been somewhat fooled by Topalov's choice of variation but then he was gradually out maneuvered once Topalov missed his best chance with 16...Nc5. Anand forced resignation in just 43 moves. Very much "game on" as the match stands 1-1. Comments by IM Malcolm Pein and photos on this game.

Game 2 Anand and Topalov. Photo © who are on the spot making videos.

Anand,Viswanathan (2787) - Topalov,Veselin (2805) [E04]
WCh Sofia BUL (2), 25.04.2010

[IM Malcolm Pein]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5

Topalov was largely responsible for rehabilitating the Modern Benoni with 3...c5 However both he and Gashimov suffered quite a bit in this line at the recent Linares tournament


The Catalan, is this quiet approach a result of yesterday's disaster, or the plan all along? We will only know later on in the match. As the Catalan is a Gruenfeld Defence in reverse with an extra move he has effectively played two Gruenfeld setups in two games.


Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

The Open Catalan

In general Black has two ways to play against the Catalan. He can reinforce the centre with c6, or, as he does here, take on c4 and aim to equalise in the centre with a later c5.

5.Bg2 a6 6.Ne5 c5 7.Na3 cxd4 8.Naxc4 Bc5

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

There are alternatives here. Perhaps Anand was surprised by this choice.

8...Ra7 is also played

9.0-0 0-0 10.Bd2 Nd5 11.Rc1 Nd7

11...b6 1-0 Gustafsson,J (2614)-Berkes,F (2619)/ Gothenburg SWE 2005/The Week in Chess 561 (31)

11...Qf6 12.Nd3 Be7 13.e4!! 1-0 Gelfand ,B (2703)-Aronian,L (2649)/Bastia FRA 2003/The Week in Chess 469 (30)

12.Nd3 Ba7

12...Be7 13.Nf4!+/=


13.Na5 N7f6 14.Qb3 Rb8 15.Rc2 Bd7 16.Rfc1 Bb5 17.a4 Bxd3 18.exd3 Re8 19.Nc4 Qe7 1/2-1/2 Vidit,S (2356) -Venkatesh,M (2462)/Nagpur IND 2008/The Week in Chess

13...Qe7 14.Qb3

14.Bxd5 exd5 15.Bb4 Qf6 16.Bxf8 dxc4-/+


Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 14...Rb8. Still following theory. But here Anand thought for at least 20 minutes.

Worryingly for Anand supporters, he fell into deep thought here. In spite of being still in theory.

14...Rb8 15.Nce5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Qf6 17.Nd3 b6 18.Bb4 Rd8 Black is fine already 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 20.Rc7 Bb7 21.Be7 Qf5 22.Qc2 e5 23.Rc1 h6 24.Nb4 d3 25.exd3 Rd7 26.Rxb7 Rbxb7 27.Qc8+ Kh7 28.Nxa6 Qxd3 29.Nb4 Qd2 30.Bf8 Rb8 0-1 Gulko,B (2559)-Shulman,Y (2606)/ Tulsa USA 2008/ The Week in Chess


A novelty and objectively a bad one but I think Vishy's idea here was just to take Topalov out of his preparation even at the cost of fighting for an objective advantage

15.Rfd1 was sensible while

15.Rfe1!? preparing Bxd5 so that e2 is protected - Nigel Short and

15.Rc2!? with the same idea were interesting ideas

15...Qxa3 16.bxa3

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 16.bxa3

This is risky as it weakens the c3 square which Black's extra pawn controls. It seems to me that Black is comfortably equal here indeed White has to think how he recoups this pawn


Not best, Black should not fear Bxd5

16...Nc5 Removing White's wonderful blockading knight was much better when Black is doing rather well 17.Nd6 b6

17.Nce5= Re8 18.Rc2 b6 19.Bd2 Bb7 20.Rfc1 Rbd8

Vishy's position has improved, he has decent compensation here with control of the c file and Nc6 coming 20...Rec8 21.Rxc8+ Rxc8 22.Rxc8+ Bxc8 23.Nc6 wins!


Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 21.f4

Keeping some control over the e5 square after a Nc6 Bxc6 sequence. Anand does not want to allow e6-e5.

21...Bb8 22.a4 a5?!

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 22.a5?!

Forgive me reader but my computer likes this and so did Topalov but I am suspicious of it. I guess Topalov did not like the idea a4-a5 b6-b5 Nc6 when the fixed a6 pawn is vulnerable but it's b6 which looks weaker to me. Longer term I see the Bb7 being exchanged and the dark bishop staying on the board so pawns on black squares could be uncomfortable against 2 knights


22...Rc8 23.Rxc8 Rxc8 24.Rxc8+ Bxc8 25.Nc6 Bd6 26.Nxd4=

23.Nc6 Bxc6

23...Rc8 24.Nxd4 Rxc2 25.Rxc2 and the b5 square comes in handy.

24.Rxc6 h5

Prophylaxis against the plan of Bg2-f3 and g4-g5 but also a sure sign Black lacks an active plan. Your engine might say level but it's perhaps a little uncomfortable to play

24...e5 25.fxe5 Bxe5 26.R1c4 Nc3!?

25.R1c4! Ne3?!

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 25...Ne3?! which some commentators have fingered as a serious error

26.Bxe3 dxe3 27.Bf3!

Calmly played and ruling out Rxd3 which might have happened after:

27.Rxb6 Rxd3 28.exd3 e2 29.Rb1 Ba7+ 30.d4 with complications although White is better here also 30...e5 31.fxe5 Rxe5 32.Re1


27...Ba7 28.Kg2

Topalov gives up the wrong pawn as when b6 goes a5 becomes weak so 27...Nd7 28.Bxh5 e5 was best

28.Rxb6 Ba7

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 28...Ba7

Played after a long think. Black is clearly in some trouble. Top GMs hate these kinds of positions with fixed weaknesses. The Catalan bishop is getting better and better and a5 is very weak.

29.Rb3 Rd4?

29...Nd5 30.Rb5 or 29...Re7


Obvious and strong, a5 falls

30...Bb8 31.Rc5 Bd6 32.Rxa5 Rc8 33.Kg2

This looks technically winning Topalov has been utterly outplayed from a position where if anything he was more comfortable

33...Rc2 34.a3 Ra2

34...Kg7 35.Ra7 Ra2 36.Rbb7 Rxd3 37.Rxf7+ Kh6 38.Ra8 g5 39.Rxf6+ Kg7 40.fxg5


Again simple and strong


Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Position after 35....Bxb4

35...Ra1 36.Nc2

35...Rxa3 36.Rxa3 Bxb4 37.Ra8+


With two connected pawns and a huge Catalan bishop the game is completely won. I couldn't pinpoint one serious error, Topalov has just played a series of innacurate moves and failed to find a plan.

36...Nd5 37.b5

Offering one pawn to reach a completely technically won game

37...Raxa4 38.Rxa4 Rxa4 39.Bxd5 exd5 40.b6 Ra8 41.b7 Rb8 42.Kf3 d4 43.Ke4

Veselin Topalov


Viswanathan Anand

Final Position after 43.Ke4

43.Ke4 Kf8 44.Kxd4 Ke7 45.Kc5 Kd7 46.Kb6


Game 2 Anand and Topalov. Photo © who are on the spot making videos.

Game 2 Anand and Topalov. Photo © who are on the spot making videos.

Game 2 Anand and Topalov. Photo © who are on the spot making videos.

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