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World Chess Championship 2010 (8)

Anand - Topalov World Championship Game 8

Topalov levels the score in Game 8 which was a very nervy affair from both players. Photo ©

Topalov levels the score in Game 8 which was a very nervy affair from both players. Photo © | http://www.chessdom.com

Text by Mark Crowther. Notes by Malcolm Pein.

Veselin Topalov leveled the match with a win in the Slav Variation Anand successfully defended in games 3 and 5.

Anand was the first to deviate with 13...Rc8 and Topalov was the first with a novelty, 18.a5. This put Anand under pressure and he got a miserable position,after 22...f4? allowing white's knight to penetrate.

The position proved remarkably hard for both players to understand. The expectations tend to be very high because they are so fantastically good, as shown in game 7.

Topalov may have been making 2nd and 3rd best choices for a number of moves and letting Anand back in the game. They reached a tricky, but I think ultimately drawn, bishops of opposite coloured ending which Anand seemed to be understanding when just within reach of a draw he played 54.Bc6?? losing instantly.

The bishops of opposite coloured ending was obviously more tricky and tiring to play than it appeared from the outside because neither player seemed to realise how drawish the position had become with relatively simple concepts.

Game 8 start. Photo © http://www.chessdom.com who are on the spot with commentary, photos and reports.

Topalov,Veselin (2805) - Anand,Viswanathan (2787) D17
WCh Sofia BUL (8), 04.05.2010

IM Malcolm Pein

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

Viswanathan Anand

__r_kb_r
pp_n_ppp
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P_BBP___
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_P____PP
R___K__R

Veselin Topalov

Position after 13...Rc8

Anand is again the first to vary. He clearly wants to stop Topalov from getting his improvements in first.

13...a6 14.Rc1 Rg8 15.h4 h6

(15...h5 16.Ne2 Bd6 17.Be3 Ne5 18.Nf4 Rc8 19.Bb3 Rxc1+ 20.Bxc1 Ke7 21.Ke2 Rc8 22.Bd2 f6 23.Nxg6+ Nxg6 24.g3 Ne5 25.f4 Nc6 26.Bc3 Bb4 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

1/2-1/2 Topalov,V (2805)-Anand,V (2787)/Sofia BUL 2010/The Week in Chess

)

16.Ke2 Bd6 17.h5 Bh7 18.a5 Ke7 19.Na4 f6 20.b4 Rgc8 21.Bc5 Bxc5 22.bxc5 Rc7 23.Nb6 Rd8 24.Nxd7 Rdxd7 25.Bd3 Bg8 26.c6 Rd6 27.cxb7 Rxb7 28.Rc3 Bf7 29.Ke3 Be8 30.g4 e5 31.Rhc1 Bd7 32.Rc5 Bb5 33.Bxb5 axb5 34.Rb1 b4 35.Rb3 Ra6 36.Kd3 Rba7 37.Rxb4 Rxa5 38.Rxa5 Rxa5 39.Rb7+ Kf8 40.Ke2 Ra2+ 41.Ke3 Ra3+ 42.Kf2 Ra2+ 43.Ke3 Ra3+ 44.Kf2 Ra2+ 45.Ke3 Ra3+ 46.Kf2 1/2-1/2 Topalov,V (2805)-Anand,V (2787)/Sofia BUL 2010/ The Week in Chess

14.Bb5 a6 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Ke2

16.0-0-0 1/2-1/2 Gordon,S (2508)-Ledger,A (2423)/Liverpool ENG 2008/The Week in Chess 717 (54)

16...f6 17.Rhd1 Ke8

Anand gets out of the way of discovered checks. It is possibly too dangerous to go Queenside although that isn't clear.

17...Kc7 18.Ba7 Ra8??

(18...Be8!

18...Bd6 19.b4 Bxb4 20.Nb5+!)

19.Nb5+ axb5 20.Rac1+ Bc5 21.Rxc5# is an amusing line.

18.a5

Viswanathan Anand

__r_kb_r
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R__R____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 18.a5

This seems to be new. Probably both players had prepared this move although Anand did start to think here.

18.Bb6 1/2-1/2 Bocharov,D (2614) -Amonatov,F (2574)/Voronezh RUS 2007/The Week in Chess 659 (60)

18.Rac1 1-0 Maletin,P (2545)-Amonatov,F (2650)/Novokuznetsk RUS 2008/The Week in Chess 722 (49)

18...Be7

Played after 15 minutes thought.

Viswanathan Anand

__r_k__r
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R__R____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 18...Be7

18...Bb4!? 19.Ra4 Be7=

18...Bb4!? 19.Na4 Ke7 20.Rac1 Be8!= Shipov 21.Rxc8? Bb5+

18...Rc6 19.Na4 Bd6 20.Rac1 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Ke7 22.Bc5 Bxc5 23.Nxc5 Rc8 24.Rc3+/=

19.Bb6

White replied immediately.

19...Rf8

Black continues to try and unravel with Rf8 Bf8 and Rf8-f7-d7 but this takes time of course

20.Rac1 f5

Viswanathan Anand

__r_kr__
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pB__p_b_
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__N__P__
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__RR____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 20...f5

Trying to activate rook and bishop before lines open and White can exploit his lead in development.

21.e5

Keeping black's light squared bishop locked in.

21...Bg5

Quite a quick reply attacking the rook and intending Bf4

22.Be3 f4?

Played quickly again and a terrible move that allows the knight into d6

22...Bxe3 23.Kxe3 f4+

(23...Ke7)

24.Kd4 Ke7 25.Ne4 Bxe4 26.Kxe4 g5 with decent drawing chances.

23.Ne4

Using a discovered attack on the rook to plant his knight on the excellent square d6. It isn't really possible to believe Anand missed this intermezzo but if he did it was a terrible oversight

23...Rxc1 24.Nd6+ Kd7 25.Bxc1 Kc6

Viswanathan Anand

_____r__
_p____pp
p_kNp_b_
P___P_b_
_____p__
_____P__
_P__K_PP
__BR____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 25...Kc6

25...Be7 26.Rd4

26.Bd2

Viswanathan Anand

_____r__
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p_kNp_b_
P___P_b_
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_P_BK_PP
___R____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 26.Bd2

This was certainly not the only alternative Topalov had in this position

26.g3

26.Rd4 was possibly even better

26...Be7 27.Rc1+

27.Bb4 Rd8 28.Rd4 was also good

27...Kd7

Forced. White has a complete bind in this position so Anand heads for a difficult opposite bishop endgame with drawing chances

27...Kd5 28.Rc7 Bxd6 29.exd6 Kxd6 30.Rxb7 Kd5 31.Rxg7+/-

28.Bc3

Viswanathan Anand

_____r__
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p__Np_b_
P___P___
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__B__P__
_P__K_PP
__R_____

Veselin Topalov

Position after 28.Bc3

28.Bb4 Rd8 29.Rc4 Bxd6 30.Rd4 was at least as good

28.Bb4 Bxd6 29.Rd1!

28...Bxd6 29.Rd1 Bf5 30.h4

30.Bb4 g5 31.Rxd6+

(31.Bxd6 Rc8)

31...Ke8 32.Rb6 Rf7 holds

30...g6?!

Every pawn move is weakening and this one proves fatal later

30...Kc7 31.exd6+ Kd7

A) 32.Rd4 Rf7 33.Rxf4 Kxd6 holds easily 34.g4 Bd3+! 35.Ke3 Rxf4 36.Kxf4 g6 37.Kg5 Ke7 38.Kh6 Kf7 39.Kxh7 (39.g5 Be2 40.f4 Kg8=) 39...g5+!

B) 32.Bxg7? Rg8=

31.Rxd6+ Kc8 32.Bd2

White is clearly on top and is winning a pawn but not necessarily the game.

32.Rd4 h6! Shipov 33.Rxf4

(33.Bd2 g5)

33...Bd3+

32...Rd8 33.Bxf4 Rxd6 34.exd6 Kd7

Viswanathan Anand

________
_p_k___p
p__Pp_p_
P____b__
_____B_P
_____P__
_P__K_P_
________

Veselin Topalov

Position after 34...Kd7

As always bishops of opposite colours make the position drawish even though White has an extra protected passed pawn. Now Indian GM Harikrishna proposed a possible winning plan involving a king march to h6 and h4-h5 which I thought was rather unpatriotic of him :)

35.Ke3 Bc2 36.Kd4 Ke8

Black must stop Kf6

37.Ke5 Kf7 38.Be3 Ba4 39.Kf4 Bb5 40.Bc5 Kf6 41.Bd4+

Viswanathan Anand

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_p_____p
p__Ppkp_
Pb______
___B_K_P
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_P____P_
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Veselin Topalov

Position after 41.Bd4+

41...Kf7

41...e5+ 42.Bxe5+ Ke6 43.Ke4 Bf1 44.g3 Be2 and the bishop is tied to the d6 pawn. This is terribly hard to assess and in practice unless Vishy thought the line played was losing he would not sacrifice a pawn but I am not sure how White wins from here

42.Kg5 Bc6 43.Kh6 Kg8 44.h5 Be8 45.Kg5

Anand seems to be holding here so Topalov comes back - good practical chess at the very least! 45.g4? gxh5 46.gxh5 Bd7 holds

45...Kf7

Now the draw starts to look favourite

46.Kh6 Kg8 47.Bc5 gxh5 48.Kg5 Kg7 49.Bd4+ Kf7 50.Be5 h4! 51.Kxh4 Kg6

At this point it looked more likely that Anand would hold the draw since he blundered on move 22.

52.Kg4 Bb5 53.Kf4 Kf7 54.Kg5

Viswanathan Anand

________
_p___k_p
p__Pp___
Pb__B_K_
________
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_P____P_
________

Veselin Topalov

Position after 54.Kg5

Topalov is just meandering now but he is about to be rewarded

54...Bc6??

Viswanathan Anand

________
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p_bPp___
P___B_K_
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_P____P_
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Veselin Topalov

Position after 54...Bc6???

Within sight of the draw Anand blunders. A truly dreadful move. He removes the possibility of protecting the h-pawn with his bishop which is an easy draw.

54...Bd3 putting the bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal and now Kf7-e8-d7 draws for example 55.f4 Ke8 56.g4 Kd7 57.f5 exf5 58.gxf5 h6+! 59.Kf6 Bc2 and Black just waits with the bishop

54...Ke8 should be the same

55.Kh6 Kg8 56.g4 1-0

Viswanathan Anand

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Veselin Topalov

Final Position after 56.g4

56.g4 Be8 57.g5 Bc6 58.f4 Bd7 59.Bd4 Be8 60.Bg7 zugzwang 60...Bc6 61.g6 hxg6 62.Kxg6 Be8+ 63.Kf6 Bc6 64.Bh6 wins.

In the post-match press conference the player's perception seem to be different to those analysing the position on the outside. Computers weren't much use in looking at this position but on ICC Pentala Harikrishna had suggested the winning idea eventually played in the game many hours before. The defence to this had also been found with the relatively simple concept of protecting the h-pawn with the bishop and using the king to stop the d-pawn. It also isn't clear whether Anand can't just keep the King on g6 and then shadow black's king across to the queen-side as an alternative. When Anand played 53...Kf7 it seemed clear he was heading for the first drawing idea. So 54....Bc6? came as a real surprise. Apparently this reasoning was not at all what was going on in the minds of either of the players and it shows just how difficult this ending is in practice.

Veselin Topalov: When the knight came to d6 I evaluated the position as winning after that I'm not sure my opponent could save himself.

Anand: I totally misplayed it with f4, maybe bishop takes e3 was a better move or Be7. After that this bishop of opposite coloured ending was very close, somehow I didn't see a forced way, obviously Kg8 is just a blunder, I mean Bc6.

It maybe the position is still a draw, I didn't see it.

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