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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anand Keeps World Champion Title

Hi everyone!

Below you can find the last and decisive game of the match Topalov - Anand, which I commented live on Chessdom. Anand won it and retained his World Champion Title. Congratulations to Vishy!

Veselin Topalov - Vishy Anand

Round 12
WCC 2010


The last classical game of the FIDE World Championship between Anand and Topalov starts at 14:00 CET and it will be live on with the commentary of the World Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Hello everyone! I'm Alexandra Kosteniuk and today with a great pleasure and interest I will be commenting for you the final game of the World Championship Match. The tension has reached the maximum level and the players are under an enormous pressure. Every move can be the last one. Topalov is playing White today. In this match out of 5 games which Anand was defending with Black pieces we have seen 3 games with the Slav Defence and 2 games with the Grunfeld. For the moment Topalov won two games out of these 5 with 3 draws.

The score now is 5,5 to 5,5 in case of a draw today we will see the tie-break, but of course Topalov will try to use his last White color in this last classical game of the match.

When you look at the chessplayers before this game you can only guess what do they feel, what are they thoughts and how are they feeling.

For me, the most difficult part of any chess tournament is time which I have after one game ends and the other one starts. As soon as the clock has started and I make my first move I can think about the position.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.e3 Anand opted for a very solid classical Queens' Gambit Declined, the variation that is called sometimes the Lasker Defence. The positions that appear in this variation are considered to be quite solid for Black, but White has more space.

7... Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Be2 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 This position has been seen in many world championship matches and so far the players are following the theory which goes quiet far in this line. As we can see the choice of Anand was not a big surprise for Topalov who plays very fast.

13.O-O b6 14.Bd3 c5 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Qc2 Nf6 16. ... Nf6 is not the most popular move in this position for Black. In most games that have been played before Black prefered 16. ... a5 or Bb7. To understand this position better, let's have a look at the game between Karpov and Jussupow where Black 16. ... a5. The moves that followed are 16. ... a5 17.Rc1 Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.dxc5 Nxc5 20.Ne5 Qf6 21.Nd3 Rd8 22.Nxc5 bxc5 23.Qe2 Rbd7 24.R3c2 a4 25.g3 Rd5 26.Kg2 g6 27.a3 h5 28.Qf3 Qe5 29.Qf4 Qxf4 30.gxf4 Rb8 31.Rxc5 Rxc5 32.Rxc5 Rxb2 33.Rc4 Ra2 34.Rxa4 Kf8 35.Ra7 Ra1 36.h4 Kg7 37.a4 Ra2 38.Kf3 Kf6 39.a5 Ra3 40.a6 Ra4 41.Ke2 Ra2+ 42.Kd3 Rxf2 43.Rb7 Ra2 44.a7 e5 45.fxe5+ Ke6 46.Kc4 g5 47.hxg5 h4 48.Kb5 Rb2+ 49.Kc6 Ra2 50.Kc7 h3 51.Kb8 h2 52.Rb1 1-0

Topalov is thinking for the first time in this game so we can say that move 16. ... Nf6 surprised him. White can now take on c5 17. dxc5 and after 17 ... Nxe4 18. Qxe4 bxc5 19. b3 can try to attack the weak pawn on c5. However, we shall understand that even if White wins this pawn Black might have enough chances to hold the game, since as a compensation for this weakness on c5 Black has a very strong ligth-squared bishop on b7. The other possibility for White instead of 17. dxc5 is to play 17. Bc6 and try to hold the pressure and to see what Black will do.

17.dxc5 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5 There was one interesting game played in this line which the players are still following between Kulaots and Grabarczyk: 19.b3 Bb7 20.Qf4 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Rfd8 22.Rfc1 Rd2 23.R1c2 Rbd8 24.g3 Rxc2 25.Rxc2 Rd5 26.Kg2 Qd6 27.h4 a6 28.Rc4 Rd2 29.Ra4 Qd3 30.h5 f6 31.g4 Kh7 1/2-1/2 as we can see from this game Black was able quite easily to make a draw.

Now I think we already can say that Anand's today choice of the opening was quite succesful, even though that Anand already played this opening with Black, but in this game he opted for 13. ... b6 which he has never played before and even though Topalov seemed to be ready at first and played 16. Qc2, Anand used a rather new idea Nf6 and Topalov is now thinking while Anand, I'm sure still following his preparation.

19.Qc2 Bb7 Topalov played 19. Qc2 and after immediate repy from Anand Bb7 continues to think. The idea of Black is that after 20. Rxc5 Black has 20. ... Bxf3 and then Rxb2, so the pawn on c5 is "undirectly" protected at the moment since Black has an idea of taking on f3 White will probably play 20. Nd2, not 20. Ne5? of course, in view of Bxg2 and Qg5. actually all this have already been seen in one game between two German players Bellmann and Schulze where White for some reason gave away his rook in one move and resigned later on 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 Qd6 22.Nb3 Ba6 23.Rd1?? Qxd1+ 0-1

20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 21. f3 is quite logical move for a player when he sees such a strong bishop on b7. 21. Nb3 was worth consideration however. Now Black has several inetersting move including 21. ... Qg5 and e5 since the pawn on c5 is still untouchable - Rxc5?? Rxd2!. Anand is thinking for the first time in the game. Black has a good position of course he has to remember about his weak pawn on c5 but his bishop on b7 is a great compensation for this weakness.

21... Ba6 21. ... Ba6 Anand decides to move his bishop from the diagonal h1-a8 which Topalov closed by playing f3, to the dieagonal f1-a6. Nowadays when you play games it often seems that everything that is being played on the board have been analysed at home, especially when we are watching a game between two strong players. But the reality is not always like this. We have to understand that during a game only ONE actual line takes place while during a home preparation a player needs to look at several possible options.

22.Rf2 After 22. Rf2, White protected the knight on d2 but in order to attack the pawn on c5 he will need to protect the pawn on b2 as well by playing b3, meanwhile Black will be able to double his rooks on the d-file and re-create the threat of taking on d2 after Rxc5. Actually since there are no pieces on the first row, right now White needs to look afte his weak back rank. Probably Topalov wants to play g3 and Nb3 while Black will be doubling his rooks on the d-file. According to Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov, Topalov is playing accordingly to the Sofia Rules, another words he doesn't offer a draw but since this draw offer is still allowed in chess, sometimes it can be used a strong psychological tool. When a player offers a draw he is not only asking his opponent to find the next move but also to decide either to agree on a draw and finish the game or to continue playing.

22... Rd7 As it was predicted Anand started to double his rooks on the d-file, by playing Rd7. Now it's time for White to answer the question of his next actions. Topalov needs to be careful since Black's dynamical factors are quite strong and if White will try too hard to play for a win he can end up in a trouble. 23. g3 with the idea of making an escape-square for the king.

23.g3 the question is what to do after 23. ... Rbd8? If White plays 24. Nb3 then Black has 24. ... Bd3!? with the idea after 25. Qc1? to play Be4!

23... Rbd8 24.Kg2 that's probably why Topalov moved his king to the second rank to avoid all such possibilities as Rd1. Now it's time for Black to choose the plan. Anand has several interesting choices - he can start moving his pawns, by playing e5 or h5 or he can just wait by playing Rd5. He can also play f5 with the idea not to let White play e4.

24... Bd3 after 25. Qc1 - Ba6 can be a silent draw offer or Black has an idea with sacrificing the pawn but using the fact the white squares and first rank are weak at White's camp - 25. Qc1 e5!? 26. Rxc5 Bf5 and then Qe6.

25.Qc1 Ba6 here we go, back to a6; of course, if White plays back to c2 Anand can still play e5 or h5. White has other choices as well, for example Ra3 and then after Bd3 back to c3.

26.Ra3 Topalov doesn't want to give Black once again all these possibilities with the attack on the King-side

26... Bb7 27.Nb3 Anand decided to go back to the long diagonal and Topalov replied with immediate Nb3. The position remains equal but we won't see a short draw today. Despite the fact that white's r on a3 and knight on b3 don't seem to be on the right places, now after 28. Rc2 Black will need to decide how to protect the pawn on c5.

27... Rc7 Rxa7 is not possible of course right now in view of Bxf3+, but Black should also remember about this pawn, for example after Rd5 Rxa7 is already possible.

28.Na5 Topalov decided not to play Rc2 but instead move his knight to c4. Now Anand should decide the destiny of his bishop, like in a famous russian fairy tale, he has three choices - to go to the right, to the left and straight. In chess language - to stay on the diagonal h1-a8 by playing Ba8 or to go to c6 or c8

28... Ba8 Anand decided to stay on the long diagonal and moved his bishop to a8. He wants to keep his bishop on this diagonal in order to have the move f5 after White plays e4. White always has to keep in my mind this dangerous bishop who is looking directly at the White monarch. Topalov has 47 minutes while Anand has 43.

29.Nc4 Topalov finished his knight's maneuver by playing 29. Nc4

29... e5 it's a very interesting side of Anand, he often chooses not the most obvious move, not the one that would be played by 90% of players, but another one, more unexcpected, which can be as strong as the most obvious, but will have a stronger effect on the opponent.

30.e4 Black wanted to play e4, that's why Topalov prefered to play e4 himself, but now after f5 White is facing a very difficult and concrete problem. We are entering the concrete stage of the game where the words should be switched to the concrete lines and variations. White can try to support the pawn on e4 by playing 31. Nd2 but then after 31. ... fxe4 32. Nxe4 Bxe4 33. fxe4 Rd4 the position is about equal although Black has some initiative

30... f5 31.exf5 e4 o la-la, like the french people might say! Topalov took on f5 and now after the break through e4 White's position doesn' look safe. Even sitting in fron of my screen I can feel the tension that is rising. The first time control approaches, the position of the white king is open and something interesting is going to happen. The spectators can be happy but what about the players? After 32. ... qxe4 white is in a big trouble.

32.fxe4 33. Kh3 Rd4 (idea is simple Qg4#) if 34. Ne3 then Qe8 threatining to give checkmate again Qh5! White's position suddenly started to look very bad, this bishop that was left on the long diagonal will have some words to say. Now will Anand be able to hold this pressure and find the best way to continue this game? If he wins it the match will be over! What a dramatic finish!

32... Qxe4 33.Kh3 Rd4 yes, 33. ... Rd4! I doubt that Anand will let this win go away

34.Ne3 one more difficult move to find - Qe8! and the game will be practically over since after 35. g4 Black plays h5! So Qe8 and then h5 and Anand wins. Will he find these moves which shall be quite easy to find unless you are playing the final game for the world championship title and all your nerves are under high voltage and you feel and understand that a few more moves and the match will be over?

34... Qe8 Anand makes this move! What is going on right now in the minds of these two players? What are they thinking? What words is Topalov saying to himself? after such a long and ineteresting match to finish with such an absurd blunder. What a great game for Anand who refused of making a draw by repetition and continued to play. And his decision made such an impact on Topalov that 10 moves later Anand is winning. And tell me now that chess is not a game about psychology!!

35.g4 h5 and now after g5 Qe4 the game is over

36.Kh4 36. Kh4 in this situation there are no good advice for White

36... g5 Now the only move for White is 37. fxg6 since after Kg3 and Kh3 White is getting checkamted

37.fxg6 37 ... Qxg6 with the idea Rxg4 is bringing the game closer to the desired for Black result

37... Qxg6 Black's idea is simple to tak on g4 - Rxg4 and after Kh3 to play Qg5 with the idea to checkmate on h4. Тhe only move for White now is 38. Qf1 in order to have Rf8+ after Qg5. but in that case after 38. ... Rxg4+ 39. Kh3 even though Qg5 is still possible, Black can make any other move such as 39. ... Bc6 or Re7

38.Qf1 Here is a nice line how the game can be ended: 38. ... Rxg4+ 39. Kh3 Re7 40. Rb3? Rxe3 41. Rxe3 Rh4+ 42. Kxh4 Qg4#

38... Rxg4 39.Kh3 Re7 as we mentioned this move has a very n ice idea - Rxe3 and then Rh4 and Qg4#

40.Rf8 Kg7 is not the best move, after Kh7! White's only possibility would be to go for an endgame without a bishop after 41. Rh8 Kxh8 42. Qf8 Qg8 but now after 41. Nf5+! Black can not take on f8 in view of Nxe7 and Black is losing so he has to play Kh7 and his position is still winning. Kg7 is also strong of course, I just got scared at one point after seeing this Nf5+ Kf8?? Ne7 line. So 41. Nf5+ Kh7 42. Rg3 Rxg3+ 43. hxg3 Qg4+ 44. Kh2 Re2+ 45. Kg1 Rg2+ winning the game and then 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Rf7 Kg6 48.Rg7 Kxf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50.Kxg2 Ke4 with a won pawn's endgame.

41.Nf5 Kh7 42.Rg3 Rxg3+ 43.hxg3 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Re2+ 45.Kg1 Rg2+ 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Kxg2 Topalov took the bishop 47. Kxg2 since there were no chances in the pawn's endgame, while here, even though he is still losing, he has the rook and the kn ight and that gives him a dreamlike hope for a draw. Of course Topalov will play till the very last moment because resignation in this game means today the end of the whole match.

47... Qe2 48.Kh3 c4 49.a4 a5 50.Rf6 if there were no pawns on the queen-side the position would have been different, but these pawns are here and White will not be able to protect them. Topalov's idea here is to give away the knight for the c pawn and win the h5-pawn and then try to hold this endgame with the rook against the Queen, but of course Black will try to win the pawn on a4 as well.

50... Kg8 Anand is not trying to force the game, he is not looking forward to exchanging the pawns, he want to win white pawns but stay with his own pawns on the board

51.Nh6 Kg7 Now after 51. Nh6+ Kg7 52. Rb6 Qf3! White is in zugzwang since after 53. Kh4 Qe4+ White can not go back to h3 in view of Qh1# And once again Anand is finding a very interesting continuation, he doesn' just take a pawn on b2 but finds a very tricky zugzwang, using the fact that White pieces are not very well coordinated

52.Rb6 Qe4 Qf3 on the 52nd move would have been stronger since there was no Kh2 move

53.Kh2 now Black has a possibility to play h4 since after gxh4 the rook on b6 will be lost after Qe2+ and then Qe3+ or Qf1 and Qf2+. Kh7 is lso a zugzwang, since now after the rook moves one of the white pawns will be lost.

53... Kh7 54.Rd6 54. ... Qe5 attacking the pawn on b2 and the pawn on g3 (after h4) is very strong here although this is the position of such kind where every move there are several winning moves for Black.

54... Qe5 55.Nf7 Qxb2 56.Kh3 Qg7 the pawn on b2 is lost and now the chances for a miracle are fading away and Topalov resigned the game. Anand keeps his title! We have to congratulate Viswanathan Anand for this wonderful victory in this very hard and exciting match where everything was decided in the last decisive game. Thanks to Anand and Topalov for the very nice match and Vivat, Anand! Thank you for following the World Chess Championship with me GM Alexandra Kosteniuk on! 0-1

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk

Women's World Chess Champion


  • At May 11, 2010 at 1:43 PM , Blogger Soulberry said...

    Wonderful commentary. Informative. Thank you.

    Moves #30 and #31 were critical as much as Anand's white-squared bishop in a8. It anchored his attack and without which there was little pressure.

  • At May 11, 2010 at 1:51 PM , Anonymous R7-Android Super 17 said...

    Wow the World Champion Anand is a great Champion. Congratulations to him and his Country.

    and thanks Alexandra for covering that match.

    Soooo. I think Kasparov must come back just to challenge Anand. Chess fans need a Kaspavov vs Anand Match.

  • At May 11, 2010 at 1:54 PM , Anonymous Jimmy T. said...

    Great comments, as usual, Alexandra!

  • At May 11, 2010 at 4:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Congratulations Vichy! Very good beating :))) I'm pleased...

  • At May 11, 2010 at 8:03 PM , Blogger javacup said...

    Congratulations to Viswanathan Anand. That's an incredible victory.
    Thanks for the great annotations.
    - from Tucson, AZ

  • At May 13, 2010 at 9:48 AM , Anonymous karthik said...

    thank you for your commentary for the final game 12 in sofia..It was absorbing tense and exciting and your move predictions are perfect for Anand....

    the better player wins as per your comments earlier but topolov carried the fight in the crucial game in a loosing position....Bravo! to both the players to treat the chess fans community and for your excellent commentary...

    hope to see you defend your title wishes!!!!!!!!


  • At May 13, 2010 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thx for commenting the game!
    Great to read

  • At May 14, 2010 at 5:18 AM , Blogger Pau said...

    excellent coment.

  • At May 15, 2010 at 10:55 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Alexandra thanks for your analysis. I have small doubt what if Topalov played 42.Rxa8.....43.Rg3... ?


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