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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Hello everybody!

Just a short note to let you all know that right now I will be commenting LIVE the 8th game between Topalov and Anandon

See you there:)

Note: Topalov won and the score is now 4-4. Here is the text of the LIVE comments feed:

Veselin Topalov - Vishy Anand

Round 8
WCC 2010


Hello everybody! I'm Alexandra Kosteniuk and I will be commenting for you the 8th game between two great chess players Veselin Topalov and Viswanatan Anand.

Since Anand is leading in this match and today he will be playing Black, Topalov will try to do everything in order to use the white color. Since the end of this match is approching, and the world champion title is at stake, the tension is increasing and the players need to deal not only the moves on the board but also with their feelings.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3The game has started and we see the same variation as in the 3rd and 5th games.

7... c5 8.e4 Bg6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Qxd4 Again Anand is happy to exchange the queens and will be trying to hold this endgame.

11.Bxd4 Nfd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc4 Rc8 New move in this match, in games 3 and 5 Anand played 13. ... a6

14.Bb5 a6

15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Ke2 In my database there are 2 games that reached this position, in both games GM Amonatov was playing Black. In both these games Black replied with 16. ... f6 trying to solve the problem with the bishop on g6.

16... f6 17.Rhd1 Of course Anand was analazying this position at home and right now is probably taking his time to choose where he would go.

Nothing new so far, here is the game, that the players are following: Maletin-Amonatov, 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 Nbd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxc4 Rc8 14.Bb5 a6 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Ke2 f6 17.Rhd1 Ke8 18.Rac1 Rc6 19.Na2 Rxc1 20.Nxc1 Be7 21.Bb6 e5 22.Nd3 Bf7 23.Rc1 Bd8 24.a5 Ke7 25.Rc8 Re8 26.Rb8 Bc4 27.Rxb7+ Kf8 28.Ke3 Be7 29.Bc5 Bb5 30.b4 h6 31.Rb6 Bc4 32.Rb7 Bxc5+ 33.Nxc5 Rd8 34.Rc7 Kg8 35.Rc6 Bb5 36.Rb6 Bc4 37.h3 h5 38.Nxa6 Rd3+ 39.Kf2 Rd2+ 40.Ke1 Re2+ 41.Kd1 Rxg2 42.Nc5 Ra2 43.a6 Kh7 44.Kc1 Kh6 45.Rb7 h4 46.a7 Kg5 47.Kb1 Kf4 48.b5 g5 49.Na6 1-0

17... Ke8 Despite the fact that Black has two bishops, these bishops are the main problem of Black. He needs to decide how to finish development and at the same time not to end up with one bishop stuck on the king-side.

The adavantage of these kind of positions is that computers nowadays are still not great helpers in such endgames. Everything is about nuances that computers still can't understand and only people can feel.

Now has come time for Topalov to choose what to do, in another game between Bocharov and Amonatov of 2007 that ended in a draw White played here 18. Bb6.

18.a5 Finally a novelty! The idea of this move is to make it more difficult for Black to exchange the dark-squared bishops, since right now after 18. ... Bc5 White will probably play 19. Bxc5 Rxc5 and now 20. Rac1 (after 20. Na4 immediately Black has 20 ... Rc2) with the idea after 20. ... Rxa5? to play 21. Na4! and the undevelopment of Black pieces is the key factor here.

It's always interesting to know how far the players have analysed this position at home, since a5 and Na4-b6 is quite an obvious idea in this position that should not be a surprise for Anand since in order to hold such endgames one needs to really look at them thouroughly.

Since Black can not play Bc5 and he still needs to finish the development of his pieces Bb4 with the idea of Ke7 and Be8-b5 shall be analyzed.

18... Be7

19.Bb6 So after some thought Anand played Be7 and Topalov immediately answered with Bb6. It's interesting to know why Anand decided not to choose 18... Bb4, since now he once again is facing a very difficult question how to develop his king-side?

19... Rf8 A rather strange looking move, but otherwise it's unclear how to delevop, Black can not move his king from the e-file yet, since he has to keep under control the d7 square.

It's the first time in the game that Topalov is actually thinking. Again it's not clear has he analyzed it at home and right now is just choosing between lines that he looked or he is just thinking. If he has reached this position in his analysis and taking under account that Rf8 is the first move that computer suggest, this position should not be the one where he stopped his preparation.

Black has several ideas - to play f5-f4 and to open his bishop on g6, or to play Rf7 and Kf8. Or even Rf7 and Bf8 although this set-up is rather provocative. Now, the key question is what White wants to do, what are his ideas.

20.Rac1 With the idea to play Na4, to exchange Rook on c8 and to use the fact that Black pieces are far from the Queen side. Right now Black can not play 20. ... Kf7 in view of 21. Rd7. After 20. ... f5 White will probably play 21. e5 and the idea of Na4 is still in the air. So it leaves us with 20 ... Rf7, with the idea after 21. Na4 to play 21. ... Rxc1 22. Rxc1 and Bd6.

20... f5 But Anand chose to play 20. ... f5 anyway. Now it's interesting what is he planning to do after 21. e5? Because now the line that I gave above 21. ... Rf7 22. Na4 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 doesn't really work because Black doesn't have Bd6 at the end of the line.

21.e5 Looks like a joke, the line that computer at the beginning suggests here 21. ... Rc4?! 22. b3 Rh4??!!! leaving the queen-side all alone.

21... Bg5 Is most logical move, Black is offering White to exchange the bishops after Be3. Since if White plays 22. Rc2 now, Black can reply with Bf4 attacking two pawns.

22.Be3 f4 An interesting decision and almost immediate reply. Either Anand is still following his preparation, or else something interesting is going to happen now after 23. Ne4!? The move 23. Bb6 shall not be forgotten as well.

First of all, let's us try to understand what will happen after 23. Ne4, Black has to take on Rxc1 24. Nd6+ Kd7 25. Bxc1 and Black will need to go to the c-file with his King, protecting the pawn on b7. And later the game can continue like this 25. ... Kc6 26. Bd2 Be7 27. Rc1+ Kd7 28. Bb4 Bxd6 (with the idea after Bxd6 to play Rc8) 29. Rd1 Rd8 30. Rxd6 Kc7 31. Rxe6 Re8 exchanging the rooks and reaching the endgame with an extra-pawn for White but the opposite colored bishops.

23.Ne4 After a few minutes of thinking Topalov decided to go for this line, now everything is forced.

23... Rxc1 24.Nd6+ Interesting, Anand is still thinking.

24... Kd7 Ok, finally he played Kd7.

25.Bxc1 After Kc7 or Kc6 White can also play Rd4, with the idea to play Rc4 or Rb4 or even g3, a very nice multi-purpose move!

25... Kc6 Black is in a very difficult position. To tell you the truth, although the match of such players are always awaiting with big interest and enthusiasm, the strategy for this kind of matches nowadays are rather uninteresting. Players, like Anand or Topalov, or even Kramnik are trying to minimize their risk and play positions with a small plus for White and try to hold a draw in boring and slightly worse endgames.

A match is not a tournament, even if you win with the score +1 it's enough to get the title. This makes players play differently, not in an open and exciting style they usually play in tournament, but rather in very academical and unrisky ways.

26.Bd2 Be7 since Black will loose at least one pawn - either on f4, or b7, or even e6, he hopes to save this endgame after exchanging the bishop for the knight on d6 and then the rooks although the endgames with opposite-colored bishops are known to have many drawing chances, they are far from obvious. Meanwhile, the first long thought for Topalov in this game

27.Rc1 a big advantage of long theoretical lines for players is that the zeitnot can be avoided at least on the first time control. We are right now on the move 27 and Topalov has 1hour 15 min while Anand has a little bit less than 1 hour.

27... Kd7 so far the players are following the line that I gave a little bit earlier and if we prolong this line, it seems that White will win the second pawn as well, but it doesn't mean it will be enough for a win

28.Bc3 Topalov prefers not to go after the pawn, but rather to play in the position like this - Bxd629. Rd1 Rd8 30. Rxd6 Ke7 31. Rb6 Rd7 32. Bb4+ and then Bd6, dominating over the Black pieces since with the bishop on c3 the pawn on e5 is protected and Black can not exchange the rooks after 30. ... Kc7 31. Rxe6 Re8.

28... Bxd6 but instead Black can play 30. ... Kc7 31. Rxe6 Bd3+ 32. Kf2 Bb5 and it's not that obvious how White can avoid exhanging the rooks, but of course after 29. Rd1 Black can just play Bf5, but in any of these lines Black will need to play very carefully since he can not afford to make even a small mistake here

29.Rd1 Bf5 Anand opted for Bf5 and now after 30. Rxd6 Kc7 and then Bd4-b6

30.h4 But Topalov plays h4! he has another idea in mind, he wants to play Bb4-d6 and then win the pawn on f4. Now Anand will need to decide what kind of position he wants to defence - with the White rook or White bishop on d6, or White pawn on this square. Most likely we will see the position with White pawn on d6. White will win the pawn on f4 and Black can only hope to be able to activate his rook by playing Rc8-c2.

30... g6 Anand once again is suggesting Topalov to make his choice

31.Rxd6 so Topalov chose to take with the Rook, now after Kc8 how White wants to avoid exchanging the rooks? maybe it would have been better for Topalov to continue waiting and play 31. Bb4 for example? It is known that sometimes "the threat is more dangerous than execution"

31... Kc8 Most likely Topalov will continue with 32. Rd4, but the problem is that after Rf4 Black will have Bd3+ and the rooks will be exchanged anyway. I always admire players who are willingly go to play such positions with Black because the only thing in these position Black can hope for is to make a draw and in order to make it one has to suffer all the way through the game.

32.Bd2 now the following line is interesting 32. ... Rd8 with the idea of exchanging the rooks, 33. Rb6. If Black plays 33. ... Rd5, then after 34. Bxf4 Rxa5 35. g4 White wins the pawn on e6 that's why Black instead of Rd5 can play 33. ... Rd4 protecting the pawn on f4. Another interesting question how to evaluate the position after 32. ... Rd8 33. Bxf4 Rxd6 34. exd6? Is it such a clear draw? I wouldn't be so sure, White has the following plan - to bring the king onto e5 and then-f6-g7 to force Black to play h7-h5 and then to go with the king to g5 and to play g2-g4 creating the secong passed pawn. But of course Black will not just wait and see, although, does he have a choice? Probably he will need to give away the e-pawn in order to save the game by playing e5.

32... Rd8 of course Anand played Rd8 otherwise White could have won the pawn on f4 and keep the rooks on the board which would have been even worse for Black. This is the kind of situations where Black needs always choose a lesser evil.

33.Bxf4 Rxd6 34.exd6 Kd7 So the players reached this intriguing endgame. Whte's goal is obvious to create the second passed pawn.

35.Ke3 Bc2 So White will most likely to continue to march his king. What Black will do? Maybe he will try to attack the pawns g2 and f3?

36.Kd4 Ke8 Anand played Ke8 with the idea to play Kf7 and Ba4-d7. At the beginning I thought it's not possible, but in fact after 37. Ke5 now Black will play Kf7 since after 38. d7 Black has Ke7 move. After 37. Kc5 now Black will move his king back to d7 and after 38. Kb6 he will play Kc8. Maybe it's just a fortress, we will wait and see what Topalov has in mind.

37.Ke5 Kf7 so Anand almost finished his pieces relocation, on the next move he wants to move his bishops to the diagonal a4-e8.

38.Be3 Ba4 Yes, the plan is completed, now Black king is potecting the king-side while the Black bishop is guarding the pawn on d6.

39.Kf4 Now let's try to understand does white have any winning chances here? Even if Black just waits and moves his bishop back and forth I can not see any ideas for White for the moment. But maybe Topalov still has something to say? I think White's plan can look like this: White will bring his king to h6; then he will push the pawn to h5 exchaning the g6 pawn to h pawn. Then he will push his g pawn to g6, put the bishop on g7 and bring the king to f6, but the problem that Black can also move, and by playing Be8 at some point he will just stop this plan.

39... Bb5 40.Bc5 of course the game can continue like this for hours, but it's still not clear how White can try to break up through Black's fortress

40... Kf6

41.Bd4 The first time control has passed, players have enough time now to find the ultimate truth about this position.

41... Kf7 42.Kg5 Bc6 43.Kh6 Kg8 Nothing has changed so far, Topalov is moving his king to h6.

44.h5 Be8 45.Kg5 Kf7 Everything is going as planned. White has moved his king to h6 and his pawn to h5 and Black played Be8. There are limited number of ideas for both sides in this position, so normally it should be a draw.

46.Kh6 Kg8 47.Bc5 gxh5 Anand decided to take the pawn on h5, now he will play Kf7 in order not to let White to go to f6.

48.Kg5 Kg7 Ok, the idea behind Kg7 is the same not to give White a chance to go to f6

49.Bd4 There maybe some kind of zugzwang. If White take the pawn on h5, then plays Kh6 and then pushes his pawns to f4 and g5. Black will need to retreat his bishop from the e8-h5 diagonal and then White will play g6 and after hxg6 Kxg6 he achieved his goal of getting to the f6 square.

49... Kf7 if before playing g6 White will be able to get his bishop to g7 and then play g6, then after hxg6 Kxg6 and Kf6 white will win this endgame since after Bd7 Ke7 white will win the bishop

50.Be5 50. Be5! since after 50. Kh5 Black could have played e5!? and White can not take on e5 in view of Ke6+ and Black even wins. Now Black can try to relocate his pieces once again by moving his bishop to c2 - Ba4-c2 and the king to d7.

50... h4 Anand wants to play Kg6 after Kxh4 and set up another barrier for White

51.Kxh4 Kg6 now Black can just move his bishop and wait, it's unclear how can white improve his position. White can move his King to e5 and try to play g4 and f4, but Black will just move Bd7-c8 then White will try to play Kd4 with the idea of playing Kc5-b6-c7. If White's king will reach the square c7 then Black can end up in zugzwang and will need to give the pawn on b7 and after f4-f5, white will create the second passed pawn and will win. Now at least it's clear what is the plan for White. But of course if White tries to transfer his king to the queen side, Black can always move his king to d7

52.Kg4 Bb5 53.Kf4 So, I understand that this kind of endgame is not the most exciting ones and I can even feel that some people are about to leave their screens, but let's us try to see a brighter side. First of all, computers are not great helpers here, meaning that you can not evaluate this kind of positions using your software. It's not about concrete moves here but rather plans. But on the other hand this position has its evaluation it's either won for White or it's a draw and every move is very important. That's why Anand is spending quite a few time on every move. It's very unpleasent situation for Black, because White is not risking anything, he is just playing, moving his pieces from one side to another. While Black needs to calculate all these long lines in order to find a set-up which will bring him the desired result. So White is going to put his King to e5 now, then will try to push his pawns to g4 and f4, then will go to b6 and then to c7.

53... Kf7 Anand decided to let White move his king to g5 and we are back to the position that we have already discussed. White has 2 plans - to create the second passed pawn or to play Kh6 and then to push the pawn g6

54.Kg5 Bc6 55.Kh6 Kg8 56.g4 the most terrible thing that White can continue torturing his opponent for a long time, he can move his pieces from one side to another. He can always switch from the plan with the king on h6 to the king on e5 while time is running against Anand.

That is why Anand resigns. He decided to give up probably he just didn't see how to defend and prefered not to continue this game. It seems that the plan g5, Bg7, g6 is too strong and Anand didn't see how to defend. We have to applause to Topalov, he went again for this endgame and using the nuances of this position outplayed his opponent even though that Anand was defending well and reached a very interesting endgame with opposite-colored bishops, but this kind of choices when Black from the very beginning accepts to be the weaker side, it's always double-edged. So the score is now even 4-4 and the most interesting games are ahead. I wish all of you a good day and am looking forward to see a very exciting ending of this match, hopefully with more fire on the board:) Thank you for following with me GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, see you for more live coverage on! 1-0

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