Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Topalov evens the score 4-4

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 So far, both players had been repeating games three and five, where Anand had opted for 13...a6. In those games, he had found himself with a very cramped position which had left him mostly trying not to lose, hardly inspiring. Presumably he found no significant improvement, hence 13...Rc8.

14.Bb5 a6 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7. Obviously, 13...a6 was designed to prevent this, so the question is whether the bishop pair will compensate for the king in the center, and the lack of development. Note how the g6 bishop is still hemmed in, and the g7 bishop still has to cover g7 for at least another move.

16.Ke2 f6 17.Rhd1 Ke8 GM Amonatov played this twice before as Black a few years ago, drawing once and losing another. Anand must be familiar with the games, so what has he found?

18.a5N Be7 19.Bb6 Rf8 20.Rac1 f5 21.e5 Bg5. The World Champion had clearly played this with his next move in mind, but as it turned out, he had committed a very serious oversight.

22.Be3 f4. Anand completely and uncharacteristically missed White's next move, and now finds himself in a world of pain. Even if he had realized his mistake in time, and exchanged the bishop with 22...Bxe3 GM Dorfman commented that even after 23.Kxe3 f4+ 24.Kd4! Ke7 25.Ne4! Bxe4 26.Kxe4 he would much prefer to be White, but this was still the lesser evil.

23.Ne4! Topalov must have been mentally rubbing his hands in glee as his knight gets a free pass to d6.

23...Rxc1 24.Nd6+ Kd7 25.Bxc1 Kc6 26.Bd2 Be7 27.Rc1+ Kd7 28.Bc3. This move came as a bit of a shock to the GM commentators, and Seirawan even refused to believe it was the move played when he was first informed. They had expected 28.Bb4! expecting to counter 28...Bxd6 with 29.Rd1! and it would be much harder on Black.

28...Bxd6 29.Rd1 Bf5 30.h4 A good move designed to prevent Black from consolidating his f4 pawn. The bishop on d6 is going nowhere.

30...g6. This move on the other hand is a mystery as all it does is create weaknesses and a target for a possible h5. Was Vishy dreaming of a possible h6 and g5?

31.Rxd6+ Kc8 32.Bd2 Rd8 33.Bxf4 Rxd6 34.exd6 Kd7 The debate as to whether White could win this was huge. Granted it is an opposite-colored bishop ending, which is a significant argument, but there is no denying Black has work to do as the Bulgarian will soon show.

35.Ke3 Bc2 36.Kd4 Ke8 37.Ke5 Kf7 38.Be3 Ba4 39.Kf4 Bb5 40.Bc5 Kf6 41.Bd4+ Kf7 42.Kg5 Bc6 43.Kh6 Kg8 44.h5 Be8 So far, so good. White has put into action his best chance to try and take the full point, but Black has kept his cool and should hold. If Topalov takes on g6 they may as well shake hands right then and there, so he pulls back and hopes for a miracle.

45.Kg5 Kf7 46.Kh6 Kg8 47.Bc5 gxh5 48.Kg5 Kg7 49.Bd4+ Kf7 50.Be5 h4! This masterly shot is enough to draw.

51.Kxh4. If the challenger were to try 51.Kh6 h3 52.gxh3 Kg8 and there would be no way to get through.

51...Kg6. With the king now on g6, White can no longer try to squeeze Black off the board, and Veselin must have been getting ready to accept that a draw was all he was getting today.

52.Kg4 Bb5 53.Kf4 Kf7 54.Kg5 Bc6?? And here comes his miracle: Black absolutely had to be able to protect the h7 pawn with his bishop. By being forced to retreat with Kg8, the game is now lost. Tragically, Anand played the only losing move.

55.Kh6 Kg8 56.g4 The resignation caused a good deal of confusion to many spectators, and no doubt, for their benefit, a few more moves could have been played to make it clearer. However, no doubt demoralized by his several blunders, and the impending defeat, Anand wanted no more of this game. So how would Topalov win from here? 56.g4 Bd7 57.g5 Be8 58.Bg7 Bd7 59.g6 hxg6 60.Kxg6 Be8+ 61.Kf6 Bd7 62.Ke7 Bc6 63.d7 Bxd7 64.Kxd7 Kxg7 65.Kxe6

[Analysis by Chessbase]

1 comment:

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