We are following a very attractive match! The games are fighting and nervous, unlike in some previous World championships. Aggressive Topalov’s play and the Sofia rule will undoubtedly increase the popularity of chess. In the middle of the match the opponents exchanged blows, having shown their strongest opening weapons. The fourth game could be called “the pearl by the Champion”.
Anand – Topalov
4th game, Sofia 2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Qc2 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 c6 9.a4 b5
Earlier White preferred the position which appears after 10.axb5 axb5 11.Qg5 0-0 12.Qb5 but in games as Kramnik – Topalov 2006 and Leko – Kramnik 2008 Black had normal play.
The further Anand’s play was irreproachable, and it’s very difficult to say where Veselin made a mistake. 10…Bd7 11.Ne5 Nd5 12.e4 Nb4 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rfd1 Be8 15.d5 Qd6 16.Ng4 Qc5 17.Ne3
Topalov played logical 17…Nba6?!, but then he couldn’t bring his knight back to the game. Another way deserves attention: 17…Nd3!? 18. dxc6 Nxc6 19.axb5 Nce5 20. Nec4 Nxc4 21.Qxd3 Nxa3 22.Qxa3 Qxb5, and though Black hasn’t equalised yet he has more chances to do it than in the game.
18.dxc6 bxa4 19.Naxc4 Bxc6 20.Rac1
20…h6? – Soon we will see that it’s not a useful move but, on the contrary, critical weakening of king’s position. Garry Kasparov, who watches this match closely, said that this move was the main and the last mistake in the game, despite chess programs suggest it. This circumstance once more shows us that Anand’s play in this game can be called brilliant.
21.Nd6 Qa7 22.Ng4 Rad8
23.Nxh6! – A very spectacular combination played by Anand in a few minutes…
23…gxh6 24.Qxh6 f6 25.e5! – - about the spectacular sacrifice, I meant this beautiful move: White sacrifices one more piece but his attack becomes decisive.
25…Bxg2 26.exf6 White has a threat: 27.Qg6+ and 28.f7, that’s why Black needs to give away their pieces.
26…Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Be4 The great finale could arise after: 27…Bd5 28.Qg6+ Kh8 29.Rc4!! Bxc4 30.Rd4 Qh7 31.Rh4 Qxh4 32.Qg7 mate.
28.Rxe6 Nd3 29.Rc2 Qh7 30.f7+ Qxf7 31.Rxe4 Qf5 32.Re7 1-0
Let’s analyse another exciting game – the 7th game of the match.
Anand,V – Topalov,V
7th game, Sofia 2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Bf4.
Vishy chooses the main line intending to astonish his opponent like in the fourth game. But this time Topalov outstrips him.
This move is a “present” for the champion prepared by the Topalov’s team. I’m not sure that this idea is correct but Anand’s situation was very difficult – he had to play not only against the team analysis, but also against his opponent over the board. Moreover, the exchange sacrifice is Topalov’s favorite chess method.
10.Nxc6 Nxc6 11.Bxc6 Bd7!
Only this move is a novelty because 9…b5 was already played in Gelfand – Ivanchuk (Monako 2010 blindfold). Ivanchuk chose 11…Ba6 which is not so dangerous than the text move.
12.Bxa8 Qxa8 13.f3 Nd5
Anand could solve a problem with the development of his pieces, allowing the exchange on f4, but in this case Black would have interesting compensation thanks to his strong bishops: 14.Nc3 Nxf4 15.gxf4 f5!?
Не сомневаюсь, что продолжение 15.dxe5!? was delved by Topalov’s team at first. Initiative is a good thing, but White simply increases his material advantage… The following variation is possible: 15…Bh3 16.Re1 (16.e4!? Bxf1 17.Kxf1 Nb6 18.Be3) 16…Rd8 17.Qc2 Qc6 18.Kh1 Qc5 19.Rg1 b4!?, and Black’s initiative looks very dangerous.
After 16.Rf2 Veselin could play 16…exd4! 17.exd5 Bc5, and though White has an extra rook, Black’s extremely active pieces provide sufficient compensation! The position is about equal, as the following variations show: 18.Na3 (18.Be1 Re8 19.Nd2 d3 20.Ne4 Bb6 21.Qd2 Qxd5) 18…d3 19.Nxb5 Qb8 20.Nc3 Bxf2+ 21.Kxf2 Qb6+ 22.Be3 Qxb2+ 23.Bd2 Qb6+=.
16…Bxf1 17.Qxf1 exd4 18.a4 Qxd5 19.axb5 Qxb5 20.Rxa7 Re8 21.Kh1 Bf8
The alternatives are: 21…Qxb2 22.Qxc4 Qxb1+ 23.Kg2 h6 24.Rd7=;
21…Bd6!? 22.Bc1 (preparing a square for the b1-knight) 22…h5 (to simulate Topalov’s style; Rybka suggests 22…Bb4 23.Bd2 Bd6=) 23.Nd2 Bb4 24.Ne4 f5 25.Bh6 Be7 26.Nd2 gxh6 27.Qxc4+ Qxc4 28.Nxc4 Bf6 with a draw.
22.Rc7! d3 23.Bc3 Bd6 24.Ra7 h6!
During the live relay of the game the move h7-h6 was called by some spectators “Topalov’s patent in this match” because Veselin prefers to make this quiet pawn move in sharp positions. Now it is really a good move, unlike in the fourth game…
The best chance for White was: 25.Qh3!? Qg5 26.Nd2 Re1+ 27.Nf1 d2 28.Ra8+ Bf8 (28…Kh7? 29.Bxd2) 29.Rxf8+ Kxf8 30.Qc8+ Ke7 31.Qb7+ (beginning a tricky series of checks) 31…Ke8 32.Qc6+ Kf8 33.Qa8+ Ke7 34.Qa7+ Ke6! (34…Ke8 35.Qa4+ Ke7 36.Qb4+ Ke8 37.Bxd2) 35.Qb6+ Kd7 36.Qd4+ Ke8 37.Bxd2 Rxf1+ 38.Kg2 Qb5 39.Kxf1 c3+ 40.Kf2 cxb2! 41.Qe4+ Kf8 42.Qb1 Qb3, аnd Black achieves a positional draw.
25…Bb4 26.Ra1! Bxc3 27.bxc3 Re2 28.Rd1 Qa4 29.Ne4 Qc2.
29…f5!? 30.Rd2! (30.Nd6? Qc2 31.Nxc4 Rf2! 32.Qg1 Qe2) 30…fxe4 31.Rxe2 dxe2 32.Qxe2 Qa1+ 33.Kg2 Qxc3 34.Qxe4 with perpetual check.
30.Rc1 Rxh2+ 31.Kg1 Rg2+ 32.Qxg2 Qxc1+ 33.Qf1 Qe3+ 34.Qf2 Qc1+ 35.Qf1 Qe3+ 36.Kg2
36…f5 37.Nf2 Kh7 38.Qb1 Qe6 39.Qb5 g5 40.g4 fxg4 41.fxg4 Kg6 42.Qb7 d2 43.Qb1+ Kg7 44.Kf1 Qe7 45.Kg2 Qe6 46.Qd1 Qe3 47.Qf3 Qe6 48.Qb7+ Kg6 49.Qb1+ Kg7 50.Qd1 Qe3 51.Qc2 Qe2 52.Qa4 Kg8 53.Qd7 Kf8 54.Qd5 Kg7 55.Kg3 Qe3+ 56.Qf3 Qe5+ 57.Kg2 Qe6 58.Qd1. Draw agreed.