### (1) Anand,Viswanathan (2787) - Topalov,Veselin (2805) [E54]

World Chess Championship Sofia / Bulgaria (9), 06.05.2010

**
**

1.d4
Nf6
2.c4
e6
3.Nc3
Ah? Not the signature Nf3 followed by the fianchetto that had characterized Anand's White preparation? So far, Topalov had been the one trying a new direction every game against the Indian's Catalan, but in game seven, he had unleashed a kamikaze piece sac for passed pawns that had led to a chaotic double-edged game. Anand obviously wanted something a little deeper in his comfort zone.

3...Bb4
4.e3
We are now clearly in Nimzo-Indian territory.

4...0-0
5.Bd3
c5
6.Nf3
d5
7.0-0
cxd4
8.exd4
dxc4
9.Bxc4
b6
10.Bg5
Bb7
11.Re1
Nbd7
12.Rc1
Rc8
This position also occured in the Kramnik-Kasparov WC 2000 match where Kramnik chose 13.Qb3.

13.Bd3
Re8
14.Qe2
Bxc3
15.bxc3
Qc7
16.Bh4
Nh5
17.Ng5
g6
18.Nh3
The novelty. In Psakhis-Hillarp Person, 2000, White chose 18.Qd2 instead.

18...e5
19.f3
Qd6
20.Bf2
exd4
21.Qxe8+
Rxe8
22.Rxe8+
Nf8
This exchange of queen for two rooks, yields a complicated middlegame almost entirely centered around piece-play. The reason is that the queenside pawns of both sides are fairly vulnerable if ignored, and the best way to protect them is via active play with the pieces. Obviously neither side will go about committing suicide by opening up the kingside pawns since mating patterns have a nasty way of turning up at lightning speed when one does. So bottomline, who is better? If one had to choose a side, it would be White, not so much for the bishop pair, which are doing little here, but for the rooks, which can often coordinate to overwhelm the queen's ability to hold the fort.

23.cxd4
Nf6
24.Ree1
Ne6
25.Bc4
Bd5
26.Bg3
Qb4
27.Be5
Nd7
28.a3
Qa4
29.Bxd5
Nxe5

30.Bxe6
[If 30.dxe5
Black would recover the piece with 30...Qd4+
31.Nf2
Qxd5
]

30...Qxd4+
Although this is the obvious move, it may not be best. The reason is that this materialistic grab of d4 followed by the capture on e6 will open the Bulgarian's king to rook threats on the 7th, precisely what White wants. [30...Nd3
31.Rc4
Qxa3
32.Bxf7+
Kxf7
33.Ng5+
Kf6
34.Ne4+
Ke6
35.d5+
* (35.Rc3?
Qxc3!
36.Nxc3+
Nxe1
) *35...Ke5
* (*The pawn is untouchable since after *35...Kxd5?
36.Rc3!
Qxc3
*White recaptures with check. *37.Nxc3+
Kc4
38.Ra1
) *36.Rf1
and the difference here is that Black's king is not locked in a cage, awaiting the killing blow.]

31.Kh1
fxe6
32.Ng5
Qd6
33.Ne4
Qxa3
34.Rc3
Qb2
35.h4
b5
36.Rc8+
Kg7
37.Rc7+
Kf8
38.Ng5
Veselin is now in deep trouble, maybe even objectively lost.

38...Ke8
39.Rxh7
Qc3

40.Rh8+
Argh! The collective sound of groans and comments of consternation by kibitzing amateurs and GMs was heartfelt. Right on the 40th move, to make the time-control, the World Champion does the unthinkable. He unlocks the cage and sets the Challenger's king free. [Better was 40.Re4
b4
41.Rxa7
b3
42.Rb7
b2
43.Kh2
Qc1
44.Ra4
Threatening mate on a8. 44...Nd7
45.Rab4
which would pretty much quash Black's hopes for good.]

40...Kd7
41.Rh7+
Kc6
42.Re4
b4
43.Nxe6
Kb6
44.Nf4
Now Topalov is at a fulcrum and must choose the best way to proceed. There is no question the position is treacherous.

44...Qa1+?!
Alas for the fans of the Bulgarian genius this is second best. This plan with Qa1+ is to support the queenside advance with a5 and push both 'a' and 'b' pawns. The problem is that this plan is too slow, and the king is still exposed. [More incisive was 44...Qc1+!
45.Kh2
Nc6
46.Nxg6
b3!
and the racing b-pawn doesn't allow White time to dictate the proceedings. 47.Nf4
Qd2
* (47...b2
48.Nd3
) *48.Rh6
b2
49.Rc4
b1Q
50.Rhxc6+
White would have just enough for a perpetual. 50...Ka5
51.R6c5+
Ka6
52.Rc6+
Ka5
]

45.Kh2
a5
46.h5!
Opening lines for the rook.

46...gxh5
47.Rxh5
Nc6
48.Nd5+
Kb7
49.Rh7+
White is winning now.

49...Ka6
50.Re6
Kb5
51.Rh5
Nd4
52.Nb6+
Ka6
53.Rd6
Kb7
54.Nc4
Nxf3+
55.gxf3
Qa2+
56.Nd2
Kc7
57.Rhd5
This is an imprecision. It isn't that Black is suddenly doing well, but the rooks would work better if they could threaten from afar.

57...b3
58.Rd7+
Kc8
59.Rd8+
Kc7
60.R8d7+
Kc8
61.Rg7
a4

62.Rc5+??
This is a blunder, and suddenly Topalov can see a light at the end of the tunnel. [The straightforward 62.Rdd7
was preferable. For example: 62...a3
63.Kg3
Qa1
* (63...b2
64.Rc7+
Kd8
65.Ra7
Qd5
66.Ra8+
Qxa8
67.Rg8+
Kd7
68.Rxa8
) *64.Rc7+
Kb8
65.Rb7+
Ka8
66.Nxb3
]

62...Kb8
63.Rd5
Kc8
64.Kg3??
Twice offered the chance to finish his opponent off, and twice he slips. One could point to any number of factors to account for this: rustiness (hardly), age (not likely), nerves (possibly), and physical preparation. Nerves would be the obvious explanation, and could easily be the correct one, but the last one, physical preparation, cannot be overlooked. The blunders we are seeing, barring the odd first game, have begun appearing in the latter part of the match, and at later stages of the game, when the players have been sweating it out for hours already. Fatigue, and thus conditioning, could also easily explain these lapses of concentration.

64...Qa1
65.Rg4
b2
66.Rc4+
Kb7
67.Kf2
b1Q
68.Nxb1
Qxb1
69.Rdd4
Qa2+
70.Kg3
a3
71.Rc3
Qa1
72.Rb4+
Ka6
73.Ra4+
Kb5
74.Rcxa3
Qg1+
75.Kf4
Qc1+
76.Kf5
Qc5+
77.Ke4
Qc2+
78.Ke3
Qc1+
79.Kf2
Qd2+
80.Kg3
Qe1+
81.Kf4
Qc1+
82.Kg3
Qg1+
83.Kf4
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