Pein on Sofia game one – what went wrong?

4/24/2010 – The first game of the World Chess Championship match in Sofia was a shocker: in just about an hour Anand was in a lost position. In the middle of some obvious preparation Anand started to think and blundered with 23...Kf7?? which was almost certainly as a result of trying to remember his preparation rather than studying the position. Extensive commentary by IM Malcolm Pein in TWIC.

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World Chess Championship – Game one

The World Chess Championship between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and his Challenger Veselin Topalov got under way with a shocker. In just about an hour Anand was in a lost position. Both players powered down a very well known Gruenfeld line. Then Anand started to think, but he must still have been in preparation. And then he blundered with 23...Kf7?? which was almost certainly as a result of trying to remember his preparation rather than studying the position. He probably mixed up lines in his own mind. After 24.Nxf6 Anand didn't put up a lot of resistance and resigned after 30 moves but there was little he could do after his blunder anyway.

The following detailed commentary for reading and download is by our colleague IM Malcolm Pein, who is posting daily analysis on The Week in Chess web site. There is a replay link at the end of the game, which takes you to a JavaScript board. There you can click on the notation to follow the analysis on the graphic chessboard.

Topalov,Veselin (2805) - Anand,Viswanathan (2787) [D87]
WCh Sofia BUL (1), 24.02.2010 [Pein,Malcolm]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. Anand has been playing the Gruenfeld a lot but nevertheless, even as a Gruenfeld afficionado I have always thought it risky at WCC level. However in this concrete age of computer preparation the top players have everything worked out but not it would seem, memorised

 








4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4. No surprise, this has been Topalov's choice before

 








7...c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Na5. 10...Bg4 11.f3 Na5 12.Bxf7+ Rxf7 13.fxg4 was the battleground in the 1987 WCC match at Seville with Karpov white and Kasparov black; 10...Bg4 11.f3 cxd4 12.cxd4 Na5 13.Bd3 Be6 14.d5 is an exchange sacrifice from the 1950s that Topalov has enjoyed success with; 10...Qc7 Smyslov Variation is the sharpest. 11.Bd3 b6

 








12.Qd2. 12.Rc1 is the other main line 12...e5 13.dxc5 Be6 14.c4 bxc5 15.Bxc5 Re8 As in the st em game Topalov - Svidler Linares/Morelia 2006 but 15...Bh6! is better and Black seems to be OK; 12.dxc5?! bxc5 13.Bxc5 Qc7 14.Bd4 e5 15.Be3 Nc4 with good compensation is a typical Gruenfeld theme. 12...e5. The modern move which Peter Svidler explained to me on ChessFM he invented 12...e6 13.Rac1 cxd4 14.cxd4 Bb7 15.h4 or 15.Bh6 is the older line which is rarely seen nowadays. The plan of h4-h6 and e4-e5 can be problematic for Black. 13.Bh6. 13.d5?! f5; 13.dxe5?! Bxe5. 13...cxd4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.cxd4 exd4 16.Rac1. 16.f4 f6 17.e5 Topalov-Kamsky WCC Candidates Final Sofia 17...Bd7 18.exf6+ Qxf6 19.Ng3 Kh8 and Black seemed OK so it's no surprise Topalov varies. 16...Qd6

 








A novelty but both sides had obviously looked at it in detail 16...Bb7 17.f4 Rc8 18.Rxc8 Qxc8 19.f5 Nc6 20.Rf3 Ne5 21.Rh3 Rh8 22.f6+ Kg8 23.Qh6 Qf8 24.Qxf8+ Kxf8 25.Nxd4 Ke8 26.Bb5+ Kd8 27.Rc3 a6 28.Ba4 b5 29.Bb3 Re8 1/2-1/2 Karjakin,S (2732)-Carlsen,M (2765)/Foros UKR 2008/The Week in Chess. 17.f4 f6 18.f5 Qe5. It's vital to prevent e4-e5 in all circumstances as this would liberate white's pieces and expose what is a weakened Black kingside. Black would like to play Na5-c6-e5 but it can't be organised. 18...Nc6 19.Bb5 Ne5 20.Nxd4+/=. 19.Nf4. 19.Kh1 Bd7 20.Ng1 Rac8 21.Nf3 Qd6=/+. 19...g5 20.Nh5+. All played in just a few minutes - who is going to blink first? Putting the knight on h5 has to be justified by concrete computer analysis as it could be badly placed later. 20...Kg8 21.h4 h6 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Rf3

 








Both sides had been playing very quickly to this point but now Anand thought for 10+ minutes. 23...Kf7?? Losing on the spot. It looks like Anand forgot his preparation. 23...Bd7 looks best as Nxf6 does not appear to work. 24.Rg3 Kf7 may have been what was in his computer. It may well have been the classic error of forgetting the move order rather than the moves. 25.Nxf6? (25.Bc4+ Nxc4 26.Rxc4 Rh8 27.Rxd4 Bxf5 28.Rd7+ Bxd7 29.Qxd7+ Qe7 30.Qd5+ Qe6 31.Qb7+ Qe7 32.Qd5+=) 25...Qxg3; 23...Rf7 Is the kind of defensive move Black wants to make but it allows 24.Nxf6+ Qxf6 25.e5 Qxe5 26.Qxg5+ Qg7 27.Qd8+ Rf8 28.Qd5++-

 









Analysis diagram

23...Bd7 24.Nxf6+ Qxf6 25.e5 Qxe5 26.Qxg5+ Kf7 27.Qg6+ Ke7 28.f6+ Kd8 unclear; 23...Bd7 24.Bc4+ Nxc4 25.Rxc4 Be8 26.Nxf6+ Rxf6 27.Qxg5+ Rg6! unclear.

24.Nxf6!!

 








This ends the game. Topalov thought about this for just a few minutes, played it and walked off leaving Anand in no doubt that this was prepared analysis and that he was lost. The main tactical theme is that Black cannot hold c7 and g5. Positionally his Na5 and Ra8 are out of the game.

24...Kxf6. 24...Qxf6 Makes no difference 25.Rh3 Rh8 26.Rxh8 Qxh8 27.Rc7+ Kf6 28.e5+; 24...Qxf6 25.Rh3 Kg8 26.e5 Qxe5 27.Qxg5+; 24...Qxf6 25.Rh3 Bd7 26.Rh7+ Ke8 27.e5 Qxe5 28.Re1. 25.Rh3! The best move to win.

 








25...Rg8. 25...Qf4 26.e5+! Qxe5 27.Rh6+; 25...Bd7 26.Rh6+ Kf7 27.Rh7+ Kf6 28.Rxd7 Rad8 29.Rh7 Rh8 30.Rcc7 Rxh7 31.Rxh7 Qf4 32.Qxf4 gxf4 33.Kf2 Rc8 34.Kf3 Rc3 35.Kxf4 Rxd3 36.e5 was found by Peter Svidler just for fun.

 









Analysis diagram

26.Rh6+ Kf7 27.Rh7+ Ke8. 27...Rg7 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 (28...Qxg7 29.Rc7+) 29.Qxg5+. 28.Rcc7. Black cannot make a constructive move. 28...Kd8 29.Bb5! Qxe4. 29...Qxb5 30.Qxd4+ Ke8 31.Qf6; 29...Qxc7 30.Qxd4+ Bd7 31.Rxd7+ both mating. 30.Rxc8+. Choosing a prosaic win

 








30...Kxc8 31.Qc1+ Nc6 32.Bxc6 Qe3+ 33.Qxe3 dxe3 34.Bxa8; 30.Rce7 Qxe7 31.Qxd4+ Bd7 32.Rxe7 was more Topalov's style but what a start for the challenger. At least Anand may be able to say he had a playable position, but that depends on the assessment of 23...Bd7. If that does not hold up he really has to fall back on plan B and will be struggling even more. Anand has white on Sunday at 1 p.m. UK, 8 a.m. EST. See you then for commentary at TWIC – Malcolm Pein. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Links and stories

On the USCF blog GM Ian Rogers also wrote (before the start of the match):

A Couch Potato's Guide to Topalov-Anand

The pre-game interviews have seen the locals slagging off Anand at every opportunity, for being too old, too conservative, disrespectful, derogatory, trying to trick the organisers by pretending he was in Sofia and, worst of all, failing to foresee the disruption the volcano would cause his travel plan. Suffice it to say that Bulgaria is seeing a match between their national hero and an inconsiderate, arrogant and pompous World Champion.

Of course the rest of the world sees the match a little differently. They see a modest Indian World Champion, forced to take a gruelling two day land journey between Frankfurt and Sofia, being insulted and provoked mercilessly by Topalov and his Machiavellian manager Silvio Danailov and shown scant regard by the supposedly impartial organisers.

See the full article on the USCF web site


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