San Luis R2: Topalov takes Anand to the brink

9/30/2005 – Bulgarian champion Veselin Topalov's exchange sacrifice against top favourite Vishy Anand brought the latter on the verge of disaster, but Anand managed to save an ending queen vs queen + two pawns and draw in 97 moves. John Nunn tells us how. Two other games were also hard-fought draws. Full report with Nigel Short's San Luis diary.

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The FIDE World Chess Championship is taking place in the Hotel Potrero de los Funes Complex, in the Province of San Luis, Argentina, from September 27 to October 16, 2005..

Round Two Summary

Topalov played some very dangerous chess against Anand, which paid off when he had the Indian favourite on the verge of defeat. But Anand pulled off a miracle save to stay in the lead with his Bulgarian rival. Michael Adams was very close to victory against Judit Polgar, and was certainly disappointed that the game was eventually drawn. Peter Leko once more got into trouble, this time against Rustam Kasimdzhanov, but unlike in the first round he saved this game. Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Peter Svidler played a 24-move draw.

Round 2: Thursday, September 29th
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Vishy Anand
Michael Adams
½-½
Judit Polgar
R. Kasimdzhanov
½-½
Peter Svidler
Peter Leko
½-½
A. Morozevich

Current standings at the World Championship in San Luis

Download all games so far in PGN


The battle of the day: Topalov took Anand to the brink of defeat


World Championship Diary: Round 2

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

Over dinner last night, Veselin Topalov candidly admitted that he had survived a parlous position against Peter Leko in the first round. He seemed unfazed by this. He understood perfectly well that he was taking major risks and quite frankly he did not care. Would he have beaten Leko with Black had he played the Petroff, he asked? One suspects not.

3pm: Thankfully at the venue there was no repetition of the anarchic scenes of yesterday at start of play. The playing area had been wisely cordoned off and the spectators asked to be as quiet as possible when rising from their seats. Indeed it is now beginning to resemble a well organized chess tournament rather than an afternoon at the bazaar.


The start of round two, with the playing area cordoned off with white rope

4.30pm: The pause after the opening flurry. The Bulgarian’s gung-ho philosophy continued today when he sacrificed an exchange against Vishy Anand in a popular variation of the Queen’s Indian. The idea had been seen several times before, but he followed it up in an original manner, relying on his advanced passed pawn and two bishops as compensation. Your humble scribe is not entirely convinced by the effectiveness of the idea, but it is jolly interesting and nevertheless poses numerous problems.


Judit Polgar, under the watchful eye of Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Judit Polgar’s shaky opening repertoire appears to be under intense scrutiny again, this time against Michael Adams. In a Sicilian Taimanov she deviated from an earlier Adams’ victory against Lutz ( in 2001)obtaining a lovely knight on d5, but the rest of her position resembles a Swiss cheese. It looks like nonsense to me, but such structures can become very good in the endgame, if one survives that long.


Many times Russian Champion Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler played the Modern Defence! Yes, that is almost considered to be an insult at this level. Why choose an opening whereby your opponent can obtain an advantage in ten different ways, according to taste? Oh well – not everyone shares my prejudices, and chess is the richer for it. Perhaps Peter will justify his choice, but my feeling is that people are taking Kasim a bit lightly. He is not that bad, you know. After all, he is the World Champion. The Uzbek showed he was up for the fight by employing the aggressive Austrian Attack. After a murky tactical melee they entered an endgame with Kasim’s bishop and two pawns apparently superior to Svidler’s rook.

Peter Leko, with his second White of the tournament, again entered the Sicilian labyrinth – this time against Morozevich. The ingenious Russian maneuvered his cavalry (does he have Cossack blood?) near to the opponent’s king, but with no obvious sacrificial breakthrough it was difficult to see what this was likely to achieve. Meanwhile White appears to have a nice grip on the position.


Nigel Short talks to Anand's second Peter Heine Nielsen,
while Aruna Anand frets over her husband's position

6.20pm: No Cossack would treat his horses with such disdain. Not long after I had written those words Morozevich exchanged them off, jettisoning a pawn to boot. Leko is firmly in the driving seat and looks well set to spring back from his first round defeat.

Peter Svidler again was the first to finish with another draw. Kasim, clearly did not share my optimistic view of his prospects, which was a pity because there was a lot of fight left in the position – despite the reduced material. I am starting to favour banning agreed draws like this – no doubt because I am not playing that much myself these days. Draws per se are not a problem: insufficient struggle is.


Nigel Short doing commentary for the spectators in San Luis


... and discussing the games with young chess enthusiasts

7pm: Having just spoken with Kasim he explained how he botched up his chances. He also believed the endgame offered excellent winning prospects, but one inaccurate move (23.Kc1?! instead of 23.b3!) allowed it all to slip. He also related how Svidler had “improvised” in the opening. Everything turns out to have been theory, but both sides were quite ignorant of it. Peter was somewhat disgusted with himself when he discovered this afterwards.


Vishy Anand getting into serious trouble against Veselin Topalov

In the meantime Topalov has been trying hard to lose. His sacrifice in the opening had given him compensation but not more. He has been playing with a certain lack of objectivity, pretending he has stood better all along. He is still some way from defeat but will now have to be rather careful.

The Internet feed of the Leko game is off, so regrettably I don’t have a clue what is going on because I cannot see the board with the naked eye.


Adams and Svidler doing some computer post mortem – or looking up cricket scores?

7.50pm: Adams-Polgar fizzled out to a draw. I think the Englishman will be quite disappointed in having let that one get away.

There is real drama in the Topalov-Anand game with the Indian blundering the exchange just as it appeared as if he would begin to squeeze his opponent! Fortune favours the brave! Toppy has played with more balls than brain in this game but has been rewarded for his courage.


Michael Adams and Vishy Anand show intense interest in the
closing phase of the encounter Leko vs Morozevich

There are strange twists and turns in other remaining encounter. Leko seems to be in very bad shape, shedding his pawn advantage in the time trouble, and now faces a grim Sicilian endgame with White for the second day in a row. Admittedly it is not quite so dire as yesterday’s, but still it is unpleasant – particularly when one is depressed.

9pm: This is too much excitement for one day! Anand is on the verge of a miracle save. He pinned all his hope on the solitary b-pawn while his kingside was annihilated. Toppy seemed to be homing in for the kill but then blinked by exchanging bishops instead of advancing his g-pawn. Vishy’s only asset suddenly became extremely dangerous and Toppy’s pawns weak.


Anand contemplating his move (after 67.Qb7+)


It's over, after 97 moves Veselin Topalov agrees to the draw

End of the session: Whew! I am exhausted. Perhaps it is due to the copious quantities of wine I have imbibed. Had dinner with Anand. More mistakes were made it seems, and Vishy was lost. Never mind, he drew in the end, leaving the tournament wide-open. Leko held the endgame after Morozevich uncoordinated his pieces. Four draws, but a lot of excitement! Great stuff!

Photos: Word Chess Championship Press; (Casto Abundo)


From the above game we see how difficult it is to win a queen and pawn ending, especially in time trouble. We asked one of the world's leading experts in the field, GM Dr. John Nunn of Gambit Publications to tell us more about the mistakes that were made in the final phase of the game. Here is his reply:

Topalov,V (2788) - Anand,V (2788) [E15]
WCh-FIDE San Luis ARG (2), 29.09.2005 [John Nunn]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 c5 14.exd5 exd5 15.dxc5 dxc4 16.c6 cxb3 17.Re1 b2 18.Bxb2 Nc5 19.Nc4 Bxc4 20.Qg4 Bg5 21.Qxc4 Nd3 22.Ba3 Nxe1 23.Rxe1 Re8 24.Rxe8+ Qxe8 25.Bd5 h5 26.Kg2 Be7 27.Bb2 Bf6 28.Bc1 Qe7 29.Be3 Rc7 30.h4 Be5 31.Qd3 Bd6 32.Bg5 Qe8 33.Qf3 b5 34.Be3 Qe5 35.Qd1 Qe8 36.Qxh5 Rxc6 37.Bxa7 Ra6 38.Bd4 Bf8 39.Be5 b4 40.Qf5 g6 41.Qf4 Qe7 42.Bd4 Ra5 43.Qf3 Bg7 44.Bb6 Rb5 45.Be3 Bc3 46.Bg5 Qa7 47.Qd3 Rb6 48.Be3 Qa6 49.Bxf7+ Kxf7 50.Qd7+ Kf8 51.Qd8+ Kf7 52.Qc7+ Kg8 53.Qxb6 Qxa2 54.Qxg6+ Kh8 55.Qc6 Qf7 56.g4 Bg7 57.h5 b3 58.Qe4 b2 59.h6 Bf6 60.Bd4 Kg8 61.Bxf6 Qxf6 62.Kg3 Qb6 63.Qc4+ Kh7 64.g5 Qg6 65.Qc7+ Kg8 66.Qb8+ Kf7 67.Qb7+ Kf8 68.Qb8+ Kf7 69.Qb3+ Kf8 70.Qf3+ Ke7 71.Qe3+ Kd7 72.Qd4+ Ke6

73.Qxb2 Qxg5+ This ending should be a draw 74.Kf3 Qh5+ 75.Ke4 Qf5+ 76.Ke3

76...Qg5+? 76...Qh3+! draws. 77.f4 Qg3+ 78.Ke4 Qe1+ 79.Kf3 Qf1+ 80.Kg3 Qg1+ 81.Qg2 Qb1 82.Qc6+. 82.Kh4 is a simpler win. 82...Kf7 83.Qd7+ Kf6 84.Qg7+ Ke6.

85.Qe5+. 85.f5+! Kd5 (85...Qxf5 86.h7 Qd3+ 87.Kh4 Qd8+ 88.Qg5 wins, as there are no more checks) 86.Kg4 is an easy win as the king can hide on h7.

85...Kf7 86.Qh5+ Kf6 87.Qg5+ Kf7 88.Qh5+ Kf6 89.Qh4+ Kf7.

90.h7?? Now it's a draw. White could still win by checking with his queen back to g7. 90...Qe1+ 91.Kg4 Qd1+ 92.Kg5 Qd8+ 93.Kh5 Qd5+ 94.Qg5 Qh1+ 95.Qh4 Qd5+ 96.Kg4 Qd1+ 97.Kg3 Qe1+ ½-½.


What you gonna do? Anand and Topalov at the post-game press conference


Full schedule

Round 1: Wednesday, September 28th

Peter Leko
0-1
Veselin Topalov
A. Morozevich
½-½
R. Kasimdzhanov
Peter Svidler
½-½
Michael Adams
Judit Polgar
0-1
Vishy Anand
Round 2: Thursday, September 29th
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Vishy Anand
Michael Adams
½-½
Judit Polgar
R. Kasimdzhanov
½-½
Peter Svidler
Peter Leko
½-½
A. Morozevich
Round 3: Friday, September 30th
A. Morozevich
-
Veselin Topalov
Peter Svidler
-
Peter Leko
Judit Polgar
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Vishy Anand
-
Michael Adams
Games – Report
Round 4: Saturday, October 1st
Veselin Topalov
-
Michael Adams
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Vishy Anand
Peter Leko
-
Judit Polgar
A. Morozevich
-
Peter Svidler
Games – Report
Free day: Sunday, October 2nd
Round 5: Monday, October 3rd
Peter Svidler
-
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
-
A. Morozevich
Vishy Anand
-
Peter Leko
Michael Adams
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Games – Report
Round 6: Tuesday, October 4th
Judit Polgar
-
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
-
Peter Svidler
Adamas
-
A. Morozevich
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 7: Wednesday, October 5th
Peter Leko
-
Michael Adams
Veselin Topalov
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
A. Morozevich
-
Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler
-
Judit Polgar
Games – Report
Round 8: Thursday, October 6th
Veselin Topalov
-
Peter Leko
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
A. Morozevich
Michael Adams
-
Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand
-
Judit Polgar
Games – Report
Free day: Friday, October 7th
Round 9: Saturday, October 8th
Vishy Anand
-
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
-
Michael Adams
Peter Svidler
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
A. Morozevich
-
Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 10: Sunday, October 9th
Veselin Topalov
-
A. Morozevich
Peter Leko
-
Peter Svidler
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Judit Polgar
Adamas
-
Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 11: Monday, October 10th
Adamas
-
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Judit Polgar
-
Peter Leko
Peter Svidler
-
A. Morozevich
Games – Report
Round 12: Tuesday, October 11th
Veselin Topalov
-
Peter Svidler
A. Morozevich
-
Judit Polgar
Peter Leko
-
Vishy Anand
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Michael Adams
Games – Report
Free day: Wednesday, October 12th
Round 13: Thursday, October 13th
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams
-
Peter Leko
Vishy Anand
-
A. Morozevich
Judit Polgar
-
Peter Svidler
Games – Report
Round 14: Friday, October 14th
Veselin Topalov
-
Judit Polgar
Peter Svidler
-
Vishy Anand
A. Morozevich
-
Michael Adams
Peter Leko
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Games – Report
Tie-breaks: Saturday, October 15th

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