Sofia R10: Topalov presses, Anand holds

by ChessBase
5/7/2010 – The Grünfeld was finally back after the disaster in game one – if anything to show Anand's house was in order. The opening went well and he equalized easily, but a very sharp Topalov found a way to lead him astray. A classic endgame with a bishop pair advantage followed. The Bulgarian made inroads and pushed, but a finesse by the Indian put a halt to them and secured the draw.

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World Chess Championship – Game ten

Sofia, 7th May

The tenth game of the World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria also ended after a bitter battle lasting 60 moves, when all possibilities of a decisive result were wiped out. The score now stands equal at 5-5 and the remaining two games promise to be exciting in this twelve-game match series to decide the World Championship.

NIIT MindChampion Anand defended an inferior position stubbornly for a long time, and this draw with black should put him in a better frame of mind going into the rest day tomorrow. Anand will wield white in the 11th game on Sunday. Later commenting on the game Anand said “ I think I got a decent position but a careless 24th move allowed Topalov to get some play”

Tired after defending passive positions in the Slav Defence, which are not exactly his style, Viswanathan Anand once again adopted the Grünfeld Defence, with which he suffered a shocking loss in the first round. Anand then had probably mixed up some order, and his team would have plugged in the obvious loopholes for the Indian to play it once again.

However the exchange of pieces had Topalov once again in a better position, with an advanced isolated pawn in the centre and his bishop pair controlling vital diagonals. Very soon it was apparent that Anand was in trouble and would once again need all his defensive skills to salvage a draw, while Topalov was in a no-risk position and could press for victory. Topalov’s king marched to the centre of the board very quickly, while Anand’s king was tied down in his territory. Anand had a knight and bishop while Topalov had the bishop pair in the ending. It was easier for Topalov to force play on both sides of the board as his bishops could gun long range while for Anand, it was once again defending an inferior passive position.

A 44th inaccurate move by Topalov’s light squared bishop suddenly allowed Anand’s knight to be active. Around this time Topalov started consuming time, and Anand was back to his speedy ways. Suddenly Anand’s knight, which so far had been restricted to his territory, was on the loose and started troubling the enemy. The exchange of the dark square bishop took the fizz out of the position and the draw was agreed.

Topalov,Veselin (2805) - Anand,Viswanathan (2787) [D87]
World Chess Championship Sofia/Bulgarien (10), 07.05.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5. After the traumatizing loss in game one, Anand is finally back with the Gruenfeld, presumably confident a similar disaster is not in store. 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 b6. Deviating from game one where he had instead continued with 10...Na5. 11.Qd2 Bb7 12.Rac1 Rc8 13.Rfd1 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qd6N


For all practical purposes, this is the novelty. 15.d5 Na5 16.Bb5 Rxc1 17.Rxc1 Rc8 18.h3 Rxc1+ 19.Qxc1 e6 20.Nf4 exd5 21.Nxd5 f5 22.f3 fxe4 23.fxe4 Qe5 24.Bd3 Nc6 25.Ba6!


Though this move should not give White an edge against best play, the maze Black must steer through is complex, and anything less leaves Topalov better. 25...Nd4?! Wishing to avoid unnecessary complications, but best was 25...Bxa6 26.Qxc6 Qa1+ 27.Kf2 (27.Kh2 Be5+ 28.Bf4 Bxf4+ 29.Nxf4 Qe5 30.g3 (30.Kg3 g5 31.Qa8+ Kf7 32.Qxa7+ Ke8 33.Qa8+ Ke7=) 30...Qb2+ 31.Ng2 Bf1 32.Qe8+ And White must take the perpetual.) 27...Qxa2+ 28.Kg3 Qa3! 29.Qa8+ Qf8 30.Qxa7 Be5+ 31.Kh4 Qf1 32.g3 Bc8 33.g4 Bf6+ 34.Nxf6+ Qxf6+=. 26.Qc4 Bxd5 27.Qxd5+ Qxd5 28.exd5


White has a very favorable endgame thanks to his bishop pair now. 28...Be5 29.Kf2 Kf7 30.Bg5 Nf5 31.g4 Nd6 32.Kf3 Ne8 33.Bc1 Nc7 34.Bd3 Bd6 35.Ke4 b5 36.Kd4 a6 37.Be2 Ke7 38.Bg5+ Kd7 39.Bd2 Bg3 40.g5 Bf2+ 41.Ke5 Bg3+ 42.Ke4 Ne8 43.Bg4+ Ke7 44.Be6 Nd6+ 45.Kf3 Nc4!


Topalov had undoubtedly missed this move, and now the World Champion has almost equalized. There is still play left, but Anand can certainly start breathing calmer now. 46.Bc1 Bd6 47.Ke4 a5 48.Bg4 Ba3 49.Bxa3+ Nxa3 50.Ke5 Nc4+ 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.Be2 Na3 53.h4 Nc2+ 54.Kc3 Nb4 55.Bxb5 Nxa2+ 56.Kb3 Nb4 57.Be2 Nxd5 58.h5 Nf4 59.hxg6 hxg6 60.Bc4 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

We were told that Anand proposed the draw, verbally with one word, in Spanish. Topalov signalled the arbiter and indicated his acceptance. There was no penalty or disqualification for violating the "Sofia rules" (no direct draw offers allowed). Apparently the World Championship rules are in force.

Video cameras and the spectators in the playing venue in Sofia

Not exactly packed, the tournament hall

The event tickets, which cost ten Leva = five Euros =$6.50

We got some stats for game nine from Kiril Penusliski:

  • Chairs: Anand's chair is a bit lower – a good two cm – lower then Topalov's.
  • Yawning: Anand-Topalov 3:0 [plus five separate occasions of someone in the audience falling asleep and actually snoring]
  • Water refills: Anand-Topalov 5:5
  • Trips to the WC: Anand-Topalov 4:5. The players are accompanied by the arbiter. Anand once took a long walk down the corridor to the WC without actually using it; he was still followed all the way by an arbiter.
  • Coughing: Anand+Topalov-Nikolopoulous 0:16
  • Death toll: One fly menace, killed by the arbiter at the request of the players

Current standing


Remaining schedule

Day Date Start of game Indian time
Saturday May 08 Free day  
Sunday May 09 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
Monday May 10 Free day  
Tuesday May 11 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
Wednesday May 12 Free day  
Thursday May 13 Tiebreaks  

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