Sofia R7: a nerve-shattering, blood-curdling draw

by ChessBase
5/3/2010 – Once more the opening debate continued, and in a second consecutive game with Black, Topalov unleashed a hair-raising line, with only a blindfold rapid game to its credit, leading to a piece sacrifice for a slew of passed pawns. This was more heart-wrenching chess at its best as fans wondered as to the outcome. Full analysis and pictures will follow, here for now is our express report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


World Chess Championship – Game seven

NIIT Press Release on round seven

Sofia, May 3rd 2010

The 58 move draw in the seventh round of the World Chess Championship at Sofia was one of the exciting ones so far, and saw the defending champion try long and hard in the dying stages of the game for a victory. The NIIT MindChampion, Viswanathan Anand is leading the 12 game match with a 4-3 score over his Bulgarian rival Veselin Topalov. Tomorrow Topalov will be playing with the White pieces in the eighth game.

The theoretical discussion in the Catalan continued for the fourth consecutive time that Anand wielded white pieces. Anand had notched victories in the second and fourth game with the Catalan Opening while the sixth game was drawn. “I had to play precisely and was calculating for most part in the Opening but in the ending though I was pressing but was not sure if there is a win," said Anand.

However for the first time Veselin Topalov scored in the home preparation by starting the game on a volatile note, deviating very early and livening up the proceedings with some very sharp play, sacrificing his rook for a bishop – and all this while using just two minutes on his clock to make the first 14 moves. Topalov said that he had prepared this particular line with his second Ivan Cheparinov.

Topalov tried to intensify the pressure further by sacrificing a knight and bishop for Anand’s rook and gained two pawns in the bargain while leaving Anand with an extra piece. Thereafter the Indian had to use his defensive skills and survival instincts to ward off Topalov’s attack. The Bulgarian had two dangerously advanced pawns and at one time he invaded Anand’s seventh rank with his queen and rook. Around this time, Topalov gave indication that he was ready to settle for a draw by repetition of moves, but Anand decided that it was time for him now to press for victory.

The ending was a queen and pawn one where Anand had the extra knight, but Topalov’s advanced pawns more than compensated for it. Anand probed and pressed for a long time, but his exposed king and his opponent’s pawn on the seventh rank did not allow him to make any progress.

Anand,Viswanathan (2787) - Topalov,Veselin (2805) [E11]
World Chess Championship Sofia/Bulgaria (7), 03.05.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7. The third time this position is reached in the match, and Topalov tries yet a third line, this time going into a Bogo-Indian kind of Catalan. In game four he had chosen 5...a5, which had gone all wrong for him to say the least, and in game six he opted for 5...a6, which also didn't yield anything to his taste. Will 5...Be7 be the lucky move? 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Bf4 dxc4. Though hardly a stranger to this line, Veselin goes down the less trodden path which will lead to extremely sharp play. In previous games, he had chosen the mainline 8...Nbd7 or 8...b6. 9.Ne5 b5. This extremely sharp move leads to a piece sac for a slew of passed pawns. Though the one game to record was between Gelfand and Ivanchuk no less, its only test was in their *blindfold* rapid game at Amber earlier this year. 10.Nxc6 Nxc6 11.Bxc6 Bd7. This is the official novelty, as in Gelfand-Ivanchuk, Amber (blindfold) 2010, Ivanchuk had played 11...Ba6. 12.Bxa8 Qxa8 13.f3 Nd5 14.Bd2 e5 15.e4 Bh3 16.exd5 Bxf1 17.Qxf1 exd4 18.a4 Qxd5 19.axb5 Qxb5 20.Rxa7 Re8 21.Kh1


Until now, Topalov had no reason to complain. His opponent had clearly not expected this, and while he had spent a mere three minutes up until now, Anand had used up well over an hour on his clock. Furthermore, the position was exactly the type of sharp double-edged position he relishes. This last move by the Indian was not to Kasparov's liking, one that he said he couldn't understand, but it also clearly took the challenger out of his preparation, as he now spent over twenty minutes on his next move. 21...Bf8. His first move out of his preparation, as was obvious by the sudden deep think, and he plays the wrong move. Why not 21...Qxb2? Though it may not win, it would not lead to the difficult position that ensued where he was a piece down and his passed pawns neatly blockaded. 22.Qe1 h6 23.Na3 (23.Rxe7 Would also lead to a draw after 23...Rxe7 24.Qxe7 Qxb1+ 25.Kg2 Qb2 (25...Qc2? 26.Qd8+ Kh7 27.Qxd4) 26.Qe8+ Kh7 27.Qe4+ g6 28.Qe8! Count on an engine to see that sort of move... 28...Qxd2+ 29.Kh3 Kg7 30.Qe5+ Kf8 31.Qb8+ Kg7 32.Qe5+ and Black cannot prevent the perpetual. 22.Rc7 d3 23.Bc3 Bd6 24.Ra7 h6 25.Nd2. Kasparov felt that Anand missed his chance here, and could have maintained good winning chances instead after 25.Qh3! 25...Bb4!


This move is about as poisoned as could be, and the title-holder has only one move that doesn't lose. 26.Ra1! A very fine move by Vishy and showing that his mine detector is on and working. Other moves such as 26.Ne4 would fail to 26...Bxc3 27.bxc3 f5 28.Nd6 Qc5 29.Rxg7+ Kxg7 30.Nxe8+ Kf7 and the combination of doomed knight and protected passed pawn would be the end. Or 26.Qc1 Bxc3 27.Qxc3 Re1+ 28.Kg2 Re2+ 29.Kf1 Qc5 30.Ne4 Qf5 and White would get mated. 26...Bxc3 27.bxc3 Re2 28.Rd1 Qa4 29.Ne4 Qc2


This admittedly looks scary, but the World Champion has seen it in advance and knew what he was doing. 30.Rc1 Rxh2+ 31.Kg1 Rg2+ 32.Qxg2 Qxc1+ 33.Qf1 Qe3+ 34.Qf2 Qc1+ 35.Qf1 Qe3+ 36.Kg2 f5 37.Nf2 Kh7 38.Qb1 Qe6 39.Qb5 g5 40.g4 fxg4 41.fxg4 Kg6 42.Qb7 d2. This seals the draw, since White can neither take the pawn, nor Black force it through. 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 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Current standing

Karpov seeks Bulgarian support

Former World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov, who arrived in Sofia yesterday, confirmed that he will table a bid for FIDE President against the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov."I truly hope that Bulgaria will support my bid. Your country is very interested in a shift in FIDE's policy, as Topalov’s manager, Silvio Danailov, will run for the post of European Chess Union President. I have already secured the support of some of the strongest chess players in the world, and I believe I can implement positive changes in chess politics,” Karpov told the national television.

Today, Karpov met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and after that he made the first move of game seven of Anand-Topalov match.

Remaining schedule

Day Date Start of game Indian time
Monday May 03 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
Tuesday May 04 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
Wednesday May 05 Free day  
Thursday May 06 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
Friday May 07 14:00h CEST 17:30h IST
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  


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register