Sofia World Championship: Giri on game eleven

by ChessBase
5/10/2010 – It started out as a "boring" draw, but turned into YADEG – yet another dramatically exciting game. In his last white game in regular time controls Anand searched for a decisive advantage, and then on move 49 took a very brave decision – one that could have easily backfired, as our commentator, Dutch Champion GM Anish Giri thinks. More instructive analysis.

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Commentary on game eleven by GM Anish Giri

In today's game Anand went for the English Opening (1.c4) and managed to get a slight advantage. But then due to some very slight and unabvious inaccuracies he was left without any constructive plan. After that Topalov not only equalized, but also took over the initiative in the endgame. It seemed that Anand would hold easily, and he indeed did. But then all of a sudden the World Champion decided to try his luck and gave away a pawn for some activity. Objectively Anand was in a great danger, but in order to get some real winning chances Topalov had to find a sequence of abstract computer moves. Not suprisingly he didn't and the game ended in a draw.

There is a replay link here and at the end of the game, which takes you to a JavaScript board. There you can click on the notation to follow the analysis which was provided by Anish on the graphic chessboard. You can also download the game in PGN and study it in peace, e.g. with Fritz 12 or ChessBase. There is a tremendous amount to learn from our young GM's notes – ignore them at your own peril.

A minute of silence for the passing of GM Andor Lilienthal

Anand,Vishwanathan (2787) - Topalov,Veselin (2805) [A29]
WCHM 2010 Sofia, 09.05.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.c4. Anand in his last white game (of the classical chess part at least) decided not to enter any main theoretical lines and just get some positional position. 1...e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3


4...d5. One of the main moves. Recently 4...Nd4 has become very, simplifying the position a little. 5.Bg2 Nxf3+ 6.Bxf3; 4...Bc5 and; 4...Bb4 are main alternatives. 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6. Black has to remove the knight from the centre to have control over the d4 square and in order not to give away the e-pawn. 6...Be7? 7.Nxe5! 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3. White first gets some space advantage on the queenside, and only later decides to develop. Well, why not? 8.Rb1!? Is even more tricky and clever; While 8.d3 is more consevative. 8...0-0. I remember in his game against Vallejo, Topalov went for g5 in similar position. Now the position is a little bit different, but also the situation is not the same... 8...g5 here allows 9.d4! 9.b4 Be6 10.d3. White can't avoid making this move.


10...f6. Another main option is 10...a5 11.b5 Nd4 12.Nd2 and here Black has a fine position, as long as he doesn't play 12...Nd5?? which is punished by 13.Bxd5! Bxd5 14.e3 Ne6 15.e4 winning a piece – which is too much for a World Championship match.; 10...Nd4 is also an option. 11.Ne4!? Not the main move, but a very clever one. White is planning Nc5 and remains flexible with his queenside development. 11...Qe8!? The queen frees the d8 square for the rook and herself goes to f7 or h5. 11...Qd7 was played much more often; 11...a5 is also interesting, now after 12.Nc5 (12.b5 Nd4 13.Nxd4 exd4 should be fine for Black) 12...Bxc5 13.bxc5 Nd5 Black wants to push his pawn to a4 and get a nice outpost for his pieces on b3. However a pawn on a4 also has it's disadvantages and the b3 square can be covered with the knight from d2 if needed. 12.Nc5N. A new move, but the position was played only once, so it is hard not to make a novelty here. I would actually think that it would be more flexible to play 12.Rb1 ; or 12.Qc2!? 12...Bxc5 13.bxc5 Nd5 14.Bb2. 14.Bd2 was another option, so that White has a free b-file, but now the bishop is on the odd diagonal and will not be supporting d4 later. 14...Rd8 15.Qc2 Nde7! Good regrouping. Now the bishop can go to d5 and Black has a very solid position while White's two bishops are not really important yet.


16.Rab1. 16.d4 to open the diagonals for the bishops is not dangerous: 16...exd4 17.Rfd1 Bd5 is a safe way to equalize (while 17...Nf5 is more adventurous. 18.g4! Nh6 19.h3 f5! 20.g5 Nf7 21.h4 Bd5). 16...Ba2! Why not distract a rook of the World Champion himself? 17.Rbc1 Qf7 18.Bc3 Rd7. With idea to give the other rook some freedom on the 8th rank. 19.Qb2 Rb8. I don't like this move. I think Black will play b6 anyway one day, so why to wait until White is fully ready for that? 19...b6 is fine and good in my opinion. Black will then double on d-file, put his bishop on d5 and then think what to do next. 20.Rfd1


20...Be6. 20...Bd5 is not good due to 21.e4! Be6 22.d4! and the position opens up with an advantage for White. 21.Rd2. White plans Qb1 and Rb2, which I like. But now the bishop on c3 has no squares to run in case it is attacked, which I don't like... 21.e4? is now too slow because of 21...Bg4! while 21.Qb1!? is possible, preparing Rd2, but not allowing Black to exchange the c3 bishop. 21...h6?!


To be honest I don't like this move, not only because Black can change a knight for the bishop instead, but also because for me it seems like a weakening move, since I don't think that Black is planning g5 or f5. 21...Nd5!? To exchange a bishop seems logical to me – I don't see problems for Black after that. Only thing he has to do is to prepare b6 when b7 will be attacked. 22.Qb1. Anand is patient and doesn't want to simplify the position, even if it leads to some advantage for him. He threatens d4, and also Rb2 now becomes and option. 22.e4!? With the idea d4 was already possible. I think White would get a slight advantage after 22...Bg4 (what else?) 23.d4 Bxf3 24.Bxf3 exd4 25.Bxd4 Nxd4 (25...Rbd8?! 26.Bc3 Ne5 27.Be2 Rxd2 28.Bxd2 Nd3? fails to 29.Qc2! Nxc1 30.Bc4) 26.Rxd4 Rxd4 27.Qxd4 Nc6 28.Qc3 and the position would be better for White anyway. But now h6 also proves to be clearly weakening. 22...Nd5. Allowing White to regroup nicely. But Black's position remains solid. 22...Qh5!? Trying to fight with d4 is better. Now White has a lot of options: 23.d4 is still possible, though now White has to sacrifece a pawn or exchange one of his two nice bishops. (Perhaps better is 23.Rb2!? b6; or 23.a4!? Bh3 24.Bh1 In both cases White must be slightly better due to the queenside pressure.) 23...exd4 24.Nxd4 Nxd4 25.Rxd4!? (25.Bxd4 Rbd8 26.e3 Bd5 exchanging the important bishop.) 25...Rxd4 26.Bxd4 Qxe2 27.Re1 Qc4 28.Be3 with some compensation; 22...b6 was an option, but then why is the rook on b8? 23.cxb6 (23.Rb2!? Rbd8 24.Qc2!? Bd5 25.Qa4 Kh8 26.Bb4 with some pressure, but no threat..) 23...axb6 24.d4! is definetely an option and after 24...Nxd4 25.Nxd4 exd4 26.Rxd4 Rxd4 27.Bxd4 White has two bishops and some edge. 23.Rb2! 23.Ba1 Nde7 24.d4 Rbd8! and now d2 is not protected. That was probably the idea of Topalov. 23...b6. After 23...Nxc3 24.Rxc3 Black has no comfortable way to protect the b7 soldier.


24.cxb6. Immediate 24.Bd2 or 24.Be1!? made sense and in my opinion were more clever. 24...cxb6. Now Black can forget about the weakness on c7. 24...axb6 was also possible, but after 25.Be1 (25.Bd2) 25...Nde7 26.Rbc2 (26.a4!?) 26...Rd6 27.Bb4 Nxb4 28.axb4 c6 White has some pleasant pressure on c6 and later on the a-file and the b6 pawn. 25.Bd2. Strange, but I think it is in fact an inaccuracy. Now Black has an opportunity to get a powerfull construction: rook d6 and queen d7. 25.Be1! Was more precise the idea being 25...Rd6 a) best is probably 25...Nde7 26.Rbc2 (26.a4!? Rc8 27.Rbc2 Rdd8 and White has some pressure, though Black is solid and should be fine.) 26...Rd6 27.Bb4 Nxb4 28.axb4 (28.Qxb4!?) 28...Rc8 and White has a clearly better version than what he got in the game. But still, Black is very solid. b) 25...Rc7 is a possibility, but White is clearly better after 26.e4! Nde7 27.d4! exd4 28.Nxd4 Bc4! 29.Rd2 with his two bishops and better pawn structure. 26.Nd2! and the rook will be kicked out of d6. 25...Rd6 26.Rbc2. 26.Be1 was still interesting, with the idea of Nd2.; 26.a4 is also a possible, keeping in mind some a5 ideas. 26...Qd7. Now Black has a very solid formation, and it is hard for White to find a plan.


27.h4. Maybe a useful move, but maybe waste of time. Something like 27.Qb2 Rd8 28.Be1 threatening d4 28...Nde7 and now 29.Bb4 is again a better version of the game. 29...Nxb4 30.axb4 Rc6 31.Rxc6 Nxc6 32.Ng5!? hxg5 33.Rxc6 and after b5 White will enjoy a small but pleasant advantage. 27...Rd8 28.Qb5. 28.Qb2 immediately makes sense, since I don't think Nde7 is a bad move. However, it allows 28...Bg4!? 28...Nde7 29.Qb2 Bd5. Now Black achieves his ideal setup with his light pieces (that he actually initialy had...) 30.Bb4 Nxb4 31.axb4 Rc6! 32.b5. 32.Rxc6 Bxc6 33.Nd2 was an option, but Black has no problems whatsoever. 32...Rxc2 33.Rxc2 Be6 34.d4!? White has no advantage anymore, and this interesting move doesn't change the evaluation, only the position. 34...e4. 34...exd4 35.Rd2 Nf5 36.e4! was the point. 35.Nd2 Qxd4


36.Nxe4?! The knight is not doing anything on this central square anyway, and it may in fact be just loss of a tempo. 36.Qxd4 Rxd4 37.Bxe4 would keep the position equal. For example 37...Kf7 38.e3 Rb4 39.Bd3 Bd7 40.Ne4 Kf8 41.Nc3 Rb3 42.Bc4 Rb4 43.Bd3 Rb3 44.Bc4 Rb4 (for Sofia rules, if you want...). 36...Qxb2 37.Rxb2 Kf7 38.e3. At first sight it seems that White should be better, because his b-pawn holds both Black's queenside pawns. In fact it will be a weakness later, because Black has better pieces. If White had a knight on d4 than it would be another story... 38...g5! Exchanging some pawns and threateng g4 later. 39.hxg5 hxg5 40.f4. Otherwise g4 will fix the white pawns. 40.Nd2 g4! 40...gxf4 41.exf4. 41.gxf4 is the move White would like to play, but the problem is that Black can attack the pawn immideately. 41...Nf5 42.Kf2 Rd3. 41...Rd4 42.Kf2 Nf5


Here it became clear that it is already Black who may be better. 43.Bf3. 43.Nd2!? Ra4 and Black keeps some pressure.; 43.g4!? was perhaps the most precise way to equalize: 43...Nh4 44.Ke3 Ra4 45.f5 Nxg2+ 46.Rxg2 Bd5 47.Nc3! Ra3 48.Rc2! and the position is drawn. 43...Bd5 44.Nd2 Bxf3 45.Nxf3 Ra4


46.g4?! Inaccuracy: White weakens his kingside pawns as well now. But of course in return he gets some activity... 46.Rd2! Ke7 47.Kg2 Ra3! (47...Nd6 48.Nd4). 46...Nd6?! 46...Ne7! was more precise, winning a pawn. 47.Kg3 Trying to stick to the pawn may end badly: (47.Rd2!? is objectively safer. Now Black wins a pawn, but it will still probably end in a draw. 47...Rxf4 48.Kg3; 47.g5 Nd5! 48.gxf6 Kxf6) 47...Nd5 48.f5 Ne3! 49.Nh2 Nc4 50.Rb3 Ra3! 51.Rf3! Ra5! and the pawn is lost, though this position looks pretty much like what happened in the game. 52.Rc3 Nd6 53.Rc7+ Ke8. 47.Kg3 Ne4+. 47...Ra3!? would keep some pressure, but the position is drawn. 48.Kh4! 48.Kg2? Nc5! 49.Kg3 Nd3. 48...Nd6


49.Rd2? A heart-stopping winning attempt that could have backfired. 49.Kg3 would be a draw. I don't think Topalov would play on with 49...Ra3!? although Black has still a more pleasant position. 49...Nxb5 50.f5


50...Re4. If Black had a win then it was very difficult. Topalov plays like a human, but that's not enough. 50...a5 is most straightforward, but White equalizes after the precise 51.Rd5! (51.Kh5? Rf4! 52.Nh4 Nd4) 51...Rb4 52.Kh5 Nc3! (52...a4 53.g5) 53.Rd7+ Ke8 54.Rd3! Ne4 55.g5 fxg5 (55...a4 56.Kg6!) 56.Nxg5 Nxg5 57.Kxg5 a4 58.Rh3=; 50...Nc3!? was in my opinion the best chance. Black just brings his knight to the center, from where it will defend the kingside. I believe White holds after 51.Kh5 (51.Rd7+ actually leads by force to an interesting ending- 51...Ke8 52.Rb7 (52.Rd3? Ne4 53.Kh5 Nf2 54.Re3+ Re4! 55.Ra3 Nxg4 56.Rxa7 Ne3 57.Kg6 Nd5-+) 52...Nd5 53.Kh5 Rf4 54.Nh4 a5 55.g5 fxg5 56.Kxg5 a4 57.Ra7 b5 58.Ra5 Rb4 59.Ng6 (59.f6? Nxf6 60.Kxf6 Rxh4 61.Rxb5 Kd7-+) 59...Kd7 60.f6 Nxf6 61.Kxf6 And maybe White can draw this, but I am not sure.) Probably the best idea is that after 51...Rf4 (51...Ne4 is probably more critical, and the position is unclear, with Black having some winning chances after 52.Rd7+ Ke8 53.Rc7) 52.Nh4 Ne4


Analysis diagram

White sacrifices the knight and draws in a study like way: 53.Rd7+ Ke8 54.Rxa7! Ng3+ 55.Kg6! Rxg4+ 56.Kxf6 Rxh4 57.Ke6! Re4+ 58.Kd5! and wins b6 pawn with a draw. It is however not easy to find, to say the least.; 50...Rf4! 51.Kg3 Rb4! 52.Rd7+ Ke8 53.Rb7 Ra4!

51.Kh5! Re3 52.Nh4 Nc3 53.Rd7+! Re7 54.Rd3! Winning some tempos for knight g6. 54...Ne4 55.Ng6


55...Nc5! 55...Rc7 56.Kh6 looks a bit scary for Black, but it is still drawn. 56.Ra3!? Vishy keeps on trying... Well it is his last white game in the classical part of the match, so why not? 56.Nxe7 Nxd3 57.Nc8 b5 58.Nd6+! is an easy draw. 56...Rd7 57.Re3 Kg7 58.g5 b5 59.Nf4 b4. 59...fxg5 60.Kxg5 is also equal, but it looks tricky for Black. 60.g6! White is threataning Kg4 and Nh5+. 60...b3! Closer to promotion, more destruction. 61.Rc3. Setting a trap...


61...Rd4! of course not falling in it! 61...b2?? 62.Rxc5! b1Q and the queen will not help when after two moves there will be a mate on board... 63.Ne6+ Kg8 64.Rc8+; 61...Rc7 was another drawing line. 62.Nd3 (62.Nd5!? b2 63.Nxc7 b1Q 64.Rxc5) 62...Ne6 63.Rxb3 Nd4 64.Ra3 Nxf5 65.Nf4] 62.Rxc5 Rxf4 63.Rc7+ Kg8 64.Rb7 Rf3 [A blunder like 64...Rxf5+?? 65.Kh6 doesn't really belong in world championships. 65.Rb8+. It is still possible to get too ambitious: 65.Kh6?? Rh3# and Black is first to mate. But, as I said, this is not for World Champions... 65...Kg7


And in view of perpetual check the players agreed to a draw. Anand didn't manage to win the last white game, and Topalov always had a solid position. Tuesday will be the decisive game, with Topalov having the white pieces! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

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