Sofia World Championship: Giri on game ten

5/9/2010 – Once again we bring you a treat: an extensive and didactic look at the last game in this match, one in which, as our analyst GM Anish Giri shows, World Champion Anand was in greater danger than most people realised. However, the Indian GM navigated safely around the treacherous endgame cape and finally it was Challenger Veselin Topalov who had to force the draw. Very instructive analysis.

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Commentary on game ten by GM Anish Giri

In tenth game Anand, who played Black, decided that he has suffered enough in the Slav and went for the Grünfeld, as he did in game one. Topalov again chose the main line with 7.Bc4, but this time Anand surprised him with the rare 10...b6!?. The World Champion quickly equalized after mutual inaccuracies, but then when there was no need, he went into a worse endgame. I couldn't find a win for Topalov, but it all didn't look not so funny for Anand. At the end Topalov lost track and it was he who had to make a draw.

Our commentator: GM Anish Giri [photo Frits Agterdenbos]

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.

Topalov,Veselin (2805) - Anand,Vishwanathan (2787) [D87]
WCHM 2010 Sofia, 07.05.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.d4 Nf6! Yes! Anand tried all possibilities in the Slav endgame, where in all games he had to suffer, but in all games he achieved draws (though one he lost due to blunder). Now his team apparently managed to recover the sharp and tricky Grünfeld! 2.c4 g6! 2...c6?? Luckily 1...Nf6 wasn't a joke by Anand, who here could have still gone back to Slav! 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Ne2 c5 9.Be3 Nc6 10.0-0


This position was instantly reached by both players. We saw it in game one, so it was obvious that Anand's improvements is coming.10...b6!? But I couldn't expect the improvement to come so quickly! Anand, as he did in his other black games, deviates very early – a very interesting strategy. The move is a very rare one which is not seen recently in the top levels of chess. Not surprisingly Topalov was out of his preparation already here! 10...Na5 11.Bd3 b6 12.Qd2 e5 13.Bh6; 10...Bg4 11.f3 Na5. 11.Qd2. Played pretty quickly... I guess Topalov trusted Anand on the main and in my opinion more critical capture of the pawn and decided to play solid and positional. 11.dxc5 As I said, is in my opinion a critical continuation. I guess Anand's analysis start with 11...Qc7! 11...Bb7 12.Rac1. I think White should try to trade dark squared bishops with Bh6, but it is not so easy to achieve without the preparatory Rac1 and Rfd1, which lose some time. This is the advantage of this line compared to Na5, which was played in game one: now d4 is under pressure. 12.Rad1 Seems more natural with the idea Bh6, but in fact White has no time to start any attack: 12...cxd4 (12...Rc8!?) 13.cxd4 Rc8 14.Bh6 Bxh6 (14...Ne5!?) 15.Qxh6 Nb4! covering the d3 square and thus taking over the initiative. 12...Rc8


13.Rfd1. 13.e5 Seemed interesting to me at first, but Black quickly starts his counterplay with 13...cxd4 14.cxd4 Na5 15.Bd3 Qd7 preparing the exchange of both rooks. 13...cxd4. Anand plays logical and simple chess. His plan is to develop everything and maybe exchange rooks. 13...e5 is interesting, but not so simple: 14.d5 (14.dxc5 Qxd2 15.Rxd2 Na5 16.Bd3 bxc5 should be slightly better for White, but nothing special.) 14...Na5 15.Bd3 and now Black wants c4 and f5-f4. Then he will regroup his pieces and perhaps even enjoy some advantage. However he is not in time to achieve everything: 15...f5 (15...c4 16.Bc2 f5 17.Bg5! Qd7 18.exf5 gxf5 19.Ng3!) 16.Bg5! Qd7 17.c4! 14.cxd4. White would like to attack: Bh6, change the bishops and then try to get to Black's king. However it won't be possible, because Black is ready to distract him.


14...Qd6!? Provoking e5, which I at first thought White wants to play anyway. However, White has no time to start the attack, and then the disadvantage of the move – the weakness of d5 square – will tell. 14...e6 seems more logical to me, but Anand (and his seconds!?) thought that Qd6 is better. 15.Bh6 (15.e5 Na5 16.Bd3 Qd7) 15...Na5 (15...Qh4!? 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.f3 Rfd8) 16.Bd3 Qe7 17.h4. 15.d5. This move probably took Anand out of his preparation. White advances in the centre and his plans depend on where black knight goes. 15.e5!? Qd7 (15...Qb4 aas what I thought was Black's idea, but here White has a strong move: 16.Rc3! the idea being that 16...Nxe5? doesn't work due to 17.Bxf7+! Nxf7 18.Rxc8 Qxd2 19.Rxf8+! The point.) 16.e6!? has already been played in a game by two amateurs. I must say I like this move very much, but probably Black is fine: (16.Bh6? Nxe5! 17.dxe5 Qg4; 16.Bd3 Na5 is fine for Black) 16...fxe6 17.Nf4 Nd8! (17...Rxf4 was played in that game, but Black does not have enough compensation after 18.Bxf4 Nxd4 19.Bf1!) 18.Qe2 And White is planning Qg4 and h4-h5. Also d5 may sometimes be an option. I think Black can deal with those threats by playing (18.h4?? is logical but fails to the beautiful tactic 18...Rxf4! 19.Bxf4 Rxc4! 20.Rxc4 Qd5-+) 18...Qd6 19.Qg4 Be4! and if 20.h4 then the non-standard (20.Bxe6+ Nxe6 21.Qxe6+ Qxe6 22.Nxe6 Rfe8=; 20.a4 is too slow 20...Kh8 21.h4 Bf6 22.h5 Bf5 23.Qf3 g5!) 20...Bf5 21.Qe2 h5! and now that e6 and g6 are well protected, Black is able to get his knight back into play and take over the initiative.; 15.Bh6 is logical. I guess Anand planned 15...Qb4! Now White doesn't have a way to keep his advantage without trading queens, but the arising ending, should also be good for Black.


Analysis diagram

16.Qxb4 a) 16.Qe3 Na5 17.Bd3 Nc4 with counterplay; b) 16.Rc3 Nxd4! This trick leads to a draw by force: 17.Nxd4 Rxc4 18.Rxc4 Qxc4 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Nf5+! beautiful, but it only secures the perpetual (Another beautiful line is- 20.Rc1 Qa4 21.Rc7 Rc8! 22.Rxb7 Qxa2!! 23.Nf5+! gxf5 24.Qg5+ Kh8 25.h3 with some advantage for Black.) 20...gxf5 21.Qg5+ Kh8 22.Qxe7 Qc8 23.Qf6+ Kg8 24.Qg5+ Kh8 25.Qf6+ with perpetual.; 16...Nxb4 17.Bg5!? Rfe8 18.a3 (18.f3!?) 18...h6! (18...Nc6? 19.d5 Na5 20.Bb5) 19.Bh4 g5!



This move is simpler. He now wants to break up the white centre with e6 (or f5!?) and White is unable to avoid that. 15...Ne5 is possible, but more risky and complicated 16.Bb3 Ng4 (16...Ba6!?) 17.Bf4 Be5 18.g3!? is very creative and interesting. It almost forces (18.Bxe5 Qxe5 19.Ng3) 18...Bxf4 19.gxf4 with a scary looking pawn mass. The position is unclear, though I would prefer being White here. 16.Bb5! Clever move, trying to avoid e6. 16.Bd3 is toothless. Black easily gets comfortable play with 16...e6 17.Bf4 Be5 (17...Qd7!? is also possible 18.Nc3 Rc5!) 18.Bxe5 (18.Bh6 Rxc1 19.Rxc1 Rc8) 18...Qxe5 19.dxe6 Qxe6. 16...Rxc1. 16...e6? is bad due to 17.dxe6 Qxe6 18.Bd7 Qxe4 19.f3! winning the exchange. 17.Rxc1


17...Rc8? A logical follow-up, but I think it is inaccurate. Black should have played e6 as quickly as possible. 17...e6! I don't know how White can get anything here, for example 18.Bf4 is answered with 18...Be5 19.Bxe5 Qxe5 20.Nc3 Rc8! with the idea 21.dxe6 (21.d6 Rd8 22.Rd1 Bc6=) 21...Qxe6 22.Bd7 Rd8!; 17...f5!? was perhaps also possible, but too tricky. 18.h3? Forgiving Anand for his inaccurate last move. 18.Rxc8+ Bxc8 19.Nd4! aas a logical way to prevent e6. Now White has a pleasant advantage, though Black should hold this position. 19...a6 is probably the best- a) 19...e6 is logical, but White is not forced to take on e6 and may get an advantage with 20.Qc1!? (20.Be2!? is simpler and also nice for White 20...exd5 21.Nb5!) 20...Bd7 21.Nc6 exd5 22.Bf4!; b) 19...Bd7 I don't like. The arising endgame is dangerous for black: 20.Bxd7 (20.Qd3!? is also possible and gives White some advantage after 20...Bxd4 21.Bxd4 Bxb5 22.Qxb5 f6) 20...Qxd7 21.Nc6! Nxc6 22.dxc6 Qxd2 (22...Qxc6?? 23.Qd8+ Bf8 24.Bh6+- is the trick.) 23.Bxd2 Be5 24.f4 Bb8 25.Kf2 Kf8 26.Kf3 Ke8 27.e5 Kd8 28.Ke4 and Black needs just one extra tempo to play e6 and Kc7, but he is not in time: 28...Kc7 29.Bb4! and maybe Black holds this, but the ending is not easy for him, to say the least.; 20.Be2 e6! 21.dxe6 fxe6 22.a4! fixing the b6 and a6 pawn and securing slight but pleasant advantage. 18...Rxc1+. Now Anand is easily equalizing 18...e6? immediately blunders a pawn: 19.Rxc8+ Bxc8 20.dxe6! Qxd2 21.exf7+! 19.Qxc1


19...e6. 19...f5!? is also possible; now White can transpose to the game or play sharp 20.Nd4!? (20.f3 fxe4 21.fxe4 e6 transposes to the game) 20...Bxd4! (20...f4? looks clever and smart, but it is in fact bad due to 21.Bxf4 Qb4 22.Ne6! Qxb5 23.Qc7 and white is dominating.; 20...fxe4 21.Nc6! with advantage) 21.Bxd4 Qb4 and it is a draw. 22.Bc3!? setting a small trap: (22.Qa1 Qxb5 23.Bh8 Kf7 24.a4 Qc5 25.Qg7+ Ke8 26.Qg8+ Kd7 27.Qe6+ Kd8 28.Qg8+=; 22.Qc7 Qxd4 23.Qd8+ Kg7 24.Qxe7+ Kh6 25.Qh4+ Kg7=) 22...Qxe4! (22...Qxb5? 23.Qh6! Kf7 24.Qxh7+ Ke8 25.Qxg6+ Kd8 26.Qxf5+/- Falling into a trap is almost never good..) 23.Bxa5 bxa5 24.Bc6 Qb4 25.Qe3 with equal position. 20.Nf4 exd5 21.Nxd5


21...f5. Nice move. Black is already doing very fine. 21...Qe5 is also possible, with the idea to send the queen to a1. 22.Bd3 f5 (22...Qa1!?) 23.Qc2!? (23.Bf4 Qa1! with a nice endgame for Black.) 23...h6!? Now the piece is hanging and Black has equalized. 24.f4 Qd6 25.Bf2 Bxd5 26.exd5 Qxf4 (26...Qxd5 27.g4!=) 27.g4!? Bd4 28.Qc8+ Kh7 29.Qd7+ Kg8 30.Qe8+ Kg7 31.Qe7+ Kg8 with perpetual check. 22.f3. I actually thought that it was a mistake to let Black exchange f-pawns and give him the nice e5 square. In fact the position is equal anyway. 22.Bf4 is not giving White anything: 22...Qc5 (22...Be5 23.Bxe5 Qxe5 24.Qg5! Kg7 is also equal, but it looks scary for Black after let's say 25.Qd8 fxe4 26.Qd7+ Kh8 27.Ne7) 23.Qxc5 bxc5 with equality. 22...fxe4 23.fxe4 Qe5 24.Bd3


24...Nc6?! Allowing a small trick. But I can understand how much Anand wanted to bring back his knight, which has been on the edge for such a long time. 24...Bxd5!? is actually a good move. Black's idea is not to win the pawn, but to get some blockade on dark squares. 25.exd5 Bf8! (25...Qxd5 26.Qc8+=) 26.Bf1 Nb7 and it will be White who will have to beg for the draw. (26...Kf7!?) ; 24...Qa1 still remains my favourite. 25.Ba6!


Nice trick, which doesn't give White anything objectively, but confused Anand. 25...Nd4? This move only looks tricky and entertaining. In fact it only leads to a worse ending. I guess Vishy thought that the arising endgame is easily drawn, so he didn't bother calculating Bxa6. But in fact the endgame is very difficult for Black, and he has to suffer. 25...Bxa6! Leads to a draw and I guess if Anand would know that there are some real problems in the ending he got, he could easily calculate this move until a draw. 26.Qxc6 Qa1+ 27.Kh2 (27.Bc1 Bb7!? 28.Qe6+ Kf8 29.Qe7+ Kg8=) 27...Be5+ 28.Bf4 (28.Nf4 Qc3 and white can give perpetual, but nothing more.) 28...Bxf4+ 29.Nxf4 Qe5 30.Qa8+ Kg7 31.Qxa7+ Kg8 32.g3 Qb2+ 33.Ng2 Bf1 and again White is forced to give perpetual check. 26.Qc4! Bxd5 27.Qxd5+ Qxd5 28.exd5 Be5. Black gets some blockade, but White also has his own ideas. First he brings his king into the center. 29.Kf2 Kf7 30.Bg5 Nf5 31.g4 Nd6 32.Kf3


32...Ne8. The beginning of a suspicious plan. Maybe Black should have kept the knight where it is and also his queenside pawns on their places. It is not for nothing that they say that knight is the best blockading piece... But well, to be honest I don't see a clear way for Black to draw... Neither did Vishy and maybe that's why he decided to do at least something. One way to play is 32...Bf6 33.Bf4 Ke7 and it seems to be that if White allows Black to play g5 and h6 it will be a fortress. So 34.g5! Bd4!? setting a trap.. 35.Bd3! (35.h4 would be giving White a big advantage, but Black has a strong idea: 35...b5! 36.Kg4 Bc5 37.h5 Bd4 with fortress (if I am not mistaken...); 35.a4 Nf7 and black is holding. The fact that the pawn is already on a4 is to Black's advantage.) 35...Nf7 36.Bc2 And maybe Black is drawing this, but White still has h4-h5 ideas so the game is not over. 33.Bc1 Nc7. As I already said, the knight probably doesn't belong here. But on the other hand if it stays on d6 White will slowly push the pawns on kingside, and then once a weakness on g6 is created, he can exchange dark squared bishops. 34.Bd3 Bd6 35.Ke4 b5. A weakening move, it weakens the pawns and c5 square. But again as I said, waiting moves do not bring joy either. 36.Kd4 a6 37.Be2. Topalov doesn't hurry. 37...Ke7 38.Bg5+ Kd7 39.Bd2


39...Bg3. Trying to avoid h4-h5, but White also has other ideas, like g5, Bg4-e6(c8). 39...Na8!? transfering the knight to... somewhere interesting. 40.h4 Nb6 41.h5 (41.g5!? Na4 42.Bg4+ Ke7 43.Bc8 Nc5 and thanks to the trick 44.Bb4 Ne6+! Black holds.) 41...Na4 42.g5 Ba3 and thanks to some odd tricky checks from c5 or b2 Black holds his g-pawn. But White has a lot of possibilities here and can try to trick Black. 40.g5! Bf2+


41.Ke5. just losing a tempo. But of course it is tempting to play such a move. 41.Ke4! was more precise. But I think with precise play Black is still able to hold this position. 41...Bc5! I think black should give up his dreams to stop h4-h5. (41...Ne8 42.Bg4+ Ke7 43.Bb4+ Nd6+ 44.Kf4 Bg1 otherwise Be6 is coming 45.h4 and h5 is coming, after which White has a choice to play h6 , exchange on g6 or just stay on h5. Black is may be holding, but it is hard to believe. Actually I think White should push h5 and then Be6-g8-xh7 should give him a winning advantage for example: (45.Be6 Ke8!; 45.Bc8? a5!=) 45...Bf2 46.h5 Bg1 47.Be6 gxh5 48.Bg8 Bh2+ 49.Kf3 Kf8 50.Bxh7 Kg7 51.Bc2 Be5 52.Be1 Kf7 53.Kg2 Ne8 54.Kh3 Ng7 55.Kh4 Bd4 56.Bb4 Bf2+ 57.Kh3 Bd4 58.Kg3 and Black eventually cracks.) 42.h4 b4! Black's idea now is Nb5!-c3. Did Anand see it and that's why played Ne8-c5 and b5, a6?? 43.h5 Ke7 44.hxg6 hxg6 45.Bd3 Nb5! 46.Kf4 Nc3 probably is a draw] 41...Bg3+! 42.Ke4 [42.Kf6 seems good, but Black draws with 42...Nxd5+ 43.Kg7 Bf4! 44.Bxf4 Nxf4 45.Bg4+ Kd6 46.Kxh7 Ke5 47.h4 a5 48.Kh6 b4 49.Bd1 (49.Bd7 Ke4) 49...Kf5 50.Kg7 Nh3 51.Kh6 Nf4=. 42...Ne8 43.Bg4+ Ke7


44.Be6. A bad move, but I don't see any way for White to win anymore. For example 44.Kf3 Bd6 (44...Nd6 looks good, but White is not forced to take the bishop and after 45.Bb4! Black is pinned, but maybe... maybe he still holds here as well! To be honest I am unable to analyze it to the end.) 45.Ba5!? trying to be tricky. (45.Bc8 Nc7 46.Ke4 (46.Ba5 Nxd5 47.Bxa6 Bb4! 48.Bxb4+ Nxb4 49.Bxb5 Nxa2=) 46...b4! 47.Bb7 a5 48.Bc6 Na6! jumping back into the game! 49.Kd4 Nc5 50.Be1 Kf7 and I don't see how White can make progress.) 45...Bc7! (45...Nc7 46.Ke4! and b4, a5 is not possible.) 46.Bc3 a5 47.Be6 b4 48.Bd4 Nd6 49.Bf6+ (49.Bg8 Kf8! 50.Bxh7 Kf7=) 49...Kf8 50.Ke3 a4 51.Kd3 b3 52.axb3 axb3 53.Be5 Ne8 54.Bb2 Bf4 55.Kc4 Bxg5 56.Kxb3 Nd6 with a draw. 44...Nd6+ 45.Kf3 Nc4!


Anand uses the opportunity to suddenly activate his pieces. 45...Be5 46.Bb4 was probably what Topalov was hoping for, but as I said earlier, even this may be holdable. 46.Bc1. 46.Kxg3 Nxd2 is of no danger for Black. For example: 47.Bg8 Kf8 48.Bxh7 Kg7 49.Kf4 Nc4 50.Bxg6 Kxg6 51.h4 b4 52.Ke4 a5 53.Kd4 Nd6 54.Kc5 Ne4+ 55.Kb5 Nc3+ 56.Kxa5 Nxa2 57.d6 b3 58.d7 b2 59.d8Q b1Q and it is still a draw.; 46.Bb4+ Bd6 47.Bc3 Be5=. 46...Bd6 47.Ke4 a5 48.Bg4 Ba3 49.Bxa3+. 49.Bf4 Bd6 50.Bc1 is already the best White can do. 49...Nxa3. In this ending it is only White who has to be careful. 50.Ke5 Nc4+ 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.Be2 Na3 53.h4 Nc2+ 54.Kc3 Nb4


55.Bxb5. 55.Kb3 Kc5 56.d6 would lead to a draw as well, but White doesn't have to make it here. 55...Nxa2+ 56.Kb3 Nb4 57.Be2! Nxd5 58.h5


White of course makes a draw, but it is remarkable after seeing the whole game, that it is he who has to go for it. 58...Nf4 59.hxg6! hxg6 60.Bc4


No Sofia rule can forbid players to agree a draw in this position. Another draw, but this time it was Anand who was a little bit more lucky. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

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