World Championship – Sleepless in Sofia?

by ChessBase
4/29/2010 – Nigel Short called game four "superb stuff from Anand," while NIIT wrote: "Anand goes into the second rest day tomorrow with a psychological edge, while it's another sleepless night for Topalov." We have collected another bunch of news stories and, after the very detailed on-the-spot analysis by GM Anish Giri yesterday, we bring you new commentary by IM Malcolm Pein.

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Commentary on game four by IM Malcolm Pein

The following commentary for reading and download is by our colleague IM Malcolm Pein, who is posting daily analysis on The Week in Chess web site. 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 on the graphic chessboard.

Anand,Viswanathan (2787) - Topalov,Veselin (2805) [E04]
WCh Sofia BUL (4), 28.02.2010 [Pein,Malcolm]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3. I think we get Anand's match strategy now: play like Kramnik and remind Topalov of his favourite person. 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Qc2 Bxd2+. The seventh world champion preferred 7...Nc6 8.Qxc4 Qd5 9.Qxd5 exd5= Browne-Smyslov Las Palmas. 8.Qxd2. The Catalan has been all the rage since Kramnik started to play it. For the latest theory it is best to consult the brilliant book by Boris Avrukh – see a sample PDF here. I refer to it all the time. 8.Nbxd2 b5 9.a4 c6 10.b3 cxb3 11.Nxb3 0-0. White has some play but not enough for advantage – Avrukh. 8...c6 9.a4. 9.Ne5 b5 10.Nxc6 Qc7= Avrukh 11.Qg5 Nxc6 12.Qxg7 Ke7 13.Qxh8 Bb7 14.Qg7 Nxd4–/+. 9...b5 10.Na3


A novelty! 10.axb5 cxb5 11.Qg5 0-0 12.Qxb5 Ba6 13.Qa4 Qb6 14.0-0 Qxb2 15.Nbd2 Bb5 16.Nxc4 Bxa4 17.Nxb2 Bb5 18.Ne5 Ra7+/= Kramnik-Topalov game 1 Elista 2006, but Avrukh suggests Black can improve. 10...Bd7 [10...Ba6 11.Ne5 Nd5 12.Nxc6 Nxc6 13.axb5+/=. 11.Ne5. 11.axb5 cxb5 12.Qg5 h6! 13.Qxg7 Rh7!–+. 11...Nd5 12.e4


12...Nb4. 12...Nb6 Anand is already ahead on the clock after the novelty 13.axb5 cxb5 14.Nxd7 Qxd7 15.Qg5!+/- Qxd4? 16.Rd1 Qf6 17.Qxb5+. 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rfd1


A new but typical Catalan position where White has full compensation. Black has to watch out for d4-d5 opening the Catalan bishop and undermining his queenside pawn chain. 14...Be8. 14...Qe7 15.Nxd7 Qxd7 16.d5 exd5 17.exd5 cxd5 18.axb5 Rd8 19.Qg5+/=. 15.d5! Well timed and I guess still preparation 15...Qd6. 15...exd5 16.exd5 cxd5 17.axb5 Nd7 18.Nc6 Nxc6 19.Qxd5!+/–. 16.Ng4. 16.dxc6!? Qxe5 17.axb5 looks promising but Black can sacrifice back and is only a bit worse. 16...Qc5 17.Ne3


The perfect square supporting d5. Topalov's problem is capturing on d5 opens the Bg2 but leaving it allows dxc6. 17...N8a6 18.dxc6 bxa4. 18...Bxc6 19.axb5 Bxb5 20.Naxc4! Bxc4 21.Rac1 with a nice edge. 19.Naxc4 Bxc6 20.Rac1


White looks more comfortable here but nothing could prepare us for what follows. Topalov's sense of danger deserted him 20...h6?! Stops Qg5 in some lines and challenges Anand to do something constructive which he declines to do and does something very destructive instead! Getting the queen near the kingside made sense: 20...Qe7 21.Nxa5 (21.Nd6!?) 21...Rfd8 22.Nxc6 Nxc6 23.Qc3. 21.Nd6 Qa7 22.Ng4! Suddenly it's critical. The black pieces have deserted the king.


22...Rad8? 22...Nc5 Speelman 23.Nxh6+ (23.Rc4 maybe best here.) 23...gxh6 24.Qxh6 Ncd3; 22...f6 is better than the game but still very bad for black.; 22...Rfd8 23.Nxh6+ gxh6 24.Qxh6 Qe7 25.e5 Bxg2 26.Rd4 Bf3 27.Rcc4! sums up the attacking plan. 23.Nxh6+ gxh6 24.Qxh6 f6 25.e5


Anand reached to play this move, the brought his hand back then played it a minute later. Nerves? Not surprising. It took him ten minutes in total, but now it's game over. 25...Bxg2. 25...Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Bxc6. 26.exf6!


26...Rxd6. 26...Qh7 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Rc4 Rg8 29.Nf7+! Qxf7 30.Rh4+ Qh7 31.Rxh7+ Kxh7 32.Qh5#. 27.Rxd6 Be4. 27...Bd5 28.Qg6+ Kh8 29.Rc4! you've guessed it 29...Bxc4 30.Rd4! Qh7 31.Rh4 Rf7 32.Rxh7+ Rxh7 33.Qe8#. 28.Rxe6 Nd3 29.Rc2 Qh7 30.f7+ Qxf7 31.Rxe4 Qf5 32.Re7


and Black resigned. 1-0. [Click to replay]

The winner Viswanathan Anand in the post-game press conference

Veselin Topalov discussing the game with the press

Links and stories

Anand wins fourth game to go one up

Anand, who had lost the first game unceremoniously won the second in sparkling fashion and after drawing the third and winning the fourth game comprehensively, the fans are looking up to him to do what he did to Russian Vladimir Kramnik a couple of years ago at Bonn in Germany. The Indian ace came up with a resounding sacrifice of a knight to rip apart Topalov's king side and once he decided on that there was no respite for the challenger. Anand simply squeezed out black's resources with some high quality moves. Down a piece, the world champion created havoc in the Bulgarian's territory with some deft manoeuvres and went on to score a memorable victory. After the rest day on Thursday, Topalov will have white in the fifth game and the Bulgarian won't leave any stones unturned for his comeback attempt. Full article...

Anand crushes Topalov in fourth game – by Ian Rogers

“Anand really played brilliantly today,” said commentator Zurab Azmaiparashvili, having watched the World champion sacrifice a pawn, then a knight and then a bishop to create a winning assault against Topalov's exposed king. Anand was coy when asked if the sacrifices were prepared with his team. “I won't be able to tell you that until the match is over,” said Anand, who has managed to keep the identity of some of his helpers secret as well. Anand explained that in a key variation he was prepared to give away both his rooks as well to ensure a checkmate: “Once I saw that I knew I was winning.” Full article...

Viswanathan Anand takes lead with tactical play

“This has been a brilliant game by Anand. First, he used great skill to obtain an edge but the tactical punishment of the careless h6 has been brutal. This has been superb stuff from Anand,” commented former World Championship challenger Nigel Short. Full article...

NIIT Press Release on round four

Sofia, 28 April

Another superb victory by reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand over Veselin Topalov in the fourth game of the World Chess Championship Match at Sofia, Bulgaria has him taking charge of the lead with a 2.5-1.5 score in the twelve-game match.

NIIT MindChampion Anand was at his devastating best with the white pieces – incidentally his first victory was also wielding the white pieces in game two. Topalov had won the first game while the third game had ended in a draw. If Anand powered a positional win in the second game in the Catalan Opening, then the fourth game involved some terrific tactics and combinations, also in the Catalan Opening. For the second time in a row, Anand goes into the second rest day tomorrow with a psychological edge, while it would be another sleepless night for Topalov.

The opening play was on the queenside with both players posting their pieces there. Anand had sacrificed a pawn in the opening but had plenty of piece play. “At the 15th move I thought that my position was better “ said Anand after the game.

Anand’s two knights were active on the chessboard while Topalov’s queen was cut off in the corner on the queenside. At this point Anand’s attack started taking shape on the kingside. With a knight sacrifice on the 23rd turn he ripped out Topalov’s king from his castled shelter. Anand’s queen was the next piece to invade Topalov’s territory and suddenly his king was terribly exposed. Anand's pawn was already advanced onto the sixth rank and by now even both his rooks sprang into action. Topalov’s pieces were stranded and could not rush to the king’s defence. Topalov resigned on the 37th turn, when faced with an inevitable checkmate or heavy loss of material.

Updates on Viswanathan Anand sent by Team Anand at NIIT. For further inquiries contact:

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