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English translation and layout by

Zoltan Molnar

Consultant: 1M Tamas Erdelyi

decoArt Books 9.

dr. Daniel Lovas

Cover design:
Borbala Kovats

ISBN 978-963-87095-9-2

H -6000 Kecskemet
E-mail: postmaster@caissa.t-online .hu

Published by Panton Bt.

Responsible editor: Daniel Lovas

Printed in Hektograf Nyomda, Plisp6kladany

Sofia 2010

by D aniel Lovas

The Story of the Great Match For

the FIDE World Champion Title

The 12 Games with

Detailed Annotations

Prologu e 5


In ou i days, world chess title is shining in its old light. As a

result of decade-long debate , the International Chess Federa
tion has at last succeeded in forming a tournament system
mobilizing the best chess players of the world. Furthermore , a
number of brilliant young talents have appeared, whose un
concealed aim is to win over the chess throne .
These circumstances were also instrumental in that the
final organized in Sofia between Indian title-holder Viswa
nathan Anand and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, world chart
leader for a 19n9 time, excited world-wide interest. The two
contestants of outstanding knowledge did not cause disap
pointment. The 1 2-game match brought a glowing but sports
manlike fight and clashes of a high standard.
It is presumably well-known to every reader that Anand
won 6 Yz : 5Yz, thus defending his world title . But to the final
an adventurous path was leading. On the next pages I am
going to make an attempt at recalling the story of the match
as attractively as possible, first of all for those who could not
follow the events in a minute-by-minute live broadcast.
The final in Sofia abounded in dramatic turns . Even the
start was disturbed by an unexpected event. Owing to the
Icelandic volcano eruption, Anand and his team could only
get to Sofia with an adventurous travel. In the opening match
played with a one-day delay because of this, Topalov won
with a spectacular knight sacrifice. But Anand was quick in
6 Prologu e

taking his revenge, and, showing great moral strength, he

stood up to the repeated assaults of his opponent till the end
of the match.
The match was made even more interesting by the peculiar
situation arisen around the draws. Anand did not accept that
they should play according to the Sofia Rule, forbidding draw
offers, but Topalov had declared before the match that he uni
laterally considered it binding on him and he would not offer
or accept a draw in any circumstances. So that every game
brought a long and lively battle . Though there were draws, all
of them resulted in thoroughly played positions, after mutual
repetition of moves.
Who can bear the unusual mental and physical strain bet
ter? - chess lovers from all over the world asked, since the
decision remained to be made in the last round. And the cli
max of the match brought another dramatic turn. Owing to
the enormous pressure of the home environment craving for
win, Topalov - just like a kamikaze fighter - staked every
thing on one card. However, Anand refuted his risky plan
with a spectacular counterattack.
To assist the better understanding of the memorable 1 2th
game, detailed annotations are enclosed, which, in addition to
the analysis of the variations, also touch on the role tourna
ment tactical and moral factors played in the forming of the

Daniel Lovas .
The Career of Anand 7

The Career of Anand

The fifteenth world champion - the first Asian - of modern

chess, Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand marks the beginning of
another era in the history of the royal game. His person is
symbolic: it expresses that chess sport, the centre of which was
for a long time in Western Europe and Russia, became uni
versal in our age. Anand was born where chess itself originates
from. Chaturanga, the ancient chess took shape in India some
time round the fifth century. One and a half millennium later,
on 1 1 th December 1 969 , a boy-child was born in the town of
Chennai (the former Madras) , of which he is now the best
known son. Anand is not a lonesome knight of chess. The love
and support of a rising, continent-sized country is behind him.
In India, as early as 2000, when winning the FIDE title, he was
already regarded as a world champion of full value. And since
winning the reunified title of World Chess Champion in 2007
he is a celebrated national hero. In the vast country he is
looked upon as the greatest Indian sportsman. In addition to
his individual talent, it is this historic and cultural background
that accounts for the persistent ambition of the likeable Indian
chess player, which, as a result, enabled him to get to the
peak of the chess world at the age of 37 years.
He learned to play chess at age six from his mother. His
extraordinary gifts are indicated by the fact that already in his
8 The Career of Anand

childhood he played at an unusually quick rate - and yet with

few mistakes and effectively. As the result of his rapid manner
of play, the nickname "lightning-handed Vishy" was stuck to
him in the chess world, but with regard to his native land, in
the international press he is often called "the Tiger from Mad
ras", too.
In his native land he swiftly rose among the best, and in
1 987 he earned the title of World Junior Champion - the first
Asian to do so. He was the first Indian Chess player to be
awarded the title of international grandmaster. It was two
years later, at the age of 1 9 , that he became connected with
the fight for the adult world title. He qualified as equal third
from the Manila Interzonal World Championship final. In his
first world champion candidates' match he won against
Aleksei Dreev, but among the best eight he lost to Anatoly
He achieved his first, really sensational tournament win in
1 992 in Reggio Emilia, where he won defeating both Kasparov
and Karpov. By this time, his style characterized by a dynam
ic conduct of play containing a lot of combinative elements
has taken shape. It is not for nothing that he is considered to
be one of the greatest experts of open games. His play is var
iegated, never boring, and his games - just like his whole per
sonality - radiate the love of chess. He competes a lot and does
not lose heart when doing not so well. With his modest, like
able manners he is one of the most attractive figures of the
international chess elite.
He competed in both branches in the parallel world cham
pionship cycle of 1 993-95 . Although in the FIDE tournament
he was eliminated by Gata Kamsky of USA, in the title-gain-
The Career of Anand 9

ing contests of PCA (Professional Chess Assocoation) he got

almost as far as the peak. In 1 995 in New York he could match
his strength with Kasparov for the PCA world title . In the
middle of their match he took the lead, but in a brilliant game
Kasparov equalized and finally defended his title . But defeat
did not discourage Vishy, and in the following years he
repeatedly went to war to gain the world title.
In the knockout system world championship of FIDE
organized in Groningen in 1 998 he qualified for the final by
defeating his six opponents, including Michael Adams. Then,
after a score of 3:3 with Anatoly Karpov, he was beaten by
him only in the rapid game playoff. It may have been some
compensation to him that for his first book, My Best Games of
Chess, he was given "The Best Book of the Year" award by the
British Chess Federation.
In 2000 his efforts were at last crowned with success. He
won the World Cup, and in the FIDE World Championship in
New Delhi he could defeat Adams a second time , too. Then
came the final in Teheran, and by defeating Aleksei Shirov of
Spain he became FIDE World Chess Champion.
But then the era of Kasparov's reign still lasted, therefore
Anand - except for the Indians - was not really looked upon
as the number one player of the world. And one year later he
did actually lose his title, having been defeated in Moscow
already in the semi-final by Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine,
ahead of whom he had won the Junior World Championship.
This fiasco was followed by a one and a half year long trough.
But once he got over this, he started soaring again, winning
one super-tournament after the other: in Wijk aan Zee, Dort
mund, Linares, Monaco, and Mainz . Chess specialists, too,
10 The Career of Anand

have appreciated his successes: after 1 997 and 1 998, two times
again, in 2003 and 2004, they selected him The Best of the
Year. So far he was four times awarded the Chess Oscar.
It is well-known that the Indian grandmaster is a specialist
of rapid tournaments. In short games he is almost undefeat
able , and this is what brought him his second world title .
FIDE organized the first rapid world championship final in
2003 in Cap d'Adge with 25-minute games and an additional
10 seconds after each move, which was won by Anand by
beating Kramnik in the finaL So Lightning-Handed Vishy has
won the title World Rapid Chess Champion - the first to do so
in the world.
In 2004, he won the historic super-tournament "Corus" in
Holland for the fourth time. With this win Anand entered the
elite league of players that have won the Corus four times: for
mer World Champion Max Euwe, Lajos Portisch and Viktor
Korchnoi. This year brought him several great successes. He
also came first in the Dortmund super-tournament, and then,
in rapid chess, he won for the fourth time the very strong
event in Mainz and, for the fifth time , the tournament in
Corsica. In the Calvia Olympiad, as captain of the team, he led
the Indians to a historic sixth place.
In 2005 , he was also one of the favourites in the World
Championship Final in Argentina, but then, after an unex
pected loss, he failed to catch up with Topalov playing at the
top of his form, so at length he finished equal second.
It was in April 2006 that his Elo rating broke the 2800
mark, and from April 2007 he has been holding the number
one spot in the world ranking list. This is an extraordinary
achievement, specially as he is an extremely active com-
The Career of Anand 11

petitor, and the many tournaments following one another

involve the risk of weaker performances. But Anand is a real
chess player who fears neither failure nor the burden of being
a favourite.
However, he could only become the most active super
grandmaster of the past two decades by sharing his time
between India and the world's chess centre, Europe. He set
tled down with his wife Aruna in Collado Mediano, a small
Spanish town near Madrid. Yet he is in a close, daily, contact
with his homeland, where he is extremely popular.
Anand is said to h ave revolutionized Indian chess life. His
performance was recognized with the highest Indian sport
and civilian awards. His English-language Indian home page is:
tnq.inlvish wa.h tml
To the 2007 World Championship final held in Mexico he
came with prospects of victory, too, but besides him the field
included the active world champion Kramnik and six more -
almost invincible - supergrandmasters. This time Anand has
realized Kasparov's prophecy, who held him the number one
favourite. He was better prepared than his rivals, and worked
out a number of new opening variations with his Danish sec
ond, Peter Heine Nielsen. He managed to remain unbeaten,
though Kramnik made him sweat, and in his game against
Grischuk he also had to fight for the draw. But finally, with a
score of 9 out of 1 4 games, a full point clear of the field, he
won the tournament, gaining his third world title - this time
the reunified one - at the age of 37 years.
At the end of 2007, he still heads the world ranking list,
being the only one of the super-grandmasters to surpass the
magic 2800. "King Anand", the first Asian World Chess
12 The Career of Anand

Champion meritedly wears the symbolic crown of the chess

king. But by now the rate has speeded up, the struggle among
the best is intensified. In 2008, according to the rules, Anand
had to defend his throne against Kramnik in a return match.
After eleven games, Anand successfully defended his title by a
final score of 6%:41/2
In the July 20 1 0 FIDE rating list he was ranked third with
A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games 13


(Game titles by Zoltan Molnar)
1 . Vishy Steps on It 2. Horse's Kick
V. Anand - G. Kasparov V. Anand - B. Gelfand
New York 1 995 Wijk aan Zee 1 996
Sicilian Defence Sicilian Defence
1 e4 e5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 exd4
4 flxd4 flf6 5 fle3 a6 6 lile2 e6 1 e4 e5 2 fle3 d6 3 f4 g6 4
7 0-0 lile7 8 a4 fle6 9 lile3 0-0 flf3 Iilg7 5 lile4 fle6 6 d3 e6 7
1 0 f4 \We7 1 1 wh l fre8 1 2 1ilf3 0-0 flge7 8 \We I! h6 9 Iilb3 a6
Iild7 1 3 flb3 fla5 1 4 flxa5 \Wxa5 1 0 e5! flfS 1 1 wh l ! flfd4 1 2
1 5 \Wd3 frad8 1 6 frfdl ! lile6 1 7 fle4 flxf3 1 3 frxf3 dxe5 1 4 fxe5
b4 \We7 1 8 b 5 Iild7 1 9 frab l ! flxe5 1 5 frfl g5! 1 6 \Wg3 0-0 1 7
axb5 20 flxb5! Iilxb5 2 1 \Wxb5 Iilxg5! hxg5 1 8 flxg5 flg6 1 9
fra8 22 e4 e5 23 Iilb6! \We8 24 frae I ! \We 7 20 frfS ! ! Iilf6
fxe5 dxe5 25 as 1ilf8 26 h3 \We6

21 fue6! fxe6?? 22 frxe6!

27 frd5 ! ilid5?? 28 exd5+ wg7 23 frxe7t Iilxe7 24 frxf8
\Wg6 29 e5 e4 30 lile2 fre5 3 1 1ilxf8 25 h4! [25.. . wh 7 26 h5
\Wd7 ! frg5 3 2 frgl ! e3 3 3 d 6 frg3 fle727\Wf3 (27. \Wf4 Iild728. \Wf6
34 \Wxb7 \We6 35 wh2 ! [35. . . fre8 Iilc6 29. 1ilf7+-) 27 . . 1ilf5 28

36 d7+- (36 frfl +-)] 1--0 \Wxb7+-] 1--0

14 A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games

3 . Battering Ram 4. Endlosung

V. Anand J . Timm an
- S. Rublevsky V. Anand

Wijk aan Zee 2004 Bastia 2004

Sicilian Defence Scotch Opening

1 e4 e5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 exd4 1 e4 e5 2 flf3 fle6 3 d4 exd4

4 flxd4 flf6 5 fle3 fle6 6 g5 e6 4 flxd4 e5 5 flb3 b6 6 flc3
7 i.MJd2 a6 8 0-0-0 d7 9 f3 e7 flf6 7 i.MJe2 0-0 8 g5 h6 9 h4
10 e3 fre8 1 1 g4 fla5 12 wb l d6 1 0 f3 hxg5 1 1 hxg5 flg4 1 2
b5 1 3 d3 fle4 1 4 xe4 frxe4 fxg4 i.MJxg5 1 3 i.MJf3 xg4 1 4 i.MJg3
1 5 flee2 0-0 1 6 g5 fle8 1 7 h4 fle5 1 5 e2 f5 1 6 exfS i.MJxfS 1 7
i.MJe8 1 8 b3 fre7 1 9 flf4!? fre3 20 0-0-0 xe2 1 8 flxe2 i.MJf2 1 9
frdg l b4 21 h5 fle7 22 g6 f6 i.MJh2 i.MJxe2 2 0 i.MJh8t wf7 2 1
frdfl t f2 22 i.MJh7

23 h6!? fxg6 24 hxg7 frf7

25 frxh7! wxh7 26 i.MJh2t wxg7 22 ... we6! 23 wb l i.MJg4
27 flxg6+- frxe3 28 fle7t wfB 0-1
29 flxe8
A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games 15

5 . Let us Be Sacrificers, But lWxc 1 lWxc 1 t 36 e l lWf4 37

Not Butchers b l e4 38 a2 h4 39 e2 d4
B. Macieja V. Anand
- 0-1
Calvia 2004
Queen 's Pawn Game 6. Giving Black Short Shrift
V. Anand R. Kasimdzhanov

1 d4 flf6 2 flf3 e6 3 g5 h6 Leon 2005

4 xf6 lWxf6 5 e4 d5 6 flbd2 g6 Sicilian Defence
7 c3 g7 8 d3 0-0 9 0-0 fld7
1 0 e5 lWe7 1 1 h4 c5 1 2 lWe2 1 e4 c5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
cxd4 1 3 cxd4 d8 1 4 a3 flf8 1 5 4 fud4 flf6 5 flc3 a6 6 e3 e6
h5 d7 1 6 hxg6 flxg6 1 7 g 3 f5 7 f3 b5 8 lWd2 flbd7 9 g4 h6 1 0
1 8 exf6 lWxf6 1 9 ae 1 f8 20 0-0-0 b7 1 1 h 4 b 4 1 2 fla4
wg2 f7 2 1 lWd 1 af8 22 lWc2 lWa5 1 3 b3 flc5 1 4 a3 c8 1 5
lWxb4 lWc7 1 6 wb l flfd7 1 7 flb2
d5 1 8 lWd2 dxe4 1 9 f4 flf6 20
e2 fld5 2 1 flc4 fld7 22 g5
flxe3 23 lWxe3 d5 24 hfl
c5 25 lWc3 hxg5 26 flf5 xc4
27 flxg7t we7 28 xc4 hg8
29 hxg5 e3 30 f5 fle5 3 1 fxe6

22 .. flf4t! 23 gxf4 lWxf4 24


g l xd4 25 wfl t wh8 26 e2

c8 27 lWb 1 f6 28 fle 1 e5 29
flg2 h3 30 h l xg2t 3 1
wxg2 g7t 3 2 wfl gc7 33
flb3 g:c1 t! 34 flxc 1 xc 1 t 35
16 A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games

32 frd7t ! flxd7 33 Wlxg7 Wlxg3t 29 wxg3 fxg6 30 Wlxg6t

1-0 wfB 31 Wlf6t wg8 32 h6 1-0

7. Stepping up the Pressure 8. Volodya's Dark Day

V. Anand - M. Adams V. Anand - V. Kramnik
San Luis 2005 Sofia 2005
Ruy Lopez Petroff Defence

1 e4 e5 2 flf3 flc6 3 b5 a6 1 e4 e5 2 flf3 flf6 3 flxe5 d6

4 a4 flf6 5 0-0 e7 6 fre l b5 4 flf3 flxe4 5 d4 d5 6 d3 flc6
7 b3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 b7 1 0 7 0-0 e7 8 c4 flb4 9 e2 0-0
d4 fre8 1 1 flbd2 fB 1 2 a4 h6 1 0 flc3 f5 1 1 a3 flxc3 1 2 bxc3
1 3 c2 exd4 1 4 cxd4 flb4 1 5 flc6 1 3 fre 1 fre8 1 4 cxd5 Wlxd5
b l c 5 1 6 d5 fld7 1 7 fra3 c4 1 5 f4 frac8 1 6 Wlc 1 fla5 1 7 c4
1 8 axb5 axb5 1 9 fld4 Wlb6 20 Wle4 18 d 1 Wld3 19 fre3 Wlxc4
flf5 fleS 2 1 frg3 g6 22 flf3
fled3 23 Wld2 xd5 24 flxh6t
xh6 25 Wlxh6 Wlxf2t 26 wh2
flxe l

20 freS!

27 flh4! fled3 28 flxg6

A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games 17

9. The Disrespect of a Pawn 1 0. The Weaker King

R. Kasimdzhanov V . Anand
- J. Polgar V. Anand

Linares 2005 San Luis 2005

Sicilian Defence Caro-Kann

1 e4 c5 2 4Jf3 d6 3 c3 4Jf6 4 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 4Jc3 dxe4
e2 g4 5 d3 e6 6 4Jbd2 4Jc6 7 4 me4 4Jd 7 5 d3 4Jgf6 6 4Jf3
4Jfl d5 8 exd5 4Jxd5 9 IWa4 h5 4Jxe4 7 xe4 4Jf6 8 d3 g4 9
1 0 4Jg3 4Jb6 1 1 IWd l g6 1 2 0-0 e3 e6 1 0 c3 d6 1 1 h3 h5
e7 1 3 a4 0-0 1 4 as 4Jd5 1 5 1 2 IWe2 IWa5 1 3 a4 0-0 1 4 IWc2
IWa4 IWc7 1 6 d4 cxd4 1 7 4Jxd4 xf3 1 5 gxf3 IWh5 1 6 0-0-0
4Jxd4 1 8 IWxd4 fS 1 9 IWa4 ad8 4Jd5 1 7 wb l b5 1 8 dg l f6 1 9
20 d l f4 2 1 4Je4 IWe5 22 f3 axb5 cxb5 2 0 c 1 ab8 2 1 IWe2
b5 23 IWc2 4Jf6 24 4Jxf6t IWxf6 fe8 22 IWe4 wh8 23 h4 fS 24
25 IWb3 xd l t 26 IWxd l d8 27 IWe2 IWf7 25 g2 f4 26 hg l
IWe2 d3 28 lWe I e5 29 e2 g8 27 e3 IWd7 28 IWd2 d6
xe2 30 IWxe2 e4 31 g3 e3 32 29 c2 IWb7 30 g5 b4 31 c4
fxe3 b3 32 d3 b4 33 IWe2 IWa6 34

32 ... 31 33 IWxb5 flt 34 wg2

f8 35 IWd5t wh8 36 wfl IWh6 34... 4Jc3tl
35 bxc3 xc3 36
37 d2 IWh3t 38 IWg2 IWfS 0-1 wc 1 IWa3t 37 wd l IWa l t 38 c 1
18 A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games

b2 39 tWe3 xd4 40 tWd2

bxc ltWt 41 tWxc l tWa2

1 1 . The Final Stab

V . Anand L. Van Wely

Wijk aan Zee 2006

Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 f3 c6 3 d4 cxd4
42 :gd71 1-O
4 ilid4 f6 5 c3 e5 6 db5
d6 7 g5 a6 8 a3 b5 9 d5
1 2 . A Tempo of Two Pieces'
e7 1 0 xf6 xf6 1 1 c3 g5 1 2
c2 :gb8 1 3 a4 bxa4 1 4 cb4
S. Karjakin V . Anand

d7 1 5 xa6 ilib4 1 6 cxb4

Wijk aan Zee 2006
0-0 1 7 0-0 c6 1 8 :gxa4 xa4
Sicilian Defence
1 9 tWxa4tWe8 20 tWxe8 :gfxe8 2 1
b5 f5 2 2 b 6 fxe4 2 3 h4 d2 24
1 e4 c5 2 f3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
b7 wf7 25 :gd1 h6 26 b4
4 ilid4 f6 5 c3 a6 6 e3 e5
We7 27 d5 t wf7 28 g4 f4 29
7 b3 e6 8 f3 e7 9 tWd2 0-0
:ge l g5 30 :ge2 :ged8 31 b4 d5
1 0 0-0-0 bd7 1 1 g4 b5 1 2 g5
32 c6 :gg8 33 ilib8 :gxb8 34
b4 1 3 e2 e8 1 4 f4 as 1 5 f5
h5 We7 35 wfl d4 36 :gc2 e3 37
a4 1 6 bd4 exd4 1 7 xd4 b3
fxe3 dxe3 38 :gc7t wf6 39
18 wb 1 bxc2t 19 xc2 b3 20
:gxh7 e4 40 c4 :gd8 41 :gf7t
axb3 axb3 21 a3 e5 22 h4
:gaS 23 tWc3 tWa8 24 g2

See Diagram
See Diagram
A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games 19

lMic2 ffc8 1 9 lMib2 c4 2 0 dxc4

xc4 2 1 flbd2 xa2 22 lMixa2
d5 23 ffbd l d4 24 cxd4 exd4
25 flb3 flxe4 26 xd4 flxd4 27
ffxd4 flg5 28 fle5

24... flc7! 25 lMixc7 ffc8 26

lMixe7 flc4 27 g6 hxg6 28 fxg6
flxa3t 29 bxa3 ffxa3 30 gxf7t
wh7 3 1 f8flt ffxf8 32 lMixf8
ffa l t 33 wb2 ffa2t 34 wc3
lMia5 t 35 wd3 lMib5t 36 wd4
ffa4t 37 wc3 lMic4t (37...lMi c4f 28 ... ili:h3t! 29 gxh3 lMig5 t
38 w d2 ffa2f 39 wellMie2#) 30 wh2 lMifS 3 1 ffde4 ffxe5 32
0-1 ffxe5 d6 33 flc5 xe5t 34
wg2 ffc6 35 lMib3 ffg6t 36 wfl
1 3 . As Deep as the Sea g3 !0-1
V. Topalov V. Anand

Sofia 2006 1 4. Elegant and Convincing

Ruy Lopez V. Anand A. Morozevich

Mexico 2007
1 e4 e5 2 flf3 flc6 3 b5 a6 Sicilian Defen ce
4 a4 flf6 5 0-0 e7 6 ffe l b5
7 b3 0-0 8 h3 b7 9 d3 ffe8 1 e4 c5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
10 c3 h6 1 1 flbd2 f8 1 2 a3 d6 4 flxd4 flf6 5 flc3 a6 6 f3 e5 7
1 3 a2 flb8 1 4 b4 c5 1 5 flb3 flb3 e6 8 e3 flbd7 9 g4 flb6
flc6 1 6 ffb l c8 1 7 e3 e6 1 8 1 0 g5 flh5 1 1 lMid2 ffc8 1 2
20 A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games

0-0-0 (}2e7 1 3 ffg l 0-0 1 4 wb l 1 5 .Curtains

\MIc7 1 5 \MIf2 lc4 1 6 (}2xc4 (}2xc4 v. Anand V . Topalov

1 7 ld5 (}2xd5 1 8 ffxd5 f5 1 9 Leon 2007

gxf6 frxf6 2 0 \MIe2 lf4 2 1 (}2xf4 Sicilian Defence
frxf4 22 frd3 \MId7 23 ld frcfS
24 a3 wh8 25 la2 \MIh3 26 frg3 1 e4 c5 2 lf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
\MIh5 27 \MIg2 frh4 28 h3 \MIh6 29 4 fud4 lf6 5 lc3 a6 6 (}2e3 e6
frb3 b5 30 lb4 frh5 3 1 \MIfl 7 (}2e2 lbd7 8 0-0 b5 9 a4 b4
frh4 32 \MIg2 frh5 33 lxa6 (}2h4 10 lc6 \MIc7 1 1 fub4 d5 1 2
34 frg4 (}2f6 35 \MIe2 frxh3 36 fua6 (}2xa6 1 3 exd5 (}2d6 1 4 h3
frxb5 (}2d8 37 frb8 \MIf6 38 lb4 exd5 15 fud5 lxd5 16 \MIxd5
frxf3 39 ld5 \MIf7 40 \MIa6 h5 4 1 (}2b7 1 7 \MIc4 (}2c6 1 8 b4 \MIb7 1 9
frg2 h 4 4 2 \MIxd6 (}2e7 4 3 \MIxeS frad l (}2e7 2 0 b 5 (}2xg2 2 1 frxd7
frxb8 44 \MIxb8t wh7 45 \MIc7 wxd7 22 \MIg4t we8 23 \MIxg2
(}2fS 46 \MIxf7 frxf7 47 ffg4 frf1 t \MIxg2t 24 wxg2 frxa4 25 b6
48 wa2 frh 1 49 e5 (}2c5 50 e6 fra5 26 frd l (}2g5 27 b7 we7 28
wh6 5 1 frc4 h3 52 frxc5 h2 53 (}2b6 fre5
le3 fra l t 54 wxa l h l\M1t 55
wa2 \MIe4

29 (}2d8t!
56 fre5! 1--0
A Selection of Anand's Nicest Games 21

16. Attack a la Anand 1 7. Simple But Winning

V. Anand M. Carlsen
- L. Aronian V . Anand

Linares 2007 Mexico 2007

Ruy Lopez Queen '5 Gam bit

1 e4 es 2 flf3 flc6 3 bs a6 1 d4 ili6 2 c4 e6 3 flf3 ds 4

4 a4 flf6 5 0-0 e7 6 ffel bs flc3 c6 5 g5 h6 6 h4 dxc4 7
7 b3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 flas 1 0 e4 g5 8 g3 b5 9 fles h5 1 0 h4
c2 c s 1 1 d4 fld7 1 2 ds flb6 g4 1 1 e2 b7 1 2 0-0 flbd7 1 3
1 3 bd2 g6 1 4 b4 cxb4 1 5 Wc2 fues 1 4 xes g7 1 5
cxb4 flac4 1 6 flxc4 flxc4 1 7 ffadl 0-0 1 6 g3 fld7 1 7 f3 cs
b3 flb6 1 8 e3 d7 1 9 ffc 1 18 dxcs We7 19 wh l a6 20 a4
ffc8 20 ffxc8 xc8 2 1 Wc2 d7 c6 2 1 flds exd5 22 exd5 es
22 ffc 1 fla8 23 Wd2 Wb8 24 gs 23 f4 g7 24 dxc6 fucs 25
xg5 25 fug5 ffc8 26 llil h6 ffd5 fle4 26 el We6 27 ffxhS
f5 28 wh2 ffac8 29 b4 fffe8
30 axbs axb5 3 1 ffe 1

27 fle6! wh7 28 f4 Wa7t 29 3 1 ...WU! 32 g5 fug5 33

wh2 e8 30 f5 gxf5 31 exfS f6 fxgs ffxc6 34 f1 ffxe 1 35
32 ffel flc7 33 ffc 1 d7 34 ffc3 xel ffe6 36 c3 Wc7t 37 g3
e4 35 ffg3 flxe6 36 dxe6 e8 ffe3 38 Wg2 xc3 39 bxc3 f4
37 e71 h5 38 Wxd6 1--0 40 Wa8t wg7 4 1 Wa6 fxg3t0-1
22 The Career of Topalov

The Career of Topalov

Grandmaster Veselin Topalov was born in 1 975 in Rusze,

Bulgaria. In the past decades he went through all the obstacle
filled paths of becoming a professional Gompetitor, from jun
ior championships to the super-tournaments. He reached the
summit of his career up till now in 2005 , when in San Luis he
came first hands down in the World Championship Final
organised by FIDE, winning herewith the world title .
As so many future greats, he learned the fundamentals of
chess from his father at the age of eight. Soon he became a reg
istered competitor and his knowledge was polished by skilled
trainers, and he kept stepping forward by degrees in the
national and, later, international age group championships. In
Puerto Rico in 1 989 he won the 1 4-Year-Olds' World
Championship. One year later, in Singapore, he became silver
medalist among the 1 6-year-olds. By this time , it was obvious
that the student of the young Bulgarian competitor, 1M Silvio
Danailov, was one of the most talented members of the new
generation of chess players.
He won the title International Grandmaster in 1 992, join
ing therewith the elite of professional adult chess players. This
enabled him to participate in tournaments of the highest rank.
The Career of Topalov 23

And he did avail himself of this possibility. He travelled and

competed a lot, having ample opportunity to get to know the
best of the world.
At the 1 994 Moscow Chess Olympiad, as first board of the
selected Bulgarian team, the 1 9-year-old grandmaster led his
compa'triots to the fourth place. His first significant wins
against the leading players of the time derive from this period.
It was from the mid - 1 990s that he started his march towards
winning the world title.
Topalov took part in every knockout system world cham
pionship. In 1 998 in Groningen he was eliminated in round
two, in 1 999 in Las Vegas he was beaten by Kramnik in the
rapid play-off, and a year later Adams stopped him. Then
came Moscow, where Shirov beat him, and in 2002 in
Dortmund the world championship semi-final was won by
Leko against him 2.5- 1 .5 . But all these did not discourage
Topalov from getting to the top. In Tripoli in 2004 he did not
lose a single game until the semi-final. It was considered a sur
prise that he lost to Kasimdzahov in the rapid play-off.
From the mid- 1 990s he rose to be one of the super-GMs,
but for a decade or so his competitor's career was uneven. In
our days the vanguard of the world is so well-balanced that in
addition to outstanding talent, a favourable coincidence of
several kinds of circumstances is also required to be first
among the excellent. For Topalov this period came after a
laborious decade, in 2005 . It was in this year that he could win
for the first time against Kasparov in a classical tournament
game, in the last round of the Linares tournament. Not long
after this, Kasparov announced his intention to retire. His loss
to Topalov may also have played a part in this decision.
24 The Career of Topalov

In the eight-participant final, organised in San Luis in 2005 ,

took part all the world champion candidates who had earlier
been able to stop Topalov. But this time the Bulgarian grand
master was unstoppable . Being all along in the lead, he won
the tournament hands down. He became world champion
quite deservedly - not only on the strength of his score, but
also in virtue of the level of his game and his engaging, elegant
competitor's conduct .
The international chess public opinion received it with
agreement that the Chess Oscar in 2005 was awarded to
Topalov. In addition to winning the world title , he came first
easily in the super-tournament in Sofia, getting ahead of
Anand by one point. It was then that he stated of himself: "[
am not afraid of losing, and that's what makes the difference
between me and the others."
Indeed, the chess Topalov is playing is a modern one and is
of a typically 21 th century approach. He is well aware that
without taking risks you cannot succeed in an extremely
strong field. He bravely undertakes open game and often takes
chances. He plays unbiasedly in all stages of the game, and
makes the best of the possibilities presenting themselves with
a brilliant technique . He is not unbeatable , but is able to beat
anyone in today's leading group. Even after serious losses he
quickly finds his legs, playing the next game already with all
his strength. Similarly to the best of other sports, he is unbe
lievably energetic, striving after success to the last moment in
every tournament. Super-GM Topalov stands for the truly
high-level, top-quality competitive chess.
The results of the past years proved that the 30-year-old
grandmaster of chess, living in Salamanca, Spain, has become
The Career of Topalov 25

fully ripe and got to the summit of his career. On the FIDE
rating list published in January of 2006 his rating was 280 1 ,
becoming herewith the third player, after Kasparov (285 1 )
and Kramnik (28 1 1 ) , t o surpass the magic 2800, and indicating
that his is an outstanding playing strength. By the way, on the
April 200 6 list his rating rose to 2804.
Already on the day after his world championship victory,
Topalov proclaimed that he would not rest on his laurels , and
is ready to defend his title . In April, the president of the FIDE
offiCially announced that in September of 2006 it will be pos
sible to play the title reunification match between the FIDE
World Champion and the holder of the classical world title ,
i.e. between Topalov and Kramnik. It is surely going to be a
most interesting match if realised at all, yet it would make no
real difference : with his career up to now, Topalov has already
written his name in the golden book of chess. His original way
of thinking, his style, in which an enormous number of mate
rial knowle dge is combined with an immense playing
strength, makes his play a delightful experience .
It is worth learning from Topalov how to win with an ele
gant and forceful play in our days when not only the grand
masters are of outstanding playing strength, but at all levels
excellently prepared opponents sit on the other side of the
In the July 20 1 0 FIDE rating list he was ranked second with
2803 points.
26 A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games


Game titles by Zoltan Molnar

1 . A Model Deflection 2. Hang On, Pete !

V. Topalov - G. Kasparov V. Topalov - P. Leko
Moscow 1 994 Dortmund 1 996
Sicilian Defence Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 1 e4 c5 2 flf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4

4 fud4 flf6 5 flc3 a6 6 e3 e6 4 flxd4 flf6 5 flc3 flc6 6 c4 e6
7 g4 h6 8 f4 flc6 9 e2? ! e5 ! 1 0 7 e3 e7 8 \We2 0-0 9 0-0-0
flfS g6 1 1 flg3 exf4 1 2 xf4 d7 1 0 f4 c8 1 1 e5 fle8 1 2
e6 1 3 fl c8 1 4 h3 \Wb6? ! 1 5 flxc6 xc6 1 3 fS e m 1 4 e6
\Wd2 g7 1 6 xd6 flxg4? 1 7 wh8 15 exf7 flf6 16 e6 d7
xg4! \Wxb2 1 8 e5?! flxe5 1 9 17 b3 ! f4 1 8 xf4 g4 1 9 \We3
b l \Wxc3 20 \Wxc3 xc3 2 1 xd l 20 xd l a6 21 e6 c5
xe6 fxe6 2 2 xb7 flc4 2 3 b4 22 g4 b5 23 h4 b4 24 fle2 \Wc7
e3t 24 fle2 e5 25 Efff7 Efxh3 25 g5 Efxc2t 26 wb l flh5 27
h2 g6 28 b3 c5 29 flf4 e5
30 \Wd4 flxf4 31 xf4 \Wc5 32
xe5t dxe5 33 \We4 wg7 34
d5 \Wd6 35 b3 \Wc5 36 c 1
\Wd4 37 \Wb7 d8 38 dl \Wb6
39 We4 c7 40 c4 as 41 d7
a4 42 \Wf3 d8 43 \Wg3 c7 44
b3 a3 45 \Wf3 d8 46 wc2 wh8
47 wd3 wg7 48 we2 wh8 49
26 fld4! e3t 27 wfl e4 28
\Wd5 c7
fe7t 1--0
A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games 27

50 ird8!1 xd8 5 1 IWxe5t 17 d4!! 1 8 lWeI e3 1 9


f6 52 IWxf6t IWxf6 53 gxf6 h5 xe3 ffxe3 2 0 wf2 d 4 2 1 fld l

54 wf3 wh7 55 wf4 wh6 56 we5 ffxe2t 22 ffxe2 IWd5 23 fle4
g5 57 we6 ffb8 58 b5 ffh8 59 fle5 24 IWg5 ffe8 25 ffd2 IWc4 26
we7 wg6 60 d3t fldc3 h6 27 IWh4 dxc3 28 ffd8
1--0 cxb2 29 ffxe8t wg7 30 ffd l
IWc2t 3 1 ffd2 b 1 IW 32 IWxh3
3. Hand-to-Hand Fight IWceI
B. Gelfand - V. Topalov 0-1
Linares 1 997 4. A Vicious Horse
King's Indian Defence V. Ivanchuk V. Topalov

Linares 1 997
1 d4 flf6 2 flf3 g6 3 c4 g7 English Opening
4 flc3 0-0 5 e4 d6 6 e2 e5 7
e3 exd4 8 flxd4 ffe8 9 f3 c6 1 flf3 flf6 2 c4 c5 3 flc3 flc6
1 0 f2 d5 1 1 exd5 cxd5 1 2 0-0 4 e3 e6 5 d 4 d5 6 a3 a6 7 dxc5
flc6 1 3 c5 flh5 1 4 g3 h3 1 5 xc5 8 b4 a7 9 b2 0-0 1 0
ffe 1 IWg5 1 6 fldb5 ffad8 1 7 fld6 d3 IWe7 1 1 0-0 ffd8 1 2 IWe2
d7 1 3 ffac l ffac8 1 4 cxd5
See Diagram exd5 1 5 h3 h6 1 6 fffdi e6 1 7
b 5 axb5 1 8 fub5 b8 1 9 b l
28 A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games

fle4 20 a2 flg5 2 1 flfd4 fud4 1 9 fue5 fue5 20 lMJxh5 xd4

22 xd4 fle4 23 a4 c6! 24 2 1 lMJf5 flf3t 22 wh l lMJxf5 23
a7? dc8! 25 lMJb2 lMJh4 26 xf5 f6 24 a7 c5 25 e4
xc6 bxc6 27 c 1 fle5 26 d l ! flc4 27 b7 g5
28 xg5 hxg5 29 b3 fle5? 30
d5 fe8 3 1 xc5 e7 32 b5

27... flxf2! 28 lMJxf2 h2t 29

wfl lMJxa4 33 e4! 1-0
6. The Last Blow
5 . All Pieces are En Prise ! V. Topalov E. Bareev

V. Topalov A. Morozevich
- Dortmund 2002
Cannes 2002 French Defence
Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e6 2 d 4 d5 3 flc3 flf6 4
1 e4 e5 2 flf3 flc6 3 b5 a6 g5 dxe4 5 flxe4 flbd7 6 flf3
4 a4 flf6 5 0-0 b5 6 b3 c5 e7 7 fuf6t xf6 8 h4 c5 9
7 a4 b8 8 c3 d6 9 d4 b6 1 0 lMJd2 cxd4 1 0 flxd4 h6 1 1 xf6
axb5 axb5 1 1 fla3 0-0 1 2 fub5 fuf6 1 2 lMJb4N fld5? ! 1 3 lMJa3
g4!? 1 3 c2 h6? ! 1 4 dxe5?! lMJe7 1 4 b5 t d7 1 5 xd7t
flxe5 1 5 flbd4 d5 1 6 exd5 wxd7 1 6 lMJa4t wc7 1 7 h3 a6
lMJxd5 1 7 h3 h5 1 8 g4! flfxg4 1 8 b3 lMJc5 1 9 0-0-0 b5?? 20
A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games 29

lWa5 t IWb6? ! 2 1 lWe I ! wb7 22 dxe4 1 9 lWe3 fld5 20 fud5

lWe2 wa7 23 flxb5 t ! axb5 24 ffxd5 2 1 d4? ! f5 22 f3 fffd8
ffxb5 IWc6 23 c3 ffxd4! 24 cxd4 f4 25
IWb3t d5 26 IWc2 e3 27 fle4
1Wf7 28 flc3 e6 29 d5 f5 30
fle4 ffxd5 3 1 ffxd5 IWxd5 32
ffd 1 lWe6 33 wa 1 h5 34 a3 wf7
35 lWa4 xe4?! 36 fxe4 f6 37
IWc2 IWc6 38 wb 1 g4 39 hxg4
hxg4 40 IWd3 lWe6 4 1 g3 f3 42
IWxe3 e5 43 IWg5 xg3 44
IWh5 t wg7 45 IWg5 t wf7 46
IWh5 t wg7 47 wa 1 f2 48 IWg5t
25 ffdxd5!! exd5 26 lWe7t wf7 49 IWh5t wg7 50 ffh 1 ? e5
wa6 27 ffb3 5 1 IWh7t wfB 52 IWxb7 g3 53
1-0 ffc l

7. Queen is an Awfully
Strong Piece
J. Tirnrnan V. Topalov

Wijk aan Zee 2003

Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 flf3 flc6 3 b5 d6
4 d4 cxd4 5 IWxd4 d7 6 xc6
xc6 7 flc3 flf6 8 g5 e6 9
0-0-0 e7 10 ffhe l 0-0 1 1 53 ... lWc4!1-+ 54 lWa8t we7
wb l h6? ! 1 2 h4 lWa5 1 3 IWd2 55 IWxa7t c7
IWh5 1 4 h3 g5 1 5 g3 e5 1 6 {}-1
IWd3 ffad8 1 7 fld2 d 5 1 8 xe5
30 A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games

8. A Battering-Ram at Work 9. Shattering Black's Hopes

V . Topalov - S. Movsesian V. Topalov - A. Shirov
Tripoli 2004 Linares 2004
Sicilian Defence Ruy Lopez

1 e4 c5 2 flf3 flc6 3 d4 cxd4 1 e4 e5 2 flf3 flc6 3 b5 a6

4 fud4 tWc7 5 flc3 e6 6 e3 a6 4 a4 flf6 5 0-0 e7 6 e l b5
7 tWd2 flf6 8 0-0-0 b4 9 f3 7 b3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 fla5 1 0
fle5 1 0 flb3 b5 1 1 wb1 e7 1 2 c2 c 5 1 1 d 4 Wc7 12 d5!? flc4
tWf2 d6 1 3 b6! tWb8 1 4 d4 1 3 b3 flb6 1 4 a4 d7 1 5 a5 flc8
flc6 1 5 e3 fld7 1 6 g4 0-0 1 7 1 6 c4 g6 1 7 flc3 flh5 1 8 fle2
g5 b 4 1 8 fla4 flce5 1 9 g l b7 e8 1 9 a2 fB 20 g4! flg7 2 1
20 fla5 c8 2 1 b3! c6 22 flg3 f6 2 2 flh2 ! e 7 2 3 h 4 f7
flxc6 flxc6 23 f4 flc5 24 flxc5 24 f4 exf4 25 xf4 tWd8 26 f1
dxc5 25 fS fle5 26 h3 exfS 27 We7 27 h5 fle8 28 d3 ! g7 29
exfS e8 28 f4 d6 wg2 tWfB 30 Wc 1 bxc4 3 1 bxc4
b8 32 af2 frb3 33 f3 fle7
34 d2 c8 35 tWc2 b8 36
wh l gxh5 37 flxh5 flg6

29 g6! hxg6 30 fxg6 a7 3 1

tWg2 flc4 3 2 xd6! fud6 33
tWd5 frd8 34 gxf7t frxf7 35 e6
tWb7 36 tWg5 38 e5!! dxe5 39 xg6 hxg6
1--0 40 Wxg6 e4 41 h3 frfb7 42
A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games 31

fJf4 Erb I 43 \Wh 7t wf7 44 \Wh5t 29... !he4! 30 fue4 fue4 3 1

wg8 45 fJg6 1--0 xe4 fxe4 3 2 Erc3 d 5 3 3 Erg3
d6 34 e3 \Wd7 35 c3 ErfB 36
1 0 . Fortune Favours the Erfl b6 37 Erf2 c5 38 fJb5 b8
Brave 39 Erfg2 g5 ! 40 Erf2 wg7 4 1 \WeI
A. Khcirlov - V. Topalov wg6 42 \Wfl ErfS 43 Ergg2 \Wf7 44
Tripoli 2004 fxg5 f3 45 Erh2 xh2t 46
Bishop 's Opening Erxh2 Erf4! 47 xf4 \Wxf4 48
Erg2? h4!-+ 49 \We 1 e3 50 Erh2
1 e4 e5 2 c4 fJf6 3 d3 c6 4 \Wxg5 t 5 1 wfl h3 ! 52 \Wb l t e4
fJf3 e7 5 0-0 d6 6 a4 0-0 7 53 \Wb2 d3t
Ere l fJbd7 8 fJc3 fJc5 9 d4 exd4 {}-1
1 0 fJxd4 a5 1 1 f4 fJg4 1 2 e2
fJf6 1 3 f3 Ere8 14 \Wd2 g6 1 5 11 . Let the Funeral March
h3 fJfd7 1 6 Erad l fB 1 7 g4!? Sound
\Wb6 18 g2 fJe5 1 9 b3 IWb4 20 V. Topalov - F. Vallejo Pons
fJde2 f6 21 e3 h5 22 f4 fug4! Linares 2005
23 hxg4 xg4 24 \WeI fS 25 Sicilian Defence
Erd4 \Wb6 26 \Wd2 \Wc7 27 f2
Ere6 28 Erc4 Erae8 29 fJd4 1 e4 c5 2 fJf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
4 fJxd4 fJf6 5 fJc3 a6 6 e3 e5
7 fJb3 e7 8 f3 e6 9 \Wd2 0-0
1 0 0-0-0 fJbd7 1 1 g4 b5 1 2 g5
b4 1 3 fJe2 fJe8 1 4 f4 a5 1 5 fS
a4 1 6 fxe6 axb3 1 7 exf7t Erxf7
1 8 wb l bxc2t 1 9 wxc2 fJb6 20
fJeI d5 2 1 exd5 fJd6 22 wb 1
Erf3 23 h4 fJa4 24 \We2 Erg3 25
f2 Erc3 26 \Wxe5 fJxb2 27 d4
fB 28 wxb2 Erf3 29 d3 wh8
30 \We2 Erf4 3 1 \Wh5 fJfS
32 A Selection of Topaloy'S Nicest Games

32 g6! 1-0
13. Sacrificial Fireworks
12 . Neglected Development V. Topaloy - R. Ponomarioy
V . Topaloy A. Naiditsch
- Sofia 2005
Dortmund 2005 Queen '8 Indian Defence
Queen '8 Gam bit
1 d4 f6 2 c4 e6 3 f3 b6 4
1 f3 f6 2 c4 e6 3 c3 d5 g3 a6 5 b3 b4t 6 d2 e7 7
4 d4 dxc4 5 e4 b4 6 g5 c5 7 c3 0-0 8 frc l c6 9 e4 d5 10 e5
e5 cxd4 8 d4 xc3t 9 bxc3 e4 11 d3 xc3 12 frxc3 c5
WaS 10 exf6 Wxg5 11 fxg7 13 dxc5 bxc5 14 h4 h6 15 b l
Wxg7 12 Wd2 0-0 13 xc4 a6 f5 16 exf6 xf6 17 Wc2 d4
14 0-0 frd8 1 5 Wf4 b5 16 Wc7
Wffi I 7 d3 frd7 18 Wf4 b7 19
frae l Wg7 20 e4 wh8 2 1 fre3
xe4 22 Wxe4 frd5

See Diagram

23 e6 fxe6 24 Wxe6 frd7

25 frg3 Wffi 26 fre 1 fraa7 27
A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games 33

18 'flgS! hxg5 1 9 hxg5 dxc3

20 f4 wf7 2 1 I!lJg6t we7 22
gxf6t frxf6 23 I!lJxg7t frf7 24
g5 t wd6 25 1!lJxf7 I!lJxg5 26
frh7 l!lJe5 t 27 wfl wc6 28 l!lJe8t
wb6 291!lJd 8t wc6 30 e4t

1 4. A Staggering Blow
V. Topalov M. Adams
36 f5!! frxfS 37 frxc8t wh7

San Luis (Wch) 2005

38 frhl
English Opening
1 'flf3 'flf6 2 c4 e6 3 'flc3 c5
4 g3 b6 5 g2 b7 6 0-0 e7 7 1 5 . With Knights for a Better
fre l 'fle4 8 d4 fuc3 9 bxc3 e4 Future
10 fl d6 11 h4 'fld7 12 d5 0-0 L. Bruzon V. Topalov

13 a4 h6 1 4 h3 exd5 1 5 cxd5 Wijk aan Zee 2005

f6 16 fra3 b5 17 axb5 'flb6 1 8 Sicilian Defence
c4 xf3 1 9 frxf3 fuc4 2 0 l!lJa4
'fle5 2 1 fra3 fre8 22 h5 fre7 23 1 e4 c5 2 'flf3 e6 3 d3 'flc6 4
f4 frb8 24 f5 l!lJe8 25 c2 g3 g6 5 g2 g7 6 c3 'flge7 7
lMid7 26 l!lJe4 'flg6 27 I!lJd3 c4 28 0-0 0-0 8 fre 1 e5 9 a3 d6 10
lMixc4 fuf4 29 I!lJxf4 fre5 30 1!lJf3 e3 b6 1 1 I!lJd2 g4 1 2 h3 xf3
lMih3 3 1 frxa7 frxh5 32 e31!lJh2t 1 3 xf3 l!lJd7 1 4 g2 f5 1 5 exfS
33 wfl I!lJh3t 34 we2 fre5 35 gxfS 1 6 f4 frad8 17 fre2 l!lJe6 1 8
frc7 frc8 I!lJc2 I!lJg6 1 9 wh2 wh8 20 l!lJa4
d5 2 1 fxe5 xe5 22 f4 I!lJf6 23
See Diagram xe5 'flxe5 24 d4 'fl5g6 25
dxc5 bxc5 26 frfl
34 A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games

1 7. Shock Treatment
P. Svidler V . Topalov

San Luis (Wch) 2005

Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 f3 d6 3 d4 cxd4
4 fud4 f6 5 c3 a6 6 e3 'fJg4
7 g5 h6 8 h4 g5 9 g3 g7
1 0 h3 'fJe5 1 1 'fJf5 xf5 1 2 exf5
bc6 1 3 d5 e6 1 4 'fJe3 WaS t
26... f4! 27 gxf4 'fJf5 28 Wxa7 1 5 c3
Wh 4 29 Wxc5 M4 30 fid2
fuh3 3 1 Wc7 fid6 32 fr2 Wg3t
33 wh l fih60-1

1 6. Rope for Lowering the

V . Kramnik. - V. Topalov
Wijk aan Zee 2005
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 'fJf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 15 ... 'fJf3t 16 Wxf3 xc3t 1 7

4 fud4 'fJf6 5 'fJc3 a6 6 e3 e6 wdl Wa4t 1 8 c2 xb2 1 9 fxe6
7 f3 b5 8 g4 h6 9 Wd2 b4 1 0 fxe6 20 Wb3 Wxb3 2 1 axb3
'fJa4 'fJbd7 1 1 0-0-0 e5 1 2 xa 1 22 'fJxa 1 We 7 23 d3
Wxb4 d7 1 3 'fJb3 fib8 1 4 Wa3 fiac8 24 fie 1 d4 25 f3 fic3 26
0xf3 1 5 h3 fue4 16 e2 'fJe5 wd2 frhc8 27 fib 1 fi3c5 28 b4
1 7 fihe l Wc7 18 d4 'fJc6 1 9 fid5 29 f2 wd7 30 e3 f5 3 1
c3 d 5 2 0 bc5 20... Wa7! f2 3 1 . . .'fJh4! 3 2 xh4 gxh4 33
0-1 c2 h5 34 fie 1 fig8 35 wc3 as
36 c4 fic8 37 e3 fibS 38 wd3
A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games 35

:i'txb4 39 xe6t wxe6 40 f'lc2t fuc6 IWxc6 26 e5 IWa6 27 exf6

"lidS 4 1 f'lxb4t axb4 42 fre7 b5 frfe8 28 IWfl IWe2 29 IWf2 IWxg4
,13 frh7 frc3t 44 wd2 frc4 30 h3 IWg5 3 1 c 1 IWh5 32 f4
0-1 frbd8 33 c6 e4 34 c7 frc8 35
fre 1 IWg6 36 frxe4 frxe4 37 d5
1 8 . Out, Damned Spot! frce8 38 d6 fre 1 t 39 wh2 IWf5
V. Topalov - L. Aronian 40 IWg3 g6 41 IWg5 IWxg5 42
Wijk aan Zee 2006 xg5 frd1 43 c6 fre2t 44 wg3
Queen '5 Indian Defence 1-0 .

1 d4 f'lf6 2 c4 e6 3 f'lf3 b6 4 19. An Eye-Filling Kerfuffle

g3 a6 5 b3 b4t 6 d2 e7 7 S. Kariakin - V. Topalov
!g2 c6 8 c3 d5 9 f'le5 f'lfd7 1 0 Wijk aan Zee 2006
':"lxd7 f'lxd7 1 1 f'ld2 0-0 1 2 0-0 Sicilian Defence
':"lf6 1 3 e4 b5 1 4 exd5 exd5 1 5
T(e 1 frb8 1 6 c 5 c8 1 7 f'lf3 f'le4 1 e4 c5 2 f'lf3 f'lc6 3 d4 cxd4
4 f'lxd4 f'lf6 5 f'lc3 e5 6 f'ldb5
See Diagram d6 7 g5 a6 8 f'la3 b5 9 f'ld5
e7 1 0 xf6 xf6 1 1 c3 g5 1 2
f'lc2 0-0 1 3 a4 bxa4 1 4 frxa4 as
1 5 c4 frb8 1 6 fra2 wh8 1 7
f'lce3 xe3 1 8 fue3 f'le 7 1 9 b3
f5 20 em fuf5 21 f'ld5 b 7 22
0-0 frc8 23 IWd3 f'lh4 24 frd 1
h6 25 IWg3 f'lf5 26 IWg4 frc5 27
frad2 c8 28 IWe4 b7 29 h3
f'lh4 30 d3 frf5 31 b 1 frxc3
18 me4! dxe4 1 9 f'le5 IWd5 32 IWg4 h5 33 IWe2 IWg5 34 f4
20 lWe I f5 2 1 g4 g6 22 f3 b4 frxf4 35 wh 1
23 fxe4 IWe6 24 b2 f6 25 See Diagram
36 A Selection of Topalov's Nicest Games

e4 20 xe4 !!xe4 2 1 f5 e5 22
de2 !!h8 23 b3 !!e6 24 !!xg4
f6 25 ffgg l ffxh l 26 ffxh l
g4 27 g3 wg8 28 d5 ffe5 29
e3 xe3 30 \Wxe3 \Wf6 3 1 \Wh6
\Wg7 32 \Wg5 f6 33 \Wd2 ffe6 34
wb2 gxfS

35 fug2! 36 \Wxg2 !!g3 37


fuf4 xg2t 38 xg2 !!xh3t 39

wg l !!g3 40 !!f2 wg8 4 1 !!xd6
h4 42 !!e6 \Wg4 43 f5 !!xg2t
44 !!xg2 \WxfS 45 !!eg6 \Wf7 46
!!6g4 \Wf6 47 wh2 wf7 48 wh3
e4 49 !!g5 e3 50 wxh4 g6
35 \WaS! \We7 36 \Wd5 t e6
20. Queen Sortie 37 \Wd l \Wg7 38 exfS f7 39
V. Topalov M. Carlsen
e4 wfB 40 fud6 we7 41 fub7
Bilbao 2008
\Wg8 42 \Wd2 ffb6 43 !!d l \We8
Sicilian Defence 44 d6 \Wd7 45 fuf7 \Wxd2 46
ffxd2 wx7 47 e4 we7 48 we3
1 e4 e5 2 f3 d6 3 d4 exd4 1-0
4 fud 4 f6 5 e3 g6 6 e3 g7
7 f3 e6 8 \Wd2 0-0 9 e4 d7
1 0 0-0-0 !!e8 1 1 b3 e5 1 2
wb l a 6 1 3 h 4 h 5 1 4 g4 hxg4
1 5 h5 xh5 1 6 !!dg l !!e5 1 7
h6 wh7 1 8 xg7 wxg7 1 9 f4

The Anand - Topalov World

Championship Match



April 22-May 13, 2010, Sofia

38 Gamel

The overture: a startling knight sacrifice

In matches the first game is of outstanding importance, since

the outcome may greatly influence the state of mind of the
combatants, and, in consequence , may have an impact even
on the final result. The history of chess provides several exam
pIes of this. The best-known is, perhaps, the World Cham
pionship final Fischer-Spassky in Reykjavik in 1 972, in the first
game of which Fischer, inexplicably, lost after making a gross
blunder, and then, to the greatest astonishment of the organ
izers, the world press and his opponent, he did not even show
up for the second game. At length, starting with a disadvan
tage of two points, he won the match hands down, conquer
ing the world title.
This time , surprisingly, it was as if the title holder, world
champion Anand had taken Fischer's role. At the opening
match accompanied with intensified interest he could not
produce the best of his knowledge. This may also have been
related - what an odd coincidence, too ! - with the complica
tions around his adventurous travel owing to the Icelandic
volcanic ash and the one day postponement of the beginning.
But it is doubtless that Topalov, enj oying the support of home
environment, won the first game with a spectacular knight
sacrifice - one might as well say, by a knockout. With this he
not only scored an important point in the relatively short, 1 2 -
game match, but, presumably, gained a considerable psycho
logical advantage as welL Right at the beginning of the match
he could prove to his opponent - and the whqle chess world -
that he was a worthy challenger of the world champion.
Topalov-Anand 1 :0 39

The first game seems to justify Kramnik's opinion, who had

said before the match, weighing the odds: "With regard to the
final result it may be a decisive factor for Anand, looking more
tired due to the long travel, that Topalov can play in a h ()me
environment. Anand is a grownup man, conscious of his
actions, but if I were in his place I would not have agreed to
playing the match in Sofia," he stated. With full knowledge
of the final result of the match, everyone can decide to what
extent the ex-world champion, extremely experienced in the
genre of matches, was right. But now let's see the first game,
instructive in several respects.

Game 1 12 . . . e5 13.h6 cxd4 14.

V. Topalov-V. Anand xg7 wxg7 15.cxd4 exd4
Griinfeld Defence (D87) Even the experts looking
at the game were surprised at
l .d4 2.c4 g6 3.flc3 dS seeing that the combatants
4.cxdS flxd5 5.e4 fuc3 6.bxc3 made the first 1 5 moves al
g7 7.c4 c5 8.fle2 flc6 9.e3 most without thinking, in six
0-0 10.0-0 flaS 1 1 .d3 b6 or seven minutes. Both of
12.\Wd2 them must have been thor
Now White would be ill oughly prepared for the first
advised to accept the offered game, in which a well-known
pawn sacrifice, because after variation came up , having
1 2 .dxc5 bxc5 1 3.xc5 \Wc7 1 4. already been played many
d4 e5 1 5 .e3 flc4 1 6.xc4 times by them in practical
\Wxc4 1 7.\Wd5 \Wxd5 1 8. exd5 games. So that the later con
a6 19J!fel frfd8 20J!adl c4 tinuation bringing an unex
Black regains it in an ad pected punchline is all the
vantageous position, with the more surpnsmg.
bishop pair in his possession. 16.frac1
40 Gamel

The first critical paIr of b7. Rather than repeat Carl

moves, when both parties are sen's move, evidently known
forced to put their cards on by Topalov and thoroughly
the table . The reason Topalov analysed by his team, Anand
had to make his first impor introduced a novelty, steering
tant decision here was that in the black defence into an
the first game of the 2009 other path.
World Championship Candi 17.f4 f6 18.5 IWe5
date Match in Sofia against These pairs of moves were
the American GM Kamsky he also made relatively quickly
had opted for 1 6.f4, but could by the combatants. Both of
not gain any advantage. This them were still on a beaten
time he availed himself of the track in what is called the
advantage of the white co centre-forming variation of
lour, diverting the game in the Griinfeld Defence, in
another path. A move like which White, at a compara
this in itself does not give an tively early stage, sacrifices a
obvious advantage, but forces pawn for development ad
the side playing with black to vantage. This strategy deter
disclose his cards and choose mines the character of the
from the possible defensive game: White has to attack as
strategies. soon as possible if he does not
16... IWd6 want to be put at a lasting dis
The world champion was advantage . The possibilities
at a crossroads here, as he are given, as Black's queen
must have known the game side pieces are undeveloped,
Kariakin-Carlsen played at and his knight on the rim is
the 2008 Foros tournament, temporarily shut out of play,
in which Carlsen, as Black, while, at the same time, sev
achieved a draw after 16 . . . eral of the white pieces are
Topalov-Anand 1 :0 41

waiting for the continuation compels Black to make defen

in extremely favourable posi sive moves before finishing
tions. his queenside development.
19.f4 g5?! 20 ... wg8 21 .h4 h6 22.hxg5
With full knowledge of hxg5
what follo Wed, it is the open
ing move of a losing strategy.
What Anand had to weigh
was developing his pieces as
quickly as possible with the
move 1 9 . . . d7, or, even be
fore this, driving away the
knight from its menacing po
sition. He opted for the latter.
Maybe it was a continuation
quickly simplifying for a It was perhaps this posi
draw he had in view, and he tion Anand had before his
did not take into considera eyes, a position they had ob
tion Topalov's attacking vein, viously reached with his team
ready for taking risks, too. during their preparations.
20.h5t! Black's plan is relatively sim
The knight would be seem ple and in keeping with the
ingly better posted after 20. tournament strategy he chose
d5 , but Topalov already has in the first game: to achieve a
an attack against the king be quick and safe draw. Here ,
fore his eyes. The value of after 23.c4t fuc4 24J!xc4
this move lies in the fact that d7 25 .IWxd4 IWxd4t 26.!:rxd4
though a concrete positional e8 27.g4 White, if he so
advantage on White 's part wished, could also settle for
cannot be shown yet, he an effortless draw. However,
42 Gamel

assessing the intentions of his queen's bishop, 23 . . . d7. But

opponent, this time Anand Anand was obviously sur
was wrong. Choosing the prised and worried by the
drawish variation did not menacing rook, and, in a
even enter Topalov's mind. reflex-like manner, he tried
Instead, he launched an at to escape with his king as
tack. soon as possible from the en
23Jf3! dangered zone . But by doing
The decisive psychological so, he made a serious, profes
turn was brought by this, in sionally almost inexplicable
fact self-evident, rook move, mistake : he overlooked the
which is also shown by the immediate tactical blow.
fact that this time Anand was
pondering for long on his
reply. White's plan is logical
and simple : he tries to trans
fer his rook as quickly as pos
sible to the opened-up h-file ,
threatening the black king.
This move contains concrete
threats, too, but its psycho
logical content is even more
important, giving the oppo 24.tfuf6!
nent to understand: your king Topalov logically contin
is in danger, flee as long as ued his conduct of play. He
you can do it! didn't hesitate much, and the
23... wfl?? sacrifice popped off. The
The message has got horne. knight sacrificing itself has
The right plan would still destroyed the key piece of the
have been to develop the pawn position defending the
Topalov-Anand 1 :0 43

king. What's more, it forced Anand's king would also flee,

another king move , as after but in fact there is no place
24 . . . lWxf6 2S .bS ! lWe7 26.lWxd4 for it to hide. The extra piece
:gd8 27.lWb2 Black's position is to no avail, the pawn chain
cannot be defended. has fallen apart, and there is
24 ... wxf6 25.:gh31 :gg8 no harmony betwee n the
Black has neither a useful black pieces. White's heavy
development move nor any pieces, on the other hand, can
active counterplay because freely penetrate deep into the
2S . . . lWf4 does not work in black position to capture the
view of 26.eSt ! wxeS 27.:ge 1 t fleeing king. The defending
wf6 28.lWe2. move , 27 . . . :gg7, seemingly of
26.:gh6tl wfl 27.:gh7t we8 fering itself, did no longer
work because of 2 8 . :gxg7t
wxg7 29.lWxgs t wfB 30.lWd8t
lWe8 3 UWxd4 lWf7 32.bS b7
33.:gc7! lWxc 7 34.lWh8t we7
3S .lWg7t wd6 36. eSt leading
to win by force.
An even more spectacular
win would have been 28.
bS t ! wd8 (28 ... lWxbS 29.lWxd4
Desperate king strolls like e6 30.lWf6 wins) 29.lWc2, but
this can be seen in romantic now Topalov took no chances.
games from the 1 9th century, It is easy to see that there is
in which the opponents of no defence against the rooks
Morphy and Anderssen try to controlling the seventh rank.
save what cannot be saved 28 . . . wd8 29.b51 lWxe4
after spectacular sacrifices. 30.:gxc8tll
44 Game 2

The finishing shot. At the xc6 IWe3t 3 3 . IWxe 3 dxe3 34.

sight of this further sacrifice, xa8 wins a piece and the
Black resigned because 30. game.
xc8t wxc8 3 1 .IWc 1 t 'fjc6 32. 1-0

Equalizing with a consistent strategy

Will the title holder be able to get over the serious defeat suf
fered the previous day? - asked the commenters all over the
world. In the second game, in which he could play with the
white pieces the first time, Vishy Anand made a reply to con
jectures, worthy of a world champion. He selected the open
ing well, and with a consistent strategy he forced 'Topa' to a
continuous defence, who apparently did not like the role
assigned to him by his opponent.
A complicated position in which unexpected tactical blows
are possible would have been much more in accordance with
Topalov's style and his present state of mind aspiring to victo
ry. In fact, he did try several times to bring about such a situ
ation during the game, but his attempts were staved off with
success by the world champion. Anand could all along keep
control of the course of the game, working his will upon his
opponent who could not wriggle out of the lasting, ever
increasing positional pressure, and finally he entirely lost the
thread of the game . This game is also a good example of the
fact that competitive chess is not only a mechanical calcula
tion of variations, not pure mathematics, but psychological
factors also play an important role in the shaping of the result.
While the first game was decided by a quick and spectacu-
Anand-Topalov 1 : 1 45

lar tactical blow, the second brought a strategic struggle of a

difficult character. Right at the beginning of the match, both
players made their debut with a valuable victory. The lively
overture promises an exciting continuation of high level.

Game 2 material deficit he wishes to
V. Anand-V. Topalov obtain development advantage
Catalan Opening (E04) and attacking chances on the
queen's flank.

l .d4 f6 2.c4 e6 3.00 d5 7 ... cxd4 8.axc4 c5 9.0-0

4.g3 dxc4 0-0 lO.d2 d5
Anand chose the fianchet With his knight posted in
to variation of the Queen's the centre , Black tries to
Gambit, and the later stage of restrict the range of the pow
the game proved that his erful g4 bishop threatening
decision was right. So far they his queenside . From now on
had not played a game of this one of the main questions of
variation with Topalov who, the game is how long this
by the early taking of the c4 blockade can be sustained.
pawn, directed the game into
a direction richer in tactical
5.g2 a6 6.e5 c5 7.a3
While in the first game it
was Topalov who sacrificed a
pawn for development, this
time Anand decided on a
continuation with pawn sac
rifice. The point of his strate
gy is that in return for the llJkl d7
46 Game 2

This pair of moves shows 13 ... We7 14.Wb3 b8

well the difference between
the two positions. White
comfortably finishes the de
velopment of his queenside
pieces, placing them in har
monious attacking positions,
while Black - in spite of his
extra pawn in the centre - is
short of space and has prob
lems developing his pieces. lS.Wa3!?
The violent pawn move 1 1 . . . Until now the combatants
b S would have led t o White's have been going on an essen
advantage after 1 2.fld3 a7 tially known path, yet this
1 3.aS We7 ( 1 3 . . . Wf6 1 4.fld6 move surprised the analysts.
fld7 I S .Wc2 b6 1 6.b4 as At first sight the offer of the
1 7.fle4) 1 4.flceS b7 I S Jc7! exchange of queens seems il
fuc7 1 6.xb7. logical as White is a pawn
12.fld3 a7 down. Given the subsequent
The bishop controlling the developments, however, we
dark squares must be pre can say that it was here that
served as long as possible . Anand made one of the most
13.a5 important decisions of his
Entering the middlegame, strategy leading to victory.
the guidance is in Anand's The appearance is that under
hands. He would like to pro the influence of his loss in the
voke the pawn move b6 to first game he would like to
weaken the c6 square and the prevent even the mere possi
diagonal h l -aB. bility of a mating attack
against his king. But his aim is
Anand-Topalov 1 : 1 47

deeper than this: t o reach a and to divert the game to a fa

position controllable with po vourable direction for him
sitional means, and to create would have been 1 6 . . . flc5
the possibility of a long stran 1 fud3 1 d7 1 9.
gling in order to tire out his d5 fi:fc8.
opponent. As for Topalov, he 17.flceS fi:e8 b6
could not refuse the exchange 19.d2 b7 20JUc1 fi:bd8
offered because his momen 21.f4 b8
tary position got better by it; The only thing the j am
according to the assessment med black pieces can do for
of the computer analysis pro the time being is a nerve
grams, Black had even some racking manoeuvring on the
advantage in this stage of the back rank, while White can,
game. Paradoxically, Black's relatively freely, regroup his
position has improved, but pieces and strenghten his
his practcal chances have be knight post.
come worse. 22.a4 as 23. flc6 xc6
IS ... lW:x:a3 16.b:x:a3 24Jxc6 h5
Another surprise, reveal The penetration of the
ing the deeper sense of white heavy pieces on the
Anand's strategy. Instead of queen's flank has begun -
the more peaceful knight Black also has to do some
move he undertakes the fur thing. But later we will see
ther weakening of his pawn that the pawn move on the
structure to go ahead with kingside is not the beginning
the attack on the repressed of a well thought-out plan. It
black queenside. was at this stage that Topalov
16... fl7f6 has lost his patience . . . and the
One of Topalov's last pos thread of the black conduct of
sibilities to confuse the issue play. Anand's strategy will
48 Game 2

reach the goal within a few h5 pawn and, at the same

moments. time, vacates g3 for the white
25JUc4 fle3?! king. The immediate regain
The Bulgarian ex-world of the pawn on b6 would
champion made this commit have offered Topalov the ac
ting move after a short think, tive counterplay he was for
which does not lead directly long desiring for: 27.frxb6? !
to loss, but proved to be a frxd3 ! ? 28. exd3 e2 29.frb l
decisive strategic error. He \Ua7+ 30.d4 e 5 3 1 .fxe5 flg4
could not only say goodbye to 32.fre l frd8 33.h3 fle3 34.frcc 1
his active knight but, in the flf5 35 .{f2f3 \Uxd4t 36.wg2
long run, also restricted the \Uxe5 37.frxe2 f6 with mutual
range of his bishop moving chances.
along the dark squares. Better 27 g6?!

would have been flg4 or {f2a7. There is nothing else to do

for Black but wait passively.
For want of anything better,
he is trying to reinforce his
kingside pawn structure . The
other alternative, the some
what more active piece play
does not solve the problems
either, as after 27. . . fld7 28.
\Uxh5 e5 29.fxe5 fue5 30.fue5
frxe5 3 1 .{f2f3 other defenders
26.{f2xe3! dxe3 27.\Uf3! can be traded off, further re
A many-sided move which ducing the chances of a coun
defends against the later terplay.
threat of frxd3, opening the 28 frxb6 {f2 a7

way of the pawn, attacks the The surprising exchange

Anand-Topalov 1 : 1 49

sacrifice which had been be po. Anand's win is close at

fore Topalov's eyes when hand.
playing the move 4Je3 did not 30 ... {}ib8 {}id6 32.
work, because 28 .. J1:xd3 29. fi:xa5 fi:c8 33. wg2 fi:c2 34.a3
exd3 {}ia7 l e2t 3 1 .wg2 fi:a2?
4JdS 32 .fi:c6 would be in Another, already fatal, in
White 's favour. With his accuracy. 34 . . . 4JdS was some
bishop move Topalov contin whatbetter.
ues to evoke tactical motifs. 3S.4Jb4! (jixb4 fi:d4? ! It was compulsory to take
the knight, or else the a4
pawn cannot be stopped.
36.axb4 4JdS 37.bS!
The distant passed pawn
heading for the back rank de
cides the game .
37 ... fi:axa4 fi:xa4
39. {}ixdS exdS 4O.b6 fi:a8 41.b7
fi:b8 42. wf3 d4 43. we4
And Black resigned.! 1-0
An important gain of tem-

A cautious, strength-assessing test of patience

The first chess competitions in those days were modelled on

tournaments, and it's as if the present World Championship
final also followed the choreography of a medieval j ousting in
single combat. In the first two games the combatants clashed
violently, putting their cards on the table , showing their own
50 Game 3

strength and sizing up, as it were, that of the other. At the ini
tial encounters it turned out that both of them are able to
strike serious blows, so in the continuation - the third game -
they were more cautious, watching tensely where they can
find a weak point on the armour of their opponent.
For those who like spectacular turns, this game was more
uneventful than the preceding ones, but from the point of
view of psychology and tournament tactics a very instructive
strategic fight could be seen. With the black pieces Anand
decided on a different defence as in the first game. He chose
one of the fashionable variations of the Slav Defence , which
siuts his style excellently. As White, Topalov tried to put the
same strong pressure on his opponent as he had experienced
in the previous, lost, game . Although he had the initiative in
the whole game , he could not break the resistance of the
world champion, who self-confidently warded off the attack
ing attempts. Though Topalov, true to his promise , did not
make a draw offer at the board, finally the game - with an
arbiter's decision owing to the repetition of moves - ended in
a daw. This result rather favoured Anand who had the bene
fit of playing with the white pieces in the next round.

Game 3 to. Wxd4 Wxd4 1 1 .xd4 'fJfd7

V. Topalov-V. Anand 12.fud7 fud7 13.xc4
Queen 's Gam bit, Slav In addition to being better
Defence (D1 7) developed, White has a space
advantage , so according to
l .d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.'fJf3 'fJfO the opening theory his posi
4.'fJc3 dxc4 5.a4 f5 6.'fJe5 e6 tion is clearly more favour
7.f3 c5 8.e4 g6 9.e3 cxd4 able . But as his queen has
Topalov-Anand 1 ,5: 1 ,5 51

been soon exchanged off, his 14Jkl 14.. J!g8 IS.h4 h6

further attacking chances are 16.we2 d6 17. h5 h7 18.aS
limited. It is a position calling we7 19.fla4 f6 20.b4 frgc8
for a solid conduct of play, in While Black was busy
which Capablanca or Petrosi bringing his two bishops into
an would have made them play, White has pressed for
selves at home. But what can ward on the queen's flank.
Topalov liking activity and The time has come to start an
complications do in this field? action increasing the advan
13 ... a6 tage till victory.
Up to this point, the play 21 .c5?1 xcS 22.bxcS frc7
ers have been following the 23. flb6 frd8 24. flxd7 frdxd7
game Topalov-Kramnik play 2S.d3 g8
ed in the 2006 WorId Cham Exchanging the attacking
pionship final in Elista, which white pieces will not be too
ended in a draw. Here Topa lucky as Black will have time
lov deviated and instead of to start freeing his second
14.we2 , he had then played, bishop. True, at the cost of
tried to take his opponent by having to allow the danger
surprise with a different con ous-looking pawn move c6.
tinuation. 26.c61
52 Topalov-Anand 1 ,5: 1 ,5

26.. Jrd6!? 30.g4 eS 31 .frhc1 d7 32.

The world champion has frc5 bS!
thought up a surprising de The beginning of a pre
fending manoeuvre. Accord cisely calculated manoeuvre,
ing to the computer analysis which solves the problems of
programs the line 26 .. J;rxc6 the defending side for good.
27.frxc6 bxc6 28.frb l wd6 ! 33.xbS axbS 34.frbl b4
29.xa6 fra7 gave a simpler 3S.frb3 fra6 36.wd3 frba7
equalizing. 37.frxb4 frxa5 38.!!xa5 frxa5
27.cxb7 frxb7 28.frc3 fl 39.frb7t wfB 4O.we2
29.we3 e8!
After the long j ourney of
h7-g8-f7-e8, Anand's light
squared bishop is again in
play at last. The pawn posi
tion is symmetric, the pieces
are equally active, and as for
practical chances the position
is even. Though none of the
black pieces has crossed the
sixth rank yet, one cannot see Topalov started backwards
where to find a grip on the with his king, admitting that
resilient defensive position. he has abandoned any hope
From the course of the game of winning.
until now it does seem that 4O... fra2t 41.we3 fra3t 42.
Anand has not set a more w:t2 fra2t 43. we3 fra3t 44. w:t2
ambitious aim than a draw, fra2t 4S.we3 fra3t 46.w:t2
slowing down Topalov's ml Drawn due to a three-time
tial dynamism. repetition. 1h-.z
Game 4, Anand-Topalov 2,5 : 1 ,5 53

A brilliant attacking play with neat mating patterns

Chess is a complicated game, but its essence can be simply

defined. The aim of the combatants is to give mate to the king
of the opponent. It is possible to achieve victory with posi
tional means, obtaining a vast material superiority or decisive
positional advantage, but the spice of the game is given by the
spectacular actions against the king. Spectators , too, are fasci
nated most by games in which one of the sides - even at the
price of material sacrifices - launches an open attack against
the king of the opponent. The most popular, evergreen games
of the chess history, almost without exception, abound in sur
prising sacrifices and stormy attacks leading to unavoidable
mate. However, in the professional chess of today, where
extremely well prepared opponents fight, and the power rela
tions are balanced, even super-grandmasters are rarely given
the opportunity to give vent to their imagination motivated
by giving mate in their tournament games. It is, therefore, all
the more extraordinary that the World Championship final
just begun has already delighted the chess players with the
second such magnificent attacking game rich in mating patterns.
Round four began according to the classical choreography
of matches. With White, the world champion stuck to the
same well-tried opening that brought him the first victory.
Although Topalov did not avoid the Catalan setup , from the
very beginning he tried to divert the course of the game in a
direction favourable for him. Both of them have thoroughly
prepared for the struggle, what is shown by the fact that the
first ten moves were made by them in 5 minutes, practically
54 Game 4

without thinking, following the prepared variation. T opalov

endeavoured to create tension on the board by early taking
the gambit pawn c4 and keeping his extra pawn as long as pos
sible. But about this conduct of play, as far back as the 1 940s,
the Hungarian grandmaster Geza Mar6czy wrote in his The
Guide-book of the Advanced Chess Player: "According to the
present view of theory, with Queen 's Gam bit Accepted it is
more difficult to equalize than with Queen 's Gam bit
Declined. "

Game 4 tackability, regaining the sac

V. Anand-V. Topalov rificed pawn is only a ques
Catalan Opening (E04) tion of time. Anand is not in
a hurry about it, holding it
l.d4 ffii 2.c4 e6 3.flf3 d5 more important to develop
4.g3 dxc4 S.g2 b4t 6.d2 his pieces and create their
as 7.\Wc2 xd2t 8.\Wxd2 c6 harmonious teamwork .
9.a4 bS 1O.fla3!?
Comparing the position This was the first time To
arisen with that of the second palov was pondering for a
game after the ninth move, long time. It may be possible
one can see how different the that this move was not in
character of the fight is now. cluded among the variations.
Black's pawns on the queen he had prepared. In game one
side outnumber their white of the World Championship
colleagues , and seemingly final Kramnik-Topalov in
they are marching forward Elista, White followed the
menacingly. But due to their self-evident plan of 1 O.axb5
structural weaknesses and at- cxb5 1 1 . \Wg5 0-0 1 2.\Wxb5;!;.
Anand-Topalov 2,5 : 1 ,5 55

White's move in this position d3t. By the way, the move

is a novelty, its aim is to re b4 will have sad conse
duce Black's pieces to passivi quences in the long run, as an
ty as long as possible . If important defender has moved
Anand really succeeded in away from the king's wing for
surpising' his opponent, it good.
meant the win of the first 13.0-0 0-0 14.frfd1 e8
psychological fight at the
beginning of their encounter.
But it may be also possible
that the reason of Topalov's
musing was that here he
could chose from three differ
ent defensive plans: d7, a6
and fra6.
10... d7 1 1.e5 d5
Owing to the numerous
weak points, Black's defen 15.d5!
sive position holds various For White it is logical to
risks. Yet this slightly chaotic occupy the centre . Never
setup just fits into Topalov's theless, commentators found
strategy of seeking active co it odd that Anand still thought
unterplay. only 20 minutes, whilst Topa
12.e4 b4 lov used already 50. Accord
This is the logical continu ing to one of them, it must
ation of the strategy Black have been a shocking feeling
had hitherto followed, since to Topalov to see that his op
he has already succeeded in ponent was still playing the
evoking a concrete threat in horne analysis prepared in ad
the form of the unpleasant vance, in spite of his effort to
56 Game 4

surprise him with a rarely 16 ... \WcS 17.fle3 fl8a6 18.

employed defensive strategy . dxc6 bxa4 19. flaxc4 xc6 20.
lS ... \Wd6 frac1
Topalov chose the more By this time, the thinking
risky path again, true , by time of the players has got
doing so he induced his oppo almost even: Anand used 1
nent to come to a decision: hour 5 minutes, Topalov 1
should he or should he not hour 1 5 minutes. As a result
apply a temporary sacrifice in of the pairs of moves leading
the variation beginning with on to the middlegame, a com
1 6. dxc6 \Wxe5 1 7. axb5 , which plicated position has arisen,
was indicated even by the with better chances to White .
computer analysis programs There can be no doubt about
as the strongest line for Anand's advantage: his knights
White . are more active , he has con
16.flg4!? trol over the open d-file , and
Anand decided that for the the black queen does not find
time being he would not do her proper place. But a con
his opponent the favour of al crete queenside action is not
lowing him an active coun yet possible , as Black has
terplay. By the way, this was carefully organized his de
the first move he was ponder fence: he grouped all his
ing over for a long time . He pieces here , and his thoughts,
was obviously aware that this too, must have been solely
decision of his might be one focused on this half of the
of the important turning board. At least, his following
points of the game . With the moves give evidence of the
move he chose he continues fact that he had had no sense
to be in sure control, leaving of danger as for the position
several ways of attack open. of his king.
Anand-Topalov 2,5: 1 ,5 57

20 ...h6?! amine the intention of his op

In full knowledge of the ponent. Even when there is
consequences we can state no other attacking piece near
that the weakening of the to the lonely knight starting
king's position , the aim of on an adventure . But it seems
which was to unburden the that this time Topalov was
back rank, was a mistake . suspectless, though it would
Nothing compelled Black to have been enough for him to
make this pawn move now. call the first game to mind, in
He could have calmly manoe which it was his own knight
uvred on with his pieces, as lurking on the edge of the
he could choose from several board that swooped down un
equivalent continuations: Wh5 , expectedly on Anand's king
fJc7 or ab8. Although it is position . . .
doubtless that no kind of con 22 . Jad8??

crete threats can be seen as

yet. Who would think that
two moves later the outcome
of the game will be practical
ly decided?
21 .fJd6 Wa7 22.fJg4!
Seemingly without no rea
son whatsoever, the white
knight appeared for the sec
ond time on g4, a rather un
usual, instable , square , where Black has committed a se
it cannot stay for long. In rious blunder, making an im
such a case , the defending mediate losing move on a full
side should at least begin to board. But it took a world
suspect and thoroughly ex- champion to see the piece
58 Game 4

sacrifice deciding the game, by accepting the sacrifice ,

who has realized that the Black selected the strongest
focal point of the game could defence. On 24 . . . xd6 25 .
be transferred to the king's IWg5 t wh7 26.xd6 b8 27.
flank from one moment to h3 ! xe4 28.IWh4t wins, and
the other, since Black's pieces if 24 . . . IWc7, then 25.IWgst wh7
- especially his two knights 26.e5 b8 27.IWh4t wg7 28.
were numbly loitering on the c4 wins. Perhaps here Topa
remote, queenside area of the lov still hoped that he could
board. parry the attack, but the next
23.fDili6t!! two pawn moves are like two
A nice and daring move ! sledgehammer blows.
Realizing the possibility was 2S.eS! xg2?1
not enough, with a lot being
at stake , bravery was also
called for to apply this sacri
fice. Anand had to make pre
cise calculations, foreseeing
all the important ramifica
tions in order to reach the
decision from where there
was no turning back. The real
point of the sacrifice will be
seen only on move 26, and Better would have been to
the fact that White can teach give back the piece at once
the winning position in all and save what could be saved
variations is by no means self with IWh7 or xd6.
evident. 26 exf6 !

23 ...gxh6 24. IWxh6 f6 Black's material advantage

After committing himself grew even further, but Anand
Anand-Topalov 2,5 : 1 ,5 59

is not interested in the loss of sive advantage, e.g. 29 . . . fld3

another piece of his. It is 30.c2 gB 3 1 .Wh6t Wh7 32.
enough for him to wedge a f7! Wlxh6 33.xh6t wg7 34.
pawn into f6 to totally para fxgBWlt wxgB 35 .xa6 +- .
lyze the defence of his oppo- 28 ... fld3
nent. From far away, on the At long last, one of the
other side of the board, the black knights has moved. To
two black knights are help palov tried to reorganize his
lessly watching the proceed defence and - mobilizing his
ings. And the conductor of pieces - create a counter
these knights, Topalov, could threat on the f2 square, but
be seen in the live internet now it is too late. Nor did
broadcast as holding his head work 2B . . . Wh7 because of 29.
desperately with both hands. Wg5 t g6 30.f7t ! wg7 3 1 . Wf6t
Straining every nerve, he was wh6 32.e4.
trying to find a way out from 29.c2! Wh7
the situation looking more
hopeless with each move. In
credible as it may seem, there
is no defence in this position.
26.. J:rxd6 27.xd6 e4
Seemingly better is 27 . . .
d5 , but after 28.Wlg6t whB
another rook sacrifice fol
lows: 29. c4! xc4 30.d4
Wh7 3 1 . h4 f7 32.xh7t
xh7 33.WeB, leading to mate . 30f7t!
28. xe6! Also winning was 30.Wlg5t
The move order 2B.Wg5 t g6 3 1 .f7t wxf7 32.cc6.
whB 29.xe6 also gives a deci- 30... Wxf7 31.e41 ,1lif57
60 Game S

And this is the end- of it. 32.fre7!

Black - maybe hoping for a Mate is inevitable. On 32 . . .

miracle - made one more, re frf7 33.frc8t IWxc8 34.IWg6t

signed, queen move, which wh8 35 .IWh5 t wg7 36.frxf7t
loses at once. wg8 37.IWh7 mate. 1--0

No break-through for the second time either

It is well-known that a match is not going on only between

the two players sitting on the stage, but it is also a struggle of
background teams working hard on both sides. The prepara
tion is helped by the members of the team consisting mainly
of grandmasters, and all the games played are at once analyzed
by them in depth, seeking possibilities of improvement. An
opening variation can only be put on the agenda again if it had
already worked in an earlier game, or if the team succeeded in
finding an improvement giving the opponent a surprise.
In the 5th game, Topalov, as White, employed the same
variation of the Slav Defence, against which Anand had held
his position self-confidently in game 3, achieving a draw. For
the first 1 5 moves the combatants used only four or five min
utes out of the precious thinking time. Anand seemed to have
entirely trusted in the variation. Topalov has obviously pre
pared thoroughly, and being White, sat down to play not with
the intention of another draw. So all spectators and commen
tators were curious to see what novelty he was going to come
up with.
Yet the deviation from the previous game did not occur of
his own intention, but that of the second player. On 1 4.h4,
Topalov-Anand 2:3 61

Anand did not reply h6, but the more active pawn move, hS ,
setting a somewhat new direction for White's conduct of play,
too. So after all we could not find out what improvement
Topalov's team had prepared.
But as for the rightness of the tournament tactics to apply
the variation again, we can draw a conclusion. Considering
the final result, it seems that the balance is negative . Although
Topalov had a positional advantage in almost the whole game,
a decisive breakthrough was not possible, he could not con
vert the advantage into win. He must probably admit that for
him this is not the way to victory against Anand. It would be
not at all surprising, then, if this variation were not seen again
in the match.

Game S lS ...h5
V. Topalov-V. Anand In the preceding game
Queen '8 Gam bit, Slav bringing a favourable result
Defence (D1 7) for him, Anand continued
with lS . . h6, but now he in

l .d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3. ro flf6 troduced a novelty, slightly

4.flc3 dxc4 S.a4 5 6.fleS e6 upsetting Topalov' s plans,
7.3 c5 8.e4 g6 9.e3 cxd4 who was going to corne up
10J!iJxd4 \!!Jxd4 1 1.xd4 flfd7 with a novelty himself. This
12.flxd7 flxd7 13.xc4 a6 14. move hinders the advance of
frc1 frg8 lS.h4 the white h-pawn, but at the
All these are entirely iden same time offers a new target
tical with the opening moves of attack to the knight head
of the third game. As for the ing for f4. Topalov loses no
opening, see the annotation time in starting to carry out
written there. this manoeuvre.
62 Game S

16.fle2 d6 17.e3 19.b3 frxc1 t 20.xcl we7

It belongs to the history of 21.we2 frc8 22.d2?!
this game that at this move
_ A minor inaccuracy, yet
the lights suddenly went out just enough to put an end to
in the Central Military Club, Topalov's winning chances.
the venue of the match. The Naturally, the bishop is head
ten-minute power outage and ed for c3, but the move order
the stoppage of the computers chosen enables Anand to
caused a confusion mostly in solve , in this game, too, the
the work of the commenta problem of his critical g6 bi
tors, later the players them shop. In the third game , he
selves did not complain about had activated his hemmed in
the temporary break of the bishop with the lengthy ma
game. noeure of h7-gB-f7-eB. Now
17... fleS 18.flf4 he selected another way.
The line 1 B .wf2 xe4 1 9 . 22 ...f6!
fxe4 flg4 t 20.wf3 fle5 t led to In case of 2 2 . frd 1 this
perpetual check. would not have worked, as on
IB .. Jk8 22 .. .f6? 23.flxe6 f7 24.fug7
In the stage leading on to xb3 25.flf5 t wf8 26.h6 t
the middle game , Anand must can follow. But now if 23.
play very accurately, because xe6, then 23 . . . frc2 24.frb 1
he can easily find himself in a (24.b3 eB !) flc4 25.xc4 xf4
position leading to a disad 26.frd 1 frxb2=, and on 23.
vantageous endgame. E.g. on flxe6 f7 24.fld4 xb3 25.
1B . . . flxc4? ! 1 9 . frxc4 b5 20.frc2 fub3 frc2 26. f4 flc6 27.frb 1
we7 2 1 .fug6 t fxg6 22.g5t frc4 2B. wd3 frxa4, also with
wf7 23.we2 ! can follow, with equal position.
considerable advantage to 23.fug6t fug6
White . At this pawn structure ,
Topalov-Anand 2:3 63

possessing the bishop pair restricted White's possibili

does not give any advantage ties of manoeuvring, and ob
to White . The computer ana tained an attackable point
lysis programs - for the first himself in his opponent's po
time during the game - assess sition, on g3 .
the position as entirely equal. 30.wf2
In this variation, too, Anand The taking of the gS pawn
has equalized, whereas he has does not give an advantage,
to defend very precisely yet. since the black knight appears
24.g3 fle5 menacingly on the centre
On 24 . . . xg3? 2S,frgl flf4t square eS.
26.wfl frd8 27.b4t would 30 ...g4 31.frc2 frd8 32.we3
have lost a piece. But with frd6 33.frc5 flb4!
such simple traps Anand can The key piece of the de
not be ensnared. In this stage fence is the black knight ,
of the game - similarly to which finds excellent support
game 3 - Topalov is trying to points on the dark squares,
wrest an advantage from the frustrating White's attacking
even position. plans.
2S.f4 flc6 26.c3 b4 34.frc7t wd8 3S.frc3 we7
27.xb4t flxb4 28.frdl flc6 36.eS frd7 37.exf6t wxf6
29.frd2 gS?! 38. we2 flc6 39. We 1 fld4
In the post-match press 4O.dl as
conference the world cham White's winning chances
pion evaluated the gS -g4 ad have flown away for good,
vance as a very important and what's more , the range of
strategical manoeuvre , help movement of his bishop is re
ing to maintain the balance . stricted, and the knight post
Though it created a weakness ing on the centre square d4 is
on hS in his own position, it so strong that from now on
64 Game 6

the computer analyses indi winning chances for Anand.

cate Black's positional advan Topalov had no choice but to
tage. The endgame was evalu start saving what could be
ated basically equal by the saved. In the spirit of his ear
analysts, but in fact, right till lier promise , he could not of
this moment, only Topalov fer a draw, so he resorted to
could play for a win, while repeating the moves again.
Anand was defending his po 41.frc5 'fJf5 42.frc3 'fJd4 43.
sition. However, from the frc5 'fJf5 44.frc3
move pairs 39 and 40, the tide The threefold repetition
has turned, and more and having arisen, a draw was ag
more variations appeared with reed. 1h-lh

A pair of knights fighting against a bishop pair

A world championship match is one of the most difficult com

petition forms, since here the opponents do not alternate each
day. Two persons of outstanding knowledge face each other
for weeks or, there was also an example of it, even months,
and only one of them can be a winner in the end. This situa
tion means an increased mental strain to the competitors, and
the struggle on the chessboard is influenced more than usual
ly by the psychological factors.
This is why the combatants make decisions, one after an
other, whose background will be only later, or never, acco
unted for. It was such a decision Topalov made when under
taking the Catalan with Black for the third time too, though
he suffered serious defeats in it during the first two games. Did
he want to prove that he was afraid of nothing? Had he pre
pared a vast surprise? Only he can know the answer.
Anand-Topalov 3,5:2,5 65

After all, this unusual and daring decision of his was justi
fied by the course of the game and the result. This was the first
time he could successfully resist Anand playing with White,
and this can increase his confidence for the remaining games.
And Anand can also be contented with the outcome of the
game, as he closed the first half of the match with a one-point
advantage and, thanks to the peculiar regulation, he can also
play with the white pieces in the next game .

Game 6 10 ...h6 1 1 .xf6 \MJxf6

V. Anand-V. Topalov As a logical continuation
Catalan Opening (E04) of the selected plan, White
renounces his bishop pair.
l .d4 flf6 2.c4 e6 3. ro d5 This line is chosen more sel
4.g3 dxc4 5.g2 a6 6.fle5 c5 dom, because Black obtains
7.fla3 cxd4 8.flaxc4 c5 9.0--0 the bishop pair. Anand's aim
0-0 may be to allure his opponent
So far both players fol from the beaten track.
lowed the course of the sec 12.fld3 a7 13.\MJa4?1
ond game which was won in
an intricate fight by Anand.

Oddly enough, now it is he

who directs the game into a
new channel. Was he perhaps
afraid of a surprise prepared
by Topalov?
1O. g5
A more active and com
mitting move than 1 O.d2 em
ployed in the second game. A provoking move . Just
66 Game 6

like in the previous games, sacrifice even the e5 pawn to

White has soon sacrificed a give elbowroom to his hem
pawn for development, and med in bishops. It must be
would like to put as strong accepted.
pressure on the black queen 15.xc6 b5! 16.lMJc2
side as he can. During the This time it was Topalov
transition to the middlegame, who set a strategic trap. Win
Topalov must play very cau ning Black's queenside pawns,
tiously if he wants to avoid but allowing the central
the strategic trap prepared for pawns supporting each other
him. to live would lead to an ex
13... 'fJc6!? tremely complicated position.
It is easy to see that the Anand is consistent and does
promising double attack with not go into the line promising
1 3 . . . b5? did not work because hardly calculable complica
of 1 4.lMJc2 bxc4 1 5 . lMJxc4 'fJd7 tions: 1 6.xb5 axb5 1 7.lMJxb5
1 6.xa8 'fJb6 1 7.lMJc7!+- . The e4 1 8 . 'fJde5 d3. Following his
right decision is to give back solid strategy that led to vic
the pawn in return for the tory in the second game , he is
possibility the black pieces trying to simplify as soon as
are given to develop. possible, steering the course
14J!ac1 of the game into an endgame
The strategical fight going like position.
on in the whole game has 16... Wxc6 17.'fJcxe5 lMJe4 18.
commenced. White refuses Wc6 b7 19.Wxe4 xe4
the pawn offered, giving pref The comment one of the
erence to the development analysts made on the queen
move . exchange was: "This is the
14...e5 first time during the match
Topalov is now willing to when Topalov can draw com-
Anand-Topalov 3,5:2,5 67

fortably with Black." With

his bishop pair he really has
good long-term prospects, but
the question is what the
world chaptpion can do with
his active knights in the so far
still closed position.
20Jk2 f!fe8 21.f!fc1 f6 22.
The white knight goes for 33.fu:b6
a long, adventurous journey, Now it is worth pausing
the aim of which is to hunt for a moment and drawing up
down one of the white bish a balance of the peculiar fight
ops. going on in the middlegame.
22 ... f5 23.4J7c5 b6 A bit of statistics can help to
Topalov - quite under understand what we see, and
standably - sees his chances it also sheds light on how
in the bishop pair, therefore, peculiar possibilities are in
as long as he can do it, he herent in chess if the men are
consistently evades the ex conducted by really expert
change . A long and instruc hands. An interesting feature
tive manoeuvring ensues, in of the game is that Black's last
which both sides are trying to pawn move was 2 1 . . . .f6, which
attain their strategic target was followed by the next,
under the most favourable 3 1 . . . . a5 , only after ten pairs of
circumstances. moves. And so far White -
24.4Jb7 d7 25.4Jf4 f!ab8 almost incredible ! - made
26.4Jd6 f!e5 27. 4Jc8 aS 28. only three pawn moves in the
4Jd3 f!e8 29.4Ja7 b6 30.4Jc6 game; for the last time he
f!b7 31 .4Jcb4 as 32.4JdS a4 moved a pawn on the 4th
68 Game 6

move ! And perhaps even Once again Black is willing

more interesting is the long to sacrifice a pawn to be able
trip the white knight was to organize his counterplay.
making on the board. 1 3 of 38.xd4 xe2 39.xb4
the first 32 moves were made
by this knight, in fact, in a
manner that it never moved
twice to the same square . This
is the route it made: b 1 -a3-c4-
eS-d7-cS-b7- d6-c8-a7-c6-b4-
dS-b6. In the middlegame this
was almost the only piece
White move d . The reason
Black allowed the knight to
roam about in his camp was 39... h3!
that trading off any of his The key move of Black's
bishops would have left him plan. His bishop of paralyzing
with a disadvantageous end power keeps the white king
game . This time Topalov had under constant pressure , and
the patience to wait, and his rooks threaten to pene
Anand could not drive him trate on the second rank, at
mad with the irritating gam tacking the weak f2 square.
bolling of the knight. And Anand obtained an endgame
when finally the knight ex with extra pawn in vain, as
changed itself for a bishop, now he has to be very careful,
Black could bail out into a lest that his king should fall
tenable ending. victim to the white pieces
33 .. .frxb6 34.'fJc5 f5 35. weaving a mating net.
d2 c6 36.b4 axb3 37.axb3 4O.bc4 d6 41.e4 2
b4!? 42.eel?!
Anand-Topalov 3,5:2,5 69

According to the computer With precIse manoeuvres

analysis programs it is not the White has dissolved the
most active move. For Anand, blockade of his king. It is
however, safety - to avoid a more and more evident that
possibl defeat - is more im the position can be won by
portant here than to look for neither side.
a way to win in a forcible , ris 5L.h5 52.we3 frc2 53.fral
ky manner. wg6 54.fra6 f5 55.frd6 frc3t
42 .. Jdd2 43.fle4 frd4 56. wfl frc2 57. we3 frc3t
44.flcS frdd2 45. fle4 frd3! Having obtained the ini
For the time being, Topa tiative in the finishing stage
lov avoids move repetition of the game , now Topalov
leading to a draw, trusting in admitted that in the position
the increased activity of his arisen he cannot convert the
pieces. His horne fans had advantage of principle the
even started to have visions of bishop has against the knight.
winning chances on the in 58.wfl frc2
ternet. And, as we could already
46JThl frdxb3 47.fld2 frb4 get used to it in this match,
48.3 g5 49. Erxb2 frxb2 50. drawn by repetition.
frdl wfl 51.wfl 1h-lh

Twenty moves, three sacrifices - in five minutes

With the 7th game - with Anand leading by 3,5:2,5 - the sec
ond half of the match got under way. At this critical stage , it
was vital for Topalov that the world champion playing with
White twice over canno increase his advantage further,
because with a two- or three-point disadvantage the chal
lenger would have got into an almost hopeless position.
70 Game 7

Playing with Black, he succeeded in drawing the sixth game

memorable for its knight stroll. Preparing for the next,
Topalov - evidently having heard the advices of his team and
weighed the largeness of the stake - made a daring decision:
in the game of key importance he would deploy one 'of the
prepared "secret weapons". That is, a risky but deeply ana
lyzed variation which - having the element of surprise -
might cross Anand's winning plans.
However, such novelties can be employed only once, in an
exceptional situation, as their antidote can be found relatively
easily in the course of subsequent analyses. Their other feature
is that playing them carries an enormous risk, as miracles no
longer exist today, even in opening theory. Variations evoking
extraordinary complications can be defended with accurate
and faultless play. But in practical play, with a fixed amount
of time to think, it is very hard to find the best continuation
move by move in an unknown variation concealing dozens of
traps. This was the lesson, by no means an easy one, Anand
was given by his challenger in round seven. But he succeeded
in dealing with the task with an elegance befitting a world
champion, maintaining his advantage .
But Topalov has also attained the aim he set: although he
could not win, he avoided a further loss, and thus continued
to have chances to equalize .

Game 7 4.g3 b4t

V. Anand-V. Topalov Black deviates from the
Bogo-Indian Defence (El l) earlier applied line 4 . . . . dxc4,
striving to divert the course
l .d4 flf6 2.c4 e6 3. ffi d5 of the game as soon as possi-
Anand-Topalov 4:3 71

ble in the direction chosen by the Ukrainian grandmaster

him. continued 1 1 . . .a6, where
5.d2 e7 6.g2 0--0 7.0--0 upon 1 2 . xa8 IWxa8 1 3 .lWc2
c6 8.f4 dxc4 9.e5 b5?! IWc6 1 4.g5 b7 1 5 .3 e5 16.
Topalov's first "partial" xf6 IWxf6 1 7. d5 followed, and
victory: he managed to reach the game ended in a draw. At
the otherwise well-known the press conference follow
position in which he can de ing the match, Topalov re
ploy, instead of the self-evi vealed that starting from the
dent 9 . . . d5 , the deeply ana above game , one of his sec
lysed horne variation holding onds, grandmaster I van Che
vast complications. parinov had worked out the
10.flxc6 flxc6 1 1.xc6 improved variation, in which
Black, at the cost of manifold
sacrifics, obtains connected
central pawns and a powerful
At the sight of the surpris
ing, voluntary sacrifice , after
a short think Anand gave up
his important bishop in re
turn for winning the ex
1 1...d7!? change .
The key move of the varia 12 ... lWxa8 13.f3 d5 14.d2
tion, the novelty of the Topa After accepting the sacri
lov team. Hardly two months fice, the world champion is
before , at the Amber tourna trying to consolidate his posi
ment in Nizza, in the blind tion, but Black cannot leave
fold game Gelfand-Ivanchuk, him time for this.
72 Game 7

14...eSI? again - offers his third piece

Black has to go on forward. too as a sacrifice. The chess
This time a pawn sac fol clock tells everything about
lowed in order to open the the course of the game up till
way for the d7 bishop. From now: Black used only 3 min
now on it was clear to both utes - in fact he did not think
the spectators and the com at all about his moves - whilst
mentators that they were Anand was pondering almost
looking at a thoroughly pre an hour, having to assess the
pared home analysis, as Topa position and find the moves
lov played the risky move at at the board.
once, without thinking. 16.exdS xf1 17.l.MJxf1 exd4
lS.e4 18.a41
The world champion is a
piece up, but the strong cen
tral pawns make it hard for
him to find an apt counter
play. With this move he starts
an action on the queenside .
18 ... l.MJxdS 19.axbS l.MJxbS 20.
ffxa7 ffe8

Anand, on the other hand,

is doing his best to filter out
all risks, so that Black can
carry on with his plan only at
the price of another sacrifice.
lS ... b3
Topalov - playing outright
Anand-Topalov 4:3 73

21.whl !? Topalov's first 'own' move

This was the first time in was not received with gener
the game that T opalov has al enthusiasm by the analysts
been pondering for a long watching the game , many of
time , 1 7 minutes. Visibly, his them recommending the self
home nalysis ended here . evident 2 1 . . .i.Wxb2. As it turned
Anand - first during the fight out later, the problem with
- managed to surprise his ad this and the other lines is that
versary. True, the computer they don't give Black more
programs and expert com than a draw. Yet at this mo
mentators considered the ment, perhaps even Topalov
move 2 1 . wg2 stronger, but longed for more . The excite
we can safely accept the as ment rose to the highest
sessment of the world cham pitch.
pion, who did not wish to get d3 23.c3 d6 24.
into a pin on the second rank, fi:a7 h6!?
selecting another defensive Bad would have been 24 . . .
plan instead. By the way, i.Wh5 25 .fld2 xg3? i n view of
Kasparov, watching the game 26.i.Wg 1 e5 and White
on the internet, recommend wins.
ed in a talk forum the vari 25.fld2?!
ation 2 1 .b3 i.Wxb3 22.i.We 1 h6 According to the analyses,
23Jhe7 fi:xe7 24.i.Wxe7 i.Wxb 1 t better is the risky-looking 25.
25 .i.We 1 i.Wb5 . Although White i.Wh3 ! , but a move like this is
is unable to convert his extra by no means in keeping with
piece, he cannot lose either. Anand's style .
However, then Anand was al 25 ... b4! xc3 27.
ready aspiring after some bxc3 fi:e2
thing more than this. The rook appears on the
21...f8?! second rank with a great
74 Game 7 - Anand-Topalov 4:3

force , the question is whether

this threat can be converted
into win.
28J!dl \MIa4 29.fle4 \MIc2 30.
ffcl !
This time, too, Anand has
hit upon the right way of de
fence .
30... ffxh2t 31 .wgl ffg2t 32.
\MIxg2 \MIxcl t 33. \MIfl \MIe3t 34. 42 ... d2!
\MIf2 \MIcl t 35. \MIfl \MIe3t 36. wg2 The key move of Black's
The tables have turned. defence . The passed pawn
Black's attack has petered out, compels the white camp to
and Anand avoids a repetition the first rank.
of moves. Being a piece up, 43.\MIbIt wg7 44.wfl \MIe7
from now on he is playing for 45.wg2 \MIe6 46.\MIdl \MIe3 47.\MIf3
a WIn. \MIe6 48.\MIb7t wg6 49.\MIbIt wg7
36 ...5 37.flf2 wh7 38.\MIbl 50. \MIdI \MIe3 5 1 . \MIc2 \MIe2 52.
\MIe6 39.\MIb5 g5 4O.g4 fxg4 41. \MIa4 wg8 53. \MId7 wfB 54. \MIdS
fxg4 wg6 42. \MIb7?! wg7 55.wg3 \MIe3t 56. \MIf3 \MIeSt
Inaccuracy, ruining White's 57.Wg2 \MIe6 58.\MIdl
winning chances. 42 .\MIa4 was And drawn by repetition.
necessary. 1h-lh

The stubborn will to win was worth a point

In the previous round, Topalov succeeded - for the first time

during the match - in controlling the game almost to the very
end, forcing his will upon his opponent. Though it ended in a
draw, even then it could be felt that the challenger's fighting
Game 8 - Topalov-Anand 4:4 75

spirit was unbroken, and his will to win grew stronger and
stronger. After the two black games, everybody was curious to
see what tactics Topalov will choose with White, since he
could hardly have a goal other than victory - that is, making
the scorer level before the finish of the match.
What caused a surprise this time was that there was no sur
prise . For the third time, too, Topalov undertook the early
queen exchange variation of the Slav Defence. But this time ,
further refining his play, he put a greater pressure than any
time before on the black position grappling with development
problems. Anand defended on the high level customary for
him, and he succeeded in going for an endgame with a pawn
deficit and opposite -coloured bishops. Of positions like this
chess players think that it's impossible to lose , and almost
impossible to win. But Topalov, who was aware that he might
scarcely get better winning chances against Anand, attempted
the impossible .
At the sight of the position arisen, one of the commentators
on the internet wrote jokingly to the visitors of the home
page : "Just go to have supper and attend to your business ; this
game is going to last for 1 00 moves, because Topalov has no
other choice than to attempt to win, and in this position he
can keep trying it without any risk almost interminably."
Only a part of what the commentator wrote was justified.
The game ended relatively soon because after an inaccurate
bishop move Anand unexpectedly resigned. Some analysts
thought that he should not have resigned at once , he could
have waited to see if his opponent really saw the winning
variation. But at the very end, this game was decided by the
state of nerves rather than objective chess knowledge . In any
76 Game S

case , Topalov has achieved his aim. After a long march, de

servedly, he equalized, so in the last four games the chances
are equal again. We can look forward to an exciting finish !

Game 8
V. Topalov-V. Anand
Queen '8 Gam bit, Slav
Defence (D1 7)

l .d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.'fJf3 'flf6

4.'flc3 dxc4 S.a4 f5 6.'fleS e6
7.f3 cS 8.e4 g6 9.e3 cxd4
lO.lMlxd4 lMlxd4 1 1 .xd4 'flfd7
l2.fud7 fud7 l3.xc4 frc8 l8.aS!?
Everybody was waiting for A novelty, presumably the
Topalov's novelty, but all in result of the industrious pre
vain. In the end it was Anand paratory work of the Topalov
who left the path followed in team. In this position, moves
the third and fifth game . The occurring earlier - 1 8. b6 and
continuation 1 3 . . . a6 had ear 1 8.frac 1 - did not give a con
lier led to two draws. This crete advantage . Will White
time the question is also the be able to prevent the black
same: can Topalov find a way pieces stuck on the back rank
to win in the closed position from developing? Should the
without queens? rook and the bishop get out
l4.bS a6 lS.xd7t wxd7 successfully, like in the previ
l6.we2 f6 17. frhdl we8 ous games, Black would equa
lize. But if Anand fails to do it
See Diagram in the next stage , White ob-
Topalov-Anand 4:4 77

tains winning chances. The knight arrives in the

18 . . . e7 19.b6 frf8 20. black camp with a check with
frac1 f5 21 .e5 g5 22.e3 f4?! tempo. It is an old chess wis
This move was liked by dom that if White manages to
nobody "( except, perhaps, create a knight post on d6,
Topalov. Even Anand himself then sooner or later he wins.
remarked in the post-match From now on, right until the
pre ss conference that he end of the game , the key of
would have done better to the position will be the d6
follow the variation 22 . . . xe3 square kept continuously oc
23.wxe3 f4t 24.wd4 we7 25 . cupied with different white
fle4 xe4 26. wxe4, though in pieces. In the next phase of
the resulting rook ending he the game , both parties will be
would have had serious prob trying to attain a transition to
lems. The main drawback to an endgame as favourable as
the text move is that the f4 possible for them.
pawn gets lost in the long run 24... wd7 25.xc1 wc6 26.
as it is hard to protect. d2 e7 27. frc1t wd7 28.c3
23.fle4 frxc1 xd6
Black has made up his mind:
he cannot allow the knight
paralyzing his position to
live , he would rather give up
his bishop pair.
29.frdl f5 30.h4!?
An important zwischen
zug, ensuring White that he
should show up actively on
both flanks.
24.fld6t 30...g6
78 Game 8

The other defensive possi draw to the side with disad

vantage , because he can block
bility is 30 .. J;rd8 3 1 . exd6 (3 1 .
:r;1xd6t wc7 32.:r;1xd8 wxd8 33. the advance of the pawns. But
d2 wc7 34.xf4 b6) 3 1 . . .g6 this rule is often replaced by
32.e5 :r;1c8 with good draw another: the side which can
ing prospects. launch a coordinated attack
31.:r;1xd6t we8 32.d2 :r;1d8 on the squares his bishop is
33.xf4 :r;1xd6 34.exd6 moving on has winning
chances, because it is as
though he played with an
extra piece, and his opponent
has no defending piece be
sides his king to use for clos
ing the penetration points.
34... wd7 35.we3 c2
The point of Black's defen
sive plan is that by moving
his bishop on the a4-e8 diag
The weak f4 pawn is lost, onal, he arrests the d6 pawn,
but in return an ending of while his king, moving on the
drawing chances has arisen, white squares, g8-f7 -e8-d7-
in which, in addition to the c8, blocks the way of the
kings, only two pieces re white king, keeping the pen
mained on the board: one etration points under con
bishop on each side , which stant control.
can never meet each other 36.wd4 we8 37.we5 wfl 38.
since they move on squares of e3 a4 39. wf4 b5
different colour. According to For the time being, it can
public belief this division of not be seen how White can
materials promises an easy make progress. The exciting
Topalov-Anand 4:4 79

endgame was being analyzed wfl 42.wgS c6 43.wh6 wg8

by several leading grandmas 44.h5 e8 4S.wgS wfl 46.wh6
ters in the internet portals. It wg8 47.c5
is quite clear that in this White 's first attempt at
endgame only Topalov can bringing about a zugzwang. It
have -Winning chances. But is not successful yet, but it
what is the way to victory? Is indicates the way of a possi
there one at all? Interestingly, ble win . Now neither the
it was Anand's compatriot, black king nor the bishop can
grandmaster Harikrisna of In move . Luckily, there is still a
dia, who pointed out a plan moveable pawn on the board.
promising victory in case of a 47 . . .g:xhS 48.wgS wg7
faulty defence : 40.wg5 e8 41 . 49.d4t wfl SO. eS!
wh6 wg8 42 .d4 d7 43.g4 An important move , block
c6 44.f4 d7 45 .e5 c6 46. ing Black's e-pawn.
h5 gxh5 47.wxh5 wf7 48. wh6 SO . . . h4 S l .wxh4 wg6 S2.
wg8? (it is important to arrest wg4 bS S3. wf4
the white g-pawn: 48 . . . e4! As if the white king had
49 .b4 we8 50.wg5 wd7 5 1 .5 directed its steps towards the
exfS 52.gxfS h6t 53.wf4 c2 queen's flank, so Black's king
54.f6 we6 55 .we3 g6 56.wd4 also has to start in that direc
h5 57.wc5 wd7 58.wb6 wc8=) tion to get there in time . Who
49 . g5 d7 5 0 . g7 c6 5 1 . would think that in this posi
g6+- . Topalov chose another tion only a few moves will
path, but it could be expected occur till resignation? Even
that he would keep trying till the computer analysis pro
the last dim chance of win grams did not forecast the en
ning, since equalizing was a suing developments . Interes
vital question for him. tingly, the computers of to
4O.cS 4O ... wffi 41 .d4t day are not yet able to find
80 Game 8 - Topalov-Anand: 4:4

their way around the world

of endings containing more tenable , because 55.wh6 would
than six pieces, which, as we be met with d3, and 55.wf6
can see, hold innumerable with c4, and in the event of
tactical and strategic possibil a pawn storm: 55.f4 wd7 56.g4
ities. d3 57.fS exfS 58.gxfS h6t !
53... w7 54.wgS 59.wf6 we8 60.b3 wd7=. As it
is, on 55.wh6 the bishop can
not defend on e4 because of
the f3 pawn . The world
champion's sense of danger
ceased to function for just one
moment, but it was enough
for T opalov. After the text
move he can evoke the zug
zwang motif he had earlier
Another manoeuvring move 55.wh6 wg8 56.g4!
testing the opponent's vigi Black resigned because of
lance, but this time back the zugzwang arising in the
wards. Topalov's calculation continuation 56 . . . e8 57 .g5
has worked well. c6 58.g7 ! e8 59.f4 c6
54... c6?? 60.g6 hxg6 6 1 .Wxg6, winning
In case of the consistent for White .
5 4 . . . we8 the p osition seems 1-0
Game 9 - Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 81

With two rooks against the queen and the time

What a fantastic game it was! - sighed several hundred thou

sands of chess players beside the computers all over the world
at the lend of the six-hour battle . Indeed, such a tense fight
rich in lively turns was not seen in any of the rounds so far,
although we have already experienced quite a lot of excite
ment during the match. It is probable that not every move of
the combatants will pass the test of subsequent a alysis, hav
ing both of them made several errors. Yet, as if this game had
been a fine advertisement of chess, it presented all the beau
ties and unexpected turns of the "royal game" .
This time Topalov did not undertake the torments o f the
Catalan Opening, selecting the Nimzo-Indian Defence instead,
and one of its main lines was put on the agenda. The specific
features of this variation are the white isolated pawn on d4
and the possibility of a lively piece play on both sides. On the
1 8th move , Anand employed a novelty, and then offered his
queen to be traded for two rooks. The resulting assymetric
division of materials led to an extremely intricate position.
The game was all through directed by the world champion,
but twice he got into a time trouble , and both times he let the
win out of his hands. Or, to be more precise, during the game
Topalov lined up every tactical and competition psychological
means, mobilizing his whole strength of mind to prevent
White from winning. This unshakeable fighting spirit led
eventually to success: the white queen, struggling to the end
almost all by herself, compelled the enemy king to flee end-
1essly by giving it interminable checks.
82 Game 9

Thus, the score of the match continued to be even. The

quick comments after the game, almost without exception,
were analyzing the mental impact the marathon fight, visibly
agitating both players, would make on the continuation. It is
doubtless that the result is more favourable for Topalov, who
admitted himself in the post-match press conference that this
time he escaped from defeat with an enormous amount of
luck. And what's more, in two of the remaining three games
- in the last one, too - he will be White. But knowing Anand,
there can be no doubt that in the following games he will fight
on a similarly high level, mobilizing all his power reserves,
since the final decision is yet to come, and his chances of vic
tory are by no means less than his opponent's. As we could see
in this game, too : any turn, however fantastic and unforeseen,
can occur on the chessboard.

Game 9 dxc4 9.xc4 b6 10.g5 b7

V. Anand-V. Topalov 1 1.e1 flbd7 12.c1 c8 13.
Nimzo-Indian Defence (E54) d3 e8
We can see one of the
1 .d4 flf6 2.c4 e6 3. flc3 well-known, thoroughly ana
As the Catalan Opening, lyzed variations of the Nimzo
which was at first efficient, Indian Defence. It is charac
last time did no longer bring terized by the white isolated
victory, instead of 3.flf3 Anand pawn on d4, for whose at
diverted the game in a differ tackability White comes to an
ent direction. active play in return. The
3 ... b4 4.e3 0-0 5.d3 c5 time used for thinking after
6.flf3 d5 7.0-0 cxd4 8.exd4 1 3 moves is: Anand 5 min-
Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 83

utes, Topalov 1 9 minutes, but A logical continuation hold

in fact, Topalov, too, was ing some risk, too. If now
pondering lenghtily only on Black avails himself of the
his 1 3th move , playing also possibility of exd4, White
almos at once up till then in must give up his queen for
the known position. But here the two black rooks. As for
he had to choose for a longer material, White is not worse,
term from the various possi but the resulting position of
bilities. Finally he opted for assymetric division of materi
the most frequent continua als, in which the black queen
tion. can start operations hard to
14.\llJ e2 xc3 foresee, makes the outcome
Black closes the c-file so of the game unpredictable.
that he can bring his queen 19 ... \llJd6 20.f2
into play here .
lS.bxc3 \llJ c7 16.h4 flhS
17.flgS g6 18. flh3!?
The world champion made
this move , unprecedented in
the databases, after a striking
ly short think. This time
Anand resorted to the psy
chological weapon applied
several times by Topalov,
obviously to demonstrate that Anand is practically pro
he knows everything about voking his opponent, leaving
the position, that is, he is open for the second time the
playing a thoroughly pre possibility of exchanging his
pared variation. queen for two rooks. It seems
18 ... eS 19.f3 that a careful home analysis is
84 Game 9

behind his intention. This should take with the pawn or

time his aim is not simplifica the bishop on d4. This was
tion, quite the contrary, he is the point when he caught up
luring his opponent towards his opponent on the clock,
complications. but then no one attached any
20 ... exd4!? particular importance to it
Interestingly, for the sec yet.
ond time Topalov does what 23 ... flf6 24.eel fle6 25.
he did not undertake on the c4 d5 26.g3
first occasion: he gives up his The bishop vacates f2 for
two rooks for the white the h3 knight. In the previous
queen. This is a committal de moves both players were en
cision, wherewith Black di deavouring to arrange their
verts the game into a new pieces in the best possible
channel. The path chosen is position before the clash pro
apparently not against the mising to be violent.
combatants' will, but at this 26... lWb4
time none of them suspects Black is the first to launch
yet what complications are an action. Topalov is seeking
to come. an active counterplay, but the
2 1 .lWxe8t xe8 22.xe8t price of this is that his queen
flfS 23.cxd4 moves away from the defence
The advantage of the pawn of the king. True, after 26 . . .
capture is that it opens the c lWd7 27.eS xc4 28.xf6 bS
file, but the drawback to it is 29.a4 a6 30. flf2 ! Black is also
that thus the bishop moving better.
along the dark squares is less 27.e5! fld7!
active than it would have From now on, almost every
been on d4. Anand has been move brings some new, sur
weighing for a long time if he prising development.
Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 85

A far-sighted deflection
the sense of which will be
come clear on the 30th move,
when t;he e 1 rook will not be
en pnse.
28 ... \MIa4 29.xd5 fue5 30.
xe6 \MIxd4t?!
Self-evident but not the
strongest continuation. It en
ables the white forces to be wf6 (35 . . . wh6 36.h4 \MIa 1 t 37.
activated. Better would have wh2 flxf3t 3S.flxf3) 36.flxh7t
been 30 . . . fld3 ! 3 1 .frcSt wg7 w5 37.frf8t) 34.fle4 \MId4 35 .
32 ,fk7 flxe 1 33.frxf7t wh6 34. frc2 \MIe5 36.h3 flc5 37.flxc5
flf2 \MIxd4 35.wfl flc2 36.flg4t bxc5 3S.frdc 1 . But to under
wh5 37.we2 \MIg l 3S.g3 \MIe l t stand the conduct of play of
39 .wd3 \MIxe6 40.frxh7t wgS the combatants we must be
41 .h4t w5 42 .frf7t \MIxf7 43. aware that from now on one
flh6t we6 44.flxf7 flxa3 with of the main motifs of the
equal chances. However, game was time! Until the first
even the best of the world time-control - at move 40 -
cannot be expected to foresee seven moves had to be made
and assess such long lines. in the opening position, in
31 .whl fxe6 32.flg5! \MId6 which calculation is getting
33.fle4 (Diagram) more and more difficult, and
In this position, computer Anand had 1 3, Topalov 20
analysis programs suggest 33. minutes, that is, rather few
flxe6, but also considered was for both of them. It is, there
the line 33.fred 1 ! fld3 (33 . . . fore, easy to understand that
\MIxa3?? 34.frdSt wg7 3 S . frc7t the world champion chose
86 Game 9

the surest looking way: his to calculate the danger evoked

knight had an excellent out in this manner. In the pres
post on e4 and strong threats sure of time, a spectacular
in every direction. But thus battle, not devoid of psycho
Black gets time for a counter logical motifs either, devel
action. ops. Finding the objectively
33... !Wxa3! best move is no longer the
Topalov does not hesitate: only thing that counts. The
he makes a sally with his combatants are striving to in
queen from its defensive posi crease tension to the breaking
tion, and removes the only point, taking care to avoid
white piece on the queen's falling into an unexpected
flank which could stand in trap, losing everything.
the way of the advance of his 36J;rc8t
pawns. From this moment on, Anand starts a direct at
T opalov followed the tactics tack against the king.
of carefully preserving his 36... wg7
time advantage and striving The defending side has to
to evoke intricate situations, be very cautious. If 36 . . . 417,
to further increase the pres then 37.d l f'ld3 (37 . . . gS 38.
sure of time weighing heavily hS f)d3 39 .wh2 !Wd4 40.c3)
on Anand. 38.wh2 ! !Wd4 39.c3 !WeSt 40.
34J:k3 !Wb2 35.h4!? b5?! wg l f'lf4 4 1 .d7t we8 42 .cc7
Topalov does not care WIns.
about the storm clouds gath 37.c7t wf8
ering round his king and, tak Not possible was 37 . . . wh6
ing chances again, he starts in view of the mate threat
with his pawn on the queen's 38.f)gS , and if 37 . . . wg8, then
wing. It consumes valuable 38.f)f6t is threatened with a
seconds of his opponents time check with tempo.
Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 87

38.g5 we8 dren's tournament gives a

The black king resorts to rook check, releasing thereby
escape. the king, the trainer and the
39Jxh7 IWc3 parents are clutching at their
hair, horrified at the child's
blunder. Behind Anand's
move there might be some
deep strategic idea or a many
move tactical motif, but even
subsequently one cannot find
such a thing. In fact, he di
verts the king closer to the
black queenside pawns whose
advance means the only co
Topalov moves his queen unterchance for Black. The
in the psychologically best only positive feature of this
moment, right before the move is that it does not lose at
time control, creating a new once. But it is quite evident
threat. that at this critical moment
4OJh8t? the world champion has lost
It is hard to understand his mental balance and made
why the world champion a flustered, imprudent deci
took such a committing deci sion. It would have been a
sion in the last moment of simple and self-evident means
time trouble . Black's king, of gaining time and maintain
forced down by a rook, is lan ing the threats if Anand had
guishing on the back rank moved away with the at
from where it can apparently tacked rook, playing 40J=!e2 ,
never escape. If in such posi which preserves the threats
tion the participant of a chil- and leads to a quick win in
88 Game 9

several lines: 40 . . . as (40 . . . b4 strongest move, but from the

41 .xe6 b3 42.wh2 as 43J!c7 point of view of tournament
lMJal 44J!b7 a4 4s .e4 a3 46. tactics it is a perfect decision.
d4+-) 4 1 .xe6 a4 42.wh2 a3 Topalov is striving to seize
43.c7 lMJb2 44.cc2 lMJal (44 . . . the only counterchance, try
a2 45 . xb2 a l lMJ 46.xbs , and ing to create concrete threats
Black can resign) 4s .cs a2 as soon as possible .
(4s . . . c4 46.ds+ - ) 46.cc2 43.fue6 wb6 44.f4
wd7 47.xa2 lMJb l 48. d4+-. Anand's attack on the king
4O wd7
. regains strength again, this
And the first time trouble time on the other half. But he
is over, ending with Anand's has only half an hour's think
first great miss and Topalov's ing time left again.
first lucky escape . From now 44... lMJal t?!
on, each player has one hour Several expert analysts re
to make the next twenty commended the more active
moves. The struggle on the 44 . . . lMJc 1 t, but from the point
board is going on, the posi of view of tournament tactics
tion is more complicated with this is the right decision as it
each move, a single error can maintains the threatening
lead to defeat. position of the es knight. As
41.h7t wc6 42 e4 . we'll see later, this knight is
The world champion can going to play an important
feel safe , his pieces protect role.
each other. If only those two 45.wh2 as
connected queenside pawns See next Diagram
would not exist! 46.h5!
42 ...b4 A splendid attacking move
According to the computer reviving the hope of victory.
analysis programs , not the 46... gxh5?!
Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 89

palov appeared to be calmer

and more balanced, despite
the fact that he had the
worse, probably lost, posi
tion. More promising than
the text move was the contin
uation 49. fre6 1.Wb l 50. f4 d8
5 1 .frd6 c6 52.f5 l.We4 53. f6
l.Wg6 54.f4 l.We4 55 .d3 l.Wg6
This time it was Topalov's 56.frb5t wa7 57.Wg l .
turn to err. More promising 49. . . wa6 50.fre6 wb5 5 1 .
would have been 46 . . . g5 . frh5 d4?!
47J:rxhS Another decisive moment.
The second white rook has Topalov had 23, Anand only
also j oined in the attack, and 7 minutes on the clock. Yet,
together with the knight, the in the more and more hope
three of them are chasing the less position, after a short
black king whose position is think, Topalov run the risk of
more and more hopeless. a quick loss rather than flee
47...c6 48.d5t wb7 49. his knight to the passive
frh7t square d8. He knew that his
An extremely complicated, plight would then become
hardly assessable position full entirely hopeless.
of mutual traps has arisen, 52.b6t wa6 53.frd6 wb7
which was evaluated in a 54.c4?!
pretty different manner even See Diagram
by the computer programs. In Anand was in time trouble
the live broadcast, Anand again, having only 4 minutes
could be seen tensely calcu left until the 60th move . He
lating the variations, while To- missed the almost immediate
90 Game 9

56 ... we7 57.hd5

Better was 57.hh6 ! , pre
serving the possibility of forc
ing back the king to the back
57 ...b3
The black pawn gets an
other step closer to the pro
motion square.
win again: 54.'fjd5 ! c6 (54 . . . 58.d7t we8 59.d8t we7
ilif3 t 5 5 . gxf3 IWb2t 56.wg3 6O.8d7t we8
IWg7t 57.wh4+-) 55 J!h7t wa6 This was the point of
56.xc6t wb5 57 .e6 IWd4 58. Anand's 57th move. By giv
h5+-. ing checks with the vertically
54... 4Jxi3t! moving rook, he got over the
It looks as though the second time trouble. Now he
chessmen were the heroes of has the last half-hour to win
a Shakespeare drama. In the the game. The task does not
last moment, the black knight seem insoluble.
heroically sacrifices itself, cre 61.g7 a4 62.e5t wb8 63.
ating thereby the only princi d5 weB
pled drawing chance.
55.gxf3 IWa2t 56.d2
Now already three white
pieces are fighting against the
lonely queen, and the experts
are about to chalk up the
point for Anand. But Topalov
still does not give up the
fight, striving to seize even
the very last chance.
Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5 91

64.wg3? out of play, he occupies an

An obvious move; the ma important position, defend
j ority of beginners would ing and attacking at the same
have tried to pull the same time.
simpltf trick: move away the 65.'f1g4?!
king from the pin, enabling Anand has apparently lost
the d-rook to threaten with the thread of the attack on
mate without the possibility the king, he does not find the
of \Wxd2 check with tempo. way to victory. Yet 6S .'f1dd7
But the world champion would still have given some
ought to have found the cor winning chances. The world
rect plan leading to win. But champion was short of time
in the fifth hour of the game, again, managing the 30-sec
on the verge of the third time ond increments received after
trouble, it is of course not every move. So that now -
easy to see that the bit irregu making it possible for Black
lar 64J!dd7is leading to win: to advance farther with his
64 . . . \Wc2 (64 . . . a3 6S .wg3 \Wa l pawn - he was rather taking
66J!c7t wd8 67 .'f1a7 \We I t 68. care that he should not lose.
wg4 \We6t 69.wf4 \Wd6t 70.we3 65 ...b2 66.'f1c4t wb7 67.wfl.
\WcS t 7 1 . we2 \WeS t 72.wfl With this resigned king
\WbS t 73.M2 \WcS t 74.wg2+-) move White admittted the fail
6S .wg3 \Wdl 66.'f1df7 \Wg I t 67. ure of the manoeuvre started
wf4 \Wh2t 68.wg4 \Wg2t 69.wfS with 64.wf3. The expert com
\Wh3t 70.weS \Wh2t 7 1 .f4+- . mentators of the live broad
64... \!!,Ja l ! casts on internet forums claim
Anand missed another win ed more and more firmly: To
and Topalov at once seized palov has escaped, the posi
the unexpected chance. With tion was a draw.
his queen, which was long 67\W 68.fubl
92 Game 9 - Anand-Topalov 4,5:4,5

Even after giving back the 7 4.axa3 leads to the same

knight, the division of mate result.
rials remaining on the board 74... \WgIt
would be in principle win The rooks are standing pa
ning for White if the position ralyzed at the edge of the
of his pieces were favourable. board, the perpetual check is
But the connection between unavoidable .
White's king and pieces has 7S.wf4 \WeI t 76.wfS \WeSt
been broken, so the black 77.we4 \Wc2t 78.we3 \WeI t
queen can come into play 79.wf2 \Wd2t 80.wg3 \Welt 81.
with full force against the wf4 \WeI t 82.wg3 \WgI t 83.wf4
white king, circling around And after the nearly six
its only pawn, incapable of hour fantastic fight inter
fleeing. spersed with errors a draw
68 ... \WxbI 69J;rdd4 \Wa2t 70. was agreed.
wg3 a3 71 . c3 \Wal 72.b4t 1f.r.z
wa6 73.a4t wbS 74.cxa3

The final position

Game 10 - Topalov-Anand 5:5 93

On more peaceful waters, striving for safety

The main question of the round was how much the exhaust
ing fight of the previous day wore out the opponents. It was
apparent that neither of them could rid himself yet from the
effect of the experiences. This time both of them were playing
extremely cautiously, avoiding all risks.
In the opening, Anand reverted to his beloved Griinfeld
Defence, but on the tenth move he chose a new path. This
time Topalov did not hurry in the opening, giving careful
thought to his decisions. He did find the way to an advanta
geous endgame , obtained the bishop pair, and was in control
all along. But he could not break through the defensive posi
tion of the world champion, who, for the first time during the
match, offered a draw in the obviously equal position, which
Topalov accepted. So the decision will have to be made in the
two last rounds.

Game 10 continuation which was made

V. Topalov-V. Anand popular in the early 1 970s by
Griinfeld Defence (D87) such excellent grandmasters
as Romanishin of Russia,
l .d4 flf6 2.c4 g6 3. flc3 elS Miles of England, and Smej
4.cxelS fuelS 5.e4 fuc3 6.bxc3 kal from the Czech Republic.
g7 7.c4 c5 8.fle2 flc6 9.e3 It was in this position that
0-0 10.0-0 b6 Topalov was pondering length
In his lost game one, Anand tily on his move for the first
continued 1 O . . . flaS . This time time.
he selected such, well-known, 1 l.1Wd2
94 Game 10

This time Topalov did not solution promising less com

attempt to evoke complica plications.
tions with I I .dxc5 , by accept 16.b5 frxc1 17.frxc1 frc8
ing the sacrificed pawn. True, 18.h3
in this position Black offers It is almost an excess of
his pawn with an easy heart, precaution on Topalov's part.
as after I l . dxc5 bxc5 1 2.lWxd8 Evidently he wants to pre
frxd8 1 3.xc5 , owing to the clude any later complications,
weakness of the c3 square, he so he rejects the more prom
not only reagains the pawn ising sequel 1 8.frxc8t xc8
sooner or later but comes to 1 9.d4 a6 20.f1 e6 2 1 . dxe6
an active counterplay as well. fxe6 22.a4.
1 1 ... b7 12.frac1 frc8 13. 18 ... frxc1 t 19.1Wxc1 e6
frfdl 20.4 exdS 2 1 .dS f5 22.3
Here White could choose It is no longer worth men
from several equivalent con tioning that this time, too ,
tinuations. Now Topalov de Topalov opted for the more
cided on a solid conduct of solid way. More active would
play. The much more active have been 22.f4, whereas
1 3.h4 also occurred in this this also leads to an equal
position . position: 22 . . . lWc5 23.lWxc5
13...cxd4 14.cxd4 IWd6 15. bxc5 24.d2 fxe4 25 .c7 c6
dS a5 26.c4t wh8 27.e6 e5 28.
This was the first time c3 xc4 29.xg7tWg8 30.
Anand fell a-thinking. He h6 d5 3 1 .fuc5 .
had to choose between 15 . . . 22 ...Xe4 23.Xe4 lWe5 24.
e5 and the game continua d3 c6
tion. Similarly to the cau See Diagram
tiousness of his opponent, he 25.a6!
also gave preference to the A strong move , determin-
Topalov-Anand 5:5 95

lWxdS 28.exdS e5 29. wf2 wf!

The scenario we have al
ready seen several times dur
ing the match repeats itself: as
White, Topalov obtains an ad
vantageous endgame and puts
a lasting pressure on his op
ponent. Anand's balance is
ing the further course of the favourable in these positions,
game, made by Topalov after and this time, too , he's play
thinking for nearly half an ing it cool. Manoeuvring pa
hour. In the post-match press tiently in the cramped posi
conference Anand admitted tion, he defends accurately.
that he had not expected this 30... ffi 31 .g4 fld6 32.w3
move. fle8 33.c1 flc7 34.d3 d6
25 ... fld4?! 35.we4 b5 36.wd4 a6 37.e2
The world champion did we7 38.g5t
not dare to take the way of Although White is holding
fered him by White, although his advantage, he cannot in
25 . . . xa6 26.lWxc6 !Wa l t 27. crease it. Premature is 38.g5 ,
wf2 (27.c l b5 28.lWe6t wfB because Black can mobilize
29. lWd6t wg8; 27.wh2 e5t his knight throught the cor
28.flf4 lWc3) 27 . . . lWxa2t 28.wg3 ner square: 38 . . . fla8 39. g4
lWa3 would have led to an flb6 40.e6 fld7 4 1 .g8 wfBl=.
equal position. The selected 38 ... wd7 39.d2 g3?!
knight move - after the An inaccuracy, enabling
queen exchange - leads to a the g-pawn to lunge forward.
worse ending for Black. 4O.g5! f2t 41.we5 g3t
26.lWc4 xdS 27.lWxdSt 42.we4
96 Game 10 - Topalov-Anand 5:5

Anand saw it properly that Rule", Topalov does not agree

the intrusion 42.wf6 em be to draw, he keeps on trying ,
easily defended: 42.wf6 fud5t but all he achieves is that
43.wg7 f4 44.xf4 flxf4 45 . eventually he remains a pawn
g4t wd6 46.wxh7 we5 47. down.
wh6 b4 48.h4 a5 49.d7 we4=. 49 ...flxa3 50.we5 flc4t 51.
42 ... fleS 43.g4t we7 44. wd4 wd6 52.e2 fla3 53.h4
e6?! flc2t 54.wc3 flb4 55.xb5
With this, White's win flxa2t 56.wb3 flb4 57.e2
ning chances have fallen to fudS 5S.h5 flf4 59.hxg6 hxg6
dust for good. 44.b4t or 44. 6O.c4
wf3 would still have sustained And it's a draw, as Black
the hope to break Black's de cannot prevent White from
fensive position. winning the a-pawn and sac
44... fld6t 45.wf3 rificing his bishop for the
45 ... flc4! only remaining black pawn .
The activated black knight 1h-l
will sooner or later penetrate
White's hinterland, and is
able to defend Black's posi
tion almost all by itself. And
what's more , this time Anand
has half an hour's time ad
vantage .
46.c1 d6 47.we4 as 48.
g4 a3 49. xa3t
In the spirit of the "Sofia The final position
Game 1 1 - Anand-Topalov 5,5:5,5

A lukewarm start, a hot finish

The 1 1 th game was given a special importance by the fact that

the world champion - at an even score - could conduct the
white: pieces for the last time during the basic stage of the
match. It was evident that if he wins, his advantage would be
almost irreversible. But should they draw, or should his oppo
nent win, then in the last round Topalov's position would be
more favourable.
Everybody was anxious to see what tactics Anand will
select, and how his opponent will answer the challenge. The
surprise did not fail to happen. The world champion opted for
the English Opening, which seldom occurs in his tournament
practice. For the last time it was in 2005 , just in Sofia, against
English grandmaster Adams that he played a game of English
Opening at normal thinking time, true, with a transposition,
because then he adopted the move order l .flf3 flf6 2 . c4. This
time , throwing his cards on the table, he played l .c4. So he
could expect with good reason that he would surprise his
opponent, who had presumably prepared for the various lines
of l .d4, an opening of different character.
But Topalov did not seem to be surprised at all, he could
effortlessly hold the balance with Black. But the world cham
pion, understandably, was not content with a draw. After a
long manoeuvring, changing over to the endgame, he made up
his mind to sacrifice a pawn. A sharp position arose , in which,
despite the few pieces, tactical motifs, one more beautiful than
the other, followed. By the end of the game, the struggle - in
a manner worthy of the great stake - got heated, but neither
player erred. The exciting game of high standard ended in a
98 Game 1 1

mutually deserved draw. So the decision of the world title

remained to be seen in the last round, promising to be more
exciting than any earlier clash.

Game 1 1 the textbooks of opening the

V. Anand-V. Topalov ory, he, after thinking for a
English Opening (A29) long time, came up with a
new idea himself, with which
1 .c4 eS 2.flc3 flf6 3.ff.3 flc6 he managed to surpise the
4.g3 dS S.cxdS fudS 6.g2 titleholder. Black's usual con
The Dragon setup, well tinuation here is 1 1 . . . \Wd7 ,
known from the Sicilian De 1 1 . . J;rb8 or 1 1 . . .fldS . But To
fence, only with reversed co palov's move is also logical:
lours, white pieces and the the queen vacates d8 for the
advantage of a move. rook, and it can also j oin a
6... flb6 7.0-0 e7 8.a3 0-0 later kingside attack on the
9.b4 e6 10. d3 f6 squares g6 and hS . Behind
Black continued in a se Topalov's decision there may
date manner. To sharper fight also be the consideration that
lead the variations arising af Anand's team had probably
ter W o o . aS l 1 .bS fld4. not taken this rare move into
1 1 . fle4 \We8!? account during their prepara
So far T opalov has presum tions.
ably been waiting to find out 12.flcS!?
what surprise his opponent Anand continues to carry
prepared for him - in addi out his plan . The knight
tion to the choice of opening. move provokes the exchange
But as hitherto everything of the bishop and opens the
went along the line written in b-file for White .
Anand-Topalov 5,5:5,5 99

12 ... xcS 13.bxcS fJdS 14. made 1 6 pIece moves one

b2 f1:d8 lS.lWc2 fJde7 after the other. They were
A resilient, well-balanced looking for a hold on each
position typical of the English other, waiting to see if the
Opening has arisen, in which other made a mistake they
both Sides have the possibility could profit from . Topalov's
to rearrange their pieces even pawn move was the first deci
several times before starting a sion which, by virtue of its
concrete action. Maybe this nature, could not be correct
was the very aim Anand had ed. Nor is its real aim visible
set himself when choosing as yet. Black protected the g5
the opening, as in the genre square with another pawn,
of long manoeuvring he is maybe to support a later f6-
somewhat stronger than his 5 , weakening, at the same
opponent who has a liking for time , the g6 square which is
active , resolute manner of to play an important part
play. Topalov, however, is a later on.
many-sided chess player, who 22.lWb1 fJdS 23.f1:b2 b6 24.
doesn't mind at all that in this cxb6 cxb6 25.d2 f1:d6 26.
important game he does not f1:bc2 lWd7 27.h4?!
have to defend at each move The game is flowing on
against concrete threats pre- ward slowly. After the de
pared during the horne analy- fending move b6 the c-file
sis of his opponent's team. has opened, and the c6 square
16.f1:ab1 a2 17.f1:bc1 lWfl weakened in Black's camp,
18.c3 f1:d7 19.1Wb2 f1:b8 20. but this can be compensated
f1:fd1 e6 21 .f1:d2 h6?! by his strong centre position.
As it could be foreseen, for White , for lack of a concrete
the time being not too much attacking possibility - simi
happened. The combatants larly to his adversary's move
100 Game 1 1

h6 - decided to make an un 34. . .e4 35.fld2 \!!Ixd4 36.

usual preventive move with fue4 \!!Ixb2 37.frxb2 wfl 3S.e3
his h-pawn. In such positions g5 39.hxg5 hxg5 4O.f4 gxf4
more common is the setup h3 41 .exf4
and wh2. Now the hidden meaning
27 ... frdS 2S.\!!Ib5 flde7 29. of the move pair h6-h4 has
\!!Ib2 d5 30.b4 fub4 31 .axb4 become evident at last. Both
frc6 32.b5 frxc2 33.frxc2 e6 players have been counting
on and prepared for these
pawn manoeuvres well in ad
41 ...frd4 42.wfl flf5 43.f3
d5 44.fld2 xf3 45.flxf3 fra4
46.g4 fld6 47.wg3 fle4t 48.
wh4 fld6

34. d4? !
Now that by means of the
advanced b5 pawn he man
aged to temporarily pin down
Black's queenside, Anand re
signed himself to a committal
move . By blasting the centre,
he forces out a series of ex 49.frd2!? ,

changes, a transit into the end By the series of exchanges

game. Then it was not yet clear Black obtained an active play,
which side will profit more the resulting endgame seems
from this stategic decision. preferable for him. And it
Anand-Topalov 5,5:5,5 101

would certainly be if Anand fice . Anand initiates a coun

waited passively for the de terplay on the kingside.
velopments by playing 49.wg3. SO .. J:1:e4! S l . whS fre3 52.
But the world champion is flh4 flc3
consistent: he was striving for A whole series of splendid,
an endgame himself, and now exciting move s ! Anand is
pressing forward on the king
it turned out that he did it not
with the intention of a quick side in an original manner,
draw. He resolved upon a while Topalov is holding the
risky pawn sac, and in spite ofbalance with strong counter
the few pieces he tried to threats . The experts, as it
breathe life into his position were inspired by the exciting
and strive for victory. Vishy'sposition, published interest
pawn sac is all the more in ing attacking and defending
teresting as it is improbable variations on the various in
that he could calculate all ternet homepages. Although
possible variations in advance.the maj ority of the lines final
He presumably relied upon ly led to a draw, a great num
his sense of chess when mak ber of ramifications were pre
ing his decision. sented in which one of the
49... fubS sides managed to get the up
After a short weighing To per hand. Similarly to the
palov accepted the pawn. ninth game , such struggle
From this moment the seem arose on the chessboard, in
ingly sleepy struggle resem which the computer analysis
bling a mud wrestling gets programs could not enter into
heated. competition with the creative
50.5 human imagination; their as
The logical continuation of sessments of position proved
the plan started with a sacri- to be a lot more unreliable
102 Game 1 1

then the quick analyses of the move 49JM2 would remain

experts. graven on everybody's mem-
53J!d7t 'f1e7 54.'f1d3 ory. But if he loses, people
It is only natural that the might believe that he has lost
rook, suited to force the black his sound judgement by tak
king and create threats of ing senseless chances in a
mate, must not be traded off. critical game . So that there is
54.. ,'tJe4 55,'tJg6 flc5 56.'f1a3 a whole lot at stake for him.
'f1d7 57.'f1e3 wg7 58.g5! b5! 6O...b3!
To Anand's kingside action
Black can only respond by
starting with his pawns on
the other side . He begins the
advance on the queen's flank,
just as in the fantastic ninth
game. From now on, any time
Topalov wins a breathing space,
he moves his passed pawn one
square forward.
59.flf4 b4 6O.g6! 61.'f1c3!
An extremely complicated, A brillliant move ! Anand
two-edged position has aris has found the most impres
en. The white pawn wedge sive counterplay. Splendid va
paralyses the black king, but riations delight the specta
Topalov has two mobile, con tor's eye. As one of the visi
nected passed pawns on the tors on an internet forum put
queenside . Whichever of the it at the sight of the masterful
two players errs, it may cost moves: "Seeing this move , a
him the world title. If Anand lot of people will take a fancy
were able to win, his brave to chess !" Indeed, this hard-
Anand-Topalov 5,5:5,5 103

fought endgame demonstrates on examining his opponent in

almost all the beauties of endgame skills. But Topalov
chess. has passed the test.
61..J;rd4 62 ... frxf4
On 6 1 . . Jk7 62.frxc5?? frxc5 The position has turned
63.e6t !wg8 64.fuc5 b2, and into a rook ending in which
Black wins. But White can White can still force out the
hold his ground with 62 . draw any time he wishes, but
frxb3! fub3 63.e6t followed he cannot win if his opponent
by xc7. Not possible is 6 1 . . . defends properly.
b2?? i n view o f 62.frxc5 ! b l tW 63.frc7t wg8 64.ID>7
63.e6t wg8 64.frc8t frd8 65 . On 64.frg7t obligatory is
frxd8 mate . 64 . . . wxg7 and it's stalemate ,
62.frxc5 because none of the remain
62.e6t fue6 63.frc7t fuc7 ing white pieces can move .
would have led to stalemate . However, Anand tries yet an
And if after 63.frc7t Black other test move before forc
moves away with his king, ing out the draw with perpet
then the knight can already ual check.
be taken on e6, e.g. 63. frc7t 64... frf3
wffi 64.fxe6 b2 65 .frf7t we8 Seeing that his opponent
66.g7 frd5 t 67.wh6 frg5 68 . defends precisely, Anand stops
frb7 frg l 69 .frxb2 we7 70. his attempts at winning.
frb8 frh l t 7 1 .wg6 frg l t 72. 65.ID>8t wg7
wh6 frh l t 73.wg6=. But Vishy, And Black cannot avoid
not wishing to give up his the repetition of move .
winning chances yet, keeps lh-Y.z
104 Game 12

A dramatic finale, deciding everything

As it could be expected, the last round of the match was antic

ipated by an increased expectation. The theatre room and
almost the whole building of the Central Military Club was
jam-packed with the spectators and correspondents. "The
high point of a fantastic match!" "The decisive encounter!" -
such were the expressions the media heralded the last, deci
sive game. And the players, too, felt in the same way. In the
press conference after the match Anand said: " When I woke
up this morning I thought tha t this could be the saddest day of
my life or the happiest. I have almost no experience in a
World Championship match where every result is possible on
the final game. I was not unhappy that it would be over soon. "
According to the public belief, Topalov's chances, owing to
playing with the white pieces, were better, but appearances
are sometimes deceptive. Being in a home environment, an
enormous psychological pressure weighed upon the Bulgarian
player: he had to take chances; he just couldn't allow himself
not to play for a win in the decisive game. Anand, on the other
hand, was not paralyzed by the pressure to win, so he could
afford to play for two kinds of results - sedately, striving for
safety. If he succeeds, he continues to be world champion. But
had he not, a draw would not have been bad for him either, as
in the playoff with shortened playing time he had clearly the
better chances.
The course of the game precisely reflected the different
psychological position of the two combatants. During the
middlegame, on one occassion, Anand - with his move
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 105

25.a6 - offered the possibility of a peaceful repetition of

moves in a position where nothing was decided yet. But
Topalov did not - could not - accept the early conclusion of
peace , whereas by doing so he could have assured the res
pectable result of attaining a draw against the world champi
on in !the basic stage of the match. From this moment on, the
advantage of the home environment has become rather a dis
advantage for him, since a forced, stubborn will to win does
generally not lead to a good result.
That was just the way it happened now. In the psychologi
cal warfare Anand obtained some advantage already with his
choice of the opening, and after the refusal of his draw offer
he was sitting at the board more and more calmly and self
confidently. The burden of weighing the final result has fall
en off his mind, and seemingly he was concentrating solely on
the game . The interlude provoking a draw could rightly make
Topalov think that his opponent had no winning ambitions.
Probably the way he interpreted the situation was that Anand
was doing his best to draw the last game with Black, for he
was relying on the playoff. All he focused his attention on,
accordingly, was the problem of finding the winning strategy.
His sense of danger diminished, and mentally he was not pre
pared for the serious threat of a counterattack.
Where Topalov erred in his evaluation of the situation was
that by this time Anand has been concentrating with full force
on the events occurring on the chessboard. When, mentally
relieved, hardly five moves after the offer and refusal of the
draw, he started a brave counteraction, his opponent made a
rash move . Or, to be more precise , he selected a bad plan,
wanting to attack at any cost. For a moment Topalov lost his
106 Game 12

sense of danger, and, insisting on his own, faulty, strategic

plan, responded badly to Black's next attacking move . He
made a mistake , even more serious than the previous one, that
decided the outcome of the whole match. Yet the remaining
part of the game continued to be very interesting, because
after liis momentary neglect Topalov found himself again,
and, defending resourcefully, he tried to seize every counter
chances. Now he was the one fighting for the draw. But the
world champion, realizing the possibility of the final win,
although tensely and nervously, yet with an accurate play,
striving for safety, succeeded in converting his advantage .
The dramatic last game was a worthy finish of the extreme
ly high-level match . Just in the same way as it had started -
with Topalov's fast mate attack - the World Championship
final ended in a similar, unforgettable finale : with Anand's
spectacular kingside attack launched with the black pieces.
While in the first game key-role was given to a white knight,
in the last clash it was given to a black bishop. But eventually
the hand - and soul - conducting the black bishop proved to
be stronger in Sofia. Viswanathan Anand of India, the 1 5th
world champion of classical chess, just as against Kramnik, he
successfully defended his title against Topalov, too !

Game 12 time the world champion was

V. Topalov-V. Anand not going to play either Griin
Queen '8 Gam bit (D56) feld or Szlav Defence. What
did Anand and his team pre
l .d4 d5 2.c4 e6 pare for this crucial game?
After Black's second move 3.ffi 4:lc3 (i2e7 5.(i2g5
it has turned out that this h6 6.(i2h4 0-0 7.e3 f:le4
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 107

This time Anand's choice arisen in a number of world

fell on a well-known, classi championship matches. Its pe
cal setup. According to statis culiarity is that though White
tical reports, the Queen's Gam has no problem with his own
bit is the most frequently position, it is very hard for
played opening in the world him to break Black's defence.
championship matches. With Topalov could rightly think
in this, the Lasker Defence - that Anand's chief aim was to
the pet variation of the sec prevent him from playing for
ond world champion - is a a win with White . In the last
sedate but very stable setup. game the world champion
It came now as a real surprise would be surely content with
that hitherto it has never a draw.
been adopted by Anand in 13.0-0 b6
any of his games with tradi Just to be on the safe side ,
tional thinking time, he only Anand selects a different way
used it in some blitz games, than at the 2009 Lightning
true, against noted grandmas World Championship, where
ters, Aronian and Grischuk. against Grischuk he continu
The opponent's analysing team ed 1 3 . . eS .

could scarcely prepare thor 14.d3 c5

oughly for a rare line like Black's plan is simple: he is
this, so that Topalov had to striving for a symmetric pawn
cope with the problems of the structure, not exposing him
opening all by himself, over self to any attack.
the board. 15.e4 !!b8 16.Y}}c2 fJf6
8.xe7 Y}}xe7 9J!c1 c6 10. Not the most populr line ,
e2 fuc3 1 1 . !!xc3 dxc4 12. more common is 1 6 . . . aS or
xc4 fJd7 16 . . . bS , but 16 . . . b7 also oc
This position has already curs. Now it is possible for
108 Game 12

White to disrupt the symme tioned at the previous move -

try of the pawn positions and and creating counter-threats.
create an attackable , weak 20.frxc5 is met with 20 xf3,
. . .

pawn on c5 . And Topalov followed by frxb2 with ad

does not miss the possibility. vantage to Black.
17.dxc5 ili:e4 18.\ll,Ixe4 bxc5 20.fJd.2
19.\ll,Ic2 On 20.fJe5 there follows
White immediately starts 20 . . . xg2 and IWg5 t .
attacking the c5 pawn. But it 20... frfd8
was not by chance that Anand Another black major piece
steered the game in this di makes its appearance on an
rection. It is obvious that he important open line . The c5
had worked out with his team pawn is now protected by the
a very secure variation, giving counter-threat frxd2.
much practical chances. Even 21.3
if Black loses his pawn, he Before starting to win the
gets an excellent counterplay lonely white pawn , White
thanks to his rook controlling must secure his position. To
the b-file and the open diago palov selects an original plan:
nals, along which he can start he wants to make his kingside
dangerous actions with his shell-proof with the setup e4-
bishop. f3-frf2-wg2, closing the diago
19 ... b7 nal a8-h l to Black's bishop.
The later protagonist, the 21...a6
black bishop moving along Seeing White's plan unfold,
the light squares, has appear Anand pondered lenghtily on
ed on the scene. Anand de his reply, for the first time
fends his pawn by means of during the match. He decided
exploiting the possibilities in to occupy the open a6-fl dia
herent in the position - men- gonal and the d -file .
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 109

22JU2 :f(d7 23.g3 2Thd8 24. yet, and he is willing to agree

wg2 a draw.
2S.IWc1 a6
There can be no doubt that
if Topalov had played 26.IWc2,
Anand would have moved his
bishop to d3 again, the game
is drawn, and let the playoff
However, in front of his
home public Topalov could
24... d3 not allow himself to draw by
With this move we have repeating moves without any
arrived at the psychological struggle . Also, he had to stay
key motif of the game , whose true to his former promise
background and relations I that in the spirit of the 'Sofia
had tried to present in detail Rule' he would play every
in the summary before the game to the end. Yet Anand
game . The bishop has nothing has achieved his aim after all:
to seek on the d3 square, so in his opponent put his cards on
his next move Anand will put the table - he would fight,
it back on its starting point, and, if he had to, risk, at any
a6. This there-and-back move price in the interest of victo
is like a virtual draw offer. ry. It was then that the deci
With his bishop manoeuvre sive game - at least from the
Black gives his adversary to point of view of the combat
understand that the position ants' state of mind - entered a
is equal, the struggle has not new phase. White continues
been decided in any direction his attacking manoeuvre .
1 10 Game 12

26... b7 27.b3 "fic7 3O.e4

Another indirect pawn de
fence . Not possible is 28.
"fixa7, because 28 ... xf3t wins
the exchange .
28. a5 a8!?
Anand decided that he
would preserve his most effi
cient piece at all costs. With
full knowledge of the conse
quences, we may state that it
was an extremely wise and White goes ahead with his
far-seeing decision, even if plan, finishing the build-up
the bishop gets to an unusual of his defensive position on
place. the king's flank.
29.c4 30...5!
White ' s knight found a An unexpected turn after
sure support point, but it the calm, peaceful manner of
temporarily closes the way play. The world champion
before the attack of the c5 starts an action without de
pawn. lay. As it will soon become
29 ...e5 clear, he had assessed the po
With the pawn move Black sition very profoundly and
gains space , but at the same understood its essence . His
time it weakens his position, bishop is in an ideal attacking
allowing White the possibili position, and if Black suc
ty of a later knight manoeu ceeds in attacking the white
vre e4-d3 and f5 or d5 . pawns stationed on the large
But will Topalov have time to diagonal with other pieces as
carry this out? well, he can seize the initia-
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 111

tive. The pawn move f5 serves

this strategic aim. White's
best reply would be 3 1 .frl2,
organizing the defence of the
e4 square , but Topalov is not
in the least inclined to with
draw and make arrangements
for defence. Not being men
tally attuned to this, he pre
fers to accept unforeseeable
complications. Black is consistent: he car
31 .exf5?! ries on opening up the diago
White made this commit nal of his bishop stationing on
tal move after thinking for aB.
just a few seconds. It made 32.fxe4??
the commentators toss their The most dramatic moment
heads in amazement. O-la-la! of the whole match ! There
Really? such expressions ap
- was still a chance of defence
peared throughout the world in the line 32.fre3 exf3t 33.
on the internet forums. The wg l . But Topalov, continuing
line 3 1 .<ld2 fxe4 32.<lxe4 his unrealistic plan, made an
xe4 33.fxe4 frd4 would have immediate losing move , al
led to a position of even most without thinking. "And
chances, with better attack tell me now that chess is not a
ing prospects for Black. But game of pure psychology!"
Topalov had no intention of Women's World Champion
relinquishing the initiative , exclaimed in an internet fo
underestimating the perils rum, seeing Topalov's moves.
looming over his king. Indeed, it is hard to find any
31...e4! explanation other than one of
1 12 Game 1 2

mental origin for what hap

pened. Even a less experi
enced chess player can feel
that with the pawns e4 and f.3
gone, White's king position is
almost indefensible . Never
theless, Topalov opened the
way himself for the black bi
shop. He may have reasoned
that there was no immediate
mate, and on the opening lently by the computer pro
lines he, too, would be able to grams, almost better than by
start an attack at last against humans. Here , as a sure way
the enemy camp. So the pos to win, the computers pro
sible explanation for his two, posed to Black an unusually
hardly understandable, moves hard move. The expert com
is: attack at all costs, even at mentators were waiting curi
the expense of the greatest ously, wondering if Anand
possible risk! would discover the winning
32 ... Wxe4t 33.wh3 frd4! variation. The world champi
But here it is the world on did not disappoint them:
champion who attacks, and it he did find the key move con
cannot be stopped. sidered best even by the com
34.'fle3 puters , and with this, the
See Diagram game was practically decided.
34... We8!! From now on the only ques
This time such position tion was : will the world
arose whose complicated but champion choose the shorter
concrete , calculable varia or longer way to finish the
tions can be analyzed excel- game? By the way, from this
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 1 13

time on he was playing very sacrifice ffxe3, followed by

carefully, so as not to let the ffh4t and \Wg4 mate . Anand
final win slip through his fin could already take his pick
gers. from various winning plans;
3S.g4 h5 36.wh4 gSt fff7 was also possible .
A manner of attack of a 4O.fffBt
typically "human logic". Ac In chess slang this is called
cording to the calculations of vengeance check, although it
the computer analysis pro still contains some threat. On
grams, a quicker win is 36 . . . 40 . . . wh7 4 1 .ffh8t wxh8 42 .
\Wd8t 37.f6 (37.wg3 \Wd6t 38. \Wf8t \Wg8 43 .\Wh6t can follow,
wh3 \Wh6-+) 37 . . . hxg4 38. and the white queen can give
flxg4 gxf6 39.fHS ffh7t 40.wg3 further vengeance checks, but
\Wb8t 41 .wf2 ffxg4. The king with exact play Black wins
standing on h4 surrounded even then.
with enemy pieces is done for 4O ... wg7 41 .flfSt wh7 42.
anyway. ffg3 lhg3t 43. hxg3 \Wg4t 44.
37.fxg6 \Wxg6 38.\wfl wh2
The only move not losing
at once. On 38.h3 38 . . . hxg4
39.fug4 ffh7t 40.wg3 ffxh3t
4 1 .wxh3 \Wh5t 42 .wg3 xg4
mate !
38... ffxg4t!
The rook invading White's
defensive position cannot be
taken because of \Wxg4 mate.
39.wh3 ffe7
Black's plan is simple: re I t is worth casting a glance
move the knight with the at the position. The chess-
1 14 Game 12

board IS divided into two queen with 47.frf7t wg6 48.

parts by the empty a8-h i frg7t wxf5 49. frxg4, restoring
diagonal, which is kept under material balance, but after
total control by the black bi 49 . . . hxg4! 5 0 . wxg2 we4 he
shop stationing on a8. There would have been left with a
is no escape from its fatal lost pawn ending: 5 1 .wf2 wd3
force. 52.b3 a5 53.a4 (53.we l we3-
44.. J!e2t 4S.wgl frg2t 46. +) 53 . . . wc3-+. So that Topa
xg2 xg2 lov had no other choice than
to take the bishop.
47... e2t 48.wh3 c4 49.a4
as SO.frf6
Topalov's last hope is to
sacrifice his knight for the c
pawn, and after winning the
other two white pawns he
would try to go for a rook
versus queen ending, with
drawing chances. But it is
Hitherto the black bishop only natural that Anand does
has kept the white position not allow time for him to
under fire from a distance. carry out this complicated
During the attack it moves manoeuvre, and with accu
only once , but then with the rate play he converts his ad
no ble aim of winning the vantage. Normally, grandmas
enemy queen - at the expense ters do not play on in such
of sacrificing itself. disadvantageous positions, they
47.wxg2 resign the game. But this time
Here White could also Topalov, with regard to the
have won his opponent's extraordinary circumstances,
Topalov-Anand 5,5:6,5 1 15

tries to seize even the last dim it will b e p r o m o t e d t o an

chance . other que e n .
50 ... wg8 51 .<flh6t wg7 52. 0-1
ffb6 WJe4 53. wh2
The king move is obligato
ry,as IWJh l mate was threat
ened. White is now in a fatal
53 ... wh7 54. ffd6 WJe5 55.<flf7
WJxb2t 56. wh3 WJg7!
T opalov resigned because
he has no useful move left,
and Black's c4 p awn is un
s t o p p a b l e : i n a fe w m o v e s The final position

Prime Ministerial Reaction

The words of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov:

"Let's hope we all will be second in the world in wha t we are doing and
you will see how successful we will be even in the second place. We are
proud of Vesko (Veselin) Topalov. We are a bit sorry he is not first. We are
ready for a return ma tch. One Bulgaria with eigh t million people again
India with one billion - it is not that hard to lose by one point. "

The message of Dr. Manmohan Singh , Prime Minister of India, to Vish

wanathan Anand on his triumph at the World Chess Championship:

"I am deligh ted to salute you at your fourth World Chess Championship
triumph within a decade. I understand that your championship game in
Sofia was played under the most difficult circumstances but you proved
once again that you remain the grandest of Grand Masters. You have made
the coun try proud and I join millions of admirers of the game of chess in
celebra ting your magnificen t triumph. "
---- --- ..
- - -
-. . . -- I

The World Chess Chamhip final orgMliBd in 2010 in Softa

g ......t.. outstanding interest. It is presumably well - known to
evwy reader that Anand won 6:112 : Slh, defending his world title.
But to the fiflal an adventurous path was leading. On the pages of
this boo kw 1 make an attempt at recalling the story of the match as
attrectively a5 possible. To assist the better understanding of the
memorable 12'" , detailed armotations are enclosed. which.
in add ition to the analysis of the variations. also touch on the role
tournament tactical and moral factors played in the forming of
the result

. .
, ,.
"o1,.",.t",J ALOV

'k .lr ..