Anand under pressure as Topalov wins

Anand repeated the same queenless middlegame arising from the Slav defence. He varied earlier this time presumably to pre-empt a probable improvement, but never equalized.
After a couple of decent performances with Black, Topalov was biting at the bit to have a go at Anand with White and after exploiting an imprecision he won a pawn going into the opposite bishop ending. Fine technique earned him his second win.
See below for our special Videos and my Game Eight annotations.

The third game in a row to pass fifty moves show that the games are being fought out to the bitter end!

Topalov squeezed out a win in an ending which felt drawish at first, but 2800 endgame technique brought him the win he craved.

The match situation so far:

1Veselin TopalovBUL2805Viswanathan AnandIND27871-0Grünfeld defence30
2Viswanathan AnandIND2787Veselin TopalovBUL28051-0Catalan opening43
3Veselin TopalovBUL2805Viswanathan AnandIND27870.5-0.5Slav defence46
4Viswanathan AnandIND2787Veselin TopalovBUL28051-0Catalan opening32
5Veselin TopalovBUL2805Viswanathan AnandIND27870.5-0.5Slav defence44
6Viswanathan AnandIND2787Veselin TopalovBUL28050.5-0.5Catalan opening58
7Viswanathan AnandIND2787Veselin TopalovBUL28050.5-0.5Catalan/Bogoljubov58
8Veselin TopalovBUL2805Viswanathan AnandIND27871-0Slav defence56

There are only four games of classical chess remaining with the score now being Anand 4 Topalov 4.

This means that both players require 2.5 out of 4 to get to 6.5 points in the twelve scheduled games.

Topalov: fighting with White to try and get back on level terms. @ official site

Why not put your feet up and watch our series of videos dedicated to the 2010 World Championship match?

Today's game will put Anand under pressure as his Slav wall has finally been breached. Can he dare play the same system again?

Veselin Topalov (2805) - Viswanathan Anand (2787)

Sofia WCM (8th round) 04.05.2010

Slav defence (D17)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.♘f3 ♘f6 4.♘c3 dxc4 5.a4 ♗f5 6.♘e5 e6 7.f3 c5 8.e4 ♗g6 9.♗e3 cxd4 10.♕xd4 ♕xd4 11.♗xd4 ♘fd7 12.♘xd7 ♘xd7 13.♗xc4 ♖c8

Anand varies from his two previous Blacks.

In games 3 and 5 he played 13...a6, but the text is more forcing. Changing at this point would naturally circumvent any improvements that Topalov and his team would have prepared on those previous encounters.

14.♗b5 a6 15.♗xd7+ ♔xd7 16.♔e2 f6 17.♖hd1


This position has already occurred in GM practise before. In one of the most recent cases White was successful after 18.♖ac1 ♖c6 19.♘a2 ♖xc1 20.♘xc1 ♗e7 21.♗b6 e5 22.♘d3 ♗f7 23.♖c1 ♗d8 24.a5 ♔e7 25.♖c8 ♖e8 26.♖b8 in Maletin,P-Amonatov,F Novokuznetsk 2008. It was noticeable that after the exchange of a pair of rooks White's remaining rook was more active than its Black counterpart.

18.a5 ♗e7 19.♗b6

Anand has the same problem that Amonatov had in that his rooks are not linked and so are inferior to the opponent's. Note that the c7 and d8 squares are out of bounds and, if he dares move his king then ♖-d7 will come with a vengeance.

19...♖f8 20.♖ac1 f5!

Seeking to liberate his pieces and ultimately obtain a semblance of counterplay.

21.e5 ♗g5 22.♗e3


Overlooking a tactical shot.

Safer would be 22...♗xe3 23.♔xe3 f4+! (23...♔e7? would leave Black with the inferior minor piece after 24.♘e2) 24.♔d4! (24.♔e2?! could even favour Black after 24...♖f5 targeting the e-pawn) 24...♔e7 (with a threat!) 25.♘e4 ♗xe4 26.♔xe4 g5 and although White's king is more advanced than it's counterpart the space advantage doesn't look that serious with only rooks remaining.


The threat to the rook on c8 enables White to get his knight to d6.

23...♖xc1 24.♘d6+ ♔d7 25.♗xc1 ♔c6 26.♗d2 ♗e7

Anand hurries to eliminate the strong knight.

27.♖c1+ ♔d7

After 27...♔d5? White gets his rook to the seventh with 28.♖c7 and then after 28...♗xd6 29.exd6 ♔xd6 30.♖xb7 he will win at least a pawn.

28.♗c3 ♗xd6 29.♖d1 ♗f5 30.h4!

Stopping ...g5, thus ensuring that the f4-pawn is more difficult to defend.

30...g6 31.♖xd6+ ♔c8 32.♗d2 ♖d8

Anand is in the process of dropping his 'dislocated' f-pawn, so he hopes that by exchanging rooks, the 'opposite bishop' ending (despite being a passed pawn down) will be tenable.

33.♗xf4 ♖xd6 34.exd6 ♔d7 35.♔e3 ♗c2 36.♔d4

Opposite bishop endings are notoriously drawish even when one side has a pawn or two to the good. As a rule of thumb, in order to win, if a passed pawn cannot be supported by the king, then the stronger side will generally need to obtain (or at least threaten to generate) a second passed pawn. Anand decides that he needs to keep Black's king out of the f6-square as otherwise he would have problems on the kingside.

36...♔e8 37.♔e5 ♔f7 38.♗e3

38.d7 can be comfortably met by 38...♔e7 39.d8♕+ ♔xd8 40.♔xe6 ♔e8 as Topalov would no longer be able to build enough pressure to worry Black.

38...♗a4 39.♔f4 ♗b5 40.♗c5 ♔f6 41.♗d4+ ♔f7 42.♔g5 ♗c6 43.♔h6

White can get this far but it's not evident at first sight that he can breach the light-squared blockade.

43...♔g8 44.h5!

Increasing the pressure.

44...♗e8 45.♔g5

Following 45.hxg6 hxg6 46.d7 ♗xd7 47.♔xg6 ♗c6 48.♔f6 ♗d5 White can't win as there is nothing doing on the queenside and 49.f4 ♗xg2 50.♔xe6 ♔f8 51.f5 ♗h3 52.♔f6 ♗g2 53.♗c5+ ♔e8 54.♔e6 ♗e4 55.f6 ♗g6 would be dead drawn with f7 blockaded.

45...♔f7 46.♔h6 ♔g8 47.♗c5

Black has very little space and is rather tied down, but obtaining zugzwang in opposite bishop endings can be tough even in very favourable circumstances.


After 47...♔h8 White could oblige this capture anyway with 48.♗d4+ ♔g8 49.♗g7.

48.♔g5 ♔g7 49.♗d4+ ♔f7 50.♗e5

After 50.♔xh5? Anand could obtain more space with 50...e5! as 51.♗xe5?? would drop a piece to 51...♔e6+.

50...h4 51.♔xh4 ♔g6 52.♔g4 ♗b5

Following 52...h5+ 53.♔f4 (rather than 53.♔h4 ♗c6 54.g4?! where White obtains a second passed pawn but would have technical difficulties, so he should instead improve his pieces first) 53...♗c6 54.♗d4 ♗d7 55.♗f2 ♗c6 56.♗h4 ♗d7 57.♔e5 ♔f7 58.g4 hxg4 59.fxg4 ♗c8 60.♗f6 ♗d7 61.g5 ♔g6 62.♔d4 ♔f7 63.♔c5 ♗c6 64.♔b6 ♔e8 65.g6 and Black will lose due to the multiple threats.

53.♔f4 ♔f7 54.♔g5 ♗c6 55.♔h6 ♔g8 56.g4!

An early resignation, but it had dawned on the Indian what Topalov intended.

After 56.g4 ♗d7 57.f4 ♗a4 58.♗g7! (here 58.f5? generates a second passed pawn but this may not be enough as after 58...exf5 59.gxf5 ♗d7 60.f6 ♗e6 Black may be able to blockade the light squares) 58...♗d7 59.g5 ♗e8 60.b3! (Zugzwang! This means that Black has to play a move that he would rather not! Here for example, any king moves loses the h-pawn (and then White has a second passed pawn in favourable circumstances) and any bishop move that stops d6-d7 such as... 60...♗d7 ...allows... 61.g6! hxg6 62.♔xg6 followed by a decisive king penetration e.g. 62...♗b5 63.♔f6 ♗c6 64.♗h6 and ♔-e7 and the d-pawn will cost Black his bishop .


The presence of the 12th World Champion certainly added to the excitement. Furthermore Anatoly Karpov is intending to stand for the role of FIDE president in the next elections and will compete with the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The irony of the situation is that his arrival coincided with the death of Florencio Campomanes at the age of 83, a former FIDE president (1982-1995), who was a charming but controversial figure very much involved in the ramifications of the famous Karpov-Kasparov matchs in the mid-eighties to mid-nineties.

A special guest who knows a thing or two about matchplay. @ official site

For more information on the tournament official tournament site

For more information on World Chess or Campomanes see World Chess Federation

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