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Anand-Topalov WCh, g11

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It's crunch time! It's all tied up with two games to go. Can Anand finally land the knockout blow or will he continue to falter against Topalov's relentless energy? Official site.

Update:The third draw in a row and least interesting game of the match, at least up until the end when Anand either made a winning attempt or a losing attempt in an equal endgame. Anand tried to change things up with an English opening but most of his progress looked superficial. For once Topalov matched the world champion's quiet maneuvering handily, even getting a slight pull as the pieces came off. The ending looked like it should have been drawn without adventures, but Anand again decided to test his fans' heart conditions. Technical endgames have never been Anand's happy place, especially defending them, but it was still surprising to see him dump his b-pawn for counterplay with 49.Rd2?! when the passive lines of defense look perfectly adequate for White. Maybe Anand was entirely confident that the rook endgame after 50..Rf4 51.Rd5 is drawn? Looks very unpleasant. Things started to look okay for White as soon as Topalov skipped that and allowed the white king to get to h5. 56.Nxe7 was the most forcing draw, but Anand calculated 60.g6 well.

It's 5.5-5.5 and Topalov takes the white pieces into the final classical game on Tuesday.


It's English opening, with reversed dragon sicilian.

The speed Topalov's playing suggests Anand's opening surprise has turned out to be something of a dud!? Topalov's known for bluffing occasionally, but he seems to know what he's doing. On the other hand the position looks solid and Anand's bishops might eventually tell... and I guess the penultimate game of a title match isn't a time for taking great risks.

I guess Anand played the English to shut up Nigel Short?

Or to waste a white ?! :S This might become the dullest game of the match.

Dull positions with a tiny edge should suit Anand - especially if he can tempt Topalov into doing something reckless. The problem is if Anand loses this game his chances to win on demand with black after a rest day must be tiny.

Shipov irrepressible as usual: Can [Black’s control of the a2-f8] diagonal be called battling and working? Hardly. White has the right to ignore Black’s actions. The bishop will move to a1, bishop won’t mange to hold at a2, the pawn b7 can be attacked anyway.

Tense stuff! I'm off to watch some football... forgive me, Caissa :) (and please give Anand a little external assistance!)

I wouldn't like to be black, that's for sure. Nasty long-term pressure on the queenside. But maybe Topalov can cook up some kind of pawn break to activate his pieces.

A failed opening by Anand as he hasn't got any advantage out of the openings nor has he got a time advantage by forcing Topa to think on a novelty. 1.c4 turned to be a waste for his last white.

Completely disagree with you. He played 1.c4 to exactly get into this manoeuvring middle game position where he think he can outplay Topalov. Engines are useless in this position.

21.Rd2 seems an error, now 21..Nd5 and good bye bishop pair

Why the bad blood between Topalov and Anand? Is it because of the accommodations denied when Anand was late coming into Sofia? Or is it hostility to Topalov going back to Elista? Or was there some other incident that I didn't hear about?

21...h6 by topalov suggest that he is not entirely sure what blacks plan must be.

What do you want to do with the bishop pair in this position?

21...h6 readies a future ...f5. This is going to get sharp within a few moves.

21..h6?, Topalov is at it again, after all Anand's plan is working..why not 21..Nd5 ? without the bishop pair there is no advantage in the plan to open the center

Not necessarily related to football, but Shipov's comment was
(after 19.-Rb8) "Maybe, he [white] should behave like a hooligan a little bit? (suggesting a knight retreat from f3 followed by f4)"
20.Rfd1 "No, Anand is an aged person. It's more difficult for him to behave like a hooligan."

(Former WCh candidate) Jussupow's assessment at a German site: Black is OK but doesn't have a concrete plan. In the long run, white's bishop pair might tell.

@What do you want to do with the bishop pair in this position?

you aim for a d4 and open the center for them. Topalov's battle Rd8/Nde7 (Nf5-Nfd4) up to now has been to prevent this d4-push..but Nd5 would have made it toothless ..however Topy has changed his mind with 21..h6

Good solid Karpovian approach by Vishy in Game 11.

Where is black's counterplay. This I feel was whites plan by going with this opening. The whole ...Ba2 plan and back to ...e6 and then ...h6 and now Nd5 looks like he feels pressure of not having an active play option. Exchanging on c3 is in Anand's advantage and also if he wanted to exchange he could have played before.

Topalov played Nd5 hoping for some reaction from the bishop on c3, but Anand played Rb2 anyway :)

All Anand fans now saying White has advantage. I dont see it. Someone above 1973 explain, please !

"Good solid Karpovian approach by Vishy in Game 11."

All that's missing is the squeeze.

Perhaps now 25...Nd4 26.Nd4 ed 27.Rbc2 Qh5 or ...Re8. Looks about equal.

IIRC, many of Anands wins in the past have been through rooks supported by the queen doubling up and breaking through on the queenside.

Or perhaps 25.-Rd6 - the last move I would have considered but the one Topalov played. After 26.Rbc2 Qd7 white would like to play Nf3-e4 winning the exchange ... .

Anand's plan is to create positions rich enough so as Topalov to start to see 'combinations' and, insetead of playing normal, keeping the balance,
moves he will blunder himself into one

I hadn't considered 25...Rd6, either, and Anand's 27.h4 was a surprise, too. Guess he was concerned about a possible ...g5. Looks weakening to me, but we'll see. Black's position seems a little easier to play - more active possibilities.

I like the official site. Big board, small video, no computer lines, a pleasant voice bubbling along in Bulgarian. The only thing missing is a portion of the screen dedicated to Mig's blog so I don't have to switch browser tabs.

this is draw, Anand aims for the rapids where all will be decided by the one with better motric skills and better eye-hand coordination.

Or it was desire to occupy the fourth rank?

We do come at similar conclusions Ovidiu. Anand is playing safe to get to the blitz where he has the advantage. One last wild card -- g12...


Anand is playing with fire. Second rate moves like Nxe4 maybe handing over to Topalov some edge. It creates the possibility of Topalov winning the world championship today. A remote one though.

wait game is not finished yet. it might throw little surprise.

Mehul, you guys exaggerate every position into a Bollywood tearjerker...


Looks like a tame draw. Dullest game of the match.

Shipov: "White has better chances in the endgame. His pawn on b5 neutralizes two black pawns. It’s difficult to change this factor. Further White plans e2-e3, transfer of the knight to d4, after which he can activate the rook."
This may well be true, but methinks it's rather drawish. This doesn't mean that Anand was only interested in a draw (and rapid tiebreaks) from the beginning, but that his quiet positional approach didn't succeed.

white certainly has more than 'better chance'.

Shipov: "41.exf4 Vishy, on the contrary, removes the pawns from the queenside. It’s the only chance for win. By the way, it’s almost for the first time in this match when the opponents passed the control without any problems and nervous looks at the clock. I don’t even want a coffee yet. But I should. Here is an order."

Anand might blunder and lose from here..

Vishy has to find very accurate moves now. This game IS approaching 'bollywood' levels. It's beginning to get uncomfortable watching this as an Anand fan. This game is far from a 'dead draw'.

Isn't it slightly harder to play for White now? Not that I think they have ever been close to leaving the rather wide draw zone.

49 Rd2 ?? talking about playing with fire.

Rd2, Anand wants to kill us!!

Anand again blunders with 49 Rd2

"Rd2, Anand wants to kill us!!"

He doesn't care about you. He's trying to kill Toaplov!

He waits to the last minute to play agressively and taking risk :-).
I think the idea is to push black king to the back rank with f5 then Rd7+. He thought a while for this,
but I don't know if this will work (of course my evaluation on this does not mean anything :-) )

Cool. But why?

The bollywood movie starring Vishy Anand as the tragic hero has just opened in theaters worldwide...come with plenty of tissue papers to blot away the sobs...Topalov almost world champion...

Shipov is suggesting that Anand is even playing for a win.

I think Topa will play 50...Re4, then what next for white?

omigosh.. Not a single game without some palpitation inducing moments. What is this??

Have to give it to Anand, this is funny *IF ITS STILL A DRAW*. Other wise he has simply lost his marbles.

Is that after or before 49) Rd2

yes, that is the only reasonable explanation for Rd2.

now 51.Kh5 perhaps? I personally don't like to have my king at the edge in endgames. Seems like a risky method for Vish.

or 51. Rd7+ followed by Rd5. Maybe better.

Wasn't Topalov the one supposed to lose patience?
I can't believe this can be more than a draw for White.


roamingwind: I don't think so. He just didn't want to stay passive, but it doesn't follow that he has realistic hopes of more than a draw..

So now 52.Nh2 or toast ?

Rd7+ now and then back to Rd5. Possible repetition for draw now.

I don't get it. It seemed like a simple draw?! What was the point of Anand's strange maneuver? Did he really think it would give him winning chances?

There clearly is an opening for Anand as a standup comedian when he retires from chess. This is great fun !

I meant Rd3 :)

54...Ne4 looks strong. Black now with a clear advantage. What was Vishy doing??

Damn, there might be a mating net with the knight on g6 if Topalov blunders.

For some reason, engines give only a slight advantage for black. Is this really drawn with best engine moves? Does Anand want to demonstrate that he can play like Topalov??

I'm looking at the computer's suggested 50..Rf4. It does allow 51.Kg3 Rb4 52.Rd7+, but White doesn't necessarily have time to get much going on the kingside before it's too late.

Now 57.Re3, 58.Kh6 and perpetual check with Nh8 and Ng6 !!? Anand's knight hadn't been to a corner in the earlier game with 13(!?) consecutive knight moves ... .

Likely a draw with best play, but Vishy has to suffer a bit first. Why did he get into this risky line? Perhaps he is bothered by the Sofia "no draw" rules. It seems that he could have repeated moves earlier before planting his king and knight at the edge of the board. Strange.

Vishy is blowing my mind...he is surving this somehow...I don't know how but he is finding some fantastic moves...It's a roller coaster. Did someone say this was a boring game?

I said this was going to be the dullest game after the opening. i might have to take that back.

I don't have a computer - isn't Vishy lost?

All of black's pieces on good squares. Very instructive playing by Topalov. Doesn't look goof for white.

"I said this was going to be the dullest game after the opening. i might have to take that back."
Same here.

Anand seems to have lost here and must say he deserved it.

How can black possibly win after g6? If he isn't careful, it is mate easily. This is still a draw.



All lost! To prayers, to prayers. All lost!

Now 61. Kg4

Please explain how Anand is lost. The game is a draw, and if Topalov presses, he loses easily to either mate or having to give the Exchange at some moment.



One or both of these GMs has lost their mind. They are playing like me and my kid brother!

Vishy has chances for a win here...worst he gets is a draw!!!

Yes, 61.Rc3 b2?? 62.Rc5: b1=Q 63.Ne6+ and Rc8 mate. This line isn't forced, though ... .

Yes, it's true after 60.g6 Black may fall into some trap - there are several.


61. Rc3 b2 62. Rxc5 b1=Q 63. Ne6+

When did he see this ?!

Live commentary by GM Hickl: "Stop it guys, I am hungry!"

And if the knight moves now, Ne6+.

61.Rc3, he found it!

Anand looking cool as a cucumber while Topalov looking slightly uncomfortable.

I'm constantly surprised by Anand. He had several opportunities to go for broke with some finely calculated tactics, but chose to play safe and didn't prevail. Just when I thought he had resigned himself to rapids, he tries one last insanely tense line, with everything hanging by a thread!!!!!!

oh God! Rc3 instead of Ne6+! now its lost!

Anand has secured a draw now. Exciting play.

After Rc3, what if ... Rc7 Rxc5 Rxc5 Ne6+ Kg8 Nxc5 b2?

...Rd4 will draw. Topalov is looking for something else.

Now Topalov also has to be careful! (After 61. Rc3) Man, Anand sure lit a fire on the board from the most unlikely position today!

Laj, he would take the b pawn with his rook first before forking the Black rook with the knight.

This is not a weekend club game. To play like this with so much at stake calls for some serious b***s.

61...Rc7 62.Rxb3

Anand even managed to gain time with his crazy attack. Maybe he's just having fun.

ok, ...Rd4 played. The draw is easy now for white. Exchange knights then checks on 7th and 8th ranks.

Rc7 the Nd3

Read the thread! We've gone over the possibilities long since. Rc3 was clearly the strongest move.



Now 62.Ne6+ Nxe6 63.Rc7+ is funny.

Lots of analysis right now on TWIC about this

or, in case of 61...Rc7, maybe 62.Nd3 ?

Topalov taking a bathroom break now :D

Stalemate (Rg7+) also an option now. That can end the game fastest :)

DRAW Oooof...what a game; for Anand to draw this after 49. Rd2 is staggering. A super GM for sure.

Impressive play by Topalov today. He was never in any danger and played accurately. Now he has white in the last game and he has the advantage. Remember that he is more than capable of producing a very strong novelty. I would be sweating if I were an Anand fan.

Well, it was perpetual check - and a handshake (or rather hands approaching each other) without threefold repetition and "help" from the arbiter.

1/2-1/2 - ballsy pawn sac by Anand to gain King entry, similar to a famous R ending, Capablanca-Tartakower.

Great chess...this has gotta be one of the five greatest matches of all time. Not a single boring game.

They look so dainty with their little hand touch. How silly. They both need to man up and shake a proper handshake. "Just because you have to kill someone doens't mean you don't have to be polite about it." - Winston Churchill

what abt 65.g7

Or in Shipov's words: "And here comes a miracle! The opponents HAVE AGGREED TO A DRAW without arbiter’s participation. Finally. In the accepted manner."

If I were Topalov I would grab Anand's hand and shake his arm off all the while giving a great big toothy grin. These guys need to read up on some Stephen Potter Gamesmenship.
Great game though. Of course, I'm not even fit to comment on that part.

Both played very well from move 49 onwards. Any inaccuracy by either could have led to the other winning.

49. Rc2 also shows that Anand is far from stressed, tired or exhausted. The rest days seem to have helped.

It's all up to Topalov now! Tuesday should be very exciting day.

65.g7..66 kh6 .. 67 Rb8

It will be a shame if anand doesn't win this championship after showcasing his extraordinary talent. What an end game display today. He wove a mating net out of nothing giving up pawn. What nerves has he got to do that! He sees deep and this game is a testimony to the fact that Anand is the best end game player ever!

With white in the final game, the advantage is definitely with Topalov.

yeah, lots of chess players suffer from inadequate handshake especially when they lose. My policy is if I get the limp fish, they get a dap (fist bump).

I don't know what Anand had for 50.Rf4

can any1 explain why 65.g7 would not help white?

I'm as big an Anand fan as anyone, but I think the best endgame play ever will involve more than getting a draw out of an equal position.

65.g7 Kh7.

Toledo, it is not always that easy to understand the greatest ever player's play!

thanx.... overlooked it.. so stupid of me!!

Anand saw most of this when he went Rd2 probably. The engines/patzers took more time thats all :)

Funny, just days after blowing an opposite-colored Bishop ending after securing the draw, followed by missing several easy wins a game later...



The only problem for Topalov is that he knows if he cannot win Tuesday, then its practically over for him. So he could push very hard and take risks. So in all it should give a great game on Tuesday

The fact that, starting from an equal position, he had to rely on such complex tactics to keep the balance also doesn't really speak for his overall endgame qualities!?

But it was a great show, I feel a bit sorry for mishanp that he missed most of it - I hope football was also exciting! ,:)

The best games not necessarily have to end in wins, likewise the best end games?? Anand creates possibilities, he sacs and knows a pawn down ending is a draw which isn't obvious, which isn't from some theory books to tell.

Now can you come down to Earth?


I was watching cricket and chess, so I didn't really miss out on chess. :)

Anand beat Kramnik with Black. He can beat this guy with Black.

You mean to come down to go up again tomorrow or day after, whenever!! ok sure I will find a safelanding for now.

It is all over for Anand if he falls for a novelty similar to the novelty in game one. Otherwise he will have a great chance to hold and push the match to the tiebreaks.

What should Anand play against 1.d4 ?
Go for the boring Slav or mix it up again with the Grunfeld? I would suggest (for whatever it is) deviating very early and even play a rare on-off line.

It's tough to be the best player ever with a lifetime score of something like -18 against the other greatest ever, Kasparov :)

And simply looking at their match is not for the faint-hearted, with the final score being 10,5-7,5.

I went back and looked at the board after 48..Nd6. No way is it obvious that Black can be pushed into a corner 15 moves later. In any event, I would have been s*ing bricks with 2 connected pawns for Black down the queenside. Unbelievable play by a true champion, and he was cool as cucumber throughout.

The press conference may be interesting - again a cheerful Anand and a rather disappointed Topalov?

Why not the Semi-Slav against d4 in Game 12?

Anand has a great record with it (though he did lose to Carlsen with it last year, and Topalov must be deeply prepared for it after Bonn). Still, white has to watch out and black can punish any over-reach. Will then pose an interesting dilemma for Topalov...push too hard and risk punishment or play safely for 2 results, but increase the chance for rapids, where there is a lower expected return.

Didn't Anand blow a drawn endgame and then blow a won endgame with the 2 rooks vs queen and now, wow he drew a drawn endgame , yep greatest of all time. Karpov, Kramnik, or Rubenstein, etc, etc, etc would all have done worse in these endgames than the greatest endgame player of all time, lmao.

What a logic!!! I'm curious, so if Anand retires today whoever has negative score against Anand like Carlsen can never ever attempt to be the greatest player ever?? The fact is Kasparov ducked Anand.

When we compare end game skills, you bring in time pressure blunders. No 2600+ would miss a 1 move mate. That wouldn't make them a better end game player than Kramnik!

Not sure I quite follow you, PircAlert, but Kramnik did miss that mate in 1 in a match vs the computer.

It would be great if Topalov introduces an innovation on Tuesday. So far in this match, introducing novelties has been Anand's domain. Yes, a most unfortunate position to be in for him, having Black against Topalov in a potentially do-or-die game. What will Topalov play?

@ No 2600+ would miss a 1 move mate.

I think that not a even a 2500 would do it.


and I thought I was a biased Anand supporter...

Everything being said. I am still grateful that Anand played differently than 1. d4

I just hope Topalov will play anything different than 1. d4

It is good for Champions to show they can play other openings. After all this is not the Queen Pawn Opening Chess Championship.

I liked it when Kasparov played the Scotch and the Evans Gambit in top tournaments. Imagine if Topalov were to play the Evans Gambit in the last game. That would wake up the crowd.

Obviously I like to play 1 e4 but I would be happy with a little mixture of first moves. Even Tony Miles beat Karpov when he was champion with 1. ... a6

Personally I did not see Topalov playing risky chess in this entire match. Well maybe a few moves. Overall he has played fairly conservatively.

Um, before you make all inclusive statements perhaps you should check the facts? 2600+ players as a matter of actual fact have missed one move mates in the past.

Of course it is extremely rare among this class of players, but even the best, once in several blue moons, play a real clanger.

Kramnik missed a 1-move mate against Fritz...

I still like Anand's chances... Topalov probably feels he *has* to win Game 12, and will press very hard, creating opportunities for Vishy.

Exactly. No matter who you play, when you miss a mate in one, isn't that a reflection of your end game skills??

Anyway my main point here is, any one of the greatest end games player ever would have played 49.Kg3 in such a situation. The moves would have matched computers and would have seen as a flawless technique to a human eye. Those things will never show the depth of your calculations or wide range of moves you choose to calculate. That is where Anand stands apart by choosing moves like 49.Rd2. It is not a speculative move to be called dubious. He must have assessed the arising 49...Nxb5 50.f5 Rf4 51.Rd5 and resulting knight trade as a draw. And Topalov does 50...Re4, and Anand must have also seen what he did in the game. But thats not it. On move 56, Anand does a Ra3, still not grabbing pawn by 56.Nxe7 Nxd3 57.Nc8 and settling for a draw. He sees tactics far deep. The game followed must have given some scary moments to Topalov. There is no room for speculative or intuition or guess work moves. These things can be calculated to the end. A point hangs in balance and Topalov would have immediately pounced. So it shows the tremdrous depth and variety of his calcualtions. Anand is greater than the greatests!

While we are just the opposite on the biased aspect (you think you are biased and I think I am unbiased ;) ), see, there is some common ground. We both are supporters of Anand!

PircAlert, It is nice to be a fan, but you are going way overboard in your hero-worship of Anand. Yes, he is a great player, but it's not as though he is alone in finding deep moves -- all the really great players in chess history regularly did this. But great players are also mortal humans who make mistakes, and chess is all about making mistakes. I haven't the slightest doubt that Topalov will come out in aggressive fashion on Tuesday, and Anand knows this. It will be interesting to see how both players cope with this situation.

IMHO PircArlet, Topalov may probably come in agressive mood. But since we are talking about chess, it is not at all excluded that such agressive mood may backfire. Just remember the last game of Karpov-Kasparov second match. I am a fan of both chess players. I think that in the end of the day Anand plays a kind of more harmonic chess (which as a matter of taste I appreciate more). This is not to say that Topalov is not a great chess player also. I just do not appreciate all the agressiveness they demonstrate (I think it came mostly from Topalov), towards one another in the end of the games barely touching each other hands. It reminds of Botvnnik that (as far as I remember and please correct me if I state it wrongly), that he needed to be in personal contention with the other player to better defend his title. It would be nice to have wonderful players and gentlemen like Spassky again in the contention for world title.

Sorry, I intended to respectfully direct my last post to Jim who responded to Pircalert..

Topalov and Anand rightly care not one bit about "waking up the crowd". This match is for the world championship, and should one of these men play entertaining chess and lose, people in said crowd would say "Oh, what a pity" and go back to their everyday lives, whereas the risk-taker would be left to rue his choice. There is no good reason for Topalov to throw any oddity into the proceedings when the score is even and he has white in the final game. I fully expect for him to play for a win, but certainly not in kamikaze style.



Kasparov ducked Anand?! Yeah, to the tune of 10.5-7.5. Nice ducking...

Topalov will be under immense pressure in the last match because deep down he believes that he will lose the 4-game rapid match.

The pressure will cause Topalov to play inaccurately which will cost him the last game and the match.

I thought Anand showed a lot of confidence in himself in the endgame with moves like Rd2 and Ra3. I think Anand is going to be in top form in the last game.

I know Topalov is tough, but this time I think the pressure may be too much even for him: (1) match is in Bulgaria and everyone is expecting him to win, (2) he is the underdog in the rapid phase so he absolutely has to win, (3) next time he'll have to first overcome Kramnik and Carlsen, and may be even Aronian, etc.

Here we go - Next game: 1.e4 e5 2.f4!

1) I think that Topalov, moreso than other elite GMs, desires pressure and expectations. He thrives on being able to get through chaotic situations that would rattle others. He just happened to have the Iceman as his opponent last time.

2) Topalov is the underdog in a rapid match, but by no means does he "have" to avoid going to tiebreaks and play Game 12 as though only one result is survivable.

3) He has to overcome Kramnik and Carlsen, and they, him. The man is 2800; I'm not a fan, but let's not behave as though he is a borderline 2700 who just happened to benefit from luck (favoritism of seeding him opposite Kamsky instead of letting Gata get the match he earned, yes, but not luck!) in landing where he is. No player of his caliber should take as foregone the conclusion that this is his final shot.



I am a hardcore Anand fan but I wouldn't put him amongst the top 5 endgame players of all time. In the modern era Kramnik, Shirov and Carlsen are better than him in this department.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 9, 2010 8:28 AM.

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