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Anand-Topalov WCh, g7: Olympus Aflame

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The second half of the match begins on Monday. Anand has the lead by a point after six games and white in game seven. Topalov is a notoriously strong closer, though only six games with three rest days will hardly have exhausted Anand and the quality should remain high. After Topalov held against the Catalan in game six the question is whether or not Anand tries something else. On the other hand, 2.5/3 with it ain't bad, and if it allows him to get positions he's more comfortable in than Topalov he doesn't have to swing for the fences with the lead in hand.

Anatoly Karpov is the new guest of honor at the match in Sofia, according to the official site. This is just a few days after his rival for the FIDE presidency, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, fled Sofia for Moscow to fight for the Russian nomination. He'll make the honorary first move of the match tomorrow. Has he done this before? Must be a little odd for him to do it while Anand, whom Karpov beat in a 91 candidates match and a FIDE KO final match in 98, is making the non-honorary first move.

Update: Another fantastic game, this time with Topalov pushing the action and Anand rising to meet the challenge. Topalov finally caught Anand in the opening, another Catalan, and out of an exchange sac (seen at Amber this year) he sacrificed a piece for two pawns and a tremendous initiative that lasted pretty much the entire game. Anand defended very well and It eventually ended in a dynamic draw, with both sides unable to make any progress. White's extra knight is tied down defending the passed d-pawn and the white queen can't achieve anything on her own.

Update 2: Great job in the comments from folks aggregating analysis and adding their own. The crux of the debate at the moment is whether or not Anand missed a forced win, which is very different from "clearly better" and not at all the same as "better than what was played." And in games with queens and passed pawns and not much else, all computer analysis must be quadruply qualified with "but the chance of a human playing all of these forced moves in a row is roughly the same as Mig winning the Kentucky Derby."

Quoting GM Shipov at Crestbook, perhaps via Dana MacKenzie's blog where he is translating Shipov: The computer demonstrates the incredibly subtle play by the queen not allowing Black to put the pawn on d2 42.Qa4!! Qd5+ /42. ..d2? 43.Qc2+/ 43.Kf1 Qe6 44.Qa2!! /with the threat of capturing on d3 with a knight/ 44. ..Qd5 /44. ..Qc6 45.Qa1! Qd5 46.Qe1!/ 45.Qa6+ Kg7 46.Qa7+ Kg6 47.Qe3 and Black has difficulties. White is ready to activate his knight. And d2 is answered by Ke2!."


Anand should play a King's Gambit. Element of surprise.

Anand should ask for permission to play the game blindfolded. Also an element of surprise and roughly as sound.

Karpov made the ceremonial first move for Anand in game 6 in the Bonn match which Anand won in Karpovian style!

How about 1-g2-g4? :)

Why not play 1.e4 as he is leading? Topa also wants to win and won't play Petroff or Berlin and gives both of them the chance to try out their preparation. Even if it is Petroff, didn't Anand bust it recently when used by its leading practitioner, Kramnik.


I think Anand will be happy to play another Catalan. No reason to switch to another opening if he still has preparation in the Catalan that has not been played.

Why should Topalov be that eager to win? Another draw and he is just one point behind with one more White left. Not that terrible.

Not that I think he'd play the Petroff against 1.e4, even though he has used it now and then, but you can't rule it out..

But 1.e4 from Anand today would surprise me anyway.

Anand cannot afford to waste another white. So he should somehow try and take Topalov out of theory and out of familiar setups as early in the game as he can even. Better he go for another opening and come back to Catalan later if necessary. Because Topalov could spring up some surprise and go for some wild variations towards the end of the tournament. So I think a 2-point lead at this stage is very necessary for Anand.

Karpov also made the ceremonial first move for one of the Kramnik-Leko Brissago games. I can't remember which one.

I dont see why Anand needs a two point lead at this stage. Other than the first game, all his blacks were very successful. every draw leads him nearer to his goal. My guess is another 1.d4

So let's recap:

Game 1: Anand has black and makes 2 mistakes - playing the Grunfeld and then relying on his memory - not playing the board - and is justly punished by Topolov in typical style.

Game 2 The first Catalan - a few nuances keep the position uneven (he's happy to play a pawn down for postional pressure) but solidly on Anands stylistic turf - Anand wins in Kramnik style.

Game 3 The Slav defence - giving up Grunfeld adventure - Anand takes the Queens off early and holds comfortably. The silly Sofia rules instead of being left as a bit of pre-match macho posturing are made to look even sillier in practice.

Game 4 Another Catalan - either Topolov thinks he has something or wants to show he's not afraid of playing on Anands turf. Anand wins in classical style - accumulation of small advantages and nice sac to win.

Game 5 Another Slav - more unbalanced but still to Anands liking - but Topo slips in a simple position and Anand holds the ending - draw.

Game 6 Another Catalan, another pawn sac by Anand. Topolov plays more actively and holds the draw.

My impression is that there is a lot more going on under the surface of these 'simple' positions than meets the eye but still and all Anand is making Topolov play on his turf and is leading (and Topolov seems to want to prove that he can do that rather than playing to his own strengths). Anand will play the Catalan again and let Topolov prove him wrong. Swapping to e4 would give Topolov the chance to play a sicilian and take it somewhere complicated. Topolov shouldn't panic but he needs to win 2 games to take the match so he has the point to prove.

Not only did Karpov make the ceremonial move, he even asked Anand a question at the press conference (suggesting a move):

http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/anand-kramnik-g6-live/ (fast forward to 21:40).

I note Karpov (born 1951) has fallen below Alexander Beliavsky in rating, and out of the top 100. Beliavsky is now the oldest player in the top 100, born 1953. Beliavsky is also the only player born in the 1950s still in the top 100. For many years, Karpov was a much stronger player than Beliavsky, but Beliavsky remained active, remained the fighter, and now he's "stronger" than Karpov.

Reported today @Chessvibes Campomanes has died. Rest in Peace.

Will the lights go out today as Anand is evaluating another knight sac?

Finally Topalov sacrifices an exchange, he went many games without...

Shipov usurping Mig by quoting Kasparov :) http://online.crestbook.com/antop10-07.htm

"Garry Kasparov admitted that the 4th game recalled the best games from his old encounters with Karpov. The same domination, the same knight on d6 (or d3 with colours reversed), the same bold play across the whole board. And that what was effectively the losing move, 20...h6?, was being recommended by computer programs is in his view a very telling fact. In general Anand looks good for now. But Topalov also, it seems, has come to life! In any case, his play in the last game with black was convincing. Personally I think that Topalov needs to change his opening repertoire (both with white and black). While Kasparov thinks the opposite - that Anand needs to change something in the opening! So let's see whose view will prove more correct... On the other hand, it's only a question of differences of scale. Vishy continually alters his opening lines - it's his usual strategy. Even playing the same openings at a certain depth he constantly diverges from the games he's played before - in order to avoid his opponent's preparation. Garry suggests more fundamental changes... Before the game has begun I'll make my prediction: another Catalan opening! In the 5...a6 line (if that's what Topalov plays again) it would be good to see the brave response 6. 0-0. In general that would mean a certain alteration in the opening strategy - somewhere between my point of view and the opinion of the 13th world champion. However you look at it, Anand still needs to win another game - it'll be difficult to get to the finish line making only draws. And also risky. On that question there's no difference of opinion between Kasparov and myself."

"And that what was effectively the losing move, 20...h6?, was being recommended by computer programs is in his view a very telling fact."

Ah, so Kasparov is accusing Topalov of cheating :)

I have a bad feeling about this game. Anand has walked into some very aggressive preparation of Topalov and he has clearly not anticipated. If Anand loses, all credit to Topalov for his ballsy opening.

what happens after white's possible exd5 now?

But I am happy that it happens a very intersting game "finally". Anand has to show, he is not only a super grandmaster, but also World Chess Champion, who can fight in different situations.

Relax people, this like Capablanca-Marshall, Anand has been surprised but he will defuse this sharp attack, and win in the end.

Excellent. Anand plays another Catalan and this time Topolov gets what he wants - activity for exchange sac. Anand takes up the challenge of fighting on his opponents (pre-prepared) turf.

Damn, Anand is gonna get mated...where is the light switch?

Marshall hadn't prepared his sacrifice with a team of computers and seconds. At this point, the game is Anand vs. Rybka + Topa + Chepa, and he is 40+ minutes behind. Anand will be lucky to escape with a draw.

That's why Topa kept playing the Catalan, he had such 'bombs'prepared, he didn't intend to play a Catalan-like normal game to begin with.

16. exd5 ! Gauntlet picked up! Obviously Topalov prepared for this. If Anand comes out of this with a draw, a huge moral victory for him. (And quit playing the damned Catalan already! You can't give your opponent the same target 4 times in a row!)

@ If Anand comes out of this with a draw, a huge moral victory for him...

for him, and for chess, what's the point of "playing" and wtaching such games which all prepared ? ..now Anand 58 min, Topa 1h 57 min

Have you ever seen a game with the clocks reading 0:57 - 1:57 at move 20? And the white player is Anand!

According to Chessdom, Anand played an inaccuracy with 21. Kh1. Apparently 21. Kg2 was better.

This is why when Kramnik played kasparov he used the berlin to break the link between Kasparov and the computer. For the game is still Anand vs Rybka + Topalov + Chepa.

Shipov: 20...Re8 < Another home prep. and After 21. Kh1, finally Anand played a move, which is out of Topalov's home prep. Anand could stand and go for a walk...

My belief is that 21. Kh1 was to break the link with the computer prep. Topalov has now started to think.

It's pretty common to have extreme variations in time usage when one side's still in home preparation.

Interesting situation now - I don't think 21. Kh1 was even an inaccuracy. It offers a draw which is an achievement for Anand given the way this has gone. Topalov will probably play on, but that's not without risks, especially if Anand has finally escaped Topalov's preparation (though obviously he'll know the tactical motifs in the position).

Anand not much surprised here. The game follows Gelfand vs. Ivanchuk from the recent Amber. Shipov claiming it has been studied to great detail by the player's camps.

True, but 11...Bd7 already varied from Ivanchuk's 11...Ba6.

I've always found interesting the question of how quickly one should play when the position is known? If psychology is the 9th pawn on the board, then it can work either way maybe; for some, seeing opponents react quickly to each move is a sign that one is in trouble, while for others, this is somewhat comforting because they know that they are still in "book". I took to heart Jen Shahade's lesson in setting a trap from the U.S. Championship several years ago, when she stayed at the board for a while before playing what appeared to be a losing move, only to reveal later that she knew it to be bait all along! (Even her own brother was sad and said "She missed this idea, for sure." An observing GM responded, "What makes you think she missed it?") Perhaps it is better to keep a fairly even pace except in positions in which long thinks are obviously necessary, so as not to alert the opponent to imminent danger. On the other hand, Hikaru doesn't seem to suffer any ill effects from firing off moves against top players, so it is maybe still inconclusive.



Anyone calling Anands 21.Kh1 an inaccuracy is stupid. So you think Anand cant calculate a few moves ahead to se that taking the Nb1 is without check ? Taking Topailov out of book paid off immediately. Anand neutralises Topailov+Rybka+Cheparinov+Smeets(?!) easily in this game.

Anand may have been one of the fastest players, although I think he's slowed down a bit over time. I think that was true even when he was out of his prep.
But I wonder - who's among the consistently slowest players who are playing at a very high level?

@ Shipov claiming it has been studied ..

oh boy, perhaps the real novelty is 21..Bf8 ?

On the contrary, even top GMs miss such subtleties all the time. Furthermore, I wouldn't say that he "easily" sidestepped their prep when he used maybe four times as much time on the clock as his opponent. When one is down an hour on the clock as white out of the opening, he may have successfully solved his problems, but certainly not effortlessly!



Ivanchuk and Kamsky, I would suggest, are two of the slower players. Both seem to find themselves in time trouble in favorable positions and go astray because of it on several occasions.



There is a difference between "top GM" and the worlds strongest active match player whos calculations might have slowed down a little but who is still exceptional at calculating.

On an unrelated note? What is this stupidity about drug testing in a chess match? Is there going to be a freestyle cage-match-street-brawl after the game?

Guys/Girls Back to the game pivotal move at the moment h6 is being discussed a supposedly un-topalov like move comments??

During the game, not after. It's called Freestyle Cage-Match-Street-Brawl Chess. Very popular in Taiwan now. Sometimes they throw alligators in the cage.

True, there is a difference between top GMs and Anand (the 2800 mark is not without significance!), but we are talking about a former World Championship Challenger in Kamsky who missed similar ideas against Topalov in their match, and other elite players have done worse.



Topalov has made the un-Topalov like move.

I think Topalov is going to win this one !

Perhaps Bd4 is good. I also wonder about Na3, but then I don't like giving up diagonal access to f2 so easily. At least if Bd4 ... Bc5, then Na3 is fine here, I think.



Anand has spent 7 minutes and counting on his 25th move. Is he mad? Now he has 29 minutes (or less) for 16 moves.

Does Bxg3 work here? I don't have a comp, but I wonder about where the break is if Qh5+ is followed by Re2.



All the pundits are unanimous that 25. Nd2 is a ?!, and that 25. Qh3! was correct.

Nevermind. I just realized that after Kg2 Re2+ Qxe2 dxe2 Ra8+ Kh7 Re8, white has a lot of extra forces and no worries about black promoting a pawn.



I do not think time is going to be a factor anymore because he would be thinking on Topalov's clock as well.

They said the same thing about Qb3 in the game Anand won (i.e that it was bad).

Some brilliancies from Chessdom:

GMChristianBauer: the eval is rising in Black's favour

GMChristianBauer: 25.Nd2 was a really poor move

The way it is going, I think time will be an enormous factor. Anand has already thought 7 minutes and counting for his 26th move. He now has 22 minutes or less for 14 moves. And the position is a minefield with no advantages for white.

Maybe White's position will be busted before the time controls. Can black exchange B's and get Q + R on 7th.

It is all over. 20 minutes left for 14 moves and Anand is still thinking. Even if the position is still equal, he is going to make a mistake and lose.

Yep, the time situation's hugely important now - but on the other hand the position's absolutely critical. Shipov said the long think on the 26th move shows Vishy knows what he's doing (and realised the trouble he was in). The natural Ne4 looked to be losing, so he had to find (and found) the only move, Ra1. It's still very sharp...

Anand is one of the fastest OTB players in history. He is not concerned about having to calculate quickly, but rather rightly trying to figure out how to avoid losing on the spot. (Who cares how much time he has left on the clock if it is mate in 3?) First, address the issues before him, and only then worry about what the clock says afterward. It is often possible to work things out so that several moves can be played quickly, especially if forced (such as bxc3 if a Bishop trade is proposed). It makes no sense to rush so that one has time remaining on the clock with which to contemplate a lost position.



26..Ra1 !? why this now....Anand on his way to losing this game.

Topalov has nothing to lose, he has a huge advantage with the initiative. If his rook joins the party, it is all over for Anand.

p.s. it's just a shame Vishy didn't spend a minute or two more on his 25th move :)

Yes the guys at chessdom are like pendulums - swinging wildly from one outcome to the opposite! strange considering they have the suffix 'gm'.

From your keyboard to God's RAM, Maliq!

Some game, this.

Rybka at Chessok suggesting 28...g5, which very much looks like the sort of move Topalov might play. Anand could do with an easy perpetual check around now, though it's a little unlikely Topalov will allow one! Still, the black king's also likely to be exposed, so all results possible...

Any updates on toilet visits score?

Chessbase's Fritz says dead draw on my old computer, but I would hate to be white in this position. But then again, I'm no Anand:-)

I went twice, while sitting at my computer.

Do others also get "account suspended" at http://www.chessnc.com/en/online/ (Shipov's live commentary, English version) ?

Did you get up or did you use a bottle?...Wait...I don't want to know...

It seems that Anand has to give back the piece soon. Topalov may play f5 to kick the knight out. Also, Anand's h2 pawn is super weak.

Sad that Anand ruined a potential win (likely a pawn up endgame) with 25.Nd2. That's the advantage of home prep as the reduced time forces errors from the opponent as it did from Anand this game (and from Kramnik in the previous match).

In any case, looks a draw now. Topalov has the option of which repetition to choose.


Immediate ...f5 is no good because of Nf2 and then Kg1. This approach is better for Topalov.

I don't think Anand is in a time trouble at all if draw is all he wants. The logical/obvious moves lead to a draw with some forced moves and hence shouldn't require much time. Topalov is the one looking for complications and needs more time as seen in the last few moves.


One of Shipov's comments needs an English gloss!:

"29. Ne4 One of the roads leading to "Rome" (but the letters in that word need to put back to front). Vishy has enough time to work out the none-too-complex subtleties: 0.16 - 0.33"

Rome, Рим, back to front is Мир, or peace :)

Incidentally Shipov analysed 25. Qh3 to a draw, so it's possible Anand didn't let any real advantage slip.

Now we have the usual drawing dance...

To the arbiter!



Now it is Anand who refuses a draw.

Guess they don't call it a world championship game for nothing :).

Anand already refused the draw with 32.Qxg2 and now he does it again with Kg2. Aren´t the black pawns dangerous?

Will Anand get winning chances if he somehow manages to exchange queens? ,:)

Great Anand. Playing for a win now. The man has guts and balls.

Well if Topalov's pawns are dangerous you couldn't tell by Anand's body language. He certainly looks very nonchalant.

He's got more balls playing this than I have watching this :). I was hoping he would take the draw so that I could get away with this :).

What is the link to the video, please?


Click on watch video, then right click and zoom 200%.

What of NxP?

This certainly is why people remember the WC. Can't take my eyes out of the screen.

Around about now Topalov wishing he could have tried offering Anand a draw a few moves ago!??

Greg - http://www.anand-topalov.com/en/live.html and click on "watch video"

By far superior drama compared to a tournament like San Luis 2005! THIS is why match play is the better way to determine who the World Champion is!



phx, derek, misha,


No matter what you think of Topalov he just seems to make games interesting.
I'm really enjoying this match much more than Anand-Kramnik 2008. I'm not rated high enough to know if the quality is objectively better, but they just are fascinating.

After move 40 Anand takes a bathroom break.

I believe live video feed has made the experience for the rest of us very 'real'.

After HIS 40th move, Topalov gets up to see what Anand is really up to.

Not only videp feed but also engine analysis, I can watch games because of engine analysis otherwise I can not understand games at all. Or you will have to rely on few GMs which is good but sometimes they are not at par with WC players

i am a newbie, can someone explain how the time counters have clocked up?

Indeed. Also, comments from people who understand chess more helped me a lot.

What do the engines say about this position?

Baji, they are playing with different time controls, so they have 2 hours for the first 40 moves. After each side has made 40 moves, they each gain an additional hour.



My engine said absolutely equal from moves 30-40, where many draws by repetition were possible. Now it gives a slight edge for White, but the position is still rougly equal.

There is a small square near the bottom left corner of the live chess board on the official site. It blinks every few seconds. Does anyone know what does that indicate?

an additional hour for the rest of the game?

vkj it blinks when the site auto refreshes

Whtan02, each receives an additional hour for the next 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remainder of the game, plus a 30-second increment after each move (meaning that they gain 30 seconds after each move and can therefore technically avoid losing on time indefinitely).



Thanks Maliq

Though on the other hand... I'm a weak player (I only really play 1-minute games at ICC, at about 1700 level) but I found I got far, far more out of the games sitting in the darkened hall in Sofia with just the board (and players) to look at. It really does force you to look for yourself and try and understand what's going on. It takes a while to focus but eventually you do see a lot of the ideas - even if you can't actually calculate the trickier lines it's much more satisfying afterwards to check up on e.g. Shipov's analysis and find that he looked at many of the same moves.

Shipov says black should hold - taking the c & d pawns without allowing a perpetual is extremely difficult.

Maliq, thanks a lot.

Muhahahaha. Toiletov getting out-sofiafied by the Vish !

Shipov's computer says than Anand missed an advantage with 42. Qa4.

Looks like a draw to me.

Is this the first game of the match so far where Topalov has been able to use his prep? I think Vishy was the first to play a new move in game 1.

Toledo Paul, if you read the reviews of each game on TWIC, Topalov's Q*f6 was the first new move in the last or second last game. So this is the second game, plus Topalov was in prep in game 1. Vishy has the edge in prep, but not as much as you would think!

They are going for a new record of the most possible three-fold reps spurned.

"Toledo Paul, if you read the reviews of each game on TWIC, Topalov's Q*f6 was the first new move in the last or second last game. So this is the second game, plus Topalov was in prep in game 1. Vishy has the edge in prep, but not as much as you would think!"

Thanks for the info, AJ.

Anand still holds an advantage here, imo, but it will be hard to convert it. Likely a draw, but Vishy has the easier position to play.

Anand missed a win with 42.Qa4!!

Perhaps Anand's point is that it is tricky to keep track of possible three-fold repetitions in this kind of position. Draw at move 92!?

"If you hadn't unilaterally imposed Sofia rules on the match I might have been amenable to a draw here."

It´s a draw now, without the triple repetition. Very good game.

And I don´t think missing 42.Qa4 was equivalent to missing a win, maybe some advantage, but black seems to be able to hold.

Where was the win if 42. Qa4 was played? Don't just look at a computer eval and come away with claims about the likely result, especially if you see something like +1.0 in the endgame. At the end of the game, checkmate has infinite advantage, and if the promotion of an extra pawn is inevitable, then the eval leaps to reflect the power of the new piece. Maybe Anand missed a chance to claim an advantage and put Topalov in a position to lose (depends on the best moves and ease of finding them after the suggested play), but I am highly skeptical of any claim that this move was immediately winning.



Nope, on move 58 (same position as after moves 46 and 50) - yes, Vishy had fun with Sofia rules today ... .

Oh sorry, the postion with WQd1, WKg2, BQe6 and BKg7 seems to hav ebeen repeated three times, but with many moves in between.

Maliq and Thomas, you´re both correct.

I think Anand could not offer a draw to Topalov directly because Topalov would object to that, and Anand didn't want to call the arbiter because come on, it looks silly. He was waiting for Topalov to ask for the draw in whatever way he thought was appropriate. But Topalov couldn't call the arbiter because he was in an inferior position and it was not for him to offer the draw. So the arbiter had to come in and end it himself. I think this will happen every time Anand has the upper hand, but the position is a draw.

With Qa4!, Stockfish shows that d2 pawn will no longer allow Black to leverage it for a draw:

In fact in one of the variations after 42. Qa4... Qd5+ 43. Kf1 Qe6 44. Qa2 Qd5 45. Qa6+ Kg7 46. Qa7+ Kg6 47. Qe3 shows that White can look to capture the d2 pawn.

Certainly that would have been a more advantageous move than what Anand chose.

Ptr, i saw the live feed where Topalov signaled with his eyes to the arbiter to come and negotiate a draw, so for record sake, i think draw was initiated by Topalov

Great Game by Anand !

I think if Anand had launched such a brutal attack Topalov would have survived ?

I think NO ! I think Anand should attack with Black.

I think it´s almost impossible to figure it out over the board, and even with computer analysis the line is tricky.

Topalov now has gained full confidence after drawing the last two games with black. He will be very dangerous the next five games.

Topalov was the one knocking on the door today, I think.

Thanks, I missed it because I had to finally get up from the computer and get myself some breakfast. At 12:45 pm. :)

I am not claiming it. Chess experts Sergi Shipov and Dennis Monokroussos, with the help of their engines are proclaiming it. Don't try to negate whatever I say.After 42.Qa4 white will win if he continues accurately.

By playing 21..Bf8 and risking of losing (21..Qxb2 would have forced draw) Topalov managed to shift the foucus of this game toward "whether Anand would win" and diminish Anand's "moral victory" to have survived this opening...in the end was 1/2-1/2 all around, result and 'moral', both have missed the win this game.

The arbiter is not allowed to interfere and declare a draw by his own initiative. I very much hope that Topalov realized it was a three-fold repetition and only then summoned the arbiter and claimed a draw. Otherwise the arbiter is breaking the rules.

"both have missed the win this game".

When did Topalov miss a win?

How about this Shipov's comment:
"Computer demonstrates the incredibly subtle play by the queen not allowing Black to put the pawn on d2 42.Qa4!! Qd5+ /42. ..d2? 43.Qc2+/ 43.Kf1 Qe6 44.Qa2!! /with the threat of capturing on d3 with a knight/ 44. ..Qd5 /44. ..Qc6 45.Qa1! Qd5 46.Qe1!/ 45.Qa6+ Kg7 46.Qa7+ Kg6 47.Qe3 and Black has difficulties. White is ready to activate his knight. And d2 is answered by Ke2!."

Wow, I think for me -3 yrs newbie- the most exciting chessgame I watched live. Even my nonplaying wife at some time became interested in the remarks on Chessbase or -some of- yours here.

Shipov implies that Kasparov saw the win for Anand, though he does point out it's a completely different thing to spot ideas from the sidelines rather than sitting at the board for 6 hours. On the forum he says he hopes Kasparov will also be offering opinions tomorrow, though it's not clear how they're working together!

Topalov did press in this game, but Anand was never in a worse position. He just had to find accurate moves and he kept finding them. After so much of preparation and pressing, team Topalov are still not able to induce an error from Anand after game 1. So it may be that from that perspective and the fact that he is leading, it is a moral victory for Anand even though he had white the last two games.

The move order was a little different, but the theme was known from another game. Anand had to find some accurate moves or he would have been in trouble. So did Topalov, but there was no slow pressure like previously, it was a wide-open game with material imbalances, the kind Topalov likes. AND Topalov dictated the opening this time. In my opinion this game is a psychological victory for Topalov.

"Shipov implies that Kasparov saw the win for Anand"

I dont' know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of Kasparov's claims. Granted, he is a great chess player, but sometimes I just don't know how credible his claims are. In terms of their current chess abilities I think Anand/Topalov/Kramnik/Carlsen are better than Kasparov simply because they are still playing and Kasparov is not. But it seems that Kasparov seems to find all the great moves that these other players miss.

It is not mutually exclusive -- both players can walk away thinking they have won a psychological victory. It is only real victories that are either/or!

This game was very exciting indeed , at least one unsatisfied wife enjoyed it.
I think her name was Maxima , maybe not :)

Again, gaining an advantage is NOT the same as winning! Perhaps Anand missed a chance to pick up a pawn, but there was no clear win that he missed at all. I just addressed the pitfall of basing such claims on computer evaluations in the endgame, yet you persist with it.



And what did Topalov have in store for Anand if we'd seen 21. Kg2 instead of Kh1?

This game was so interesting, because Anand is probably the best in the world at dynamically defending a position with a material advantage, whereas Topa is tops at pressing a dynamic advantage at the cost of material.

Note that "and black has difficulties" is decidedly different than "and white wins by force". Anand also "had difficulties" after playing Nd2, but he played Ra1 and held onto his bearings, later on even emerging with winning chances of his own. Again, nobody is disputing the question of whether Anand could have played the ending better after the rooks came off, only the matter of whether the result necessarily would've been different had he done so.



I'm not yet convinced that Vishy missed anything so clearcut in 42. Qa4. 42... h5! is an interesting continuation because 43.Qa8 hxg4 44.Qe4 Qxe4 45.Nxe4 Kf5 etc. is a draw. Knights are good, but not that good.

Another interesting question is whether the Topolov's team's opening prep wasn't fundementally a bluff. In other words, would Anand have been much better by going even more headlong into the sacrificial line? Obviously its a lot easier to suggest this in hindsight than it is to play it over the board.

Psychological victory for Topalov? Not sure. He holds as black but sees his best yet opportunity for first-strike novel home prep neutralized by Vishy without great difficulty over the board. And Vishy gets one big step closer to the finish line.

Moreover, when the fur starts flying, Vishy again chose to proceed in a manner most would say is suitable to Topolov, finding complex tactical rather than positional solutions to problems. Save for game 1, Vishy hasn't yet come close to misstepping. If Anand's analytic prowess is such that Topolov can't win in his typical fashion by inviting miscalculations in highly complex positions, what exactly is is plan from here? It is said that Topolov doesn't panic about the prospect of loosing and accordingly plays risky lines. How long will that remain the case in the current circumstances?

On balance, I'd expect more of the same from TeamTopolov. Over the long haul, I don't think Topolov would gain any more points against Vishy than he would loose with lines similar to the type he played today, but what alternative is there?

It seems Anand missed a win; after 39.. g5? 40.Qc5! is winning.

40.. d2 41.f4! +/-
40.. Kg6 41.Qd4! +/-

About Kasparov's commentary, Shipov has this to say: "Although his great predecessor not less than two times managed to outcalculate the computer. But, believe me, those are different roles. There is a big difference between tossing in a few comments from the side and baking one’s brain in front of the board for 6 hours."

Via Dana Mackenzie's blog: http://www.danamackenzie.com/blog/?p=815

40.. d2 41.f4! +/- Interesting, and perhaps more compelling? But again I think it a mistake to assume that the knight suffices to convert if queens come off, despite the computer's numeric evaluation.

One would, however have to concede that the suggested improvements would make Topolov sweat more than he did.

Update: after 40.. d2 41.f4!? black seems to be able to hold: 41... gxf4! 42. gxf4 Kg6 43. Qe5 Qxe5 44. fxe5 Kf7 45. Kf3 Ke6 and white is unable to make progress.

Today's result is a psychological victory not for Topalov or Anand but for Carlsen! ;)

Topalov touching 3 points means that Carlsen will remain #1 even after this WC match is over (unless Vishy pulls off a 3/3 from here). More likely though is that Vishy will only win one more game by repelling a Topalov attack, finish +2 and go past Topalov in the live ratings (kinda silly that FIDE releases a rating on 5/1 showing Kramnik ahead of Anand even though Anand had gone past Kramnik on 4/25 - whatever their cut-off window is, it seems more like a pre-internet one than a 21st century one). Worst case, Anand will just finish +1, remain #3, but cross 2800 again (for whatever that landmark is worth these days).

One thing is for certain; Anand plays some great World Championships! His three will definitely go down as some of the most interesting in chess history.

I just watched Shipov's video summary of the game, and he gives 40.. d2 41.f4 g4! as holding for black (though it's very study-like). He points out that the decision on whether to play ...d2 or not is just what Topalov wouldn't have wanted to face on the 40th move.

He also gives 42. Qa4!! as ultimately only being a draw, though it's hard to imagine either of the players would find all the recommended moves (he spotted one line where computers are convinced white is totally winning, but actually there's no way to make progress).

The one move that may win by force is 39. Qa2! In any case it would be very difficult for black to hold.

Other comments: there's no mention of Kasparov seeing 42. Qa4. Instead he'd come up with the idea of 21. b3 which seems to give white a comfortable game, though it's only drawn if black finds the best moves. Shipov calls Anand's 21. Kh1! a move of genius mainly because it's so unusual and finally got Topalov out of his home preparation (and led to him making a mistake on the next move - 21...Bf8 instead of the much stronger 21...Bd6).

Topalov's 31...Rg2+ is given a "?", as that was the last chance to force the draw.


Surely its a moral victory for Anand? Maybe I'm too partisan but seems to me Anand showed he can play over the board as well as Topolov (and his team) can prepare. Great chess.

Was this what Danailov & Co were talking about earlier? They were making vague comments that computers and seconds have found a way to win for Topalov.

Somethings I don't understand. 1. Why Anand has always same color shirt, "Was in game 7 also blue?",

2. and Topalov big man with 35 has no girl friend, even no boy ;) friend?

He brings a computer with him into the venue and uses it right in from of the whole world's eyes. In fact he is so blatant about it that he literally wears it. It is called "Deep Blue".

Just joking, couldn't help it :).

I too noticed that it is always the same colored shirt. He once said in an interview that he is not superstitious. Besides if the first game was any omen, he should have burned that shirt :), provided he was wearing it on that day too.

I wondered as well because he has worn the NIIT suit jacket against Kramnik. However, he usually fancies these shirts and he probably has several that he cycles out.

1. I think Anand has a sponsorship deal with NIIT and he wears whatever NIIT gives him.

2. I can't think of a funny and decent answer. So, I'll give you the decent but unfunny answer: I just think he wants to give 100% of his life to chess right now.

1. Maybe Anand is superstitious - remember Carlsen's red shirt in Nanjing? "Never change a winning shirt" - BTW he didn't wear it (or wore a jacket on top of it) in game 1!

2. Who am I to "defend" Topalov, but he actually has a girl friend (or at least had one in 2008/2009):
Unlike some other top players (Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Shirov), apparently he wants to and/or manages to keep his private life relatively secret - fair enough and fine with me. He actually shares this with Ivanchuk, not much is known about Chucky's (second) wife.

Yet another Shock & Awe campaign by Anand! but on the defensive front this time though.

Once again it looks like the commentators even with computer analysis and access to other sites and commentaries were clueless for the most part.

Tafkam, my nonchessplayingprincess is only royal in her imagination, and only southamerican in 'temperament'.
(Now she's entered this site also, she wants me to express our congrats to mr and mrs Mig with the birth of the bigboy!)

During live commentary at the official site yesterday, they were talking (only) Bulgarian for 15 or 20 minutes and then mentioned an email from the Netherlands: "What happened to the English commentary?"
Answer was "sorry we forgot" and then switching to English.
Was it Maxima? It wasn't me! ,:)

No, no Thomas, and an order to start mailing the official website is something I probably would have dared to refuse.

For me here and chessbase are the main sources of info during the live games, chessdom being a nice third. (During the longer thinks I may see some polgar analysis or a quick look at the offical site)

I like the babel effect of having the press conferences in 2 or 3 different languages , but i wish they would have hired someone to shot a documental from this event, so they can sell the dvd of the match , with interviews and analisys and stuff , maybe when we grow up.

Back home, Anand eats gunpowder regularly in Chennai along the idlis and dosas. It Topolov tries that he too will get sharper!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 2, 2010 11:06 PM.

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