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Anand-Topalov WCh, g9

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A bit swamped here with work and new baby, sorry for not keeping up with the match. Especially since it took a dramatic turn in game eight, with Topalov leveling the score in a game that got a little wild on both sides. But Topalov ritually wins chaotic games and if you do it all the time you can't call it luck. The pressure got to Anand and he blundered in a difficult endgame just when it looked like he had found a miracle draw with a little help from his opponent. The world champ had a free day to get his wits back and we'll see if he can again bounce back from defeat with a win with white. Things have gone from great to so-so to trouble for him with his Catalan, so his choice today is an intriguing one. Official site. The match is tied 4-4 with four games to play.

Update: Another incredible back-and-forth game, this one ending in a draw after Anand missed various wins. Topalov earned a perpetual check with a queen versus knight and two rooks and the match stays even at 4.5-4.5. The comments were on fire with wins for White, but nerves and several spates of time trouble prevented Anand from finding them against Topalov's never-say-die spirit. Anand is going to need all his spiritual reserves to hold things together after yesterday's blunder and today's missed opportunities.


Obviously crunch game for Anand today. Notwithstanding previous thread he could do with a bit of luck e.g. Topalov walking into a strong novelty. He must have been very tired during game 8. Has he the hunger/bottle to withstand Topa now? I hope so but feel if he doesnt win today Topa will be strong favourite for the match.

Anand, there is ONLY 4 more regular games, so stay focussed! You are playing chess with I believe never seen before accuracy and consistency that was ever seen in any players or in any of the past world championships. Rybha level 24 is cluessless sometimes. Your competition is so tough as well so this cannot be really compared to any of the championships happened before. So keep that going. But in order to easily drive home advantage, you need look into Topalov's weekness also. So play an entirely new opening and take Topalov out of as early (move 8!) to make him take time to think. The full point will be yours then.

You are the best ever! And your win will do a lot of good for chess ruined by politics. So..

Go Anand Go!! Get Topalov!

for the third time in a row, I'm predicting 1e4

(and yes, I love Vishy, but boy o boy, I love this kind of chess even more, so who ever wins, keep up the good work guys for at least another 4 games!)

I predict a Slav or Semi-Slav today.

Interesting to know the procedure before the game, some is posted here http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/world-chess-championship-facts and updates might come. From what I see is Anand coming on a tank?

Topalov plays the Reti today. Does anyone play the Reti at high level chess anymore?

Anand's match strategy has not been the best. The Gruenfeld hasn't fared well at the WC level, so that was a poor choice in Game 1. Can't argue with his success in Games 2-5; he made the right choices.

Going into Games 6 and 7, he had the momentum and back-to-back Whites. Instead of varying his opening and playing slightly more aggressively with the goal of winning either 6 or 7, putting Topalov in serious trouble, he stayed with the Catalan for two draws. And then stayed with the Slav, which had previously given him no chance for an advantage, again in Game 8.

He apparently and foolishly thought the WC-caliber Topalov would not be able to adjust his play to hold Anand's Catalan. Now Topalov, known as a strong finisher, has the momentum.

Yeah well my neat little narrative about whats been going on is completely shot. Who knows what Anand will do? Keep with the bore your opponent to death strategy - which has won twice - or mix it up and play on topolovs turf - which was not so good on game 1. Can't wait to find out...

I'll try and translate more of this very long interview session (and it's only part I!) with Gelfand later, but here he is on how to watch games of chess. Exactly what I felt after being in Sofia, though of course with the internet on hand I don't have the discipline to follow his advice today :)
“I remember, the Soviet Union Championship was taking place in Minsk and, as a candidate master, I went to all the rounds, sat in the hall and watched. It seems to me that this moment of empathy, sitting together with leading chess players and thinking, gives you a lot more than you’d think. If you’re on the internet and analyse with a computer, especially a lot of games at once, then it can distract you from submerging yourself in the position. I recall that Alexander Sergeevich Nikitin told me at that time (he was with Kasparov at that USSR Championship): “don’t look at all the games, choose one and try to guess the move yourself, and then, at home, compare whether you guessed the move or whether the grandmaster played better. And understand, why. Perhaps you were actually right”. And Boris Naumovich Postovski – also a second at that championship, I don’t remember for who. He also came up to me and gave similar advice. And I’d give the same. After all now there are on-line commentaries from all the major tournaments. So look at the games without a computer and then, after the game’s finished, compare it with what the commentator (a good commentator!) wrote. Let’s say, Sergey Shipov, who, of course thinks with his own brain, but nevertheless also switches on a computer. So first, think for yourself, and then the following day look at how the grandmaster commentated with the help of a computer. It’ll help you more."


On a translation note, does anyone know how to correctly translate the Russian "pervorazryadnik"!? That's what Gelfand used, and I thought it might be the equivalent of "candidate master", but now I see that in Shipov's commentary today he had a sleepless night wondering whether it was true to say that the moves Anand needed to find for a draw were obvious to a "pervorazradnik" - eventually he decided they more or less were, or at least were obvious for a candidate master! So that must be the next step up.

No Catalan today!

Meanwhile, back in Russia, the latest news on Mr Ilymzhinov:


Absolutely amazing!

Thanks yet again, mishapn.

Well well, a Karpov Nimzo. Who predicted that?

Hey rdh, is it the 4. e3 makes it the Karpov Nimzo? I guess if your strategy has been to mimic Kramnik not such a leap to adopt Tolya as well!

It's actually the same Nimzo line that occurred in game 10 of the Kramnik-Kasparov match which Kramnik won in 25 moves. But Kramnik played 13.Qb3, Anand deviated with 13.Bd3 ("the other interesting possibility" according to "From London to Elista").

Yep, Shipov points out the "subtle" plan is to line up with Bb1 & Qd3!

No, it's Topa's 7...cd4 8 ed4 dc4 9 Bc4 b6 sequence. 4 e3 is just the old main line, sometimes called the Rubinstein variation.

"I guess if your strategy has been to mimic Kramnik.."
What an absurd comment. Anand is mimicking no one, he is playing like himself. His style is far more universal than most leading players. Kramnik doesn't have a monopoly on the Catalan for Pete's sake.

It's his very universatility that allows him choose different styles/approaches. Game 1 Grunfeld seems to have been an aberration but other than that his openings and patient squeeze are very reminiscent of Vlad. It was intended as a compliment to Vishy.

Half the games have had decisive results. I'll bet they are going to fight like screaming banshees for all the remaining games, no matter how tired they get.

And then Anand played Qe2 which is inconsistent with that plan ... .

Does anyone else find Danailov's campaign slogan ("I know...") comical in English? You could continue it, e.g. "I know... I'm a totally divisive, Machiavellian figure who would use the position to further my personal grudges... but perhaps you can vote for me anyway". http://danailov-for-president.com/
Simply "I know how" would work better, not that I really want to help the Danailov campaign!

I don't think Vishy would take the thought of mimicking Vlad, the man he thrashed comprehensively in a match, as a compliment.

Now Shipov mentions Ba6 and switching play to the queenside as an option, or Ne5 - personally I have to confess to switching off for the opening periods of these games. I simply haven't got a clue what they're doing :)

Unfortunately for Danilov after Elista etc We Know ..... btw, echoing many others great posts/translations lately - Thanks

Well maybe if he chose the Vlad that thrashed Kasparov comprehensively in a match he would have warmer feelings towards the comparison :-)

I guess I need to respectfully disagree with you on this. Though I support Anand, Kramnik too deserves his respects. I would say that Anand is first among equals, and there are moments where Kramnik demonstrates pure artistry. If Anand equals (or betters) Kramnik in these areas, it is a genuine complement. Chess is a zero sum game, so someone has to lose for the other to won. But I believe appreciating and respecting the players' abilities need not be zero sum. So I believe saying someone being like Kramnik should be a complement.

For one, Kramnik demonstrated tremendous strength of mind in dealing with Topalov during Elista match, and also in handling with Kasparov all over his career. I hope Anand equals Kramnik in that department too :).

I like your comments a lot, I hope you won't mind a difference of opinion.

D class, literally '1st class player'. '4th class' would be 'A class', 'candidate master' would be an expert...

They're following a Gulko-Short game. I can just hear Topalov/Short haters sneering "Figures."

Not at all! I just get somewhat nonplussed when suddenly anybody playing the Catalan or a quiet positional manoeuvring game is imitating Kramnik! Why not Capablanca, or Petrosian or Fischer, all wonderful exponents of the positional game? I stand in awe of Kramnik's ability, but I think Anand isn't second to him in that department.

"Well maybe if he chose the Vlad that thrashed Kasparov comprehensively that thrashed Anand comprehensively in a match he would have warmer feelings towards the comparison"


topalov slowly falling behind on time

I don't get the discussion: Is it odd, immoral or something to be ashamed of when one learns from a colleague despite beating him in a match?

A simplistic perspective: Anand played like Topalov to beat Kramnik, and like Kramnik to face Topalov - of course Anand is still Anand.

And for what it's worth: he also listens to Kasimdzhanov and Nielsen, but they probably would lose a match against him. Though Kasimdzhanov became Anand's second after beating him at the San Luis WCh ... .

hmmm? I don't claim to be an expert by any means but the main thrust of the opening strategy is evident enough?

Shipov says Topalov might be thinking about ...Nh5 and Bxh7+. Wondering if Anand has found an improvement.

Now 17. Bh7 wins the game for Anand.

The most important move of this game coming up.

Ah.... Thomas! Who said those words "odd, immoral or something"? :-)

Not me. I'm just making the point that not every positional nuance and every positional game can be traced to Vlad. Positional chess was practiced before him, simultaneously as him, and will be practiced after him. Just slightly perplexing that everybody seems to think (advance warning: figurative usage, in case you interpret it literally) that he invented it, and that the Catalan didn't exist before he played it. I remember playing over Anand's games long before his Kramnik match and marvelling at his grasp of positional concepts, how smooth his play was. Everybody learns from playing a strong opponent, I'm sure Anand learnt many things from playing Kramnik. Just saying.

Presumably we're in still in some kind of theory, are we? Anyone?

Err.. isn't this just won for White? :-)

Theory. Now we'll what's coming up...


Anand has missed a winning Bxh7+ sacrifice in a World Championship match. I don't think this was one, though.

Yes, but theory is getting thinner. Psakhis-Hillarp Person 2000 is most recent in my limited db.

I find Ng5-Nh3 (after...g6) to be an instructive manouver. Anand covers the f4 square and has encouraged dar square weaknesses on Topa's K-side. I like what he is doing here.

Somebody please tell me what was wrong with 18. Nh7 winning a pawn at least???????

Err sorry, 18 ... Nf4 of course.

18...Nf4, maybe?

Not to be a Moaning Michael but where is my beloved e4 is it not good enough for anyone anymore?? Anand is one of the greatest e4 players ever and he more or less ditches it for two crucial matches, sigh.
Not that the match has been any less interesting :)

They had been following Psakhis-Persson 2000, where White played 18.Qd2.

Anand's 18.Nh3 is new.

(Info derived from Chessgames.com)

Thanks! Though having looked at Wikipedia... I'm leaning towards:
1800-2000 Class A, category 1

That's just below:
2000-2200 candidate masters, experts (USA)

Although then there's:
2200-2300 FIDE Candidate Masters (CM), most national masters

So maybe Class A player (or "expert")!? However young he was I can't imagine Gelfand was rated 1200-1400 at the time that Kasparov's coach was taking a personal interest in him.

chesshire cat - I may have exaggerated just a little! I really don't know much opening theory, but it's true I can see some of the logic behind most of the moves...

The body language of the two players: Topalov is in rapt attention and Anand looks restless moving his hands, nodding his head, shifting in his chair etc

Susan polgar in her blog after Nh3 "I do not recall ever seeing this before and Anand played it quite quickly."

As though she remember every position in this opening. Why does not she simply say it is not in her database

ChessOK says it is Top's 18...e5 that's the novelty.

So restless that he's gotten up after making his move and quickly made for someplace!!!

See comments by Dennis Monokroussos: 17.Bh7:+ "is interesting but fails" - he mentions a predecessor game Knaak-Sturua where black returned the piece, was a little better and went on to win.

Which game (Anand missing a winning bishop sacrifice) do you mean?


3rd match game against Kasparov

Game 3 in the 1995 WCH where Anand missed a Bxh7.

Its tough to say who is in preparation still. Looked like Anand, but Topalov played e5 quickly. May be it was instinctive.

And maybe now ...Qd6 will make Anand pause for thought, just as it did in game 4 (though that didn't end up too badly). Taking on d4 and white giving up the queen for two rooks is probably the main line. Is bluffing by playing quickly or did he also look at this at home (and then just check to see he hadn't overlooked something)? Intriguing stuff...

Shipov says Anand is in his home prep.
So if he wins what do we call it?


Anand played 19 f3 intending Q trade for 2 rooks, I bet Topalov would take substantial time to reply. This is getting really interesting

Rybka's line now is totally wild! All kinds of sacs and passed pawns: 20. Qb2 Ndf6 21. Bb5 Bc6 22. Bxc6 Rxc6 23. g4 exd4 24. Rxe8+ Nxe8 25. gxh5 dxc3 26. Qe2 Nc7 27. Rd1 Qe6 28. Rd8+ Kg7 29. Qd3 c2 30. h6+ Kxh6 31. Bg5+ Kh5 32. Nf4+ Kxg5 33. Nxe6+ Nxe6 34. Qb5+ Kh6 35. Qxc6 +0.24

That was on chessok, but it's switched to something more "normal" now - obviously it's the sort of position you'd like to have analysed in depth at home...

...Qd6 and Bf2 are not the engines favourite move, though a candidate 3 or 4. But GM Christiansen on ICC were analyzing only this variation before it was played. So Anand might still be in his preparation even though its not engine top choice.

Why Bf2??????????

Are you still in Sofia? I enjoyed your perspective in adding the human element.

White's position seems to me to be a lot easier to play. Anand with advantage so far.

20...exd4 wow! I'd favor white but nobody plays better in positions of material inequality than Topalov.

"Why B-f2?"

If Topalov is allowing the exchange of Queens followed by K-g7 then B*d4 check - White wins the pawn with a tempo

No, the last game I watched was game 4. Which gives:

mishanp present: Anand 2.5, Topalov 0.5
mishanp absent: Anand 1.5, Topalov 3.5

I could probably be there tomorrow if Camp Anand is willing to pay for my flight(s) :)

Wow, he took on d4. Looks great for White to me but I guess he sees further!
Two bishops, two rooks, weak Black squares around Black king, blunted Black bishop, uncoordinated Black forces...where is Black's counterplay? What can the queen do? Any comments?

so what now? cxd4 with a pass pawn and open c file for the rook, or bxd4 with centralized bishop?

Speaking from a punter viewpoint, cc, I'd agree with you, but presumably Topalov has some other ideas. What do the machines say, anyone?

Bishop, surely, rw. The minor pirces need stability, and on d4 the bishop can't really be challeneged, can it?

Vishy still thinks he plays best without queens - or (today) rather, without his queen ,:) .

Hmm. Anand obviously doesn't find it so obvious. Shipov reckons Topa can meet Bxd4 with ...Nh5-g7. I'd have thought White can just go Bc4xe6, but presumably it's not that simple.

I'd prefer taking back with the bishop. The d-pawn is too easily blockaded.

Live commentary by Germans IM Schneider and GM Hickl: "I don't know what's going on, do you have Shirov's mobile phone number?"

It seems to me that it is white's pieces that are not well coordinated. If 23.Bd4, then 23...Bc6 and 24...Ne6 is quite awkward for white.

The other way to chase the rook off the eighth would be ...Bc6. Then it could be followed by ...Ne6. I'm not sure that I would want to move my kight to g7.

with Bishop on d4 Black can put a knight on d6 (Na5-g7 then e6) with strong defense, close the e file and harrass the bishop.
Still, i am uncertain which one of the two is better.

thus cxd4. Best move, I think.

Hah! What do I know? Although mind you Shipov seems to think Bxd4 would have been better. Pity we're not playing instead of Anand, eh?!

If he takes with the pawn both rooks have their own open file

58. d7! 1-0

White's position is not that easy to play. From the time he's taking, seems Anand is clearly out of prep.

I think white needs to switch the white square bishop to a2-h8 diagonal, the black square bishop to g3 (if that is possible) and put the knight on e4.
I leave it for And to work out the details :-)

Isn't Anand's position safe and well coordinated? Looks to me like Topalov is the one who has to find the hard moves here.

But it seems we are in for another long plus 50 move game...hours of fun.

Hi Mishanp,

Not that I know Russian, but reading the quick Shipov translation at http://www.chessnc.com/en/online/ it seems like he revisited the little anecdote from yesterday in his opening presentation, and it's translated there as "A-Class player" versus "master candidate". So it sounds like your research is good, though obviously the quick and dirty Shipov translation is not to be entirely trusted...

I'm having problems with official site. Is anyone else showing the match live?

Since I don't know Russian, I wish to thank all those who are providing translated tidbits from Shipov's commentary.

25...Bd5 blockades the pawn and goes after white's best minor piece. This looks like a draw.

Perhaps Bg3 now? If not now, then I don't know when it would be a useful move in the future.



Live seems ok to me.

Maybe Anand needs to sacrifice his d-pawn in order to activate his pieces, and get the bishop to g3.

Cant see him sac'ing the d-pawn. If he can untangle and exchange minor pieces the d-pawn will win the game !!

Funny, the pawn d4 is actually a thorn in White's side! Holding up the show for the pieces..

wow, I was expecting the prosaic ...Qd7.

now 27 Be5

I dont see any line saving the d-pawn. Anyone? White a-pawn also seems a matter of time before being captured.

After ..Nd7, Bxc4 Nxe5 dxe5 followed by f4.

Thanks, I didn't think to check that translation. So Class A player it is, in future.

Topalov can't stand looking at the DSB hence this variation

28. a3!

This may be a dumb question. Why cant Black play ..Qxa3?

a3! and Black will not play Qd4+ soon.

GM Shipov's comment after N-d7:

The move has been proposed from far away by Kasparov. We discussed with him the consequences and came to the conclusion that White’s chances are still bigger. White can choose between the immediate capture on d5 and subtle engaging 28.a3!?

At ChessOk this move is evaluated as 0.00


> This may be a dumb question. Why cant Black play ..Qxa3?

Duh..of course because of Ra1

After 28.-Qa3:? 29.Bd5: etc. there is no queen check on d4 regaining the piece.

28. a3 was apparently what Kasparov was suggesting - "Shipov: And again, for the nth time, I observe a telepathic link between the world champions".

Though Shipov's analysis of the alternative, Bxd5, suggests that it might have been winning.

Thomas, that makes sense, thanks.

The tactical complications favor white now, I think.

White emerges better here.

now black will have an isolated e pawn which white can pound on

well, maybe not much better.

Maybe Topalov's speed in taking big decisions finally let him down? Shipov and Chessok suggest 30...Qxd4 instead of 30...Nd3 was an inaccuracy. Although Topalov managed to get Anand out of pure home preparation earlier (it seems), he must have had a similar rooks v. Queen game in mind going in for the variation.

hm ... maybe that e pawn is lost. the only way that black can defend the pawn is by the queen. but if the knight takes the pawn, queen takes knight then
black knight is pinned on the d file.

Mishanp, does Shipov say why Qxd4 was inaccurate?

32. Ng5 looks awfully strong. It's not the e-pawn that would be black's main concern. It would be the weak king.

32.Ng5 looks dangerous for black now. I think Toppy missed 28.a3! It will take him a long time to get his queenside moving, while Anand has plenty of possibilities to invade with the rooks.

yes, he played it.

Black's king is in danger.

32 ...Nd6?? 33 Rc8+ followed by Nxe6+ and forks the queen

Because of Ng5, activating the knight. Black can't make a knight move in response or he loses the queen to checks.

In defence of Topalov, the 30...Nd3 line where black holds that Shipov gives is extremely tricky.

GM commentators on ICC are saying black is lost.

Shipov's changed "innacuracy" to "serious mistake" now. The attacking lines for white look pretty "human", though there isn't that much time to decide between some good alternatives.

But Vishy going astray again!? I guess he's been thinking of the plan of getting the knight to e4 for ages so couldn't resist playing it, even though he had better attacking options.

I believe black is lost as well.

Ne4 ?? I don't get it.

Yeah, I would guess White is objectively winning after 32.Ng5.

Now Rc8+, and I wouldn't want to be black.

Is 33.Ne4 instead of Nxe6 a blunder by Anand that changed the win to a draw?

Yikes. What now for Vishy??

Wow Wow Wow... Maybe Anand has seen more, but Ne4 looks inaccurate. Why not Re1d1 consolidating a long-lasting advantage?

Strange so Anand dint think Nxe6 and f4 endgame was winning. comps. have the eval after Ne4 as 0.00

Must move rook to avoid fork.

The knight was incredibly strong on g5, I saw lines with the rooks invading and just smashing black´s position, I think White had a clear plan. What happened?

and now he is thinking !!! he should have already planned something after Ne4, why need to think now ??
I don't get it.

I think the problem is Vishy had 33. Nxe6, or 33. Red1, or 33. Rc8+. Too many good options... That or we are just seeing nerves really getting to him.

Anand blew his chances..now a draw..what was he thinking maaan

In fact i think black can win now

I remember watching some Kasparov videos where he comments on some of Karpov´s moves during their WC games. He said that Karpov often made the mistake of playing "generally good" chess moves, where the position demanded some very concrete actions.

I don´t know if that applies to this situation but it´s a very insightful comment IMO. Ne4 looks like a principled move, but not what the position demanded.

Now Topalov's played an odd move - this is a game to watch while hiding behind your sofa...

Giving up the a3 pawn stakes everything on the rooks penetrating. I don't see anything clearcut, though. Black has a lot of cheapo potential, and his queenside pawns can start to roll as soon as white lets up.

Hm... Topalov didn´t want to play Qb4 apparently putting pressure on the rooks... what´s happening?

he was listening to me j/k
see http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2010/05/anand-topalov-wch-g9.htm#comment-219558
but the situation had changed !!

35. h4! Maintains attacking chances. Supports the knight when it moves to g5. White is still better, perhaps winning.

I think black is toast. hehe

Absolutely. Probably winning

There's no time to comment before the evaluation changes again! Now Vishy seems to be totally on top again. For what it's worth Shipov gave 33. Rc8! as simply winning, unless there were any holes in his line. 33.Rc8+! Kg7 34.Rec1 Kh6 35.h4 Kh5 36.Rh8 h6 37.Re1!

Jeez..this game changes direction like an Internet stock. Black seems finished now.

Now just to make two moves without blundering...

even a 2300 can win now..Anand just needs to be patient.absolutely no bloopers

35...b5 may have been optimistic. 35...h6!? instead? Now it looks close to winning for white.

too many choices, again, nxd6, rxa7, rxh7

Don't know, but I suspect it's going to turn out that Anand's 33.Ne4 was also winning or close to winning even against best defence. White has simply been much better all the time..

39. Rxh7 is very strong. Reduces tricks of black knight taking on f3 and black queen going after h-pawn.

If I had an engine, I would see if Anand sacrifices his e1 rook for the knight, can he pull out the mate.

Why did Anand take that sad h pawn with the rook? Isn't 39. Ne6 stronger?

nope! white only needs to stay calm and mobilize every piece. No need for kamikase.

Control move disaster!??? Just putting the rook anywhere would have held the position... now the king escapes from the back rank.

don't know about you all, but those two black connected pawns look very dangerous to me.

Was 40. Rh8+ an error?

The attacked rook, that is :)

white seems to have lost his grip.

Yes, he must have expected only ..Ke7 and then thought he'd just repeat moves once by Rh7+ since ..Kd6 and ..Kf6 both lose. Damn, this was a cold shower.

The rooks cannot coordinate so easily, and the black king has escaped. Vishy blew it!

40.Rh8+?! Nerves? Why, you have to ask, let the black king escape from the trap?
[A decisive advantage was retained after
40.Re4, e.g.,
40...b4 41.Rxa7 b3 42.Rb7 b2 43.Kh2! - we got to that position in my discussions with Kasparov. In fact this is where the curtain drops. Black's powerless to do anything. On
43...Qc1, 44.Ra4! is decisive]

Agreed. Also if Black moves his N, White's rook is attacked by the Q.

That was Shipov, of course...

The 40th move was clearly a blunder and Anand had a few minutes left. He has let the black king escape. Historically and in this match, Anand has lost when he moved quickly even with time in hand. Last game and this game are two good examples of that.


Still some chess left, however.

I still think white should win, although it's true he looks worse than a before move 40.

the b pawn is major counter play. how can white stop that passed pawn.

He must have expected ...Kd7, but then maybe Shipov's guess is right that he simply missed that after Rd1+ the king wasn't forced to move as black has ...Nd3.

Agreed. Allowing the K walk was a blunder.


Ok, but is that so great for White even after 41..Kc7 ?

Nigel Short quote of the day: "Anand is a great, chess genius - I mean that sincerely - but he is also a flabby, middle-aged Indian. This sort of mistake (40.Rh8+), a few hours into the game, has all the halmarks of fatigue..."

Black's king is still quite vulnerable though isn't it?

I think Anand will go for a draw by repetition pretty soon. He must be disappointed with his play and could risk losing as well if he stretches and/or makes any more mistakes and will also be looking to conserve energy for tomorrow's game.


Anand still has good chances to win the game.
Nxe6 and Rxa7 are annoying for Topalov

Are Indians more prone to fatigue than other nations, Nigel??

What site is Shipov on?

I'm not sure - at least you'd have the option of taking on e6 with check!?

Perhaps Nigel is as disappointed as many others.

This is now completely double edged position. Anand might even lose it.

Short is offensive as usual but for once he is correct. The 40th move was the worst possible of all the alternatives and was clearly a case of fatigue and lapse of concentration just like the blunder last game. There is no way he can win this game now going by the evidence of his play post move 40 in the previous game. If he can draw by move 50, he is fine, else he might lose as well.


To rearrange Hobbes a little: the life of Short is nasty and brutish.

Hmm, Anand would have won if the time control had been on move 39? ,:)

I believe that Short is basically referring to himself as well. He plays as if he's fat and lazy.

That was the worst move of the match so far.

I think this position's decisively in favor of Topalov. Terrible move, the 40th.

Anand now searching for drawing lines

Anand will get into time pressure soon.

Anand is taking too much time on his 43rd move. He seems quite nervous.

38 rRd1 ... 39 rd8 and mate

White is still winning (after Nxe6) in a very long line (Stockfish) where he ends having rook and knight against queen and he has two passed pawns

Rybka on Chessok still likes white - and if the black pawns fall then you'd still rather have the two rooks against the queen. But I agree, after the way Anand's played it's hard to feel too confident now.

"Are Indians more prone to fatigue than other nations, Nigel??"

Well, Nigel likes to be provocative. But that was a very offensive statement. Sometimes it's better to be quiet!

Of course, this is coming from me who claims that many of the Indian fans on this blog are major homers. I mean with Pirc Alert and Anand Nair talking their rubbish about Anand being the most universal player (actually, Chucky is) and the greatest of all champions (Kaspy handled him like a child in both match and tournament play) and all this while Vishy is currently only the third ranked player in the world.

He might still win this match, but I rated Topalov as the prematch favorite given a lifetime +1 score in classical games (ok, too close!) and the fact that he had consistently maintained a higher rating over the last five years. He is also the right age to beat Anand, who although isn't past his prime, has stagnated over the last couple of years, in my opinion.

Carlson will beat them all like drums in the next cycle anyway, and there are other talents such as Nakamura and Caruana, and Wesley So.

Someone should write a book on "40th move blunders", cos I don't know how many I've seen live and in the literature. Or maybe someone did already?
Surely the key factor in this position is who keeps better control over their nerves...and not blunder.

Anand spending a lot of time now and falling behind on the clock. Counting his previous loss, move 40 here basically losing the probably decisive advantage and now being down to almost 30 minutes in a very tricky position altogether doesn't look good. Very bad turnaround on move 40 for Anand.

If he manages to win this after all that then he is definitely one of the greatest champions ever.

Shipov also points that the time taken on Nxe6 suggests Anand's very tired.

I still think Vishy has the only real chances to win here. Anything can happen, however.

I'm also tired and beginning to make more and more mistakes while typing. Should have taken Gelfand's advice... :)

"after the way Anand's played it's hard to feel too confident now."
Agreed, but Topalov's play doesn't seem to be much better - it's a lottery, anything can happen?

43...Kb6! Vacates the c6 square for the knight.

I don't know if there's a book, but i remember such a chapter in a book (though i can't remember which one now)

Wondering about 44 Nc7...

This is a winning game for White now as per StockFish !@

Topalov is playing very cleverly by making quick moves,even though not best but capable of creating complications , putting pressure on Anand to find best moves.

2 minutes per move for Anand through next time control if my calculations are right.

it'd be really funky if Anand plays h5 and Topalov ignores it by pushing b6

Smokes! He found h5.

46. h5 played! Maybe there's life in the old Vishy yet :)

46. h5! nice!

whats stockfish saying now anyone pleaseee

If Anand did follow through for a win now it'd be at the third attempt :) Can' someone just add some time to his clock!??

wow...anand found the courage to play h5....despite teh fatigue he still has the hunger to go for a win. This is turning out ot be the best game of the match so far.

I wouldn't worry too much about time. It actually might help Vishy play natural moves instead of overthinking.

Has anyone got the mms stream address for the live video ?

oh no, Topalov took the pawn, his king is now exposed

46...gxh5 Had to be played, I think. Let's see what Vishy's got.

46...gxh5 please please Anand, finish the job!

And Topalov goes wrong immediately, or so Rybka says! +2.45! Who'd have thunk it?

Anand wasted a lot of time for 43.Nxe6. Now he has to complete 14 moves in 24 min and he has no increment until move 60

46...gxh5 please please Anand, finish the job!

46...g5 was an only move, apparently.

If Anand now missed Nd5+ I don't know what to do ...

Anand should win from now if we consider Rybka analysis. But one move slippage can turn the game and Anand should be careful not to make mistakes in time pressure.

thanks, mishanp.

Mistakes on both sides, but a great game! Fun to watch.

Stockfish gives N-d5+ continuation a +3.03 now

Maybe in the end Vishy will be proved right that his position was fundamentally won whatever he did? :) It's hard to see where Topalov went wrong (except for ...gxh5, but then ...g5 also looks bad) - Shipov suggests maybe 42...Kb6 instead of 42...b4, or 44...Qc1+ instead of Qa1+, though the lines there are very tricky.

p.s. not that I'm counting any chickens - Anand's absolutely capable of messing this up.

@ Rybka says! +2.45

rybka doesn't understand engames

he is really low on time. this game can still go either way. Even though objectively White should win from here.

We'll end up with 4 Qs on the board.

48. Nd5 ? why not Re6 and pin the knight?

SF recommends Rh5-h7+

A minute a move now. Topa should make unconventional moves now to throw Anand off kilter (hope not!)

I don't see the Vish blowing this now.

Anand must be tired. He should have already worked out what to play after Kb7 when he analyzed Nd5+. His clock is going to hurt him.

48.Nf4d5+ Kb6b7 49. Rh5h7+ Kb7a6 50. Re4e6 Ka6b5 51. Rh7h5 Nc6d8 52. Nd5b6+ Kb5a6 53. Re6g6 Ka6b7 54. Nb6c4 Kb7c8 55. Rh5c5+ Kc8b8 56. Rc5xa5 Qa1d4 57. Ra5b5+ Kb8c7 58. Rg6g4 Qd4h8+ 59. Kh2g3 Nd8c6 60. Nc4e3 Kc7d7 61. Ne3c2 Qh8c3 62. Nc2xb4 Qc3e1+ Kg3h3

I think 48 Re6 b6 white does not have enough time capture the knight

Anand is in time-trouble. 12 moves in 13 min.

I'm afraid the clock will hand Topalov a draw. (I hope not a win.)

Is trying to analyze all the way out to mate?? Come on Vishy, Rh7+ already!

The is no way Anand can find all the winning moves now. 12 moves in 9 minutes.

Vishy is "killing me softly" with his taking the time. I do not mind. I hope there is a 1-0 at the end.

Anand is creating problems for himself. He should move around in-between the moves to improve his blood circulation. 12 moves in 10 min

looks like anand is spending too much time calculating the winning line! he's gotta get speedy now if he wants to win this.

Its going to be really tough for Anand as Topalov's moves will be forced so he will not take time.

Move to Rh7 and think on Topas time!

Calm down people. Vishy will win this game.


I hope Anand spent all that time to work out the winning sequence and thus won't have to take time to ponder again on subsequence moves, if not he will be in deep time trouble.

MAtch will be decided between now and next time control .....

Hi, Can you guys plot what steps does anand need to play in the least movements


Silly of Topa to take his time here over a relatively obvious move. He cannot give Anand time to think.

Re6, now Kb5 Nc7+ Ka4 / R:c6 Qe5+ /g3 (Kh3 Qf5+ and Q:h7) Qe2+

If Q-c3, N-c7+ if K-b6, then N-d5+ forks the King and the Queen

The only question is whether Anand can handle the clock.

Dumb and Dumber is my stupid anaysis:

If Q-c3 then N*c3

Agreed.He may have given Anand enough breathing space here.

Maybe Topa is thinking about resigning here. Thus the final think?

While Topa is thinking, it's a good opportunity for Anand to calculate 3 principled variations beginning with: Kb5, Qc1 and Qc3 respectively

the only thing now is not to let black king escape to h4.

Anand has used plenty of time -- but wisely.

i meant a4

Anand is so tired, he needs a bath. Do 'Sofia rules' allow a bath on the stage?

51.Rh5! very strong

Anand leaves the board!

Nc3 double check is also mate.

Anand just got up and left the table. That gives me confidence that he has worked out his next set of moves.

@roamingwind: "the only thing now is not to let black king escape to h4"

Good one, roaming!

Spoke too fast. Still some life left in the Black king by moving to Kc4.

8 moves in 4 minutes. And the tactics are so complicated! Just look at the Rybka lines.

7 moves in 4 min 30 sec for Anand

Seems Anand is going to score his point after all. Things about to get berry, bbbberrrry intewesting....

Can anybody provide latest Analysis by GM Shipov?

Anand looking at his nails now. Either he is tense, or more likely he has got all the variations figured out.

I am still not confident about Anand winning this game because of his clock situation.

K-b7. Now N-d5

Damn!!!!!!!! Anand you lost the advantage!

Lots of quick moves made now.

Amazing play on the last few moves. Anand is still winning after move 56

anand can check with rook to get to time control

Anand can still mess up here

Anand is trying for a draw.

anand at least have a draw

He called Nxf3+ "a despairing blow" (he predicted it after ...Nd4). Basically he's saying the same as everyone else - Anand's won if no clock-related catastrophes ensue.

No idea what's going on, but Anand must still be winning, no?

Too much panic here...Rhd5, isnt black completely..I mean COMPLETELY busted

If Anand repeats moves here I'm going to stop rooting for him FOREVER.

OK, smoke has cleared a bit now. Looks like 1-0 to me.

20 moves later Anad got the black king to the back rank again :-)

What are time control rules after move 60?

my last comment based on white rooks can double on b-file if necessary to win the pawn, and the black queen is stuck in a corner.

15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30
seconds per move starting after move 61 has been made.

61. Rg7 comes unexpected, but it is a calm move. It can slide back to g2 if necessary.

I believe that after 60th move for the rest of the game the player gets 15 minutes + 30 seconds for each move made

15min for the rest of the game, with increment 30sec/move.

White wins in all decent variations without any blunders

plus it maintains guarantee of a draw if he doubles rooks on the 7th. Not an entirely ambitious move, but it probably works.

61...a4 is a very dangerous move. Two pawns on the sixth are stonger than a rook. But Anand still has the turn. Let's see if he can come up with a winning plan. (He's got at least a draw.)

After move 60, 15 min are added to the clock and each move has an increment of 30 sec.

senthil, while the computers are calling for a win in all lines, they contain some very complicated moves - another way of saying it aint over till it is.

Topy preparing to sac his queen for a rook. Will Anand's nerves hold?

Anand is again in long think. He will really mess up his own chances.

< 7 minutes for Anand, dammit!

I think, Anand will give up and go for a draw by 3-fold repetition.

Anand is so nervous, he can barely sit in his chair. He is continuously shifting.

Has he lost his advantage for good now????

Love the fighting spirit on both sides. Kudos to Anand for not taking the obvious draw. He has to try to find a win.

It's just too painful... again he was only one or two accurate moves from a totally won position. How tired/nervous must he be!??

so now he tries to mate along the files.
Good thing I have a strong heart watching this game unfolds ...

Rybka says 65...b2 is dead draw.

I can't believe that Anand is not choosing the simple Rdd7 and instead going for all kind of complications.

64. Kg3 is the worst move of this match.

Anand is going is going possibly look to capture one of the black pawns off the board. may be....not sure about anything

Well, the point seems gone now after Anand's 64.Kg3 instead of 63.Rdd7

Anand might actually lose this game on time.

oh my god

or is he going for Q vs. R+N+p ending

66. Rc4+ Kg7 67. Rb6+ Ka6 68. Rxb2 Qxb2 69. Ra4+ wins for White I think?

Anand < 3 min

Ok, my Stockfish now suggests b2b1R!

How much more cocked up can this get?

67..b1 68. Nxb1 Qxb1 69. Rxa4 wins for White.

What was the point of 67.Kf2?

In Anand's defence - the win after 64. Rdd7 was by no means simple. Shipov gives a line with the black king going all over the board to escape checks and eventually take the queenside pawns. Maybe the manoeuvre to make the time control made the win more difficult!?

69..Qc2+ picks up the R doesn't it?

So Anand finally blew the win (so many times)

It seems that Anand will win. The problem is to escape from perpetual checks.

wow !!!! Anand has a 3rd chance to win now ...

This is like the games I used to play when I was a kid. Cut every piece of the opponents until hes got only one or two left :D

this will be long but I think Topalov made a mistake. White can win

IS perpetual check avoidable here?

This game is pure madness! :)

well ... maybe not according to the engine

Looks like a win again for Anand. Where did Topa go wrong?

Any heart specialist on this forum? I can't take the tension anymore. Please suggest me something!

It's a draw still, but it was completely unnecessary to give away the a-pawn. Weird. Maybe they are tired or something ;-)

Technically just on material Topalov is 2 pawns down. Black kings pos is bad, Anand can block the checks by the 2 rooks and start pushing the pawn with his king and the 2 rooks shielding. Based on Anand's blitz skills, he shouldnt have any problems putting this away. Expect 1-0 friends.

Tablebases say this is a theoretical draw (around move 74). What that means in practice (especially in *this* game), who knows?...

Tell that engine to shut up! (kidding!) :)

draw - black has perpertual

I don't see how White can escape perpetual checks

The 6-man tablebase says the position is a draw.

Vishy is gaining time on the clock! hehe

Tablebases say this is a theoretical draw (around move 74). What that means in practice (especially in *this* game), who knows?...

Draw 1/2-1/2

What a game.

Arrgh draw

Well there was an immediate perpetual so didn't matter.

Time is not a factor, I don't think it really was in this game. More a question of stamina. How else can you explain Topa's mistakes? Anyone can win (Anand more likely) or a draw. Tablebase wins or draws don't matter much.


Draw :(

Anand blew it

Great game in sporting terms, but horrible execution on both parties throughout. But who am I to criticise? I'm 700 rating points below them and I'm not under the same kind of pressure.

From here on I would back Topa to win.

Bc6 of last game still haunting Anand.When the crunch time came,he just blew it!!

Felt Anand had to win today ..... Topa strong favourite now. Hope I'm wrong. Credit to Topalov for hanging in there but Vishy kinda blew it :-(

Its better Anand never learns about his missed wins as it must be depressing.

A gigantic struggle. I enjoyed this very much.
Both players deserve applauds. Still, Anand must be kicking himself inside.

This was a wasted game in many ways. The novelty that Anand used in this game cannot be used anymore. I think he got everything he needed from moving from a Catalan to the Nc3 Nimzo.

Hope there is enough energy left in Anand's tank to withstand Topalov's white tomorrow.

"Bc6 of last game still haunting Anand.When the crunch time came,he just blew it!!"

Topa didn't play great either. But you might be right. Vishy may have suffered the most damage from today's result. He blew a white, and there are doubts about his finishing skills now.

This game was exceedingly complex. Most of you would be well advised to try to learn chess from such games than the incessant hum of senseless yapping. I know the great majority of you are for Anand and predict victories at every turn, but it would make sense to try to understand things better and/or listen to more objective analysts.


Agree with Dimi, at several points in the game both players could have lost (atleast the engines would say so). Thats World Championship pressure. So lets all learn and enjoy the game. Well played Gentlemen!

The game is still even now and it could still go to rapids. Anand can still win as age and stamina aren't as big a factor in rapids and then according to most he is the better rapid player. Thus pressure will be on Topa to win at least 1 out of 3.

For all we know, Anand might still have a number of novelties prepared for the other probable openings that haven't been played yet.

It isn't over by any means as long as Anand gets good sleep/rest.


Two whites for Topalov in the next three games.

great battle, they are sensibly equal players

It's being an exciting match so far. True, I also root for Anand, although I prefer Topalov's playing style. Now that the game is over and all excitement is gone, it is time to study this amazing piece of art.

This will probably go down as one of the most fascinating games to be played in a World Championship. At the moment though, Anand's got to feel like someone punched him in the gut.

I went drifting
Through the capitals of tin
Where men can't walk
Or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say they want the kingdom
But they don't want God in it

Yeah I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

dedicated to Topa´s king on this game (the wanderer).
gg Vesko

It's Topalov's match now.

Surely Black was never better at one single point in the entire game.

A black win is due now. Whether it will happen in G10 or G11 is the big question. Or it could happen in both. What a match.

Not even around move 41 or so?

Anand was completely winning and now this!
I'm frustrated.

acirce, you sure about that??? “Better” by whose standards? The engines or the people playing?? This was a totally precipitous game of deep calculation and very aggressive Black play as the only chance to counter White’s continuing advantage even after the Vishi’s blunder on Move 40. White could lose at any moment – hey, there is a reason Anand spent some time thinking, despite all of the constant buzz and noise here. One bad move could cost White everything. I am amazed you didn’t appreciate that fact too. All this “White is winning” talk all the time on this forum masks what really happens. Second game in a row this forum “sleeps” through the intricacies of the event and wakes up surprised.

Appreciate the Sofia rules for wrapping 3 Championships into one, appreciate the games and learn to respect those gladiators over the board. This is “blood on the board” ™ all the way.


I agree with you that it's unreasonable to expect (near-)perfect moves from either player, given the complexity of the position and the enormous tension - methinks this applies mostly to those who are harsh on Anand.
I think Shipov's analysis is as objective as can be, so if he predicted victory for Anand it isn't "senseless yapping".
This time I will give other commentators a break if they didn't understand what was going on. And I give the players a break if they cannot come up with meaningful statements at the press conference.

Biased as I am, I wish Anand could claim three points for the three winning positions he had ,:) .

Does this game make a trilogy complete?
Topalov-Anand (San Luis 2005, 1/2 97)
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1361568 [here Topalov blew a winning position]
Anand-Topalov (MTel 2005, 1/2 60)
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1338514 [Anand also giving up his queen on move 18]

No, it doesn't seem so. Of course he could have been if White hadn't been careful. For a while all three results were quite possible.

Another nasty blunder and as result, Anand must accept all facts: he can´t resist Topalov endurance anymore.

Just three more games and the chess

Again, I tend to agree with you, but the time Anand spent on the clock doesn't really support your point. Or do you know how many minutes he spent to avoid losing or being worse, and how many to keep or recreate winning chances?

It may well be that today the game was a bit easier for Topalov who had "nothing to lose" at some stage(s) as he was objectively lost. I mean, compared to the previous game where Anand had everything to lose in an objectively drawn position. ["Objective" again refers to the (engine) assessment regarding what should happen with best play from both sides]

I am *following* this game and I am exhausted. Imagine the plight of the players. While Topalov held on grimly, at least Anand turned around the momentum of the previous 3 games where Topalov was dictating terms throughout. Also, Anand started playing more of his natural game instead of trying to be Karpov. Some pluses here for Anand to take in to the next game.

I was out a couple of days and Vishy plays so poorly. Blundered in a drawn endgame and blew away a win today. Instead of being +2 he is on an even score now. I know he was in zeitnot but he still should have converted. Maybe he is really getting tired and Topalov's strategy of playing long games seems to be bearing fruit. Despite being the better player, Vishy seems to be running out of steam. Looks like Topalov wants this more badly and is fighting very hard. Hopefully some of Vishy prep will come out in the remaining games..

First category. Easily equivalent to Candidate Master in other countries. (Certainly much better than the US "expert".)

I recall a time (long ago, when there were still chess cafés in Vienna), when a Russian dropped by. He absolutely annihilated everyone in blitz (several Austrian "National Masters" among them) and was completely surprised, because, as he said, he was just a first-category player.

Game 7 and 9 have been very frustating for Anand.

Topalov is dancing and stinging like bee around Anand !

Incredible game, what kind of steel nerves Topalov has?

I wont play with him, fearing myself a heart attack ! I give you my turn !

Great! Now Topa is psychologically upper hand - won drawn game, drew lost game (3rd consecutive Black draw) and he has 2 Whites against 1. Go Topa!

Anand missed wins at least twice by allowing the black king to escape uncomfortable boxes: 40.Rh8+? allowing the king to run to the queenside and later missing Rdd7 to lock the king onto the back row.

Stunned by the blunders by anand . :(
Tho its a pleasure to see 2 geniuses play .

> Most of you would be well advised to try to learn chess
> from such games than the incessant hum of senseless yapping.

Isn't that the main point of watching an event live?
I bet over Bulgaria all Topalov fans saying "oh, he found a save" at every turn, despite objectively the position at that point might have been dead win for White.

These are just common fan fever. they are quite normal from both sides; and at least to me, encouraged unless it gets to be personal offensive. Otherwise, what is the fun of watching something live?

> I know the great majority of you are for Anand and
>predict victories at every turn, but it would make
> sense to try to understand things better and/or listen
> to more objective analysts.

personally if I want to learn good/great chess I could go
immerse myself in hundreds of chess books/dvds. People do not follow live events just to have objective analysis.

WARNING -- anyone with high-blood pressure or heart condition should not watch the next three games.

The time control, roughly 30 seconds per move for moves 61-999, was a major factor in today's endgame play.

As with other recent games in this match, much of today's biggest excitement came during the endgame phase. Yet the time control gives luxurious time only to the middlegame and partially-rote opening phases.

Maybe a time control that spread the time among the phases in a more balanced way would be better? At least when rules against early draws are in effect.

"this is a game to watch while hiding behind your sofa..." -- mishanp

Comment of the day!

Anand in the press conf mentioned that he imagined he was winning before both time controls but did not see it. Topalov agreed with Anand and mentioned that he was lucky today.

Thanks, I like the vaguer "first category". I did get the impression that Russians at that level are often pretty good!

On today's game... I just got in after a visit to the gym and feel much better now. I hope Anand did something similar and didn't just punch a wall until he'd broken all his knuckles :)

One thing on the "blunders" in the previous game and today. Of course the positions have been complex and so on, but I do get the feeling he could have avoided them if he'd played a little bit more "on general principles" rather than trying to calculate everything i.e. you didn't need to calculate a long line yesterday to see that the bishop had to be able to protect h7. He could have found the precise moves later. And today - he could have restricted the king and then found the killer blow as he went along, but he kept switching plans and allowing it to escape.

Ok, that's enough of this gnat discussing a pool where elephants bathe... I hope Shipov has the energy to do his video post-mortem tonight and then maybe things will be a bit clearer.

As far I can understand what is said in those clips posted at the oficial site, Kasparov, the "kibitzer mirabilis", could not help himself but commented that Anand 'should have won today if he wanted to remain WCh'.
Anand was asked by a journalist to comment Kasparov's cogitations at the post-game press conference, creating an embarassing moment, Anand did not reply anything.

Some analysis from move 54 onwards. Anand chose N-c4 instead of N-d5.
I worked with Stockfish to examine two best (IMHO) possible defenses Black could use. After about 8 or 9 moves, the black position falls apart. I would appreciate someone looking into this as well and providing some feedback

First Line (Trying for a perpetual): 54. N-d5 Black plays N*f3+;
55. g2*f3 Q-b2+; 56. K-g3 Q-g7+; 57. K-h4 Q-d4+; 58. K-h3 Q-g7 (to prevent R-h7+); 59. Rh-h6 b4-b3; 59. R-b6+ K-a7 (if ...K-c7; 60. R-c6+ K-d8; 61. R-b8+ followed by R-c7+ wins the Queen)

Second Line (Defending with N-c6): 54. N-d5 Black plays N-c6;
55. R-h7+ Ka6; 56. R*c6+ k-b5; 57. R-e6 (prevents Q-e5+) Q-c1; 58. R-h5 K-a3 (or K-c3);
59. N-b6+ K-b3; 60. R*a5 (I think here too White is winning)

Fantastic game of chess; although disappointing for Anand he should refocus on why and where he is missing out on lines OTB (easy for me to say as the arm-chair coach) and comeback rededicating himself to really hold the fort and win.

Topalov is exhibiting nerves of steel; I'm simply amazed. I read once Anand saying that what he admired most about Topalov was how he could shake of a loss and come out swinging the next game; That and his never say die spirit is on abundant display here.

Correction Ovidiu: That question was to Topalov, but the camera man incorrectly focused on Anand.

One thing that helps Anand is that from game 10 onwards, there is a rest day after every game. If Anand can avoid a loss tomorrow, he should be able to get good rest before every game and as the older/more exhausted guy he needs it.

correction in the move 58. for black it should read K-a4 (or K-c4) not K-a3 or K-c3.

Devastating last two games for Anand with losing 2 x 1/2 points due to bad blunders. Topalov with clear advantage going into the last three games. Defending his title is going to be an enormous psychological mountain to climb now.

One good thing though will come from Topalov winning, the FIDE cycle will die as Danailov will sit on the title and handpicking "challengers" on Kamsky level.

Good game. It's tricky to play for a win with two rooks against an active queen. I think Anand did pretty well to build up such pressure. Probably most GM games meander much more in such error-prone waters. With engines, you would need an option to exclude the craziest sequences to get an evaluation what mere humans can achieve.
Of course it's disappointing if Anand had a win, and exhausted himself for only a draw. Next game, next chance.

All those who are saying Anand is tired and sure to lose the match should realize that Topa is also very tired, if somewhat less than Anand. It should be noted that after the move 40 blunder, game was almost even. The fact that Anand got multiple winning chances after that proves that he made many great/only moves (besdies misakes) and that Topa also made some mistake, which is worse because he was never in time trouble.

Can anyone recommend a good medicine against heart attack?
Otherwise I won't be able to look at the next games.
I know what is the pressure in a country chess team-tournament, when you have left so little time and must absolutely win, I can imagine the torture when it's a World Championship...

Ok, what about openings for next game. Anand ditched the catalan. I guess he will also ditch the slav then. May be he will go for semi-slav or back to grunfeld again. Semi-slav seems double edged and good chance for both sides to win.

Truly a tragic game for Anand as was the last game for him. Seems to me it is a case of nerves and perhaps of physical conditioning. Topalov now has the big advantage of having two whites remaining compared to only one white for Anand. Anand's play since his win in the 4th game of the match seems to have steadily deteriorated in terms of nervous play. Yes, Anand should have won today, but he missed at least 2 ways to win in this game, and that will haunt him and perhaps make him doubt himself in the games to come.


We are fans of chess game, not of Madonna or whoever !

Don't act as a fortune teller or a teenage groupie !


I agree with Jim, Topalov's momentum or trend began as early as game 5 reaching nerve racking heights game after game and Anand is cracking...if psychological or spiritual support counts for anything, Anand would require the whole of India to 'pray' for him now.

How exactly is today's game - where Topalov was, after all, worse to lost most of the time - a continuation of the "trend [which] began as early as game 5?

At the end of a long working day, Topalov can admittedly be proud that he survived with stubborn and creative defense - but he should mostly be relieved IMO.

How much does one good night's sleep help recover from the tiredness due to intense chess games? Is a single good sleep effective in recuperating or a longer layover is needed?

I shouldn't think Anand will be able to sleep!

Well at least he did not lose, and he should take heart from how he had Topa on the ropes for long. He just did not get the win he could have. There isn't any deficit he has to recover from, like from losing and needing to make up for that. He has to come to board and play chess, like he did in the beginning of the match. He as one white less. Is that really a fatal handicap? Isn't the misery more in the minds? Didn't win, so what? Wake up another day and give it another shot.

Of course these words are for myself, I need to be told all these things as much as Anand does :).

Hello Thomas,

'Worse to lost most of the time' is a bit of an exaggeration.

As for trend; a pattern is beginning to develop from a nervous stand point...Anand plays fantastic early (even Rybka blushes), then his error rate slowly increases towards the end regardless if he had drawn or winning positions.

The same of course applies to Topalov, nonetheless, Topalov has indeed been mounting pressure directly or indirectly based on fast, complex, sometimes irrational and good moves!

You might be a chess purist Thomas, respected; I prefer the barbaric or sporting side of the game where being a good player is not enough... to this end Topalov has indeed been controlling the trend since game 5.

Wasn't there a game recently where Anand repeated moves to gain time, and afterwards commented that it was the first time he did so? I never thought that "repeating moves" was a skill you had to train for, but he certainly messed that up today. Badly.

Almost everyone Anand is downing and eventually lose the match. I think different.

Its the first game of the second haft, when Anand gained a long advantage. He is recovering now! It is Topa, who has to be scared now. Remember! Anand also won Topa in the past as Black. His position is not so desperate and he has for sure some weapon unreleased.

I still predict Anand win the match

Semi-Slav City next stop folks!

Game 9 is sure to boost Anand's confidence. Topalov was exposed. Anand made inaccurate moves only under time pressure whereas Topalov's inaccurate and mediocore moves were while he had plenty of time and they were also occurring regularly.

Anand's approach today was good like I wanted. He played a different opening and made Topalov take time and think OTB. Today's game was also positional chess with tactical possibilities. He should do the same tomorrow.

Anand is producing excellent chess. So he should win championship.

Go Anand Go! Get Topalov on Game 10!

So far this game 9 got the most blog comments, approaching 500 comments I believe close to 300 during the game (or very shortly afterward).

Quotes of the day.

"Anand is a great, chess genius - I mean that sincerely - but he is also a flabby, middle-aged Indian." --Nigel

"Game 9 is sure to boost Anand's confidence."

What exactly is the "Indian" adding to Short's assessment? It's an objective fact that Anand is Indian -- but what has his Indian-ness to do with anything? Short can be good for a quotation -- but sometimes he's just a dickhead.

An example of what we could have had, if Anand had captured with the right Rook at Move 74.

8/8/3k4/8/8/4RP2/4RK2/2q5 w - - 0 1

WKf2, WPf3, WR's e2,e3; BKd6, BQc1: White to move and mate in 99. Has a unique key---can you find it? :-)

I think this is wishful thinking on your part. The fact remains that Anand lost a game he should have drawn (Game 8) and now has drawn a game he should have won (Game 9). To me, that doesn't speak of playing "excellent" chess. However, it does say something about the state of Anand's nerves. Topalov has two whites and one black in the remaining 3 games, which could turn out to be a big advantage for Topalov.

Remember when we were teenagers, when all-nighters meant nothing? You could put in all nighters on a rolling basis, and not even bat an eye. Then, as we age, it gets harder to do those. And it takes time to recover after each.

That, in a sense, is what is happening here too. Topalov is making a number of small inaccuracies. Anand is generally impeccable at the beginning of each game, but after several hours, he is making blunders that are so uncharacteristic of him.

Which brings the question, are we ultimately testing endurance for our world chess champion? If the objective of a match is to make sure no one gets away with a fluke, surely a match can be spread out over time, right? For example, a series of mini-matches (2-4 rounds each) every month for several months?

These days, given the presence of computers, this makes a lot of sense. For example:
a) there can be no adjournment because of computers.
b) thanks to computers, it's more grueling over the board for the player who is caught in the other person's analysis.
c) you cannot really relax on a rest-day because of the constant need to find new lines (computer assisted).

i.e., the players are being challenged to produce new results (world class research) every day on a continuous basis, without sleep.

@..Remember when we were teenagers, when all-nighters meant nothing?

Yeah, "Glory days, well.., they'll pass you by.
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eye"
as Bruce Springsteen would have it.

Fact is that at 40 one is finished. Anand's chess performance, his inability to penetrate decisively and win, only mirrors life, his life. In few years his chess skills will be on par with those of Mig so would better retire asap and make Aruna (at least) a child before it's too late.

As E.Lasker has it "In life we are all duffers, we are all checkmated sooner or later".

No, I disagree. This is more like a time management problem for Anand. Anand thinks and plays so fast that he hardly gets in to time pressure to get to practice his skills on playing under time pressures. I think nerves means you fear your opponent and play moves that is uncharacteristic of you under pressure situations whether it is a superior play from your opponent that brings that pressure or it is the pressure from your point position not going according to your plans. Time pressure mistakes wouldn't come under that category because you didn't have time to calculate and that is what had reflected on your move. Not nerves. That can be rectified by managing the time better. It won't make a dent in your confidence level. In that sense only Topalov's nerves are not doing good, seeing the precision play from Anand and not being able to breakthrough except for the Game 8. If Anand improves a little bit on time management front and is going to continue with his accuracy for the next 3 more regular games, forget it. Topalov can do nothing much but to lean on his luck.

Looks like Topa is playing his game. Make it complicated where it is hard to find the right choice. Well it pays off so far. He has to continue with his agressive fighting spirit though if he wants to win. Obviously Topalov is looking better psychologically. Anand can hardly put imagination in his games with Topa.
And Topa is the one bringing excitement and beauty in this match.
Go Topa!

Yep, that was against Kramnik in Corus last January. Indeed, Anand's time management may be the most surprising thing about the match so far - which isn't over yet and can still go either way. Who would have predicted that he is often far behind on the clock? Only game 7 is understandable, as he had to neutralize "Toparinov's" preparation (Topalov gave credit to Cheparinov for the exchange sacrifice).

While Anand does practice his skills in playing under time pressure through rapid and blitz (so here I think PircAlert is slightly wrong), switching _during_ a game from slow to rapid mode, from thinking/calculating to intuition is something else.

"Today being a national holiday in Bulgaria--St. George's day--holiday of the army and fighting spirit ... , Topalov went into the game thinking of the Sofia Rule (an anti-draw rule) and what his patriotic duty must be playing in front of his home town. Today the pride of all of Bulgaria weighed on Veselin's shoulders. Today Topalov would only play for victory in the game and in the match...and if he should lose in trying to do this...then so be it! He would still have 2 Whites in the final 3 games."

Is this mishanp translating from some Bulgarian newspaper? No it's honorary Bulgarian Kevin Spraggett, continuing

"Anand had varied his opening choice and entered into a not very dangerous line of the Nimzo-Indian, probably quite willing to make a colourless draw. The tension in this match had been incredible so far, and the Indian found himself winless in 4 games. A quiet game would have its advantages..."

Ha ha, in a post denigrating skills at 40 he quotes one of chess's best example of top level play at an advanced age!
Nice irony.

Not that it matters very much, but "E. Lasker" leads to ambiguity. Just "Lasker" obviously refers to Emanuel*, but "E. Lasker" makes Edward possible.

*Similar to "Bach" just referring to Johann Sebastian.

Something is getting to these guys, the pressure of each game being so much more in a 12 game match. Knowing that Carlsen will be very dangerous and thus Topalove last chance. BTW Carlsen seems to play Sofia rules in his games more than other players, don't know why some say he is boring. Fischer played the same way and had a much more limited opening reportage. It is exciting and hope Vishy goes for the win in game 11 even though 2 draws would definetely give him the edge in speed. I mean he has been the best speed player of the last 10 years at least, no?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 6, 2010 5:41 AM.

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