Norway Chess: Veselin Topalov Denies Title To Anand
26 JUN 2015

In a major surprise, the Norway Chess tournament saw the current world champion Magnus Carlsen miss out as two former world champions entered the deciding match in the final round of the Norway Chess tournament.

The showdown between Topalov and Anand will bring back memories of the 2010 World Chess Championship final, when Anand defeated the Bulgarian with black. At least, that is what one billion Indians would have hoped for. But, the game was already at an advantage for the Bulgarian as all he needed was a draw to clinch the title.

And, that was successfully executed by Topalov.

Undefeated Anand failed to stop Topalov

Topalov played the Queen’s Gambit only to be declined by Anand who used the Ragozin variation. The move has been known to be a highly defensive manoeuvre, indicating that Anand was already on the defense as the game began.

The variation played results in more than 40 percent of the matches ending in a draw, which pops up the question, was Anand playing for a draw?

It was on the 13th move that the Bulgarian got rid of both of Anand’s knights realizing the danger he is capable of causing with them. It was the very next move in which the Indian tried to attack the white queen, that made way for a repetition. Anand may have attempted to force an error from Topalov at the stage but eventually settled for a draw moments later.

For a decider match of this nature, a short and dry game of only 18 moves may not be well justified. In many such situations, players have taken the risk trying to win. But, this was not one of those games.

What made Anand settle for a draw is hard to speculate but from a tactical point of view, settling for the 2nd spot seems better than risking going further down in the rank.

So, the question is what if Anand had chosen to fight till the end? Maybe, he would have won and added another title to his name, maybe he would have lost and had to settle for a position much below or maybe it would have just ended a draw as it actually did.

All these conditions are only speculations, what made him really take the decision is something that may never be known.


Tags: , ,