Anand – Topalov g8 LIVE commentary
What is your game prediction? Will Anand continue with 1. d4 or will he try 1. e4, especially after Topalov held twice in a row with Black. It will be interesting to see how Anand plays after the game 8 debacle.
Game 9 will take place today at 7 am (U.S. central time).
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Vishy Anand – Veselin Topalov
World Championship (game 9)
Hi everyone! We are ready to roll 🙂
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 Finally we have the Nimzo, something different!
4. e3 0-0 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. 0-0 We are in book so far.
7…cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 The most popular reply here is 10…Bb7
11. Re1 White has many other options such as: 11. Rc1, 11. Qe2, 11. Ne5, etc.
11…Nbd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 So far, Black has a comfortable game. Both sides have their pieces developed. += / =
13. Bd3 I believe Kramnik played 13. Qb3 against Kasparov in one of the games in their match. I do not have my database but you may want to look it up. I also believe Kramnik won that game.
This is the first time in this game which Topalov spends time to think about his next move. There could be a few reasons for that:
a) He is trying to recall his home preparation.
b) He is trying to make a decision on which type of position he would like to have for the rest of the game. The dynamics of the game would be so different with 13…Bxc3, 13…Be7, or 13…Re8, etc. Even though he may have prepared a number of lines at home, he will pick the one he feels most comfortable with today.
13…Re8 This is a popular choice. So far, neither player has deviated yet from book lines. One idea for this move is to create space for the Knight to potentially play Nf8 then Ng6.
14. Qe2 From the way Anand plays today, it does not seem that he has any urgency to take chances to win. He is playing “normal” chess for 2 results. I am sure he is not nervous if this match is tied at 6-6 and they have to go to a rapid playoff since he excels at faster time. The ironic part about this match so far is Topalov has spent far less time than Anand overall.
One idea here for Black to get his Queen out is to play 14…Bxc3 15. bxc3 then it is safe to play Qc7 without worrying about the discovery.
14…Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qc7 White has a few options here such as 16. Bh4 to bring the Bishop back to g3 to occupy that diagonal while creating havoc for the Black Queen, or 16. c4 to create play in the center.
16. Bh4 Black may want to consider 16…Nh5 to stop the Bishop from going to g3 while threatening Nf4 himself.
One of our bloggers Septimus just raised an interesting point. He does not believe that Anand is better than Topalov is rapid chess if they get to that phase of the match. Anand may or may not be better than Topalov in rapid chess and of course a lot of things can happen in fast games. But that is the perception in general and I know for sure that Anand is very comfortable with faster time control. This will automatically give him extra confidence. I am always amazed by his ability to calculate at lightning speed, especially when we were kids (younger) which is like 3 centuries ago 🙂
I am not sure why Topalov is taking so much time here. This is not a new position and no novelty has been introduced yet by either side. In addition, in my opinion, 16…Nh5 is most logical. Topalov is down by over 20 minutes so far.
16…Nh5 OK, so it is played 🙂 But will Anand go wild with this: 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg6 19. g4 Qf4 which is a must move or White wins 20. gxh5+ Kh6 21. c4 Qxh4 22. Nxf7+ Kh7 23. Qd3+ Kg8 24. Nd6 🙂 He may have some home cooking here 🙂
Here is another possible line: 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg6 19. g4 Qf4 20. c4 instead of 20. gxh5 above e5 21. gxh5+ Kh6 22. Qd3 Qg4+ 23. Qg3 Kxh5 24. Nxf7 Qxh4 25. Qxh4+ Kxh4 26. Nd6.
I guess maybe this is why Topalov took his time with 16…Nh5. He wanted to make sure he remembers the above crazy possibilities.
17. Ng5 Obviously a much safer line 🙂 Anand for sure is not the wild and crazy type. Now Black can simply play 17…g6 blocking the attack on h7. Amazingly we have no novelty so far.
17…g6 My evaluation in this position is +/= / =
18. Nh3 Here is the home preparation. I do not recall ever seeing this before and Anand played it quite quickly. The idea is simple. It defends the f4 square to block out the other Knight. Anand’s plan is also clear. He will make a play for Black’s holes (g7, h6, etc) on the Kingside since Black no longer has a dark color Bishop. He is clearly playing for 2 results.
As Black, Topalov must try to open up the center with e5 to give his pieces more action. He simply cannot sit and wait for Anand to exploit his weaknesses.
18…e5 I expect Anand to block the e4 threat with 19. f3. White cannot play 19. dxe5 because it will help the Black Knight after 19…Nxe5 and Black would have a good position.
19. f3 This is interesting: 19…exd4 20. Qxe8+ Rxe8 21. Rxe8+ Kg7= I think Black is fine in this position.
19…Qd6 A good choice as well. I am curious to see the idea Anand and his team came up with for the new move 18. Nh3.
I was just asked what it means playing for 2 results. This simple means that playing safe (not taking risk) where a player aims for a win or at the worst case scenario draw.
20. Bf2 exd4 21. Qxe8+ Rxe8 22. Rxe8+ Nf8 It is interesting that Topalov chose to play exd4 after 20. Bf2. Taking the d4 pawn with the Bishop or pawn are both fine. But this is a critical move. The dynamics of the game would change very quickly depend of how White chooses to proceed right here. I think White is slightly better but I do not think Topalov will have a hard time at all holding this position.
23. cxd4 This is interesting. Anand chose to take back with the pawn. The pluses are he created a passed pawn for himself while opening up the c file. The minus is his dark color square Bishop would be much more active on d4.
In this position, Topalov has a number of serious choices:
a) Go pawn hunting with 23…Qa3
b) Chase the Rook away from the 8th rank with 23…Bc6
c) Or getting his Knight on the rim back in play with 23…Nf6
All decent choices and one difficult decision.
23…Nf6 He chose to get his Knight back in play. A smart solid choice!
24. Ree1 Ne6 All of a sudden, Topalov’s pieces are on good solid posts. Perhaps 25. Bc4 for White to put pressure on the e6 Knight. Anand must also find a way to get his h3 Knight some action.
25. Bc4 Topalov cannot allow this trade as it will weaken his Kingside pawn structure. Therefore, 25…Bd5 makes sense here. It also attempts to eliminate White’s Bishop pair. 25…Nxd4 obviously does not work because the Knight will be pinned and lost.
25…Bd5 So far both sides have made logical moves. Anand can get his Knight into play with Bg3 then Nf2. I still think this position is += / =
26. Bg3 Qb4 This is a riskier option. 26…Qd7 is more solid. Now White can play Be5 and some fireworks may come. This is one of the many possible lines: 27. Be5 Nd7 28. Bxd5 Nxe5 29. Bxe6 Qxd4+ 30. Kh1 fxe6 += / =
27. Be5 Nd7 There are so many possibilities in this position. Here is another one: 28. a3 Qb2 29. Bxd5 Nxe5 30. dxe5 Qd4+ 31. Nf2 Qxd5 =
28. a3 Another logical move by Anand to chase Topalov’s Queen. So far both players have played very well. Now 28…Qb2 and 28…Qa4 are both playable although I prefer Qb2 a little more.
28…Qa4 29. Bxd5 Nxe5 Here is a possible line: 30. Bxe6 Nd3 31. Rc4 Qxa3 32. Bxf7+ Kxf7 = or a little worse is 30. Bxe6 Qxd4+ 31. Kh1 fxe6 32. Ng5 Qb2+=
30. Bxe6 Qxd4+ 31. Kh1 If 31…Nd3 then 32. Re4 += Therefore, 31…fxe6 is a little better.
31…fxe6 Now 32. Ng5 is most logical to go after Black’s weak e6 pawn.
32. Ng5 It would be a blunder to play 32…Nd3 as 33. Rc8+ Kg7 34. Nxe6+ and White wins. 32…Qb2 is the best option for Black here. 32…Qd6 is also OK but not as strong as Qb2.
32…Qd6 The reason why I do not like this move as much as 32…Qb2 is because of 33. Nxe6 Qxe6 34. f4 +=. If 33. Nxe6 Qxa3 34. f4 Nd7 35. Rc8+ Kf7 36. Ng5+ Kf6 37. Nxh7+ Kg7 38. Ng5 +=
33. Ne4 I do not like this move at all. Anand had a chance to gain a small advantage and he did not take advantage of it. Now Topalov will have a much easier time holding this. Topalov should take the a3 pawn and this may be possible: 33…Qxa3 34. Rc8+ Kg7 35. Rc7+ Kh6 36. Nf6 Qa5 37. Rxh7+ Kg5 38. Ne4+ Kf5 =
33…Qxa3 If 34. Rc7 then Nd3 =
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34. Rc3 Black should keep his Queen active with 34…Qb4
34…Qb2 Anand has about 12 minutes for 6 moves while Topalov has about 18-19 or so minutes. Both are OK with time, not that urgent at the moment.
35. h4 Getting his Kingside going. In addition, in some lines, this pawn may block the escape route of the Black King from the 7th and 8th rank attack.
35…b5 36. Rc8+ Anand can take a repetition but he will not do that. He is trying to win.
36…Kg7 37. Rc7+ King should move to f8 to avoid giving White a tempo with Nf6+
37…Kf8 Anand should play 37. Ng5 += Black is still not out of the wood yet. White still has a good position.
38. Ng5 Topalov must be accurate here or else he will lose this. I think Black has to play 37…Ke8 here. It is not an easy move to spot. If he plays 38… b4 39. Nxe6+ Ke8 40. Ng5 Qd4 41. f4 Qxf4 42. Re4 Qg3 43. Rc5 +-
38…Ke8 If 39. Nxe6Nxf3 40. gxf3 Qf2 and Topalov may hold.
39. Rxh7 Qc3 Anand is trying hard and Topalov is defending well.
40. Rh8+ I prefer 40. Re2 and keep the Black King on the 8th rank. Anand’s 40th move allows the Black King to escape with 40…Kd7
40…Kd7 Black seems to be OK for the moment.
I apologize but I have to take a brief break. I have a quick meeting with the Chancellor of Texas Tech University. He is one of the biggest supporters of SPICE. I will be back momentarily and will continue / catch up with the analysis. Thank you for joining me today. Please feel free to offer your comments and analysis for others to see. You take over the commentary now 🙂
Be back very soon….
I am back 🙂
41. Rh7+ Kc6 42. Re4 b4 43. Nxe6 Black’s position looks fine here. This is certainly much better than having the King stuck on the 8th rank. 43…Kb6 seems OK here.
43…Kb6 The position is even. White has the Rook pair but Black’s b pawn is further long. If 44. Nf4 Qc1+ or Qa1+ 45. Kh2 Nc6 =
44. Nf4 Qa1+ 45. Kh2 a5 This is an extremely difficult and complicated endgame for both sides as mistakes can easily happen. However, Anand is still in the driver seat. To maintain some initiatives, I think h5 is needed. Anand needs to create passed pawns for himself.
46. h5 Topalov cannot take here because 46….gxh5 47. Rxh5 Nc6 48. Nd5+ Kb7 49. Rh7+ Ka6 50. Re6 and White has a dangerous attack. Better is 46…g5.
46…gxh5 Yikes! He took it. Here we go.
47. Rxh5 Nc6 This is looking bad for Topalov. 48. Re6 +-
48. Nd5+ This is not the most accurate move. I like 48. Re6 a lot better. But White is still better here.
48…Kb7 Anand is down to only about 13-14 minutes for a series of critical moves.
49. Rh7+ Only move for Black is Ka6.
49…Ka6 50. Re6 Again, the only move for Black is Kb5. Then White has 51. Rh5 with a strong advantage.
I am asked why Anand is taking a lot of time. He feels it. He knows he has a win in his hands and this can mean the match for him. This is why he is extra cautious.
50…Kb5 Only 1 move for Anand to keep is advantage which is 51. Rh5
51. Rh5 Topalov has a very difficult position here. His only hope is for Anand not to find the most accurate continuation under time pressure. 51…Nd8 the best move among many poor choices 52. Rb6+ Kc4 53. Rd6 Nb7 54. Nb6+ Kb3 55. Rd7 +/- The Black Knight is stuck.
51…Nd4 White has this now 52. Nb6+ Ka6 53. Rd6 +/-
52. Nb6+ Ka6 Topalov needs a miracle to hold on to this game. 46…gxh5 caused him a lot of problems. The Black King is in serious trouble with the constant threat of getting checkmated by the Rook pair.
This is why I had to pause before. The Chancellor of Texas Tech University wanted to meet members of SPICE and the Knight Raiders Chess Team. Chancellor Kent Hance is a big supporter of chess.
53…Kb7 54. Nc4 Not the most accurate move but not bad under time pressure.
54…Nxf3+ Topalov is trying everything possible to hang on.
55. gxf3 Qa2+ 56. Nd2 Kc7 57. Rhd5 This is not accurate. 57. Rhh6 is stronger.
57…b3 58. Rd7+ Kc8 59. Rd8+ Kc7 60. R8d7+ Kc8 Anand wisely repeated moves to save time. Now he can take a little time for come up with a closing out plan.
61. Rg7 A very good move. White should not pay attention to Black’s passed pawns. He must try to mate the Black King since it is stuck on the 8th rank. Topalov has to try 61…Qc2. Even with Qc2 Black still has a position with slim hope to survive.
61…a4 OK. Topalov is saying to Anand mate me if you can 🙂 Until you do, let me make a couple Queens.
Wouldn’t it be cool if the players can have 3 life lines? a) Check with Rybka or other engines b) Phone a friend who is running Rybka or other engines at home c) Ask the audience who also has Rybka and other engines running 🙂
It is not easy to find the plan starting with 62. Rdd7.
62. Rc5 As I just said, it is NOT easy to find 62. Rdd7.
62…Kb8 63. Rd5 Kc8 Anand is not repeating moves. He is trying to gain extra time.
64. Kg3 Anand completely missed the Rdd7 plan.
64…Qa1 The best move with chances to draw. Once again, Rdd7 still gives White a small chance.
65. Rg4 Now after 65…b2, it is draw.
65…b2 Any chance of a win for Anand has evaporated. This is a huge mis-opportunity for Anand. If Topalov is successful in holding this, he will have the advantage as he will have 2 White in the final 3 games.
66. Rc4+ Kb7 67. Kf2 Topalov is thinking about this 67…. b1=Q 68. Nxb1 Qxb1 69. Rdd4 Qa2+ 70. Kg3 a3 =
67…b1=Q 68. Nxb1 Qxb1 69. Rdd4 Qa2+ 70. Kg3 a3 71. Rc3 If Black plays correctly, this should be a draw.
71….Qa1 This is inaccurate. Now Black has to fight hard to draw again.
72. Rb4+ Ka6 73. Ra4+ Kb5 74. Rcxa3 Topalov still has some work to do but he “should” be able to draw with a series of checks. Anand cannot stop this.
74…Qc1+ 76. Kf5 Qc5+ 77. Ke4 Qc2+ 78. Ke3 Qc1+ 79. Kf2 Qd2+ 80. Kg3 Qe1+ 81. Kf4 Qc1+ 82. Kg3 Qg1+ 83. Kf4 1/2-1/2
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This is a real tragedy for Anand not to win this game. He had it under control. Topalov can now breathe after escaping this one.
I will be back at 7 am (U.S. central time) to cover game 10. Thank you everyone for joining me right here.
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