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What is your game 5 prediction?

31,236 people joined us right here for game 1 LIVE commentary.

42,198 people joined us right here for game 2 LIVE commentary.

44,512 people joined us right here for game 3 LIVE commentary.

51,939 people joined us right here for game 4 LIVE commentary.

Round 5 will take place today at 7 am (U.S. central time). The score is 2.5 – 1.5 after 4 games in favor of Anand.

Here are the comments from my sister Judit Polgar:

Here are the comments from my sister Sofia Polgar:

Here are the comments from GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Alex Onischuk, and GM Lev Psakhis:

Here are the comments from GM Robert Hess and GM Boris Gulko:

Here are the comments from GM Ray Robson, GM Elshan Moradiabadi, and IM Dean Ippolito:

Here are the comments from IM Anna Zatonskih, GM Vinay Bhat, and GM Ben Finegold:

Here are the comments from GM Yury Shulman:

Topalov – Anand

World Championship (Game 5)

1. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. f3 c5 8. e4 Bg6 9. Be3 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nfd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bxc4 a6 The first 13 moves were cranked out in 3-4 minutes total by both players!

14. Rc1 We still have a repeat of game 3. Neither player has deviated yet. I have to believe that Topalov and his team have something up their sleeves for this game. Topalov did say that he felt that he had a good position in game 3 but he did not continue correctly. Anand is taking time here. In game 3, he played 14…Rg8.

14…Rg8 Same as in game 3. Still no deviation.

15. h4 h5 Here is the first deviation. Anand played 15. h6 in game 3. Anand held for a draw but he faced a cramp and difficult position. Therefore, his team came up with what they perceive as an improvement. This is like a mind game. Both sides are guessing when the other side will uncork a novelty / improvement. The difficult part to predict is when the novelty will come, before or after the move you plan to deviate. In this game, we still do not know how Topalov planned to improve. What we know is Anand did it first.

16. Ne2 This is a logical move. The threat is Nf4 to to attack the Bishop.

16…Bd6 This is to prevent Nf4.

17. Be3 The idea of this move is to play Bf4. Once again, just as in game 3, Topalov has a small advantage which he hopes to build on. Black faces the same problem with inactive Rook on g8 and Bishop on g6. We have a situation at the playing hall. The entire building lost electricity and went dark. Now the players have to play blindfold the rest of the way 🙂 Just kidding but not the part about the building going dark.

17…Ne5 The electricity is now back on after a short power outage. Special thanks to our friends at Chessdom for sharing with us the info about the blackout.

18. Nf4 If 18…Nxc4 19. Rxc4 Bxf4 20. Bxf4 then White has a good endgame even though the Bishops are on opposite color. If 18….Rc8 19. Bb3 Rxc1+ 20. Bxc1 Ke7 21. Ke2 and White also has an edge for the endgame. 18…Ke7 is another option. However, I am not sure if the advantage can lead to a full point for Topalov. Anand should be able to hold. The key decision for Anand right here is which type of endgame does he want? Which one he will have the least danger and easiest time to hold.

18…Rc8 Update from Sofia: Chessdom journalists talked to electrical emergency unit next to the playing hall. They confirmed that the electricity can be interrupted again as there are general problems in the whole area. In the current case the game was interrupted just for a few minutes and the organizers reacted quickly to switch on emergency light. The organizers just brought in the playing hall additional generator to support possible case of power outage.

You can also find the WC photo gallery by our friends at Chessdom here:

19. Bb3 Rxc1 20. Bxc1 Ke7 Just as I analyzed above. White has an small edge in this endgame and Anand feels that this is the least difficult line to hold.

21. Ke2 Rc8 White basically has a pleasant position. Black still has a problem with his g6 Bishop.

22. Bd2 The idea is to put his Bishop on c3. Even though the Black Rook occupies the c file, there is no square to penetrate. 22…f6 is the best option here but it is not an easy move to spot immediately. 22…f6 23. Nxe6 Bf7 24. Nd4 Bxb3 25. Nxb3 Rc2 And Black is fine. If 23. Bxe6 Rc2 24. b3 Nc6 25. Nxg6+ Kxe6 26. Kd3 Rb2 27. Kc3 Ra2 the position is equal as well.

22..f6 With this move, Anand has solved his bad g6 Bishop and he should have no problem holding this position. If 23. Nxg6+ Nxg6 24. g4 Nf4+ 25. Bxf4 Bxf4 26. gxh5 Rc5 or Rc1 = This is why Anand is the World Champion. He is so universal and resourceful. He can attack, defend, play positionally, play endgame well, etc. 22…f6 is not a move that most chess players would find. It requires deep understanding of the position and strong ability to calculate.

If you like a positional struggle, this is the game for it. It is a good sign when Anand finds resourceful moves and Topalov takes his time to try to capitalize on what he perceives as a small positional advantage. It means that the players are settling down and this will be an exciting match.

23. Nxg6 Nxg6 24. g3 Black cannot take on g3 because of Rg1. The Knight belongs on e5 so I expect Anand to get his Knight back there. So we have Bishop pair vs. Bishop and Knight endgame. This is the best option for Topalov after 22…f6.

24…Ne5 Trading Rooks with Rc1 may be a good idea here because it will eliminate the threat of Nc4. White would not want to trade his e2 Bishop for the Black Knight. Then he has to live with the g3, h4 pawn problem.

25. f4 Also a good move. This will block the Black Bishop from harassing the g3 and h4 pawn. This will also give Topalov a chance to keep his Rook on the board. However, I still do not see any serious chance for Topalov to score without a blunder by Anand. He has 25…Nc6 which threatens Nd4. Anand will not want his Knight on the Kingside with Ng4. It would remain out of play there.

25…Nc6 This position is completely even.

26. Bc3 defending the d4 square. Black can trade Bishops with Bb4 and White has no chance to win.

26…Bb4 27. Bxb4 Nxb4 I see no real chances for either side to win. But the interesting part is that since Topalov has a self imposed Sofia rule, the fans are getting a good endgame lesson. This will be a long one unless the players manage to find another 3-time repetition. 28. Rd1 or 28. Ke3 are both fine here. The only thing a lengthy game is bad for is those paid commentators. They have to work overtime for no extra pay 🙂

28. Rd1 As expected, Rook on the open file. By the way, the fans at home think that this is an easy draw but I have news for you. If a Grandmaster plays against an amateur in this position, the Grandmaster will play for win with either color. It is always easy when you are not in front of the firing squad. I remember playing an endgame specialist like Swedish GM Ulf Andersson when I was younger and less experience. He did not let me off the hook. He tried to grind me out for hours in the endgame. I did draw but it was a real learning lesson and experience 🙂 Would I take a draw here with either color if I am playing against a 1900-2000-2100-2200 or perhaps even a 2300? No 🙂

28…Nc6 29. Rd2 Keeping the 2nd rank safe in case of Na5 and Topalov has to retreat his Bishop to a2. This is like those heavy weight boxing bouts in the late rounds. They just move around the ring without much action while waiting for the opponent to fall asleep and commit and horrible boo boo 🙂

By the way, what are the other commentators saying? And please feel free to let chess enthusiasts at other sites know about my commentary. They are welcome to join us and share their thoughts. The more the merrier. It’s one big free party here. Sorry but I have to keep you awake for this very exciting endgame 🙂

29…g5 OK Houston, we have action! Anand is awake and kicking. White has to do nothing. He can take the pawn or simply move the King to f2. Still completely equal.

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30. Kf2 g4 31. Rc2 Now I do not think Anand would want to trade Rooks because of his problematic g4, h5 pawns. 31…Rd8 looks very logical here.

Last night, our friends from chessdom announced that Bulgaria is planning to bid for the 2014 Chess Olympiad. I know that since the Dresden Olympiad in 2008, the beautiful Norwegian city of Tromsø has already expressed their interest in hosting the 2014 Chess Olympiad.

I visited Tromsø last year during the Arctic Chess Challenge and I have to say that I was very impressed. I do not have the full details of the Bulgarian bid yet but I just received breaking news out of Norway. I will publish the interview by Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall with Morten Sand, a former FIDE Vice President and legal advisor to FIDE. This interview was done on behalf of the Norwegian Chess Federation. You will see it first right here shortly!

31…Rd8 32.Ke3 Rd6 The position is still equal but Topalov has made some progress. I like White a little better here because of Anand’s g4, h5 pawns. 33. Rc5 is looking good here.

33. Rc5 Nb4 This is getting interesting with 34. Bc4 Nc2+ 35. Ke2 Nd4+ 36. Kf2 Rc6 37. Rxc6 Nxc6 = / +=

34. Rc7+ Anand must play 34…Kd8 as 34…Rd7 would give Topalov an advantage.

34…Kd8 35. Rc3 Ke7 Now Topalov can choose to draw with Rc7+ then Rc3 again but I doubt that he would do that. If Topalov wants to make an issue, he may try 36. e5.

36. e5 Yup! He tried it! He is pushing hard instead of settling for an easy draw. Black should retreat his Rook and not take because that would give Topalov more chances.

36…Rd7 37. exf6+ Kxf6 38. Ke2 The position is still equal but Topalov is trying his best to create practical chances for himself. I still do not see Anand losing this game.

38…Nc6 39. Ke1 Nd4 40. Bd1 Anand can just park his Knight on f5 at any time and no chance for White to win.

40… a5 I admire Topalov’s willingness to fight and try to win here but I don’t see him succeeding. On the other hand, he needs to be careful not to over push and lose. 41. Rc5 Rd5 42. Rxd5 exd5 43. Kf2 =

We just broke the 60,000 mark for bloggers following this LIVE commentary. Here are the numbers in the first 4 games: 31,236 game 1 LIVE commentary; 42,198 game 2 LIVE commentary; 44,512 game 3 LIVE commentary; 51,939 game 4 LIVE commentary. The highest ever for this blog was around 130,000 following the last regulation game of the Kramnik – Topalov WC match.

It is not news that Topalov likes to push things to the edge. It’s his style and this style brought him to #1 in the world as well a WC title. Who am I or who is anyone to criticize him? Does he push too far sometimes and pay the consequences? Yes. Will he change? No 🙂

41. Rc5 Nf5 42. Rc3 Perhaps another chance for repetition?

42…Nd4 It seems that Anand is OK with a draw here.

43. Rc5 And now Topalov also is OK with a draw by repetition.

43…Nf5 44. Rc3 1/2

Topalov was held to a draw with White twice in a row while he has been unable to hold as Black. Game 6 will be critical for Topalov. He cannot afford to go down -2.

Thanks everyone for following the game. See you tomorrow, same time, same place, and even more fun!

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