Kasimdzhanov ½-½ Topalov
Kasimdzhanov once again played very well. Topalov repeated the more conservative Berlin. Kasim basically held on to his advantage through out most of the game. On move 34, Topalov sacrificed a Rook but if Kasim took it, Black will follow with 35…Rxg2+ 36. Kh1 Rg3+ with at least an equal position. Therefore, White had to decline the sacrifice. On move 35, Topalov once again sacrificed an exchange. This time, Kasim had no choice but to take it.
Even though Topalov was down an exchange and a pawn, he had more than enough compensation because of White’s weak King in the back rank. The brilliant sacrifice finally gave Black a small edge for the first time in the entire game.
On move 42, Kasim had to give back the exchange to save the game. Otherwise, he would have been in big trouble. Kasim offered a draw on move 47 and Topalov accepted it. That gave him the well deserved World Championship crown. I believe that if this would have been an earlier round, Topalov would have played on because he is the only one with any chance to win. However, he did the right thing by taking the draw to secure the World Championship.
I already congratulated Topalov days ago but today’s result made it official. Even though he coasted and drew every game in the second half, his performance is still around 2900! What a magnificent way to win the World Championship. Congratulations to a wonderful Champion, a nice guy and a true fighter!!!
Adams ½-½ Leko
What is there to say about this game? There was really nothing left for either to play for. Adams played 3. Nc3 (I call it the anti-Sveshnikov) in the Sicilian. After both sides developed then exchanged some pieces, they called it a day and agreed to a draw. White was a little bit better in the final position but I think Adams is ready to finish his last two games and get out of town as soon as possible. The same can be said about Leko.
Anand ½-½ Morozevich
Morozevich decided to employ the French defense today. He had no problem equalizing the game. In fact, I like his position better after move 18. On move 19, Anand decided to sacrifice his Bishop by taking Bxh7+. It is a brilliant sacrifice but not to win the game. The sacrifice was to save the game. He made another sacrifice by giving up his Queen on move 27 to force draw by perpetual checks. Anand had to do it to keep pace with Svidler and maintain a tie for second place going into the last round. Guess what? Svidler and Anand will face each other tomorrow.
J. Polgar ½-½ Svidler
Svidler chose the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez against Judit. She decided to play 12. d3 instead of 12. d4 which she played against Adams in the 9th round. Nakamura played the same line against Aronian earlier this year in Gibraltar. Judit and Svidler basically followed well known theories. The problem with an opening like this is just about everything has been analyzed at home and not much had to be done on the board. That is why both players were playing at very rapid pace. Nothing can be done as the game was eventually a draw.
Even though the game lasted until move 39, they had to work very little. Svidler was content with a draw because that meant that he is still on a tie for second with Anand. He will have White against Anand in the final round. If he draws Anand with the White pieces in the final game, he will finish in a tie with Anand for second place and a big payday.