Monday, May 3, 2010

WCh G6: another Catalan, another draw

The sixth game of the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov ended in a draw today. For the third time a Catalan came on the board, and after an interesting fight between Anand’s knight pair and Topalov’s bishop pair a drawish ending was played out till move 58 where a move repetition again brought a silent end to the game..
The match will take place April 21 – May 12 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Venue is the Central Military Club in Sofia, Bulgaria. The match will consist of 12 games, and if necessary, a 4-game rapid tiebreak, if necessary 5 2-game blitz matches and if necessary 1 sudden death game.
The classical games will be played in pairs of 2, so there will be a rest day after every 2 games. No postponements are allowed. Topalov has White in games 1,3,5,8, 10 and 12.The time control for each game is 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61.
The Chief Arbiter is Panaqiotis Nikolopoulos (Greece). The Deputy Chief Arbiter is Werner Stubenvoll (Austria). The total prize fund is 3 million Euros: 2 million for the players, 400,000 for FIDE taxes and 600,000 for organizational costs. The winner will receive 1,2 million Euros while the loser receives 800.000 Euros.
Anand-Topalov, Game 6
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5
Despite scoring 0 out of 2 so far, Topalov sees no reason to change his Black repertoire.
4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6
Topalov returns to the move he tried in the second game. 5... Bb4+ 6. Bd2 a5 7. Qc2 Bxd2+ 8. Qxd2 c6 9. a4 b5 10. Na3 Bd7 11. Ne5 Nd5 12. e4 Nb4 13. O-O O-O 14. Rfd1 Be8 15. d5 was game 4.
6. Ne5 c5 7. Na3
Again Anand goes for the line where White sacrifices a pawn.
7... cxd4 8. Naxc4 Bc5 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5!?
Like in the previous game, Anand doesn't allow Topalov to show his prepared improvement. Preparation wise, the Indian has the 'initiative' in the match. 10. Bd2 Nd5 11. Rc1 Nd7 12. Nd3 Ba7 13. Ba5 Qe7 14. Qb3 Rb8 was game 2, where Anand came up with the much debated 15. Qa3!?
10... h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6
In fact only this is the first new move. In the only previous game where 10.Bg5 was tried, Black went 11... gxf6 12. Nd3 Be7 13. Qd2 Kh7 14. Rac1 Ra7 15. Qf4 Nc6 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Qe4+ f5 18. Qxc6 Rc7 19. Qa4 Bb7 20. Na5 Ba8 21. Rxc7 Qxc7 22. Rc1 Qd6 23. Nc6 and White was better in Raetsky-Panchanathan, Biel 2004
12. Nd3 Ba7 13. Qa4!?
Still played rather quickly (after 4 minutes). Anand keeps on putting psychological pressure on his opponent, who was most probably out of book already.
13... Nc6!?
Topalov is ready to give back the pawn when it allows him to gain the bishop pair and finish development. 13... b5? 14. Qc2 bxc4 15. Qxc4 just loses an exchange for not enough compensation.
14. Rac1!?
Anand refrains from 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Qxc6 Rb8 which wins the pawn back, but is surely fine for Black.
14... e5
14... b5 15. Qa3! bxc4 16. Rxc4! is good for White.
15. Bxc6
Now that ...b5 became a real threat, it's time to go for this.
15... b5!
15... bxc6?! 16. Ncxe5 and the Black c-pawn is very weak.
16. Qc2
16. Bxb5?! axb5 17. Qxb5 e4 is clearly not to be recommended.
16... Qxc6 17. Ncxe5 Qe4 18. Qc6 Bb7 19. Qxe4 Bxe4
The ending is roughly equal, but highly interesting, as we're about to see a fight between bishops and knights. The knight on d3 is well placed and strong, and the knight on e5 can jump to lots of squares. Let's see what happens.
20. Rc2
White doesn't need to worry about ...f6 and . ..Bxd3. OK, it isolates the white pawn, but it's hard to attack and what's left is another white knight that will be stronger than the bishop on a7. 20. Nd7 Rfe8 21. Rc7 Bf5 22. Rfc1 Rxe2 23. Rxa7 Rxa7 24. Rc8+ Kh7 25. Nf8+ is a drawing line given by Shipov.
20... Rfe8
20... Rac8 21. Rfc1 Bf5? 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Rxc8+ Bxc8 24. Nc6! as given by Shipov, nicely illustrates the power of the knights.
21. Rfc1 f6 22. Nd7
Time left: 1:12 Anand, 1:13 Topalov. 22. Ng4? h5 and the knight has no squares. Also interesting was 22. Nc6 Bb6 23. a4!? with the idea 23... bxa4 24. Rc4
22... Bf5 23. N7c5 Bb6
Let's toss in a quote from GM Sergey Shipov: "They say, the worst elephant [Russian for bishop - CV] is better than the best horse. And if anyone does not know the differences between an elephant and a horse - let him go down to the zoo ... In general, I have created a hundred proverbs on the subject, but the essence is the same."
24. Nb7!? Bd7 25. Nf4
The immediate 25. Nd6 Re6 26. Nc8 was possible too, and not easy for Black either.
25... Rab8 26. Nd6 Re5 27. Nc8!?
This knight is really going for an Academy Award in this game.
27... Ba5 28. Nd3
Time left: 0:40 Topalov, 0:35 Anand.
28... Re8 29. Na7
29. Nd6!? Re6 30. Nf5 Bb6 31. Kf1
29... Bb6
29... Ra8 seems to be leading to a draw almost by force: 30. Nc6 Bxc6 (30... Bb6 31. Nf4 Bf5 32. Rd2 += ) 31. Rxc6 Rxe2 32. Kf1! Rd2 (32... Ree8?! 33. Rd6 Red8 34. Rcc6 += ) 33. R1c2! Rxd3 34. Ke2 Rd2+ 35. Rxd2 Re8+! 36. Kd3 Bxd2 37. Kxd2 a5 and Black will hold the rook ending because 38. Rc5 can be answered by 38... Re5
30. Nc6 Rb7
30... Bxc6 31. Rxc6 Rxe2
31. Ncb4 a5 32. Nd5
Time left: Anand 0:27, Topalov 0:28.
32... a4 33. Nxb6
From the e5 square this knight has followed the route e5-d7-c5-b7-d6-c8-a7-c6-b4-d5-b6 and now it gets exchanged. That's ten lost tempi! ;-)
33... Rxb6 34. Nc5
White has made a move with a knight thirteen moves in a row - this could be a record for a World Championship game.
34... Bf5 35. Rd2 Rc6 36. b4 axb3 37. axb3 b4
This pawn sacrific e is almost forced; otherwise White will protect the knight with b3-b4 with a slight advantage.
38. Rxd4 Rxe2 39. Rxb4 Bh3
Black has nice compensation but not more than that. (But he does threaten Rxc5 here.)
40. Rbc4 Rd6 41. Re4
41. b4!? Rdd2 42. Rf4 Rc2 43. Ra1 Ra2 44. Rc1 Rac2 =
41... Rb2 42. Ree1 Rdd2 43. Ne4 Rd4 44. Nc5 Rdd2 45. Ne4 Rd3 46. Rb1
Whit has to give back the pawn. 46. Nc5? Rf3 suddenly wins on the spot for Black.
46... Rdxb3 47. Nd2 Rb4 48. f3
Around this move the clock turned seven and so the game lasted longer than four hours, which we hadn't seen yet so far in this match.
48... g5
Is it really 'better for the spectators' that play continues in this position? Especially when the sun is shining brightly outside, we're not so sure...
49. Rxb2
Not 49. g4?! Kg7! and Black will continue with ...f5 at some point. (49... Bxg4?! doesn't work: 50. fxg4 Rxg4+ 51. Kf1 Rxd2 52. Re7 = )
49... Rxb2 50. Rd1 Kf7 51. Kf2 h5 52. Ke3 Rc2 53. Ra1 Kg6 54. Ra6 Bf5 55. Rd6 Rc3+ 56. Kf2 Rc2 57. Ke3 Rc3+ 58. Kf2 Rc2
And again a repetition ended this game and the point was split. We still don't see the point here and we promise we won't accuse Topalov of being inconsistent when next time he DOES offer Anand a draw. .. 1/2-1/2

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