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    « Game 12, With Notes: A Closer Look at the Game that Retained Anand's Championship Title | Main | A Request and a Reminder »
    Tuesday
    May112010

    Game 12 Underway: QGD Lasker (Update at 12:35 p.m. ET) - Anand Wins!

    Anand has cleverly chosen the very solid (drawish) Lasker Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Those of you who want to look up key games will want to have a look at the Karpov-Yusupov ("Jussupow" in ChessBase's databases) Candidates match in 1989, I think, and also some of Kramnik's games with Black in the 1990s.

    It's a super-solid variation which gives Black almost no winning chances at all against a peer, but it's hard to beat too. For a single game, it's an excellent choice in a situation where a draw is a good result. Here are the moves so far:

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 (No 4...c6, going for the Semi-Slav) 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 Ne4 (The Lasker Variation) 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Be2 (Usual is 10.Bd3, but it will transpose back to normal lines momentarily) 10...Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 13.0-0 b6 14.Bd3 c5 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Qc2 (16.Qa4 is the other main move) 16...Nf6 and we have the following position:

    This last move is a little unusual, but not a novelty. It's quite logical, too. Black will accept a weakness on c5, but in return gets excellent play. For instance: 17.dxc6 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5 19.b3 Bb7 followed by 20...Bxf3, as played twice successfully (meaning with a draw) by Polish GM Miroslaw Grabarczyk.

     

    8:50 Update

    The first predicted moves were played: 17.dxc5 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5, but now 19.Qc2 as played in a correspondence game. So far they're following that game with 19...Bb7 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3. White has the better structure, obviously, but Black's activity is very hard to restrain. Here's a sample variation: 21...Qd6 22.Nb3 Ba6 23.Rc1 (23.Rd1?? Qxd1+ 0-1 was the end of the correspondence game - a pen slip?) 23...Bd3 24.Qf2 c4 and White has nothing better than to liquidate to a draw: 25.Na5 Qa6 26.Naxc4 Bxc4 27.Rxc4 Qxa2 28.R4c2 with equality.

     

    9:15 Update

    Not much since the last update, but perhaps Anand is out of his preparation. Instead of 21...Qd6, Anand chose 21...Ba6, and now instead of the natural 22.Rc1 Topalov played 22.Rf2.

    This overprotects b2, so now there's a threat against c5, but it weakens the d1 square. Anand might even be a tiny bit better by doubling on the d-file. If Anand does not succeed in getting this counterplay, however, he can wake up one moment with a strategically lost position. So we have prospects for a decisive result today!

     

    9:30 Update: Some Variations

    Anand played 22...Rd7, preparing to double on the d-file, and now we're waiting for Topalov's reply. It looks like Anand has the more comfortable, maybe even slightly better position. Black's c-pawn looks weak, but it's pretty resilient.

    For starters, taking on c5 right away is nothing: 23.Rxc5 Rxb2! 24.Qxb2 Qxc5 and Black is a little better.

    Trying to pile up with 23.Ne4? is an outright error, and demonstrates the weakness of White's back rank: 23...Rxb2!, with the point that 24.Qxb2? Rd1+ mates next move.

    Piling up the other way with 23.Nb3 is no big deal either: 23...Rbd8 24.Rd2 c4 25.Nd4 Qh4 26.g3 Qg5 is also slightly better for Black.

    White's best is probably the move Topalov just played: 23.g3. This takes care of the back rank worries and stops the sometimes annoying ...Qh4 from occurring. I'd expect 23...Rbd8 here, and after 24.Kg2 Black can choose between moves like 24...Bd3, 24...e5 and 24...h5.

     

    9:50 Update

    After 23.g3 Rbd8 24.Kg2 Bd3 Topalov chose 25.Qc1, which renews the threat to c5. So 25...Ba6 is possible, when 26.Qc2 Bd3 or 26.Ra3 Bd3 27.Rc3 Ba6 are an invitation to rapid games on Thursday. 26.Nb3 is more aggressive, when the obvious possibilities are:

    (A) 26...c4 27.Nd2 (threatening the c-pawn) 27...Qg5 (counter-attacking against the e-pawn) 28.h4 (28.Nxc4 Rd1 29.Qc2 Bxc4 30.Rxc4 Qxe3=) when Black can choose between the dynamic 28...Qh5 followed by ...g5 and the counter-attacking 28...Qa5.

    (B) 26...Rd1 27.Qc2 Qb7! 28.Rxc5 (28.Nxc5 Bf1+! 29.Rxf1 R8d2+ 30.Rf2 [30.Kh3?? Qd5-+] 30...Qd5 and White must give up his queen [e.g. 31.Qb3?? Rxf2+ 32.Kxf2 Qd2#], though he's not too much worse as a result.) Bf1+! 29.Rxf1 Rxf1 30.Kxf1 Qxf3+ 31.Ke1 Qxe3+ with a perpetual.

     

    10:15 a.m. Update

    As expected, Black retreated with 25...Ba6, but after 26.Ra3 he played the ambitious 26...Bb7. I didn't find anything great for White after 26...Bd3, but Anand preferred to put the bishop on the long diagonal. Now Topalov chose 27.Nb3 (27.e4 f5 gets crazy), and now Anand probably needs to put a rook on the c-file, which looks like a minor concession.

     

    10:40 a.m. Update

    The game remains very interesting, and could explode at any moment. Here are the latest moves:

    27...Rc7 28.Na5 Ba8 29.Nc4 e5

    Black's aim is clear: he wants to play ...e4 and to meet f4 with ...Rd3. White can stop this with 30.e4 though Black is absolutely fine after 30...f5 31.Nd2 fxe4 32.Nxe4 Bxe4 33.fxe4 Rd4.

    Another White possibility is 30.Ra5, trying to aim at both Black weaknesses, and then we could have something like 30...e4 31.f4 Rd3 or - even better - 31...Bd5 hoping to follow with ...Be6-g4-f3+.

    Sure enough, White has played the safer 30.e4 and Black replied 30...f5.

     

    10:50 a.m. ET Update

    Wow, Topalov has played 31.exf5 - this seems crazy! Anand immediately played 31...e4, and now the position looks extremely dangerous for White. This will almost definitely avoid the rapid play, but most likely not the way he wants.

     

    10:52 a.m. ET Update

    Unbelievable, Topalov is committing suicide here! He has just continued with the horrible 32.fxe4??, and after 32...Qxe4+ White's position is 100% lost. For instance: 33.Kh3 Rd4 (threatening 34...Qg4#) 34.Ne3 Qe8! 35.g4 h5! White's kingside is obliterated and his king likely to get mated. Topalov has absolutely lost his mind.

     

    11:05 a.m. ET Update

    Those moves have been played: 33.Kh3 Rd4 34.Ne3 Qe8 35.g4 h5 and now all that's left is for Topalov to find his last way to flail around.

    This is just target practice. After a few desperate minutes Topalov played 36.Kh4, and now the most direct win is 36...Qd8+ 37.f6 hxg4, when a move like ...g3+ is in the air. But frankly one doesn't need to find anything too concrete - White's king is on h4, and Black has five attacking units going after it.

     

    11:20 a.m. Update

    Topalov is still battling. After 36.Kh4, Anand chose the sufficient and more human 36...g5+, getting the Rc7 into the action as soon as possible. Topalov played the forced 37.fxg6 Qxg6 38.Qf1, and now Anand's best is 38...Rxg4+ 39.Kh3 and now either 39...Re7 (threatening 40...Rxe3+ 41.Rxe3 Rh4+ 42.Kxh4 Qg4#) or the subtler 39...Rf7 (with the idea 40.Rxf7 Bg2+ 41.Nxg2 Rh4+ and 42...Qg4#).

    It's not done yet, but it is winning, and he has 18 moves for the last three moves to make it to the time control.

     

    11:50 a.m. Update

    Still going! Anand did indeed play 38...Rxg4+ 39.Kh3 Re7, and Topalov dealt with the mate threat (40...Rxe3+, 41...Rh4+, 42...Qg4#) with 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Nf5+. This sets a small trap: 41...Kxf8?? 42.Nxe7+ Qf7 (42...Kxf7?? 43.Rxa7+ +-) 43.Ng6+! Rxg6 44.Qxf7+ Kxf7 45.Rxa7+ with a better position. Of course Anand didn't fall for it though: 41...Kh7 and now White must deal with the threats 42...Bg2# and 42...Rh4+ followed by 43...Qg4#.

    So the only move is 42.Rg3, and the following forced moves have happened quickly: 42...Rxg3+ 43.hxg3 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Re2+ 45.Kg1 Rg2+ 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Kxg2 and although the material situation isn't that bad for White, it's bad enough after 47...Qe2+ and ...Qxb2. White's thoroughly lost.

     

    12:00 p.m. ET Update

    More moves and a diagram: 47...Qe2+ 48.Kh3 c4

    White is in a sort of zugzwang here, and the ever-present threat to take on b2 doesn't make White's life easy either. It's a 100% win.

     

    12:25 Update

    We have a few more moves: 49.a4 a5 (Zugzwang.) 50.Rf6 Kg8! (50...Qxb2 won too - 51.Rh6+ Kg8 52.Rxh5 c3 53.Ne3 and now as long as Anand avoids 53...c2?? it's a win. But Anand's 50...Kg8 is even stronger, disrupting the coordination of White's pieces.) 51.Nh6+ Kg7 52.Rb6 Qe4 53.Kh2 Kh7 and now White's knight is just dead. Black will start cleaning up pawns at his leisure.

    The game has been as good as over for a long time now, but resignation can't be far away.

     

    12:28 - A Note on the Pawn Ending

    Some commenters thought that 47.Rf7+ led to a drawn king and pawn ending. They're right that it leads to a king and pawn ending, but it's not the least bit drawn. After 47...Kg6 48.Rg7+ Kf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50.Kxg2 Ke4 51.Kf2 Kd3 the win is trivial - a 1500 should beat Topalov here.

     

    12:35: Anand Wins: Game Over, Match Over

    Here are the remaining moves: 54.Rd6 Qe5 55.Nf7 Qxb2+ 56.Kh3 Qg7 0-1

    The final position:

    Congratulations to Viswanathan Anand, who continues his reign as world champion! (Stay tuned later for the full annotations.)

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    Reader Comments (34)

    Wojtasek was Anand's second in Bonn, so wonder if this is the "Polish Connection"

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaideepblue

    I am interested in the choice for ...Ba6 but especially why T. chose 22.Rf2 rather than, say, Rc1? Is it just that the symmetry of all three pieces aimed at c5 looks good to me? Does T. need to guard his g-pawn with the rook against future attacks?

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrdavis

    Nevermind, answered on chessdom...

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrdavis

    So, in the Kramnik-Topalov match, 1. e4 was not played in any of the slow games (I don’t believe in the rapids either). In Kramnik-Anand, 1. e4 was played only in the final game, when Anand was up a point, and he wanted to force Kramnik into a Sicilian. And finally, this match, once again without a 1. e4 game. In total, 1. e4 has been played just once in the last 35 classical WC games. We have come a long way since “best by test.”

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Shepherd

    Wow, how come so few comments today with the match on the line?

    It's 17. dxc5, not dxc6

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

    Is Anand just completely winning now after 32.fxe4? This could be an amazing end to the match.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichard W

    One thing seems for sure - there will be no draw in this game.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

    Anand just blundered with 40... Kg7 walking into 41.Nf5+!... For the second time in the match an inaccuracy on the last move before the time control can cost him a win.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKajetan Wandowicz

    Not a blunder---it's a winning K+P ending at Move 50 which humans can calculate better than engines :-)!

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth Regan

    No, I think it's still winning after 41.Nf5+ Kh7. It looks like everything comes off into a winning ending for Anand.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

    Kg7 is not a blunder, both that and Kh7 were winning I belive. Either way seems to simplify into a winning endgame. Kh7 was probably more accurate but some tricky checks calculate in that line.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichard W

    Topalov chose to lose his queen for two minors than be a piece down on a rook and rook + bishop ending.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

    Okay, now (after the g2 exchanges) it looks winning even for me (although I bet I'd lose it with either colour against either of them) :-)

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKajetan Wandowicz

    I think after 46...Bxg2 47 Rf7! might have drawn.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteratcrts

    Kenneth: I didn't see that the g2 exchanges were forced.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKajetan Wandowicz

    Will someone please computer check whether or not 47. Rf7+ might have drawn?

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteratcrts

    > I think after 46...Bxg2 47 Rf7! might have drawn.

    It looks like a good try as it equalizes the material, but it ends in a winning pawn ending for Black. 47...Kg6 48.Rg7+ Kxf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50. Kxg2 is won for Anand.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

    > It looks like a good try as it e It qualizes the material, but it ends in a winning pawn ending for Black. 47...Kg6 48.Rg7+ Kxf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50. Kxg2 is won for Anand

    Ok, so I guess Topalov saw that move and reckoned it wouldn't work.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteratcrts

    Everyone, the king and pawn ending was 100.00000000% hopeless: 47.Rf7+ Kg6 48.Rg7+ Kf5 49.Rxg4 hxg4 50.Kxg2 Ke4 51.Kf2 Kd3 is not just winning for Black, it's trivial.

    May 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDennis Monokroussos

    Out of curiosity, did White have anything tricky against 40... Kh7 (instead of Kg7)? I didn't see any reason not to play Kh7 dodging a check...

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

    Topalov resigns!!!

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

    There it is!

    What did I predict yesterday!? Didn't I say "oddly enough it is a bit of disadvantage for Toplaov to play white in the final game?" This is exactly why I said that. He puts too much pressure on himself to win with white, so he can avoid the rapids. He sure avoided the rapid games!

    A great win for Anand. He has shown that he is the best match player after the retirement of Kasparov. A lesser player and definitely a lesser human would have complained and moaned about having to travel for 40 hrs and not getting his request approved. But Anand, being the gentleman that he is, did nothing of that sort. He just went about his business. I thought that the loss in Game 8 and the failure to win a won game in Game 9 would have broken him. But he has shown that he is way too resilient. I have been saying that he is old at 40. That may be the case. But he has added mental strength and resilience to his repertoire, which are the most vital ingredients for match play. Even in this day and age of computer preparations, these are the basic qualities that really matter.

    Well done, Anand.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConqueror of Anand

    Ok - I don't know why I thought the game was tomorrow - and missed this amazing game. I am really glad that Anand won :) - precisely as Uddipan predicted at the end of the comments for game 11. Thanks much Dennis for your updates & commentary - your blog rocks! - HH

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHH

    Long live World Champion Anand!

    What a day to be so busy with work I didn't get to bring up the live site and audio after leaving home.... :O :(

    But what a grand way for Anand to have kept his title and proven he's still World Champion for a reason (and not just being better at rapid and/or blitz...)

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDarren Erickson

    your blog is the first comment on the game I witnessed today.
    thank you for your clear comments .

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRommert

    anand, anand, he's our man, if he can't do it: noone can!

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterguitarcameron

    "It's a super-solid variation which gives Black almost no winning chances at all against a peer..." -- Dennis M.

    Dennis, do you want to revise or modify this assessment at all, now that the game is over?

    After all: not only the result of the game, but also the course of the game itself, starkly contradict the assessment. Winning chances were all over the place.

    I realize you were making a statistical generalization, based on past results; but perhaps the assessment needs to be updated?

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHyman Roth

    Alternatively Hyman Roth, Topalov can be regarded as not a peer of Anand. Though seriously if you're going to make posts like that you can't expect a real answer can you?

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMekhanik

    I took Dennis simply to be describing the typical outcome of this position, which can be ascertained from various databases: multiple commentators made the same observation, in different words. Obviously, with sufficiently poor play by the other side, any variation can be winning.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Shepherd

    One player can blunder horribly in any variation. Try to avoid constructing straw men.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermdtrn

    Terrific game by Anand. Tons and tons of congratulations to him on the win.

    Finding Qe8 was very, very tough...Anand deserved to win the game just for that move! I have seen some rudimentary analysis that Qd8 after that was immediately crushing, but I guess Anand, being the gentleman that he is, found the most humane way to smash Topalov.

    The Tops blunders were, anyhow, overdue.

    All said and done now, this WCC was:
    a) the Championship of blunders
    b) a Championship where Anand decided 11 games (games 1-11), and Tops decided 1 (game 12)
    c) proves that Tops is not a chump after all. He eked out a win in game 8 from an even position (the Carlsen 'keep-on-trying' effect), and came back from the dead in game 9, and
    d) proves that, end of the day, Anand is simply KING.
    * Many thought he'll crumble (especially after games 8 and 9); he didn't, instead coming back stronger.
    * Many thought he does not have the killer instinct of Tops; he showed he has the killer instinct in loads; he killed Tops in a number of games, and, tongue-in-cheek, he also applied the instinct in himself as well.
    * Many thought he's not fit. Well, each chess game tires one out like a full 90 min football game. Well, how many can play a 90 min footie game after a 40 hr journey? He proved that he's fit enough to beat the best that can be thrown at him
    e) proves, conclusively, that as a role model, Anand is perfect. Gentle yet tough, uncompromising yet human, brilliant yet erratic

    Thanks.

    May 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUddipan

    anand, anand. you are the man.

    June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIndian Videos

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