2010 Topalov-Anand World Chess Championship

The 2010 World Chess Championship is currently being played out (at the time of writing). The match is being played from April 24 to May 13, 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a traditional one-on-one challenger vs champion match. Veselin Topalov (2812, Bulgaria) is challenging the World Champion, Viswanathan Anand (2789, India).

The World Championship is a twelve-game match, with a prize fund of 2 million euros.

Overview of Games

Game 1 (1-0): Topalov, with the White pieces, defeated Anand decisively in a Grünfeld Defence in 30 moves.

Game 2 (1-0): Anand struck back with a positional masterpiece in the Catalan Opening, winning in 43 moves.

Game 3 (½-½): Anand switches to the rock-solid Slav Defence, holding Topalov to a draw in 46 moves.

Game 4 (1-0): Anand plays the Catalan again. Topalov deviated early from Game 2 with 5…Bb4, but Anand won anyway in 32 moves after a startling attack.

Game 5 (½-½): Anand uses the Slav again, deviating first with 15…h5. He again holds Topalov to a draw, this time in 44 moves.

Game 6 (½-½): Topalov switches back to the line he used in Game 2 against Anand’s Catalan. Somehow, Anand saw this coming and deviated first with 10.Bg5. However, Topalov played accurately nevertheless and held Anand to a draw in 58 moves. At one point, Anand makes 13 consecutive knight moves (see the game if you don’t believe me!).

Game 7 (½-½): Topalov (Black again, since colours stay the same rounds 6-7) tries 5…Be7 against Anand’s Catalan. The game was a “nerve-shattering, blood-curdling draw”. Topalov sacrificed a piece to reach a drawn position and the draw was agreed in 58 moves.

Game 8 (1-0): Anand employs the Slav again, deviating first with 13…Rc8 (some have argued that this was not an improvement at all). An oversight left the World Champion in trouble. Although Anand managed to acquire drawing chances, a final blunder sealed his fate on move 56. Topalov equalises the match at this point.

Game 9 (½-½): Topalov brings the Nimzo-Indian to the table. Anand fought this with the Rubinstein System and played accurately to gain a big advantage. Despite having several wins throughout the game, Anand was ultimately not able to convert against Topalov’s resilience. The game was drawn in 83 moves.

Game 10 (½-½): Anand returns to the Grünfeld Defence, deviating from Game 1 with 10…b6. Topalov gained a solid advantage, but Anand was able to hold the draw in 60 moves.

Game 11 (½-½): Anand plays the English Opening, entering into a Reverse Dragon (i.e. it is similar to the Sicilian Dragon, except that the Dragon player is White). Topalov equalised as Black. Anand played ambitiously and the game ended in perpetual check in 65 moves.

Game 12 (0-1): Anand utilises the super-solid Queen’s Gambit Declined: Lasker Defence. I remember watching this game live and going to sleep thinking that the game would be drawn and the match would be taken in tie-break games. Anand actually managed to muscle up serious attacking chances. Topalov defended inaccurately and Anand was able to gain an unassailable material advantage. Topalov resigned on move 56, allowing Anand to retain his World Championship title (which he won from Vladimir Kramnik in 2008).

Click here to replay the games on a Java board.

Click here to download the games in PGN format. If you are unsure how to access the file, see my guide on opening chess file formats.

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