Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Long Live the Champion!

In case you have not heard, GM Viswanathan "Vishy" Anand, World Champion has successfully defended his title by defeating the challenger, GM Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria.

A lot were expected from the Championship Match especially after the debacle of Topalov's last tilt at the World title against then World Champion (one of two Champions) GM Vladimir Kramink from Russia. Hence the birth of the term, "toiletgate" which forever soiled the image of chess. Grave fears abound after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano wreaking havoc around Europe and severely disrupting the travel plans of Anand and his team from Frankfurt, Germany to Sofia, Germany.

However, the Match itself got off to a great start, with Topalov landing the first blow, totally demolishing with the White pieces Anand in a Gruenfeld Defence to 1 d4. Anand hit back with two victories in two successive Whites and two Catalans. Then the momentum swung back to Topalov (or rather his longtime second (sidekick and wannabe clone), GM Cheparinov) who found a clever way to a neutralise Anand's Catalan. (But sales of Israeli GM Boris Avrukh's GM Repertoire vols 1 and 2 (Quality Press)) are sure to skyrocket!) Topalov equalised in Game 8 and both players missed wins in their respective White games. Play were also a bit sloppy but nonetheless exciting as the World Champion and World No 2 (on ratings) proved to mere patzers the world over that they were also human after all! Anand had his last White game in Game 11 but could not win with a surprise English Opening 1 c4.

Then it was the last game with Topalov playing White. Anand resorted to the defence of World Champions, namely the Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD) and signalled his intention of seeking a draw with the very quiet variation known as the Lasker Defence of the QGD (named after World Champion Emmanuel Lasker).

Then we reached the middle game, and after Anand played 29. Nc4 e5 30. e4 f5! surprising Topalov and seeking the initiative. After ...e5 is played, would you have seen ...f5 coming? In any event, if you are White, what would you play (diagrammed position below)?

Do not look below.

After Topalov played his 31st move (?!), Anand played ...e4. And we reach the diagrammed position below. What would you play as White?

Here is the link to the whole game playable online.

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