12 Dec 2010

Luke McShane had a draw against Adams while Anand came out with a win.
They now share the lead after four rounds.

10 Dec 2010


Whilst Carlsen as Black is trying to swindle Anand in a lost position, McShane is holding his own as White against Kramnik.

The youngsters aren't pulling any punches against the old guard. Like lat year, this tourney is providing ample entertainment and fascinating chess.

Carlsen is doing his usual time squeeze trick, but Anand knows how to handle this and isn't going to be tripped up. Still, time is of the essence, with 3 minutes for two tricky moves.

McShane is hanging in there, with a marginal equilibrium against Kramnik, but here also 2 moves needed with one minute each

9 Dec 2010

LONDON Round 2

Is McShane the new Carlsen?

Playing black against Short, Luke McShane is playing another canny game.
By move 15.Qd3 Nxb2, he has tipped the balance and is ready to fork White's Queen and Rook.
The King will take this Knight of course, but after levelling exchanges the black position is strenghtened and Black will be able to push into the kingside, even though the king isn't actually there at the minute.

A draw at least. probably not more, as there is little chance of wringfooting White from hereonin. Still, a draw as black is not bad. I still think that this has to be rewarded more than a draw as White.

But McShane isn't in it for the draw and rejects the obvious, playing for a win, he rejects taking the b2 pawn and plays 15....Qc6 instead.
Wonderful stuff.

And then we get to the question of the =g5= square:
Whoever gets on there by move 21 has the win in hand.

Both refuse. What kept them off of it until the golden moment had passed I wonder.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2
Nc6 9. g4 Be6 10. Nxe6 fxe6 11. O-O-O Rc8 12. Bc4 Qd7 13. Bb3 Na5 14. h4 Nc4
15. Qd3 Qc6 16. Ne2 Nd7 17. Nd4 Qa6 18. f4 e5 19. fxe5 Ndxe5 20. Qe2 Kh8 21. h5
gxh5 22. g5 Ng4 23. Bg1 Nce3 24. Qxa6 bxa6 25. Bxe3 Nxe3 26. Rd3 Bxd4 27. Rxd4
Rc5 28. Rd3 Ng2 29. Rg3 Nf4 30. Kd2 Re5 31. Re1 Kg7 32. Ke3 Kg6 33. c3 Rxg5 34.
Rxg5+ Kxg5 35. Rg1+ Kh6 36. e5 dxe5 37. Ke4 Ng6 38. Bc4 a5 39. Kd5 Rf2 40. b4
axb4 41. cxb4 h4 42. a4 h3 43. a5 h2 44. Rh1 Kg5 45. b5 Kg4 46. b6 axb6 47. a6
Kg3 48. a7 Rf8 49. Kc6 Nf4 50. Ra1 e4 51. Ba6 Nh3 52. Bb7 Ng1 0-1

8 Dec 2010


McShane played a blinder, and didn't put a foot wrong in round 1.
Admittedly Carlsen is not back to his best, but this time it wasn't so mych a falling off by black as a very well thought out game by White.

White's win hinged around move 10.Qb3. considered a novelty. It took the Queen to waht appeared to be a dead end on the queenside, when Qb3 was folled by 12.Qa3.

By then she had nowhere to go and this was pounced upon by Black to then played 12..a5, locking her in completely.

Rather than taking the Knight to the kingside by palying the customary 10.Nf3, White knotted up the queenside to tempt black into a onesided game, where being White with a move in hand really paid off.

White seemed to totally ignore the rest of the board and 14.b4 was utterly daring, when 14.e3 would have been a conservative continuation.

Black was probably not sure where this was going and did some futile up and down moves with the a-Rook. It might have been wiser to bring his knight forward with 13. Ne5 14.c5 Nc4, where there was at least some active participation in a queenside scuffle.

All going well, and it DID go well, White had it won there and then. making black lose yet another tempo was the foot in the door and White kept on pushing from then on.

Now e3 was perfect, with the scene set for a solid defence against an attack that wasn't forthcoming. 13...a4 wasn't going anywhere and the belated 16...Bg7 had the sting taken out as the Queen was on the other diagonal. some may suggest she was sidelined, but in my book she was merely biding her time on an excellent defensive square.

17.....Qb6 seemed lame. More a reflex move that a thought out attack. And so it proved. There was too much hardware between the black Queen and the white King to make the -b6- square worthwhile. White didn't even have to lose a tempo with making Luft by h3.

Now the white Knight leisurely makes its way to =b4 and the Queen can either retrace her steps to=d8= or be sidelined on =a5=. Not a pleadant choice. Carlsen switches to the kingside with 19...f5, but this is too little too late and doesn't work out at all.

29 Oct 2010



Topalov falters towards move 30 and loses to Carlsen, who is now unbeatable.

28 Oct 2010



Catalan E00

Carlsen is back to his inventive playing style again.
What a relief, after the pussyfooting performance in Bilbao.

Today it is Wang who is being subjected to a confusing notation.

To an outsider like myself, it looks as if Carlsen is singing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.

Fun though, but highly irritating to opponents I shouldn't wonder, even though entertaining for us viewers from afar.

Time wise, todays method is being successful as Wang is 40 minutes behind on the clock already, and we are only on move 19.

In contrast to Bacrot and Gashimov, who are giving short shrift today, with a 14 move draw. I don't inow if anything was physically wrong with either of them, but it leaves a bad after taste. The organizers must be displeased.

........and five minutes later, they too duck out with a draw.

27 Oct 2010


Carlsen and Anand into yet another Berlin Wall.


29.Kg2, when
29.Qg4 first, would elicit 29...Kh8, and THEN 30. Kg2 is fine and dandy.

A novelty from Black on move 11....Nce7 rather than 11. Re8 as per usual.

On Move 18 Anand played 18...Nf8, when a kingside sortie starting with 18....Bh3, might have been an interesting idea and slightly more fruitful, although the engine perceived march of the a-pawn from White might have been mere pie-in-the-sky.
Interesting though.


Anand, with 12 mins left on the clock, plays a daft move 40...Kg7, when 40....Qe7 would have done nicely for him to get through the time portal.

Then White, with 20 mins to spare after he already played move 40, now doesn't bother to take advantage of Black's less than perfect move, and goes for 41.b3????
when 41.Rh3 would have been great.

Why that hurry after move 40?
Why don't they go for a quick walk around the corridors, or the room even?

I'm fed up.
I expect near perfection from the great.
Especially when they are not under any pressure.

If I can see it, so should they.

I'm out of here.
Not worth wasting sunshine for.

Notation/game later.

26 Oct 2010

Nanjing #6


E15 Queen's Indian

By move 11 they are still following Savon versus Kalugin, Karkhov UKR, 2000. 1-0 in 25 moves.

On move 20 Bacrot chooses to make a King move, 20.Kf2, when 20.Bh3 seemed preferable.
However, it throws Carlsen into confusion and he comes up with 20...Nd8, when 20...Nb4 looks better.


23 Oct 2010

Nanjing round 4

Gashimov almost got him!

Carlsen skated on thin ice, but after move 60 he tired his opponent enough to get away with a draw.

Anand as Black, came a cropper against Bacrot. But whatever line was tried stayed a secret.

On move 30.Ke1 Black played Rxb2, where almost any other move would have pleased the engines better.

But, more importantly:

If Anand had played 29....e5, things would have taken a very different turn indeed.
He didn't move his -e-pawn until move 44 and by that time the effect had worn off.

15 Oct 2010


The final round and I am following Anand versus Carlsen.

Kramnik and Shirov have drawn.
Anand and Carlsen are still embroiled in a Closed Ruy, Breyer Variation.

After a steady and even development, Calsen edged forward with a well planned preparation for a kingside attack. Sadly, by the time he had everything in place, the target area had disappeared. Anand yet again did his wizard impression and it was a case of "now you see me - nw you don't".

Towards move 40, Anand with 11 mins versus Carlsens's 4, has turned things around in his favour.

I am puttin up the game as is, with no firm outcome, but a likelihood of a draw is fast disappearing, as Carlsen seems a bit rattled by his lack of time.

Anand seems to slip up on move 40 where he plays 40.Bxf4, when 40.Nf3 might have given him a sound advantage.
Oh well...

14 Oct 2010


Carlsen and Shirov launched into a Ruy of Archangle proportions.

Onischuk qui mal-y-pense.

A sober sort of game without fireworks but the occasional damp squib.
Particularly in Carlsen's move 17.Na7, where others had taken the Knight back to a peaceful home corner.

This ruffled the complacent queenside and initiated Blacks eventual downfall.

Well, they went on to move 62 apparently but the outcome was the same.
Just to show you how superfluous the remainder of the game was.
Rybka said:

(0:01.35)} {+299.83|d22} {White has a decisive advantage})

My genius friend Colin McGourty from chessintranslation has been doing a sterling job of translation the lovely Sergey Shipov's commentary from Russian into delightful English.

Unfortunately late into the game his transmission went a little quirky and he has asked me to advise passers-by that the remainder of today's game can be found HERE

13 Oct 2010


Carlsen has White against Kramnik and chooses the English again.
Not riding as high as a year ago in London, he may be trying to get comfort from his previous success.

Still, Kramnik has proven to be well prepared in everything they throw at him.
He has been playing fast and shows confidence and deep preparation.

The English turned into the Reversed Dragon and they followed a game played by Burkov and Barkhatov in 2006, 1/2, until move 15.

The queenside became congested by move 27 and as neither side was prepared to stick his neck out to free it all up again, they shifted their attention to the kingside for a pawn confrontation.
So far, move 35, the game is balanced and not exactly on a knife edge.

It seems time is not going to be of the essence as they trundle along to the 40 move time portal.

Here are the first 40 moves to play through.

They staggered on for another 30-odd moves and came to the draw they could have had here.


11 Oct 2010


Anand versus Kramnik

A rapidly played game where both players seem to have had deep preparation.
Kramnik's research going right up till the end.

An inevitable draw.


10 Oct 2010



A taste of things to come?
I hope so, but don't quite see it happening just yet.

After two and a half hours' play, they were equal.

It looked as if they might as well have drawn.

But even a draw was not to be for Carlsen.

Carlsen wishes he had offered a draw, if allowed.
Things look bad and he is losing.

And yes, he has lost. Again.
He must be under the weather.
Surely ?

My understanding of the game has been greatly helped by following the lovely Sergey Shipov HERE

In case your Russian is non-existent, as is mine, you can follow his golden words thanks to Colin McGourty's ( from chessintranslation ) excellent translation in real time. Aren't people clever.

Thank you to both of them.

9 Oct 2010



My understanding of the game comes from following the lovely Sergey Shipov HERE

In case your Russian is non-existent, as is mine, you can follow his golden words thanks to Colin McGourty's ( from Chessvibes) excellent translation in real time. Aren't people clever.

Two games today, and I am following Kramnik versus Carlsen.

So far, Kramnik seems the stronger.
Game and analysis up this evening.

It is now 20.00 hrs Bilbao time and I reckon Carlson has lost this first game.
By playing 29...d5, he has stretched his resources too far and Kramnik is not slipping up.

Twenty minutes later, Kramnik has 38 mins left, Carlsen 9, and White has virtually won. I reckon they will play to 40 moves, when Carlsen will throw in the towel.

Shirov and Anand have drawn.

11 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 12

0 - 1

I's all over.


The defending champion won and Kramnik can relax.
Anand could say to him: "You can come out now" :-)

Who knows who will be the next challenger.

A Carlsen - Anand match would be lovely.
To be frank, a Carlsen - Anybody match would be lovely.

And I'll leave here on that lovely note,
again congratulating both players on a well-matched match.




I am going doolalah here.
Can't cope.
Don't have to ask how they are feeling.
This match is never ever going to be forgotten.

third newsflash


Anand gets it back on move 47...Kxg2 rather than 47.Rf7+

Although I am not so sure that Rf7+ would not have gone down as well.


second newsflash

Anand giving it back on move 41...Kh7 rather than playing 41....Kg7?

Not really on reflection. It might have been a little easier, but this is going fine.
When I say 'reflection', I mean with the help of the engine of course.
What I saw as a drama, Junior 11 only saw as a minor hiccup.
Clever thing. Even in an endgame. And it doesn't get excited, like me.
How how excited. I'm worn out.




32.Re3, even 32.Ne3 or 32.Qe3 would have done to hold the draw


What a pity. He must have been so tense.


More on this with the final moves below at **********


Nervous business, this final 'proper' game.
It will be an uphill struggle for Anand, seeing that he is playing Black.

The game will not be their best, as nerves will play an important part.

I hope that it will be a worthy ending to this fascinating championship.

Good luck and Thank You to both players.
You have given us a great time. We critized and scrutinized every move,
as if we know better :-)
I for one have learned a lot.
Pity that I will also forget a lot in no time.

Time to get ready.

D56 QGD Lasker variation, with a solid run and a nice space advantage for White.
Anand deviates on move 16, where he plays 16...Nf6 rather than 16...a5 as in Khalifman vs Jusopov 1/2 in 1992

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 c6 10. Be2 Nxc3 11. Rxc3 dxc4 12. Bxc4 Nd7 13. O-O b6 14. Bd3 c5 15. Be4 Rb8 16. Qc2 Nf6 17. dxc5 Nxe4 18. Qxe4 bxc5 19. Qc2 {N} 19... Bb7

So far two unusual moves from Anand.
13...b6, which Topalov took in his stride.
Second 16...Nf6, which surprised him.

19. Qc2 {N} Bb7 20. Nd2 Rfd8 21. f3

21.f3 (A little anxious about the Black's LSB dominating the long diagonal and trying to shift it. Which works. 21...Ba6

22.Rf2 rather than Rc1 is beyond me.
White seems to have totally lost his intial space advantage, and maybe that induced Topalov to take his Rook of the first rank. A little unwise maybe, when that rank is so empty at the moment.

Something along the lines of :

22.Rc1 Rd5 23.Ne4 c4 24.b3
, to arrange some planning to go after the -c5- pawn.

After 22.Rf2, Anand has plenty of scope now and can bring a Rook forward or place his Queen on =d6=, or.....you choose

After which Topalov might consider going for -Ra3- and then -h3- rather than -g3-.

Maybe Ra3 isn't so hot. Still, what way is better?
I do like Anand's position at this stage.

Question for anybody out there that knows :

In the Kramnik versus Leko WCC, there was a rule that allowed the defender to still remain champion with 1/2 point less than the challenger. In fact, I thought it was unfair, and so did Leko.

Is that still a rule and will it benefit Anand?

Oops, there goes my theory. Well Topalov knows best.
At least his King has some sort of bolthole.

23...Bd3, lovely move, but after 24.Qa4 what?

They might come to blows here with a Queen swap take the stuffing out of this middle game. Along the line of:
25. Qa4 Qg5 26. e4 Bb5 27. Qxb5 Rxd2 28. Rc2 Rxc2 29. Rxc2 Rd2+ 30. Rxd2 Qxd2+ 31. Kh3 c4 32. Qe8+ Kh7 33. Qxf7 Qxb2 34. Qxe6 c3)

19.Qc2N Bb7 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 Ba6 22.Rf2 Rd7 23.g3 Rbd8 24.Kg2 Bd3 25.Qc1 Ba6 26.Ra3 Bb7

Game now looking like a draw.
I need air and a run.
Play-through game of first 25 moves with board below.

More later if they are still going strong.



25. Qc1 Ba6 26. Ra3 Bb7 27. Nb3 Rc7 28. Na5 Ba8 29. Nc4 e5 e4 32. fxe4 {??} Qxe4+ 33. Kh3 Rd4 {!} 34. Ne3 Qe8 {!} 35. g4 h5 36. Kh4 g5+ 37. fxg6 Qxg6 38. Qf1

I turn my back for a minute and things explode.
Just when I come back in there is the fatal move 32.fxe4 and now only a complementary blunder from Anand can save Topalov.

What a sad, sad thing for the Challenger. After such a fabulously even match.

Kudos to Anand for saving the best for last. He played this with stealth, setting trap after trap.

I mustn't be too previous:
Anand missed a trick on move 36 ...g5+, where 36....Qd8+ would have given Black an easy ride.
So, one never knows until the final blow, and Topalov seems to have reagained his composure.

Qxe4+ 33. Kh3 Rd4 34. Ne3 Qe8 35. g4 h5 36. Kh4 g5+ 37. fxg6 Qxg6 38. Qf1 Rxg4+ 39. Kh3 Re7 40. Rf8+ Kg7 ???????????

Good grief.
There are only two moves to choose from for goodness' sakes.
And he had eight, -8- minutes left to think on it.

Retraction: Not too bad at all. Only a minor hiccup.

37. fxg6 Qxg6 38. Qf1 Rxg4+ 39. Kh3 Re7 40. Rf8+ Kg7 41. Nf5+ Kh7 42. Rg3 Rxg3+ 43. hxg3 Qg4+ 44. Kh2 Re2+ 45. Kg1 Rg2+ 46. Qxg2 Bxg2 47. Kxg2 Qe2+ 48. Kh3 c4 49. a4 a5 50. Rf6 Kg8 51. Nh6+ Kg7 52. Rb6 Qe4 53. Kh2 Kh7 54. Rd6 Qe5 55. Nf7 Qxb2+ 56. Kh3 Qg7

0 - 1

I's all over.


The defending champion won and Kramnik can relax.
Anand could say to him: "You can come out now" :-)

Who knows who will be the next challenger.

A Carlsen - Anand match would be lovely.
To be frank, a Carlsen - Anybody match would be lovely.

And I'll leave here on that lovely note,
again congratulating both players on a well-matched match.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Be2 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 13.0-0 b6 14.Bd3 c5 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Qc2 Nf6 17.dxc5 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5 19.Qc2N Bb7 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 Ba6 22.Rf2 Rd7 23.g3 Rbd8 24.Kg2 Bd3 25.Qc1 Ba6 26.Ra3 Bb7 27.Nb3 Rc7 28.Na5 Ba8 29.Nc4 e5 30.e4 f5 31.exf5 e4 32.fxe4 Qxe4+ 33.Kh3 Rd4 34.Ne3 Qe8 35.g4 h5 36.Kh4 g5+ 37.fxg6 Qxg6 38.Qf1 Rxg4+ 39.Kh3 Re7 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Nf5+ Kh7 42.Rg3 Rxg3+ 43.hxg3 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Re2+ 45.Kg1 Rg2+ 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Kxg2 Qe2+ 48.Kh3 c4 49.a4 a5 50.Rf6 Kg8 51.Nh6+ Kg7 52.Rb6 Qe4 53.Kh2 Kh7 54.Rd6 Qe5 55.Nf7 Qxb2+ 56.Kh3 Qg7

10 May 2010

Game 11 on play board

Observations while the game was being played are in the previous post.

9 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 11

A29 - English Opening, 4-Knights with 4.g3
Much like an upside down Dragon after 4...d5, but with a loss of tempo for Black of course, which is usually considered fair for White.

All according to plan until move 11...Qe8, where 11...Qd7 was more usual.

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6 7. O-O Be7 8. a3 O-O 9. b4 Be6 10. d3 f6 11. Ne4 Qe8 N

(11... Qd7, which was directed at the =h3= square in unison with Black's LSB for a possible swap of the Bishops. Seeing that this had little influence on White's game, Topalov looks for something different.

12. Bb2 a6 13. Qc2 Bh3 14. Nc5 Bxc5 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Qb3+ etc. Miles vs Timman Tilburg 1984, 1-0)

12. Nc5 Bxc5 13. bxc5 Nd5

Is Anand back to his intuitive and spontaneous playing style again?
Looks like it.

Open b-file and the Bishop pair for White. Still, Black's pieces are all good-to-go.

14.Bb2 planning an advance of his centre pawns backed by his Rooks. Rd8 but Black is getting ready to counteract this assault. 15. Qc2 Nde7 16. Rab1 Ba2 that Bishop may hassle the Rook, but not for long, even though it is backed by the black Queen. Notice how Topalov has switched the conventional attack on the fianchettoed Bishop from the usual kingside (=h3=) to the queenside. and beautifully done too. 17. Rbc1 Qf7 18. Bc3 Rd7 19. Qb2 Rb8 20. Rfd1 Be6 mission accomplished and preparing for the Knight to go to -d5- 21. Rd2 h6 22. Qb1 Nd5

23. Rb2 b6 24. cxb6 cxb6 25. Bd2 Rd6 26. Rbc2 Qd7

leading to

Qd7 27. h4 Rd8 28. Qb5 Nde7 29. Qb2 Bd5 30. Bb4 Nxb4 31. axb4 Rc6 32. b5 Rxc2 33. Rxc2 Be6 34. d4

Most of this is way over my head.
I am also getting rather drowsy and will take a walk to clear my head.

42 versus 32 mins left

7 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 10

Another Grunfeld, deviating on move 10...b6 (as played by Bill Hartston, him of the quotation in my right column, as Black against Knaak in Italy 1979, 1-0 in 35 moves.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O b6 11. Qd2 Bb7 12.Rac1 e6

after 13. Rfd1

Rather than playing -e6-, Anand, yet again full of surprises, replies 13...cxd4 14. cxd4 Qd6 That'll teach him.
Which center pawn advance will this elicit: e5 or d5?

15. d5 Na5?Is this preparation, desperation or deception? maybe this Knight on the rim isn't that dim afterall. It can march on to =b4= and cause some havoc. Black's plan could be interpreted as an attempt to demolish the d-5 pawn by attacking the DSB on -e3- first.

Having the square =d4= free for another piece will come in handy for White.
16.Bb5 RxR 17.RxR Rc8 18. h3
Now there's a turn-up for the books. No continuation of the giant clear-out for Topalov. He wants to hang on to that Rook.

after 18.h3

Black's DSB has a free run, thanks to White's pawn structure.

18.h3 Rxc1+ 19.Qxc1 e6 20.Nf4

and Black has created a very strong kingside with a huge no-go sign to Black's LSB.

Will they be swapping their DSBs any time soon?
20. Nf4 exd5 21. Nxd5 f5 22. f3 23. fxe4 Qe5
Finally. The Queen on her throne. Anand must be planning to keep her Maj and not enter into any exchanges soon.

24. Bd3

What was wrong with 24...Bxd5 may I ask??

Anyways, Anand didn'tlike that move and played 24...Nc6.
which is bound to give White more breathing space.

Enjoyable first 40 moves of game 10.

Play-through board up till move 42

They draw on move 60.

6 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 9

Goodbye Catalan
Hello Rubinstein Nimzo E54 main line

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Re1 Nbd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Bd3

Gligoric liked this line but was not too successful with it. Two wins, two draws and three losses.
He had 13...Re8 played against him in his game versus Portisch in 1968 (1-0) and Browne in 1979 (0-1).How's that for a bit of ancient history ;-)
Others played 13...Bxc3 or Be7.
I would have chosen 13...h6. For what it's worth.

A different Anand had Re8 played against him in 2005 in Czech Pardubice, 68 moves for a draw.

Ah, I'm not alone. Andersson played h6 one move later, against Spassky in 1979, draw.

The lovely, capable Judith played 14...Nf8 against Lautier and won in 2002 in Moscow in 74 moves, no less.

So far:
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Re1 Nbd7 making room for the LSB and supporting the other Knight. 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Bd3 On it's way to =b1=? It shrugs off responsibility for the center square =d5=. Seems a daring move somehow. Maybe I'm just a bit squeamish about Anand's chances in this match. Safety first and all that. But that would mean aiming for a draw, and in Tal's opinion that is the pits:

"To play for a draw, at any rate with White, is to some degree a crime against chess."

I was in Hammersmith for the KK2000 match ten years ago, and remember a similar position with the Q slightly differently placed. Probably can't find that now.

Got it. 13.Qb3 from Kramnik, who won in 25 moves.
Back to the present.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nf3 d5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Re1 Nbd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Bd3 Re8 14. Qe2 Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qc7 16. Bh4 Nh5 17. Ng5


Now Qc2 I suppose.
Actually Qd1 might be nicer. And then h6 or Nf4 or another Knight move from Black

oops. Wrong again. Anand plays

18. Nh3 e5
19. f3 Qd6 20. Bf2 exd4 21. Qxe8+ Rxe8 22. Rxe8+ Nf8 23. cxd4 24. Ree1 Ne6 25. Bc4 Bd5

and it begins to feel like another draw for Anand as White.
Can't see any brilliancies arising from this position.

It looks like Anand played 18.Nh3 simply because it was possible. Topalov's black kingside squares being weak, it was possible for Anand to go to =h3= safely.
Not a good enough reason. He seems to have lost his energy. Almost as if his state of health is below par.
Maybe my expectations and hopes were too high.
maybe he is just tired. Tired of chess?
It's been a long time. And there is more to life than chess. Even if you are that good.

Topalov plays a less-than-optimum move and his Queen seems to be going the wrong way.

26.Bg3 Qb4 when retreating to say =d7= might have been safer.

27.Be5 almost as if Anand had expected this.


As long as Anand does play 28.a3, this brinkmanship might lead somewhere.
But he must deal with the Bishops first.

Blown it. He does play a3.
Back to square one.

Stroke of luck. Topalov moves his Queen to =a4= rather than the better move Qb2 !!!.

28.a3 Qa4 29. Bxd5 Nxe5 30.Bxe6 Qxd4+ 31. Kh1

White now has a Bishop + 2 Rooks for a Queen + an extra pawn.
Not for long though.

26 versus 33 minutes.
And all to play for again thank goodness.
There may be a very volatile endgame coming up.
One wrong step and you're down and out.

Enthralling endgame but Topalov chooses 46....gxh5 rather than 46...g5 which had better chances. Still, slightly less than best moves from either side extend the game in zigzagging fashion.

40. Rh8+
(40. Re2 40... a5 41. Nxe6 b4 42. Rc7 Qa1+ 43. Kh2 b3 44. Re4 a4
(40. Re4 b4 41. Rxa7 b3 42. Rb7 b2 43. Kh2 Qc1 44. Ra4 Nd7 45. Rab4 Qe1 46. Rxb2 Qxh4+
Kd7 41. Rh7+ Kc6 42. Re4 b4
(42... a5 43. Nxe6 Kb6 44. Nd4 Qc1+ 45. Kh2 Qc5 )
43. Nxe6 Kb6 44. Nf4 Qa1+
(44... Qc1+ 45. Kh2 Nc6 46. Rh6 b3 47. Rxg6 Qd2 48. Rc4 b2 49. Rgxc6+ Kb7 50. Rc7+ Kb8 )
45. Kh2 a5
(45... b3 46. Rb4+ Kc6 47. Rxb3 )
46. h5 gxh5
(46... g5 47. Nd5+ Kc6 48. Ne7+
47. Rxh5 Nc6 48. Nd5+
(48. Re6 48... Kb7 49. Rh7+ Kb6 50. Rhh6 b3 51. Rxc6+
Kb7 49. Rh7+ Ka6 50. Re6
(50... Kb5 51. Rh5 Nd8 52. Nb6+ Ka6 53. Rg6 Qd4 54. Nc8+ Kb7 55. Nd6+ Kb8 56. Rb5+ Ka8 57. Rxa5+ Kb8 58. Rb5+ Ka8 59. Nf5 Qa1 60. Rxb4 Qe5+ 61. f4 Qa5 62. Rgb6 Nc6 63. R4b5 Qa4 64. Kg3 Ka7 65. Rb7+ Ka8

Kb5 51. Rh5 Nd4 52. Nb6+ Ka6 53. *

Let's hope Anand makes the correct Rook move: Rd6 rather than Rg6

and he does. Phew.


Game is all over the place.
They are lurching home like drunken sailors and it is leaving me dizzy.

53. Rd6 Kb7 54. Nc4 Nxf3+ 55. gxf3 Qa2+ 56. Nd2 Kc7 57. Rhd5 b3 58. Rd7+ Kc8 59. Rd8+ Kc7 60. R8d7+ Kc8 61. Rg7 a4

Can't stand the suspense...

"It's not over till the fat lady sings"

Well, I sure hope she starts singing soon.
You can wring me out.

And so on for another 22 moves into yet another draw for Anand as White.

Nobody can accuse them of not trying their darndest.
I had handed the win to Anand at move 48.Re6
But he played 48.Nd5+
I wonder what difference Re6 would have made. Probably none.
What a game. How worn out they must be.

Game 9 play through with further commentary

4 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 8

Topalov as White playing the D17 SLAV DEFENCE

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. f3 c5 8. e4 Bg6

They're sticking to their guns so far. Maybe neither wants to admit that their preferred opening could have some drawback. Anand may have been the most successful with his choice, but the past two games must have made him a touch anxious. Still, it is the eventual score that counts.

9. Be3 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nfd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bxc4 Rc8
rather than 13...a6 which he played a move earlier in the previous Slav game.

14. Bb5 a6 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7
nixing the chance of castling. A little degrading for Black the way White forced the issue here.

16. Ke2

allowing the Rook to go to the center

to protect the weak -g7- pawn. The =e6= square won't present Black with many problems, seeing that White has lost his LSB. This move also gives Black's LSB a new lease of life.


17....Ke8 18.a5 (N) Be7 19.Bb6 Rf8 20.Rac1

103 versus 87 mins

I preferred 20.Ra4 f5 21.Rad4 fxe4 22.Nxe4 Rc2+ 23.R1d2 RxR 24.KxR Rf5

20.Rac1 f5 21. e5 Bg5 22. Be3 f4 23. Ne4 Rxc1 24. Nd6+ Kd7 25. Bxc1 Kc6 26. Bd2 Be7 27. Rc1+ Kd7 28. Bc3
Bb4 looked good to me too, depending on who initiates the exchange.

28. Bxd6 29. Rd1 Bf5 30. h4
Why not take that Bishop back here?
That's why Topalov played h4: to mislead.

Curtains for Anand.

Nothing to stop Topalov now unless he blunders.
So I'm out of here.

Well done! Well played.Well deserved win.

Play through game the below, given with the most probable outcome.

3 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 7

Today Topalov will play as White.
He must be relieved to have taken a draw out of game 6 (six) as Black.
Will this be enough to spur him on to achieve the full point today?
That would equalize the match but for the fact that Anand will have a game in hand.

Anand 3.5 vs Topalov 2.5

Hereby a Rose to both players.
Plus my best wishes for the games to come and grateful thanks for an entertaining match.

The running commentary will start at 12:00 GMT.
The play-through board will appear after the result is out.
Enjoy the game.

Topalov not as White today.
They must have switched after the halfway mark.

Yet another Catalan/ Well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

More research into the Catalan, incorporating novelties from Invanchuk as Black against Gelfand in Nice in a rapid earlier this year.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 (this time Topalov turns it into a Bogo-Indian, rather than the 5....a5/a6 moves from the previous games) 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Bf4 dxc4 (eschewing 8...Nbd7/b6) 9. Ne5 b5 (start of a develishly inventive line .) 10. Nxc6 Nxc6 11. Bxc6 Bd7 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 13. f3 Nd5 14. Bd2 e5 15. e4 Bh3 16.exd5 Bxf1 17. Qxf1 exd4 18. a4 Qxd5

It has been a forced sequence ever since 9..b5

19. axb5 Qxb5 20. Rxa7 Re8

leading to:

59 mins versus 117 mins
When the smoke clears: Black has the extra pawn, with two forward on the 4th rank. These are worth having.
White's -b-pawn is threatened by the Queen and not defended. But he has the Knight even though it seems a touch marginalized at the minute.

At least White managed to grab the a-7 pawn. Still Qc1 wouldn't have been too shabby either. A way to get the Rook to the center via Ra5 to Re5 - Re4

Important decision here for White. Lots of options now,

From the clocks it seems that Topalov is hardly using up any time at all, whereas Anand is doing a fair bit of thinking.

After 21.Kh1 Bf8 22.Rc7

These two moves cost both players a bit of time.
56 mins versus 99 mins

22. Rc7 d3 23. Bc3 Bd6 24. Ra7

Was 23...Bc5 a step too far? I don't think so. That would have prevented Ra7.

Anyway, this will give Topalov something to ponder on, and thereby me a chance to get some vittels.

Topalov wisely gives his King a bolthole

This doesn't necessarily mean that White can take his eye of the ball and start developing his Knight.

Oh yes it does. So he does it. Pity. 25.Qh3 Bb4 26.Qd7 QxQ 27.RxQ Bxc3 28.Nxc3 Rb8 was a good foothold for White.

Now all Topa has to do is find 25..Bb4 and of course, time not being of the essence for him he does find it.

So Anand has lost the edge.
Now he 'd better use that Knight wisely.
26. Ne4? Doesn't help much. The moment has passed.

I mourn the move 25.Qh3 line being missed by White.
Going out for some air and a stiff walk to dilute the frustration. Pity anand can't afford the time to do the same.

I can see a win for Black coming on.

Here is the play through game up till the move I didn't care for.

25.Qh3 would have given White an elegant way to use that extra Knight.
He can't have my rose now. Well...maybe later.

An hour later and they are still playing silly bluggers.
It spoils the game. People in the auditorium must be getting very restive.
Not to say climbing the walls. I honestly cannot see why Anand passed up Topalov's signal of a threefold rep draw. He can't really expect to get a win out of this now.
Or is he wilfully trying to give Topalov a taste of his own medicine in being stubborn? Strange business which leaves a bit of a bitter taste after this strikingly inventive game.

Kudos to Topalov to make the best of Black two games in a row. In my view a draw as Black is worth 5/8 of the split point, which makes his one point behind much better than it looks.

1 May 2010

WCC 2010 game 6


My observations as the game was being played.
PLAY THROUGH game at the bottom of this post.

Anand still leading by one whole point.
What will it be at the end of this afternoon?

Not again.

Deviating from Game 02 at move 10.Bg5
Cheeky devil: always something up his sleeve. Luring Topalov into false security and then POW! a new worry.

Not played very often I don't think. Still Topalov was quick to reply, so it wasn't really a surprise as such.

10.Bg5 h6
11.Bxf6 Qxf6 N
12.Nd3 Ba7
fending off a Knight assault on -b6-

13.Qa4 ?
I am wondering if I am on the right board.
What's he up to now?
I had expected 13.Nce5, joining his other Knight in a hunt for the LSB

Another unpleasant surprise for Topalov? Was a bit too quick with the reply to Bg5?
13...Nc6 is probaly safest.

Can't help feeling that Qa4 is backfiring. It allows Topalov to advance his b-pawn, pushing the Queen back to where she may not want to go apart from Qb3 maybe.
Still, after Topalov's wise 12...Ba7, there wasn't much choice for White.
Good conflict.

13.Qa4 Nc6
14.Rac1 e5
15.Bxc6 b5
16.Qc2 Qxc6
17.Ncxe5 Qe4

18.Qc6 Bb7
19.QxQ BxQ

Things have turned slightly in Black's favour I think.
Both his Bishops are active, while White's center pawn is still behind.

Topalov is in fine fettle and countering every threat beautifully.
This is turning into a delicious game.
Thank you to both players.
Let's hope nothing untoward happens.

20.Rc2 Rfe8
21.Rfc1 f6

22.Nd7 Bf5
23.N7c5 Bb6 Not wanting to swap the Bishop for a Knight.

I can't see a clear plan somehow. It seems a series of skirmishes and not much outline planning.

I need air and will leave them to it for a bit.
Back now but I mustn't forget that I have chicken stew on the stove.

Still not a clear plan ahead. White seems to just hang in there, waiting for Black to make a mistake. That pawn on =e2= is high-maintenance and has sewn up the Rooks.
Wonderful to behold the way Topalov has throttled the supposedly open c-file. It is reminiscent of the pythonesque style of Karpov.

24.Nb7 Bd7 completely closing the c-file. Great stuff.
25.Nf4 Rab8
26.Nd6 Re5
27.Nc8 Ba5
28.Nd3 Re8
29.Na7 Bb6
30.Nc6 Rb7
31.Ncb4 a5
32.Nd5 a4!
Plan emerging
33.Nxb6 Rxb6 Is Anand throwing in the towel?
34.Nc5 Bf5
This is bizarre. 13 x
Anand has now moved a Knight once too often.
Unlucky thirteen.

35.Rd2 Rc6
36.b4 axb3
37.axb3 b4
38.Rxd4 Rxe2
39.Rxb4 Bh3
40.Rbc4 Rd6

Time to shake hands.

41.Re4 Rb2
42.Ree1 Rdd2
43.Ne4 Rd4

Anand giving Topalov a taste of his own medicine?

They are trundling on and on and on.
Boring. If somebody now profits by the mistake of the opponent, I shall not be impressed one little bit.
This is silly.
I'm outta here.

Shenanigans after move 44 until they finally draw.

30 Apr 2010

WCC 2010 game 5

They have just drawn in a less than exhilerating Slav which was a replica of game 3 until Anand played 15...h5 rather than h6.

They draw after another 4 moves.

28 Apr 2010

WCC 2010 game 4

Another Catalan, with a slight deviation from the previous one on move 5...Bb4+ rather than 5...a6.

Topalov has been allowed to build up a strong queenside pawn postion.

After 10.Na3 Bd7
A little disconcerting to have that LSB on the Knight's favourite spot.
Also, this might give White a chance to move his Knight t0 =e5= without fear of reprisal. Maybe Anand will want to castle first. Although I doubt that.

11.Ne5 Nd5

And after 12.e4 Nb4 they both castle.

13.0-0 0-0 Black more or less has to follow suit now that White is poised to play -d5-: the centre is becoming a dangerous place.
14.Rfd1 Be8 ??
Why allow his Rook to become trapped? Shooting himself in the foot. It seems that now both black Rooks are compromised. Now was the time to play f6, before White gets the chance to push his d-pawn.

After 15.d5.
Anand doesn't let the grass grow and pushed into enemy territory, forking the pawns with the convenient back-up of his Knight.

It is now too late for f6 and Black resorts to pushing the Knight away.

16.Nf3 was my choice, but that would have blocked the a8 - g2 diagonal again and White obviously still has his eye on that Rook.

Can't see the outcome of this as good for White: it seems to unravel the tension in the center like pulling a 'Cat's Cradle'.
Still, we have to move on. Anand knows best.
I think time may become an issue in this game.

after 16...Qc5

Maybe now it is time for Black to get his Rook out of storage via -a7- and -d7-.
Very cumbersome though. Anyways, the black Queen is poised for action, both long- and short-range, whilst being out of reach of the marauding white Knights.

17.Ne3 N8a6
opening a different excape route for that Rook. Still, Knight on the rim and all that.
Maybe White has to start thinking about liberating his Knight on =a3=.

White's queenside pawns are all over the shop now and he needs all his wits about him to pull it together.

18.dxc6 bxa4 19.Naxc4 Bxc6

a little worrying for the black Queen, who may need to escape to =g5=


21.Nd6 Qa7

for heaven's sakes: which Rook did he play? Rad8 or Rfd8??

This is the crucial move of the game and all the live sites seems to differ.

Confusing input, but I believe it was the 22...Rad8

23.Nxh6+ gxh6

This is beginning to look as if someone let the air out of the balloon.
You can hear it shrivel.

and then after 24...f6
It all blew up again??

Sorry folks, but I am out of here.
Can't take the excitement.
Until they get the broadcasts sorted, I won't know if Topalov blundered or what.
It this is the true movelist, then I can't see Anand lose this.

I need air and exercise.

Anand pulled it off!
Subtle Catalan with many nuances.

My impression of the game as it unfolded, are in the previous post.

Noli me tangere

All this silence and handshaking business is so silly.

The spirit of chess as a game seems to have gone totally by the board. Pun intended.
In the olden days players at important matches would set their OTB differences aside and go out for a meal together afterwards.

Remember Carlsen in London? After a game against a not-so-brilliant player (Dutch, but I'm mentioning no names) he asked the chap about a certain move that had come up during their game. It was obvious that this was pure love of chess that spurred him on to bring this up. Not so for his opponent, who blankly refused to share any research. As if Carlsen needed any help from him.

This little incident made me really sad. Is it the money? The glory? What causes people to shed their humanity when they play chess?

I don't believe it is a matter of manners alone.It seems that for the soul behind the player it is no longer safe to show its face.

27 Apr 2010

WCC 2010 game 3

Topalov has white and they are playing D17 Slav Defence

Game after 3 hours:

The game seems to be trundling to a draw and I need some air and exercise.

25 Apr 2010

Game 2 WCC 2010

Anand has white and they launched into a Catalan E04

Game after 3 hours:

Only a matter of time now before Anand wins this game and evens the match.
Thanks to both players for a compelling game.

24 Apr 2010

Topalov draws ahead in game one

Topalov steered Anand into a Grünfeld and they followed a game Topalov played against Kamsky

First 18 moves was a gallop.
Anand slips back by move 23

19.Nf4 g5 20.Nh5+ Kh8 21.h4 h6 22.hxg5 hxg5 23.Rf3
and now the fun starts. For White at least.

Anand might have moved his LSB but plays 23....Kf7 instead and things slide away from him. Blocking the Rook on =f8= from active participation was bound to cause trouble, and Topalov found the winning reply:24.Nxf6

Taking the white Knight on =f6= with the Queen rather than the King might have given him a stay of execution, but after 24.Nxf6 Kxf6 the situation is out of control and Topalov takes the first win.

Mum's the word


The VvV match, Vishy versus Veselin, is to be played in total silence.

If Anand wants to offer Topalov a draw, he will have to resort to body language.
The mind boggles. Sticking out his tongue? Rolling his eyes? Kicking him in the shins under the table?

The Bulgarian duo, Topalov and his Bishop Danilov, have cooked up another mind-unsettling dish: revoking a regulation everyone else had forgotten about: no verbal communication between the players during the course of the tournament.

Does that mean that even an "After you" when they both reach a revolving door at the same time, would incur punishment of sorts?

Come to think of it, what punishment?
A piece of sticky Duct tape over the mouth of the blabbermouth?
Would it mean a swift loss to the gabby player?
And would he still get the 1 million Euros? Even after one or no game?

Let the fun begin, even if the games aren't funny.

24 Feb 2010

Topalov versus Gelfand

Final round Linares 2010
Petroff C42

unusual 9...Re8 and novelty 10.h4

leading to


He is a magician.
Frighteningly good.
He may go off the rails from time to time,
but when he stays on, it is a marvel to behold.

75 vs 31 mins.

Those two Rooks on the kingside, and the way he builds up the attack/defence,
pure wizardry. Black magic? I can't say. But it is execeptional.No doubt about it.

leading to:

Anybody who can make a Petroff interesting is special in my book.

66 mins vs 18 mins
14 moves to play


I wasn't too happy with 26.c4 moving away from the kingside push.
Still, it is likely that this game will have to be decided by a blunder or lack thereof.
63 vs 14 minutes.

Why make it easy when you can make it difficult.

Topalov again throws away a win.
This time on move 32.Rxf6, when 32. Rd1 looks extremely promising.

Who cares?
We're having fun.

As the time control bell tolls for Black, Topalov strews the paths with red herrings.
Gelfand doesn't trip over any of them and gets safely to move 41.


Don't think White can make the extra pawn count.
Not the way they have locked horns on the queenside.

Grischuk drew as Black.
If what I read is correct: that a tie is decided by the number of black draws, then Topalov must win this game.

I'm out of here.

23 Feb 2010

Grischuk versus Topalov

LINARES 2010 round 9
Deciding game?

The game in a play-through board.
Two versions, one the way I saw it while it was being played.
the other with variations of possibly better lines.

This is the way the game ended.
I thought it looked like a draw, but somehow Grischuk managed to pull through.
Well done him and thanks to both players for a very entertaining game.

Further commentary in previous post.

Grischuk versus Topalov

Linares 2010 round 9
E15 Queens' Indian


Ionov versus Beliavsky 2004 draw in 82 moves

and Huzman versus Azarov draw in 2005

Still in book, with games by Ionov-Beliavsky, Huzman - Azarov
who played Bc1 and Bg5

Now e4 would elicit Nb4, which is a little scary.


We are still following Huzman - Azarov (Saint vincent 28 moves 2005)


and we get the usual motif: exchanges on =f6= with the Queen coming forward and the fianchetto from White.

leading to

The pawns in the center are stopping the Bishops for the time being and Bb4 isn't as much of a threat any longer. 13.e3 is not out of the question now, but castling or cxd5 are also possible.

Grischuk chooses to 0-0. Now a pawn trade on =c4= and a Rook move to the center.

leading to

leading to

Still a lot of time for deviousness

8 mins vs 22 and still 8 moves to play.
What out-of-the-way moves is Topalov going to dream up?


leading to

Grischuk took advantage of the chance to throw in some extra moves. I somehow don't think that was Topalov's purpose.


24 mins vs 56
13 moves to the next time control.

What if Grischuk wins this?
Are they tied and does Grischuk have a better games perspective?
What is the Linares criterium again?
Same number of draws, but what about draws as Black or White?

Anyway, tomorrow is another day.