Monday, 30th October 2017

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Topalov goes one up versus Anand

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  • Published 25.04.10
World champion Viswanathan Anand makes a move as Bulgarian challenger, Veselin Topalov, looks on during the World Chess Championship in Sofia, on Saturday. (AP)

Sofia: Viswanathan Anand did not have the best of starts at the Military Club in Sofia on Saturday. The World champion ran into early trouble in the first game and surrendered in 30 moves against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

The 12-game World Chess Championship match started with Anand, black, walking into the Bulgarian’s aggressive opening preparation in the Grunfeld Defence.

The dynamic opening saw both Topalov and Anand reeling off the first 20 moves in just 10 minutes. The first 18 moves were completed in just four minutes. Topalov and Anand have good experience in playing the Grunfeld against other opponents but had not used this variation against each other.

Topalov’s Queen-pawn openings against Anand before invariably resulted in Queen's Indian Defence, Queen's Gambit, Catalan or Nimzo-Indian.

On move 15, Topalov sacrificed a pawn and on the next he looked set for steering the game to a complex position. But Anand responded well and placed the Queen in the sixth rank. This made the Bulgarian, known for his over-the-board innovations, ponder before he made his next move.

By move 20, white had many options, pretty much the way the Bulgarian might have wanted and on move 23, Topalov opened up the position by taking his rook up to the third rank.

Anand tried to secure his King but Topalov seized the chance to sacrifice a piece and on move 24, he offered his knight for a seemingly decisive attack.

Between moves 26 and 28, the Bulgarian took control of the seventh rank with his rooks and forced Anand’s resignation quickly with an exchange sacrifice.

Meanwhile, the GM community was divided over Toplaov's obsession for the Sofia rule, the no-draw. Ukrainian Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk felt the Sofia rule would not make sense, if the position is really drawish: “This is a little bit strange, especially with a drawish position. I don't think it’s a completely correct decision.”

“For me it’s not interesting to see if the position is completely drawn and the players need to continue to play, to make a lot of stupid moves. The Sofia rule is acceptable, but it has to be used sensibly,” Ivanchuk added.