Spectators assisted an unusual occurrence about half hour into the game when the power failed and the theatre where the match is being held went completely dark. This was as Anand was considering his 17th move. Apparently this was provoked by a power shortage in the city centre.
This is what Australian journalist Ian Roger’s wrote in The Hindu about this incident:
”….the playing hall — and indeed the entire Military Club — was plunged into darkness by a power blackout. The game timers were stopped by the arbiter but both players remained firmly in their seats, analysing in the dark.Ten minutes later, emergency power provided some flickering light on the stage and five minutes later the light was good enough for the game to resume.
Both players reacted calmly to the unexpected interruption, although Anand spent some time re-orientating himself with the position before he made his next move. It is very easy to make a mistake after a break in concentration like this,” said Anand, “so I decided to invest an extra ten minutes just to be sure.”
Power blackouts are rare in the chess world, but not unheard of. I remember playing in the 1992 Olympiad in Manila where during the match Canada vs Spain the power failed 3 times in the space of 1 hour !
I don’t know of any stories of the power failing during a World Championship match, but there is the famous story of such an occurrence during the first game of the Fischer vs Petrosian Candidates final match in 1971.
This is what Petrosian wrote in the Russian magazine 64 :
”We had both played the opening quickly and after my 11…d5 Fischer replied 12.ed5 at once. He only started thinking after my 14th move (14…0-0-0) and then he became nervous, his face went red. Then the lights went out.
Only a few side-lights in the aisles and at the very back remained to give a faint light. The board could be seen but obviously not for the purpose of normal play. I stood up. Schmid stopped my opponent’s clock, while Fischer remained sitting at the board.
Five minutes went by, ten…I called the interpreter and he summoned Schmidt. I pointed out that Fischer should leave the board. However, surprisingly, the American –who is usually so keen on good lighting– agreed to have his clock restarted while he sat at the board in semi-darkness. A story hard to believe if it were not given to you first hand!”
Getting back to the Anand vs Topalov match, I think that today’s game was –everything considered–quite a reasonable effort by our two stars. Anand cheerfully undertook the burden of defending and trying to avoid complications, repeating the same opening as in game 3. Topalov found some excellent ideas and seemed to be getting a bit of something, but the Indian found all the right moves. At this level of competition it is too much to ask for unforced errors on the part of your opponent!
Anand made a well deserved draw, slowly inching forward towards the objective: 6.5 points. The first player to get that score will be declared the World Champion!
I don’t think that Topalov could have played better than he did during the game. Perhaps someone on his team will find some move that could have made life a bit more uncomfortable for Vishy, but I think that we can all reasonably conclude that the ending no offers no serious practical chances for White. Topalov has already had one game with Kramnik in this same opening variation from his 2006 title match, and that game was also a draw.
It is time for a different line in the next game (game 7). The next game is tomorrow. Anand will have the White pieces and it will be interesting what the Topalov team has planned against Anand’s 1.d4
Retired ex-World Champion turned political activist Garry Kasparov has been following every game of the Anand vs Topalov match. No doubt Kasparov knows each very well, and if you remember correctly, it was Topalov who defeated Kasparov in the very last official game that he played!
Although I don’t generally like to quote anything from http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/
, principally because much of Mig’s most creative writing seems to be done after several bottles of cheap wine (!), I make an exception here:
”Kasparov has a column in the latest issue of New In Chess. Most of it pays homage to Smyslov, but he gets in a few paragraphs on this match.
A few nuggets worth mining on an off day in Sofia: “If you compare Anand and Topalov’s past year of results to those of Carlsen and Kramnik, you might wonder if the wrong players are facing off in Sofia.”
He doesn’t put the boot in too hard, though: “Anand is generally the better player and if he plays with the same determination and inspiration he showed against Kramnik, he is the big favorite.” But… “Topalov possesses unmatched fighting qualities and is always capable of coming from behind.”
That is, fortunately or unfortunately, about as good as you will ever get from either Mig or Kasparov!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS