SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I had thought that game 7 would see Topalov handling the White pieces, but instead we saw Anand repeat Whites twice! All according to the official rules, apparently, which had stipulated that colours in the second half of the match be reversed. Someone who understands the logic of this , feel free to contact me and explain it , please!
Game 7 was a great fighting draw, featuring non-stop action until the arbiter finally called it a draw after 58 moves. Some of the best chess that I have seen in a world championship match for quite a while. Most commentators were astounded at several points during the live analysis featured on dozens of chess sites on the web. At first Topalov rejected several easy draws, and then Anand rejected several. Both players can be proud of themselves!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 12th MOVE
Topalov sacrificed an exchange early on to create a messy position difficult to evaluate. The White Kingside is missing its best defender (the light squared Bishop) and Black threatens to open up the center and try to invade on the a8-h1 diagonal.
Anand described the position as complex and dangerous, one requiring exact analysis. He realized the slightest slip on his part would be immediately fatal. So it is not at all surprising to find that after a few more moves Anand had already used more than 1 hour on his clock than the Bulgarian, who seemed to be racing his moves!
Topalov at the post-game press conference
Topalov said in the press conference: ”I played the first 20 moves very quickly because I was helped by the preparation of my second , Ivan Cheparinov.” Most commentators thought that this meant that the Bulgarian team had it all worked out at home, but I think the truth is that Cheparinov’s idea simply appealed to Topalov, who weighed the risks involved and felt that the match circumstances justified some speculative play. He was correct, as Anand found himself on the defensive for quite a while, without making any obvious errors
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 21st MOVE
Here Topalov can force an immediate draw by taking the pawn on b2, but he prefered to try for more and played differently. He said afterwards: ”In the next phase it’s very difficult to say where I should play better. I didn’t see anything special that I might have missed.”
Topalov played 21…Bf8 , intensifying the struggle, and by move 25 Anand was battling both his opponent and the clock, needing to make 15 moves in just 20 minutes to get to the first time control. But the Indian kept a calm head and made reasonable moves. It will require a lot of analysis to be able to say precisely what the truth is about this position.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 33rd MOVE
I think that at this position the Bulgarian should have played 33..d2, which practically forces Anand to sacrifice his Knight for the pawn, after which the White Queen would capture the Black pawn on c4, arriving at a dead equal Queen and 3 pawn vs Queen and 3 pawn ending. Anand himself pointed this out in the press conference.
Anand explaining that he was surprised that Topalov did not play …d2
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 41st MOVE
Here Anand played the natural 42.Qb7 and eventually drew. However, one commentator insists that the surprising 42.Qa4 would give excellent winning chances. Whether this is infact true remains to be answered in coming days once the position is exhaustively analyzed.
What is certain is that from my own perspective Black seems quite fine. And Anand was pretty sure that he did not miss anything…
Curiously, all of the news reports that I have seen this evening mentioned the possibility of 42.Qa4 ( and some even firmly declared that it was winning!) but none of them mentioned Anand’s suggestion of …d2 which would immediately force a draw! One more example of lack of 100% impartiality in reporting on the match!?
AND COURTESY OF CHESSVIBES HERE IS TODAY’S ACTION!
The 8th game takes place tomorrow. This time Topalov will have the White pieces, and I expect another great game. In the remaining 5 games the Bulgarian will have 3 Whites and the Indian only 2. This could be a signifcant factor.
I think both players are playing well. Topalov seems to be pushing more , however, which is understandable: he wants to win the match! I find it impressive how he is able to take the initiative from the Indian, even though the Indian’s position is very solid. Sort of reminds me of Fischer’s exploits when he was running up to the world championship title.
In anycase, Topalov is probably at his very best right now. He seems to be able to dominate play and create more chances. To win , however, he must provoke an error from the Indian, something that Anand is not willing to do!
I expect a terrific fight tomorrow.
Here are some more photos from today:
There was a moment of silence before play began in memory of Campomanes
Even the audience (including Karpov!) stood for this moment
”What to do?”
The view in the theatre in the Military College
Danailov giving Karpov the stage at today’s press conference during the actual game
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS