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Candidates R01: Anand beats Topalov!

by ChessBase India - 12/03/2016

Just like the Khanty Mansiysk Candidates in 2014, Vishy Anand began his campaign with a win in the Moscow Candidates 2016. He won a topsy turvy battle over Veselin Topalov. With this win Anand is the sole leader of the event as all the other three encounters ended in draws. We have the entire game between Anand and Topalov annotated in great detail by IM Sagar Shah.

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[Event "FIDE Candidates 2016"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2016.03.11"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2762"]
[BlackElo "2780"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2016.03.10"]
{In 2014 Candidates, Vishy Anand began with a win over Levon Aronian with 1.e4
in the first round. Two years later and 2500 kilometres apart (Khanty Mansisyk
to Moscow), Vishy Anand sees no reason to change his strategy.} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3
Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 {Of course the Berlin! The opening that cannot be refuted. What
better way to start a tournament!} 4. d3 Bc5 {The interesting part about this
position is that Anand has reached it with the white pieces on 24 occasions in
the past, with 15 of them continuing with Bxc6. In this game, however, he
keeps his options open and goes for 0-0.} 5. O-O d6 6. c3 O-O 7. Nbd2 (7. d4 $6
Bb6 $5 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. dxe5 Nxe4 $15) 7... Ne7 {Kramnik introduced this plan
with Ne7 in his game against Aronian in 2012. The idea is to take game into a
territory where the pawn structures would not be symmetrical.} 8. d4 exd4 9.
cxd4 Bb6 {Now we have a position with quite some imbalances. White has a
beautiful central pawn duo, but Black has absolutely no problems in finding
squares for his pieces. If Vishy can develop his guys on c1 and a1 keeping his
centre intact, his position would be much better. but as we will see this is
not so easy.} 10. Re1 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 {All this has been seen many times with
Topalov himself having this position against Fabiano Caruana in 2015 with the
white pieces. But now Anand makes the first new move of the game - the novelty!
} 12. a4 $5 $146 {The idea of this move is simply to gain more space on the
queenside with a4-a5. At some point the rook may come into the game via a3.} a6
13. Bf1 Re8 14. a5 Ba7 15. Qb3 Nc6 $1 {As Boris Gelfand rightly pointed out in
the commentary room, "Good players are always flexible with their plans."
Nc6-e7 wasn't played with the intention to return back to c6, but Topalov sees
that the position has changed since his Ne7 move. This is the best and
although it may look weird Veselin doesn't hesitate to play it.} (15... Rb8 {
is possible but is quite passive. White can continue with} 16. Qc3 $14 {
with the idea of b4 and developing the c1 bishop.}) 16. d5 Nd4 17. Nxd4 Bxd4
18. Qxb7 $5 {Good or bad, this pawn had to be taken. Anand had made his
previous moves with the intention of taking on b7, so there was no backing out
now.} Nd7 $1 {A strong move by the Bulgarian. The knight not only threatens to
jump to c5 but also opens the route for the queen to come to f6 or h4. White's
pieces are unco-ordinated and undeveloped and the queen is looking a tad silly
on b7. Anand has to be really careful here.} 19. Nc4 $6 (19. Ra3 {was Anand's
original intention but he changed his mind at the last moment.} Qh4 {is now
met by} 20. Rae3 $1 {An completely appropriate exchange the sacrifice. The
bishop on d4 is worth the rook.} Nc5 21. Qxc7 f5 $1 $13 (21... Bxe3 22. Rxe3
$14)) 19... Nc5 20. Qc6 {A look at the position reveals that Black has clear
cut compensation and a player of Topalov's class knows that. However, it is
one thing to know that you have compensation and quite another to find a
concrete tactical refutation. This was the moment when Black had a chance to
take over the advantage but Topalov was unable to find it.} Nb3 $2 (20... Bxf2+
$1 {This was the move that would have destroyed Anand's position.} 21. Kxf2
Qh4+ {The rook is hanging so g3 has to be played.} 22. g3 Nxe4+ {Once again
the knight has to be taken or else g3 falls.} 23. Rxe4 Qxe4 $17 {And even
though White has two pieces for a rook his position is pretty bad as his king
is exposed. It's not so easy to come up with a good move for White here. For
eg.} 24. Bf4 $2 {fails to} g5 $1 $19) ({Another extremely interesting idea is
the following.} 20... f6 {What is the point you may ask? Well for starters how
about meeting the threat of trapping the white queen with Re7 and Be8. Seems
very difficult.} 21. Be3 Bxe3 22. Rxe3 Re7 $1 {Be8 is threatened and the queen
will perish. The best White can try is} 23. b4 Be8 24. Qxa8 Qxa8 25. bxc5 $44 {
Black should be better here but the position is not so easy to play due to the
material imbalance.}) 21. Rb1 Nxc1 $6 {This makes White's task easier.} (21...
f5 {creating some play was better.}) 22. Rbxc1 Rb8 23. Qxa6 $16 {White is two
pawns up right now. Black may regain one of the pawns but even then he would
be in a poor position, mainly because the a5 pawn is super strong.} Qh4 {
This looks like the most natural human move to make as it attacks both the f2
and e4 pawns.} (23... f5 $5 {could have been a tricky move to face.} 24. exf5
$6 (24. Ne3 $1 $14) 24... Bxf2+ $1 25. Kxf2 Qh4+ 26. g3 Qd4+ 27. Kg2 Bf7 $3 $40
{Only computers can see moves like these!}) 24. Rc2 Rxe4 25. Ne3 $1 {Experts
praised this extremely accurate move by Vishy Anand. The knight saves the
kingside and now the c7 pawn is attacked.} (25. Rxe4 Qxe4 {gives some activity
to Black.}) 25... Qd8 26. Qc4 Bg6 27. Bd3 $1 {Once again very accurate.} (27.
Qxc7 Bxe3 $1 28. fxe3 Ra4 {The rook on c2 is attacked and the pride of White's
position - the a5 pawn falls.}) 27... Rf4 28. Bxg6 hxg6 (28... Bxe3 29. Be4 $18
) 29. g3 $1 (29. Qxc7 $6 Qxc7 30. Rxc7 Rxb2 $132) 29... Re4 30. a6 Qe8 31. Rce2
{This is a human move to make. The computer comes up with a very interesting
solution.} (31. Qxc7 $1 Bxe3 32. Rxe3 Rxe3 33. fxe3 Qxe3+ {Many players would
see until this move and reject this variation because of counterplay. But the
engine suggests} 34. Kh2 $18 {With a completely winning position.}) 31... Bb6
32. Qd3 Ra8 33. Kg2 Qa4 34. b3 Rd4 35. bxa4 $6 (35. Qc2 {was much better as
the natural} Qxa6 {loses to the very nice tactical shot} 36. Nf5 $3 gxf5 37.
Re8+ Rxe8 38. Rxe8+ Kh7 39. Qxf5+ $18) 35... Rxd3 {White's advantage has
reduced at this point but still it is much more pleasant to be in Anand's
shoes than Topalov's!} 36. Nc4 Rxa6 37. a5 {This is a nice tricky solution
that Vishy came up with.} Bd4 (37... Bxa5 $2 38. Ra1 $16) (37... Bc5 {was much
better as after} 38. Re8+ Kh7 39. R1e7 {The d5 pawn is hanging here. The same
was not possible when the bishop was on d4.} Rxd5 40. Rxf7 Rf5 $11) 38. Re8+
Kh7 39. R1e7 Rc3 40. Nd2 $5 {Anand transfers his knight to better squares
after Nd2-e4.} (40. Rxc7 $1 $16) 40... Rc2 $6 (40... f5 {prevents Ne4 but the
knight can reach g5 via another route.} 41. h4 $1 $14) 41. Ne4 f6 {stops Ng5
but exposes the seventh rank which Anand takes full advantage of.} 42. h4 $1 {
Stopping Black from going g5.} (42. Rf7 g5 {was Black's idea.}) 42... Rxa5 43.
Rf7 g5 44. h5 {The mating net cannot be broken.} Rxf2+ 45. Nxf2 Ra2 46. Rff8
Rxf2+ 47. Kh3 g4+ 48. Kxg4 f5+ 49. Rxf5 {With a complete exchange down, there
is no way to survive as Black and hence Topalov resigned.} 1-0


The article with Vishy Anand's has been published on Firstpost. here's an excerpt:

It was a great start for Indian chess maestro Viswanathan Anand at the Candidates' World meet as the five-time World Champion beat Bulgarian number one Veselin Topalov and took sole lead in the event with a score of 1.0/1.

Experts have not given the India Super GM much of a chance of winning the tournament, just like they did in the 2014 edition of the tournament. Anand had then pulled off a stunning victory and going by his early form, looks set for a strong finish this year too.


You can click on the picture of the article below to read the entire article: 


 Click on the picture above or click on this link to go to the Firstpost article

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