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Vishy solid as ever, holds Topalov to an easy draw

by ChessBase India - 20/03/2016

Topalov didn't expect that Vishy would play the same opening system with Nbd7 and Bb4 again, after the Indian ace had played it against Anish. But Anand showed that he had faith on this system and the work he had done on it. The result was a completely fine game for Vishy right out of the opening. He even started getting ambitious and pressed the Bulgarian for a while in the endgame, but the advantage was just too minute. In the end the players agreed to a draw and Vishy maintains his third spot. Detailed analysis by IM Sagar Shah from Moscow.

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[Event "Candidates 2016"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.03.20"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Black "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2780"]
[BlackElo "2762"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "101"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Nbd7 {Such is Anand's faith on his opening,
he tried it against Aronian, then against Giri and now once again against
Topalov. That's the thing with Anand. Once he believes in his opening
preparation he is not afraid of opponent's novelties.} 5. Qc2 {Topalov made
this move that was played by Giri as well. He got up from his chair and Anand
replied instantly.} Bb4 6. cxd5 (6. a3 {was Anish's choice.}) 6... exd5 7. a3
Bxc3+ 8. Qxc3 Ne4 9. Qc2 {Until now players are following the game between
Sakaev and Eljanov from Dagomys 2009. But now Anand deviates.} O-O 10. e3 Re8
11. b3 $5 {This doesn't seem to be too ambitious. After this Black can
equalize without too many difficulties.} (11. b4 {If you wanted to develop the
bishop on b2 then why not b4? Well then the b4 pawn could become a weakness
after} a5 12. Bb2 axb4 13. axb4 Rxa1+ 14. Bxa1 Qe7 $15) 11... c6 12. Bd3 Nf8
13. Bb2 Bf5 14. O-O (14. Nd2 Qg5 $15) 14... Qf6 15. Ne5 Nd6 {By exchanging the
light squared bishops, Vishy is mainly aiming for a position where he would
have a knight against the b2 bishop. That would give Black an excellent
position.} 16. Rae1 Bxd3 17. Nxd3 Qg6 18. f3 $5 {The thing about Topalov is
that he always likes to play actively. Here he is looking for the right moment
when he break in the centre with e4 and at the same time takes that square
away from the d6 knight.} f6 19. a4 Ne6 20. Qd2 (20. Ba3 Nf5) 20... h5 $5 {
In some ways securing the f5 square for the knight.} 21. Ba3 Nf5 22. Nf4 $6 {
This move is compleytely illogical. White exchanges the knights and leaves
himself with some weknesses. Why would White want to defend an inferior
endgame voluntarily from an equal position?} Nxf4 23. exf4 {The resulting
position is in Black's favour. The main reason being that the knight
is better than the bishop and Black's pawn structure is better than White's.}
Rxe1 (23... h4 $1 {Securing the f5 knight was also possible.}) 24. Rxe1 Re8 25.
Rxe8+ Qxe8 26. Kf2 {Anand has those micro edges and he has the right to press
in this position.} Nh6 27. Qd3 b6 {This is a very responsible decision. On one
hand Black is weakening the c6 pawn but on the other he is preventing the move
a5 followed by Bc5 which would paralyse his queenside majority. It is always a
tradeoff and Vishy chose the move b6. Turns out that the c6 pawn was the
reason why he couldn't really make much progress. What would have happened if
Vishy would not have played b6 is a completely different story.} 28. Bb4 Qe6
29. Qc2 Kf7 30. Ba3 Qd7 31. Bb4 Nf5 32. Qd3 g6 33. g3 Ng7 {White doesn't have
too many active possibilities. Black on the other hand can try to use his
queenside majority by having the knight on e6 at some point. Right now it
doesn't seem possible because Ne6 is met with f4-f5 but can Black prepare it
is the question.} 34. Qe3 Kg8 (34... h4 35. g4 $11) (34... Qe6 {might have
been the best move.} 35. Qxe6+ (35. Qc3 h4 $17 36. g4 f5 37. g5 Qd7 {and the
position has changed in Black's favour.}) 35... Nxe6 36. Ke3 c5 37. dxc5 bxc5
38. Ba3 f5 $15) (34... Ne6) 35. Qd3 Kh7 36. Kg2 Qf5 37. Qc3 (37. Qxf5 Nxf5 {
would definitely be some progress for Black.}) 37... Qe6 (37... Qb1 {was
possible but as Vishy said in the press conference with three moves to go
until the time control he didn't want to let things spiral out of control. In
any case it was just a draw.} 38. Qxc6 Qb2+ 39. Kh3 Qxb3 40. Bf8 Qxf3 41. Qxf6
(41. Qc7 $2 Qf1+ 42. Kh4 g5+ $1 43. fxg5 fxg5+ 44. Kxg5 Qf5+ 45. Kh4 Qg4#)
41... Nf5 42. Qf7+ Kh8 43. Qf6+ $11) 38. Qd3 a5 39. Bd2 Qf5 40. Qc3 Qe6 41. Qd3
Qf5 42. Qc3 h4 {Vishy shuns the draw and tries to play for a win.} 43. g4 Qb1 {
The queen has made her way into the enemy camp but without the knight she
cannot do much.} 44. Be3 (44. Qxc6 Qd3 $19 {The bishop on d2 will drop.}) 44...
Qd1 45. Bf2 Qe2 46. Qe3 Qxe3 47. Bxe3 Ne6 48. Kh3 g5 49. f5 $1 (49. fxg5 fxg5 {
Might be a tad better for Black although a draw here looks most likely.}) 49...
Nf4+ (49... Nc7 {being overambitious might make it completely bad.} 50. f4 $1
$16 {It's White who has the chances to play for a win now.}) 50. Bxf4 gxf4 51.
Kg2 {There is no way to breakthrough and hence the players agreed to a draw.} (
51. Kxh4 $2 c5 52. dxc5 bxc5 53. Kh3 c4 $19) 1/2-1/2


Round eight article in the popular online news website : Firstpost 

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