Long-time Internet chess mavens may remember my old chess Web page (which won a few awards, including recognition in Chess Life magazine) from about a decade ago, a site which concerned itself primarily with chess gambits and sacrifices.
Today’s fourth game of the World Chess Championship would have been screaming, red-lettered front page news on that old site of mine. Vishy Anand threw material overboard like a crazy pirate tossing treasure chests off a sinking ship, all in an effort to mystify, bamboozle, befuddle, and hornswaggle his opponent Topalov — and it worked. The crusher was the (apparent) offer of a Bishop swap at move twenty-five, which turned out to be a Marshallesque swindle of gargantuan proportions. Instead of the expected gentlemanly trade, Anand used the extra tempo to initiate a sequence which destroyed the last bit of cover around Topalov’s King. Black thrashed around a bit longer but bowed to the inevitable: the final position was a forced mate in seven.
I’m not too proud to admit that as I replayed this game early this afternoon, I found myself shrieking like a 12-year old girl at a Cheetah Girls concert. This game is crazy! After pinging off the walls and ceiling for at least a half-hour, I finally settled down enough to fire up Rybka3 and get the following analysis:
Anand,V (2787) – Topalov,V (2805) [E04]
WCh Sofia BUL (4), 28.04.2010
[Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Qc2 Bxd2+ 8.Qxd2 c6 9.a4 b5 last book move 10.Na3 Bd7 11.Ne5 Nd5
12.e4 Nb4 13.0-0 0-0 14.Rfd1=
[0.00 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 14.d5 f6 15.dxc6 Bxc6 16.Qxd8 Rxd8 17.Nxc6 N8xc6 18.axb5 Nd4 19.Nxc4 Rac8 20.Nxa5 Rb8 21.e5
Rxb5 22.exf6 gxf6 23.Rfb1 Nd3 24.Nc6 Nxc6 +/= 0.46/14 ]
[0.47 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 14…Qe7 15.Nxd7 Qxd7 16.d5 Rd8 17.Qc3 Nd3 18.dxc6 Nxc6 19.axb5 Nd4 20.Bf1 e5 21.Nxc4 Nf3+
22.Kg2 Nh4+ 23.Kg1 Nf3+ 24.Kg2 Nh4+ 25.Kg1 Nf3+ 26.Kg2 Nh4+ 27.Kg1 Nf3+ 28.Kg2 Nh4+ 29.Kg1 Nf3+= 0.00/13 ]
15.d5 Qd6 +/=
[0.68 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 15…f6 16.dxc6 Qxd2 17.Rxd2 fxe5 18.axb5 Bxc6 19.bxc6 N8xc6 20.Rad1 Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Rxd8+
Nxd8 23.Nxc4 Ndc6 24.Kf1 Kf7 25.Ke2 Kf6 26.Kd2 Na6 +/= 0.33/13 ]
[0.25 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 16.dxc6 Qxe5 17.axb5 Qc5 18.Qc3 N8xc6 19.bxc6 Bxc6 20.Nxc4 a4 21.Ne5 Qxc3 22.bxc3 f6 23.Nc4 Na6
24.Rd6 Bb5 25.Na3 Be8 +/= 0.68/14 ]
16…Qc5 17.Ne3 N8a6 18.dxc6 bxa4 19.Naxc4 Bxc6 20.Rac1 h6 21.Nd6 Qa7 22.Ng4 Rad8+-
[1.43 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 22…Nc5 23.Rc4 f6 24.Ne3 Nb3 25.Qc3 Rfd8 26.Rxc6 Nxc6 27.Qxc6 Nd4 28.Rxd4 Qxd4 29.Ndc4 Qd7
30.Qxd7 Rxd7 31.Nb6 Rad8 32.Nxd7 +/= 0.26/13 ]
[1.70 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 23…Kh7 24.Rc4 gxh6 25.e5 f6 26.Rh4 Qg7 27.Bxc6 Nxc6 28.Qc2+ f5 29.Qxc6 Nb4 30.Qc1 Nd5 31.Rdd4
f4 32.Qc2+ Qg6 33.Qxa4± 1.13/14 ]
24.Qxh6 f6 25.e5
[5.89 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 25…Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Bxc6 fxe5 28.Bxa4 Kf6 29.h4 Ke7 30.Nb7 Rxd1+ 31.Rxd1 Rb8 32.Nxa5 Nc5
33.b3 Kf6 34.Nc4+- 1.67/13 ]
[6.54 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 26…Be4 27.Qg5++- 5.13/11 ]
[4.15 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 27.Qg5+ Kh8+- 6.54/11 ]
[4.15 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 28.Qg5+ Kh8+- 8.12/12 ]
[9.45 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 28…Qh7 29.Qg5+ Bg6 30.f7+ Kxf7 31.Rf6+ Kg7 32.Rxf8 Kxf8 33.Qf6+ Ke8 34.Rc8+ Kd7 35.Rd8+ Kc7
36.Qd6+ Kb7 37.Rd7+ Qxd7 38.Qxd7+ Nc7 39.Qxa4 Kb6 40.h4 Nb5 41.Qd1 Bc2 42.Qd7 Nc6 43.h5 Nbd4+- 4.15/12 ]
[12.11 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 29…Nac5 30.Re7+- 9.05/10 ]
30.f7+ Qxf7 31.Rxe4 Qf5?
[#8 Rybka 3 Dynamic 1-cpu: 31…Nxf2 32.Qg5++- 8.18/12 ]
Note the length of some of the alternative variations found by Rybka3; games like this (which abound in tactical possibilities) are the kind that computers like. If you want to beat your chess computer the fundamental rule is to play closed positions.
Chessplayers who are middle-aged and older will remember the time a couple of decades ago when Anand was considered to be the closest thing to a “human chess machine”, a player who could not only find his way through endless tactical complications but also lose his opponents in that same labyrinth. This game illustrates that time hasn’t dulled Anand’s tactical prowess; Topalov’s best bet is to try to keep the positions closed and win via “the slow grind”.
The rest of this match may prove to be very interesting, possibly the best World Championship matchup since the salad days of Kasparov-Karpov.
Have fun! — Steve
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