In order to take a look at the shape of things to come in the future world of chess, we necessarily had to come close to the present first. The most important event coming in near future is the World Chess Championship match, planned to be held in April 2010 and the bidding process for selection of venue will end on September 30 of this year. Everybody by this time knows that Veseline Topalov of Bulgaria will be challenging the reigning champion Viswanathan Anand of India to determine the World Champion in 2010, after which such matches will be held at two year intervals.
But before I took up my telescope again to take wistful looks at what I consider as the romantic periods of chess, I was wondering where to focus attention in this present era. Then I got the idea: what better than to look at recent games between the defender and challenger to the title.
To dissuade people from making own different interpretations of what I am going to present, I want to make clear my criteria for selection of the two games played between these two players. I wanted both games from recent periods (2007-2008), both players getting to win while playing as White, and both games to be of comparable length but fairly short (within 30 moves) to keep our article size within limit! That automatically limited my choice and in fact I could get only two that met all the criteria, so no one can blame me for a biased selection!
The first game was played at Leon in 2007 with Anand on the White side winning in 29 moves and the second one was at Bilbao in 2008 with Topalov as White winning in 25 moves. We would like to assure readers that because the way the games were chosen, they cannot purport to represent the actual playing ability of the players. The readers are free to draw their own conclusions.
You have of course seen example of Vishy’s play in The stomach is an essential part of the Chess master and the fighting spirit of Topalov in Attacking Chess Tactics: Hounding the enemy King which produced one of the great games of chess in spite of his losing it to Kasparov.
Though neither player needs any introduction, we want to keep up the practice of presenting the actors before showing their acts. Anand has already been introduced in The stomach is an essential part of the Chess master, so we need not do it again.
Veselin Topalov (b.1975) was born in Bulgaria and became the World under-14 champion in 1989 and a GM in 1992. Along with Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand, he has also crossed the FIDE Elo rating of 2800, the only four players ever to do so. Though living in Spain, he represents Bulgaria in Chess Olympiads.
The diagram shows the position in Anand-Topalov game after 24 moves.
|25.||b6||Ra5||White was threatening 26. Bb5+ to capture the rook
|26.||Rd1||Bg5||It is right strategy for Black to try to exchange White’s Bishop of the same color as the promotion square b8 for White’s NP
|27.||b7||Ke7||Black had to attend to the immediate threat posed by White before he could implement his strategy!
|28.||Bb6||Re5||Threatening the Rook was just a gain in tempo but White’s aim went deeper than that!
|29.||Bd8+!||Resigns||The best Black could do was 29. … Rxd8 (best) 30. Rxd8 Kxd8 31. b8=Q+ Kd7 32. Qxe5 with an easy win for White|
The Topalov-Anand game after 21 moves stood as under:
|24.||Re7||Rd8||In the given situation 25. Rxe8 Rxd1+ 26. Kg2 Rxe8 getting two Rooks for the Queen must have been acceptable to Black (and so, White would not give him that benefit!)
|25.||Rf1||Resigns||The likely continuation could be 25. … Qc6 26. Ng5 h5 27. Nxf7 Rxf7 28. Rxf7 Kxf7 29. Qxd8 giving White one extra passed pawn and a Rook against Knight, which should be enough for him to win.|
Watch first Game -- Anand Won
Watch second Game -- Topalov Won