Wednesday, 12 May 2010

On such things, the world turns

I'm guessing that the reasoning behind Topalov's 32nd move in the 12th and decisive 2010 World Championship game will be debated for years to come. What drove him to play a move that looked bad, even before the computers began shouting their condemnation, and to play such a move so quickly? Was it simply a matter of "trying something that did not work" or was it one of those unfathomable brain snaps that afflict all us chess players from time to time?
Whatever it was, it brought the 2010 match to a surprising and dramatic end. Conventional wisdom was that it would be a drawn match, with the rapid chess playoffs deciding the matter. On the one hand it is good that it did not have to come to that, but on the other, for the match to be decided on essentially a 1 move blunder doesn't make me feel that great either. And for all the venom directed towards the Topalov-Danialov camp, it is still hard not to feel sorry for Topalov himself.
Here is the deciding game. The key points are move 25, where there was a possibility of a repetition, move 29 where Anand decides to push his central pawns, and move 32, which was the decisive moment of the match. After that Anand played a number of fine moves to trap the White king, and while he may not have chosen the "best" move every time, he chose moves which moved him closer towards victory.

Topalov,V (2805) - Anand,V (2787) [D56]
WCh Sofia BUL (12), 11.05.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 Ne4 8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.Be2 Nxc3 11.Rxc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nd7 13.0-0 b6 14.Bd3 c5 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Qc2 Nf6 17.dxc5 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc5 19.Qc2 Bb7 20.Nd2 Rfd8 21.f3 Ba6 22.Rf2 Rd7 23.g3 Rbd8 24.Kg2 Bd3 25.Qc1 Ba6 26.Ra3 Bb7 27.Nb3 Rc7 28.Na5 Ba8 29.Nc4 e5 30.e4 f5 31.exf5 e4 (D)
32.fxe4 Qxe4+ 33.Kh3 Rd4 34.Ne3 Qe8 35.g4 h5 36.Kh4 g5+ 37.fxg6 Qxg6 38.Qf1 Rxg4+ 39.Kh3 Re7 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Nf5+ Kh7 42.Rg3 Rxg3+ 43.hxg3 Qg4+ 44.Kh2 Re2+ 45.Kg1 Rg2+ 46.Qxg2 Bxg2 47.Kxg2 Qe2+ 48.Kh3 c4 49.a4 a5 50.Rf6 Kg8 51.Nh6+ Kg7 52.Rb6 Qe4 53.Kh2 Kh7 54.Rd6 Qe5 55.Nf7 Qxb2+ 56.Kh3 Qg7 0-1


Lauri said...

I don't think it's accurate to say that it was this one blunder. It was also all the games before. Of course it's harsh that this kind of blunder settles the case but it's human chess championship so it is inevitable that human is about to err sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Is not it a pay day for the first game?:)

Paul said...

I predicted an Anand win before the match began . Thank you Vishy !