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Viswanathan Anand - Veselin Topalov

Round 9
Grand Slam Final
Bilbao

12.09.2008

Today there are two games with live commentary on Chessdom.com - the other one is the duel between the young stars - Radjabov - Carlsen . Topalov is confidently heading towards the tournament victory, while his formidable opponent this time is obviously out of form and is occupying quite untypical for him place - shared last, without a single win - and having in mind that the Indian was been lucky in some games, that signifies a provisional crisis in his play. Nevertheless, let's not forget the proverb how dangerous a wounded tiger can be. Today he is having the White pieces and this is his chance to improve a bit his tournament standings and rating - being N.1, there is a real possibility that he won't be among the leading 3 or 4 in the next. So the question is can Anand find the will power to put up a real fight, or he can barely wait this event to finish, concentrating his thoughts on the fore-coming match against Kramnik.

1.e4 c6 Topalov obviously had played more than enough games in Najdorf variation against Anand so his choice today excludes the Sicilian.

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bd3 (7.h4 is usually played. Is Anand hiding his preparation for the match against Kramnik? Anyway Caro-Kann is not very likely to occur there.)

7... Ngf6 8.O-O e6 9.b3 This line is considered to be quite unambitious. Does Anand really hopes to get opening advantage here?

9... Be7 10.Bb2 Qa5 Topalov delays castling and improves the position of his Queen.

11.c4 O-O 12.Bxg6 After Black had castled, such exchange no longer opens 'h' file for the Rook.

12... hxg6 13.Qc2 Ba3 Changing a couple of pieces is OK for Black, as White has spatial advantage.

14.Rfd1 Bxb2 15.Qxb2 Rfe8 16.Qd2 Qxd2 17.Rxd2 e5 Now the position is completely equal.

18.dxe5 Nxe5 19.Nxe5 Rxe5 20.f3 Kf8 21.Kf2 a5 22.Rad1 Ke7 23.Re2 The game is inevitably coming nearer the peace agreement.

23... Rxe2 24.Nxe2 Rh8 25.h3 Nd7 26.Nc3 Nc5 There is not much to comment for the moment. It is hard to see a plan for either side to fight for advantage.

27.f4 Ne6 28.Ke3 g5 29.fxg5 Nxg5 30.Ne2 Ne6 31.Nd4 f6 32.Nxe6 Kxe6 Two more pieces exchanged.

33.Rd4 c5 34.Re4+ Kd6 35.Kf3 a4 36.Re3 axb3 37.axb3 Rh4 38.Rd3+ Ke7 39.Re3+ Kd6 40.Rd3+ Ke7 41.Re3+ Draw agreed. Anand just wants the tournament finished. Topalov has comfortable lead. The result: a boring game with little to comment at all. Well this is a part of competitive chess and is unlikely anything to change that. 1/2