Topalov gets the better of Anand in opener

Updated: 25 April 2010 12:40 IST

Viswanathan Anand's title defence got off to the worst possible start as he was shocked by challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the first game of the World

Topalov gets the better of Anand in opener

Sofia:

Viswanathan Anand's title defence got off to the worst possible start as he was shocked by challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the first game of the World Chess Championship here.

At the Central Military Club here yesterday, the Indian ace found it incredibly tough to handle local stalwart Topalov who cruised to a fascinating victory in just 30 moves in the first of the 12-game match to decide the next world champion.

The match was postponed by one day to allow Anand better rest after a 40-hour road journey from Germany and further two hours to meet Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's previously arranged schedule.

At 17:00 local time the two contestants started the much awaited clash with Topalov playing out an expected queen pawn move with white pieces.

Anand started off with the Gruenfeld Indian defense, an opening that many feared to be unlikely, owing to the risk of being run over if things go sour.

The choice led to one of the quickest and most decisive opening games in World Championship history with Topalov rattling off his moves very quickly and comfortably.

The game followed playable moves in computer books until move eleven, where Anand deviated a little bit but was still in known territory.

At move 16, Topalov moved away from the main lines with a rook manoeuvre, a move that had only been played once before, and disturbed Anand. The opening moves were played at a very fast pace and in under five minutes as many as 14 moves were already on the board.

Topalov followed a move played by Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a game played in 2008 on his 16th turn and soon Anand was under pressure.

Anand followed the standard plan to slow down White's advance in the center but meanwhile Topalov moved his Knight closer to the enemy King, and a sudden Rook lift on the 23rd move created dangerous threats, highlighting the fragile nature of Black's castle.

With a piece sacrifice imminent, Anand dove into his first long thought, but erred immediately to allow the sacrifice with a devastating attack.

It was Topalov all the way as he penetrated the seventh rank to make life difficult for Anand's king. A picturesque finale was on the anvil and it followed with a quiet yet decisive Bishop move on the 29th turn by the Bulgarian. Anand resigned one move later.

There are 11 games still left in the championship for Anand to make a comeback. Team Anand will have to spend a lot of thinking time to combat Topalov who has emerged as a far superior rival than Russian Vladimir Kramnik  who was comprehensively outplayed at Bonn in Germany in 2008.

Topics : Chess
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