Anand is World Chess Champion 2010! (with photos closing ceremony)

Anand defeats Topalov, retains the crown

Anand world champion

World Champion Anand
at closing ceremony

Update: Photos from closing ceremony added at the Closing ceremony photo gallery (page 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9)

Viswanathan Anand defeated Veselin Topalov 6,5:5,5 in their WCC 2010 match in Sofia and retained the crown of FIDE World Chess Champion. After a close battle with equal score one round before the end, Anand won the last game with black to claim the title.

Congratulations to Anand, Aruna and Vishy’s team – Nielsen, Kasimdzhanov, and Ganguly!

Stay tuned for full report with closing ceremony info

Scroll down for round by round analysis and photo galleries, more is to come on!

All games of the match commented

Follow the links for expert commentary by GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, GM Christian Bauer, and IM Alexander Ipatov

Game 12: Topalov – Anand 0-1

Game 11: Anand – Topalov draw

Game 10: Topalov – Anand draw

Game 9: Anand – Topalov draw

Game 8: Topalov – Anand 1-0

Game 7: Anand – Topalov draw

Game 6: Anand – Topalov draw

Game 5: Topalov – Anand draw

Game 4: Anand – Topalov 1-0

Game 3: Topalov – Anand draw

Game 2: Anand – Topalov 1-0

Game 1: Topalov – Anand 1-0

Anand world champion

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, challenger Veselin Topalov, the 2010 World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, and Bulgaria Prime Minister Boiko Borisov

Final handshake

The final handshake as Topalov resigned after 56…Qg7

World Chess Championship round by round reports were done on a daily basis by chief editor Goran Urosevic for official website. They were concise and straight to the point, with an important novelty – each report was published maximum 3 to 5 minutes after the final move in any game.

This created a special effect never seen in chess journalism before, more info here

Enjoy the round by round reports, each enriched by link to commented game by experts (GM Kosteniuk, GM Bauer, IM Perunovic, and IM Ipatov) and a photo gallery.

Opening ceremony photo gallery / Playing hall / Press conference

Round 1

Game 1: Topalov – Anand 1-0

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria had started today at the Central Military Club in Sofia. The beginning was postponed by one day to allow Anand better rest after the 40-hour journey on the road from Germany and further two hours to meet Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s previously arranged schedule.

The entire chess world was eagerly anticipating the start of the match, especially in Bulgaria where it turns into the top sport event of 2010. The drawing of lots at the Wednesday’s opening ceremony gave the white pieces in the first game to Topalov.

Topalov opened with 1.d4 and Anand defended with Gruenfeld Indian, an opening he tested last year in the rapid match versus Peter Leko, and then continued to use it at the top events like 2009 Tal Memorial.

The players blitzed their way into a variation that was seen in the first game of the last year’s Challenger match between Topalov and Gata Kamsky, which was also held in Sofia. In that game Topalov did not achieve advantage and later switched to different system against Gruenfeld.

But now he is back with the same line, deviating on move 16. Instead of f2-f4, as played against Kamsky, Topalov employed 16. Rac1 which was seen in an earlier top level game Karjakin-Carlsen, Foros 2008.

Anand followed the standard plan with Qd6 and f6, to slow down White’s advance with e4-e5. Meanwhile, Topalov moved his Knight closer to the enemy King, and a sudden Rook lift with 23. Rf3 highlighted the fragile nature of Black’s castle. With Nxf6 sacrifice looming over his head, Anand dove into his first longer thought, but immediately erred and run into a worse version of the piece sacrifice.

After penetrating both Rooks to opponent’s 7th rank, a nice final touch with 29. Bb5! marked a complete domination of White pieces.

Game 1 photos

Round 2

Game 2: Anand – Topalov 1-0

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria continued today with the second game which started at the “usual” hour – 15:00 local time. Following Anand’s defeat in the first game, most of the chess fans were wondering whether he will try to equalise the score with White pieces, or adopt a more cautious strategy and wait for the rest day on Monday to recollect his confidence.

The answer was provided soon – Anand opened with a very popular Catalan opening, in which White aims for the initiative and long-term pressure. Topalov responded with an early 4…dxc4 which creates imbalances in the position.

The moving pace was considerably slower compared to the first game. Both players, although probably still within the home preparation, carefully considered their steps.

Anand sacrificed a pawn in the opening in exchange for the quick development and positional pressure. His first longer thought was before move 15, on which he offered Queens’ trade. White was not bothered much with the doubled a-pawns, as his Rooks obtained excellent activity on the open files.
Both pairs of Knights were firmly entrenched in the central positions and the play revolved around the c-file and queenside.

But then the hasty 25…Ne3 by Topalov, which the official match commentator GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili marked as “unnecessary”, allowed Anand to seize a nice positional advantage and collect Black queenside pawns.

Topalov tried to reduce the pressure by offering trade of one pair of Rooks, but his opponent wisely declined.

After establishing a pair of passed pawns on ‘a’ and ‘b’ files, Anand obtained decisive advantage and it was just a matter of time before Topalov resigns. Black gave up on move 43, in the lost Rook endgame.

Game 2 photos

Round 3

Game 3: Topalov – Anand draw

Following the rest day on Monday, the FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria resumed today with the third game in which Topalov leads White pieces.

Topalov repeated 1. d4 from the first game of the match but Anand archived the Gruenfeld Indian and took up the solid Slav defence.

Instead of jumping into complications after 7. f3 Bb4, Black opted to shake the White center with 7…c5 and exchange the annoying Ne5 as soon as possible. He obtained a slightly passive, but very resisting position, in which the Queens were exchanged early on.

Topalov tried to create some play on the queenside, while Anand carefully avoided conceding any weaknesses and slowly improved the position of the pieces.

A pair of pawns from the queenside went off as Topalov intended to extend the scope of his Rooks and press on the a6-pawn. At that time, Black Bishop was still on g8 and out of play.

But Topalov then played solidifying moves in succession, aiming to prevent opponent’s counterplay, and Anand used this time to fully reactivate the Bishop via f7-e8-d7.

Following the further piece exchange on b5, the draw became inevitable. Peace treaty was signed on move 46.

Game 3 photos

Round 4

Game 4: Anand – Topalov 1-0

The fourth game of the FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria saw another Catalan opening on the board. This is the first opening that was played twice in the match, the players are obviously willing to have a theoretical discussion.

Topalov was the one to deviate from the second game, as early as on move 5, when he played the sharper Bb4+ instead of a6.

Similar to the earlier Catalan game, Black clutched onto the extra pawn while White tried to take advantage of his faster pieces’ development.

Anand aggressively advanced in the center to break opponent’s pawn formation and open up the files and diagonals. At the same time, Topalov was carefully clearing the queenside in order to reduce the positional pressure.

The game appeared to be taking a normal course but then Anand’s sudden Knight movement (e3-g4) caught Topalov without guard and on the wrong foot.

Not hesitating much, Anand knocked a piece sacrifice on h6 and picked a strong attack against the Black King.

Still precision was needed in carrying out the assault, but Anand never blinked and found the crushing 25. e5!

Topalov continued for a few moves more, but resigned at the imminent danger of a mate.

Game 4 photos

Round 5

Game 5: Topalov – Anand draw

After the second rest day, the FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria continued today with game five in which Topalov played with White pieces.

The first symbolic move were made by the “father of the euro” professor Robert Mundell.

The President of Bulgaria Mr. Georgi Parvanov visited the match.

The opening was replay of game three in which Anand used the Slav defence and comfortably held a draw. The expectation were that Topalov will find an improvement in the variation and fight for opening advantage.

But it was Anand who first diverted from the earlier game by moving 15…h5 instead of 15…h6. Topalov continued with the logical 16. Ne2 having in mind Nf4, to exploit the newly created situation with Black pawn on h5.

Anand established strong Knight outpost on e5 and traded off a pair of Rooks to reduce White’s chances of gaining initiative.

After further exchange of minor pieces, an endgame with Rook and Bishop versus Rook and Knight has arisen.

Anand’s 29…g5 initiated changes in the pawn structure, which allowed him to solve one issue and concentrate on pieces’ play.

Black Knight gradually suppressed White Bishop, which eventually landed on the backward d1-square. Right after the time-control, Topalov offered moves repetition before the situation goes out of the hand. Or perhaps it was a psychological move, attempting to test Anand’s resolve to play for a win, in case of which White would also have chances for full point.

But Anand needed no risk and accepted the threefold repetition. Draw signed on move 44.

Game 5 photos

Round 6

Game 6: Anand – Topalov draw

The FIDE World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria saw the sixth game played this Saturday at the Central Military Club in Sofia.

Anand had the White pieces and for the third time we observed Catalan opening on the board.

Topalov returned to the safer variation that he already employed in the 2nd game of the match. Anand displayed the depth and flexibility of his preparation and was once again the first to deviate from an earlier game as on move 10 he extended Bishop’s diagonal and landed on g5, instead of d2.

Topalov won the Bishop’s pair, but didn’t hesitate to offer the pawn back and even sacrifice another for the initiative. Anand declined the offer and decided to exchange the Queens. An interesting position in which White has two Knights and Black plays two Bishops occurred. For some time we watched patient maneuvering as both players tried to locate optimal squares for the pieces.

White eventually managed to trade of a pair of minor pieces, but Black wisely forced another exchange – pawn d4 for e2. After sacrificing another pawn, on b4, Topalov obtained wonderful counterplay and stopped worrying how to save the game. He tried to further press Anand’s position with doubled Rooks on the 2nd rank, but the material was already very reduced.

The repetition of moves in a completely equal position meant a peace treaty, on move 58.

Game 6 photos

Round 7

Game 7: Anand – Topalov draw

The FIDE World Chess Championship match resumed on Monday with Viswanathan Anand once again having the White pieces, as according to the regulations, the piece colors are alternating halfway through the match.

The players seem to be very persistent in thorough investigation of the Catalan opening, as the same setup appeared four times when Anand had White pieces.

Once again Topalov switched the variation, and included 4…Bb4+ instead of 4…dxc4. Later on, instead of the almost automatic 8. Qc2, Anand preferred the rare 8. Bf4, which prompted Black to immediately capture the pawn on c4 and then hang on it with b5.

The similar position was seen in the encounter Gelfand-Ivanchuk. Topalov varied from that game by playing 11…Bd7.

Anand accepted the gift in the view of exchange on a8, and the game became highly imbalanced as Black caught up the initiative.

A timely opening of the a-file and breach to the 7th rank gave Anand solid counterplay. After the exchange of the Bishops, it appeared that White managed to stabilise and block the dangerous d-pawn.

Topalov brought his heavy artillery to the 2nd rank, but could not achieve more than perpetual check as White kept the enemy Queen under contact attack.

But Anand refused the possibility of perpetual, on two occasions, and continued to fight for more. Nevertheless, the Black passed pawn demanded lots of caution, and White was unable to gain more with the Knight burdened on f2. The draw was finally agreed on move 58.

Game 7 photos

Round 8

Game 8: Topalov – Anand 1-0

The FIDE World Chess Championship will be a real delicacy for the theoreticians and analysts. Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov are investigating every corner of the popular variation in the Slav defence and various systems against Catalan opening.

The eighth game of the match featured Slav defence which was already seen in games three and five.

Anand was again the first to digress from previous encounters, and omitted 13…a6 by playing immediate Rc8. This prompted Topalov to use the opportunity for Bb5 and trade off the Knight from d7.

Black obtained pair of Bishops but White enjoyed development advantage and tried to press the enemy King before Black pieces come to life.

Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk commented that “the advantage of these kind of positions is that computers nowadays are still not great helpers in such endgames. Everything is about nuances that computers still can’t understand and only people can feel”.

Topalov’s novelty 18. a5 cleared the square for the Knight and made it more difficult for Black to exchange the dark-squared bishops.

But Anand patiently defended to neutralise the pressure and initiated massive exchanges even at the cost of the pawn on f4.

Topalov allowed the Rooks to go off, and entered an opposite-coloured Bishops endgame with a strong passer on d6.

The resulting endgame was very difficult for evaluation, as nobody could say with certainty whether it’s winning or Black can hold a draw. But Topalov enjoyed the fun of trying different plans to break through, while Black had to defend himself with extreme precision.

Eventually, Topalov executed the winning idea of pushing the Black King into corner, play Bg7, g4-g5, g6 and clear the f6 square for his King. Anand saw what is looming and resigned after 56. g4.

Game 8 photos

Round 9

Game 9: Anand – Topalov draw

The 9th game of the FIDE World Chess Championship finally saw a different opening on the board. The World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the Challenger Veselin Topalov entered the Nimzo-Indian defence, Rubinstein variation, avoiding the previous dispute in Catalan.

Topalov forced the position where his opponent has isolated Queen’s pawn, but more space to maneuver. Anand’s team came up first with a novelty – 18.Nh3 to force Black to concede some weaknesses on dark-squares.

But Topalov responded immediately with a central trust 18…e5 and the ensuing position became very interesting for observers.

In the spirit of today’s Bulgaria National Holiday (St. George’s day, holiday of the army and the fighting spirit) the game became imbalanced as White exchanged Queen for two Rooks. With the activation of White’s Knight 32. Ng5 Topalov faced the possible problems with his kingside pawns and King itself. Anand, however, preferred back rank tactics and gave Topalov breathing space with 33. Ne4.

Anand was in mild time pressure and his 40.Rh8+ was probably a bit hasty, allowing the Black King to escape to the queenside and leaving the Rook out of play for the time of being. But he quickly regrouped forces and after 46. h5! renewed the threats against Black King.

Topalov thought for quite a while and found the fantastic resource with Knight sacrifice 54…Nxf3+! The point is that the attacking White Knight was brought back and tied in a pin.

The complicated struggle lasted for another 30 moves, but both players played with precision and the inevitable draw was signed on 83rd move, after more than six hours of tense play.

Game 9 photos

Round 10

Game 10: Topalov – Anand draw

The 10th game FIDE World Chess Championship saw a return to the Gruenfeld Indian defence, which Viswanathan Anand temporarily archived after the defeat in the first game of the match.

This time he chose a different continuation and played 10…b6 instead of Na5.

After the full pieces’ development of both sides, Topalov advanced his d-pawn to the 5th rank, which prompted a double Rook exchange on the c-file.

Black obtained good play with timely pawn advances, e6 and f5.

Later, Anand surrendered Bishop’s pair in order to trade the Queens and head into an endgame where Topalov once again held a passed d-pawn. However, Black had it firmly blocked and the play revolved around the neighboring diagonals.

Topalov could not make progress and Anand started rolling his own pawn majority on the queenside. After numerous pawn exchanges, the game evaporated into a draw, which was signed on move 60.

Game 10 photos

Round 11

Game 11: Anand – Topalov draw

The 11th game of the FIDE World Chess Championship was a clash in an opening entirely different from the earlier games. With his last game with White pieces, Viswanathan Anand decided to start with the English opening, allowing Veselin Topalov to line the favourite reversed Sicilian setup.

Already the 11th move Ne4 was rare in theory and it was obvious that Anand had prepared something down this variation. But Topalov’s reply Qe8 immediately threw both players out of home analysis and the play continued with long and careful maneuvers in the middlegame.

Anand enjoyed the possibility of playing with pair of Bishops, but Topalov’s position was very compact without any apparent weaknesses to target.

White blocked the opponent’s queenside and forced several exchanges hoping to use the outposts on d4 and c6. Black reacted accordingly and the game was level when the first time control was reached.

Suddenly, the apparently clear endgame turned very complicated even if there were only few battling units on the board.

Topalov grabbed some initiative and won the b5-pawn, however, Anand started to coordinate the play on the kingside and obtained good counterplay.

Around the second time control, there were some nice stalemate motifs for White, but the game ended in a draw on the 65th move when the repetition became imminent.

Game 11 photos

Round 12

Game 12: Topalov – Anand 0-1

The last classical game of the FIDE World Chess Championship was opened with Lasker variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined as Viswanathan Anand sought for a solid defence in which White would have only minimal chances to score a victory.

The opening went quietly until Anand moved the slightly unusual 16…Nf6. This was the moment where Veselin Topalov took a bit longer to decide on the middlegame plan.

Topalov allowed Black to trade the Be4 and in return he forced an isolated pawn on c5. But is was not easy to besiege this pawn as Black successfully coordinated pieces and obtained excellent counterplay.

White took some time to consolidate the position and avoid tactics on the back-rank and against the Knight on d2. Anand silently offered a moves repetition with Bd3-a6, but Topalov snubbed the offer.

White established the Knight on c4, while Black Bishop possessed a long diagonal from a8.

Exactly in this moment, Topalov erred in an attempt to prevent Black’s e5-e4. He played e4 himself, but Anand did not hesitate long before breaking the formation with 30…f5 and 31…e4.

Topalov carelessly traded the pawn on e4 and fell under a strong attack. The Black battery Queen-Rook-Bishop worked perfectly in the pursuit after White King.

It looked like the game was over, and even Anand admitted that he couldn’t see a defence for White, but Topalov found some remarkable resources and managed to prolong the game.

But with a series of precise moves, Anand managed to convert the advantage and bring victory home on move 56. The final score is 6,5:5,5.

Game 12 photos