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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anand stays calm against Topalov offence

By Ian Rogers

World Champion Viswanathan Anand found himself facing a violent attack in the early stages of the first game of his title defence against Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The first game began at a frenetic pace, the two players completing their first 20 moves is as many minutes. Anand, playing Black, chose the Gruenfeld Defence, a venerable system, which he had been using recently but against which Topalov has scored many outstanding victories. 

Viswanathan Anand

Novelty

After utilising a well-known sacrifice of a pawn, it was Topalov who was forced out of his home preparation first; Anand's new 16th move leading to positions which had clearly been extensively analysed by Anand and his team of seconds.
Anand's opening strategy had left his king dangerously exposed, but the Indian star looked calm as Topalov tried to find a weakness in black's defensive set-up.
However by move 23 Anand was also forced onto his own resources, thinking for almost half an hour on a single move. Topalov replied quickly, with an unexpected knight sacrifice and the struggle had begun in earnest between the two most successful players of the past five years.
“In my opinion the position is about equal,” said French Grandmaster Laurent Fressinet observing the game in Sofia, “but it is very dangerous for Vishy to play like this, especially against an attacking player such as Veselin.”
The €2 million match saw a sell-out crowd of 250 for the first game, being played in the lavish Military Club in the centre of the Bulgarian capital. Security for players and spectators was intense, with metal detectors at the entrance of the hall to find and confiscate mobile phones and an opaque curtain between the players and the audience to prevent any signalling from the crowd.
The two GMs, who had not played a serious game against each other since 2008, shook hands warmly at the start of the game before the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov made the ceremonial first move for Topalov. The starting time of the game had been delayed by two hours to allow Borissov to attend.
The world title match consists of 12 games, with the winner receiving €1.2 million and the loser €800,000. Should the score be tied at 6-6 a series of rapid tie-breakers will be played. The second game of the match will be played on Sunday April 25 starting at 5.30 p.m. (IST).
The writer is a Grandmaster from Australia.

Source : The Hindu
 
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