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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Anand blacks out Topalov's ambitions

By Ian Rogers

Game 5 anand & topalov

Viswanathan Anand has retained his narrow lead over Veselin Topalov with a solid draw in the fifth game of the Indian's world title defence in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Anand, playing black for the third time in the match, repeated the Slav opening which had neutralised Topalov's ambitions in game three, and also came armed with a new 15th move.

Soon afterwards, as Anand was considering his 17th move, the playing hall — and indeed the entire Military Club — was plunged into darkness by a power blackout. The game timers were stopped by the arbiter but both players remained firmly in their seats, analysing in the dark.

Ten minutes later, emergency power provided some flickering light on the stage and five minutes later the light was good enough for the game to resume.

“I don't know what would have happened if the lights had not gone on for an hour or more,” admitted Anand. “I don't know what the rules are for such a situation.”

However, while play continued, the video screen above the players, relaying the game to the audience in the Military Club and to hundreds of thousands of viewers on the internet, remained inoperable. Audible protests from some of the frustrated spectators in the theatre were quickly muted by security guards and five minutes later normal broadcasting of the moves resumed.

Both players reacted calmly to the unexpected interruption, although Anand spent some time re-orientating himself with the position before he made his next move.

“It is very easy to make a mistake after a break in concentration like this,” said Anand, “so I decided to invest an extra ten minutes just to be sure.”

Once again Anand's opening preparation proved superior to that of his Bulgarian challenger. “I missed Anand's [22nd move],” confessed Topalov. “It was very strong. I will need to be more precise in future games.”

With other strong pawn moves Anand soon solved all his problems. “I managed to stabilise the position,” explained Anand, “after which I have nothing to complain about.”

Before long Topalov found himself staring at an equal endgame which offered no chances for a win to either player. After four hours play, both players could find nothing better than to repeat moves and a draw was agreed after 44 moves.

The draw was a perfectly satisfactory result for Anand as he retains a 3-2 lead in the best-of-12 contest and will hold the advantage of the first move, equivalent to the serve in tennis, in the next two games.

Anand refused, however, to express any comment on the state of the match so far, saying “I'm just taking it game by game.”

Source : The Hindu

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