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Topalov ties up the match

[imagefield_assist|fid=3654|preset=frontpage_200x200|title=|desc=|link=none|origsize=|align=left|width=200|height=200]Just as everyone thought Anand had defended with great accuracy, the World Champion makes a huge blunder and resigns shortly thereafter. Many times in the past, Anand's endgame play, especially in the 80s and 90s, seemed suspect, but lately, and in this match in particular, Anand seems to have excellent endgame skills.  

Here, Anand was a pawn down in an opposite bishop endgame and seemed to be well on his way to a well-earned draw, when the terrible blunder 54...Bc6 allowed Topalov to penetrate with his king and advance his kingside pawns! Black was still in the drawing zone after 54...Ke8 or 54...Bf1.

The match has just become much more interesting, and with a 4-4 score after 8 games, with 4 decisive games, the pundits and fans could not have asked for more! Topalov has done what he needed to do the last three games; Hold with black (twice!) and win with white. The last four games will certainly be exciting, and the match will be followed soon thereafter with the U.S. Chess Championship, which begins May 14! Chess fans will not get to rest!

[pgn|pgn= 9. Be3 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nfd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. Bxc4 {This is the
third time in the match this position was reached! Anand lost the first game
in a complicated Gruenfeld Defense, and since has played the solid Slav.
Anand's policy is to trade with black, keep the game simple, and press with
white. Since the debacle of game 1, his strategy has worked excellently.} Rc8
{Anand played 13...a6 in games 3 and 5.} 14. Bb5 a6 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. Ke2 f6
17. Rhd1 {White has an obvious advantage in space and development. Anand
wants to keep solid, keep trading, and make the game more boring. Both
players have played quickly to this point, and now Anand starts to slow down a
bit.} Ke8 18. a5 {The first new move of the game. GM Amonatov plays this line
for black often, and has previously faced 18.Bb6 and 18.Rac1. The text move
fixes the black queenside pawns and also allows white to use a4 for his rook,
or, more likely, his knight.} Be7 $5 {Most of the live commentators expected
the more energetic 18...Bb4. Anand's choice is solid, and keeps black only
slightly worse.} 19. Bb6 Rf8 $1 {Again, the live commentators thought this
move was a bit odd, but I like it! Black has several ideas here. First, he
wants to get his Rh8 into the game, possibly via f7-d7. Second, he can play
f5 and try to activate his Bg6 and get counterplay. Third, it was difficult/
impossible to play the "normal" Kf7 and Rhd8, due to a Rd7 infiltration.} 20.
Rac1 f5 21. e5 Bg5 22. Be3 {White had to stop black from play Bf4. Now, for
one of the first times this match, Anand avoids trading with black, and tries
to maintain his two bishops. It makes more sense for black to try to trade
his Bg5 for the Nc3, making a draw with opposite color bishops more likely.} f4
23. Ne4 $1 {Topalov uses a neat tactic to improve his knight.} Rxc1 24. Nd6+ $1
Kd7 25. Bxc1 Kc6 26. Bd2 Be7 $1 {Anand is willing to sacrifice a pawn to ease
the defense and ensure an opposite bishop ending which he believe will be
drawn.} 27. Rc1+ Kd7 28. Bc3 Bxd6 29. Rd1 Bf5 30. h4 g6 31. Rxd6+ Kc8 32. Bd2 {
Black cannot save his f4 pawn in the long run, so, he decides to give it away
now and trade rooks. A wise decision. Topalov is pressing, but Anand is
defending well. Of all the Slav games, this is the most difficult for Anand,
and Topalov will have some winning chances with his extra pawn.} Rd8 33. Bxf4
Rxd6 34. exd6 Kd7 35. Ke3 Bc2 36. Kd4 Ke8 $1 37. Ke5 Kf7 $1 {Black's last two
moves were necessary to keep out the white king from f6.} 38. Be3 Ba4 39. Kf4
Bb5 40. Bc5 Kf6 {I would think this should be a draw, but I expect Topalov to
press for a long time. White needs to create a passed pawn somehow on the
kingside, but, I am not sure if he can achieve such a lofty goal!} 41. Bd4+ Kf7
42. Kg5 Bc6 43. Kh6 Kg8 44. h5 $1 Be8 45. Kg5 Kf7 46. Kh6 Kg8 47. Bc5 gxh5 48.
Kg5 Kg7 49. Bd4+ Kf7 50. Be5 h4 {Anand tries to improve his king's position.}
51. Kxh4 Kg6 52. Kg4 Bb5 53. Kf4 {Topalov has traded kingside pawns (usually
good for the defender) with the intention of creating a passed f pawn vis g4,
f4, f5.} Kf7 54. Kg5 Bc6 $4 {This just loses. Anand needed to defend another
way, with Ke8 or Bf1 and defend his h pawn with Bd3 if needed. Now, the Bc6
cannot defend the h pawn, and white can advance the kingside easily!} 55. Kh6
$1 Kg8 56. g4 $1 {Now black cannot play 56...Bxf3 die to 57.d7 and white can
easily advance his kingside pawns and create another passed pawn with f4-f5.
With two passed pawns, the game should be winning. Here, Anand surprisingly
resigned, although, the chess engines say white is winning, I would not have
thought to resign yet. Anand may have been distraught by his obvious blunder
54....Bc6?} 1-0>>>|white=Topalov, V.|black=Anand, V.]