Anand Won the Toughest Match in his Life

  • GM dbojkov
  • | May 14, 2010

When I posted my first article for about a week ago, a wise reader criticized me for the mild title- minimal advantage for Anand. A whole point advance and the opportunity to start the second half with the white pieces- this sounded really too difficult for Topalov. However the course of the fifth and sixth games indicated that the match is going for a turning point.

In the seventh game the Bulgarian Grandmaster applied an excellent novelty as black. He first sacrificed an exchange then a piece.




He avoided the three-time repetition on a few occasions and kept the initiative throughout the greater part of the game. However Anand defended extremely well and even played for a win in the endgame. The final outcome was a draw and a moral victory for the challenger.

The eighth game saw Topalov leveling the score. Anand chose again the “Slav wall” but it seemed that such passivity is not to his taste. He tried to solve the problems actively but missed a tactical detail and ended up in trouble. Topalov kept on pressing despite his opponent’s brilliant defense. The Bulgarian’s stubbornness as well as his will for a positive outcome bore fruits as Anand blundered in an objectively equal position.



The ninth game saw Anand in complete command, and he missed clear wins on several occasions.



This time it was Topalov who showed coolness and resourcefulness in a position which many would simply discard thus saving a critical half point. At the press conference after the game the World Champion seemed exhausted and desperate.

White seized the initiative in the next game and it was Topalov’s turn to miss a good opportunity to take the lead:



The course of the battle spelled the worst for the many supporters of Anand. The last but one game though came as an indication that he has no intention at all to give up. In a position in which almost everyone would settle for a move repetition (especially if we take into account that an eventual loss would practically decide the outcome of the match) Anand came up with an extremely risky and aggressive plan:



The opening stage of the final game did not bode storms. Topalov had the better pawn structure while Anand was compensating with active piece play. Things tended to lead to a draw when the Bulgarian decided to play all in. The way that he did it though resembles the ritual suicides:



Veselin lost the game and the match. The reason for his overaggressive play for a win appeared to be fatalism. The Bulgarian was afraid to play the rapid games on the date of the thirteenth as he had lost his title in Elista on precisely the same date.

The match appeared to be extremely exciting and unpredictable and Anand called it “The toughest in my life.” There were no major mistakes (if we exclude the final game) and not a single short draw. Both Grandmasters entertained the chess world with uncompromising and full-blooded fighting.

Unfortunately in a match a draw is an impossible result, and there can be only a winner and a loser. Veselin Topalov lost the match but he can continue with his head up. His phenomenal ambition to take the maximum from any position and his will to fight till the last pawn raises the image of the game all over the world. Thanks to him small Bulgaria hosted three super-tournaments, semi-final and final matches for the World Championship- events that we could have only dreamed of in the past. And most probably there are more to come.

Viswanathan Anand won in a close fight. The Indian proved that he is not only a universal super-player but that he is a super-athlete with nerves of steel and tremendous will. In the decisive last two games he remained true to his style.

Apart from him those who profited were the millions of chess admirers all over the world. I can only wish to see many more matches like this one in the future!


  • 6 years ago


    nice game by anand

  • 6 years ago


    tow question in the wwc 2010 why anand paly the grunfeld very bad sorry

    here the line  1d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 all the world know this opening

    exchange here  4 c*d5 N*d5 and in the fourth move exchange all the world know it

    and after 5 e4 .....the 7 Bc4 te famous move in all opening i see in my live of course of course the white picese Ne2 Be3 this good and the blak for exemple QC7 and Rd8 but here anad paly with b6??? GAME COMPLICATION THIS IS I THINK the reson for loosing

    and i think taht svidler is only player he play the grubfeld but carlsen is better in this line so i think all player in the world are strong but carlsen is the first

    carlsen is agood palyer of chess " this he said that to europe echecs" in  last kanty mansysk .

  • 7 years ago


    Mr Bojkov - thank you for your comments:))

  • 7 years ago

    GM dbojkov


    Well, David, that match was also interesting by pure chess point, but there lacked the suspense of a match battle, as it was decided after the first half. Anand was already leading 4.5-1.5 which is a huge margin for such distance. On the other hand the match in Sofia deserved also many exclamation marks for the moves that the players chose, both players I mean.

  • 7 years ago


    two of my favorite players...nice match!

  • 7 years ago


    Lol.. i would think Anands hardest match would be the one he lost to Kasparov

  • 7 years ago


    Dear Mr Bojkov 

    Love the article, thank you, just as I loved the match.

    From your GM point of view, do you think the quality of chess in the Anand-Kramnik match was higher? Seem to me that there were far fewer ?s and ??s moves in that match, and more !s. This one was decided more by fighting spirit and nerves than pure chess, is my feeling (as a near patzer!). Would greatly appreciate your views. 

    Thank you again


  • 7 years ago


    They both played some top notch non-e4 performance :)

  • 7 years ago


    Good article, but I don't understand the statement that "There were no major mistakes (if we exclude the final game) ..."  I thought that Anand blundered in both games 1 and 8, at the very least.

    In any case, congrats to both players.

    P.S.  If he returns to challenge for the championship again, I hope Topalov spares us his "no draws offered or accepted" garbage.

  • 7 years ago


    nice game...

  • 7 years ago


    WELL PLAYED ANAND...............

  • 7 years ago


    Well done Anand. Both grandmasters played extremely well. I love a WCC Match like this. They showed the chess world something spectacular. Yes I do agree, every match has to have a winner, and Anand won in this one. He played very good and his challenger Topalov also played well.

    In fact Team Anand actually said that "This was a very good win for all of us" since they were in Bulgaria and Topalov was more of a favorite over there. But congratulations to both players. Can't wait for the next WCC Match. I'm hoping it is this time Carlsen who will be a challenger for Anand.

  • 7 years ago


    This was a very interesting match, hope I see more WCC matches like this.

  • 7 years ago


    Well written, especially the conclusion.

  • 7 years ago


    Great article... better than Silman's useless ramblings...

  • 7 years ago


    Both Anand and Topalov played top notch games and deserve applause. Laughing

  • 7 years ago


    Thanks for your enjoyable re-cap of this great championship match. You correctly praised both players for their fighting form. Thanks also to Sofia for hosting the battle of the titans. Peace. And yes, chin up Mr. Topalov, you were marvelous. 

  • 7 years ago


    Great article with novelty! I don't get your analysis of game10 winning variation.

  • 7 years ago


    nice and good illustration of the games.thanks

  • 7 years ago


    great article, thanks!

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