May the ferzin be with you...
(... Or reactions to Game 4 of the 2010 WCC)
This is my amateur observational analysis of game 4, Anand-Topalov.
First some history:
Being fairly new at chess, this is practically only the 2 World championship I've had the chance to follow, the first being the 2006 match between Kramnik and Topalov. I have a leaning toward rooting for the underdog in matches and tournaments, and my first WCC had me on Topalov's team, supporting him some 3000 miles away by watching each game intently, hoping for him to crush the likes of the Kasparov crusher, Vladimar Kramnik. Unlikely, yes, but still I had to root for someone.
Besides the behind the scene drama, making chess seem more a mockery of a soap opera than the nod toward a Cold War era thriller the '72 Fischer-Spassky match embodied, the match remained practically level. In the endgame of the match, Kramnik pulled through and kept his grip upon the chess crown.
Due to circumstance, I completely missed the Anand-Kramnik match, and have not yet taken the time to study these games. Yet, I am beginning to realize Anand is quite the powerful chess magician.
Fast forward to our current match. Anand found game 2 playing for quite some time a pawn down. I cannot say without any doubt he was defending, for these players mix attack and defense, tactics and position, good and bad so far beyond most humans capabilities in our game, they play the closest to what could be called perfect chess. Whether they were inaccuracies or well intended and on their level, only-moves, Anand was able to level the game and push his advantages home, caused by Topalovs' inaccuracies, winning the game in what I consider a positional masterpiece. Anand is no longer jet-lagged and his magic is coming alive.
Fast forward to April 28th, 2010. Today, if you will.
Anand had white again, playing the Catalan, again. If consistency weren't the cornerstone of chess, I'd call this repetitive. Though, since consistency does hold its exulted position in my mind, I think this is pure genius. Why mess with a winning formula?
The game went down an altogether different pathway almost immediately after Topalov's 5...Bb4+. Again, the game had Anand with a pawn down. This time around, though, the pawn earned Anand a superior position and Topalov received an uphill battle to earn his counterplay. Practically nothing came of this counterplay and some tactical fireworks led Anand to the powerful move 23.Nxh6+! and the game ended not 10 moves later with Topalov's resignation.
A most spectacular game of tactics played by the man whose drubbing in game 1 made his positional win in game 2 look all the more brilliant. This type of varied play and technical expertise goes to show Anand deserves his crown. On a personal level, it showed me a way to stop rooting for the underdog and begin rooting for the best player;).