WCh G1: Topalov starts with crushing victory

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
stageVeselin Topalov defeated Viswanathan Anand in crushing style in the first game of the World Championship match in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Bulgarian started with 1.d4, which was answered by the Grünfeld Defence. At move 24 Topalov, probably still in his preparation, sacrificed a knight which turned out to be completely winning. Update: video added.

For all the match details, rules and regulations we refer to our large overview article of last week. Here's a summary:

The match will take place April 21 - May 12 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Venue is the Central Military Club in Sofia, Bulgaria. The match will consist of 12 games, and if necessary, a 4-game rapid tiebreak, if necessary 5 2-game blitz matches and if necessary 1 sudden death game. The classical games will be played in pairs of 2, so there will be a rest day after every 2 games. No postponements are allowed. Topalov has White in games 1,3,5,8, 10 and 12.


April 24 – 17.00 EEST (16:00 CET) - Game 1 April 25 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 2 April 26 – Rest Day April 27 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 3 April 28 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 4 April 29 – Rest Day April 30 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 5 May 1 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 6 May 2 – Rest Day May 3 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 7 May 4 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 8 May 5 – Rest Day May 6 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 9 May 7 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 10 May 8 – Rest Day May 9 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 11 May 10 – Rest Day May 11 – 15:00 EEST (14:00 CET) - Game 12 May 12 – Rest Day May 13 – Tie breaks
The time control for each game shall be: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61. The Chief Arbiter is Panaqiotis Nikolopoulos (Greece). The Deputy Chief Arbiter is Werner Stubenvoll (Austria). The total prize fund is 3 million Euros: 2 million for the players, 400,000 for FIDE taxes and 600,000 for organizational costs. The winner will receive 1,2 million Euros while the loser receives 800.000 Euros.

We've been thinking about bringing the games live, but as soon as we heard about potentional problems, we stopped preparing it. What's the case? Silvio Danailov, manager of Topalov and organizer in Sofia, told us that all media have to pay 15,000 Euros to transmit the games live. This also counts for big companies like Chessbase and ICC. At the last MTel Masters and the Topalov-Kamsky match last year this policy was already there, but back then it seemed that the Bulgarians were only after Chessbase, with whom they haven't had a very good relation for years now. It's interesting to see which media will oblige, and which will ignore Danailov's words. Update: Playchess and ICC duly covered the event live. To be continued...!?

Video game 1

Game 1

It all started a bit strangely, today. Several people were walking around on stage, including the arbiters, and then already at 16.35 Anand walked from the right hand side to the left, and sat down on one of the two chairs. He talked with the arbiters for about ten minutes, pointing at several things and looking at the lights.


The arbiters and Topalov before the first game

Everyone was waiting for some kind of speech, or other ceremonial start, but about five minutes to five Topalov suddenly walked to his chair and started filling out his notation form and adjusting his pieces. A bit over five o'clock, the Chief Arbiter asked Anand to come to the board too. The players shook hands, and then suddenly a very big guy entered the stage. It was bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman from Texas, USA, who shook hands with the players.


Ronnie Coleman, the players, arbiters and officials

Then Prime Minister Boiko Boris entered the stage, shook hands with everyone and made the first move. For half a minute it was all clicks and flashes of the cameras of about thirty to forty photographers and about ten TV cameras.


The 2010 World Championship match has started

After about seven minutes the light in the hall was put down, and all press had to leave. Just before that, interestingly, Silvio Danailov was seen using his mobile phone inside the playing hall. The organizers had planned to block the reception, but haven't (yet).

It looks like Anand mixed up something in his preparation, as he allowed a very strong knight sacrifice by Topalov in a Grünfeld Indian. 23...Bd7 looks OK for Black, while after 24.Nxf6! computers quickly indicate it's already over. Topalov only thought for 40 minutes in total against 1 hour and 33 minutes for Anand. This first win must be be quite a blow for Anand, and a major confidence boost for Topalov.

Update: at the press conference I asked Topalov whether Nxf6 was still preparation, since he continued to play fast afterwards. He didn't want to admit it, and said it was all very natural, but as Dejan Bojkov pointed out on his blog, "later on he confessed for the Bulgarian National Television that the game was very easy since Anand felt into an opening preparation".

Game 1

Game viewer by ChessTempo


The Central Military Club now has a beautiful concert/theater-like hall


View of the complete stage


All the way at the end the table, seats, chess set and clock are placed


The DGT board and DGT clock with sponsor logos that will be in all the photos


The notation form...

notation2 both latin and cyrillic


The placade


From the spectators point of view, this is left of the stage...


...and this is on the right


The arbiter's seat...


...with a TV showing views of four cameras, including the entrance of the rest room


The most beautiful press room I've ever worked in, which will be much more crowded soon...

...and has chess themed paintings on both sides


I grabbed an excellent spot, right in front of where the press conferences take place


Anand erred at an early stage in game 1...


...allowing Topalov to take the lead in the match


Anand resigns. This is a still from the (web)camera in Sofia. ChessVibes is not allowed to film during the game, except for the first five minutes. This is also part of the 15,000 Euros that has to be paid to get all the rights.

press conference

The press conference after the game

A video with the start of the game and the press conference will be added as soon as possible. Stay tuned!


More from PeterDoggers
Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Take Over On Levitov Chess Week Day 2

Nepomniachtchi, Svidler Take Over On Levitov Chess Week Day 2

Undefeated Aronian Grabs Early Lead As Levitov Chess Week Returns To Amsterdam

Undefeated Aronian Grabs Early Lead As Levitov Chess Week Returns To Amsterdam