There is always some doubt about the amount of compensation that one gets with long-term positional pawn sacrifices. The second game being a good example, but just like yesterday the practical chances are what really matters and again the gambiteer triumphs!
Viswanathan Anand (2787) - Veselin Topalov (2805)
Sofia WCM (2) 25.04.2010
Catalan opening (E04)
1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘f3 d5 4.g3
This fianchetto denotes the Catalan opening where White aims for pressure along the long diagonal.
4...dxc4 5.♗g2 a6
Topalov shows his intention to play ...b5, so Anand avoids that possibility.
Hitting at White's centre. Anand now heads for a line where he seeks rapid development at the cost of a pawn.
.♘a3 cxd4 8.♘axc4 ♗c5 9.0-0 0-0 10.♗d2 ♘d5 11.♖c1 ♘d7 12.♘d3
Black's problem in this type of position is the lack of prospects for his light-squared bishop, whereas White has four good minor pieces.
Perhaps Topalov should have played 12...b6!? when best play could then be 13.♘a5 ♕f6 14.♘b3 ♗b7 15.♘bxc5 bxc5 16.♘xc5 ♘xc5 17.♖xc5 ♕e7 18.♖c4 e5 with equality according to a recent analysis by Hilton & Ippolito. Black returns the pawn for smooth development.
13.♗a5 ♕e7 14.♕b3 ♖b8 15.♕a3!?
A novelty that proves to be dangerous against an unprepared opponent. Anand trades queens and thus removes an important defender.
Previously 15.♘ce5 has been played: 15...♘xe5 16.♘xe5 ♕f6 17.♘d3 b6 18.♗b4 ♖d8 19.♗xd5 ♖xd5 20.♖c7 ♗b7 21.♗e7 ♕f5 Gulko,B-Shulman,Y USA ch. 2008, and White's initiative had run out of steam and Black went on to win.
Doubles pawns are not a problem if Black's pieces are tangled. For his pawn White has the easier position to play, but it's not clear that objectively he has more than enough compensation.
This may not be best, for example future defenders may look to 16...b6 17.♗d2 ♘c5 (or perhaps the immediate 16...♘c5), when White is denied the same pressure along the c-file.
17.♘ce5 ♖e8 18.♖c2
There is no particular hurry here, Anand just improves his pieces and builds up his position, whereas Black has difficulties to unravel.
18...b6 19.♗d2 ♗b7 20.♖fc1 ♖bd8
Black would normally want to exchange rooks, but cannot here as after 20...♖ec8?? 21.♖xc8+ ♖xc8 22.♖xc8+ ♗xc8 White wins a piece with 23.♘c6.
21.f4 ♗b8 22.a4
The positional threat is a4-a5 gaining control of the c5-square.
With everything in place; Anand starts to probe the Black position.
23...♗xc6 24.♖xc6 h5 25.♖1c4
With ideas of soon regaining the pawn.
This gives White an easy time and may even be the decisive error.
A better try is 25...♗a7 e.g. 26.♗f3 g6 27.h3 ♘e3 with a better version of the game, however best of all could be 25...♘g4! as 26.♖xd4 ♗a7 could spell trouble for White along the a7-g1 diagonal. Anand would probably have met 25...♘g4 with 26.♗f3 ♘ge3 27.♖c1! with a tense position where Black should be OK (noting that 27.♖xd4? ♘f5 28.♖dc4 ♘de7 traps White's rook as 29.♖xb6? fails to 29...♗a7).
26.♗xe3 dxe3 27.♗f3 g6 28.♖xb6
Finally regaining the pawn.
Or 28...♖xd3? 29.exd3 ♗a7 30.♖b1 and the e-pawn is under control.
Avoiding tricks based on ...♖xd3.
The dark-squared bishop is dominated and this costs Black an important pawn.
30...♗b8 31.♖c5 ♗d6
Not 31...♖xa4?? which loses to the skewer 32.♗c6.
White is only a 'doubled pawn up' and Black is about to activate his rook, but it seems that White has enough control of the key squares.
33.♔g2 ♖c2 34.a3 ♖a2 35.♘b4!
Otherwise 35...♖a1 fails to 36.♘c2, and if 35...♖ad2 White starts pushing his passed pawn with 36.♖a8+ ♔g7 37.a5.
Returning the pawn for a winning endgame.
37...♖axa4 38.♖xa4 ♖xa4 39.♗xd5 exd5 40.b6 ♖a8 41.b7 ♖b8 42.♔f3 d4 43.♔e4
Picking off both central pawns.
By winning this game the match is all-square at one all and they will now both have a rest day to decide on their next move. The third game will be played Tuesday afternoon.
For more information official tournament site