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Anand crushes Topalov in fourth game

The fourth game of the World chess championship match in Sofia saw Viswanathan Anand's best performance to date with a slashing attack against challenger Veselin Topalov.

“Anand really played brilliantly today,” said commentator Zurab Azmaiparashvili, having watched the World champion sacrifice a pawn, then a knight and then a bishop to create a winning assault against

Topalov's exposed king.

Anand was pleased with his performance. “It was a very complex position with a lot of tension on the queenside,” said Anand. “I thought (my 23rd move) was clinching it but you can't be 100 per cent sure.”

Anand explained that in a key variation he was prepared to give away both his rooks as well to ensure a checkmate: “Once I saw that I knew I was winning.”

Poor start

After a poor start, Anand, 40, has taken the lead for the first time in the €2 million match and the Bulgarian challenger is looking shaky. “I though I had a decent position,” said Topalov, “but if I was able to answer so simply what went wrong then the result might have been different.

“Certainly my (20th move) was especially bad.”

Playing with white pieces, Anand used the Catalan Opening which had brought him success in game two but Topalov, 35, defended differently this time. Soon Anand sacrificed a pawn and Topalov needed no invitation to grab the material and attempt to hang on to it.

Anand's unorthodox 10th move, moving a knight to the edge of the board, appeared to be new. However, a member of Team Anand, computer expert Eric van Reem, explained that Anand was following an earlier game, a precedent apparently unknown to Topalov who began thinking hard for the first time in the game.

Excellent compensation

Soon it became clear that Anand had excellent compensation for his pawn when the apparently offside knight moved to the centre, stymieing Topalov's freedom of movement.

Although the position was highly unbalanced — the type of game at which Topalov usually excels — Anand's speed of play indicated that he had checked the ideas at home with his team and had everything under control.

Anand was coy when asked if the sacrifices were prepared with his team. “I won't be able to tell you that until the match is over,” said Anand, who has managed to keep the identity of some of his helpers secret as well.

On the 23rd move, after cogitating for only five minutes, Anand sacrificed a knight and Topalov immediately found his king under massive fire. Another sacrifice followed and Topalov was soon defenceless.

The challenger resigned after 32 moves and three-and-a-half hours' play.

Anand leads Topalov 2.5-1.5 with eight games remaining after Wednesday's encounter. The fifth game, with Topalov holding the first move, will be played on Friday starting at 5.30 p.m. IST.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 10:40:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/Anand-crushes-Topalov-in-fourth-game/article16373217.ece

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