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FIDE World Chess Championship: Anand takes the lead with crushing victory in Game 4

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The Undisputed World Champion Vishwanathan Anand re-established his supremacy with an air of authority winning the fourth game of the FIDE World Chess Championship against Veselin Topalov with consummate ease to take a 2.5 - 1.5 lead, in the 12 game title challenge.

Topalov has actively sought to vitiate the air surrounding this battle in an effort to unsettle the great Indian champion. In refusing to accept draws and lobbying to ensure that the federation (FIDE) did not reschedule the event to allow Anand adequate time to arrive in Sofia amidst the ash clouds that covered Europe - Topalov has sheltered himself in clouds of negativity that are beginning to threaten his own campaign to win the Championship.

It is increasingly obvious that Anand has drawn significantly from former champion Vladamir Kramnik's successful campaign in 2006 against Topalov, in preparing for this match. He opened with the Catalan, yet again, as he did in the second game. The Catalan is an opening that Kramnik favoured for a long time.

The initial exchanges saw crowded action on the Queen's side of the board. Anand sacrificed a pawn, but earned some room to alter the course of the game. At the 10th move, he moved the knight wide, leaving Topalov deep in thought. It was a less researched variation that exposed Topalov's relatively inadequate preparation.
By the 15th move it was beginning to seem that Anand may be holding a slight advantage. Anand's move gave freedom to his knights while the black queen was isolated in the corner.

At this point, Anand initiated an attack from king side, culminating in a 23rd move where he sacrificed a knight, to leave Topalov stung and desolate. The move exposed Topalov's castled king with barely adequate opportunity for the other pieces to come to the rescue.

Topalov battled for another nine moves before resigning on the 32nd move to hand Anand a well deserved and psychologically potent victory.

Anand expressed pleasure at 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."
The victory has been hailed by commentators, variously as stinging, blistering and slashing. The heat is firmly on Topalov, as we head into the second day of rest on Thursday irrespective of the adjective. Topalov is a very capable chess player, and one hopes in the interest of a memorable championship battle, his team direct their thoughts toward improved preparations to help him avoid the mistakes that seem to be plaguing his game at this time.

Game 5 is on Friday, with Topalov playing white.

Scores: Anand 2.5 - 1.5 Topalov

Moves: Access a visual representation of the entire match here.

Story so far: Game 1, Game 2 & Game 3.

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