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Thursday, May 24th

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Topalov holds Anand in Game 11, match remains tied with 1 to go

The eleventh and penultimate game of the World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov started with the champion surprising the challenger by opting to open with The English Opening, bishop file pawn to c4. Each of the ten games in this match began with the players opening with the queen pawn to d4. At 5-5 any player that wanted to win during regulation play needed a win and a draw.

Topalov opted to respond to it with e5, the reverse Sicilian; e5 leads to a situation where white has black's position in the Sicilian, and hence the situation is popularly known as the reverse Sicilian Dragon. The early game was a peaceful passage of play, with barely any exchanges between the players.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Anand holds Topalov to neutralise the extra white. Match all square at 5

The tenth game of the World Chess Championship in Sofia ended in a routine draw with both players keeping the game mostly by the book and deciding to split points after just(!!) 60 moves. Anand surprised the audience in the Military Club as well as the many thousands following the game on the internet, by opting to return to the Grünfeld Defence, with which he lost the first game in this Championship match.

The Grünfeld has a cherished history in the classic game of chess, with the first recorded instance of its use dating back to 1855, when an Indian Mahesh Chander Banerjee used it against John Cocrane. The move though is named after the Austrian Ernst Grünfeld who used it in Vienna, 1922 - when he defeated Alexander Alekhine.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Anand allows Topalov a memorable escape in Game 9, match tied at 4.5

The World Chess Championship is tantalisingly poised, with just three games left to play. In probably the most exciting games of chess in recent memory, Veselin Topalov fought a bitter battle with the defending champion and emerged with a priceless draw after a mind-numbing 83 moves to earn a slim edge over Viswanathan Anand.

The players resumed hostilities after a day of well deserved rest, with Topalov having wrested the momentum from the champion - thanks to two intense draws and a win in their last three games. The stage is set for a memorable climax to this razor sharp contest of wit and preparation. On a day when Bulgaria was celebrating its Day of Bravery with The Feast of Saint George, the patron saint of the Bulgarian Army,  the players were engaged in a battle inside the Military Club in Sofia for the title of the Undisputed Champion of the glorious game of Chess.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Topalov forces Anand to concede Game 8, scores level at 4-4

The excitement from Game 7 of the FIDE World Chess Championship had many a pundit licking their lips with anticipation as the players prepared for Game 8 on Tuesday. With Topalov running out of time to draw level with the Champion, many thought he had to come out firing in this game, as he was playing white. He did not disappoint either, but Anand is a seasoned maestro, hardly a variation left to explore, too calm to be ruffled. The Bulgarian though squeezed Anand into a position of inconvenience in the end game, forcing a resignation

The Slav variation of Games 3 and 5, was employed again in this game, signalled that this championship battle is turning into a classic study of Catalan and Slav for the students of Chess. The Catalan was a move invented to order by the Franco-Polish player and chess writer Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956). He was asked by the organisers of the 1929 Barcelona tournament to create an opening to decorate the city's region. There are some interesting chapters on the Catalan in Boris Avurkh's Grandmaster Repertoire.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Topalov forces Anand into another draw in Game 7

Over four and a half hours of intense drama and 58 moves laced with the optimism more common in practitioners of illusion ended in a drawn game of chess that should mildly concern the champion and reignite hopes for Topalov. However, Anand still retains a one point advantage with only five games left to play. Topalov though will take heart from the fact that he will play three of those games with white pieces.

Anatoly Karpov was here to campaign for the Presidency of FIDE against the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov; he took the time to make a symbolic first move for Anand to start Game 7, with the pieces reversed at the half way stage.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Topalov forces Anand to a draw in Game 6

The FIDE World Chess Championship progressed to the half way stage, with Champion Viswanathan Anand firmly in control of the match, with a one point lead - 3.5 to 2.5. In Game 6 Anand had the advantage of the first move, but Topalov finally seemed up to the task as he managed to respond to the champion and stay safe. The players had to settle for a draw after 58 moves, the longest game in this match.

Anand chose to open with the Catalan for a third straight time, not surprising, since his opponent had lost both the games when the opening was used. Topalov started in typically aggressive fashion, picking off a white pawn on move four followed by another on the seventh. Anand retaliated by taking a pawn straight back with his queen side knight.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Anand - Topalov survive blackout to draw Game 5

Vishwanathan Anand defended his fortress with the zeal of a young man, and the wisdom of his immense experience - innovating on move 15, to leave his opponent perplexed; and then staying sharp as a tack on moves 29 and 30 to erase any hope for Topalov who was playing white in Game 5 of the FIDE World Chess Championships.

The Bulgarian opened in exactly the same way as games 1 and 3, when he had white moving forward with the queen pawn to d4. Anand responded with the Slav defense just as he did in Game 3. Queen were exchanged early by moves 10 and 11, as the players adapted the Smyslov variation and the first 14 moves were exactly those used in the earlier Game. The knights followed the queen off the board, as the players exchanged a pair of them on moves 11 and 12.

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

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.

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FIDE World Chess Championship: Anand - Topalov draw Game 3, Match remains all square

The players returned from a day of rest, suddenly seeming to be far better prepared than they were in the initial two games. Topalov and Anand finally agreed to a draw after 46 moves that took just about four hours time.

Topalov jumped into the lead forcing Anand to resign early in the first game, before Anand returned the favour in Game 2. Game 3 saw a more sedate approach compared to the attack at the gates approach in the first two contests. The draw took longer than it would have under normal circumstances due to the confusion surrounding the rules of engagement.

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FIDE World Chess Championship – Anand bounces back in style, Wins Game 2

In an unexpected turn of events World Champion Vishwanathan Anand took Game 2 against Veselin Topalov by the scruff of its neck, wresting the initiative and leaving his opponent with plenty to ponder during the rest day on Monday. Anand, playing white, beat his opponent into submission piling pressure and closing corners. Topalov resigned on the 43rd move after battling for four hours, with no hope left for a reprieve.

In an exhibition of immense calm under pressure, Anand put aside the misery of the first game to plot the downfall of Topalov and draw the FIDE World Chess Championship level at 1-1. He borrowed a leaf out of his erstwhile rival Vladamir Kramnik's book by starting play with the Catalan Opening.

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