WCC 2010-12: Anand wins… defends title!

Viswanathan Anand
Photo © Chessvibes.

There was speculation on whether the match finale would show Topalov going for the juglar. Yet it was Anand who bolted out of the opening with the dynamism that he had been reserving with the black pieces.

Anand played with the energy, speed and precision that made him one of the most dangerous players at the elite level. He chose to defend with a different system to keep Topalov off balance since his preparation with black had run its course.

Topalov opened with 1.d4 for the 6th time and Anand replied with 1…d5. Anand played the Queen Gambit Declined and got a sharp position where he “played around” the c5-pawn. The pawn turned out to be a thorn the entire game, but the action was on the kingside. Anand’s pieces were actively placed and were poised for action.

Topalov panicked at a critical moment and Anand’s battering ram came crashing through the door. On f5! 31.exf5?! and 31…e4! black pried open a route to the king highlighted by a raking bishop screaming down the diagonal. After Anand found the stunning 34…Qe8! forcing the white king to make a dash for safety on the h4-square. However, viewers noted that Topalov had a grim expression and probably knew the end was near.

In the press conference, he stated, “I just took a risk and I was punished.” Topalov did complicate matters to the extent that Anand could have blundered away his advantage. However, the Champion waded through the complications smoothly and defended his title in fine style. (See Game #12)

Veselin Topalov gives a congratulatory handshake to Viswanathan Anand who defended his title by winning the final game of the match in fine style. Photo © Chessdom.

What one can say about the match was that it was certainly an exciting one. In addition, it was a sporting match although some took issue with Topalov’s self-imposed “Sofia Rule”. There were also comments made about the delicate handshake. However, there were no “toiletgate” incidents and apart from the power failure, the event proceeded without a hitch.

This is a great day for chess! A great match was played and certainly there will be increased interest in the sporting spectacle. Let us hope that the next cycle will go smoothly and that Anand will be in good form to defend. He has proven to be a worthy and fitting champion.


Video © Chessvibes.com


  1. Congratulations to Anand for defending his title. That last game was furious, giving Topalov a bitter taste of his own medicine.

  2. Darius,

    I believe too much was made of Topalov playing the white pieces in the last game. I also believe the notion that Anand was somehow playing like Kramnik was a misnomer. Anand showed he has his own style and as many have noted, is a “universal” player. He is a wonderful ambassador for chess and a fitting champion. Chess will benefit from his leadership.

  3. very happy to see anand win this although both players desrved to win!!! i wonder whats gonna happen to the careers of kramink and topalov considering the new generation is rising up and age is playing a huge factor

  4. I just re-read your column from May 2009 where Kasparov and you had predicted the end of Anand’s reign. What do you have to say for it now? One thing that you and others, including the great Gary Kasparov, do not understand is that no amount of computer power can replace the strength of a human mind. By that I don’t just mean the strength of calculating variations, but the resilience to deal with adversity. This most essential quality cannot be taught by computers. So, unless Carlsen and the young brigade have this in abundance, they cannot become world champions.

  5. Conquerer of Anand,

    Who predicted the decline of Anand? I have no idea of what you are talking about. Supply the link. Are you getting your blogs mixed up?

  6. I agree with you Shabazz. The completeness of Anand as a chess player and his good ambassadorship is easy to see. The result of this championship has landed me some good bucks from a bet with a fellow Zambian, who is a Topalov lover and very fanatical about Topalov’s aggressive playing style.

  7. Gelfand and Kramnik mention that Anand has played his best chess the past 3 years. Anand has shown that age is an irrelevant factor in the computer era. More important is depth of understanding, professionalism and fighting spirit. The computers are just a welcome accessory that’s all. Anand has clearly proved that. When topalov played g3 in the last game, the computers were in agreement with him…Kasparov who was watching the game mentioned to GM Shipov that this computer accurate idea was fundamentally wrong – making the a8-h1 diagnol powerful for the black bishop – and that the uglier move h3 founded on human understanding was stronger. I think this match showed several moves where human moves were simply deeper than computer moves (Anand’s Qa3 in game 2 amongst others).

    Anand deserved to retain his title.

    I don’t know if the next match will be against carlsen because I don’t think Kramnik is done yet. We may see Anand-Kramnik part 2.

  8. I believe many like Topalov’s style because it is straightforward and my not require as much intricate understanding. However, chess isn’t merely about attacking, sacrificing pieces and making forceful moves. Anand has a nice blend, but what I like most about him is his ability to play many different types of positions… positional, unbalanced and tactical. In addition he is a great ambassabdor of chess. I was very much afraid that Topalov winning the title would mean the chess world would be mired back into turmoil. The chess world needs a “cooling off” period where we are not dealing with one controversy after another.

    I don’t believe Carlsen will necessarily be the next in line. Many suspect that because he is #1 on the FIDE list that he will be the sole heir. I believe this notion is overstated. There are many players competing in the next cycle including Aronian and Grischuk. However, we should keep a watchful eye on the development of players like Nakamura, who has the skill and determination to win.

  9. A well deserved victory for Anand , however i thought it was fairly obvious he would win the last game as Black,especially when i heard President Obama was comin to Buffalo N.Y. so i took that as a Great Sign of what was to come! If anyone wants to see it just go to news site at wivb.com 4 and you will see Jericka Duncan reporting, at one point i was signifying U.S. no.1, while Jericka was talkin to a young lady i was being silly in the background, Live, hehe. Melissan Holmes reports inside the news room too, and interestingly enough her brother is my son’s 4th grade teacher! Small World! We”re real people so i dont know why Kasparov is tryin all theses tricks about the end of Anand and Science in the universe dont exist. I just got back and i saw President Obama go by in his car , I Bear Witness. Um with you Conquer of Anand as soon as you think you got some great machine the BRAIN gunna beat ya everytime because God made it! OK i wont mess with Ivanchuck this time! Congratulations to all of India!!! PEACE.

  10. But I wouldn’t right off Carlsen. He remains one of the favourites to meet Anand in the next match. He has improved faster then any other youngster in the elite.

  11. Mehul,

    You’re right, but there are other talents whose growth spurts may eclipse Carlsen’s. I’m predicting that Carlsen may be able to make a strong run for the title in the 2014 cycle.

  12. Congratulations to Anand. He showed he can play an astounding array of positions when the situation demands it. While he has his own style he definitely studied Kramnik’s strategy against Topalov and used the Catalan and Slav just as Kramnik did. The Grunfeld was something he took from Kasparov. Its clear he studied World Championship history and understood what openings are needed for the occasion, active or very solid.

    His …Qe8 was an example of how devastating retreats can be.
    He also understood what Topalov find unpleasant in chess. Topalov tries to break the balance in games and Anand was ready for that moment. I hope history will give Anand his due.
    The matches versus Karpov and Kasparov in the 90s and the victory against Kramnik were priceless experiences. If you have faced the three Ks in matches Topalov will not overawe you.

  13. all the hype behind the young carlson, especially that being pimped by kasparov reminds me of those looking to jim quarry (the great white hope) to defeat, to take the boxing world championship title back from jack johnson in the early 20th century.
    and, all the hype blinds us, causes us to overlook other shooting stars like nakamura from the usa for example.

  14. Furthermore, all the griping by Topalov about the help Anand got is sour grapes. The fact that Kasparov, Kramnik and Carlsen contacted Anand should tell Topalov something about himself and about Anand. What lesson can he deduce by this?

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