Sofia: World champion Viswanathan
Anand was in for a surprise by a resurgent Veselin Topalov who
scored a remarkable victory with white pieces in the eighth
match to square off the World Chess Championship 4-4 here
Anand had been aptly surprised in the seventh game which
was perhaps a prelude to things to come in the next. A loss in
game one, two victories thereon in game two and four and after
three successive draws, the world champion finds himself at a
level scores in what is the most keenly contested world title
in recent times.
While in the seventh game Topalov came up with some
brilliant display to keep Anand on the backfoot despite an
extra piece, this time the day belonged to the Bulgarian
entirely for a very bold show even as the critics felt that
the Indian should have drawn without much ado.
Playing the white side of a Slav defense yet again,
Topalov appeared better prepared for the second day running.
For once, Anand`s tactics of coming up with something new
before his opponent did not materialise and this is probably
an indication for the world champion to change gears.
The two had been combating one line for past few days and
today Anand came up with a new move on his 13th turn allowing
Topalov to seize what appeared to be an insignificant
The Bulgarian was quite happy to walk in to an endgame
wherein he had chances and was playing for only two results -
either a draw or, if Anand falters, a win. As it happened in
the game, Anand in fact faltered when no one was sure what was
Anand sacrificed a pawn to reach an opposite coloured
Bishops endgame wherein Topalov played like a man in form.
The opinions of the experts were divided about the
outcome of the endgame when it was reached and almost everyone
struggled to find out a winning path for white except the man
who mattered - Topalov.
With awesome ease, the Bulgarian capitalised on some
mistakes by Anand to regain the initiative and brought it down
to a situation wherein a mistake will cost the Indian dearly.
The mistake, though was not clear, was done with and
Anand found himself struggling.
It was certainly the most terrible thing that White could
continue torturing his opponent for a long time. He could
always switch from the plan while time was running against
Anand who resigned a bit prematurely on the 56th move,
according to experts.
"Probably he could not find a way to tackle what was
coming," opined a grandmaster, adding, "it certainly looks
terrible to defend such a position."
After a much needed rest day, Anand will again play white
in the ninth game. Topalov seems like taking charge but Anand
has always shown some ace up his sleeves when it matters.
The ninth game will possibly show up the true colours of