Topalov wins first game

Topalov wins first game

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand (right) of India makes a move against Grandmaster Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria on Saturday. Reuters

Topalov opened with 1.d4 and Anand defended with Gruenfeld Indian, an opening he tested last year in the rapid match versus Peter Leko, and then continued to use it at the top events like 2009 Tal Memorial.

The players blitzed their way into a variation that was seen in the first game of the last year's Challenger match between Topalov and Gata Kamsky, which was also held in Sofia. In that game Topalov did not achieve advantage and later switched to different system against Gruenfeld.

But now he was back with the same line, deviating on move 16. Instead of f2-f4, as played against Kamsky, Topalov employed 16. Rac1 which was seen in an earlier top level game Karjakin-Carlsen, Foros 2008.

Anand followed the standard plan with Qd6 and f6, to slow down White's advance with e4-e5. Meanwhile, Topalov moved his knight closer to the enemy king, and a sudden rook lift with 23. Rf3 highlighted the fragile nature of black's castle. With Nxf6 sacrifice looming over his head, Anand plunged into deep thought, but immediately erred and ran into a worse version of the piece sacrifice.

After penetrating both rooks to opponent's seventh rank, a nice final touch with 29. Bb5! by Topalov marked a complete domination of white pieces. Soon Anand resigned, and this triggered huge applause. 

The start of the event had been postponed by one day to allow Anand better rest after the 40-hour journey on the road from Germany and further two hours to meet Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's previously arranged schedule.

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