Monday, April 26

World Chess Championship: Anand vs Topalov

(The combatants wait patiently for the start of game 2 on Sunday.)
The most exciting chess event of the year began last weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria. This year's World Championship match pairs two well-known players who both have consistently been ranked in the top 5 for at least a dozen years. And for the first time since 1972, none of the infamous K's was present (Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik).

In one corner, we have the reigning 15th World Champion from Chennai, India: Viswanathan "Vishy" Anand (photo at left). Currently rated #4 in the world at 2787, he achieved a lifetime peak rating of 2803 two years ago. Most impressively, the 40 year old Anand maintained elite status since the mid 1990s, when he lost to Garry Kasparov in a 1995 title match. He became FIDE Champion in 2000 after winning a Knockout Tournament in Tehran, Iran. Alas, twelve years after first facing Kasparov, Anand finally captured the undisputed unified title by winning the 2007 World Championship Tournament in Mexico City, an eight player double round-robin. He successfully defended the throne in a 2008 title match against Vladimir Kramnik (6.5 to 4.5) in Bonn, Germany.

In the other corner stands the 35 year old challenger from Bulgaria: Veselin Topalov (photo at right). He is currently rated 2805, second in the world behind the teenage phenom Magnus Carlsen. His lifetime peak rating of 2813 has been exceeded only by Kasparov. Topalov joined the world elite in the late 1990s, a status he has held since. He became FIDE World Champion by dominating the 2005 World Championship Tournament in San Luis, Argentina, another eight player double round-robin. As the final component of the reunification of the world chess crown, Topalov earned his seat in today's match by defeating Gata Kamsky in a 2009 challenger's match by a lopsided margin of 4.5-2.5.

Grandmasters Anand and Topalov play 12 games from April 24 through May 11, with a rest day after every two games. The classical time control is 40 moves in 2 hours, then 20 moves in 1 hour, and finally G/15 plus 30 second increment starting after move 60 (maximum length = about 7 hours). Games begin at 5:00 in the morning Pacific time, but can easily last four or more hours. If the match is tied 6-6, the tiebreaks are scheduled for May 13. (Action G/25+10sec, then blitz G/5+3sec and finally a possible Armageddon game.)

Current Standings: Anand 4.0 - Topalov 3.0
  1. Topalov 1-0 Anand -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  2. Anand 1-0 Topalov -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  3. Topalov 1/2 Anand -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  4. Anand 1-0 Topalov -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  5. Topalov 1/2 Anand -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  6. Anand 1/2 Topalov -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
  7. Anand 1/2 Topalov -- replay -- Chessbase report -- ICC video
You may follow the games early each morning at the official match website or live on the Internet Chess Club. When you log into ICC, type "/tell webcast listen" (for Dasher or BlitzIn only) to hear Grandmaster commentary or view the results and games in "/finger WorldChamp10". By late afternoon of each day, you may watch the "Game of the Day" video for each round (enter your ICC username and password when prompted).

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