Mtel Masters 2006, Round 2 – Anand downs Topalov in tactical display

Anand’s creative play nets the point against Topalov, on the Black side of an anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez. Svidler secures the point against a timid Ponomariov. Bacrot cracks under Kamsky’s will-to-win in a long game.

Topalov – Anand

Topalov’s anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez comes a little unstuck as Anand first tangles up Topalov’s queenside, gets in the freeing d5 break, and temporarily monopolises the centre. Anand then gets the tactics rolling with the surprising 27. Ng5 offering his queen. This turns into a temporary piece sacrifice that forces the full mobilisation of Black’s pieces. White resigns in the face of an unstoppable attack.

Svidler – Ponomariov

Svidler’s English Attack against Ponomariov’s Sicilian Najdorf gives him the initiative and a slight plus. The subsequent play revolves around the c6-square, thanks to the strong d5-pawn. The flow of tactics see a quick trade-off of pieces, and with a temporary pawn-sacrifice Svidler enters the endgame with a big advantage. Svidler’s bishop is far stronger than the opposition knight – plus Black has no pawn structure, and with threats on both sides of the board, Ponomariov has nothing better than to resign.

Kamsky – Bacrot

Kamsky grabs a pawn out of the anti-Marshall Ruy Lopez, and holds on for dear life. The endgame resolves to a strong passed b-pawn for Kamsky, and he invests it to create a passed h-pawn. Later he invests his extra pawn to shepherd his passed pawn through. This forces Bacrot to sacrifice his rook for the pawn. Bacrot fights tooth and nail, and is forced to promote his own passed pawn into a knight – a theoretically drawn endgame, but Kamsky manages to pull off a win.

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