Anand falters at the first hurdle | other | Hindustan Times
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Anand falters at the first hurdle

other Updated: Apr 25, 2010 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent

A couple of mistakes and overall poor play put paid to Viswanathan Anand’s hopes as he started his World Championship defence with defeat at Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday. In contrast, his challenger Veselin Topalov had everything going his way as he came up with a brilliant combination of moves to grab early initiative in this 12-game title clash that will crown the winner the classical World Champion.

Anand, under pressure after travelling over 40 hours to reach the Bulgarian capital, surprised everyone by choosing Gruenfeld Defence with black pieces, an ultramodern defence that The players rattled off the first 16 moves within minutes of the start at the Central Military Club in Sofia as they opted for moves that clearly looked part of their preparations. Topalov followed for sometime a game he had played against Gata Kamsky in 2009 that ended in a draw. But he deviated early and sacrificed a pawn to create problems for Anand.

Anand could not develop his pieces correctly and they lacked coordination. His rook, bishop and knight were stranded at the back and he could not bring them together to use them to tackle the pressure created by Topalov. He tried to wriggle out of the situation by exchanging pieces but could not repulse the pressure Topalov created with some precise moves.

The Bulgarian launched an attack on Anand’s king and though the Indian had chances of holding off his attack, but he dug his own grave by inaccurate play.