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Vassily Ivanchuk vs Veselin Topalov
Las Palmas (1996), Las Palmas, Canary Islands ESP, rd 10, Dec-21
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. Delayed Keres Attack (B81)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-25-03  Whitehat1963: Looks like white is a couple of moves away from destroying black, then suddenly from nowhere ...
Nov-25-03  technical draw: I think Ivanchuck wanted to get rid of black's knight on f6 (so that he could uncover check with queen more effectively) that he forgot one of the cardinal rules of chess, check all counter checks before moving. This is a good game to analyse. Probably Ivan had that point all chalked up in his mind.
Nov-25-03  Whitehat1963: Ivanchuk was at his peak when he took this one on the chin. A remarkable win for Topalov, reminiscent of Tal's magic at his peak.
Nov-25-03  Whitehat1963: Would 22 Nf4+ have been the best move?
Nov-25-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: It seems to me that Ivanchuk's peak would usually be considered to have been around 1991 or 1992. He was having success after success at that point (until his disastrous Candidates' match loss to Yusupov), and at one point pushed his rating to #2 in the world, ahead of Karpov.
Nov-25-03  Whitehat1963: Thanks, Eggman. I admit my strength assessment for Ivanchuk is based on his Chessmetrics rating, which has him peaking in 1996.
Nov-25-03  Whitehat1963: More to the point, how does white look after 22 Nf4+? Anybody out there who can run Fritz or Chessmaster?
Nov-25-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 22. ♘f4+ d5 23. ♘c3 ♘f3+ 24. ♔h1 ♖xg2 25. ♘xg2 ♕h5   (eval -0.81; depth 12 ply; 500M nodes)
Nov-26-03  Whitehat1963: Crafty, what happens in your scenario after 26. Bf4? This opens an attack against the black knight on f3.
Nov-27-03  Whitehat1963: Looks like 22. Rxf6 was the mistake. See crafty's analysis above. Seems to me that after 22. Nf4+, d5 23. Nc3, Nf3 24. Kh1, Rxg2 25. Nxg2, Qh5 26. Bf4 white halts black's counter-offensive, establishes material superiority and resumes a powerful attack, starting with black's knight on f3 and the bishop on e4 while maintaining a dangerous mating net. Ivanchuk just didn't think he was in any real danger here and he paid quickly as a result.
Nov-28-03  Whitehat1963: So what about it, Crafty, Honza, Drunkenknight, what's the evaluation from the position above with 26. Bf4? Anyone with Fritz or Chessmaster?
Nov-28-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  crafty: 22. ♘f4+ d5 23. ♘c3 ♘f3+ 24. ♔h1 ♖xg2 25. ♘xg2 ♕h5 26. ♗f4 26. ... ♘xh2 27. ♘xe4 ♘xf1+ 28. ♔g1 ♘xe4 29. ♖d7 ♘f6   (eval -4.29; depth 13 ply; 1000M nodes)
Dec-01-05  morphynoman2: 12... Bxe4? 13. gxf6 Bxg2 14. Rg1 Rxh2 15. Rxg2! Rxg2 16. Qf3, winning (Ivanchuk)
Dec-01-05  morphynoman2: 13. g6?! Qh4! 14. Bf2 Qg5! 15. gxf7 Kxf7 16. Nf3! Qg6 17. Be3!, and the position is not clear (Ivanchuk)
Feb-19-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: There are so many different possible strategies in this variation. Ivanchuk's castling kingside seems awfully risky even though he got a good position using it. Castling queenside looks like an interesting alternative.
Jun-17-06  Topzilla: Wow, Ivanchuk losing on 23 moves, another brilliance of World Champion Topalov.
Jun-22-06  kakhander: <Would 22 Nf4+ have been the best move?>

It seems so

Apr-25-08  Whitehat1963: 22. Nf4+ was clearly the only saving move. I took another look with the chesslab.com computer and here's the line it gave (searching one move at a time, of course):

22. Nf4+ d5
23. h3 Rg3
24. Rf2 Nc4
25. Rxc4 dxc4
26. Qxc4+ Kh8
27. Nb6 Rxe3
28. Nxa8 Bxa8
29. Bxa8 Qxa8
30. Ng6+ Kh7
31. Nxf8+ Qxf8
32. Qh4+ Kg8
33. Qc4+ Qf7
34. Qxf7+ Kxf7
35. Kg2 Ke6
36. Rf3 Re2+
37. Rf2 Re5
38. a3 Nd5
39. Rf8 Re2+
40. Rf2 Re1

From there the computer gives more than a two-pawn advantage for black, but can't seem to convert, preferring to move back and forth.

So, here's my question for <crafty> (or anyone with a strong engine), What say you about chesslab's suggestion: 22. Nf4+ d5 23. h3?

Apr-13-11  Mozart72: Ivanchuk had a 68.75% win against Topalov's 62.5%. A very small difference indeed.
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