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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Draw Fire" (game of the day Sep-22-06)
Linares (1999)  ·  Russian Game: Cochrane Gambit (C42)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-22-06  ChessTeacher: Kudos to Topalov for even attempting a Gambit that is usually reserved for correspondence, or OTB chess at the club level.

Honza Cervenka have you never played against a player who stubbornly repeats his mistakes? I have with a favorable score against a fellow rated 400 points higher than me - with guess what, the Cochrane Gambit!

This happens to be one of my favorite lines. It gives a nice psychological edge. Petrov players are expecting symmetry, and drawish type games - and suddenly they have to walk through landmines to equalize and/or even possibly gain an edge. Personally, I dislike draws - and this gambit will usually ensure a winner (one way or another).

I would recommend the 5. d4 line. One of it's strength is in the space that White creates. Space is, undoubtedly, the most double-edged element in the game of chess. Unlike tempo or material, rules cannot be specifically made about its relative value and everything depends upon the placing of the pieces. Therefore, the players’ ability to evaluate each specific situation is of paramount importance.

So should you play the Cochrane? I would say yes, if you have a good understanding of this double edged concept of space and you understand color weaknesses. You should also plan on some home-cooking to understand the traps, and plans for best play. If you are a material junkie, avoid it wholeheartedly!!!

Here are some good examples.

[Event "Moscow Aeroflot op"][Site "Moscow"][Date "2004.02.17"][Round "5"] [White "Sulskis,Sarunas"][Black "Frolyanov,Dmitry"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.d4 Qe8 6.Nc3 d5 7.e5 Bb4 8.Bd3 c5 9.0-0 cxd4 10.exf6 dxc3 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qxd5+ Qe6 13.Qb5 Qd6 14.Bc4+ Be6 15.Bxe6+ Kxe6 16.Re1+ Kxf6 17.Bg5+ Kf7 18.Rad1 1-0

[Event "corr"][Site "corr"][Date "1987.??.??"][Round "0"] [White "Vitolins,Edvins K"][Black "Kveinys,Aloyzas L"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.d4 g6 6.Nc3 Kg7 7.f4 Qe8 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Bb4 10.a3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Nc6 12.Be2 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxe5 14.0-0 Bf5 15.Bf4 Qxc3 16.Bd3 Rhd8 17.Qf3 c6 18.Rae1 Re8 19.Qg3 Kg8 20.Bd2 Qxd2 21.Bxf5 Nh5 22.Qb3+ Kg7 23.Bxg6 hxg6 24.Rxe8 Rxe8 25.Qf7+ Kh6 26.Qxe8 Qxc2 27.Qh8+ Kg5 28.Qe5+ Kh6 29.h4 Ng7 30.Rf7 1-0

[Event "AUS-ch"][Site "Adelaide"][Date "2003.12.06"][Round "1"] [White "Blazkova,Petra"][Black "Szuveges,Narelle"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.d4 Qe8 6.Nc3 c6 7.Bd3 Bg4 8.f3 Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.g5 Nfd7 11.Qe2 Kg8 12.h4 Nb6 13.Bd2 N8d7 14.0-0-0 d5 15.Rde1 c5 16.Qh2 Qc8 17.h5 Bf7 18.e5 cxd4 19.e6 Bxe6 20.Rxe6 Nc5 21.Bf5 dxc3 22.Bxc3 Qd8 23.Qf4 Be7 24.Rg1 Qf8 25.h6 g6 26.Qe5 Qxf5 27.Qg7+ 1-0

Long live the chess player who attacks with boldness, when the timid would just play to kiss his sister!

May-19-07  Nasruddin Hodja: <ChessTeacher>: Noble sentiments indeed. Me, I prefer to practice at becoming the type of chessmaster who eats for breakfast those who try to attack with boldness.

Instead of having to find 31. ... Bc5+, Kramnik must have missed earlier in the game the chance to maintain his winning chances. I think he might have tried 25. ... Nf5! 26. Rxc2 Nxd3 27. Rc7 Nxf1 28. Kxf1 Qg3 which seems to maintain more pressure on white. While there are many pawn gambit openings which are sound, the Evans being the most famous, I suspect there are no piece gambit openings which are sound, the Cochrane included.

Oct-08-07  alexrawlings: Should white not win here? I don't understand why its a drawn game...
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Nasruddin Hodja> After your suggestested <25...Nf5 26. Bf2> looks like a better move:

click for larger view

It may transpose to the actual game or, if the rook moves on the 2nd rank, may go another way.

Jan-11-08  hnishy: I want to arm Rybka with this Gambit, if not prohibited as anti-humanitic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sallom89: i like how Topalov shock his opponents.
Apr-30-08  Poisonpawns: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.d4 Be7 6.Nc3 c6!7.Bc4+ d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.Nxd5 Be6 10.Ne3 Bxc4 11.Nxc4 Nc6= Nunns chess openings.This line is the best play for both sides i believe in the cochrane.It is definetly playable for white,but i do think black is slightly better.I will almost go out on a limb and say it is just as good as the other lines in the petroff,but perhaps that is going to far.
Apr-30-08  slomarko: Topa loves to shock Kramnik with these Nf7! sacs. sometimes Kramnik even manages to get a draw, like here.
May-23-08  andymac: <alexrawlings>: I think it's a draw, because after 32. Rxc5 Ng3+ is a draw bu perpetual as White must move 33. Kh2 hence allowing the perpetual with 33. ... Nf1+.

If White moves 33. Kf2 Ne4+ forks the Rook and wins.

Feb-22-09  WhiteRook48: sac, sac, sac, and perpetual
May-02-09  WhiteRook48: 4. Nxf7?!
May-18-09  Atking: Why not simply 8...cxd 9.Qxd4 Nc6 10.Qc4+ Kd7 (Without light square Bishop on the board isn't queen side more safe (Ka8) than king one?) with Qe7~Re8~Kc8 (Or Qe6!?)? I can't see how White could justify his sacrifice in f7.
May-19-09  Poohblah: After 32. Rxc5 it isn't necessarily perpetual check due to 32. Rxc5 Ng3 33. Kf2

or am I missing something?

May-22-09  ceebo: <or am I missing something?> Yes, 33...Ne4+ winning the white rook.
May-31-09  centercounter: Never mind the Cochrane! I want to see the Halloween Gambit. Failing that (Topalov Black), Albin or the rarely seen Baltic QG.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Have you ever (been) sacked on Cochrane, 'Nick?>, a famous Sharon Stone quote on C42 basics, if I'm not mistaken.
Jul-27-09  muwatalli: the cochrane seems to be quite a long term and exciting gambit, this along with the italian variation should give any player who wants excitement in the opening a chance to smile once in awhile.
Nov-05-09  The Chess Express: <Atking> You might want to check out the following game. My sense is that white's compensation lies more in his pawns than a direct attack

L Rodi vs J C De Las Heras, 2000

Nov-23-09  Atking: Thanks for the game <The Chess Express> But instead of the strange 32...Kb8?! of the game I will probably play 32...Rg8 33.g3 Rg5 or f5 with a fair game for Black.
May-20-10  newzild: The Cochrane has been my only line against the Petroff since I started playing club chess in 1995. When I joined the club, another player lent me Bronstein's "200 Open Games", and in the notes to one of his games the great man suggested that the Cochrane was fully viable.

I think I've scored about 80 per cent with the Cochrane, mostly in blitz games on the internet. I did play the Cochrane in one rated game in Wellington in 1996, and won in about 17 moves against a 1600 player. After the game Jonathan Sarfati told me the Cochrane was dubious and that I shouldn't try it against the club's masters, Anthony Ker and Russell Dive. I should have taken the opportunity to ask what I SHOULD play against a master...

The line that has always given me the most difficulty is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.d4 c5!, immediately chipping away at White's ideal centre.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I always play the Petroff against 1. e4, and have had lots of blitz games involving the Cochrane. Some I win, some I lose. I don't really understand the opening; I think you really have to have a number of lines memorized to survive with black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tud: Topalov is a man with guts. To play something like that against Kramnik. All my respect.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Kramnik must have been surprised by 4 Nxf7!?. 5 Nc3 is quite rarely played and Kramnik's 5..c5!? was a completely new idea; was he trying to avoid preparation by Topalov or was he just improvising in an opening that he probably had limited theoretical knowledge?Kramnik cleverly returned material with 8..Kf7!; the alternative 8..cxd 9 Qxd4..Nc6 10 Qc4+..Kd7 11 Bg5..Rc8 12 0-0-0 would have left White with good compensation for the piece. Kramnik thought White's best chance would have been 16 h3..Nxe3 17 Qxe3 followed by Ne4 although Black would have maintained a clear edge. Kramnik lost a lot of his advantage with 21..Rc8?; he thought 21..Qxc2 would have been winning for instance after 22 f5..Nxf5 23 Qf4..Bc5+ 24 Kh2..Rhf8 25 Rd2..Ne3!.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: Here we get to remember how much fun Topolov games were a few years ago. He and Chepa dreamed up some amazing stuff, like the other famous knight sac on f7.
Aug-18-14  posoo: now dis - DIS - is a PERFECT example of one man fighting to fight. LOOK at da topman, going for da gusto!

And look at all these second-rate kibizzers. "BUT DA COCRAN IS NOT GOOD" they say. WHO CARES? knowing imperfections are FAR superior to pretend perfects like da critiks!


ps just like krumnuk to find a draugh!

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