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Veselin Topalov vs Alexey Shirov
Linares (2004), Linares ESP, rd 10, Feb-29
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C97)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Given 2 times; par: 71 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-29-04  chessfected: Oops, my mistake - 40....Rfb7 would lose to 41.Nxf6+. But there has got to be a better move in this position (bad as it is for black) than 40...e4. Perhaps 40...Rb2?
Feb-29-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I think he is lost at that point. 40...Rb2 41.Bh6 wins. Earlier Black's 32...Rb3 loses a tempo, so maybe there is some improvement there, but even at that move Shirov position looks poor.
Feb-29-04  Phoenix: Fantastic play by Topalov. He was able to fling his K side pawns down the board because Shirov could undertake nothing.
Feb-29-04  masig: I posted this comment earlier on the wrong window!!..anyway, as I noted, Shirov's play is so unlike him..very defensive or tentative.. look at these moves:

18...Re8? what is he trying to defend?..why not f5 instead locking white's bishop at c2 or forcing a pawn exchange that would have eventually lead to white's bishop stuck at c1)

20.. Ng7? why not Nf6 which puts at least two white pawns (e4 and f4 under attack?)

21...f6? it's not as if white's Knight will waste one move (Ng5) then just retreat after 22..h6..neaither can white's pawn advance to g5 leaving the h3 pawn captured

..Topalov in contrast was bold (how I wish either of these two guys finish on the top, too bad neither will). He seized the initiative with moves 23.h4,..then 24.f4! making clear his Kingside attack was on and by the time Topa made 28.Bg7 freeing his a2 rook, there was very little Shirov could do to prevent the subsequent onslaught (look at how the black queen had only one legal move left as it is pressed tightly between Shrov's King and Knight..hehe, not altogether bad if these were real people..if I were King I wouldn't mind being attacked if my queen is always "beside" me!)

Of course, nothing beats being a Monday morning QB I guess..see I could be wrong (comments appreciated) but I don't have ratings to protect at day's end

Feb-29-04  Shadout Mapes: If I remember correctly, 40...e4 was made in severe time pressure.
Mar-01-04  Green Bishop: If 45...Rxf1+
46. Nxf1, Qd6
How does white win?
Mar-01-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Green Bishop> If 45....Rxf1+ 46. Nxf1 Qd6, then 47.Bf4 Qd7 48.Bxb8 etc.

What about 35.e5? If 35...dxe5, then 36.Bxg6 and white wins.

Mar-01-04  clocked: 40. ... e4 (?) was not a time pressure mistake, actually it's the best move. Rfb7 cannot be played with so much power on the f-file (Rxf6 etc)

after 46. ... Qd6 47.Bf4 wins the rook

Mar-01-04  Green Bishop: Thank you Honza, clocked I was looking for a mate and I missed the simple 47.Bf4
Mar-01-04  clocked: see Short vs Bareev, 1995 for an example where black strikes back with f5 from a similiar position
Mar-01-04  PinkPanther: This opening was just played horribly by Shirov. This is the kind of thing that happens to me when I'm trying out a new variation of the Closed Ruy Lopez and I don't really know what I'm doing: my pieces get stifled and start running into each other and I more less get crushed. I would have expected more from a Super GM like Shirov though.
Mar-01-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <<masig> 18...Re8? what is he trying to defend?..why not f5 instead locking white's bishop at c2 or forcing a pawn exchange that would have eventually lead to white's bishop stuck at c1)> he's not trying to defend anything, in fact he's trying to promote an ...f5 push. in addition, if he doesn't play ...Re8 where is the bishop going to go? his idea (i imagine at that point) is to *slowly* re-activate his bishop via f8 and g7 and then push ...f5 with effect
Mar-01-04  masig: <refutor> he's not trying to defend anything, in fact he's trying to promote an ...f5 push.

but would Shirov not have achieved the same effect as bringing his black bishop to f8 (eventually) had he pushed f5 first? after that he can move rook to f7 then his black bishop on e7 to f8..by doing what he did (moves 18-22, five moves in all) he lost tempo and control of the f-file..I came in late to the game (move 27-28) and by that time it was clear that the initiative..a very important factor in "closed" games is all with Topalov..so although I'm no theoreticist I am quite sure that Shirov's recent prior moves were "slow"..especially given the fact that he IS after all SHIROV..(my original point by the way)

Mar-01-04  earthsoup: 35. e5 looks like a good find. I don't think 35. ... Rxd3, followed by 36. ... de is sufficient.
Mar-01-04  Cerebrate2006: I think that 12...Nc4 was a slight mistake. Even though it has been played before, it moves a peice twice, with no gain, and gives white the inititive. After that it is downhill for black as he finds less and less squares for his peices, until he eventually has every single one around his king.
Mar-01-04  ForeverYoung: After playing through Fischer's 60 Memorable Games it seems that the chigorin defense is too passive for grandmaster chess. These days when I'm defending against the Ruy I place my trust in the ... Nd7 and ... Bf6 system. Paul
Mar-02-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <masig><by that time it was clear that the initiative...a very important factor in "closed" games is all with Topalov> i disagree that initiative is important in closed games, but i'm more interested in moves. black's position around 18. ... Re8 is like a coiled spring, black is trying to increase the pressure so that when he "uncoils" the spring with a move like ...f5 he does it when it suits him. i don't see how opening up his kingside with 18. ...f5?! helps black out. there's an old saying that your position is only as good as your worst pieces and the knight on c8 (no valid moves and blocking the rook on a8 from moving) is easily the worst piece. this method of activating the bishop is even worse i think because (for instance) after 18. ... f5 19.exf5 Bxf5 20.Bxf5 Rxf5 the bishop has no better squares to go to because if ...Bf6 the rook is trapped on f5. and if he goes for ...Bf8 here Topalov will easily get his knight to e6 and then it's pretty much lights out.
Mar-03-04  Cerebrate2006: The initiative is always importatnt. It does lose some importatnce in a closed game, but the side who is on the move has the advantage of starting his attack sooner. Yes closed games require a lot of moving peices around, usually taking many moves per peice sometimes, but if its your move and its an opening that is basicly a race (classical KID for example, never studied this opening at all), then the initiative is all one side needs to win.
Mar-03-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <cerebrate2006> fine let me clarify my statements...in this position it was not necessary for shirov to fight for the initiative on the 18th move...it was more important for him to activate his pieces...that's why he played ...Re8 instead of ...f5 better?
Mar-03-04  masig: <refutor> ...after 18. ... f5 19.exf5 Bxf5 20.Bxf5 Rxf5 the bishop has no better squares to go

but NEITHER has white's 2 horses! You're forgetting that after 20..Rxf5 it IS white's move..so Topalov can start "recoiling" for his attack again..and so will Shirov (I like this coiling analogy by the way)..which brings me back to my earlier point..it IS the person who grabs the initiative who will have the advantage if neither of their pieces have freedom to move (since it is a closed game)

Mar-03-04  Cerebrate2006: sorry if i was slightly rude, refutor, and yeah the clairfication helped...er...clairify.
Mar-03-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <cerebrate2006><sorry if i was slightly rude> no i apologize, i was being rude. i'm not a morning person and that was first thing in the morning for me :) <masig> we'll have to agree to disagree. the main thing is about bad bishops v. bad knights is that knights can always regroup while a bad bishop is always a bad bishop in a position with fixed pawns because of its monochronicity (sp?) i think waiting to open up the kingside was better in that position, but i'm just a patzer :)
Mar-03-04  masig: <refutor>..the main thing is about bad bishops

Ditto. That's why in my original post I thought and still think that Shirov should have coaxed Topalov to a situation where he can easily rid off his "bad" bishops..the (hypothetical) position after 20...Rxf5 is exactly at that point..one "bad" bishop for Shirov (his horse at c8 can move to a2 and free up his a8 rook) vs. two "bad" horses for Topalov. At any rate, I think you will agree that by the time Topalov made his f4 charge, Shirov's pieces are all "coiled" with no sting. So I just don't see the point in Shirov's keeping his kingside closed all that long. Besides I've never been drawn to Shirov (or Topalov as well) for his defensive maneuvers..it's his Fire on the Board!

Mar-04-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <masig> lol...agreed...there is a writeup on this game at http://www.uschess.org/news/newslet... but no comment on the 18th move ;)
May-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  spirit: me thinks shirov was unneccesarily defensive here...some of his moves suggest the "double queen paranoia" that deep blue's alpha version had before bug fix
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