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Teimour Radjabov vs Veselin Topalov
Morelia-Linares (2008), Morelia MEX, rd 2, Feb-16
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-16-08  arifattar: Oh well.
Feb-16-08  MindCtrol9: <Yes,their last moves were telling me that,a draw>
Feb-16-08  Strongest Force: Raggy cant win this without some major help ... btw, is Shirov and Carlsen still playing?
Feb-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: Shirov - Carlsen -
Feb-16-08  krisxchy: Are they not going to put another game on ???
Feb-16-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: The only other game in progress is Ivanchuk-Leko. The last time I saw it, it appeared to be headed for a draw. In fact, it looked an awful lot like this game, where White had more space and Black just enough to keep him out.
Feb-16-08  hangingenprise: put a dancing rook in chucky's column!
Feb-17-08  mindkontrolle: sorta pathetic if you ask me. nowhere near developed as could be.
Feb-17-08  notyetagm: Black to play: 18 ... ?


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Here Topalov (Black) played the excellent <RELOADER> 18 ... ♘g6xe5!,


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using the basic <RELOADER> principle that one defender (White f4-pawn) cannot keep out two attackers (Black g6-knight, h5-rook).

For the <RELOADER> to work, the piece (Black h5-rook) that ends up on the inadequately defended (two attackers, one defender) square (e5-square) must be able to make use of this square in order to make up for the previous sacrifice (Black g6-knight) on this square (18 ... ♘g6xe5!).

That is, after 19 f4x♘e5? ♖h5xe5


click for larger view

what does Black have to show for his sacrificed knight?

From the diagram above the answer is obvious: Black has a <ROOK SKEWER> of the -two- <UNDEFENDED> White pieces, the <UNDEFENDED> White e4-knight and the <UNDEFENDED> White e3-bishop.

This <SKEWER> regains the sacrificed piece for Black, leaving him two pawns ahead for nothing. Hence White cannot recapture on e5 with 19 f4x♘e5? as the recapture simply loses a second pawn to the 19 ... ♖h5xe5 <RELOADER>.

18 ... ♘g6xe5!, an excellent tactical shot by Topalov, winning a pawn based on the two <UNDEFENDED> White minor pieces lined up on the e-file and the <RELOADER> tactic.

Aagaard says in one of his books that there is a myriad of ways to win material win there are <UNDEFENDED> pieces on the board. This <PETITE COMBINAISON> by Topalov is yet another example.

Feb-17-08  notyetagm: How did Topalov see the <RELOADER> 18 ... ♘g6xe5! ?

He probably saw that he would love to play ... ♖h5-e5 and <SKEWER> the <UNDEFENDED> White e4-knight and e3-bishop. That is the basic idea/pattern that he saw.

Since the White f4-pawn prevents this <SKEWER> by <DEFENDING> the e5-square from the Black h5-rook, it cannot also keep the Black g6-knight out. Hence 18 ... ♘g6xe5!.

Feb-18-08  notyetagm: 18 ... ♘g6xe5! is my favorite <PETITE COMBINAISON> of the year thus far.

Nice tactical alertness by Topalov, finding a neat tactic that a strong tactician like Radjabov overlooked.

Feb-18-08  Bobsterman3000: <notyetagm> Where did the term <<reloader>> come from? Did you coin the term?
Feb-18-08  notyetagm: <Bobsterman3000: <notyetagm> Where did the term <<reloader>> come from? Did you coin the term?>

No, not my term. It comes from Weteschnik's stupendous book "Understanding Chess Tactics".

It's a great way to describe the tactic 18 ... ♘g6xe5! 19 f4x♘e5 ♖h5xe5: Black <RELOADS> on the e5-square.

Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  parmetd: Berlin is just such a solid opening, it is hard for white to gain an edge but easy to lose one due to the bishop pair.
Feb-18-08  Bobsterman3000: No one can scale the Bulgarian Wall! Radja couldn't even chip the paint!

Feb-18-08  notyetagm: Position after 18 ... ♘g6xe5!


click for larger view

Topalov's outstanding 18 ... ♘g6xe5! gets my vote as the most instructive <RELOADER> of all-time, since it does not involve either a <KNIGHT FORK> or a square lined up with the enemy king, as most <RELOADERS> do. Black simply wants to get his h5-rook onto the e5-square so that he can <SKEWER> White's two <UNDEFENDED> minor pieces (e4-♘,e3-♗) ehich are conveniently already lined up on the e-file.

After 19 f4x♘e5? ♖h5xe5 Black regains his sacrificed knight with the <ROOK SKEWER> of the <UNDEFENDED> White e4-knight and <UNDEFENDED> White e3-bishop, winning two pawns for nothing.

(VAR) Position after 19 f4x♘e5? ♖h5xe5


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What makes this tactical blow even more impressive is that the super-tactician Radjabov overlooked it. Simply -amazing- tactical acuity by Topalov.

Feb-19-08  crwynn: ...Ne5 was a very simple tactic, you see much more complicated things in blitz games. Even not-very-good blitz games. I don't see the big deal - except that if Radja really just missed that, it's a bit unusual.

Maybe he saw it, at least after 17...Rh5 if not before, and just went ahead anyway. You have to find a way forward in chess, sometimes that means letting go of material. Radjabov couldn't improve his minor pieces yet, and he didn't want to crawl backwards with them just to avoid a trick - after 18.Nf3 or 18.Nc3, what is White actually doing? So he makes a useful rook move.

18.Rd3 avoids ...Ne5 but runs into 18...c5 and 19...Bf5. Thus 18.Rd2. And with the pawn gone the rooks have play along the e-file as well as the d-file.

Feb-19-08  crwynn: And it's worth noting that Radjabov got the pawn back in short order, and it looks to me that if anyone were fighting for a draw it is Black - and also that Svidler, in a similar position but in a different way, sacrificed his e-pawn against Topalov and eventually won.

Looking at earlier kibitzing the comps were suggesting Kf2, probably just to stop this tactic; at least this is not a "retreating" move but you are blocking the rook from acting on the f-file (or the bishop from using f2 as in the game. Also it looks weird.

Feb-19-08  notyetagm: <CRWynn: ...Ne5 was a very simple tactic, you see much more complicated things in blitz games. Even not-very-good blitz games. I don't see the big deal - except that if Radja really just missed that, it's a bit unusual.>

It's a very unusual tactic. How often do you see a rook smack in the middle of the board (e5-square) <SKEWERING> two minor pieces that are both <UNDEFENDED> and lined up on a file?

It is -so- unusual that the super-tactician Radjabov missed it. -That- is what I find so impressive about it.

And of course it is obvious once someone shows it to you. I am sure Radjabov was thinking "Why didn't I see that?" right after Topalov played 18 ... ♘g6xe5!.

Feb-19-08  notyetagm: <CRWynn: ... Looking at earlier kibitzing the comps were suggesting Kf2, probably just to stop this tactic; at least this is not a "retreating" move but you are blocking the rook from acting on the f-file (or the bishop from using f2 as in the game. Also it looks weird.>

Looks do not matter. <TACTICS> come first, last, and in between.

18 ♔g1-f2 stops the 18 ... ♘g5xe6! <RELOADER> tactic by <DEFENDING> the White e3-bishop so that there is no <SKEWER> down the e-file, saving a pawn, so it is no wonder the comp engines favored that king move over Radjabov's blunder 18 ♖d1-d2?.

Feb-19-08  crwynn: <And of course it is obvious once someone shows it to you.>

You can always say that, but this one really was simple. Tactics can be hard to find either because they involve a lot of different moves, or because they involve a weird idea like here.

White to move:


click for larger view

I would say it is not obvious that White can play Nd4 here (whether it is a great move is another question); it is just a one-move combo really, but the idea is exceedingly rare - in fact I have only seen this double-fork with a pawn phalanx on one occasion: back when I was a B player I had White in a similar position. In fact I played Nd4 although I probably should not have.

That was a non-obvious tactic; attacking two minors lined up on an open file is as common as dirt, and I would feel embarrassed if I missed it in a serious game. Like I said, Radjabov probably did *not* miss it. You keep saying 18.Rd2 is a "blunder" but let me remind you again: it was a "blunder" that one of the world's best players could not refute; Topalov ended up with a slightly worse position after his oh-so-brilliant ...Ne5.

Feb-19-08  acirce: If I remember correctly, Radjabov replied 19.b3 immediately or almost immediately after 18..Nxe5. This right after having thought about 18.Rd2 for a long time. It certainly indicates, along with the fact that 18..Rxe5 was so obvious, that he did not simply "blunder" the pawn, but had spent time calculating the consequences - how good it was I can't tell, but White sacrificing the e-pawn in the Berlin is quite typical, and just like <CRWynn> says, White soon got the pawn back anyway. Unless Radjabov actually <said> he missed it I won't assume such a thing.
Feb-20-08  dabearsrock1010: ok i will echo <acirce> a bit and say there is no way <GM> radjabov missed this move for example in Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 kramnik plays 15...a6 and there is no way he didnt see the leko's next trick...these guys are 2700+ for gosh's sake
Feb-26-08  notyetagm: <dabearsrock1010: ok i will echo <acirce> a bit and say there is no way <GM> radjabov missed this move for example in Leko vs Kramnik, 2004 kramnik plays>

Well, Mig said that if Radjabov denies hanging his e-pawn that he "shan't believe him". :-)

Feb-20-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: LINE-OPENING SACS: GETTING AT WEAKNESSES (LATE)
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