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Veselin Topalov vs Vassily Ivanchuk
Morelia-Linares (2008), Morelia MEX, rd 3, Feb-17
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-18-08  anjyplayer: Topalov the magical.
Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: At first sight, <22...Rc7> seems to be Ivanchuk's mistake. Black looked OK up to this point, IMO.
Feb-18-08  percyblakeney: <Come on! Ivanchuk picked a Opening that Topalov doesn't rarely loses (1 lost) nor draw. See for yourselves:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

It's like someone tries the Catalan on Kramnik.>

I didn't look that closely but found losses to Short, Leko, Anand and Lautier, and a couple to Kasparov...

Feb-18-08  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: On 16...a4 17 Nd2 Qb8 18 axb4 Qxb4 White's game looks miserably exposed.> Actually, after 19.Qc4! White seems to have an edge (19...Qxb2? 20.Rb1 Qa3 21.Kf2! winning> On 21 Kf2 one possibility is 21...e4 clearing the long diagonal for the black Q in the event of ...Qb2 in reply to Ra1> That would lose to 22.Rb7! with the double threat of Rxd7 followed by Qc6+ (or simply picking up the knight after 0-0) AND Nb1 trapping the black queen after Qa1 Bd4.> In that case, on 17...Qb8 18 axb4 Qxb4 19 Qc4 Qb7 may be better- with advantage to Black, as Black's King may find safety whereas White's King has lost it.> 19...Qb7 might be relatively best for Black in this line, but then 20.Qc6 more or less forces an exchange of queens, after which White would seem to have some edge in the endgame. > The endgame after 20 Qc6 Qxc6 21 dxc6 seems worth taking a further look at. Another interesting possibility is a pawn sacrifice: 17...Qb8 18 axb4 0-0 19 c3 f5 or 17...0-0 18 axb3 f5 . White gains a pawn, but can this provide enough compensation for lacking a safe place to put his King? I doubt it. Finally on 16 a3 Black can castle at once by 16...0-0 and avoid all the difficulties arising out of Qc4, and on 16...0-0 17 axb4 axb4 Black may have the advantage. My guess is that 16 a3?! concedes too much to Black, by relinquishing prospects of a safe place to put White's King, if Black castles in time. I suggest that Ivanchuk's main mistake was to omit to castle in time.
Feb-18-08  ikipemiko: 16.a3 is the best move in the position, 15..a5 was maybe a bad move by Ivanchuk. If 16... 0-0 - in that case white will have an overwhelming advantage on the queen side - so 16.. 0-0 will be a ?! move.
Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I agree with <ikipemiko>. At the time, when Ivanchuk played 15...a5, I thought it might be premature. I was just wondering if 16.a3 was playable - it's a standard response to similar situations in the French and King's Indian Attack - when Topalov played it, very quickly. It looks very much like a prepared line.

In which case he may also have prepared the strange-looking 19.Qa3, when everyone (engines as well as pundits) was expecting 19.Qc3. The Qa3 line seems to offer Black more chances of going wrong, and Ivanchuk did.

But even allowing for prep, this was a very impressive game by Topalov. Less gung-ho than his classic sacrificial games, and more of a Karpov-style positional squeeze. It isn't always appreciated, but Karpov also used to play apparently risky lines - like White's exposed king in this game - as long as he was confident of keeping a grip on the position.

Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <I suggest that Ivanchuk's main mistake was to omit to castle in time.>

Perhaps Topalov's play convinced him that it wasn't a bad idea not to castle... Interesting to note that Black avoids it as late as move 22, where he goes instead for the scheme of putting pressure on c3 with 22...Rc7. This fails, however, since after 23.Rhb1 Qc8 24.Bb6! it turns out that 24...Rxc3 would be bad for Black: 25.Ne4 and Black has nothing better than giving up the exchange, since after 25...Rc2+ 26.Kd3 Rg2/h2 27.Rc1 the black rook will be too far away from the action, and 25...Rc4 would fail to 26.Rc1!! (pointed out by <acirce> during the game):


click for larger view

26...Rxc1 27.Rxc1 Qxc1 28.Qa8+ Nb8 29.Qxb8+ Kd7 30.Nc5+! and Black is either mated immediately or has to give up the queen.

Feb-18-08  notyetagm: Position after 24 ♗e3-b6!


click for larger view

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail...

<After the last move probably White is almost with a winning position. The c-pawn cannot be captured: if 24...Rxc3? 25.Ne4 Rc4 26.Rc1!! amazing move!>


click for larger view

<26...Rxc1 27.Rxc1 Qxc1 28.Qa8+ Nb8 29.Qxb8+ Kd7 30.Nc5+!! delivering mate or winning the black queen.>


click for larger view

Wow, what an incredible combination: 26 ♖b1-c1!! <PIN>, 28 ♕a4-a8+ <BACK RANK>, 30 ♘e4-c5+!! <INTERFERENCE>.

Feb-18-08  notyetagm: <anjyplayer: Topalov the magical.>

Great win by Topalov. One of the best played games of the year.

Feb-18-08  Bobsterman3000: So, is 25.e4 a blunder? Essentially, this move gave away a pawn and made it very easy for Topalov to liquidate down to a simple won ending.

From what I can tell, 25.e4 is a theoretical move aimed at instigating counterplay away from the main action and generating an open line to assail white's king.

But (in practice) I see no rational way that black could ever hope to make use of the new open line considering the circumstances at the board.

Feb-18-08  notyetagm: Game Collection: Queenside attacks

Topalov vs Ivanchuk, 2008

Position after 24 ♗e3-b6!


click for larger view

A -powerful- queenside attack by Topalov.

Feb-18-08  percyblakeney: <So, is 25.e4 a blunder?>

Notkin at Chesspro called it the best move, the alternatives only seem to lose quicker.

Feb-18-08  HOTDOG: Black is already lost after move 22,ther 22...0-0 had to be played
Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Bobsterman3000: So, is 25.e4 a blunder? Essentially, this move gave away a pawn and made it very easy for Topalov to liquidate down to a simple won ending [...] I see no rational way that black could ever hope to make use of the new open line considering the circumstances at the board.>

The main purpose of 25...e4 was not to open lines, but rather to evacuate the e5 square for the knight. If Black plays immediately 25...Rxb1 26.Rxb1 O-O, then after 27.Qc6 he has nothing better than 27...Nc5 (27...Qxc6 28.dxc6 and the c-pawn decides the game) 28.Bxc5 dxc5 29.Rb7 followed by 30.Ne4, which is completely hopeless for him.

Feb-18-08  Bobsterman3000: <Eyal> thanks!!
Feb-18-08  KingG: <The Chess Express> White looks to have the better endgame to me. People don't usually play the Najdorf in order to quickly simplify into an inferior endgame in which they will have to suffer for a long time to get a draw.
Feb-18-08  The Chess Express: <KingG> You're correct of coarse. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 d5 is hardly ever seen at the GM level, but Iíve been over this endgame at nauseam and I havenít found any way for white to make his slight endgame plus count for much.
Feb-18-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <TCE> Can't say I've studied this position very deeply, but I've glanced at chessbase database (at http://www.chesslive.de) and noticed that it contains 33 games (though not from top-level tournaments) with the endgame reached in the Resika-Luksik game after exd5 Nxd5 Nxd5 Qxd5 Qxd5 Bxd5 - and the overall score is overwhelmingly in favor of White: +W22 =6 +B5. I'm aware of the possible limitations of those statistics, but still it might not be coincidental - at least, it would probably be interesting for you to go over those games and look for some ideas or repeating patterns (if you haven't done so already).

Feb-18-08  Ezzy: Is Topalov back to his 2005 form. Well after Corus you would have to say no, but he is playing some nice games here.

Pehaps at the moment he is fortunate that people are walking into his preperation. but that's part of the game, and he seems to be unleashing quite a few nasty novelties of late.

A nice start from Topalov, which is a bit of a rarity for him.

Nicely executed game. Very impressive!

Feb-18-08  Abejorral: <People don't usually play the Najdorf in order to quickly simplify into an inferior endgame in which they will have to suffer for a long time to get a draw>

Kramnik plays a petroff to quickly simplify an equal position and doesnt have to suffer to get a draw :-)

Feb-18-08  The Chess Express: <Eyal> Thanks for the link. I'll take another look.
Feb-18-08  notyetagm: <Ezzy: ... A nice start from Topalov, which is a bit of a rarity for him.

Nicely executed game. Very impressive!>

Yes, Topalov has two tremendous wins already, over Aronian and Ivanchuk.

And in the third game against Radjabov, he won a pawn with the exquisite 18 ... ♘g6xe5!, which is the most instrutive example of the <RELOADER> tactic that I have ever seen.

Feb-24-08  mack: 'He is scum but he wields great glory' - Will Oldham, 'Tonight's Decision'.
Apr-11-08  The Chess Express: What?
Oct-27-09  pablo333: I am no expert on Sicilian B90, but it strikes me that Ivanchuk's defensive concept of 9... b5 is flawed. Could 9... Nb6!? have been better?
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