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Vassily Ivanchuk vs Veselin Topalov
M-Tel Masters (2009), Sofia BUL, rd 5, May-17
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Main Line (B99)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: In the live ratings, Ivanchuk is getting close to dropping below 2700.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: How come Topalov's rook has the fancy headpiece? He's not world champion anymore, you know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sneaky> -- < How come Topalov's rook has the fancy headpiece?>

It is *very* fancy, isn't it? Must be the small print in the Sofia Rules: 'On Bulgarian soil Topalov is champ for life'. Fischer had a similar attitude, I recall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  messachess: What a game. Chucky's not playing badly. He's losing, but his play is dynamic and aggressive. He's losing, but he's not backing away from risky (and wild) play. He's here to play his game, and that's what he's doing. And, in the process, he's giving himself a chance to win rather than playing it safe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: Yes, it was great to see Ivanchuk pushing for the win at all costs -- but he clearly missed the killer move 40...b3+! By the way, although Topalov's final move is good enough, with the K coming round to eat the b-pawn, my silicon friend recommends 54...Qb7!, with the lovely forcing line 55.Qa4 Qxg2 56.Qd1+ Ke3 57.Qc1+ Ke4 58.b4 Qf2+ 59.Kd1 Kd3 and it's mate in two more moves.
May-17-09  KastelFhlor: Does anyone now what is wrong with
12... e5?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <KastelFhlor> Seems playable but I think white has a strong game after 13 Nf5 Bxf6 and Nd5. Also in the game 13 e5 would have been interesting as in A Planinc vs Najdorf, 1973
May-17-09  Ezzy: <KastelFhlor: Does anyone now what is wrong with 12... e5?>

If for some reason you're thinking of what happens after 15 Nf5 g6?? - here's an example of the carnage

[12...e5 13.Nf5 Bxf5 <(13...g6? 14.Qh4 Bxf5 (14...gxf5 15.Bxf6 Qd8 16.fxe5 Bxf6 17.exf6 f4 18.e5 Be6 19.Qxf4 d5 20.Bc4 A demolition job) 15.exf5 Ng8 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.f6 Bf8 18.Bxg6 Qa5 (18...fxg6 19.f7+ Kxf7 20.Bxd8) 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.Qh5+ Ke6 21.Qh3+ Kf7 22.b4 Qd8 23.fxe5 and the end is nigh)> 14.exf5 Nxd3+ 15.Rxd3 0𢠢 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nd5 Qa5 18.Red1 White has the advantage.]

May-17-09  notyetagm:

<39.Kb3 Qc4+ 40.Kc2 b3+
This idea is easy to overlook in heavy timetrouble. Suddenly it's all over for White.>

May-17-09  notyetagm: 40 ... ?

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40 ... b4-b3+!

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I finally understand Topalov's brilliant 40 ... b4-b3+!: 41 a2xb3 would create a <SELF-BLOCK> of the b3-square, denying that square as a <FLIGHT SQUARE> for the White c2-king, that would allow the Black queen to take the White f1-rook <WITH CHECK> after 41 ... ♕c4-e2+ and then 42 ... ♕e2x♖f1+ <CHECK!>.

A *brilliant* tactical coup by Topalov.

Topa is on fire, *again*. I pity poor Carlsen on Tuesday. :-)

41 a2xb3 <self-block: b3>

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41 ... ♕c4-e2+ Δ 42 ... ♕e2x♖f1+ <CHECK!>

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The nasty tactical point of Topalov's brilliant 40 ... b4-b3+!: 42 ♔c2-c1 or 42 ♔c2-b1 is forced, <SINCE THE b3-square WAS SELF-BLOCKED ON MOVE 41(!)>, allowing Black to capture the White f1-rook <WITH CHECK(!)> by 42 ... ♕e2x♖f1+.

42 ♔c2-c1/b1 ♕e2x♖f1+ <CHECK!>

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May-17-09  notyetagm:


<40.Kc2 b3+

This idea is easy to overlook in heavy timetrouble. Suddenly it's all over for White.


<<<41.axb3 Qe2+ picks up the rook with check.>>>

41...Rd8+ 42.Ke1 Rd1+


40 ...b4-b3+! 42 ... ♖d8-d1+! A tremendous tactical display by Topalov.

May-17-09  notyetagm: 42 ... ?

click for larger view

42 ... ♖d8-d1+!

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43 ♔e1x♖d1 <deflection: f1>

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43 ... ♕c4x♖f1+

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May-17-09  notyetagm: Ivanchuk vs Topalov, 2009

One flight square (b3) means <SELF-BLOCK>. 40 ... b4-b3+! Game Collection: Self-blocks: only *one* safe flight square

Two loose squares near the king (d1,f1) mean <KING DEFLECTION>. 42 ... ♖d8-d1+!
Game Collection: King deflection: -two- loose squares near king

May-18-09  crwynn: I was confused to see that it was a draw before move 37, because I couldn't see a defense for Black after 37.Qf7+! Kd8 38.Rd1+ Bd5 39.Qxe6 Qe3+ 40.Kb1 Qe4+ 41.Ka1, but the simple 41...Kc7! uses the back rank weakness to force a queen exchange, with a drawn rook ending.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <notyetagm> -- < 41 a2xb3 would create a <SELF-BLOCK> of the b3-square, denying that square as a <FLIGHT SQUARE> ...>

I admire your dedication -- seriously -- but are you really certain that sticking labels on so many themes and tactics is useful? I know some chess teachers use it as a basic device, but there must be a happy medium.

I've seen, recognized and even played most of these things at one time or another. I can't recall ever thinking "what I need here is a self-blocking move" -- I tend to just see the pattern. Or work it out. Or not.

If you (ever) feel like responding, feel free to post a note in my forum at any time, rather than having both of us clutter this game more than necessary.

I repeat, though -- I'm a genuine admirer of all the work you do, and thoroughness and logical consistency of your analysis. I'm just not sure that thinking about chess moves in this way is productive in the long run.

May-18-09  mistreaver: why was 52..g3 neccesary to play? and why didnt white respond hxg3
May-18-09  Grumpi: after 53.hxg3 forced mate:

54.Kc1 (Ke1 Qe2#)Qg5+
55.Kd1 Qd2#

May-18-09  KastelFhlor: Thank you Marmot!
May-18-09  KastelFhlor: Thank you Ezzy!
May-20-09  mistreaver: thank you <Grumpi>
May-26-09  perrypawnpusher: mistreaver, (and readers in general), please pardon my interruption: I noticed that your favorite opening is the Jerome Gambit, and I'd love to learn more about your games. Post at NN - Blackburne, 1880 or email me at, please. --perrypawnpusher
Oct-24-10  Marquis Cesare: A good game, although the opening moves look frightening with the Rg8 and isolated doubled e-pawns and g-pawn.

After 20.Ne4,Nxe4 21.Qh5+ Kf8 22.Qh6+ Rg7 23.Qh8+ Kf7 24.Rxe4 Bg5+ 25.Kb1= with compensation for the piece, while in the game black has an advantage. 23.Rf1, Bb7 24.Be4 with an advantage of tactical pressure and initiative for white.

Jan-17-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: BLOCKING COMBINATIONS

Ivanchuk vs Topalov, 2009 40 ... b4-b3+! takes away b3-sq from White c2-king, wins

Apr-22-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: BLOCKING COMBINATIONS
Mar-08-13  vinidivici: What a mess for Ivanchuk. After material loss, he wanted to keep digging the win, but his greediness backfired him.

Should take draw with perpetual check from the move 35.

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