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Dmitry Jakovenko vs Veselin Topalov
Pearl Spring Chess Tournament (2009), Nanjing CHN, rd 6, Oct-04
Gruenfeld Defense: Flohr Variation (D90)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: There were massive complications here following Topalov's piece sac, and engines would probably indicate several points where both sides could improve, but 25.Rc1?? is just unbelievable - simply dropping a whole rook.
Oct-04-09  znsprdx: <donehung: This is the form Toplalov needs to be in when he meets anand.> Really? : a piece down after 19 moves? I don't think so
Oct-04-09  VaselineTopLove: <This is the form Toplalov needs to be in when he meets anand.>

This (Jakovenko's) is the form Anand needs to avoid unless he wants Topalov to win.

Oct-04-09  percyblakeney: Maybe Jakovenko mixed up the move order and thought he already had played 25. e6.
Oct-04-09  cade: I admire the way Topalov can make a sacrifice and then patiently build up the play to a winning position. Many times you see a player make a sacrifice then immediately overpush and waste the position.
Nanjing Pearl Spring Tourney Nanjing/China (6), 04.10.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qa4+ Bd7 6.Qb3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 00 8.Bf4 Na6 9.e4 c5 10.e5 Nh5 11.Be3 cxd4 12.Qxd4 Bc6 13.Be2 Qa5< The 'in form' Emil Sutovsky has played 13...Bxf3 in this position.> 14.00 Nb4 <This is a new move I think. Obviously the threat is 15...Nc2 14...Bxf3 has been played before.> 15.Qh4 Nc2 16.g4 Nxe3< This has to be one of the most speculative piece sacrifices in recent years. Talk about 'muddying the waters.' [16...Nxa1 17.Rxa1 Qb4 18.gxh5 Qxh4 19.Nxh4 Bxe5 20.Nf3 Bg7 Is a possibilty, but a difficult position to assess] >17.fxe3 Bh6 18.Nd1 Kh8 19.gxh5 Rg8< Surely black doesn't have enough attacking initiative for the piece? >20.Kf2< [20.Qxe7 gxh5+ 21.Kf2 Rae8 22.Qd6 Bf8 23.Qd3 Rxe5 24.Nc3 (24.Nxe5?? Rg2#) 24...Re6 25.Rg1 Rgg6 26.Rad1 and white seems to have parried all the major threats.]> 20...Rad8 21.hxg6< [21.Qxe7 Rd7 22.b4 Qc7 23.Qc5 SurelyTopalov doesn't have that much for his material defecit.] >21...Bxf3 22.Kxf3 <[22.gxf7 Rg7 23.Qxe7 Bxe2 24.f8Q+ Rxf8+ 25.Qxf8+ Rg8 26.Qxg8+ (26.Qxh6 Qd2 Threatening 27...Bxd1 mate. 27.Qf6+ Rg7 28.Qf8+ Perpetual) 26...Kxg8 27.Kxe2 Qxe5 and white can't organise his pieces with the black queen hovering around whites exposed king.] >22...Rxg6 23.Qe4 f5 24.Qc4 Qd2< It's quite remarkable the potential winning possibilites for black in this position. For example, if the white queen moved to 25 Qb3, then black has 25...Rd4! threatening 26 Rxf4 mate (26 fxe4?? Qf4 mate).> 25.Rc1??< AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH [25.Qb3?? Rd4! 26.Kf2 (26.exd4 Qf4#) 26...Rh4 27.h3 Rf4+ 28.exf4 Qxf4+ 29.Ke1 Qd2+ 30.Kf2 Qd4+ 31.Ne3 (31.Ke1 Bd2#; 31.Qe3 Qh4+ 32.Kf3 Qg3#) 31...Qh4+ 32.Kf3 Qf4#; 25.Rf2 Qe1 26.Bd3 Bxe3 27.Nxe3 Qxa1 28.Bxf5 Rf8 and still it's a very complicated game. >25...Rc6 26.Qh4 Qxc1 27.Qxe7 Rg8 28.e6 Qd2 <Threatening mate in 5 - 29...Qd5+ 30 Kf2 Rg2+ 31 Ke1 Rxe2+ 32 Kxe2 Rc2+ 33 Ke1 Qd2 mate> 29.Kf2 f4< Threatening 30...fxe3+ 31 Nxe3 Qxe3+ 32 Ke1 Rc1 mate.> 01

Wow!! I don't think Tal would have even played the piece sacrifice 16...Nxe3. This is one of Topalov's 'all or nothing' moves. Surely Topalov can't have that much for the piece after 20 Qxe7 or 21 Qxe7. BUT there were so many ways Jakovenko could go wrong in the extremely complex position that arose, and unfortunately for him, it did go wrong.

A few innacurate moves by Jakovenko gave Topalov's pieces so much potential for a mating attack.

This surely wasn't a sound piece sacrifice from Topalov, but he created the conditions for a devastating attack should white err slightly.

Tal would have loved this game, but even Tal himself would have been nervous at playing 16...Nxe3. Arguably this was Topalov at his venomous best. "My sacrifice may not be sound, but you have to delve deep to find the refutation."

What an extraordinary exciting game. The first week has been 'The Carlsen show' but Vesko hits the headlines today.

Oct-04-09  Marmot PFL: Topalov is careful to pick his opponents. He would play much more solid against Carlsen or Anand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  JointheArmy: Why is everyone saying Topalov was down a piece just because Rybka didn't agree with it? The position is unclear, a speculative sacrifice which is rarely seen at high level chess nowadays.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Viewer Deluxe: Thanks <Ezzy>,
And for those of us who might have troubles visualizing it:
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: I wonder if Topalov went for the piece sacrifice because OTB he did not like 16...Nxa1; 17.gxh5 (preventing 17...Qb4), Nc2; 18.hxg6 intending 19.Ng5. This looks like a decent Exchange sacrifice for White. In this line 18.Bg5 also might prove adequate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 25 Rf2 looks interesting (seeing 25Qe1 26 Bd3, below, pinning blacks f pawn.)

click for larger view

Oct-04-09  theArtist: <Jimfromprovidence: 25 Rf2 looks interesting (seeing 25Qe1 26 Bd3, below, pinning blacks f pawn.)>


Oct-04-09  ROADDOG: 25...Rc6 makes me a bit nauteaus just looking at it. Cant imagine what Jako must have felt at this point. Thanks <Ezzy> for the commentary and possible continuations on your blogspot. Very helpful in trying to understand the complexities of the many "unclear" positions. Well, not clear to me...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <theArtist> <26...Qh1!!>

After 25 Rf2 Qe1 26 Bd3 Qh1+, then 27 Ke2, unless I've overlooked something.

click for larger view

Oct-04-09  reyjf: Heck of an analysis <Ezzy>. No one does it better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: Of course 29...f4 was winning. But 29...Rc2! 30.Re1 Bg5! looks like mate in short order. Topalov could be described as fortunate in this game, but then fortune favours the brave (thank goodness).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Position after 24...Qd2 (before Jakovenko's blunder 25.Rc1??):

click for larger view

From Joel Benjamin's commentary on ICC:

<[After mentioning that some of Rybka's top choices for White in this position are 25.a3 and 25.a4] But when you see moves like that, offering, at least on paper, advantage for White, it tells you a couple of things. It tells you, for one thing, that Black doesn't have any direct threats right now, but it also tells you that White has no obvious way to consolidate. And Toplaov is pretty much always happy in this kind of situation, when there is no obvious continuation and his opponent has a lot of ways to go wrong. A move like a3/a4 is not so easy to play in this situation one would like to play something more forcing.>

Oct-04-09  KASTILOWSKY: i love how topalov plays
Oct-04-09  ycbaywtb: good for Topalov pulling this off, but apparently 25. Rc1 was a blunder, though was too hard to untangle himself, and missed this error
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: FWIW, this is the analysis of move 25 for white.

<Rc1 ??
(25. Rf2 Qe1 26. Bd3 Rg4 27. Qc2 e6 28. Rc1 Qh1+ 29. Ke2 Rg1 30. Qc3 Bg5 31. b3 h6 32. a4 a6 33. Kd2 Rybka Aquarium (0:02.48) +0.65|d15 white stands slightly better>

Reference below:

25 Rf2, below, appears to be a really good move because it puts the question to the black queen, specifically by threatening Bf1. Its more aggressive than either 25 a3 or a4, as reported by the post of <Eyal>, quoting Joel Benjamin.

click for larger view

Oct-04-09  ycbaywtb: <(25. Rf2 Qe1 26. Bd3 Rg4 27. Qc2 e6 28. Rc1 Qh1+ 29. Ke2 Rg1 30. Qc3 Bg5 31. b3 h6 32. a4 a6 33. Kd2 Rybka Aquarium (0:02.48) +0.65|d15 white stands slightly better>>>

thx for posting this interesting line, why is it so hard to see a 2-move type threat, Rook f2, then B f1, it's the pressure, topalov got away with it, seems bit different type of chess than Magnus' victories earlier in the tourney like, even though, you can't see an immediate Black threat, White doesn't have the patience to work this out, chess is strange and unique game, i love it

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: This 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qb3 line is similar to 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 as in Botvinnik vs Fischer, 1962 where Fischer remarked in MSMG that White's early Queen development doesn't give any advantage.

Tal had several murky brilliancies which were ultimately won by him against inferior defense; sometimes improvements were only found years later. In hindsight 25. Rc1?? Rc6 is a Monday Puzzle, yet OTB it's incredibly nervewracking to consolidate a material advantage against such a creative attacker as Topalov. Exciting contest, but this may prove to be the Blunder of the Year.

<Ezzy> You got "would have" right three times! Mad props! ;>D

Great analysis. :-)

Oct-04-09  Ezzy: <tpstar: <Ezzy> You got "would have" right three times!> MEGA LOL!! I had to delete my post 1/2 an hour after posting it because I noticed I had done it again 'would of'

I will neve learn, but at least now I'm noticing the mistake occasionally.

I couldn't stop laughing when I read your post.

I'm grateful I still have people supporting me with my problem :-)

Cheers mate!

I'm still laughing :-)

Oct-05-09  kakarot: <A few innacurate moves by Jakovenko gave Topalov's pieces so much potential for a mating attack... ...Tal would have loved this game, but even Tal himself would have been nervous at playing 16...Nxe3. Arguably this was Topalov at his venomous best. "My sacrifice may not be sound, but you have to delve deep to find the refutation.">

I ussually agree with you <Ezzy> but this time I think you r out of your mind.. First of all it is unacceptable to have the name tal next to this game it wasn't <a few innacurate moves>, it was just a single (stupid in my opinion at this level) blunder which just gave topalov a rook...a whole #$@&%$ rook...!And you compare that to tal's victories?I am sorry but it takes more than a quick glance to spot the differences here..topalov is romantic.He has no style.You need to <be> and <feel> really powerful to have style you know..topa is a warm crawling for the attack..nothing more..

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <25. Rf2 Qe1 26. Bd3 Rg4 27. Qc2 e6 28. Rc1 Qh1+ 29. Ke2 Rg1 30. Qc3 Bg5 31. b3 h6 32. a4 a6 33. Kd2 Rybka Aquarium (0:02.48) +0.65|d15 white stands slightly better>

Yeah, but even here there's still no clear way for White to consolidate and his advantage is not evaluated as very big... Btw, 25.a3/a4 mentioned by Benjamin apparently lead only to a draw after 25...Rg4! e.g. 26.Qc3 Qd5+ 27.Kf2 Rg2+ 28.Ke1 Bg5 29.Nf2 Bh4 30.Qd4 Rxf2 31.Qxh4 Rxf1+ 32.Kxf1 Qh1+ 33.Kf2 Qxa1 34.Qxe7 Rg8 and there's nothing better left for White than to force a perpetual by 35.Qf6+ Rg7 36.Qf8+ etc.; or 26.Qc5 Rh4 27.Rf2 Rg8 28.Bf1 (the only way to defend against both mate threats by Rf4+ and Rh3) 28...Rf4+ 29.exf4 Qxf4+ 30.Ke2 Qd2+ and perpetual.

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