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Viswanathan Anand vs Veselin Topalov
"The Knight b4" (game of the day Jul-02-2010)
Anand - Topalov World Championship Match (2010), Sofia BUL, rd 2, Apr-25
Catalan Opening: Open Defense (E04)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 44 OF 44 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-01-10  Jaburu: The move 15.Qa3 develops the white plan based in the exploration of the d4-pawn superextended and in the creation of alternative objectives in queen side.
May-08-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: If anybody would show me this game for the guess who has played it, I would bet that white was Kramnik. Excellent exercise of good old deep and yet crystal clear positional chess!
May-15-10  VaselineTopLove: <ajile: <Richard Taylor: You are wrong. You can guarantee nothing. I think Anand deliberately played into the position as he knew it didn't favour Topalov.>

Anand took a positional risk, knowing well that Topalov is weaker in this aspect of the game and most likely would not have been able to find the right continuation, just as Topalov takes many tactical risks when he plays aggressively. Topalov too applies the same psychology - hoping that his opponent would become shaky, by his fast and aggressive play, even if the moves may not be of the best quality.

Topalov wouldn't obviously repeat many of the moves he played, even if he had won those games, because now we know they can be refuted.

May-15-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Anand on this game:

<In fact, I misplayed the opening in the 2nd game as well [as in game 1], so he was doing fine at some point; but then when he played [25]Ne3 I suddenly got a chance and I was very happy to grab it and equalize the score.> (from the Europe-Echecs interview, http://www.europe-echecs.com/actual...)

[specifically on 15.Qa3]: <Again [as in game 1] I sort of slightly mixed up my preparation [something about wanting to play Qa3 in a different moment], at least this one went well... it's a logical idea, try to free the d6 square and so on, but again I sort of fumbled my execution... that's why it was a very nice bonus when I won this game.> (from the chessvibes interview, http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/i...)

May-15-10  Kaspy2: wow ! great tournament anyway!

I once saw 'em both in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, while they still upcoming yet world class players.

May-15-10  Ulhumbrus: Anand said that he mixed up his preparation slightly and had wanted actually to play the move 15 Qa3 at a different moment.

A partial quote from Anish Giri's comment on 15 Qa3 on the chess base website is <15.Rfd1! Is the move I like most. Now Black doesn't have a very useful move...15...Re8!? or; 15...h6 are maybe the best moves, but White can then try Qa3 or ...>

Anand's comments and Giri's comments taken together suggest that Anand had planned originally to play the move Qa3 at move 16, after the moves 15 Rfd1 Re8 or 15 Rfd1 h6 and now 16 Qa3.

May-16-10  ScorpionC: What if 15.Qa3 has a very simple explanation that everybody missed?

What if 15.Qa3 is based on a concept: "Trade Queens if you control an open file with both rooks as without Queens it's more difficult for opponnet to trade rooks through that file"?

As a "prove" you can see that attempt to trade rooks through that file - 20..Rc8 would lose the game in 3 moves due to tactic! Of course I never heard of a such concept.
What do you think?

May-16-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Thanks <Eyal>, <Ulhumbrus>, the 15.Qa3? mystery starts to be getting solved. Can't have been a good feeling for Anand to mix up his preparation again after the game 1 fiasco.
May-17-10  Ulhumbrus: <acirce: Thanks <Eyal>, <Ulhumbrus>, the 15.Qa3? mystery starts to be getting solved. Can't have been a good feeling for Anand to mix up his preparation again after the game 1 fiasco.> If Anand mixed up his move order not only in game one but in game two as well, this is what I suggest.

Anand began the Sofia match under a handicap, even if he was not aware of the handicap himself. He had to make a forty hour trip by minibus, and he is no longer so young, he happens to be forty years of age. The Bulgarians then opposed his application for a three day adjournment. Anand said himself that he mixed his move order up not just in game one but in game two as well. This suggests that during games one and two at the very least, and to some extent throughout the match Anand was, to some extent, handicapped and not playing at full strength, and that this was caused by the Bulgarians' refusal of a three day postponement.

This suggests that if Anand had suffered no such handicap, and if Anand had won his Sofia 2010 match with the same margin with which he won against Kramnik, it would not have been a surprising result.

May-18-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <15.Qa3?! [...] 15.Rfd1! Is the move I like most. Now Black doesn't have a very useful move, since 15...b6 falls into (15...Nc5 16.Nxc5 Bxc5 17.Ne5 should also be slightly better.; 15...Re8!? or; 15...h6 are maybe the best moves, <but White can then try Qa3> or improve slowly with let's say Rc2.) 16.Bb4! Nc5 <17.Qa3> Bb7 (17...Nxb4 18.Nxb4 Bb7 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Rxd4) 18.Bxd5! Bxd5 19.Nxb6! Bxb6 20.Rxc5! Bxc5 21.Bxc5 Qb7 22.Bxf8 Rxf8 23.Qb4 With advantage for White.> (Giri on chessbase)

Well, In his playchess interview with Frederic Frierdel and Jan Gustafsson Anand indeed confirms that according to the prep he was supposed to play Rfd1 first and Qa3 only later. As for Giri, it's even possible that he was privy to Anand's prep in this specific line, since according to Anand Giri helped him as a training partner to test some opening ideas before the match.

May-21-10  Ulhumbrus: Giri's comment on the move 25..Ne3 is <25...Ne3? Now the real mistake comes. I think Topalov got tired of making moves without any idea. He wanted to force things. However there was another way... 25...Ng4! Fits perfectly with h5. If Topalov could have played it, I would have to give h5 an exclamation mark! 26.Bf3 (26.Rxd4 Ba7! is the point. Now White would be in trouble.) 26...e5! (26...Ba7!? is not human, but not a bad move either.) 27.fxe5 Nxe5 28.Nxe5 Bxe5 29.Kf1 should be aroung equal, with Black having no problems after (29.Bxh5 d3! 30.exd3 Ne7 ) 29...h4! >

However after 25...Ng4 26 Bf3 e5 27 fxe5 Nxe5 28 Nxe5 Bxe5 29 Kf1 h4 does Black in fact equalize? On 30 gxh4 Bxh2 31 Rxd4 has become possible. On 30 gxh4 Ne3+ 31 Bxe3 dxe3 32 Rxb6 Bxh2 33 Rb5! goes after Black's a pawn, and that is not all. Following the capture Rxa5, there is a potential theat of Ra7 and Bd5.

Suppose Black tries to find the right way- if there can be said to be a right way- to return the pawn so as to deprive White of his bishop pair. On 24....Ng4 ( instead of 24..h5) 25 Rc1-c4 Ng4-e3 26 Rxd3 Nxg2 27 Kxg2 White has the better of it, but the question is whether Black can save the game.

Jun-11-10  Ulhumbrus: Giri's comment on the move 25..Ne3 is <25...Ne3? Now the real mistake comes. I think Topalov got tired of making moves without any idea. He wanted to force things. However there was another way... 25...Ng4! Fits perfectly with h5. If Topalov could have played it, I would have to give h5 an exclamation mark! 26.Bf3 (26.Rxd4 Ba7! is the point. Now White would be in trouble.) 26...e5! (26...Ba7!? is not human, but not a bad move either.) 27.fxe5 Nxe5 28.Nxe5 Bxe5 29.Kf1 should be aroung equal, with Black having no problems after (29.Bxh5 d3! 30.exd3 Ne7 ) 29...h4! >

However after 25...Ng4 26 Bf3 e5 27 fxe5 Nxe5 28 Nxe5 Bxe5 29 Kf1 h4 does Black in fact equalize? On 30 gxh4 Bxh2 31 Rxd4 has become possible. On 30 gxh4 Ne3+ 31 Bxe3 dxe3 32 Rxb6 Bxh2 33 Rb5! goes after Black's a pawn, and that is not all. Following the capture Rxa5, there is a potential theat of Ra7 and Bd5.

Suppose Black tries to find the right way- if there can be said to be a right way- to return the pawn so as to deprive White of his bishop pair. On 24....Ng4 ( instead of 24..h5) 25 Rc1-c4 Ng4-e3 26 Rxd4 Nxg2 27 Kxg2 White has the better of it, but the question is whether Black can save the game all the same.

Jul-02-10  David2009: "The Knight b4" (game of the day Jul-02-10): A N reaches b4 for the first and only time at move 35


click for larger view

whereupon it was promptly captured by Black who, however, resigned nine moves later: 35.Nb4 Bxb4 36.axb4 Nd5 37.b5 Raxa4 38.Rxa4 Rxa4 39.Bxd5 exd5 40.b6 Ra8 41.b7 Rb8 42.Kf3 d4 43.Ke4 1-0

Was the point of the pun in the GOTD title that Black would have done better by not capturing? Crafty End Game Trainer defending as Black thinks so preferring 35...Rad2. Play might continue 36.Rb5 (preparing 37. Rxe3) Rc4 37.Rxe3 Rc5 38.Rxc5 Bxc5 39.Rc3 Bb6 40.Nc6


click for larger view

and White is very comfortable (of course there might have been better moves for both sides). Crafty nowsacrifices a piece for three Pawns starting 40...Nd5 41.Bxd5 Rxe2+ 42.Kf1 Rf2+ 43.Ke1 exd5 44.a5 Bxa5 45.Nxa5 Rxh2 46.Nc6 Kg7 (to forestall Ne7+)


click for larger view

(White to play) and winning this ending against Crafty is not as easy as it looks.

Crafty EGT on-line link to the first diagram:
http://www.chessvideos.tv/endgame-t... Have fun!

Jul-02-10  SetNoEscapeOn: I like the pun.
Jul-02-10  SetNoEscapeOn: <Was the point of the pun in the GOTD title that Black would have done better by not capturing?>

I think the point is that the night before, Anand had just played Topalov vs Anand, 2010. That was the backdrop for this game.

Jul-02-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I played this one to a conclusion where the kings are in opposition and white can check the king away and take the rook.
Jul-02-10  WhiteRook48: apparently 15 Qa3 flubbed white's moves
Jul-02-10  cuppajoe: Topalov: "Treat me like you did the night before [i.e. walk directly into one of the traps I found during my extensive opening preparation]."

Paul: "Ooooooh, like the night before."

George: [Guitar riff]

Jul-02-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Catalan and 15.Qa3 swapping off queens is a true insight, blacks d4 weakens. Viswans rooks fly reeling wings b6 bishop f3 corner off the exchange threat. Good knight dog, bone sniffs out in b4 rounding out white's neck. Take a pause in thought totally radical idea. Animal instincts mind body soul Nb4 jives it zestfully in accordance belly up Topalov hooks out.
Jul-02-10  LarsenBentYou: Well I was watching the game as it happened, and all the commentators were labeling 15.Qa3 with ? and ?? including criticism from Anish Giri. However, since it won the game, now it seems brilliant. Strange how the outcome affects the quality of the move. Personally, I thought Anand had finally tipped off his rocker, but I guess that's why I'm not a Super GM :D
Jul-02-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: Qa3 is one of the most interesting moves ever played in a WC match. I was dumbfounded at the time, could not explain it. Topalov must have been equally confused. Computers were blowing up their motherboards!
Jul-02-10  bharatiy: but Anand has said that Qa3 was wrong move order(mistake? like in game 1 when he mixed order of moves), so for him this is what he had not planned. So misplan helped him it seems.
Jul-03-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Yup, but turns out it had a simple explanation - for those who missed it, Anand just couldn't remember his preparation. More specifically, where to play Qa3, just like with ..Kf7 in game 1.
Apr-04-13  RookFile: An amazing game. I certainly don't have the slightest idea what was going on here.
Nov-22-13  Whitehat1963: High-level look at the Opening of the Day. Excellent game!
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