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Annotations v.08: Wijk aan Zee
Compiled by chessmoron
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#2: <1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4> The safe line begins 6 Bxf6 Qxf6 7 e3. <6dxc4 7 e4 g5 8 Bg3 b5 9 Be2 Bb7 10 0-0 Nbd7 11 Ne5 Bg7> In this popular position, White unveils a speculative new idea. <12 Nxf7!? Kxf7 13 e5 Nd5 14 Ne4> Can White really have enough compensation for the Knight? Black's defense is undeniably difficult. <14Ke7> If 14 . . . Kg8, White's Queen invades by the plausible sequence 15 Nd6 Qb6 16 Bh5 Rf8 17 Qg4 Nc7 18 Qe4 Ba8 19 Qg6. Then 19 . . . Qxd4? loses to 20 Nc8! Qc5 21 Rad1 Nb6 22 Rd8, but 19 . . . Rh7 20 Bg4 Kh8 is far from clear. <15 Nd6 Qb6 16 Bg4 Raf8 17 Qc2 Qxd4?> Poor. A day later, Ljubojevich succeeded with 17 . . . Rhg8 against Timman. Critical appears 18 Rfd1 Ba8 19 Qg6 Nc7 20 Bh5 (threatening 21 Nc8+) Qb8. <18 Qg6 Qxg4 19 Qxg7+ Kd8 20 Nxb7+ Kc8 21 a4 b4 22 Rac1> White has a dangerous initiative at the cheap cost of one pawn. <22c3 23 bxc3 b3> Rightly fearing 23 . . . bxc3 24 Rb1. Nor is 23 . . . Nxc3 24 Nd6+ Kc7 25 h3 satisfactory for Black, as 25 . . . Qd4 26 Rfd1! Qxd1+ (not 26 . . . Nxd1? 27 Nb5+) 27 Rxd1 Nxd1 lets White break through with 28 Ne4 Kd8 29 Nf6. <24 c4> Welcoming 24 . . . Nf4 25 Rfd1. <24Rfg8 25 Nd6+ Kc7 26 Qf7 Rf8 27 cxd5?!> Topalov cannot refrain from a Queen sacrifice against his nemesis, but the simpler 27 h3! would clinch victory. <27Rxf7 28 Rxc6+ Kb8 29 Nxf7 Re8?> Black should fight back with 29 . . . Qe2!, although 30 Rc3 (not 30 Nxh8? because of 30 . . . Qxf1+ 31 Kxf1 b2) b2 31 Rb3+ Ka8 32 Nxh8 Nc5 33 Rxb2 keeps White on top. <30 Nd6 Rh8 31 Rc4 Qe2 32 dxe6 Nb6> Now White can parry 32 . . . b2 by 33 Rb4+ Ka8 34 Rb1. <33 Rb4 Ka8 34 e7 Nd5 35 Rxb3 Nxe7 36 Rfb1> Black is doomed. <Nd5 37 h3 h5 38 Nf7! Rc8 39 e6 a6 40 Nxg5 h4 41 Bd6 Rg8 42 R3b2 Qd3 43 e7 Nf6 44 Be5 Nd7 45 Ne6, 1-0.>

#3: <1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6> A flexible order of moves, typical of modern games. Probably Black hopes for 3 Nc3 Bb4, the Nimzo-Indian Defense. <3 g3> Inviting 3 . . . d5, the Catalan Opening. <3c5 4 Nf3> Declining the invitation to a Modern Benoni, 4 d5. <4cxd4 5 Nxd4 d5 6 Bg2 e5> Arriving at a hybrid of the English Opening and the Catalan. <7 Nf3 d4 8 0-0 Nc6 9 e3 d3> Weak or strong? The game depends on the fate of the passed pawn. <10 Nc3 Bb4 11 Bd2 0-0 12 a3 Bxc3 13 Bxc3 Ne4!?> A daring new idea. The natural 13 . . . Re8 14 b4 e4 supports the d-pawn, but 15 Nd2 Bf5 16 f3 strikes back, with equality. <14 Bxe5> Not 14 Nxe5?? Nxc3 15 Nxc6 because 15 . . . Ne2+! gains a piece. <14Bg4 15 Bd4> Accepting the challenge. Black would not mind 15 h3 Bxf3 16 Bxf3 Nxf2 17 Rxf2 Nxe5 18 Bxb7 Rb8 19 Bd5 Qg5. <15Ng5 16 Bc3 Rc8> Patient. Another idea is 16 . . . Re8 17 b4 d2!?, intending 18 . . . Qd3. <17 b4 Re8 18 h4> The only way to break the pin. Instead, 18 Rc1? d2 19 Rc2? drops material to 19 . . . Qd3, while 18 Ra2 Qd7 19 Rd2 Red8 gives Black the annoying threat of 20 . . . Ne4. <18Ne4 19 Bb2 Qd7 20 Qc1> As 20 Qa4?! Bxf3 21 Bxf3 Nd2 costs the exchange. <20d2 21 Qc2 Bf5> More bark than bite. Black should prefer 21 . . . Rcd8 22 b5 Qf5!, when 23 bxc6? Bxf3 24 Bxf3 Qxf3 25 cxb7? loses to 25 . . . Nxg3! 26 fxg3 Qxg3+ 27 Kh1 Qxh4+ 28 Kg2 Rxe3. The correct 23 Ng5! d1Q 24 Raxd1 Bxd1 25 Qb1! keeps chances about even. <22 Qb3> Not bad, but 22 Rfd1! calls Black's bluff, as she cannot stand 22 . . . Nxg3? 23 Qxd2 Qxd2 24 Nxd2. Also 22 Rfd1! Bg4 23 Nxd2 Bxd1 24 Rxd1 favors White. <22Be6 23 Qc2> Even 23 Nxd2! Nxd2 24 Qc3 f6 25 Rad1 Red8 26 Bc1 looks promising. <Bf5 24 Qa4 Qd3 25 b5 Nd8 26 Qxa7> Computer-approved pawn snatching. White may trade Queens with 27 Qd4. <26Ne6 27 g4!?> Sharper, but not necessarily stronger, than 27 Rad1 N6c5 28 Bd4. <27Bxg4 28 Ne5 Qc2 29 Nxg4 Qxb2 30 Bxe4 Rxc4 31 Bf3??> Spoiling an outstanding defense. With 31 Rab1! Rc1 32 Qa4 Qc3 33 Bf3, White stops the d-pawn. However, 33 . . . Rc8 34 Qb3 h5 35 Nh2 Qf6, threatening 36 . . . Qg6+, remains murky. <31Rc1 32 Raxc1 dxc1Q 33 Rxc1 Qxc1+> The d-pawn claims a Rook, and Black emerges with a clear advantage. <34 Kg2 h5 35 Nh2> Or 35 Ne5 Qc7 36 Nd3 Qc4, and Black's pieces cooperate well. <35Nc5 36 Bxb7?! Qc2> The pawn at f2 is the best target. <37 Bd5> If 37 Nf3 Nd3 38 e4, Black makes progress with 38 . . . Qc7! 39 Qe3 Nf4+ 40 Kg1 Qxb7 41 Qxf4 Rxe4. <37Qg6+ 38 Kh1> As 38 Kf1 runs into 38 . . . Qd3+ 39 Kg1 Qxd5. <38Nd3 39 Nf3> Or 39 e4 Nf4. <Nxf2+ 40 Kh2 Ng4+, 0-1.>

#1
Aronian vs Topalov, 2008 
(D80) Grunfeld, 62 moves, 1-0

#2
Topalov vs Kramnik, 2008 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 45 moves, 1-0

#3
Gelfand vs J Polgar, 2008 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 40 moves, 0-1

3 games

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