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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik
"One Knight Stand" (game of the day May-11-2007)
Dortmund Sparkassen (2001), Dortmund GER, rd 1, Jul-12
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Nimzo-English Opening (A17)  ·  0-1



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Given 26 times; par: 86 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-25-06  who: A good example of the power of the outside passed pawn.
Apr-26-06  RodSerling: Why would a GM allow this type of endgame formation to appear?
Apr-26-06  euripides: <rod> good question. I think if white plays 34 Kf1, for instance, Black may be able to play Nd3-c1 and after White's b4 cxb4 axb4 he will get a passed a pawn. So Topalov chose to allow the passed pawn on the same side as his king instead. He could keep the knght out of c1 by playing Ne2 or Nb1, but the difference in the activity of the knights looks ominous as Black can make a break with f4. But it's not trivial.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <euripides> I think that Topalov defended very well until move 47 which was a blunder. The idea was good but it was not the good square. Not easy to find on the board of course, maybe with time pressure.

47. Na4? <47. Nd7 Nb3 48. Kg6 Ke4 49. Kf6 Kd4 50. Ne5 a4 51. Nd7 Kxc4 52. Nb6+ Kd4 (52... Kb5 53. Nd5 Nd4 54. Nc3+ Ka5 55. Ke5 Nb5 56. Nxa4! c4 57. Nc3!=) 53. Kf5 c4 54. Nxa4 Nc1 55. Kf4 Nd3+ 56. Kf3 Nb2 57. Nb6 c3 58. Ke2=.> Ne4 <48. Kg6 Ke5 49. Kf7 Kd4 50. Ke6 (50. Nb6 Nd6+) Kxc4 51. Ke5 Kb3! wins.> 0-1

Sep-07-06  euripides: <mateo> Interesting. So the point is that Nd7 keeps the Black king from using e5 to shoulder off the White king ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <euripides> In my opinion, the point is that on d7 the Black Knight can go to e5, with some new defensive resources, meanwhile in the game actually played, after 47. Na4, the White Knight is completely useless. This game is very interesting when you consider both players will meet each other in Elista, as they do know very well their respectives strong and "weak" (so to speak!) points. Could it be that Topalov could err when he has to defend accurately in simplified endings? I have not the answer. This is just a question.
May-11-07  evenua: What a kool pun! lol
May-11-07  Sibahi: I don't see how this is won ...
May-11-07  Manic: <Sibahi> the black king will easily capture both of white's pawns while black can use his knight to defend his pawns, since the white knight cannot manouevre in time to hit the a pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: In the fullness of time,black will capture both of whites pawns and force a win with his two pawns-with or without the knights being present. If white sacs the knight for the c-pawn,the a-pawn will still come home.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Why do English Opening games always look like a mish-mosh?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: <Kevin86> I like your end game knowledge. Keep it up!
May-11-07  YouRang: Great long range planning by Kramnik. He sees the winning ending with just slight positional advantages, and bring it home.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: It seems white's 20th move was a positional mistake. It allows black to advance his pawns, without any real gain for white.
Dec-06-09  remolino: The loosing move appears to be 34. g4 which allows Black to develop an outside passed h pawn, which will divert the king away from the center. Seems like a blunder to exchange a center pawn for a flank pawn in such an ending at GM play.
Jan-05-17  Saniyat24: Oh the black pawns on White's King-side after Black's 26th move...
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the 1st round; Topalov recovered to finish equal first with Kramnik at +3. Topalov rearely plays the English with White; with 4 Qb3 he chose a system that Kramnik has used several times with White. After 13 e3 Kramnik felt that Black already had a small edge.

Kramnik after 31..Nxd7:
"Now an interesting endgame has arisen, which is very difficult to defend for White, most of all because of the pawn on a3. Had it sill been on a2, White's defensive chances would have been much better."

<remolino: The loosing move appears to be 34. g4 which allows Black to develop an outside passed h pawn, which will divert the king away from the center. Seems like a blunder to exchange a center pawn for a flank pawn in such an ending at GM play.>

Kramnik gives 34 Nb5..a5 35 a4..Nf3 36 g4..Nd2 37 Nd6+..Ke6 38 Nxf5..Nxb3 39 Nxh6..Nd2 40 Nf5..Nxc4 and White will likely not survive.

A couple of commentators including Benko offered a drawing line: 47 Nd7..Nb3 48 Kg6..Ke4 49 Kf6..Kd4 50 Ne5..Kc3 51 Ke6..a4 52 Kd5..Kb2 53 Kc6..Kxa3 54 Kb5. Kramnik does not mention this line - I would be interested in hearing his opinion of it.

" always gives you pleasure if you manage to beat a strong player, especially with black, despite the fact that he has made no obvious mistakes."

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