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Veselin Topalov vs Alexander Morozevich
14th Amber Tournament: Rapid (2005) (rapid), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 7, Mar-26
Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit. Normal Line (D08)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-26-05  Hidden Skillz: albin once again does it ^^
Mar-26-05  azaris: More like Moro again hypnotizing his opponents to blunder in the endgame. 29. Rxa2 Rxe5 appears to hold.
Mar-26-05  iron maiden: Indeed, looks like Topalov missed the opportunity to establish opposite-colored bishops. It's to be expected, I guess, since he was virtually out of time at that point.
Mar-27-05  patzer2: Topalov could have had a win after Morozevich castled into a weakened castled position with 17...0-0-0? 18. Ba7! Qg4 (better is 18...Rxd3!? 19. Qxd3 ) <19. Na4!.>

However, Topalov strayed with a less than best move in <19. e4,> and missed the winning followup 19.Na4! Rxd3 20.Nb6+ Kd8 21.Qxd3+ Nd6 22. Bb8! . Without the time pressure of a rapid game, I suspect Topalov would have found this winning line.

Mar-27-05  patzer2: Black's <21...Nxe3!> turns out to be a strong defensive move, turning the game from a White advantage to at least equality for Black. The alternative 21...Qg4? 22.Be2 Nxe3 23.Bxg4 Nxc2 24.Nxe6 fxe6 25.Bxe6 allows White to win.

It appears White would have held after <27.Nc6!> Bc4 28.Bd3 Bd5 29.f6 gxf6 30.Bf5+ Be6 31.Be4 Bc4 32.Ra1 Bc5+ 33.Kg2 Re8 34.Bf5+ Kb7 35.Nxa5+ bxa5 36.Bxc5 Re5 37.Bxh7 Rxc5 38.Rxa5 Bxb5 39.Be4+ Kb6 40.Ra2= (=0.13 @ 15 depth move-by-move with Fritz 8).

I'm not sure <azaris> if <29. Rxa2!?> holds. It looks promising, and is White's best try in the position, but when I played it out with Fritz 8 White won. This possibility makes me suspicious that 29. Rxa2!? may be just a bit too late to hold the draw:

29.Rxa2!? Rxe5 30.f6 gxf6 31.Bxh7 Kb7 32.Bxb6 Kxb6 33.Bd3 f5 34.Kg2 Re3 35.Bf1 Ra3 36.Rxa3 Bxa3 37.Bc4 a4 38.Kf3 Kc5 39.Bxf7 Kxb5 40.Kf4 c5 41.Ba2 c4 42.Ke3 Kb4 43.Kd2 Bb2 44.Bb1 Bd4 45.Kc2 a3 46.Ba2 Bg1 47.h4 Bf2 48.h5 Bxg3 49.h6 Be5–+ (-10.31 based on a move-by-move with Fritz 8 @ 16 depth)

However, I wouldn't be surprised if there is not an improvement in here to hold the draw with 29. Rxa2!? for White.

Dec-22-05  Whitehat1963: Crazy game.
Dec-31-05  azaris: Maybe instead of 36.Rxa3 White can avoid the exchange of rooks, keep his rook on the 2nd rank, put his bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal to keep the black king at bay, and use the king to protect his pawns. Worth investigating.
Sep-22-06  kellmano: What an excellent game, for 16 moves, Topa has an extra bishop, though it may as well not be on the board.
Mar-03-07  shintaro go: I didn't know Albin Countergambit is still played at top level chess. I'm glad to see that it still works despite its relative anonymity with other openings. Albin provides entertaining chess no doubt.
Jan-01-08  arnaud1959: One of those crazy openings where either side says:"Take my pawn" "No thanks, take mine" "No,No take mine".... Something that you can expect in a Topalov-Morozevich game.
Mar-29-08  sallom89: < arnaud1959: One of those crazy openings where either side says:"Take my pawn" "No thanks, take mine" "No,No take mine".... Something that you can expect in a Topalov-Morozevich game.>

i hate those kinds of openings :p

Aug-29-09  sreeskamp: Power to the bishops
Aug-29-09  WhiteRook48: well there's also King's Gambit Declined with Falkbeer: 1 e4 e5 2 f4 d5...
Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: <sallom89: i hate those kinds of openings :p> So you don' participate in The Albin thematic challenge, do you?
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: no they don't hood...
the simple answer is Morozevich has done his homework in the Albin.

< shintaro go: I didn't know Albin Countergambit is still played at top level chess. >

in blitz and rapid, Moro uses it as a weapon. It's a pet line of his. it's not an opening for classical time control, and because of that it's less explored than the more solid openings, so it makes a good ace in the hole opening for quickies.

see also..
Loek van Wely vs Alexander Morozevich
Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2008) · Queen's Gambit Declined: Albin Countergambit. Alapin Variation (D08) · 0-1

Jul-21-23  generror: This crazy blitz game is a nice example of what I'd call the Morozevich variation of the Albin Countergambit. <5.a3 Nge7>. <5.a3> has only become popular in the past decade or so, although Lasker and Karpov used it when someone played the Albin against them. <5...Nge7> which to me looks very logical (allowing either <...Ng6> to e5-pawn or <...Nf5> to defend the d4-pawn), has barely been played before (first in H I Woolverton vs D B Pritchard, 1959 -- great game!), but since Moro used it in this game and others, it seems to have become the main variation, and Stockfish approves (together with <5...g6> and <5...a5>).

But I not only Moro did his homework, but Topalov too, because up to move 13, both play with perfect accuracy, which is no mean feat in this variation. The game shows another nice property of <5.a3>, that it allows you grab space on the queenside, especially useful because Black often chooses to castles long in the Albin, which rarely turns out to be a good idea in this variation.

<13.Bd3?!> is the first inaccuracy, if not mistake, where Stockfish's eval drops from +1 to 0; here <13.Nd2> is the only good move which, similar to <5...Nge7>, allows White to be flexible and play either <Nb3> and <Nf3>, depending on Black's further move.

As mentioned above by <patzer2>, Topalov would probably have had an easy win if he had found <19.Na4!> (followed by <20.Nb6+>), but he would also be winning with <20.Nf2! Qf6 21.Be4!>, followed by <22.Rfd1>. Instead, he allows Morozevich to essentially grabbing a pawn and exchange queens with <21...Nxe3!>. Sure, Moro loses the knight this way, but after <23...b6> White's bishop doesn't amount to much, and after Moro forces a rook trade, black's bishop pair wins the day.

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