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Veselin Topalov vs Peter Leko
Morelia-Linares (2006), Linares ESP, rd 13, Mar-10
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation. Keres Defense (E32)  ·  1-0



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Given 12 times; par: 105 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 60 OF 60 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-30-10  jackpawn: I must be 'on' today, I found the solution almost immediately.
Sep-30-10  LIFE Master AJ: <Sep-30-10 Patriot: It didn't take me long to see the line 55.Nf6 (threatening mate) Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2, which threatens both 58.Rxb2 and 58.Ne8+. I also looked at 55...Kc8 56.Re8+ Kb7 57.d7 and winning material. It took several minutes of looking for anything black can do for counterplay before accepting the key move 55.Nf6.

This seemed so much easier than yesterday's puzzle.>

I found this one pretty quickly ... the game looked too familiar. (Anyone who has visited my websites would know that I used to follow Linares very closely. One example:

What was yesterday's puzzle? - I must have missed it.

Sep-30-10  LIFE Master AJ: is a newer link/page.
Sep-30-10  Patriot: <<CHESSTTCAMPS>: Missed the game defense 57...Rd1. IMO, looking beyond the initial combination, this requires much more accuracy than yesterday's puzzle.>

IMO, 57...Rd1 isn't really a defense. It still takes care by white to achieve the point, since black continued on, but is technically losing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I had no clue on this one-nice way for white to gain a piece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Looking at this position again the next day, I suppose the objective of the puzzle is to find the "best" line, not necessarily a forced win. That continuation is definitely 55. Nf6 Rxd6 56. Re8+ Kc7 57. Re2. From here, Black's best try to hold the draw is probably 57...Rd1 58. Rxb2 Rg1+ to hold the g-pawn. The alternative 57...Nc4 58. Ne8+ Kc6 59. Nxd6 Kxd6 60. Kxg6 should be an easier win, since the rook can support the pawn advancement much better than the knight. For example, White wins if both sides just decide to push pawns here: 60...b4 61. f5 b3 62. f6 b2 63. Rxb2 and wins. Of course, Black has other options, but the tablebases tell me this position wins, along with all similar positions that can arise if Black sacrifices the exchange. If Black can't turn his pawn into a threat, his drawing chances are probably nonexistent.

After 57...Rd1 58. Rxb2 Rg1+ though, hmm..., this position is not easy, for sure. All you posters saying "...and wins" have a lot more analyzing to do before you can say that with conviction, IMO.

Sep-30-10  azax: I haven't written an analytical post of the puzzle in a while (due to waking up at 7AM giving me a slightly tighter sleep schedule, but here it goes:

Thursday, White to move.

Material: Even.

An obvious solution doesn't jump out to me, so I look for Silman's rules of combination.

1. Vulnerable (exposed, open, stalemated, etc.) King.

Yes, but as white only has 2 pieces, a mate is not imminent. There cannot be a combination based solely off of this.

2. Undefended pieces.

This applies to everything Leko has, including his pawns! The pawns have no hope of ever supporting each other, the king is inactive, and the Knight and Rook are hopelessly uncoordinated.

3. Under-defended pieces.

Not necessary to consider because of #2.

Because of this set of imbalances (where mate looks unlikely but material loss is distinctly possible), a double attack is most likely the way to go.

Now I look to include a mating net into my tactical motifs. The hope is to establish a double attack on a piece and my opponent's king.

I consider 55. Nc5 and 55. Nf6 (removing the d7 square and preparing for a back rank mate-style set-up). However, there are no Rook checks after 55. Nc5, and 55. ...Rd5+ 56. Re5 Rxe5+ 57. fxe5 Nc4 doesn't lead to winning White prospects.

55. Nf6

The threat is Re8# .

55. ...Rxd6 56. Re8+ Kc7 (all forced) 57. Re2

Black's undefended Knight now combines with his poor piece placement and a double attack, and he cannot avoid losing material. Saving the Knight loses to Ne8+, picking up the exchange.

Sep-30-10  BOSTER: "When we are considering a move it is essentially not this move that we are considering. We are merely examing all replies by the opponent and are preparing responses to his reply". This Bronstein's advice is very difficult to implement playing blitz, but for today puzzle before looking at what move we might play I paid attention at black threat Nc4 forking Rook e3 and pawn d6. So,to avoid this fork I'd play
55.Nf6 (threat Re8#) Rxd6
56. Re8+ Kc7 (forced)
57.Re2 (threat double attack Rxb2 and Ne8+) and black is losing the material.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: A residing star burst forth fruits, N idea f6. In d6 perk his labour cement king fork lift read re8+ re2. Veselin candyman baby go gobble up hook N bait eaten. It jangles la treenail 54..rd4 finding 55 seal cling lassitude Kd7?
Sep-30-10  Pygeum Lycopene: more aggressive play for black is 38)...Rc2 39)Rd3-Nb6 40)Ra6-Nc4 41)Ke2-d4 and black can at least draw.
Sep-30-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Patriot>
<IMO, 57...Rd1 isn't really a defense. It still takes care by white to achieve the point, since black continued on, but is technically losing.>

I didn't mean to imply that the game defense is necessarily the best defense; I was just noting that I failed to consider it. My primary point was that this puzzle is considerably harder than yesterday's if you are considering the practical difficulty of bringing home the full point. If anyone thinks otherwise, try playing Crafty from the puzzle position:

IMO, you are a very good endgame technician if you win on the first attempt. Interestingly, I reached a position in my line A.1.a (by a long-winded transposition) and Crafty found an improvement.

Sep-30-10  Ferro: Y TOPALOV?
Sep-30-10  Fezzik: I found the right move, but I disagree that this is just an average puzzle. I wonder how many people could win the position after move 60 against Leko?
Sep-30-10  wals: Beyond my ken.

Black: depth 23 : 6 min :

1. (0.58): 54...Kd7 55.Kxg6 Nc4 56.Rd3 Nxd6[] 57.Nxd6 Rxf4[] 58.Nxb5+ Ke6 59.Re3+ Kd5 60.Nc7+ Kd4 61.Re1 Rf3 62.Ne6+ Kd5 63.Kg5 Rf7 64.Nf4+ Kd4 65.Re2 Ra7 66.Kf6 Ra5 67.Ne6+ Kd3 68.Rh2

No change in Black's deficit until move 58...Rg1+, which increased it to +3.79.

Black: depth 21 :

1. (4.27): 62...Kb6 63.Rd6+[] Kc7 64.Rd2[] Kb6 65.Ng5[] Rf1 66.Rd4[] Rc1 67.Kxg6[] Rc6+ 68.Kg7 Rc7+ 69.Kf6[] Ka5 70.Ne6 Rc3 71.f5 b4 72.Ke7 b3 73.Rd2 Kb4 74.f6 Rf3 75.f7 Kc3 76.Rd1 b2 77.Nd4

2. (5.55): 62...Rg2 63.Rd6+[] Kc7 64.Rxg6[] Rh2+ 65.Kg7[] Rh5 66.Kf6[] b4 67.f5[] Rh8 68.Nc5 Re8 69.Na6+ Kd7 70.Nxb4 Rb8 71.Nd3 Rb5 72.Rg7+ Kd6 73.Kg6 Rd5 74.Rg8 Kd7 75.Nf4 Rd1 76.Rg7+ Kd6 77.f6 Rg1+

White would have to make an horrendous error to lose. 63.Nf2, +4.28, helped that a little.
Better was Ng5, +6.24.

Black: depth 21 : 6 min :
Only available moves were, b4,+5.91,
and Ka3, +6.26.

Black's 70...Kc2, (+10.39),was its last move before capitulating. It was never in the game from move 54 on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: This is a master class in endgame play by both sides, marked by subtle moves, numerous trap attempts, etc, where white is able to keep his only pawn and avoid a rook and knight vs. rook ending.

I noticed that after 63...Kc5, white refused to trade rooks (which turns out would have been a table base draw), even though his pawn is en prise after 64 Rd1.

click for larger view

He knows that his pawn is untouchable because if 64...Rxf4?? 65 Nd3+ wins the rook.

Also, the position after 68 Rc6 is worth noting. While white triple attacks the g pawn, it might be possible for black to make a run for it with 68...b4?!

click for larger view

But white has it covered with 69 Nd3+, forcing either 69....Ka3 or 69...Kb3 (used below) while also protecting his own pawn. Now white can follow up with 70 Rb6, winning the g pawn.

click for larger view

Sep-30-10  Patriot: <CHESSTTCAMPS>

Sorry, I was suggesting that it's not necessary to foresee 57...Rd1 because it isn't exactly counterplay. It's possible the game can get complicated because of the b-pawn and you could be right that bringing home the point is another story. After all, Leko decided to play on until move 71.

Sep-30-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: A line I had trouble with was 55.Nf6 Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2 Nc4 58.Ne8+ Kc6 59.Nxd6 Nxd6 (a few kibitzers preferred 59... Kxd6 here) 60.Kxg6 b4 giving the following position:

click for larger view

The plan for defense is to sac the N for the f-pawn (e.g. when it reaches f7) in a position where black's king can escort the b-pawn to force a draw. I reached the above position twice against Chessmaster (ending in draws) before I found 60.Re5! Cutting off the black king seems to be the key to winning in this variation.

Sep-30-10  rapidcitychess: Testing <dzechiel>'s method on writing out the puzzle...

White to play
Topalov vs Leko

click for larger view


Black's weak back rank suggests the move
55.Nf6! Δ 56.Re8#
A.55...Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2! And it's over.
B. 55...Kc8 56.d7+
B.1 56...Kd8 57.Re8+ Kc7 58.Rc8+
B.2 56...Kb7 57.Re8!

From the looks of it, it's pretty good.

Sep-30-10  Eduardo Leon: I got 55.♘f6! ♖xd6 56.♖e8+ ♔c7 57.♖e2, winning either the knight or the exchange. However, after seeing how the game followed, I think it was important to analyze further, proving white could neutralize all black's attempts to capture white's remaining pawn. White's 60.♘e4, 61.♖b4 and 62.♖d4 were crucial, consolidating his defense of the pawn. 64.♖d1 was elegant, but it is 63.♘f2! which deserves the exclamation point, since it made 64.♖d1 (and the subsequent 65.♘d3+ and 71.♘d3) possible in first place.

Puzzle not solved.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Very interesting... I tried playing out the endgame vs Crafty using the link provided by <CHESSTTCAMPS>, and Crafty immediately surprised me after 57. Re2 with 57...Rxf6!? I don't think anyone has mentioned this move yet. After 57...Rxf6 58. Kxf6 Nd3 59. Kg5 Kc6 60. Rd2 Nb4 61. Kxg6 Nd5 62. f5 b4, and the game ended up a draw. So, I check a tablebase and learned that 62. Kf5, 62. Rc2, and 62. Kg5 are sufficient to win, but not the natural pawn push 62. f5? This is quite a difficult position!
Sep-30-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <This is quite a difficult position!> Amen!
Sep-30-10  Eduardo Leon: <OBIT>, I think 55.♘f6 ♖xd6 56.♖e8+ ♔c7 57.♖e2 ♖xf6 58.♔xf6 ♘d3 59.<♖e4!> does the trick.
Sep-30-10  Achilles87: Anyone rate 55. Nc5
Oct-01-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Eduardo Leon: <OBIT>, I think 55.f6 Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2 Rxf6 58.Kxf6 Nd3 59.<Re4!> does the trick.>

This was the first thing I tried. After 59... Kc6 60.Rd4 Nf2! I was unable to win. Position after 60... Nf2:

click for larger view

Try playing the Crafty link and if you can win, please post your line.

Oct-17-10  David2009: <CHESSTTCAMPS [snip] Try playing the Crafty link and if you can win, please post your line.>

Coming to the puzzle and Crafty End Game Trainer link at <CHESSTTCAMPS>' suggestion when back from holiday, I started out like everyone else with 55.Nf6 Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2 then57...Rxf6 58.Kxf6 Nd3 59.Rc2+ Kb6 60.Kg5 Nb4 61.Rd2 Kc5 62.Kxg6 Nd5 to reach

click for larger view

(Topalov vs Leko 2006 with 57 Rxf6, 63?) Now what? As <OBIT> found in a similar position, the natural 63.f5 only draws. Instead one attacks/traps the N with the Pawns still on the board: 63.Kf5 b4 64.Ke5 Ne7 65.Rc2+ Kb5 66.Rc7 Ng8 67.Rg7 Nh6 68.Kf6 b3 69.Kg5 (a human player would resign here; Crafty fights on) Nf7+ 70.Rxf7 Kb6 71.Rf8 Kb7 72.Re8 b2 73.Re1 winning easily. Crafty link to the above position:

As I am coming to this late at night, I used silicon help to find this solution - see CHESSTTCAMPS chessforum

<OBIT: Very interesting... I tried playing out the endgame vs Crafty using the link provided by <CHESSTTCAMPS>, and Crafty immediately surprised me after 57. Re2 with 57...Rxf6!? I don't think anyone has mentioned this move yet. After 57...Rxf6 58. Kxf6 Nd3 59. Kg5 Kc6 60. Rd2 Nb4 61. Kxg6 Nd5 62. f5 b4, and the game ended up a draw. So, I check a tablebase and learned that 62. Kf5, 62. Rc2, and 62. Kg5 are sufficient to win, but not the natural pawn push 62. f5? This is quite a difficult position!>

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