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Veselin Topalov vs Ruslan Ponomariov
MTel Masters (2006), Sofia BUL, rd 8, May-19
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-09-06  MagnaPsygnosis: <Marvol> Duh I know... Well anyway

I think they should humiliate HYDRA by let him go one-on-one with the Great one ... RYBKA 64bit

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: < May-20-06
< <Mateo:> According to Kasparov, 29... f6 wins for Black. If 30. Kh2 (with the idea 31. Bg8) then 30... d5. >

Then it seems that, according to Kasparov, 31... Rg8 holds the ground and that 31... Nd4 is a sharper defence.>

Do you remember where you saw this? (A link would be greatly appreciated!) ---> Thanks. (In advance.)

BTW, this game is briefly annotated on my website.

Jul-15-18  Helios727: Did Black sacrifice his Queen because of the threat of 34. Bb1 ?
Jul-15-18  ChessHigherCat: I accidentally saw the first move, so I deprived myself of a chance to prove my incompetence, but the idea is fairly simple IN RETROSPECT:

If only we could clear the diagonal by removing the e3 pawn and the knight on e4, then Bb1 would threaten inevitable checkmate, without even bothering to take the queen. The trick is to get rid of the knight with a forcing move that prevents black from playing f5 (Nxf6 fits the bill, threatening an Arabian mate and preventing f5) followed by e4 and there you have it.

The only way to prevent the combo was therefore 33. Qxa2, and Pomo managed to stumble on for another 33 moves after that.

Long live GM Topalov!

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: This was so hard that even the solution was difficult--took some time to figure out why White's 33rd move proved decisive. The threat is 34.Bb1!!, and that explains why White first had to play 31.Kh2.
Jul-15-18  yadasampati: <Helios727 <Did Black sacrifice his Queen because of the threat of 34. Bb1 ?>>

Obviously, yes.

Jul-15-18  Walter Glattke: The other way was 32.-Bxd4 33.Bb1 f5 34.Rxa5 Bxb2 35.Bxf5 Rxf5 36.Qxf5 c4, but surely no pawn transformation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nasty discovered attack.
Jul-15-18  Mayankk: So beautiful. I had some ideas on using my a2 Bishop for a discovered attack on the unguarded Black queen, and the fact that Black queen didn’t have a check to save itself, since White King was comfortably hiding at h2. But I didn’t notice d4 - needs more creativity than I can muster.
Jul-15-18  agb2002: White has a bishop for a rook and two pawns.

Black threatens dxe4 and Nd4-b3.

The first idea that comes to mind is 32.Bxd5 Qxa1 33.Nxf6 Bxf6 (33... Kg7 34.Qh6+ Kg(h)8 35.Qxh7#) 34.Be4 Qg1+ 35.Kxg1 Bd4+ 36.Kh2 f5 36.Bxf5 Rxf5 37.Qxf5 Bxb2 38.Qxc5 Rxd3? 39.Qf8#.

However, Black has 32... Rxd5. This suggests 32.Ng5 fxg5 33.Bxd5:

A) 32... Qxa1 33.Be5+

A.1) 33... f6 34.Be4 and mate in three.

A.2) 33... Kg8 34.Qh6 and mate in three.

B) 32... Rxd5 33.Rxa5

B.1) 33... gxf4 34.Qxd5 + - [Q vs b+n+p].

B.2) 33... Rxd3 34.Bxg5 + /- [Q vs r+n+p] (34... Rd5 35.Bf6+ Bxf6 36.Qxd5 + - [Q vs b+n+p]).

Jul-15-18  agb2002: I missed the simple defense 32... Qb6 33.Be5+ Bf6.

Better luck next Sunday.

Jul-15-18  ChessHigherCat: I meant by removing the d3 pawn to d4 and the knight on e4 to f6
Jul-15-18  malt: First thought was to play 32.N:f6 B:f6 33.B:d5 and Be4, but ...R:d5 scuppers that, Went for 32.N:f6 B:f6 33.d4 Bg5 34.Be5+
(34.Bb1 B:f4+ 35.g3 Qd2+ )

34...f6 35.Bb1 h6 36.R:a5

Jul-15-18  patzer2: As <Mateo> observed in 2006, <31...d5??> was Black's decisive mistake. Instead, Black would have been winning with 31...Rg8 -+ (-2.28 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 9 analysis of move 31...?).
Jul-15-18  patzer2: The point of today's Sunday puzzle solution 32. Nxf6!! Bxf6 33. d5!, which cleverly combining the obstruction and clearance tactics, is Black is forced to surrender the Queen with 33...Qxa2 34. Rxa2 +- (+3.64 @ 38 ply, Stockfish 9, analysis of move 33...?) due to the threat of 34. Bb1 +- (e.g. 33...Qb6 34. Bb1 +-) with an unstoppable mate.

P.S.: Considered 32. Nxf6!! as my first choice, but did not see the follow-up 33. d5! So no points for me today.

Jul-15-18  5hrsolver: I had 32. Nxf6 Bxf6 33. Bxd5 attacking the queen and threatening 34.Be4. I think this line also wins.
Jul-15-18  Walter Glattke: White needs 2 moves to open the diagonal Bb1-Bh7, so 32.Nxf6 Kg7 33.Nxh7 Qb6 34.Nxf8 Rxf8 35.Be5+ f6 36.Qg5+ Kf7 37.Bxd5+ Ke8 38.Qg6+ Kd8 - little white advantage.
Jul-15-18  saturn2: If the Ne4 and the pawn d3 were not there wgite had the double threat Bb1 attacking queen and king.
Jul-15-18  saturn2: Playing over the game I felt what had already been written before. Black should have played f6 at a certain point and the king side is stable.
Jul-15-18  wtpy: 5hr solver, I don't think it does: 33..Rd5 is winning for black.
Jul-15-18  cormier: i saw the pattern, the opening of the line, but not 33.QxBa2 .....
Jul-15-18  Walter Glattke: White wins easily after 67.Kxf7 Rxe8 68.Kxe8, e.g.68.-Kg7 69.Ke7 Kg8 70.Kf6 Kh7 71.Kf7 Kh8 72.Kg6 or faster 68.-Kh7 69.Kf7 or 68.-Kg7 69.Ke7 Kh7 70.Kf7, Always the same position.
Jul-15-18  cormier: SF ... 31... d5? 31...Rg8 32.Qxf7 Rg7 33.Qd5 Nc7 34.Qc6 Qb5 35.Qxb5 axb5 ∓ -2.28 (35 ply)
Jul-15-18  5hrsolver: <wtpy: 5hrsolver, I don't think it does: 33..Rd5 is winning for black. >

You're right. 33..Rd5 also attacks the white queen. So there's just Topalov's line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: I am in awe of Mr Topalov's combination here... needless to say I could not find any of the moves myself.

When taking a closer look at the game as a whole, it seems to me that Ponomariov wasted a lot of moves with his King's Knight early on - beginning with 12... Nd7; moving the Knight away from the castled King often leads to disaster in the closed Spanish - like in the case of Fischer vs Keres, 1962 ...

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