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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Vladder Control" (game of the day Sep-02-2022)
Kramnik - Topalov World Championship Match (2006), Elista RUS, rd 9, Oct-07
Slav Defense: Quiet Variation. Schallopp Defense (D12)  ·  1-0



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Given 56 times; par: 49 [what's this?]

Annotations by Raymond Keene.      [405 more games annotated by Keene]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 26 OF 26 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-13-06  euripides: I think Topalov's play deserves a lot of credit here; the idea of Kh1, Be3-g1, h4-5 and e5 sets up play with advanced pawns and two active bishops that is very characeristic of him. I don't think this regrouping is obvious and it proves to be very powerful. And 10 f4, very much in Topalov's style, certainly posed Kramnik some tricky problems. It was interesting that Topalov's two subsequent efforts with this Nh4 line - in game 11 and the first tie-break - didn't produce ay more victories.
Oct-13-06  acirce: Topalov's fascinating new concept in the opening (perhaps the best of the match in this regard) deserves a lot of praise, and it did confuse Black, but frankly, after move 18 I think any GM would have been able to beat Kramnik. It's not hard to play well in an overwhelming position.

By <the occasional rubbish game that even a 2800-strength player in good form inevitably plays once in a while> I hope everyone understands that I was referring to Kramnik. His worst game since his comeback by far.

Oct-13-06  euripides: <airce> It looks overwheming ex post, but I think it might have been different against a weaker player - though Kramnik said much what you are saying.

Even then, of course, it would be in the same category as Fischer-Spassky game 6: a tremendous position after about move 20, perfectly executed.

Aug-03-07  alexandrovm: <...after move 18 I think any GM would have been able to beat Kramnik...> shure, but to get a dream position like that from Kramnik, not any GM can achive :)
Aug-04-07  s4life: <alexandrovm: shure, but to get a dream position like that from Kramnik, not any GM can achive :)>

Yup, and to say it was due to <the occasional rubbish game that even a 2800-strength player in good form inevitably plays once in a while> is a ridiculously biased interpretation of what really happen in the first 20 moves of the game.

Aug-05-07  smarterthanbobby: to me the true power of whites push
on the h file was closing down the chance
that black could use it... due to the pawns that jammed blacks options for the entire mid game... and setting up the rook, queen, bisop sqeeze that black had
no OPTIONS to defend due to a general lack of spaces compared to white... i.e bishop-active rook file, and right
half of dead carrying a useless horse
for black and pawns i.e postions that
just sat there.
Feb-09-09  notyetagm: 30 ... ?

click for larger view

30 ... ♗b4x♘c3

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<Keene: <<<"This amounts to strategic capitulation. Now White's bishops and central pawns quickly become overwhelming.">>>>


38 ♖f3xf7!

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Mar-30-09  WhiteRook48: 30...Bxc3 is puzzling. Two strong bishops are better than none!
Feb-15-10  notyetagm: What a *beautiful* position Topalov builds up in this game.

37 ♗g1-e3

click for larger view

Stupendous game by Topa.

Feb-15-10  notyetagm: Game Collection: DECOYS: *ALIGNMENT*:CHESS IS *NOT* JUST COUNTING

Topalov vs Kramnik, 2006 38 Rf3xf7! wins a pawn as White g4-bishop prepares pin on e6-sq

Feb-21-10  crwynn: 12...b5 and 13...b4 was a very strange idea. There are several normal moves he could have played, but I like 12...Nb6 because if 13.Be2 c5 14.Be3 Rc8 15.0-0 cd 16.Bxd4 (16.Qxd4 Bc5 wins the Queen; for this reason the computer likes 15.Kf2?! to allow capturing with the Queen but then 15...Nc4! is strong) 16... Nc4

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Black seems to be at least equal because of his active pieces. If instead 13.Ba2?! (to keep an eye on d5) c5 14.d5 ed 15.e5 (the point) d4! (the other point) 16.ef Bxf6

click for larger view

A nice piece sacrifice which seems the appropriate answer to White's pawn avalanche in the opening. I think not many would want to play White in this position.

Jan-23-11  notyetagm: Beautiful game by Topa.
Jan-23-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: DECOYS: PINS: FORCING ENEMY PIECES TO LINE UP

Topalov vs Kramnik, 2006 38 Rf3xf7! will force alignment f7-queen,g8-king for pin Bg4-e6

Aug-31-12  goldenbear: <znsprdx> If 37. Nd5?, 38.Bg5 wins...
Aug-31-12  znsprdx: OK I see it now: the real point was that ...37.Nd5 was not playable due to 38.Bg5 this explains the bizarre ....Nh7
Apr-13-14  kia0708: This is one of the most beautiful chess games EVER.

Simply pure beauty.

Apr-13-14  Petrosianic: In what way?
Dec-19-14  Conrad93: Ray Keene's commentary should be taken with a grain of salt.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Well, it WAS the 'Toiletgate' world championship match. Big Vlad had some bathroom issues but persevered to win a terrific match.
Sep-02-22  nalinw: Lovely pun - I had to look it up - Toiletgate happened between Games 4 and 5 - and this was Game 9 - Topalov went up by 1 with this win but lost the next game. Match tied and Kramnik won the Rapid playoff
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: <nalinw> "Lovely" might not exactly be the absolute best adjective to qualify this pun. Funny yes, and accurate since Kramnik controlled the board. The position after White's 31st move is rare, all Black pieces are on the back rank.
Sep-02-22  goodevans: <Teyss: ... accurate since Kramnik controlled the board.> More like Topalov controlled Vlad.

It took a while to work out why Kramnik resigned the final position. Looking at some of the other comments I know I'm not the first to puzzle over this. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see any immediate threat from White but he just totally dominates the position. For instance, Black cannot break the pin with 39...Kh8 because of 40.Bg5 Nxg5(?) 41.Rf8+ Rxf8 42.Rxf8+ Kh7 43.hxg5 with mate very shortly.

Topalov could have finished with 39.Be6. I'm sure that would have elicited Kramnik's resignation just as quickly and I and other mortals wouldn't have had to work so hard to understand why.

Nice pun. Very clever.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Funny pun.
Sep-02-22  Brenin: Impressive game, clever pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: <goodevans> You're right, looked at the game too fast, it's Topalov of course.

Don't know why White (I'll stick to colours it's safer) played 39.R7f3 instead of Be6 as you mention, which looks obvious and threatens Rf8#. After 39...Kh8 your line still works. After 39...Rxf7 40.Rxf7 is even stronger than Bxf7+. FWIW SF rates R7f3 at 4.1 (27 ply) and Be6 at 9.4 (31 ply).

Maybe Topalov was short on time before the control and wanted to play something solid instead of calculating everything: the BN is pinned and all of White's pieces are safe. Maybe there was a bit of psychological warfare: My position is so good I can play anything, just resign and take a

In any case it's rare to see Kramnik outranked like this. The previous game, also a loss, wasn't as bad.

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