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Veselin Topalov vs Alexander G Beliavsky
"On Topa the World" (game of the day Jan-12-2018)
European Team Championship (1999), Batumi GEO, rd 3, Dec-01
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Archangelsk Variation (C78)  ·  1-0



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Given 27 times; par: 57 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-22-14  Nick46: Very smooth manoeuvering on the part of Veselin, ending up with a decisive topographical advantage.
Aug-22-14  diagonalley: hmmm.... i saw the first couple of moves but wasn't convinced they would prove to be winning... (i'd be interested to learn which move software would prefer at black's 39th)
Aug-22-14  Seaholme: @Morfishine: I think that after 42...Nxd6 white simply wins with 43.Rg6+
Aug-22-14  David2009: For me this was an interesting case of chess blindness:

click for larger view

White would like to play Rxf6 followed by Nh5+ but the Rf1 is en prise. So analyse 38.Nh5+ gxh5 39.Rdxf6 (as spotted earlier by <Gregor Samsa Mendel>): but this doesn't work: 38...Qxf1+! and Black wins on material. At this stage I gave up and looked up the solution.

So why did I miss 38.Nh5+ gxh5 39.Rfxf6! and wins? I put it down to faulty pattern recognition. At the ripe old age of seventy-two my brain is less plastic than it was when I was younger - so I spot only the familiar patterns. Doubling rooks on an open file is far more common than doubling rooks on the 6th rank.

Aug-22-14  Refused: Nh5+ - Rfxf6 - Qg5+ - Bxe5 must be the idea.

Maybe Nh5+ - Rdxf6 also works, but then black can exchange his Queen for both rooks on f1, and I am simply not convinced the white attack does not run out of steam/pieces.

Aug-22-14  patzer2: <David2009: For me this was an interesting case of chess blindness: ...I gave up and looked up the solution.>

I had an even worse case of Chess blindness. I saw the target of the attack was a Rook capture of the f6 pawn and that Nh5+ was involved. However, I missed the Knight check with 38. Nh5+ must preceed the capture of the f6 pawn with the Rook.

My Chess blindness was missing the Rook on f1 was enprise, under attack by the Queen. So I crashed with 38. Rxf6?? Qxf1+ (Not 38... Rxf6?? 39. Nh5+) 39. Kh2 Rxf6 .

Aug-22-14  ibnyamin: "Neat point at the end where if 42...Nxd6, White trades down into a won endgame..."

42... Nxd6 loses immediately to
43 Rg6+

Aug-22-14  smitten: What's wrong with 32..♕xe4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <smitten: What's wrong with 32..Qxe4?>

The problem appears to lie in 33.Rxd6, threatening 34.Bxe5, when Black's shaky position collapses--he needs to hold the strongpoint at e5 as best he can. As the game went, Beliavsky turned all his energies to that goal and even then, it proved insufficient as White prised open the enemy king position.

Aug-22-14  morfishine: <Seaholme> Yes, of course
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: 38.Nd5 was probably not a bad idea, hitting f6 for a 3rd and 4th time. However, it's less forcing.
Aug-22-14  jdc2: Difficult problem, easy to see possibilities but a definite answer is not there. Here's a definite "White mates in 7" problem I pulled from a variation of this game:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I think the beauty of this attack is that after 39.Rfxf6, White has a single threat (40.Qg5+) and Black has nothing that works... removing the king from the diagonal doesn't work, all queen moves are useless, the move that Beliavsky played doesn't work... I'm in awe.
Aug-22-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: White is down a pawn, has a hanging rook (that would be captured with check), and doesn't have a lot of forcing move possibilities. So 38 Nh5+ is the obvious choice. The point is that after

38 Nh5+ gxh5
39 R(either)xf6 Rxf6
40 Qxf6+

White wins the piece back with a great position. He also wins the piece back against most passive defenses, because the e5 knight is sort-of pinned, and unpinning uses a tempo, while moving the knight invites discovered/double check. And if Black declines the knight sacrifice, most lines look a lot like a transposition.

I don't know whether I'll find the time today to work this through in detail.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Nice attack. About this point in the week, I am happy if I can get the first move or two.
Aug-22-14  M.Hassan: "Difficult"
White to play 38.?
Equal and White has a Bishop for a Knight.

38.Nd3 Nxd3
39.Rdxf6 Ne5
40.Bxe5 Rxe5
41.Rxf7+ Qxf7
42.Rxf7+ Kxf7
43.Qxh7+ Kf6
I could not find a good way to respond in case:
38.Nd3 g5
and did not have much time to spend

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a knight.

Black threatens 38... Qxf1+.

All white pieces converge on f6. This invites to play 38.Nh5+:

A) 38... gxh5 39.Rfxf6 (39.Rdxf6 Qxf1+ 40.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 41.Kh2 Kg6 42.Qg3+ Kf6 unclear)

A.1) 39... Rxf6 40.Qxf6+ Kg8 41.Bxe5

A.1.a) 41... Rxe5 42.Qxe5 + - [R+P vs N].

A.1.b) 41... Re7 42.Qh8+ Kf7 43.Rf6#.

A.1.c) 41... Ne6 42.Rxe6 Q(R)xe6 43.Qg7#.

A.2) 39... Ng6 40.Rxf7+ Kxf7 41.Qf6+ Kg8 42.Qg7#.

A.3) 39... Rfe7 40.Qg5+ Kh8 41.Rf5 Qb5 42.Rdf6 Rg8 43.Rf8 looks winning (43... Rg7 44.Bxe5).

A.4) 39... h6 40.Qg3+

A.4.a) 40... Ng6 41.Rxg6+ Kf8 42.Rg8+ Ke7 43.Qe5+ Ne6 44.Rxe6+ wins.

A.4.b) 40... Kf8 41.Bxe5 with an overwhelming position (41... Qxe4 42.Rxf7+ Kxf7 43.Qg7#).

A.5) 39... Kf8 40.Qf4 Rxf6 (due to the threat 41.Bxe5 and 42.Rxf7+ Qxf7 43.Rf6) 41.Qxf6+ Qf7 (41... Nf7 42.Rd7 and the threat 43.Qg7# looks winning) 42.Bxe5 Qxf6 43.Rxf6+ Ke7 (else loses the knight) 44.Rh6 and White seems to have a won endgame.

B) 38... Kf8 39.Rfxf6 gxh5 (else loses a pawn) 40.Qf4 transposes to A.5.

C) 38... Kg8 39.Nxf6+ wins a pawn at least while keeping the attack.

D) 38... Kh8 39.Rfxf6 looks similar to previous lines.

Aug-22-14  GoldenKnight: Problems like this are easy to solve if you approach them the right way. Looking at open lines, etc. may get you to the right conclusion, but it may take awhile. Instead, do it like the Grandmasters do it. Create in your mind a fantasy position then see if you can achieve it. I once saw Topalov analyzing one of his noteworthy games at the time, and at one point he showed us on the board what position he wanted to attain during the game, then proceeded to show us how he did it. I had heard of Grandmasters doing that, but now I actually saw it. My solution rate for these puzzles has gone way up (even solving most Sunday puzzles) since employing this technique (which I only started to do recently). So, let's try it on the game at hand.

It's obvious that you want to destroy the pawn structure in front of Black's King without losing too much. So that's the kind of move you look for. White's N needs to be moved and fortunately it can share in the attack as well. It must be done with check since White's R is en prise. Thus, the first move is obvious: Nh5+ followed by R1xf6 with a likely Qg6 afterward. Mission accomplished. That's all I needed to see. This took less than two minutes approached the right way. Over the board, I would have played this only seeing that far, taking note of the positional characteristics (Black's exposed K) and if there were other problems to solve I would have solved them as they came up. Thus, I did not bother looking at the rest of the game (at least for now, since I'm at work and don't have a lot of time).

Aug-22-14  waustad: I got about half way through the rest of the game. I made it through move 40, which for me on a Friday is pretty close.
Aug-22-14  PJs Studio: This Topalov guys pretty good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 19..Nc6? would have lost to 20 Nh6+..Kh8 21 Nxf7+. 21..dxe would have been a better continuation. After 26..Nc7? 27 d4! Black was clearly worse; either 26..c4 or 26..g6 were better alternatives. 34..h5!? also looks like a possible improvement.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Clearly this pun is in honor of the 45th anniversary of The Carpenters' #1 hit:

Jan-12-18  ChessHigherCat: <plang: 19..Nc6? would have lost to 20 Nh6+..Kh8 21 Nxf7+>

Great combination, thanks.

Jan-12-18  morfishine: Excellent finish! Very nice game
Jan-12-18  ChessHigherCat: What if 20..g6? All I can find is 20... g6 21. Bxe6 Qxe6 22. Nh6 Qxg4 23. Nxg4. Surely Topalov (no relation to Shirley Topalov) must have had something better in mind?
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