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Levon Aronian vs Veselin Topalov
"Dark Horse" (game of the day May-10-2008)
M-Tel Masters (2008), Sofia BUL, rd 1, May-08
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  0-1



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Given 7 times; par: 109 [what's this?]

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sac: 36...Re3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-08-08  hrvyklly: <component: Why allow 9. e4, please? Would black have some kind of tactic involving the uncastled king? Thanks.> 9...d5 and Black clears the central pawns and has a slight lead in development, and thus a slight advantage.
May-09-08  znprdx: When it is lost,it is lost! 29.g4? is the kind of patzer move I'd make. I didn't understand the opening at all - White giving up the King Bishop (creating a hole) to save the Queen Bishop - which ultimately failed to deliver.

Even if 37.Qxd5 there is certainly no draw: A] ...Qf4+

38.Ka1at the very least simply Qxf3+ or Rxf3+ is more than enough even Ng3+ may be playable

B]....37. Re2 38.Qd1+ Qx[Q]d1 39. Rx[Q]d1+ Kh7 40.Bc3 (or?) Rxf2+ 41.Kg1 Ra2 this is likely what Aronian missed...these guys don't usually get suckered by one movers. Probably the clock had something to do with capturing the rook...things can easily go wrong when the blood starts rushing to your head...

May-09-08  Nepa Pugna: Topalov's 45th move Nf1+ was a pretty one. Move 46 Nxd2 (capturing the white Queen) was even prettier. It looks like icing on the cake for black after picking off the remaining of white's pawns on both sides of the board.
May-09-08  minasina: There were live commentaries: in Russian; “translation” (without functioning board): with GM Sergei Shipov in Russian

May-09-08  euripides: According to the Russian commentaries 14...Bg4 was new and played after some thought.

In I Morovic vs Suba, 1988 White wins after 14...Bh3.

Strategically, White jettisons his white-squared bishop to form Black's IQP. But this has the consequence that White's exf3 becomes a much more serious concession than it would be if the black pawn were still on e6; it gives Black a passed pawn and leaves White with a crippled kingside majority, so that many endgames will then be bad for White. Hence, I guess, the idea of Bg4 and Bxf3.

May-10-08  arsen387: For the last 7 moves Levon had less than 1 minute remained on the clock, so time trouble was also a big factor here. Anyway, very nice though not very hard to calculate combination by Topalov after exf3. But in the link given by <minasina> commentator says that Topa's play could be described as ideal, if not that blunder 36..Re3, where in severe zeitnot Aronian missed the saving Qxd5! The right continuation, according to commentator GM Zagrebelny, was 36... Qf4! 37.Kh1 (if 37.Kg2 Nh4 38.Kh1 Nxf3) 37... Ne3! 38.fxe3 Qxf3 39.Kg1 Qg3 40.Kf1 Rxe3 etc.
May-10-08  Pianoplayer: Wow awesome game by Topalov. This is going in my game collection. Great rook sac too.-Pianoplayer
May-10-08  RandomVisitor: Previous games:

2006 Saurabh 2240-Ibraev 2523 1/2-1/2 11.Rc1 Rc8 12.e3 Nb4 13.Bxb4

2003 Schlosser 2560-Kosten 2540 1-0 11.Rc1 Nb4 12.Nc2 a5 13.a3

1999 Huebner 2585-Oral 2521 1/2-1/2 11.N4b3 a5 12.e3 a4 13.Nd4

Morovic-Suba 1988 1-0 14...Bh3

Levitt-Suba 1987 1-0 14...Bh3

Karlsson-Magnus 1974 1/2-1/2 11.b3 Na5

May-10-08  RandomVisitor: After 15.Qxb7

1: L Aronian - V Topalov, M-Tel Masters 2008

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 2.3.2a mp : 18-ply

1. ² (0.53): 15...Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxe2 18.Rfc1 Qg5 19.Rc7 Qf5 20.Rac1 Bf3 21.Qb3 a6 22.R7c3

2. (0.53): 15...Bxd4 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxe2 18.Rfc1 Qg5 19.Rc7 Qf5 20.Rac1 Bf3 21.Qb3 a6 22.R7c3

3. (0.70): 15...Ne7 16.Rfd1 Re8 17.Rd2 h5 18.a3 a5 19.Rc1 Qd6 20.Qb5 Rec8 21.Qd3 a4 22.Rdc2

(, 10.05.2008)

May-10-08  Billy Vaughan: My goodness, that knight gets a workout! I was rooting for Aronian, but Topalov gave us a great game here and I'm grateful :)
May-10-08  RandomVisitor: From

Aronian Levon vs Topalov Veselin
Sofia MTel 1st Round
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 Nc6 8.Bc3 O-O 9.O-O d5 10.Nd2 Bd7 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd5 exd5 13.Qb3 Bf6 14.N2f3 Bg4 ( This is more or less all known, White gave up his light square defender to damage Black's pawn structure.Quite typical for Levon, he enjoys playing those imbalanced positions very much.Here 14...Bh3 15.Rfd1 is equal ) 15.Rfd1 ( Interesting is 15.Qxb7!? Bxd4! ( 15...Nxd4!? 16.Bxd4 Bxf3 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.exf3 Qxf3 is equal ) 16.Bxd4 ( 16.Qxc6!? Rc8 17.Qb5 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Rxc3 19 Nd4 again goes into some equal position ) 16...Bxf3 17.Qxc6 Bxe2 18.Rfe1 Rc8, computer gives slight pull for White but do you believe him?! ) 15...Rb8 16.Qa4!? (16. Rac1 Re8 is balanced ) 16...Bxf3 17.exf3! ( Levon avoids drawish 17.Nxf3 Bxc3 18.Bxc3 )17...Bxd4 18.Bxd4 Qd7 19.b4?! ( It is interesting, it makes toom for Bishop on b2 but maybe 19.Rd2 is worth ) 19...b6 ( Maybe 19...Rfe8 ) 20.Rac1 Rbc8 21.Bb2 Rfd8 22.Rc2 Ne7 ( this is already equal ) 23.Rxc8 Nxc8 24.b5?! ( But this is not good thing to do. 24.Qxd7 Rxd7 25.f4 and due to his damaged pawn structure White can hardly count on any serious advantage ) 24...Ne7 25.Qb3 Nf5! 26.a4 h5! ( It is getting tricky, N on f5 is doing wonderful job, White must be on alert ) 27.h3 ( If 27.h4 Qd6 28.Kg2 d4 is a bit better for Black ) 27...Qe6 28.Kg2 ( 28.Qd3 d4 slight plus for second player, if 28.Kf1 Re8 eval is the same ) 28...Qe2 29.g4 ( 29.Qd3 Nh4+ 30.gxh4 Qxb2 31.Re1 Qf6 just look at the White pawns, you know the rest ) 29...Nh4+ 30.Kg3 Ng6 31.gxh5 Ne7 32.Kg2 Nf5 33.Bd4 Qe7! ( A great move, Queen is aiming on weakened dark squares around White King ) 34.Qd3 Qg5+ 35.Kh2 Re8 36.Bb2 Re3?! ( No.It looks nice but it's no the best, better is simple 36...d4 ) 37.fxe3?? ( Terrible blunder, after 37.Qxd5! Black must force the perpetual with 37...Qf4+ ( 37...Re2? is wrong 38.Qd8+ Qxd8 39.Rxd8+ Kh7 40.Bd4 with edge ) 38.Kg1 Qg5+ ) 37...Qg3+ 38.Kh1 Qxf3+ 39.Kg1 Nxe3 ( Black is winning ) 40.Rd2 Qg3+ 41.Kh1 Qxh3+ 42.Kg1 Qg3+ 43.Kh1 Qe1+ 44.Kh2 Qxd2+ 45.Qxd2 Nf1+ 46.Kg2 Nxd2 47.Be5 Ne4 48.Kf3 Nc5 49.Ke3 Nxa4 50.Kd4 ( What else? Levon is trying to eliminate all Queenside pawns but it will take a lot of time to return to Kingside ) 50...Nc5 51.Kxd5 a6 52.bxa6 Nxa6 53.Kc6 Nc5 54.Bc7 Kh7 55.Bxb6 Ne4 56.Be3 Nf6 57.Kd6 ( 57.h6 Ng4 58.Bf4 Nxh6 with easy win ) 57...Nxh5 58.Ke5 Kg6 59.Bd2 f5 60.Be1 Kg5 0-1

May-10-08  jovack: 37. fxe3?
maybe he was tired
May-10-08  jovack: <alphastar> <Never take with your queen on b7, even if it looks good and your computer program recommends it.>

Do you know what you are talking about? I'm just curious, because less skilled players might actually believe this if they read it and get worse for it.

May-10-08  kevin86: The title is 100% correct! The black knight gobbled up the white queen,rook,and at least three pawns! Even Pac-man is no match for the versitile cavalier.

This Silver is pure gold.

May-10-08  ajile: 12.Bxd5?

Isn't this a rather anti-positional move weakening the light squares around White's king and ceding the 2 bishops to Black? Black has the isolated pawn but this isn't enough IMO.

May-10-08  Confuse: saving the dark knight pun for when the batman movie comes out eh? : )

nice one.

May-10-08  RandomVisitor: <ajile><12.Bxd5?

Isn't this a rather anti-positional move weakening the light squares around White's king and ceding the 2 bishops to Black? Black has the isolated pawn but this isn't enough IMO.>If not12.Bxd5, black might play Nxc3, creating two isolated white pawns.

Also, white would need to find a better move, and apparently there isn't one.

click for larger view

Rybkav2.3.2a.x64: 18-ply

1. (0.00): 12.Bxd5 exd5 13.Qb3 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Rfc1 Re8 16.Qc3 f6 17.Nb3 Bd6 18.Rc2 Qd7 19.Rac1 Ba4 20.Bc5 Be5

2. (-0.05): 12.Nxc6 Bxc6 13.Bd4 Rc8 14.Nf3 Bb5 15.a4 Ba6 16.Bxa7 b6 17.Nd4 Qc7 18.Bxd5 exd5 19.Nb5 Qc6 20.Qb3 Bc5 21.Rfd1 Rfe8

May-10-08  DarthStapler: Does the pun have anything to do with the comic book publishing company Dark Horse?
May-11-08  RandomVisitor: After 15.Qxb7
1: L Aronian - V Topalov, M-Tel Masters 2008

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 2.3.2a mp : <24-ply>

1. (0.42): 15...Bxd4 16.Bxd4 Bxf3 17.Qxc6 Bxe2 18.Rfe1 Re8 19.Rac1 h5 20.h4 Re4 21.Kg2 Qe8 22.Be3

2. (0.45): 15...Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxe2 18.Rfc1 Qg5 19.Bxa7 Bf3 20.Rc3 Be4 21.Qb6 Qf5 22.f3

(, 11.05.2008)

May-12-08  minasina: Rybka analysis, some critical points and variations
May-15-08  patzer2: I rather enjoyed the positional sacrifice 36...Re3! as a typical successful Topalov positional sacrifice tactic, where he plays a move that might give his opponent a draw if he can find a difficult defense but otherwise wins for him.

In this case, Black misses the drawing opportunity 37. Qxd5! = and loses to a surprise Knight Fork combination after 37. fxe3 Qg3+! .

May-16-08  arsen387: You want to win Aronian but don't know how to do that? Now you have an exclusive chance! Just visit Micro dot com and you can ask your questions to a prominent user <Microdot>, who won a game against Levon 10 years ago and knows Levon's all weak sides. He can show you to convert your 2 bishop advantage into a win against Aronian, or prompt you how to win a completely drawn rook and pawn endgame, and, ATTENTION, even help you to mate him with K+N vs. K using the right strategy, because he knows Aronian's ALL weak points. Don't miss your chance! Visit us now:)
Jun-16-08  minasina: Rybka analyses relocated (see my previous post):

INTERNET CHESS CLUB / Chess.FM, FREE "GAME OF THE DAY": commentary by GM Joel Benjamin

Feb-22-10  crwynn: Topalov played a very nice attack after 26...h5, but I think he would not have had this k-side initiative without 19.b4. I could be wrong, but I think most class players would play Rd2 and Rad1, which according to Rybka gives White a comfortable edge. The b4-b5 idea is difficult to fathom, because Black's knight did not stand very well on c6 anyway. Incidentally, not to go picking on old posts, but if anyone thinks that Topalov's offering of the b-pawn on move 15 was a bluff -

<Jimfromprovidence: <DDR> <15..Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxe2> Then 18 Rfc1 looks good for white.

click for larger view

Black's a and d pawns are vulnerable.

My whole point in all of this is just to say that 15 Qxb7 is definitely playable.>

Really that is nonsense, and I'm a bit surprised that computers today still like the diagrammed position for White, when it obviously favors Black. Of course Black simply manuevers Qg5-g4 and Bf3, hanging his a-pawn, and while Rybka will come up with all sorts of defensive resources, eventually it realizes Black is better.

May-17-10  notyetagm: Game Collection: Topalov's Best Games
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