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Veselin Topalov vs Sergey Karjakin
FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013), Zug SUI, rd 11, Apr-30
Benoni Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Hastings Defense Main Line (A64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 13 OF 13 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-30-13  Marmot PFL: Topalov is not a good match player.
Apr-30-13  Marmot PFL: Great as he is in tournaments.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: <HSOL: SteinitzLives: Although not at this level, but didn't Topalov finish equal 1st in his previous GP tournament?>

"not at this level" is what really counts, so what if he beats whom he should beat anyway. Still, I don't want to be too much of a wet blanket, it is a great tournament victory for Topalov against top 10 (or real close to it) competition.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < eternaloptimist: <PawnSac>!! Btw that's a cool emoticon!! >

i used to have a variety of them before the smiley faces got so popular. I got bored with the :)

started fooling around with 8>) etc

now the kids are texting a ton of different ones.

my daughters are into texting pictures..
sheesh, like they can't use the time more wisely.

Apr-30-13  Eyal: Both players agreed in the press conference (and the engine evaluations support this) that Black was fine at least up to 22...Qh8, which allows White to close the K-side, and then the ill-judged pawn sac on f4 (it was probably best to play Bb5 on move 24 or 25).
Apr-30-13  FairyPromotion: <SteinitzLives> neither "not at this level," nor "players he should beat anyway" don't count. The Grand Prix in London featured players like Grischuk, Gelfand, and Ivanchuk who played in the Candidates tournament. And none of the players in that tournament weren't players that he (or anyone) should beat anyway. They all were 2700+ super GM's, and defeating them takes a lot of skill. One of Topalov's victories in that tournament was against Ivanchuk, who defeated both Carlsen and Kramnik in the Candidates. And now scoring +5 in this tournament is exceptionally good. His fans have the right to be excited.

Sure we can't yet say that he's at the top of his form, but we all know he has what it takes to be among the elite, and I think the tournament in Norway will be a good chance for him to show his true abilities.

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <PawnSac> wow!! Those pics r amazing!!! The ppl who came up w/ those r really creative & apparently have a lot of spare time on their hands!!!!! Ur daughters must have gotten bored w/ the simple emotions 8 )
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: Apparently Karjakin could have won this game, his missed a nice combination that would have taken him into won BOOC ending.

[Event "Renova FIDE GP Zug"]
[Site "Zug SUI"]
[Date "2013.04.30"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Topalov, V."]
[Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A64"]
[WhiteElo "2771"]
[BlackElo "2786"]
[Annotator "Gentle,DC"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bg2 Bg7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Nd2 Nbd7 11. a4 a6 12. a5 b5 13. axb6 Nxb6 14. Nb3 Bf5 15. Na5 Ne4 16. Bd2 Nxd2 17. Qxd2 h5 18. e3 h4 19. Rfe1 Qg5 20. Na4 Reb8

(20... Rab8 {is better than the text because now Re8 is not missing in the e-file.} 21. Nxb6 Rxb6 22. Nc4 Rb3 23. Bf1

(23. Nxd6 {is also good for Black after} Rxb2 24. Qa5 Rf8 25. Qxa6 hxg3 26. hxg3 Be5 27. Nxf5 Qxf5 28. Qf1 c4 29. Rad1 c3 30. d6 Rd8 31. Bh3 Qc2 32. Rc1 Qa4 33. Ra1 Qb4 34. d7 Kg7 35. f4 Bf6 36. Re2 Qb5 37. Bg4 Be7 38. Rc1 f5 39. Bf3 Bf6 40. Rd1 Qb3 {and Black is threatening a lethal pawn advance to c2..})

23... hxg3 24. hxg3 Reb8 25. e4 Rxg3+ 26. fxg3 Qxg3+ 27. Qg2 Bd4+ 28. Kh1 Qh4+ 29. Qh2 Bxe4+ 30. Rxe4 Qxe4+ 31. Bg2 Qg4 32. Qh3 Qe2 33. Nxd6 Be5 34. Nxf7 Kxf7 35. Qh7+ Bg7 36. Rf1+ Qxf1+ 37. Bxf1 Rh8 38. Qxh8 Bxh8 {Black has a surplus pawn in this BOOC ending and can win like so:} 39. b3 a5 40. Kg2 Kf6 41. Bd3 g5 42. Bb5 Ke5 43. Kf3 Kxd5 44. Ke3 Bd4+ 45. Kd2 g4 46. Ke2 g3 47. Bc4+ Ke5 48. Kf3 Bf2 49. Kg2 Kd4 50. Bf7 Kc3 51. Be6 Kb4 52. Bg8 c4 53. Bxc4 a4 54. Bd3 a3 {and White cannot stop the a-pawn.})

21. Nc3 Qh5 22. f3 Qh8 23. g4 Bd7 24. h3 f5 25. g5 f4 26. exf4 Bd4+ 27. Kh1 Qg7 28. Bf1 Re8 29. Ne4 Kh8 30. Nxd6 Rxe1 31. Rxe1 Rf8 32. Re4 Nxd5 33. Nb3 Bc6 34. f5 gxf5 35. Rxh4+ Kg8 36. Nxd4 cxd4 37. Bc4 Qe5 38. Qxd4 Qxd6 39. Rh6 Qe7 40. Bxd5+ Bxd5 41. Rh8+ 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <DcGentle : Apparently Karjakin could have won this game > What the...?! Could you clarify where the variation begins & ends?
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <offramp>: This is a PGN-formatted text that you can copy and paste into every PGN viewer (like or chess program. It can be read better then.

The variation starts with move 20.

Apr-30-13  Eyal: <DcGentle> Have you looked at 23.Qd1? I doubt if Black is winning after 23...Reb8 24.Nxd6 Rxb2 25.Nxf5 Qxf5 26.Qf3 followed by a queen exchange.
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <Eyal>: I didn't mean that he could have won in any case, some more lines have to be examined, that's right. But he had much better chances than in the game. He should have moved <20... Rab8> in any case.
Apr-30-13  Eyal: Well, 20...Reb8 certainly makes sense as well - from a practical viewpoint it's a clearer way of refuting the 21.Nxb6 Rxb6 22.Nc4 idea by 22...Rb4, without the constant headache about what happens if White takes on a6. I don't think that's where Black's troubles began.
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <Eyal> I looked at your line but it seems to me that Black's c-passer is rather dangerous because of Black's strong DSB in this line:

20... Rab8 21. Nxb6 Rxb6 22. Nc4 Rb3 23. Qd1 Reb8 24. Nxd6 Rxb2 25. Nxf5 Qxf5 26. Qf3 c4 27. Qxf5 gxf5 28. Rxa6 Rd2 29. Rc6 c3 30. Bf3 Rbb2 31. d6 h3 32. Rf1 Rd3 33. Rc1 Be5 34. d7 Rxd7 35. Rc5 Bg7

click for larger view

Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <Eyal>: If Black has the chance to double rooks on the b-file, which would have contributed to the kingside attack, he shouldn't have worries about the a-pawn, because White will have other thoughts than taking this one due to the pressure of the more harmoniously working black pieces.

It's always a question what comes first in chess, material or dynamics achieving a balance of material later.

As it turned out in the game, Black's rooks were sidelined and could be never doubled. Not good.

Apr-30-13  Eyal: <DcGentle> in the 23.Qd1 Reb8 line, maybe it's actually better to leave the queens on with 24.Rxa6 and then the forcing sequence 24...Bd3 (24...hxg3 25.hxg3 might be inserted here - not sure if it makes a real difference) 25.Ra8 Rxa8 26.Qxb3 Bxc4 27.Qxc4 Bxb2.

In general, I’m not really disputing that 20…Rab8 was objectively better than 20…Reb8 – maybe it’s a difference of emphasis between us. Let me put it this way: I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Karjakin for not playing/finding it, because in order to realize why it may be better it’s far from sufficient to concentrate on the general considerations that you mentioned. One has to see a very big amount of concrete, sophisticated tactics – especially that idea of 22...Rb3 (after Nc4) as preparation for the Rxg3 sac; that’s really computer chess. As you can see in the press conference (, the players considered the possibility of playing the other rook to b8 (with the Nxb6-Nc4 continuation) and they both took the move 22...Rb4 completely for granted in both cases - as I think most players would.

Apr-30-13  jhoro: Working under the assumption that they will play 30 moves according to a single computer line, where not every move is forced, is very unrealistic. Over such a long line they always deviate from the "best" computer line. And by them I mean the best chess players. Even computers do.

For example, in your line, 27.Qg2 is the 3rd best move according to Hudini at depth 19 (27.Bg2 suggested). There are more moves that you are suggesting as best defense for white, that also seem questionable.

Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <Eyal> Well, even without checking an engine during the game I liked <20... Rab8> better. It was not Houdini's top choice from the start, this is sure.

The real argument in favor of this move maybe is not so much the tactics that were found later, but the lack of the rook on the e-file, that was caused by <20... Reb8>. We can keep discussing this issue, I guess, but we know also, how hard it is to find the proper rook, if the decision must be made to move one of them.

Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <jhoro>: Yes, there are always alternatives.
Apr-30-13  GilesFarnaby: <DcGentle:...> In any case, the bishop ending you posted it's drawn with 39.Bxa6 instead of 39.b3
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: <GilesFarnaby>: I am not so sure about it. Black has a surplus pawn.
Apr-30-13  DcGentle: And there is another plus that Black can rely on: His bishop can control the queening squares of all pawns, black or white, and White's bishop has none control in this regard.
Apr-30-13  toreohm: <Marmot PFL: Topalov is not a good match player> <Marmot PFL: Great as he is in tournaments>

Yes, you seem to be right.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It has been pointed out several times in the chess literature that matches place a heavy burden on the nerves, for many reasons.
May-03-13  whiteshark: IM Andrew Martin annotated this <crash and burn> game in a video:
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