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Viswanathan Anand vs Veselin Topalov
London Chess Classic (2015), London ENG, rd 5, Dec-08
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Adams Attack (B90)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-08-15  kamagong24: kudos to Topalov, he plays to win!!!
Dec-08-15  abhishikt: 57. ... Ba5, very interesting move. very close to sacrificial rook.
Dec-08-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: This is a strategically superb win from Anand.

The <57...Ba5> was a cute trick from Black. The idea goes <58.Kxa5?? Rxb5+> and, say, <59.Ka6 Ra5+! 60.Kb7 Ra7+ 61.Kxa7> and <pat>. (Similar end also when White king tries to escape the checks differently.) Sadly, the 57...Ba5 trick was the chief flashy moment from Topalov in this game.

Dec-08-15  Rama: Yes, accepting gives rise to a 'rogue rook' as black is otherwise stalemated. It can check endlessly, seemingly, but the white King can get to c4 and interpose the N on b4 against a R-check from a4, ending he shenanigans and winning.
Dec-08-15  1971: <Gypsy> Yeah if there wasn't engines this would probably be considered a masterpiece. Sacrificing the g5 pawn was a really great idea. Topalov probably didn't expect that when went in for this endgame. 44...f5?! opening the seventh rank and weakening the king was questionable though. What was wrong with trying to hold the position?
Dec-08-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Rama> Right. (Saw that but made hash of things when writing.)

<1971: ... if there wasn't engines this would probably be considered a masterpiece. ...> Indeed. From the strategic view, this is a grand game by Anand.

Dec-08-15  Pulo y Gata: Let me try to summarize this game in a sentence: The story of a hole (d5).

A great strategic win, one that a teacher of the game could use for teaching the students.

Dec-08-15  Jim Bartle: Good point. The knight lands there on move 29 and stays there for 37 moves.
Dec-08-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: why does black swap queens when he goes into an endgame with that Knight posted on d5?
Dec-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < HeMateMe: why does black swap queens when he goes into an endgame with that Knight posted on d5? >

Hard to say (it was a strategic error, of course). Perhaps Black figured that posting his B at d8 would suffice for holding it all, because the Bd8 would then sufficiently oppose the knight and -- for practical purposes -- permanently tie White rook to the defense of Pg5. Things just did not work out that way; Anand abandoned that pawn!

Dec-09-15  Sularus: That knight should be named Hydra.
Dec-09-15  Fish55: It was better to play 47...Kc8, protecting the knight, so that the black rook can stay mobile on the seventh rank.
Dec-09-15  zanzibar: Playing over with Stockfish it appears that both players didn't fully appreciate the near-zugzwang at move 58.


click for larger view

Black's king, as already noted, is stalemated, so 58.Kxa5? Rxb5+! is better for Black (though likely still losing).

White played 58.Kc4, and the bishop goes back to d8 (it's pinned to the diagonal to defend b6).

But White can play instead 58.Ka4 Bd8 59.Ra7! putting Black into zugzwang. This forces the bishop off the a5/d8 diagonal so that both king and pawn advance.

A beautiful moment in the game.

Dec-09-15  1971: Great explanation! That move is what chess is all about.
Dec-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: I think <57...Ba5> loses even if Kxa5. 58. Kxa5 Rxb5+ 59. Ka4 Ra5+ 60. Kb3! and white can take shelter from checks with the knight, also breaking the stalemate threat.

60...Rb5+ 61. Nb4
60...Ra3+ 61. Kc4

60. Kb4? Ra4+ would allow black to garner another pawn with an unclear finish, but looking drawish.

Dec-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: Pun suggestion: Can You Defy a Knight on D5?
Dec-09-15  Ulhumbrus: Anand probably realised that on 57...Ba5+ 58 Kxa5 does not save Black because if White can answer a check by moving his knight that frees Black's king from stalemate. However he may have been too tired to calculate it all and to devise a way eg 58...Rxb5+ 59 Ka4 Rb4+ 60 Nxb4. Suppose that Black tries to avoid this. On 57...Ba5+ 58 Kxa5 Rxb5+ 59 Ka4 Ra5+ Now White wants White's king and Black's rook on a square whereby amy check can be answered by a move by the knight, removing stalemate: 60 Kb3 Ra3+ 61 Kc4 It is done! Now White can answer any checks with a knight move and Black can resign.
Dec-09-15  1971: Svidler called this game a minor masterpiece during his Banter Blitz session on chess24.
Dec-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Wow, Vishy channels his innermost Magnus to produce this brilliancy. I'll wager that 9 out of 10 chess enthusiasts would have guessed that Magnus was playing with the White pieces if they had seen this game without knowing the identity of the players.
Dec-10-15  Ulhumbrus: After 17...hxg4 White does not recapture on g4 at once but plays the zwischenzug 18 Nxb6! clearing the d5 square. This suggests 17...Nxd5 18 Nxd5 Bxd5 19 exd5 and only now 19...hxg4 and with the d5 square blocked it seems more difficult to get White's king's bishop into play. This in turn suggests first 17 Nxb6 Qxb6 and now 18 g4.
Dec-10-15  Sularus: <Vishy channels his innermost Magnus>

lol! good one!

Jan-05-16  SimplicityRichard: <Pulo y Gata: A great strategic win; one that a teacher of the game could use for teaching students.>

I agree absolutely; nevertheless for the summary of the game in one sentence, I would write: "The story of the good Knight at the d5 outpost/hole, versus the bad bishop blocked by it's own pawns". Then I think the students will understand fully.

<kamagong24: Kudos to Topalov, he plays to win!!> I agree wholeheartedly.#

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