Friday, October 06, 2006

G1: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

G1: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [E04]

WCh Elista RUS (1), 23.09.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein]


(Thanks to Mark Crowther, The Week In Chess, and Malcolm Pein for commentary and analysis)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 [ 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Bf4 b6 9.Nc3 Ba6 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Rc1 Nc6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Ne5 Nxd4 14.Bxd5 Nxe2+ 15.Qxe2 Bxe2 16.Bxa8 Rxa8 And Kramnik ground out a technical win against Topalov at Dortmund 2005, the last time they played ( 16...Bxf1 17.Rc7!) ] 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 Something of a sideline which has been played by Grischuk and Efimenko. 7.Qc2 The calmest move which ensures the regain of the c4 pawn. Of the other moves; 7.0-0 is sound; 7.a3 wastes time; 7.Bxb4 doesn't seem right but has been played, 7.Nc3 gambits a pawn for decent compensation and is not how Kramnik wants to play against Topalov in game one. 7.Qc1 was played by Jan Gustafsson against Efimenko and there is also 7.Na3!? when 7...Bxa3 8.bxa3 is also reasonable compensation. 7...Bxd2+ [ 7...b6 8.Ne5 ( 8.Qxc4 Ba6 9.Qc2 0-0 10.Nc3 Also looks quite good for White) 8...Qxd4 9.Nxf7 Kxf7 10.Bxa8 Is probably better for White; Trying to keep the pawn with 7...b5 is risky because of 8.a4 c6 ( 8...bxa4 9.Ne5 Ra6 10.Qxa4+ Bd7 11.Nxd7+/= Tkachiev-Moiseenko 2002) 9.axb5 Bxd2+ 10.Nfxd2! and not; 7...b5 8.a4 c6 9.axb5 cxb5 10.Bxb4 axb4] 8.Qxd2 [ 8.Nbxd2 Is the main move but Black can try and keep the pawn and as the most combative plan, Topalov might well be attracted to it. 8...b5 9.a4 c6 10.b3 cxb3 11.Nxb3 When White has at least enough compensation but perhaps not a suitable line for the circumstances and in any event Black has done quite well] 8...c6 [ Qxd2 looked odd because it moved the queen twice but the point is 8...b5 9.Qg5!; 8...Bd7 going to c6 has been played and 8...b6 was played just once. 1/2-1/2 Wojtkiewicz,A (2554)-Gulko,B (2585)/San Diego USA 2006/The Week in Chess 592 (31);] 9.a4 b5 [ 9...0-0 10.Na3 Ne4 11.Qc2 Nd6 12.Nxc4+/=; 9...Nbd7 10.Na3 Nb6 11.Ne5+/=] 10.axb5 cxb5 11.Qg5 Regaining the pawn 11...0-0 [ 11...b4 12.Ne5 ( 12.Qxg7 Rg8 13.Qh6 Bb7~~) 12...Ra7 13.Nxc4 0-0 14.e3] 12.Qxb5 Ba6 [ TN 12...Na6 13.Qxc4 Nb4 14.Qb3 Did not give Moiseenko enough compensation against Grischuk at Sochi 2006 TWIC 599. Black sacrificed a second pawn now with 14...e5 but lost in 102 moves] 13.Qa4 [ 13.Qxa5 Bb7! 14.Qxd8 Rxa1 15.Qxf8+ ( 15.Qb6 Rxb1+ 16.Kd2 c3+! Is the sweet point of this home preparation 17.Kxc3 Nd5+) 15...Kxf8 16.0-0 Ra2 17.Ne5 Ba6 18.Nc3 Rxb2 Should be OK for Black] 13...Qb6 14.0-0 Qxb2 15.Nbd2 Bb5 [ 15...c3? 16.Rfb1] 16.Nxc4 Bxa4 17.Nxb2 This is the kind of position White aims for in the Catalan with a stable structure and a target to aim at however with active play Black cuts across this plan 17...Bb5 18.Ne5 Ra7 19.Bf3 [ 19.Nbc4!? Nbd7 20.Nxa5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Nd7 22.f4 Bxe2 would be tenable but unpleasant] 19...Nbd7 20.Nec4 Rb8 21.Rfb1 Diagram

21...g5! A great move from Topalov, typically aggressive. Kramnik needs to play e2-e3 and Topalov has worked out he can exploit the f3square 22.e3 [ 22.Rxa5 Rxa5 23.Nxa5 g4 24.Bg2 Bxe2=/+] 22...g4 23.Bd1 Bc6! 24.Rc1 [ 24.Nxa5 Be4! 25.Nac4 Rab7-/+] 24...Be4 25.Na4 Rb4 With clever tactics Topalov has covered his weakness on a5 and now he outplays Kramnik to an extent 26.Nd6 Bf3 27.Bxf3 gxf3 28.Nc8 Ra8 29.Ne7+ Kg7 30.Nc6 Rb3 The pawn on f3 is not weak because it cannot be easily attacked and it forces White to worry about f2 continually 31.Nc5 Rb5 32.h3 Making space for the king and if [ 32.Na4 Ne4 Not Rb3 repeating] 32...Nxc5 33.Rxc5 Rb2 34.Rg5+ Kh6 35.Rgxa5 Rxa5 36.Nxa5 Ne4 37.Rf1 Nd2 38.Rc1 Ne4 Needless to say Topalov does not want a draw but this play for a win at all costs is not necessarily good tactics in a match but of course at this stage Topalov can test Kramnik's resolve at no risk. 39.Rf1 f6 40.Nc6 Nd2 41.Rd1 Ne4 42.Rf1 Kg6 Diagram

Black has many interesting ideas here with White completely passive. There are pawn breaks and a serious possibility of trapping the white knight 43.Nd8! Played after a long thought. It is essential to tie one black piece down otherwise he will have a completely freehand 43...Rb6 [ 43...e5 44.dxe5 fxe5 45.Nc6 Kf6 was another idea but why hurry ?] 44.Rc1 h5 45.Ra1 [ 45.h4?! would invite the Black king in] 45...h4 [ 45...e5] 46.gxh4 [ 46.g4 Kramnik wants to get Black pawns off the board but this entails some risk as the Black king getscloser 46...e5 47.dxe5 fxe5 48.Ra2? ( 48.Rc1) 48...Rb1+ 49.Kh2 Rf1 In all these lines the h4 pawn restricts the White king even more] 46...Kh5 47.Ra2 Some progress for Kramnik because now with the rook covering f2 from a more active spot the knight is unlikely to be snared 47...Kxh4 48.Kh2 Kh5 49.Rc2 Kh6 50.Ra2 Kg6 51.Rc2 Kf5 52.Ra2 Rb5 53.Nc6 Rb7 Introducing the threat of Rg7-g2 54.Ra5+ [ 54.Rc2? Rg7 55.d5 e5] 54...Kg6 [ 54...e5 55.Nxe5!] 55.Ra2 Kh5 56.d5! [ 56.Ra5+ Kh4! and Rb2 or Rg7 comes and Black is close to winning 57.Ra8 Rb2 58.Rh8+ Kg5 59.Rg8+ Kh6 60.Kg1 Rb1+ 61.Kh2 Rf1 62.Rg4 f5! 63.Rxe4 ( 63.Rf4 Rxf2+ 64.Kg1 Rg2+ 65.Kf1 Rc2 66.Ne5 Rc1#) 63...fxe4] 56...e5 [ 56...exd5 57.Nd4 Ng5 58.Kg3 With serious winning chances; 56...Rg7 Perhaps this was the intention but there seems to be a subtle technical win for Kramnik with knight v rook 57.dxe6 Rg2+ 58.Kh1 Nxf2+ ( 58...Ng3+ 59.fxg3 Rxa2 60.e7 Ra1+ 61.Kh2 Ra2+ 62.Kg1 Ra8 63.Nd8+-) 59.Rxf2 Rxf2 60.e7 Rf1+ 61.Kh2 Rf2+ 62.Kg3 Rg2+ 63.Kxf3 Rg8 and now Nd4, e3-e4, Nd4-f5 and h3-h4 looks very promising 64.Nd4 ( The king march does not quite work 64.Ke4 Kg6 65.Kd5 Kf7 66.Kd6 Threat Nd8+ to e6 and c7 but 66...Rg3 draws after 67.Kd7 Rxe3 68.Nd8+ Kg6 69.e8Q+ Rxe8 70.Kxe8 Kg5) 64...Kg6 65.e4 Kf7 66.Nf5 Rg1 Defending behind the h pawn does not seem to work ( The passive approach also loses 66...Rh8 67.h4 Rb8 68.h5 Rh8 69.h6 Rg8 70.Kf4 Rh8 71.Ke3 Rb8 72.Kd4 Ra8 73.h7 Rh8 74.Kd5 Rxh7 75.Kd6 Rh8 76.Kd7+-) 67.h4 Rh1 68.h5 Rh2 ( 68...Rxh5 69.e8Q+ Kxe8 70.Ng7+) 69.h6 Rh1 ( 69...Ra2 70.Kg4 Rh2 71.Nh4+-) 70.Kg2+- And the rook runs out of squares 70...Rh5 71.Ng7] 57.Ra4 Diagram

57...f5?? The question is what did Topalov miss or was it just first game nerves? Its not the first time its happened [ 57...Nxf2 Still draws after the nice line 58.Kg3 ( 58.d6 Rb2 59.Rb4 Rd2 Leads to a lovely mate 60.Kg3 Nh1+ 61.Kxf3 f5 62.Nxe5 Rf2#) 58...e4! ( 58...Nd3 59.Kxf3 f5 60.d6 Rd7 61.Ne7 Rxd6 62.Nxf5 Rf6 63.e4 Black should draw this) 59.Kxf2 Rb2+ and the white king has to submit to perpetual as leaving the f3 pawn loses 60.Kf1 ( 60.Kg3? Rg2+ 61.Kf4 f2 62.Ra1 Rg1) 60...Rb1+ 61.Kf2 Rb2+ 62.Ke1 Rb1+ 63.Kd2? f2] 58.Nxe5 Rb2 59.Nd3 [ 59.Rxe4 Even this gets to knight and three v rook 59...fxe4 60.Kg3 Kg5 ( 60...Rd2 61.Kf4 Rxf2 62.Kxe4 Kh4 63.Nxf3+ Kxh3 64.d6+-) 61.Nf7+ Kf6 62.Nd6 Rb4 63.Kf4] 59...Rb7 [ 59...Rd2 60.Rd4! ( Not 60.Ra3 Kh4=) ] 60.Rd4 Rb6 61.d6! The simplest solution, giving the d pawn for the f pawn and emerging a clear two pawns ahead with an active king 61...Nxd6 62.Kg3 Ne4+ 63.Kxf3 Kg5 64.h4+ Kf6 [ 64...Kxh4 65.Nc5 Leads to a technically won R+P endgame] 65.Rd5 Nc3 66.Rd8 Rb1 67.Rf8+ Ke6 68.Nf4+ Ke5 69.Re8+ Kf6 70.Nh5+ Kg6 71.Ng3 Rb2 72.h5+ Kf7 73.Re5 Nd1 74.Ne2 Kf6 75.Rd5 [ 75.Rd5 Rxe2 76.Rd6+ Ke7 77.Kxe2] 1-0

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