Sunday, October 08, 2006

G10: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

WCh Elista RUS (10), 08.10.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein and Mark Crowther]

(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 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Bf4 Nbd7 9.Qc2 a5!?
Again a wrinkle off the main line. 9...b6 and 9...Nh5 are the normal moves but this may well lead to the lines where Black plays b5 and a5 10.Rd1 Nh5 11.Bc1 b5 Diagram

[ 11...b6 12.Nbd2 Ba6 13.e4 Nhf6 14.e5 Ne8] 12.cxd5 [ 12.c5 f5 Gives Black a reasonable Stonewall Dutch where White has no automatic play on the queenside now it is blocked 13.Nc3 g5 14.a3 Bf6 15.Qd2 h6 16.h4 g4 17.Qxh6 gxf3 18.Qxh5 fxg2 19.Qg6+ Kh8 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.Qg6+ 1/2-1/2 Rahman,Z (2542)-Ghaem Maghami,E (2500)/Doha 2003/CBM 94] 12...cxd5 13.e4! The optimal time when the Ra8 and Nh5 are loose but [ 13.Ne5 was interesting 13...Bb7 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Rb8 16.e4] 13...dxe4 [ 13...Nhf6 14.Ng5!? ( 14.e5 Ne4 15.Ne1! is just good) 14...dxe4 15.Bxe4 ( 15.Nxh7!?) 15...Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Bxg5 17.Qxa8 Qc7 18.Bxg5 Bb7 19.Qa7 Ra8 20.Bf4 Qc8 21.Rc1 Qxc1+ 22.Bxc1 Rxa7] 14.Qxe4 Rb8 15.Qe2 Nhf6 16.Bf4+/= Rb6 17.Ne5 Nd5 [ 17...Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.Nc6 Qe8 20.Nxa5] 18.Bxd5! Before Black can consolidate with Bb7 or Ndf6 18...exd5 19.Nc3 Nf6! 20.Nxb5 Ba6 21.a4 Ne4 Black has some play because of the pin on the Nb5 22.Rdc1 Qe8 23.Rc7 [ 23.f3!? Nd6 24.Qe1] 23...Bd8 24.Ra7 Diagram

24...f6?? Kramnik stated at the press conference that before this error "I think Black holds if he plays correctly - it should be a draw.". Topalov said about f6, "Just a bad blunder. There were so many pieces on board. Really, I just blundered."... What did you overlook? Was it Nd7 or something deeper? - My oversight was a bit deeper, but it doesn't really matter. I think I had to take on b5, and there is nothing to worry about. This was my initial idea, but then I decided 24...f6 was interesting, too." ... "I decided that 24...f6 is a more complex move compared to taking on b5. After 24... Bxb5 White has certain pressure in the resulting endgame. I glanced at the clock, saw the opponent running behind on the clock, and decided to play the sharpest move. " [ 24...Bxb5 25.axb5 Qxb5 26.Qxb5 Rxb5 27.Ra2 White has better coordination and activity and Bb6 can be met by Rb7 but with active play the White pieces can be driven back ( 27.Nd7 Re8 28.Ra8 Rxb2 29.Bc7 Rb7) 27...f6 28.Nc6 Bb6 29.Rb7 ( 29.Rd7 Rf7 30.Ne7+ Rxe7 31.Rxe7 Bxd4 32.Kg2+/=; 29.Ra6 Re8 30.Be3 Nd6 31.Nxa5 Nf5=) 29...Rf7 30.Rb8+ Rf8 31.Rxf8+ Kxf8 32.f3 g5!] 25.Nd7 This seems to win, a pawn falls and there is a horrible pin on the e-file. [ 25.Qg4 Is another very strong move.] 25...Rf7 26.Nxb6 Rxa7 27.Nxd5 Rd7 28.Ndc3! Diagram

28...Rxd4?! Played instantly. Around here f2-f3 wins but gives Black the possibility of some tricks so Kramnik avoids it in time pressure [ 28...Re7 29.Qc4+ Doesn't offer too much for black but at least it doesn't offer a piece.] 29.Re1 [ Kramnik said after the game "28...Rxd4 is another error; he had to move the rook to e7, after which White must display some technique. After Black's 28th move, White wins anyhow. I tried handling the position in the most human way, avoiding any risk. In principle, I could have taken the piece by playing f2-f3, but preferred to exchange everything and proceed to a won ending instead." 29.f3 Bxb5 30.Nxb5 Rb4 31.Re1 Bb6+ 32.Kg2 is however crushing and not particularly complex. Perhaps Kramnik simply couldn't believe his luck.] 29...f5 30.Qc2! Rb4 31.Nd5 [ 31.f3 was the last chance to play to win the pinned knight. Its still good.] 31...Rxb5 32.axb5 Qxb5 33.Nc7 Qc4 [ 33...Bxc7 34.Qxc7 Qxb2 35.Qd8+ Kf7 36.Qd7+ Kg6 37.Qe8+ Kf6 38.Be3] 34.Qd1 [ 34.Qxc4+ Kasparov said he didn't know why Kramnik didn't just exchange queens here.] 34...Bxc7 35.Qd7 But this is strong 35...h6 [ 35...Bxf4 36.Qe8#] 36.Qxc7 Qb4 [ 36...Qd4 with a few cheapo tricks for time trouble looks better according to Kasparov. It does keep the queens on longer 37.Qc2 Bb7 38.Rd1 Qb6 39.Be3 Qb4 40.Bxh6 gxh6 41.Qc7] 37.Qb8+ Diagram

Off with the queens! and its decisive 37...Qxb8 38.Bxb8 Nd2 39.Ra1 g5 40.f4 Nb3 41.Ra3 Bc4 42.Bc7 g4 43.Bxa5 For a player of Kramnik's ability this is trivial. 1-0

Kramnik finally breaks through Topalov's opening preparation and scores a much needed victory against the Bulgarian.

The match is now tied at 5:5 with 2 games to play, forfeit withstanding. Tomorrow is a rest day, with Game 11 on Tuesday and Game 12 on Thursday.

This has turned into an exciting match no matter which side you are for!

Go Kramnik!

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