Friday, October 06, 2006

G3: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813)

G3: Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [E02]

WCh Elista RUS (3), 26.09.2006

[IM Malcolm Pein and James Coleman]


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


1.d4 Nf6
Topalov should not be too down-hearted he has after all had two great positions in the match so far. However conventional match strategy dictates that Kramnik should try and kick his man while he is down. 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Nc6 [ 5...Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Qc2 Game 1] 6.Qa4 Kramnik undoubtedly wants to avoid messy lines where Black keeps the c4 pawn and so Nc6-a5 has to be considered a potential threat. This rules it out. 6...Bd7 7.Qxc4 Na5 8.Qd3 [ 8.Qc2 is not so good 8...Rc8 intending ...c5 and the Q is not well placed on c2.] 8...c5 9.0-0 Bc6 10.Nc3 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Following Tkachiev-Solozhenkin France 2000, note that there was a Tkachiev game in the theory of the first game 11...Bc5 [ 11...Bxg2 12.Kxg2 Qd7 13.Rd1 Bc5 14.Bg5+/= the Na5 is poor and White is better developed] 12.Rd1 Bxg2 13.Qb5+ Nd7 14.Kxg2 a6 Still following the aforementioned Tkachiev game, which White won in 33 moves. Where will Topalov unleash an improvement? [ 14...0-0?? would of course be a disastrous blunder 15.Nf3 wins the knight] 15.Qd3 Diagram

If Black can solve the problem of his knight he should be fine. What he wants to avoid is putting it back on c6 when it can be captured leading to isolated queenside pawns 15...Rc8 In the cold light of day 16. Bg5 can be met by Be7 but it still looks like a small edge. [ 15...Be7 16.Bf4!+/= Tkachiev-Solozhenkin in view of 16...e5 17.Nf5 exf4 18.Nxg7+ Kf8 19.Qxd7; There is some concealed venom here in this Bg5 idea 15...Rc8 16.Bg5 Be7 17.Ne4 Bxg5 18.Nd6+ Ke7 19.Nxc8+ Qxc8 20.Qa3++-] 16.Bg5 Be7 [ 16...Qxg5 17.Nxe6!+/- Ne5 18.Nxg5 Nxd3 19.Rxd3; 16...Ne5 is an interesting idea which doesn't work: 17.Bxd8 Nxd3 18.Bxa5 Nxb2 19.Rdb1 Bxd4 20.Rxb2 b6 21.Bxb6! Bxc3 22.Rc2 and White wins.] 17.Bxe7 More interesting was 17 Ne4 The immediate exchange on e7 seems to helpTopalov. [ 17.Ne4 Ne5 ( 17...Nc4! 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.b3 Nde5 20.Qb1 Na3 21.Qb2 0-0 22.Rac1 and the knight still looks like a liability) 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 ( 18...Nxd3 19.Bxd8 Rxd8 20.Rxd3+-) 19.Nf5! Nxd3 20.Ned6+ Kf8 21.Nxe7+/-] 17...Qxe7 18.Rac1 Nc4 19.Na4 b5 [ 19...Nde5 20.Qe4 0-0 21.b3 f5 also seems better for White.] 20.b3 0-0 wisely accepting doubled a pawns in order to finish his development. [ 20...Ndb6?? Simply 20...0-0 or 20...Nde5 are OK 21.Nxb6 Nxb6 22.Rxc8+ Nxc8 23.Nc6] 21.bxc4 bxa4 22.Nc6 Rxc6 23.Qxd7 Diagram

Kramnik has a safe edge, its not altogether surprising he went for this he retains winning chances even after 23...Qc5, keeping the queens on Black is still OK maybe then Qb7 idea Rd7 23...Qc5 [ 23...Qxd7 24.Rxd7 Rfc8 25.Rb7 Kf8 ( 25...f6 26.Rb4 a3 27.Rc3+/=) 26.Rd1 R8c7 27.Rxc7 Rxc7 28.Rc1] 24.Rc3 Preparing Rb1 and eyeing a3 should the a4 pawn go there also Rf3 may be useful one day 24...g6 25.Rb1 h5 26.Rb7 e5 Typically active defence he wants to play Rf6 attacking f2 27.e4 Now Qd5 is a possibility 27...Rf6 28.Rc2 Qa3 Going for counterplay but freeing the c4 pawn and so a double edged move 29.Qd1 Rd6 Now just Rd2 and Black must probably avoid exchanges 30.Rd2 Rfd8 Diagram

[ 30...Rf6 31.Rc7 intending c4-c5] 31.Rd5! The benefits of 27.e4 come to fruition. Black now looks to be teetering on the brink of a 3-0 deficit in the match, which would surely be decisive, even at this early stage. [ 31.Rb8 Rxd2 32.Rxd8+ Rxd8 33.Qxd8+ may have been more testing.; 31.Rxd6 Rxd6 32.Qc2 was another alternative.] 31...Rxd5 # 32.cxd5 [ 32.exd5 with two passed pawns was the more ambitious way to play, however with a clear lead in the match Kramnik sees no reason to take even the slightest risk.] 32...Qxa2 33.Qf3 Rf8 34.Qd3 Black has some hidden resources! [ 34.Qf6 Qa1! 35.Qxa6 Qd4=; 34.Qc3 Qe2 35.Qxe5 a3 looks double edged; 34.Qd3 a3 35.Rb3 f5!! 36.Rxa3 fxe4!-/+] 34...a3 35.Rb3 [ 35.Ra7] 35...f5!! # Probably forced but nevertheless good. 36.Qxa6 [ 36.Rxa3 fxe4 ( 36...Qxf2+ 37.Kxf2 fxe4+ 38.Ke3 exd3 39.Rxa6 is flashy but not the best use of the tactic.) 37.Rxa2 exd3 and black is better.] 36...Qxb3 37.Qxg6+ Kh8 38.Qh6+ Kg8 An impressive save from Topalov, he is on the scoreboard ! 1/2-1/2

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