Friday, October 06, 2006

G7: Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743)

Huh? Topalov as White again?

As is clearly stated in the match rules, the colors reverse after game 6 to allow both players the same number of games (potentially) as White after a rest day. Topalov, having White in each even-numbered game during the first half of the match (Games 1-6), now reverts to having White in each odd-numbered game during the second have of the match (Games 7-12).

This results in the oddity, due to the forfeit of Kramnik as White in Game 5, of Topalov having the White pieces 3 consecutive games in a row: G4, G6, G7.

Needless to say it is critical for Kramnik to hold this game, effectively neutralizing the advantage of Topalov with the White pieces.

G7: Topalov,V (2813) - Kramnik,V (2743) [D27]

WCh Elista RUS (7), 04.10.2006

[Malcolm Pein]

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

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bd3 dxc4 6.Bxc4 c5 7.0-0 a6 8.Bb3 cxd4 9.exd4 Nc6 10.Nc3 Be7 11.Re1 0-0

12.a4 Unusual More often seen is 12. Re1 though it appears Black is doing fine here also. White also plays a2-a3 here to stop Nb4 and allow the manouevre Bc2 and Qd3 [ 12.Bf4 Na5 13.d5 Nxb3 14.Qxb3 exd5 ( 14...Nxd5 15.Rad1 Nxf4 16.Rxd8 Rxd8 17.Rd1 Nd5 18.Ne5 Bf6 19.Nc4 Rb8! Kramnik-Kasparov, Moscow 2001 (Blitz) Black won) 15.Rad1 Be6 16.Qxb7 Bd6 17.Bg5 Rb8 18.Qxa6 Rxb2 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Qxd6 Qxc3= This was played as Black by Kasparov in 2003. Rather ironically, his opponent was the computer program X3D Fritz.] 12...Bd7 [ 12...b6 The most solid, if 13.d5 exd5 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bb7+/=] 13.Ne5 [ 13.d5 exd5 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bf5 would soon equalise] 13...Be8 Black prepares for the standard attack on his king and attacks d4 14.Be3 Not as aggressive as on f4 but the pawn must be defended 14...Rc8 [ 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Qxd1 16.Bxd1 Nd7 17.Bf3!+/=] 15.Rc1 Nb4 Standard procedure to control the important square in front of the IQP 16.Qf3 A typical plan, heading for g3 or h3. It also attacks d5 and now Nfd5 or Nbd5 would lose a pawn so maybe Bc6 now and if Nxc6 bxc6 is a typical idea preventing d4-d5 forever 16...Bc6 17.Qh3 [ 17.Nxc6 bxc6 Is very solid for Black, White will never play d4-d5 and will find it hard to attack] 17...Bd5 18.Nxd5 Topalov is bashing his moves out an incredible rate 18...Nbxd5 19.Rcd1 Topalov always keeps pieces on where he can 19...Rc7 20.Bg5 Qc8 21.Qf3 [ 21.Bxf6 Nxf6 22.Nxf7!+/-; 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Bxd5 exd5 23.Qf3 Rd8 Holding] 21...Rd8 Black is quite comfortable the only weak point is f7 22.h4 h6 23.Bc1 In trying to keep the game complex Topalov is taking a slight risk Bxf6 would lead to equality 23...Bb4 24.Rf1 Bd6 Diagram

25.g3 [ 25.g4!? Nc3 ( 25...Bxe5 26.dxe5 Nd7 27.Qg3 ( 27.Bf4 Nxf4 28.Qxf4 Rc5=) 27...Nc3 28.Rde1 Rc5 29.Bc2 Na2!) 26.Rde1! Ncd5 27.g5+/-] 25...b6 26.Qe2 Ne7 Aiming for knights on d5 and f5 a la Karpov 27.Rfe1 Bxe5 28.dxe5 [ 28.Qxe5 Nc6 wins the d4 pawn] 28...Rxd1 29.Qxd1 Nfd5 30.Bd2 Rc5 31.Qg4 Nf5 Black is solid 32.Qe4 b5 but he cannot just sit there 33.h5 bxa4 34.Qxa4 Rb5 35.Rc1 Qb7 36.Bc2 [ 36.Bxd5 Qxd5 37.Bc3 Would be fine for Black, Topalov is prepared to keep the bishops particularly the white squared one at the cost of a pawn.] 36...Nb6 37.Qg4 Rxb2 Diagram

38.Be4?! [ 38.Bc3 Rb5 ( 38...Nd5!? 39.Bxb2 Qxb2 40.Qd1 Qxe5 41.Bd3 is += because the a pawn will fall 41...Nxg3 42.Rc8#) 39.Bxf5 exf5 40.Qxf5 a5 ( 40...Qd7 41.Qxd7 Nxd7 42.f4) 41.Bd4 Nc4! White's back row is also exposed 42.Qg4? ( 42.g4!?) 42...Nxe5 43.Rc8+ Kh7 44.Qf5+ g6! wins 45.Bxe5 Rb1+ 46.Qxb1 Qxb1+ 47.Kh2 gxh5] 38...Qd7 39.Be1 Nd5 Kramnik had about 2 minutes per move for the last 18 but he has handled the position superbly, all the winning chances are with black 40.Bd3 Nb4 41.Bf1 Nd3 42.Qd1 White must keep the bishop pair [ After 42.Bxd3 Qxd3 Black would be a pawn up for nothing] 42...Nxe5 43.Qxd7 Nxd7 44.Rc8+ Diagram

44...Kh7 [ 44...Kh7 45.Rc7 Nf6 46.Bxa6 ( 46.Rxf7 Rb1 47.Bc3 Ne4 48.Rc7 Nxc3 49.Rxc3) 46...Rb1 47.Kf1 Nd5 48.Rxf7 Nb4 49.Rb7 Rxe1+ 50.Kxe1 Nxa6 51.Rb6 Nc5 52.Rc6 Nd3+ with winning chances is one possibility now Topalov must be a bit fed up, Kramnik has been rock solid] 45.Rc7 Rb1 46.Rxd7 Rxe1 47.Rxf7 a5 The danger on the b1-d3 diagonal gives White considerable counterplay and the h5 pawn hems in the white king 48.Kg2 [ 48.Ra7 Kg8 ( 48...Re5 49.g4 Nd6 50.Bd3+ Kg8 51.f4 Rd5 52.Bc2 Rd4 53.Bb3 Rxf4 54.Bxe6+ Kf8 55.Rxa5=) ] 48...Kg8 49.Ra7 Re5 50.g4 Nd6 51.Bd3 Kf8 White has enough activity to hold but he has to watch out for e6-e5-e4. by playing Bg6 then Ra8-g8 he might force a draw because of the threats to g7 52.Bg6 Rd5 53.f3 Just holding, playing f4 would invited a favourable exchange of pawns for black after e6-e5 53...e5 54.Kf2 Rd2+ 55.Ke1 [ 55.Ke3 Nc4+ 56.Ke4=] 55...Rd5 56.Ke2 Rb5 57.Rd7 Rd5 The second implicit draw offer if 58.Be4 Nxe4! wins 58.Ra7 Rb5 59.Bd3 Rd5 60.Bg6 1/2-1/2

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