Svidler – Topalov, Linares 2006

White:
Peter Svidler (2765)
Black:
Veselin Topalov (2801)
Opening
Ruy Lopez: Berlin Defence
Tournament
Linares 2006, Morelia, Round 1
Date
18/02/2006
ECO Code
C67
Result
1-0

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8
The Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez was reintroduced into top-flight chess by Vladimir Kramnik in his Braingames World Championship match against Garry Kasparov. Kasparov made no headway against this solid unpretentious defence. It takes a certain type of player to handle the Black side of these positions, its still open for debate whether Topalov had the steeliness needed to succeed with this defence as Black.
9. Nc3 Ne7
Other options at this point are:

  • 9… Bd7
  • 9… h6
10. h3 Ng6 11. Bg5+ Ke8 12. Rad1 Bd7
Both Svidler and Topalov have been here before:

  • 12… Be7 Shirov – Vallejo Pons, Linares 2002, 1/2 (33)
  • 12… Be6 Leko – Kramnik, GpB Playoff, Dortmund 2004, 1/2 (34)
13. Nd4
  • 13. Rd2 Be6 14. Rfd1 Be7
    • 15. Ne4 Anand – Vallejo Pons, Linares 2003, 1/2 (28)
    • 15. Ne2 Svidler – Kramnik, Semi-Finals, Dortmund 2004, 1/2 (25)
    • 15. Be3 Polgar – Topalov, Mtel Masters 2005, 1/2 (60)
  • 13. a3 h6
    • 14. Bc1 Topalov – Vallejo Pons, Hotel Bali Stars 2003, 1/2 (61)
    • 14. Be3 Leko – Kramnik, Dortmund 2004, 1/2 (20)
13… h6 14. Be3 h5
The idea behind this move is to restrain the advance of the White kingside pawns. This is a key theme in the modern Berlin. For Black to survive, he has to keep a strong grip on the f5-square. …h5 hinders g2-g4 staking out the f5-square for White. On reflection, Almasi’s 14… Bb4 is a safer bet.14… Bb4 15. f4 Bxc3 16. bxc3 c5 17. Ne2 b6 18. Ng3 h5 19. f5 Nxe5 20. Bf4 f6 21. Rfe1 Ba4 Shirov – Almasi, Melody Amber Blindfold 2002, 1/2 (21)14… Nxe5 looks risky, with White having compensation for the pawn. Mostly in the fact that the black king is stuck in the centre for the moment. 15. Ne4 =

15. f4 h4
As well as continuing to hold back the White kingside pawns, Black also prepares to play …Rh5 protecting the f5-square.
16. f5!?
Position after 16.f5!? Is it a bluff? White is prepared to sacrifice a pawn to take control of the f5-square as well as the f-file.Better is 16. Ne4!? +/-
16… Nxe5 17. f6
Black can’t play 17… gxf6 without conceeding the fight for the f5-square and the f-file. With the Black king stuck in the centre, White would have a significant advantage, and compensation for the sacrificed pawns.
16… Rh5
17… gxf6 18. Ne4! =
18. Ne4 g6
Protecting the f5-square. The White f6-pawn however makes Black’s life very difficult. The e-file is vulnerable, and the Black dark-squared bishop will find it difficult to get into play.
19. Bf4 c5 20. Nf3
On first glance this looks to allow Black to simplify and reduce the pressure. But, its actually in White’s interest to swop off the knights, as well as exchanging off Black’s most active piece, White gets a tempo to activate his rooks.20. Ne2!? must definitely be considered Nc4 21. Rfe1 +=
20… Nxf3+ 21. Rxf3 Be6
Its a very difficult position for Black. He closes the e-file, which offers his king a little protection.
22. Rfd3
22. Ng5!? Locking the … h5 rook out of play as well as starting to pressure the Black light-squared bishop. 22… Rd8 23. Re1 Rd5 24. Nxe6 fxe6 25. Bxc7 Rd2 =
22… c4
Topalov is slowly playing his way out of trouble. White’s compensation for the pawn is dwindling by the move.22… Bxa2?? that pawn is deadly bait and will cause Black grave problems 23. Bxc7 Rd5 24. Rxd5 Bxd5 25. Rxd5 +-
23. R3d2 c6 24. Ng5
Prevents Black’s …Rd5 which defends against White’s threats down the d-file.
24… Bc5+
Black’s pieces are starting to become threatening.
25. Kh2 Bd5 26. Re2+ Kf8
The king finally leaves the danger-zone. Although the e7-square is vulnerable.
27. Rde1 b5 28. c3
Trying to hold back Black’s queenside pawns as well as preventing the Black dark-squared bishop from infiltrating any further.
28… a5 29. a3
Covers b4
29… Rc8 30. g4 hxg3+ 31. Kxg3 Be6
In time trouble, Topalov loses his way. The bishop turns out to be a handy target for White’s activity.
32. h4 Kg8
32… Bd5 33. a4 bxa4 34. Ne4 Bxe4 35. Rxe4 =+
33. Re5 Bf8
33… Bd6 34. Rxe6 Bxf4+ 35. Kxf4 fxe6 36. Kg4 +=
34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Rd1 Rh7
A time trouble blunder that gives the opponent counterplay.35… Kf7 36. Bg5 =
36. Rxe6
Better is 36. Rg5!? +-
36… Rb7 37. Re4 Kf7 38. Bg5
The bishop is not easily driven from g5
38… Re8 39. Rxe8 Kxe8 40. Kg4 Rh7 41. Re1+ Kd7 42. a4
Crushing Black’s potential counterplay on the queenside.
42… bxa4
Better is 42… Bd6!? +-
43. Re5 c5 44. Bf4 Rh8 45. Bg3 Bh6 46. Re7+ Kc6 47. Bf4 Bxf4 48. Kxf4 Rh5
48… Rxh4+ cannot change destiny 49. Ke5 Rh2 50. f7 Re2+ 51. Kf6 Rxb2 52. Kg7 +-
49. Re5 Rxh4+ 50. Kg5 Rh5+ 51. Kxg6 Rxe5 52. f7 Re6+ 53. Kg5 Re5+ 54. Kg4 Re4+ 55. Kg3 Re3+ 56. Kf2 a3 57. f8=Q axb2
57… a2 the last chance for counterplay 58. Qc8+ Kb6 59. Qd8+ Ka6 60. Qd6+ Kb5 61. Qd7+ Kb6 +-
58. Qc8+ Kb5 59. Qb7+
59. Kxe3 Ka4 60. Qf5 Kb5 61. Qc2 Kc6 62. Qxb2 Kd6 63. Qb8+ Kd7 64. Ke4 a4 65. Ke5 Kc6 66. Qd6+ Kb7 67. Kd5 a3 68. Qc6+ Kb8 69. Qb6+ Kc8 70. Kd6 a2 71. Qc7#
59… Ka4 60. Kxe3 Ka3 61. Qb5 a4 62. Qxc5+ Kb3 63. Qb4+ Kc2 64. Qxa4+ Kxc3 65. Qa5+ Kc2 66. Qf5+ Kc1
66… Kc3 does not save the day 67. Qb1 Kb3 68. Kd4 c3 69. Qe1 Ka4 70. Qe8+ Ka3 71. Qa8+ Kb3 72. Qd5+ Kc2 73. Qe4+ Kb3 74. Qe6+ Kc2 75. Qe2+ Kb3 76. Qc4+ Kc2 77. Qxc3+ Kb1 78. Qc4 Ka1 79. Qa4+ Kb1 80. Kc3 Kc1 81. Qc2#
67. Qf1+
67. Qf1+ Kc2 68. Qxc4+ Kb1 69. Kd4 Ka1 70. Qa4+ Kb1 71. Kc3 Kc1 72. Qc2#
1-0
This entry was posted in Analysis, Berlin Defence, Berlin Defence, Chess, Morelia/Linares, Ruy Lopez, Svidler, Topalov. Bookmark the permalink.

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