Topalov – Radjabov, Linares 2006

Veselin Topalov (2801)
Teimour Radjabov (2700)
Kings Indian
Linares 2006, Moerlia, Round 4
ECO Code

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3

An esoteric, but flexible sideline of the King’s Indian.

5… O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. h3

The position has taken on Benoni-like characteristics.

8… exd5 9. exd5

9. cxd5 This is a more natural capture, and transposes into Modern Benoni positions.

  • 9… Re8 10. O-O a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Ng3 Qc7 13. Re1 = {Gulko – Damljanovic, Tilburg 1994, 1/2 (110)
  • 9… b6 10. a4 Na6 11. O-O Nb4 12. Bb1 Re8 13. Bg5 Ba6 14. Re1 = Gabriel – Bischoff, Bremen 1998, 1-0 (31)
9… Nfd7

Black regroups to get his f-pawn moving. Without the e4-pawn, White’s thematic pressure on the Black kingside is no longer such a threat to Black.

9… Nbd7 10. f4 Ne8 Nogueiras – Miles, Matanzas 1994, 1/2 (10)

10. f4 f5

In a case of weak squares, White perhaps has more pawn weaknesses than Black, although Black’s e6-square is a tender spot.

11. O-O Na6 12. Be3 Nc7

Preparing the typical pawn break with …b5. If White tries to hold it back with a2-a4, then Black swings the knight back to a6 and heads for the b4-square.

13. Qd2 Re8 14. Bf2

It makes sense for White to reroute the bishop to h4, but the e-file looks decidedly dodgy.

14… Nf6 15. a3 a5 16. Bh4 Bd7 17. Kh1

White already envisions the g-file opening up, so he tucks his king on the safest nearby square.

17… Qe7 18. Rae1 Qf7

Black’s pieces are slowly migrating towards the kingside, which should prevent White from opening up the position too quickly.

19. a4

Black’s been waiting for this opening.

19… Na6 20. g4!?

Position after 20.g4!? With Black’s pieces massed on the kingside, this opening battering ram is perhaps too risky.

20… Nb4

The knight dominates

21. Bb1 fxg4 22. f5!

White is already committed, and Topalov doesn’t shirk from the task.

22… Bxf5 23. Bxf5 gxf5 24. Rxf5 Qg6

24… gxh3?? it may look tempting but Black must resist capturing the pawn 25. Rg1 Re5 26. Rxf6 +-

25. Ref1 Rf8 26. Ng3 Nh5!?

A clever counter-combination that throws doubt on Topalov’s pawn sacrifice.

26… gxh3? is no good 27. Rg5 Qc2 28. Qxc2 Nxc2 29. Nf5 +-

27. Nce4 Nxg3+ 28. Nxg3 gxh3 29. b3 Rae8

White’s compensation for the sacrificed pawn has disappeared, and Black gradually usurps the initiative which allows him to fully mobilise his pieces. Black’s hold on the dark-squares – thanks to the formidable dark-squared bishop – is significant.

30. Kh2 Rxf5 31. Rxf5 Re5

31… h6!? -/+

32. Qg5 Qxg5 33. Bxg5 Nc2 34. Bd8?

Better is 34. Bd2!? =+ and White hangs on

34… Nd4 35. Rf4??

shortens the misery for White

Better is 35. Rxe5 Bxe5 36. Kxh3 Bxg3 37. Kxg3 Nxb3 38. Bg5 -+

35… Re3

35… Nxb3 ?! is clearly inferior 36. Bc7 =

36. Rg4 Kf7 37. Re4

37. Kxh3 praying for a miracle Be5 38. Kg2 Rxb3 39. Ne4 Rb2+ 40. Kf1 -+

37… Rxb3

37… Rxb3 38. Kxh3 Be5 39. Rxe5 dxe5 -+


This entry was posted in Analysis, Chess, Kings Indian, Morelia/Linares, Openings, Radjabov, Topalov. Bookmark the permalink.

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