Topalov – Kramnik, World Championship 2006 (4)

Another hard-fought draw. Kramnik ventured a Semi-Slav, and met with a Topalov home-crafted novelty based on a game Kramnik played against Ivanchuk in the 1994 Intel Rapidplay. Topalov gained time out of the opening, gaining compensation by sacrificing a pawn. Kramnik gave back the pawn and fought hard to prevent White gaining a decisive advantage. Topalov gained an advantage with some active play with his major pieces, but let pass a number of opportunities to increase his advantage. Kramnik finally settled the game by breaking open White’s centre and forcing an equalising series of exchanges.

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White:
Veselin Topalov (2813)
Black:
Vladimir Kramnik (2743)
Opening
Queens Gambit: Semi Slav: Meran
Tournament
World Championship 2006, Elista, Game 4
Date
27/09/2006
ECO Code
D47
Result
1/2-1/2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6

Kramnik switches to the sharper Semi-Slav, either to put Topalov off his stride, or as a consequence of game 2 when he had to defend a passive position, and almost lost.

5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5

The Meran is a positionally sharp line.

8. Bd3 Bb7 9. a3 b4 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4

One of Black’s problems in c6-based Queen’s Gambit is how to ensure that his light-squared bishop is doing more than being a big pawn. Topalov’s move, White’s strategy is to provoke exactly that consequence.

11… bxa3 12. O-O

Offering a pawn-sacrifice to gain a lead in development. Black is two tempo away from castling, so opening all the files on the queenside is risky.

12… Bd6 13. b3

This guarantees the a-file for White, and pressure on the a7-pawn. Both Black’s weak pawns find themselves on open files, While White’s weak b3-pawn is protected somewhat be Black’s hemmed in light-squared bishop on b7.

13… Nf6

13… Qe7 14. Qc2 O-O sacrificing a pawn back to gain enough tempo to get c6-c5 in. 15. Bxh7+ Kh8 16. Bd3 c5 17. Qe2 cxd4 18. Ne5 Qh4 19. exd4 Kg8 20. f4 Nxe5 21. dxe5 Bc5+ 22. Be3 Be7 23. f5 Be4 24. f6 Bxd3 25. Qxd3 Rfd8 26. Qe2 Bf8 27. fxg7 Bxg7 28. Rxa3 Bxe5 29. g3 Qe4 30. Qf2 Lugovoi – Yevseev, St Petersburg 2003, 1/2 (30)

14. Nd2!?

Position after 14.Nd2!? A Topalov novelty. White offers a pawn sacrifice to gain time to mobilise on the queenside.

14. Bd3 c5 15. dxc5 Bxc5 16. Bb5+ Ke7 17. Bxa3 Bxa3 18. Qxd8+ Rhxd8 19. Rxa3 a6 20. Bc4 Rd6 21. Rfa1 Rb6 22. Nd4 Ne8 23. f3 Nd6 24. Bd3 e5 25. Nf5+ Nxf5 26. Bxf5 Rd8 27. Rc1 g6 28. Bb1 Rd2 29. Ra2 Rxa2 30. Bxa2 Bd5 31. Kf2 Be6 32. Rc7+ Kd6 33. Ra7 Bd5 34. Bb1 Kc5 35. Be4 Bxe4 36. fxe4 Rxb3 37. Rxf7 Kb4 38. Ra7 a5 39. Ke2 Rb2+ Pogorelov – Vera, Andorra Open 2006, 0-1 (39)

14… Qc7

14… Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Bxh2+ 16. Kxh2 Qh4+ 17. Kg1 Qxe4 18. f3 An important zwischenzug – White removes the mate threat down the b7-g2 diagonal with no loss of tempo. 18… Qd5 19. Bxa3 Now Black can’t castle kingside, and queenside looks increasingly risky. White has free development and a much stronger bishop for the sacrificed pawn. The opposite coloured bishops in this case give White increased attacking chances. Shredder 7:

  • 19… h5 20. Qd2 h4 21. Qb4 O-O-O 22. Bb2 Qb5 23. Qxb5 cxb5 24. Rxa7 h3 [0.10/15]
  • 19… f6 20. e4 Qb5 21. Bc5 Kf7 22. b4 Rhd8 23. Ra5 Qc4 24. Qd2 a6 25. Rc1 Qb3 26. Bb6 Rd7 27. Rac5 Rb8 [0.18/15]
  • 19… Qg5 20. f4 Qg6 21. Qd2 a5 22. Bc5 Qe4 23. Rf3 h6 24. Qe1 Rg8 25. Qxa5 [0.24/15]
  • 19… a6 20. Qe1 Qxb3 21. Bc5 Qd5 22. Qg3 g6 23. e4 Qd7 24. Qe5 Rg8 25. Bb4 h6 26. Rfc1 Qd8 27. Kf2 [0.50/15]
  • 19… a5 20. Bc5 f6 21. Qe1 Kf7 22. e4 Qg5 23. f4 Qg4 24. Rxa5 Rhd8 25. Rxa8 Rxa8 26. Qc3 [0.36/14]
  • 19… Qb5 20. Bc5 f6 21. f4 Kf7 22. Qh5+ g6 23. Qh6 Qe2 24. Rf3 Qb2 25. Ra5 Qc3 26. Qg7+ Kxg7 [0.44/14]
  • 19… Ba6 20. e4 Qd8 21. Re1 Bb5 22. Qd2 Qh4 23. Qa5 Qd8 24. Qb4 Rb8 25. Rad1 [0.47/14]
  • 19… Rd8 20. Bc5 a6 21. Qe1 Qg5 22. f4 Qg4 23. e4 Rd7 24. Rc1 f6 25. Qf2 Kf7 26. Bb4 [0.49/14]
  • 19… Rc8 20. Bc5 a6 21. Qe1 Qg5 22. f4 Qg4 23. e4 Rd8 24. f5 e5 25. Qb4 Rd7 [0.53/14]
  • 19… h6 20. Bc5 a6 21. Qe1 Rd8 22. e4 Qg5 23. f4 Qg4 24. Rc1 Rd7 25. f5 e5 [0.55/14]
15. Bf3!? Bxh2+

Black finally decides it’s safe enough to take the proferred pawn sacrifice.

16. Kh1 Bd6 17. Nc4 Be7 18. Bxa3 O-O 19. Bxe7

White swops off his bishop that’s only used one tempo against Black’s bishop that has made 4 – this gains White three tempi.

19… Qxe7 20. Ra5 Rfd8 21. Kg1 c5

Kramnik sees the inevitable problems in defending his position, so he gives a pawn back in an effort to free his position. Shredder 7:

  • 21… Nd5 22. Qc2 a6 23. Ne5 Nb4 24. Qc4 f6 25. Nd3 Nxd3 26. Qxd3 Rac8 27. Rh5 e5 28. Rxh7 [0.23/15]
  • 21… a6 22. Ne5 Nd5 23. Qc2 Nb4 24. Qc4 f6 25. Nd3 Nxd3 26. Qxd3 Rac8 27. Rh5 e5 28. Rxh7 [0.23/15]
  • 21… c5 22. Rxc5 Bd5 23. Ne5 Rac8 24. Qc2 Rxc5 25. Qxc5 Qxc5 26. dxc5 Bxb3 27. Ra1 Nd7 28. Nxd7 [0.33/15]
  • 21… Qc7 22. Qc2 Rd5 23. Rfa1 Rxa5 24. Rxa5 Nd5 25. Rc5 Rc8 26. Be4 Nf6 27. Bxc6 Bxc6 28. Ne5 Qb8 [0.39/15]
  • 21… Re8 22. Qc2 a6 23. Rfa1 Nd5 24. Be4 f5 25. Bf3 Rac8 26. Ne5 Qh4 27. Qc4 Nb6 28. Qc5 Nd5 [0.45/15]
  • 21… Nd7 22. Qa1 Rdb8 23. Rxa7 Qb4 24. Qa4 Qc3 25. Nd6 Rxa7 26. Qxa7 Qxb3 27. Nxb7 [0.48/15]
  • 21… Rf8 22. Qa1 a6 23. Qa3 Qd8 24. Nd6 Qd7 25. Rc1 Nd5 26. e4 Nf4 27. g3 Ng6 [0.51/15]
  • 21… Rdb8 22. Qc2 Nd7 23. Rd1 c5 24. Bxb7 Rxb7 25. dxc5 Nxc5 26. Nd6 Rd8 27. Qxc5 Rdb8 28. Nxb7 a6 [0.54/15]
  • 21… Rdc8 22. Qa1 Nd5 23. Qa3 Qxa3 24. Rxa3 Rd8 25. Rfa1 a6 26. Na5 Rd7 27. Rc1 Rc8 28. Raa1 Rb8 29. Nxb7 Rdxb7 [0.56/15]
  • 21… Qb4 22. Qc2 c5 23. Bxb7 Qxb7 24. Rxc5 Ng4 25. Na5 Qb8 26. Rc7 Rd7 27. Rc1 Rxc7 28. Qxc7 a6 29. Qxb8+ [0.56/15]
22. Rxc5 +=

Shredder 7: 22. Bxb7 Qxb7 23. Rxc5 Ne4 24. Re5 Nd6 25. Qc2 Rac8 26. Ra1 Nf5 27. Rea5 Ra8 [0.23/15]

22… Ne4

One of a number of continuations for Black. All leave White with a tiny advantage.

23. Bxe4 Bxe4 24. Qg4!

From queenside pressure Topalov leaps into a threatened kingside attack – again with tempo.

24… Bd3 25. Ra1 +/-

All of Black’s threats have been met by White moves that activate his pieces to better squares.

25… Rac8 26. Raa5

Shredder 7: 26. Rxc8 Rxc8 27. d5 Rd8 28. dxe6 fxe6 29. Ne5 Bb5 +=

26… Rb8 27. Qd1?!

Shredder 7: 27. Qf4! Threatening to penetrate to the seventh rank on c7 with his rook. 27… Rxb3 28. Rc7 Qf6 29. Qxf6 gxf6 30. Raxa7 Rc3 31. Na5 Ra3 32. Nc6 Rxa7 33. Rxa7 Rd6 34. Nb4 Be2 35. Rb7 Kg7 36. f4 Kg6 37. Kf2 Ba6 38. Rc7 Bb5 [0.53/16]

27… Be4 28. Qa1 Rb7 29. Nd2 Bg6 30. Qc3 +/-

Position after 30.Qc3. As in game 3, Topalov’s coordination of his heavy pieces is extraordinary. Kramnik is battling hard to prevent his seventh rank from being breached.

30… h6 31. Ra6 Kh7

Moving the king off the bankrank limits White’s ability to increase his advantage by tactical means. White’s position is optically good, but it’s very difficult to find a path to a bigger advantage.

32. Nc4

With a side-effect of allowing Black’s light-squared bishop back into the game.

32. f3 Qh4

32… Be4 33. f3 Bd5 34. Nd2?!

White is losing the thread of the position, probably as a result of time trouble

34. Na5! Now the Black rook is torn between its active stance on the b-file or its defensive role on the seventh rank. Shredder 7: 34… Rbd7 35. Nc6 Bxc6 36. Raxc6 Qh4 37. Rc8 Rxc8 38. Rxc8 Qg3 39. b4 Rb7 40. Kf1 Rb5 41. Qd3+ f5 42. Qxb5 Qxg2+ [0.49/13]

34… Rdb8

Kramnik has managed to claw his way back into the game. his pieces are starting to coordinate.

35. Qd3+ f5 36. Rc3?!

Shredder 7: 36. Ra1 The b3-pawn is safe for the moment. 36… Kg8 (36… Bxb3? 37. Rc3 Bd5 38. e4 +- winning the bishop.) 37. Rac1 Rd7 38. g3 Qd6 39. Kg2 Qb6 40. R5c3 Bxb3 41. Rxb3 Kf7 [0.27/14]

36… Qh4 37. Ra1 Qg3

37… Rf7 or 37… Rd7 to prevent e3-e4 breaking open Black’s position.

38. Qc2

Shredder 7: 38. e4 fxe4 39. Nxe4 Qg6 40. Nc5 Qxd3 41. Rxd3 Rf7 42. Kf2 g5 43. Re1 Kg6 44. Nxe6 Rxb3 45. Rxb3 Bxb3 46. Nc5 [0.66/14]

38… Rf7 39. Rf1

Shredder 7: 39. e4 Ba8 40. Nc4 fxe4 41. fxe4 Qh4 42. g3 Qg5 43. Ra5 Qf6 44. e5+ Qg6 [0.41,13]

39… Qg6 = 40. Qd3 Qg3 41. Rfc1 Rfb7 42. Qc2

It’s increasingly clear that for White to obtain an advantage, he needs to play e3-e4. Shredder 7:

  • 42. e4 fxe4 43. fxe4 Qxd3 44. Rxd3 Bxb3 45. Ra1 a5 46. Rxa5 Bd1 47. Kf2 Rf7+ 48. Ke3 Rbf8 49. Nc4 Rf1 50. Ra6 Bg4 [0.56/15]
  • 42. Ra1 Rf7 43. e4 fxe4 44. Nxe4 Qg6 45. Nc5 Rf5 46. Qe2 Rbf8 47. Nd7 Ra8 48. Ne5 Qg3 [0.42/15]
42… Qg5 43. Ra1 Qf6 44. Qd3 Rd7 45. Ra4 Rbd8 46. Rc5 Kg8 47. Nc4 Bxc4?

Black’s bishop has been having the better of it after White’s incautious 34. Nd2?! But this exchange offers White one chance at snatching back a large advantage. Shredder 7:

  • 47… Rb7 48. b4 f4 49. exf4 Qxf4 50. Ne5 Qh4 51. Qc3 [0.39/15]
  • 47… Qh4 48. Qd2 f4 49. Qf2 Qf6 50. e4 Bxc4 51. Rcxc4 Rb7 52. b4 Qe7 53. Rc5 Rdb8 54. Qd2 Qh4 55. Ra6 [0.39/15]
48. Raxc4

Bringing the queen to bear on e6 is better, and brings an advantage.

Shredder 7: 48. Qxc4 Kh7 49. Rc6 Re8 50. Raa6 Rde7 51. Qb5 Kg8 52. Rc1 Rf8 53. Qc5 Ra8 54. Rca1 Qg5 [1.01/14]

48… f4!

Hitting the fulcrum of White’s centre, and seizing the initiative.

49. Rc6

Shredder 7: 49. Qe4 fxe3 50. Re5 Rd5 51. Rxe6 Rxd4 52. Rxf6 Rxe4 53. Rxe4 Rd1+ 54. Kh2 gxf6 55. Rxe3 Rd2 56. Re7 f5 [0.35/15]

49… fxe3 50. Qxe3 Rxd4 51. Rxe6 Qh4 52. Rxd4 Qxd4 53. Re8+ Kh7 54. Qxd4

Position after 54.Qxd4. and there’s nothing more to play for. Draw agreed.

1/2 – 1/2

This entry was posted in Analysis, Chess, Kramnik, Queens Gambit, Semi Slav, Topalov, World Championship. Bookmark the permalink.

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