Topalov – Kramnik, World Championship 2006 (6)

Personal note: I publicly acknowledge and commend Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik’s sporting and professional attitude, and strength of character, in playing game 6. I am impressed he stayed in Elista to play this game when many other Grandmasters in his position would have walked away. By sticking through the adversity that’s been thrown at him over the last few days, Kramnik is a superb example of a chess professional. It is yet another example of Kramnik’s commitment to a single unified World Championship title, one the chess world has been wishing for over the last decade – for that I am grateful.

A short draw, with Kramnik playing under protest of the game 5 forfeiture.

We saw Kramnik at his effortless best in steering for equality. Topalov played as if he were expecting Kramnik to just fall apart, but met the famous Berlin Wall resistance. Kramnik unhurriedly unraveled his pieces and whittled away Topalov’s opening advantage. Topalov made no headway, his listless moves proved no problem for Kramnik.

Related Resources


White:
Veselin Topalov (2813)
Black:
Vladimir Kramnik (2743)
Opening
Queens Gambit: Slav
Tournament
World Championship 2006, Elista, Game 6
Date
02/10/2006
ECO Code
D17
Result
1/2-1/2

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5

A more active continuation than Topalov’s 6.e3 from game 2. Perhaps an aggressive line chosen to milk the advantage of the tension over the last few days.

6… e6 7. f3

Playing to push Black’s pieces off the board as directly as possible. But this line is well known to Kramnik – he used to play the White side of this line.

6… c5

Kramnik plays a side-line that defuses much of the danger in White’s position.

7… Bb4 is the main line.

8. e4 Bg6 9. Be3 cxd4 10. Qxd4 Qxd4 11. Bxd4 Nfd7

An unusual looking retreat, but helpful in Kramnik’s cause to reduce the pressure on his position. It keeps the option of the queenside knight going to …c6.

12. Nxd7

12. Nxc4 Nc6 13. Be3 Bc5 14. Kf2 Ke7 15. h4 f6 16. h5 Bf7 17. Rd1 Bxe3+ 18. Nxe3 Rhd8 And White is getting nowhere fast. Nielsen – Hracek, Bundesliga 2006, 1/2 (45)

12… Nxd7 13. Bxc4 a6!

Position after 13...a6! Preventing Bb5 which would tie up Black’s position.

13… Rc8 14. Ba2 (14. Bb5!) 14… a6 15. Ke2 Nb8 16. Rhd1 Nc6 17. Bb6 Bb4 18. Rd2 Ke7 19. Rad1 Nb8 And Black has a satisfactory position. Cramling – Smyslov, Veterans vs Ladies 1999, 1/2 (60)

14. Ke2 Rg8

Holding the g7-pawn so that the bishop can develop. Black is slowly unravelling his position, and sapping White of his advantage.

15. Rhd1 Rc8 16. b3 Bc5 17. a5 Ke7

An important chain in Black’s development. The king takes the duty of protecting the e6-pawn, that opens the way for …f6 and bringing his light squared bishop back into play via …f7.

18. Na4 Bb4!

Compelling the White knight to occupy b6, where Black immediately chops it off with his own knight. Kramnik is playing a refined game, exchanging the pieces best suited for him reaching equality.

19. Nb6 Nxb6 20. Bxb6 f6 21. Rd3 Rc6 22. h4 Rgc8 23. g4 Bc5!

Position after 23...Bc5! and Black has equalised – rather comfortably.

24. Rad1 Bxb6 25. Rd7+ Kf8 26. axb6 Rxb6 27. R1d6 Rxd6 28. Rxd6 Rc6

shutters down, and Topalov has nothing.

29. Rxc6 bxc6 30. b4 e5 31. Bxa6 1/2

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

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