Kramnik – Topalov, World Championship 2006 (10)

Kramnik bounces back with a solid win after Topalov stumbles in a difficult position. Topalov’s queenside expansion (11… b5?!) is ambitious, and Kramnik seizes the initiative by opening the centre (13. e4), forcing Topalov to play some awkward moves to hold his position together (16… Rb6). Kramnik annexes a pawn, and Topalov back-pedals (22… Qe8 and 23… Bd8). Topalov blunders his position while seeking counterplay with 24… f6? and Kramnik’s knights seize the opportunity to grab another pawn. Topalov is quick to regain the pawn, but this plays into Kramnik’s favour, and Topalov is forced to ditch an exchange. Kramnik smoothly heads into an endgame where his extra material decides the game.

White:
Vladimir Kramnik (2743)
Black:
Veselin Topalov (2813)
Opening
Queens Gambit: Catalan
Tournament
World Championship 2006, Elista, Game 10
Date
08/10/2006
ECO Code
E08
Result
1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+

In games 1 and 3 Topalov chose the Open Catalan variation with 4… dxc4

5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Bf4 Nbd7 9. Qc2 a5

9… Nh5 10. Bc1 Nhf6 11. Nbd2 b6 12. e4 += dxc4 13. Nxc4 Bb7 14. Bf4 A typical open Catalan structure. The Black queenside comes under pressure from the two White bishops and from the Queen down the c-file. (14. e5 +=) 14… c5! = Black needs to get this move in if he is to free his position. 15. Rfe1 cxd4 16. Nd6! The knight dominates the position, but Black can’t afford to lose time exchanging it off for his dark-squared bishop 16… d3! Using tactics to win a tempo. The other alternatives just grant White an advantage. Shredder offers the following variations:

  • 16… Bxd6 17. Bxd6 Rc8 18. Qa4 e5 19. Bxf8 Kxf8 20. Bh3 a5 21. Bf5 Kg8 22. Qb5 Qc7 23. Rad1 Qd6 24. Ng5 [0.61/15]
  • 16… Qb8 17. Nxb7 Qxb7 18. e5 Rac8 19. Nxd4 Nd5 20. Qd2 a5 21. Rec1 Bc5 22. Nf5 Bb4 23. Qd1 Bc5 24. Nd6 [0.64/15]
  • 16… e5 17. Nxb7 Qb8 18. Rad1 Bb4 19. Nxe5 Nxe5 20. Rf1 Rc8 21. Qa4 Bc5 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. b4 cxb4 [0.65/15]
  • 16… Nc5 17. Nxb7 Nxb7 18. Rad1 Rc8 19. Qb1 Qe8 20. Nxd4 Bb4 21. e5 Nd5 22. Bd2 Bxd2 23. Rxd2 Nc5 24. Nf5 exf5 [0.80/15]

17. Qxd3 Nc5 18. Qd4 Nh5?! (Shredder 7: 18… Ba6 19. Rad1 Nh5 20. e5 Nxf4 21. gxf4 Bxd6 22. exd6 Bb7 23. b4 Nd7 24. a3 Qf6 25. Ne5 Bxg2 26. Nxd7 Qxd4 27. Nf6+ [0.65/15]) 19. Nxb7! +/- Nxb7 20. Bd2 Both of Black’s knights are awkwardy placed. White’s development is harmonious and he doesn’t fear the exchange of queens because that, after 21. Nxd4 opens up the long diagonal for White’s light-squared bishop. 20… Nf6 21. Rad1 Qe8 Slightly passive allowing White, with a forcing manoeuvre to win a pawn. (Shredder 7: 21… Bc5 22. Qa4 Qe8 23. Qxe8 Rfxe8 24. b4 Be7 25. e5 Nd5 26. a3 a6 27. Nd4 Rec8 28. Rc1 Nd8 29. h3 Rxc1 [1.08/15]) 22. e5 Nd5 (22… Rd8 is unexpectedly met with 23. exf6 Rxd4 24. fxe7 and both rooks are en prise 24… Rd6 25. exf8=Q+ Qxf8 26. Bf4 +-) (22… Nd7 23. Qg4 Threatening Bh6; 23… Kh8 24. Nd4 +- Now the knight on b7 is under fire from the White light-squared bishop, which cannot be adequately protected as 24… Ndc5 (24… Rb8 25. Nc6 +-) 25. b4! Hits the only defender of the b7-knight) 23. Ng5 The d5-knight comes under fire. 23… h6 24. Bxd5 exd5 25. Qxd5 Bxg5 26. Bxg5 Nc5 The black knight is fractionally more useful than the White dark-squared bishop, and it has a useful outpost on e6. But Black’s lack of major piece development counts against him. 27. Be3 Ne6 28. Qe4 (Shredder 7: 28. Qd7 Rc8 29. Qxe8 Rfxe8 30. Re2 Rcd8 31. Rxd8 Rxd8 32. Rc2 Rd1+ 33. Kg2 a6 34. Bxb6 Kh7 [1.95/16]) 28… Qb5 29. b3 Rad8 30. Rd6 Rfe8 31. Red1 Qe2 32. R1d2 Qe1+ 33. Kg2 Rc8 34. Qg4 Threatening Bxh6 as well as overprotecting d1 34… Rc1 35. Rd1 Rxd1 36. Rxd1 Qa5 37. Bxh6 (37. Qa4 Qxa4 38. bxa4 Nc5 39. f4 +-) 37… Qxa2 (Better is 37… Qxe5 +/- 38. Be3) 38. Rd6 Attacking the defender of the g7-mating square 38… Re7 (38… Qa6!? is enterprising, meeting 39. Rxd7 with 39… Qb7+ and taking the rook since the queen then guards the g7-mating square.) 39. Bxg7 Forcing a longer mating attack. Gelfand – Adams, Corus, Wijk aan Zee 2006, 1-0 (39). (39. Rd8+ is the shorter route to mate, with 39… Kh7 40. Qf5+! g6 (40… Kxh6 41. Rh8#) 41. Qf6 threatening the unstoppable Rh8#.) A fine game by Gelfand.

10. Rd1 Nh5 11. Bc1

The Black knight isn’t well placed on h5, so the loss of tempo of retreating the bishop isn’t risky.

11… b5?!

A Topalov novelty, but not without risk.

11… Nhf6 12. Nbd2 b5 13. c5 Qe8 14. e4 Nxe4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Qxe4 Nf6 17. Qc2 Nd5 18. Re1 += Marin – Pogorelov, Barcelona 1993, 1-0 (60)}

12. cxd5

12. c5 justifies Black’s idea. 12… f5 13. Nc3 g5 14. a3 Bf6 15. Qd2 h6 16. h4 g4 17. Qxh6 gxf3 18. Qxh5 fxg2 19. Qg6+ Kh8 20. Qh6+ Kg8 21. Qg6+ Rahman – Ghaem Maghami, ch-Asia 2003, 1/2 (21)

12… cxd5

White has the open c-file, and Black’s queenside looks a little vulnerable.

13. e4

White’s pressure on the a8-g2 light-squared diagonal is uncomfortable for Black. He will be forced to lose a tempo to regroup.

13… dxe4 14. Qxe4 +=

Sowing some confusion in the Black queenside.

14… Rb8 15. Qe2!

Position after 15.Qe2! From e2 the White queen creates threats on both wings and in the centre. The main threat is Nf3-e5-c6. The b5-pawn is coming under some fire, the Black knight out on a limb on …h5 is indirectly threatened.

15… Nhf6 16. Bf4!?

Black’s queenside comes under fire, and now he is forced into an awkward placement of his rook. Although White has two stronger alternatives (Shredder 7):

  • 16. Ne5 Nxe5 17. dxe5 Nd5 18. Be3 Qc7 19. Bxd5 exd5 20. Nc3 Qc4 21. Rxd5 Qxe2 22. Nxe2 Be6 23. Rd2 Rbd8 24. f4 [0.30/14]
  • 16. Bg5 Bb7 17. Bf4 Rc8 18. Qxb5 Bc6 19. Qb3 Bd5 20. Qd3 Qb6 21. Nc3 Qxb2 22. Nxd5 Nxd5 [0.27/14]
16… Rb6 17. Ne5

Threatening Ne5-c6 throwing the Black position into disarray.

17… Nd5
  • 17… Bb7 18. Bxb7 Rxb7 19. Nc6 +/- And the queen, overloaded in protecting the bishop on e7 and the pawn on a5, finds itself deflected.
  • 17… Nb8 Covering the c6 square 18. Nc3 Ba6 Bringing the bishop to defend the …b6 pawn, which then frees the rook to switch to the …d6 square pressurising the White d4-pawn. 19. Qd2 += preparing d4-d5.
  • 17… Nxe5 18. dxe5 Nd5 19. Be3! Gaining a tempo by hitting the vulnerable black rook. 19… Rb8 +=
18. Bxd5

The only move to play for an advantage.

18… exd5

18… Nxe5 19. dxe5 exd5 20. Nc3 += The exchange of knights reduces Black’s chances of putting up resistance.

19. Nc3

And now Black has to lose a pawn. However, Black has partial compensation for the pawn, for example his rook on …b6 is quite active.

19… Nf6

Shredder 7:

  • 19… Bb7 20. Nxb5 Ba6 21. a4 Re8 22. Qd3 Re6 23. Qf3 Nxe5 24. dxe5 g5 25. Rxd5 Qb8 26. Qg4 h5 [0.34/18]
  • 19… Nb8 20. Nxb5 f6 21. Nf3 Bd7 22. a4 Na6 23. Rac1 Bb4 24. Qd3 Re6 25. Qb3 Bc6 26. Nc3 Rfe8 27. Re1 [0.39/18]
  • 19… Nxe5 20. dxe5 Be6 21. Qd3 d4 22. Qxd4 Qxd4 23. Rxd4 Rbb8 24. Ne4 h6 25. Rc1 Rfc8 26. b3 Rxc1+ 27. Bxc1 Rc8 28. Bb2 [0.57/18]
20. Nxb5 Ba6 21. a4 Ne4 22. Rdc1

Renews the threat of Ne5-c6.

22… Qe8

Topalov defuses the threat of Ne5-c6, but at the cost of leaving his c7-square unprotected.

23. Rc7!

Ambitious. Shredder 7 offers:

  • 23. Qd3 Nd6 24. Bd2 Nxb5 25. axb5 Qxb5 26. Qxb5 Bxb5 27. Rxa5 Rb7 28. Re1 f6 29. Nf3 [0.65/15]
  • 23. f3 Ng5 24. Bd2 Bf6 25. Bxa5 Bxb5 26. axb5 Qxb5 27. Qxb5 Rxb5 28. f4 Ne4 29. b4 [0.64/15]
  • 23. Rc2 Bd8 24. Rac1 Bxb5 25. axb5 Rxb5 26. f3 Nd6 27. Qd3 a4 28. Re2 Rb3 29. Qd1 [0.59/15]
23… Bd8 24. Ra7 +/-

Position after 24.Ra7.

24… f6?

In a difficult position Topalov lashes out. Analysis by Shredder:

  • 24… Bxb5 25. axb5 Qxb5 26. Qxb5 Rxb5 27. Nd7 Re8 28. Re1 g5 29. Bc1 g4 30. Ra8 Kg7 31. h3 h5 32. hxg4 hxg4 33. Bg5 [0.80/18]
  • 24… g5 25. Bd2 Re6 26. Be3 f6 27. Nd3 Bxb5 28. axb5 Bb6 29. Ra6 Qxb5 30. R1xa5 Qd7 31. Ra4 Rfe8 32. Qh5 [0.83/18]
  • 24… Re6 25. Be3 f6 26. Qg4 Re7 27. Rxe7 Qxe7 28. Nc6 Qf7 29. f3 Bxb5 30. axb5 Nd6 31. b4 axb4 32. Ra7 Bc7 33. b6 [1.29/18]
  • 24… Nf6 25. Rxa6 Rxa6 26. Nc7 Bxc7 27. Qxa6 Nh5 28. Bd2 Bxe5 29. dxe5 Qxe5 30. Bc3 Qg5 31. Qxa5 Nf4 32. Kf1 [1.44/18]
25. Nd7 Rf7 26. Nxb6 Rxa7 27. Nxd5 Rd7 28. Ndc3
  • 28. Ndc7 Bxc7 29. Bxc7 Rxd4 30. Bxa5 Qa8 31. Nc7 Bxe2 32. Nxa8 Rd1+ 33. Rxd1 Bxd1 34. Nb6 Nc5 35. b4 Nxa4 36. Nc4 [2.39/15]
  • 28. Re1 Rxd5 29. Qxe4 Qxe4 30. Rxe4 Bxb5 31. axb5 Kf7 32. Bd2 f5 33. Re5 Rxd4 34. Bc3 Rd1+ 35. Kg2 g6 36. Rc5 Ke6 37. Rc6+ Rd6 38. b4 axb4 39. Rxd6+ Kxd6 40. Bxb4+ Ke5 [1.69/15]
  • 28. Qc4 Qf7 29. Ne3 g5 30. Bb8 Nd2 31. Qxf7+ Kxf7 32. Nd6+ Kg6 33. d5 Bb6 34. Rd1 Nf3+ 35. Kg2 Be2 36. Rc1 Ne5 37. Kg1 Nf3+ 38. Kh1 Ne5 39. Nec4 Bxc4 [1.58/15]
28… Rxd4?

Creating complications, but if White keeps a cool head he should be fine.

  • 28… Re7 29. Qc4+ Kh8 30. Nd5 Re6 31. Ndc7 Bxc7 32. Qxc7 Nxf2 33. Kxf2 g5 34. Bd6 Re2+ 35. Kf1 [2.98/18]
  • 28… f5 29. Re1 Re7 30. Qc4+ Kh8 31. Nd5 Qg8 32. b3 Rf7 33. f3 Nf6 34. Nxf6 Bxf6 35. Bd2 [3.26/18]
  • 28… Nd6 29. Bxd6 Qxe2 30. Nxe2 Bxb5 31. axb5 Rxd6 32. Ra4 Kf7 33. f4 Rd5 34. Nc3 Rd7 35. d5 f5 36. b4 axb4 37. Rxb4 Ba5 [3.27/18]
  • 28… Bxb5 29. axb5 Nd6 30. Qxe8+ Nxe8 31. d5 Kf7 32. Be3 Nd6 33. Bc5 f5 34. Kg2 g5 35. h3 h5 36. f3 Nb7 37. Be3 [3.41/18]
29. Re1

Rather than exploiting the pinned knight immediately, Kramnik prefers to increase the pressure and bring all his pieces into play. Its a safer alternative to the complications after 29. f3.

  • 29. f3 Bb6 30. Kg2! Kh8 31. fxe4 Rb4 32. Bd6 Rd4 33. Bc7 Bxc7 34. Nxc7 Qd8 35. Qxa6 Rd2+ [4.44/16]
  • 29… Bxb5 30. Nxb5 Rb4 31. Nc3 Bb6+ 32. Kg2 Bd4 33. Qxe4 Rxb2+ 34. Kh1 Qxe4 35. Nxe4 Rb3 36. Ra2 Rxf3 37. Rd2 Bb6 38. Rb2 Bd4 [4.21/17]
  • 29… Rb4 30. Nxe4 Bxb5 31. axb5 Qxb5 32. Qxb5 Rxb5 33. Bc1 f5 34. Nc3 Rb8 35. Kf2 Kf7 36. Ra4 Ke6 37. Ne2 Bb6+ 38. Nd4+ [4.89/17]
  • 29. Qe3 Rb4 30. Rd1 Bb7 31. f3 Be7 32. Nxe4 Bxe4 33. fxe4 Rxe4 34. Qb3+ Kh8 35. Qc2 Bf8 36. Rd8 [4.19/16]
29… f5 30. Qc2

This increases the discomfort of the Black queen. 30. f3 is still good, but not as strong as before. Shredder 7: 30. f3 Rxa4 31. fxe4 Rb4 32. Nc7 Bxe2 33. Nxe8 Bb6+ 34. Kg2 Bh5 35. exf5 Rxb2+ [2.94/14]

30… Rb4 31. Nd5

Position after 31.Nd5.31. f3 Bb6+ Shredder 7:

  • 32. Kh1 Bf2 33. Rd1 Bb7 34. Nxe4 fxe4 35. Qxf2 exf3 36. Kg1 Rxa4 37. Nc3 Rc4 38. Bg5 Rc8 39. Qb6 [3.64/17]
  • 32. Kg2 Qc6 33. fxe4 fxe4 34. Be3 Bxe3 35. Rxe3 Bb7 36. Qd2 Qb6 37. Qd7 Rxb2+ 38. Re2 e3+ 39. Kg1 h6 40. Qe8+ Kh7 [3.57/17]
31… Rxb5

Shredder 7: 31… Bxb5 32. Nxb4 Bxa4 33. Qc4+ Qf7 34. Nd5 Bd7 35. f3 Nf6 36. Nxf6+ Bxf6 37. Qxf7+ Kxf7 38. Be5 Bd8 39. h4 [2.99/15]

32. axb5

Shredder 7: 32. Nc7 Bxc7 33. axb5 Qxb5 34. Qxc7 Qxb2 35. Qd8+ Kf7 36. Qd7+ Kg6 37. Qe8+ Kf6 38. Rxe4 fxe4 39. Qc6+ Kf7 40. Qxa6 Qd4 41. Qxa5 Qd1+ [3.68/16]

32… Qxb5 33. Nc7

Kramnik parries the threats with threats of his own. He is in control of the thread of tactics.

33… Qc4

33… Bxc7 34. Qxc7 starts dragging the Black king into the firing line.

34. Qd1

Black can now no longer prevent the entry of the White queen.

34… Bxc7 35. Qd7

Regaining the piece because of the threat of Qe8#.

35… h6 36. Qxc7 Qb4

Allowing White to force the exchange of queens.

37. Qb8+ Qxb8 38. Bxb8 Nd2 39. Ra1 g5 40. f4

Ensuring the king can get out of his shelter, otherwise Black’s threats on the light-squares are annoying.

40… Nb3 41. Ra3 Bc4 42. Bc7 g4 43. Bxa5
1-0

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

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