Topalov adopts Kramnik’s preferred Slav Defence for the last game of the match, but converts it into a Stonewall formation with 13… f5?!. Kramnik goes for a minority attack on the queenside (16. b4 and 19. b5) and infiltrates the queenside with his heavy pieces (21. Qe2 and 26. Qa6). He gains entry on the eighth rank, but can’t make use of it. Topalov counters with an attack down the h-file, and sacrifices a rook (45… Rh2+) to force a perpetual check.
The match score stands at 6-6, so the match goes into a rapid-play tiebreak.
- Vladimir Kramnik (2740)
- Veselin Topalov (2810)
- Queen’s Gambit: Slav
- World Championship 2006, Elista, Round 12
- ECO Code
Both players mirror their opponent’s opening schemes – following the previous game and game 9. This suits Topalov perfectly, since it sidesteps any Kramnik preparation in the last game of the match.
Kramnik is the first to divert.
and into new territory.
Topalov is in a provocative mood.
But Kramnik is cautious. He choses against plans of castling queenside and playing against the weakened black kingside pawn structure.
Sensibly keeping the c-file closed.
Kramnik opts for a minority attack against Black’s queenside – by creating weaknesses in Black’s queenside, Kramnik will then be able to apply pressure right across the board.. The alternative was a central break with a prepared e3-e4 (perhaps even with f2-f3), which would expose all of Black’s weak pawns. Topalov’s plan is to lock down the centre, and expand on the kingside. First he needs to get his knight into a better osition.
Although Topalov’s knight is well placed, White’s proposed breakthrough on the queenside is enough to encourage him his king is safer on the kingside.
Re-centralising the queen, which now threatens entry on a6 as well as keeping watch on the kingside.
Topalov aims to lock down the pawn structure around the White king – preventing the White queen from entering the position, so he can concentrate on fending off the queenside pressure.
White has a free hand on the queenside, and Kramnik plans to infiltrate via the b-file, taking aim at the b7 square.
Topalov hasn’t given up all hope of a kingside attack. The h-file is the most obvious option of applying a little pressure, especially when combined with …Qd7-f7-h4. White can’t protect his h2 pawn very easily.
The feint on entering the seventh rank forces Topalov to conceed the back rank.
Threatening entry at f8.
White has temporarily run out of steam, and Topalov takes over the initiative.
Threatening Nd2 first, locking off the White king’s escape route. The h2-pawn is dead.
Black’s initiative has also fizzled, and now he needs to draw back and defend again.
Defending the f5 pawn which holds the Black kingside together.
37. Rxc6?? Qh1+ Forks the king and rook.
Threatening to bring his rook in via the now-vacated h-file, and the White king is then trapped in a mating net, as well as defending the f5 pawn.
Bringing the queen back in defence of the king, Kramnik also directly threatens the f5-pawn, and with it the Black king.
Topalov steers directly towards the draw by perpetual check.