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Igor Alexandre Nataf vs Veselin Topalov
NAO Masters (2002), Cannes FRA, rd 4, Feb-25
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Jaenisch Variation (C42)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 9..Be6!? (instead of 9..0-0) 10 c5 steered the game into a rarely played sideline. In the two previous games with 10 c5 Black had also played 10..a5?! though Nataf feels that 10..Nc6 is better; in any event after Nataf's 11 Ne5! White was clearly better and the line has not been repeated by Black. Topalov originally intended 19..Bf8 but then realized that he would have immediately been lost after 20 Bf4. Through 24 moves White had played powerfully and, as Topalov pointed out, with 25 f3..Nd5 26 Bxe5!..fxe 27 Nc4..e4 28 Nd6..Rf8 29 h4 would have been close to winning; instead after 25 Bxe5? White started to go wrong (and used a lot of time doing it). At once a second error was made with 25 Nc4?; better was 26 f3..Nxc5 27 f4..Rf5 28 g4..Rxf4 29 Rxc5..Rxg4+ 30 Kf2..Rxf4+ 31 Kg3..g5 32 Rd3 though already Black would have had active pieces and significant counterplay. White's last chance to play for a win would have been 28 Nd6..Ree5 29 Rxc5..Rxc5 30 Nxb7 hoping for 30..Rb5? 31 Nd8! and the Black knight would have been trapped; instead after 28 h4..Ne6 the position petered out to a draw..

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