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Veselin Topalov vs Alexey Shirov
Morelia-Linares (2008), Linares ESP, rd 11, Mar-03
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Spassky Variation (D87)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-03-08  dabearsrock1010: anyone know is 14.d5 theory and anything else about this interesting line
Mar-03-08  Eyal: 14.d5 has been theory for a very long time - it was played for the first time in Maicherczyck vs Niephaus, 1949 and made famous a year later in Bronstein vs Boleslavsky, 1950.
Mar-03-08  minasina: this was live commentary with GM Sergei Shipov (RUS)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Shirov has decent results with the Grunfeld Repertoire Explorer: Alexey Shirov (black) and used it to great effect during his match win over Kramnik in Cazorla 1998

Here I got the sense that he lost the same game over again. It's too bad he didn't have some prepared improvement to rehabilitate this line for a better result.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Topalov gave Shirov a beatdown in this game.
Mar-03-08  LPeristy: I'll never get tired of these dynamic (read utterly ridiculous) exchange sacrifices that Topalov plays. He's the closest thing we have to a modern-day Tal. Say what you want about Toilet-gate, Danailov, his ethics, etc, his is still the most exciting chess today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: It would have been quite interesting if black had played 23...Qb6+, forcing the exchange of queens.

click for larger view

It looks like a very active position after the exchange, above.

Mar-03-08  mindkontrolle: that was brutal!!! some mismatch huh, a-holes....
Mar-04-08  Ipecac: <Jimfromprovidence: It would have been quite interesting if black had played 23...Qb6+, forcing the exchange of queens.>

Still slightly better for White I think, and Topa surely has that line prepared also.

Anyway, it looks more drawish that what was played, for sure.

<tpstar: It's too bad he didn't have some prepared improvement to rehabilitate this line for a better result.>

23...Bxd5 was the "improvement" I believe

Mar-04-08  Eyal: <Ipecac: <tpstar: It's too bad he didn't have some prepared improvement to rehabilitate this line for a better result.>

23...Bxd5 was the "improvement" I believe>

It wasn't a direct improvement compared to any previous game (Topalov's 20.Bd3 was the novelty), and considering the long time Shirov spent thinking about it I doubt if he had it prepared, but the idea to eliminate White's strong pawn center may not be bad - providing, of course, Black follows it later logically with 26...Qxd5 instead of Qb6+? It might actually be better than 23...Qb6+ 24.Qxb6 axb6 which may look "safer", but where White remains with more than enough compensation for the exchange - connected passed pawns in the center, powerful bishop pair and good squares for all his minor pieces.

Mar-04-08  Ipecac: <Eyal: It wasn't a direct improvement... ...good squares for all his minor pieces.>

Sure, but I didn´t say it was preparation either, I only said that Shirov thought that he was improving what he did in last year´s game.

What I´m sure is that is a tricky line: any other thing but taking B would have favoured black. But, well, what do you expect from Topalov? Did Shirov expect Topa to miscalculate or misjudge the position? That´s not the kind of blunder Topa does; he miscalculates the endgames, blunders when defending, or fails when in time pressure a bit more than the average super GM, but no what Shirov tried to do with him.

I think Shirov, showing the form he´s showing actually, should play in a safe fashion and aim for draw, without complications, otherwise will happen what happened yesterday.

Mar-04-08  euripides: As far as I remember an improvement for Black over their previous game was published within a day or so - as has happened with this game. So the onus was possibly on Topalov to come up with something; which he did.

I'm glad for chess that a player like Shirov is prepared to play into critical lines sometimes - similarly playing the Bayonet against Radjabov. When Topalov is on top form, even Kramnik or Leko have to work hard to hold him in 'safe' openings, so I wonder whether Shirov would be well advised to play against his natural style. I agree he could find something that does suit him in which Toaplov would be less well prepared, as Carlsen did; but maybe he was interested to see what Topalov came up with.

Mar-04-08  badest: <euripides: ... but maybe he was interested to see what Topalov came up with.> This is a refreshing attitude, but it sort of feels like when I am on Playchess... "an interesting line, hmmm...let's see what happens". Shirov is a professional, after all. I don't think it is very wise to let Topa have the initiative. In such cases he often transforms into a Rybka-monster.
Apr-28-08  aazqua: Although Topa has made some innovative echange sacs in the past this one is pure theory. Stop banging the drum Topaholics.
Apr-28-08  aazqua: What's wrong with 24 n*b?
Apr-29-08  Gilmoy: <aazqua: 24..Nxe3> From <minasina>'s link, commentary by GM Shipov: 25.d6! Rd7 26.Qe6+ Kh8 27.Rf8+! .
Jun-28-08  notyetagm: Wow, Topalov really can attack.
Sep-01-08  chess4life234: Why can't white play 22... Rxe5 instead of Nxe5? I haven't been able to find an advantage for White.
Jul-03-10  willychess: I think 21 .. Qb6 maybe is good to black. I don´t see the adventange to white (the black knight have access to c4). But it´s an obvious move and topalov must have analized it.
Jul-03-10  goldenbear: <willychess> Black's knight cannot access c4. I've spent a few odd hours checking out this ending, and I get feeling the center pawns are unstoppable.
May-05-11  hedgeh0g: Typical Shirov. Plays the same line against the same opponent who beat him mercilessly with it last time. It's not that difficult to prepare for Shirov when you know exactly what line he intends to play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <hedgeh0g> It's a tricky business at best nowadays to play the same lines time and again; in the mid 1990s, Nunn wrote that even then, it was likely better to keep a more flexible approach because of computers. The players of the mould of Taimanov and Andrei Sokolov, for all their tremendous knowledge in their favourite lines, are only too vulnerable if a prospective opponent should come up with something.
May-06-11  hedgeh0g: <perfidious> I agree. You can see Gelfand and Kramnik have already started deviating a little from their ubiquitous Petrov, for example.
Aug-15-11  Hesam7: 26. ... Qxd5 has been suggested as an improvement for Black. But after 27. Nf4 Qd4+ 28. Kh1 Rf7 29. Qh3:

click for larger view

29. ... Rcf8 (Shipov's recommendation) 30. g3 g5 31. Qg4! h6 32. Rd1! where White has an advantage.

29. ... Re8 (My engine's recommendation) 30. g3 Qc3 31. Qg2 g5 32. Qd5 Qc6 33. Qxc6 bxc6 34. Bc4 gxf4 35. Rxf4 Re7 36. Kg2 Kg7 37. Bxf7 Rxf7 38. Rxf7+ Kxf7 39. Kf3 and I landed it in a losing king and pawn endgame! Obviously Black's play can be improved but his position is a lot more dangerous than it meets the eye.

Other rook moves seem worse.

Jul-14-15  victor antoni: si pues la mayoria a ganado shirov solo q lo sorprendio con unas ideas de laboratorio nada mas.. ok.
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