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Levon Aronian vs Veselin Topalov
Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2008) (rapid), Nice FRA, rd 7, Mar-22
Semi-Slav Defense: Stoltz Variation. Shabalov Attack (D45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-22-08  kingsindian2006: When Aronian is playing his A game, you better wear your seat belt.
Mar-22-08  GMNick: What happens after axb5 by Topalov?
Mar-22-08  Mulyahnto: Most likely 14. Nxg7+, etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <GMNick: What happens after axb5 by Topalov?>

I assume this comment relates to Black's 13th move (where 13. ... 0-0 was actually played). If so, I have the same question. I cannot find any convincing refutation (although White would certainly have had speculative compensation after 13. ... axb5 14.Nxg7+ Kf8 15.Nf5). Topalov probably just did not want to go into a line in which he feared his opponent's preparation, especially in a rapid game.

Mar-22-08  acirce: I thought 14.Bb4 would have looked interesting, keeping Black's king stuck at e8 (and threatening mate in one, but Topalov might see that). It's possible White can keep building up an attack while Black might not be able to do so much about it, but this is very speculative and not supported by any serious analysis.
Mar-22-08  acirce: But 14.Nxg7+ Kf8 15.Nf5 is probably a better version of essentially the same idea, as Black's king won't feel any safer on f8 or g8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I did not understand 24...Kg7, which allows black's queen to get trapped after 25 Bb3. Maybe 24...Rfc8, followed by 25 Bb3 b6 keeps black's position viable.

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Mar-23-08  ajile: Why not the simple 18..Qxe5?
Mar-23-08  hovik2003: <ajile>
I wouldn't like black's position a bit after 18...Qxe5 19.dxe5 Nfd7 20.Bc3! Nc6 21.Rd1 or 0-0-0

now black pair of knights can't match against white's pair of powerfull bishops.

Mar-23-08  Marmot PFL: Black seemed worse the whole game after 15...Nb8 (too ugly to be good, and also timid for Topalov). 15...Nxg4 16.Rxg4 Nf6 looks playable.
Mar-23-08  euripides: <Marmot> interesting. Perhaps <15...Nxg4> 16.Nxe4 will enable White to open some lines for his bishops.
Mar-23-08  shintaro go: Black Queen has nowhere to go..
Mar-24-08  Hesam7: <GMNick: What happens after axb5 by Topalov?>

As <acirce> points out White has two reliable options after 13...axb5 (analysis by Fruit 2.3.1 @ depth 21):

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14.Bb4 Rg8 15.Bxb5 g6 16.Ne7 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qa5+ 18.Qc3 Qxb5 19.Nxc8 Qc4 20.Qxc4 dxc4 21.Ne7 Rh8 22.Ke2 Ra6 23.Bb4 Kd8 24.Rgc1 Re8 25.Rxc4 Rxe7 26.Bxe7+ Kxe7 <+0.78>

14.Nxg7+ Kf8 15.Nf5 Kg8 16.g5 Bxh2 17.Rg2 Ng4 18.Nxh6+ Rxh6 19.gxh6 Qh4 20.Bxb5 Nf6 21.Qc5 Qh3 22.h7+ Kg7 23.Bf1 Bd7 24.Qb6 Bc6 25.Rc1 Bd6 26.Bb4 Bxb4+ 27.Qxb4 Qxh7 <-0.16>

Mar-24-08  acirce: Interesting to see that Fruit clearly prefers 14.Bb4 (the more aesthetic of the alternatives, I think!). I haven't computer checked it at all. Maybe should feed it to Rybka.
Mar-24-08  Hesam7: <acirce> lets take a deeper look, after 13...axb5 14.Bb4 Black has only two moves:

[1] 14...Rg8:

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15.Bxb5 g6 16.Nxh6 Rh8 17.Rc1 Rxh6 18.Qxc8 Ba7 19.Qxd8 Kxd8 20.g5 Rxh2 21.gxf6 Nxf6 22.Bd6 Rh7 23.Be5 Ne8 24.Kd2 Bb8 25.Bxb8 Rxb8 26.Rh1 Rxh1 27.Rxh1 Rc8 28.Rh7 Nd6 (+1.02 @ depth 22 Fruit 2.3.1)

[2] 14...Rh7

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15.Bxb5 Qc7 16.Rc1 Qxc2 17.Rxc2 Bxh2 18.Rg2 g6 19.Ne7 Kd8 20.Rxh2 Nxg4 21.Rg2 f5 22.Nxd5 Rxa2 23.Nf4 Nb6 24.Nxg6 Bd7 25.Be2 Nd5 26.Bd6 Ra1 27.Kd2 (+0.85 @ depth 22 Fruit 2.3.1)

Mar-27-08  PolishPentium: It seems that Black would have done slightly better had he played 21... Nbd7, which would have prevented White from playing 22 Qxd5. Comments?
Mar-27-08  whiteshark: <PP>, my favourite kibitzer, while your suggested <21...Nbd7> prevents 22.Qxd5, it allows some unfavorable action on the ♔side, starting with <22.h4 Rfc8> for escape reasons, 22...Nh7 23.Qxd7 <23.hxg5 hxg5 24.Qxg5+ Kf8>

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Now I'm really all at sea...


Mar-28-08  Ulhumbrus: 7 g4 launches what looks like an unsound attack. Black may be able to gain the advantage by playing the Knight advance ...Ne4 as a pawn sacrifice eg 7...0-0 8 g5 Ne4 9 Nxe4 dxe4 10 Qxe4 Re8
Mar-30-08  Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: 7 g4 launches what looks like an unsound attack. Black may be able to gain the advantage by playing the Knight advance ...Ne4 as a pawn sacrifice eg 7...0-0 8 g5 Ne4 9 Nxe4 dxe4 10 Qxe4 Re8>

7.g4 is a well known theoretical line in the Anti-Meran variation of Semi-slav defense called the Shabalov gambit.

Also according to theory your suggestion is not good for Black. After: 7...0-0 8.g5 Ne4 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Qxe4 Re8 11.Bd2 e5 12.O-O-O

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what is Black's compensation?

Apr-01-08  Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> One alternative, in place of 10...Re8, is to offer a second pawn by 10...e5 eg 10...e5 11 dxe5 Nc5 12 Qc2 Be7 13 Bd2 g6 14 0-0-0 Bf5

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