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Alexander Grischuk vs Veselin Topalov
Linares (2010), Linares ESP, rd 9, Feb-23
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Check Variation Intermezzo Line (E15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 18 OF 18 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-23-10  goldenbear: <An Englishmen> I wanted to say the same thing (I had "a bit suspect" typed in) in my post, but I deleted it because I was unable to think up what I considered a reasonable alternative. I totally agree, 12.Bb4 looks better to me, too. Great minds think alike, I guess.
Feb-23-10  goldenbear: <Peligroso Patzer: Perhaps more dubious was his choice in the middlegame...> I looked at this a bit and I really don't think he had a choice after 12.d5, to which I want to attach a "?!". It seemed to me that his moves which led to that material imbalance were forced. Maybe he could have held the position (or maybe not), but at any rate I don't think we'll see 12.d5 from him again. Of course, (as with anything I say), I could be way off...
Feb-23-10  Eyal: It seems that Black's real problems started with Bxc3-Na5 on moves 16-17. Zagrebelny on chesspro suggested 15...Bb7 (instead of Bb4), and Black doesn't seem to have special problems - e.g., 16.Ne5 doesn't work because of 16...Nxe5 17.dxe5 Qg5! 18.f4 Bc5+ 19.Kh1 Bxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Rxd2 21.Qxd2 Rd8.
Feb-23-10  Poisonpawns: Pic of Topalov and his second(s)after the game
Feb-23-10  ajile: <goldenbear: I think the Queen's Indian does not suit Topalov's style. Also, 4.Ba6 has never looked right to me (although it certainly has its pluses). So I don't have to read through all the posts, anyone have any idea where Topalov started to go wrong?>

9..Nc6 looks awkward. Main line which is solid as a rock has Black playing ..c6 and then ..d5.

Feb-23-10  goldenbear: Thanks alot, <Eyal>. Qg5! is exactly the idea I missed as I was thinking about this series of moves. I remember I even had the thought "Bb7 feels right", but since that couldn't possibly work because of Ne5, I believed 12.d5 was the cause of all the problems. Over the years, I've come to notice that double attacks with rooks in the middlegame (as opposed to rook endgames where I often out-class people) are one of the things I overlook the most. Thanks again for helping me out!
Feb-23-10  ajile: <Annie K.: My version:;

Looks like he's a hippy with dreadlocks.



Feb-23-10  goldenbear: <ajile> You know, I have a phobia of playing Nc6 with Black in queen pawn openings where c5 has not been played (this is especially true in QGD-type positions). And with White, I tend to underestimate Nc6 in those same situations when it actually is very strong. I think this is a symptom of being too "centric" in my thinking. Usually that kind of Nc6 leads to some "flank dynamism", which if I'm Black makes me think "I better know what I'm doing, or else I'll just stand badly". I don't know if I'm making any sense or if anyone can identify with my disease...
Feb-23-10  zanshin: <Domdaniel: <Zanshin> -- <Notice that Rybka stops evaluating after 45.Nb4 only 8 plies.> Engines don't stop evaluating like that>

The difference in evals exceeded the delta I specified and so evaluation was stopped.

Feb-23-10  Eyal: <ajile: 9..Nc6 looks awkward. Main line which is solid as a rock has Black playing ..c6 and then ..d5.>

In the very main line White plays 7.Bg2 and it goes 7...c6 8.Bc3 d5, but there's also 7...c6 after 7.Nc3, though in this case it's not more "main" than 0-0. Interestingly, Topalov played a couple of great games as White against this setup in the 7.Nc3 line during his annus mirabilis 2005:

In the present game, during moves 7-10 both players avoided main options several times, perhaps trying to avoid surprises (as Mig Greengard puts it in his blog - "I'll play a sideline" "Oh yeah? I'll play even more of a sideline"...).

Feb-23-10  pulsar: <Eyal> Good point. I'm thinking Topalov has something in the mainline he's reserving for a bigger match. In a way, Grischuk made the correct decision to use Topa's line against him.
Feb-23-10  ajile: <goldenbear: Eyal:>

The issue I think is that Black needs to challenge White's center. An early ..Nc6 blocks the c7 pawn from advancing to either c6 supporting d5 or to c5 attacking white's d4 pawn. Nc6 in this setup would be more logical if Black was playing for ..e5 but black has already committed to e6.

Maybe there are points to 9..Nc6 but I just don't like this setup as compared to the mainline.

Feb-24-10  goldenbear: <ajile> In my heart I agree with you, but that's probably just my phobia talking.
Feb-24-10  patzer2: Grischuk gained an advantage with his opening preparation and held it throughout, despite strong resistance by Topalov.

White's 45th move deserves to be a future daily puzzle, especially with 45. Bd5! being a strong winning alternative (e.g. 45. Bd5! Ra3 46. Ne5 Qc5 47. Nxg6! ) to the interesting sham sacrifice 45. Nb4! (i.e. sacrificing the White Queen for a win with three pieces against the lone Black Queen).

In the opening, Black might consider 8...d5 or 8...c5 for possible improvements.

Premium Chessgames Member
  e4ia: <Grischuk gained an advantage with his opening preparation and held it throughout>

Really?! What opening advantage;
it was = or mostly through moves 1-22 aka "the opening"

I suggest you look at chessbomb or chessok;
at 27...Qd6 was missed by Tops with an evaluation of 0.65

at 35... Rxe3 was missed with an evaluation +0.49|d16} {white stands slightly better

Your statement is inaccurate and misleading; Topalov basically had an = position and missed better moves with only two I mentioned, to keep the position = and a likely draw at least at #35... far into the middlgame!

and I'm not a Topalov supporter either! I'm happy that Grischuk won!

Feb-24-10  alexandrovm: black centered pawns where very strong, but Topa made some mistakes. Alexander too, but in the end he got a well deserved win over Veselin.
Feb-24-10  zanshin: Just to belabor the point, increasing delta (roughly used to define a 'blunder') from 100 to 1000 (1 pawn to 10) allows Rybka to continue analysis of 45.Nb4:

click for larger view

[+2.93] d=24 45.Bd5 Ra3 46.Ne5 Qc5 47.Nxg6 Qxe3 48.Qxe3 Rxe3 49.Nh4 Ra3 50.Nxf5 Rd2 51.Be4 Kh8 52.Bc6 Kh7 53.Rf2 Ra1 54.Kg2 Rxf2 55.Kxf2 Ra2 56.Ke3 Rxh2 57.Nd6 Kh6 58.a5 Ra2 59.Nc4 Kg5 60.Bf3 Ra1 61.Be2 Ra2 62.Kd3 Ra1 63.Kd4 Re1 (0:12.05) 2864197kN

[+2.03] d=23 45.Nb4 Rxa4 46.Nxc2 Rxf4 47.gxf4 Qe6 48.Rb1 Kh6 49.Re1 Qd6 50.Nd4 Qe7 51.Re2 (0:12.05) 2864197kN

Feb-24-10  Eyal: <patzer2: Grischuk gained an advantage with his opening preparation and held it throughout>

Since the first new move (13.0-0) was played when Grischuk had already spent 41 minutes, it's extremely unlikely that it was preparation (also, as I've already mentioned, starting from move 7 <both> players kept deviating from the main options, so it's likely both got into a position they didn't prepare for in advance). As Nigel Short pointed out in one of his live commentaries during the Topalov-Kamsky match, top GMs are still capable of occasionally coming up with good ideas during the actual game, even when it's in the opening... And again, it's doubtful whether Topalov really faced serious problems until the sequence that began with 16...Bxc3 (instead of, say, Bb7 here or on the previous move).

Feb-24-10  Eyal: <[+2.03] d=23 45.Nb4 Rxa4 46.Nxc2 Rxf4 47.gxf4 Qe6 48.Rb1 Kh6 49.Re1 Qd6 50.Nd4 Qe7 51.Re2 (0:12.05) 2864197kN>

Here it seems that Rybka is indeed beginning to see the light, even though the rook moves are still quite random; instead of 51.Re2, for example, Bd1 would be more to the point - in order to transfer the knight to f3 on its way to e5, attacking the g6 pawn.

Feb-24-10  patzer2: <e4ia><Eyal> I guess after the new move 13. O-O, White's advantage in the opening depended on the fact that Topalov's 16. Bxc3 line turned out to be in Grichuk's favor.

However, <Eyal> I must qualify my comment to say that your recommendation of 16...Bb7 = as equalizing seems to be correct.

Still I don't think 16...Bb7= fits well with Topalov's aggressive style of play, and certainly after the very likely 16. Bxc3!? following 13. O-O Grischuk appears to have a lasting advantage.

Feb-24-10  Ulhumbrus: In a manner of speaking I may have been literally half blind this day as a lense was missing from my glasses. I noticed a difference, but did not realise the cause until later. After 18 Ne5 c5 the move 19 f4 may worth a look at, because although it isolates the c and a pawns Black may have some trouble taking advantage of them owing to White's central superiority and greater space. One variation goes 19 Ne5 c5 20 f4 cd 21 Qb4! and White threatens Rf1-d1 followed by Rxd4 and Rd7 as well as c5. Black cannot play 21...Nc6 or 21...Qe7, and his Rook on d8 lacks squares on the d file to double his Rooks behind the d4 pawn.
Feb-25-10  Eyal: <After 18 Ne5 c5 the move 19 f4 may worth a look at [...] One variation goes 19 Ne5 c5 20 f4 cd 21 Qb4!>

It seems to be refuted by 19....Rxd4! 20.Rxd4 cxd4 21.Qb4 (21.Qxd4 Nxc4!) 21...Rc8 22.Rd1 Qd8, or alternatively 20.Nd7 Rxd7 21.Qxf6 Rxd2 22.Qe7 Bxc4 with clear advantage to Black.

Mar-12-10  Ulhumbrus: <<After 18 Ne5 c5 the move 19 f4 may worth a look at [...] One variation goes 19 Ne5 c5 20 f4 cd 21 Qb4!> It seems to be refuted by 19....Rxd4! 20.Rxd4 cxd4 21.Qb4 (21.Qxd4 Nxc4!) 21...Rc8 22.Rd1 Qd8> 23 e3 (, or alternatively 20.Nd7 Rxd7 21.Qxf6 Rxd2 22.Qe7 Bxc4 with clear advantage to Black.> On 23 Qxa7 white may have the advantage as all of Black's pieces including the b6 pawn, Na5 and Bc4 may become targets.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Endgame Statistics:

♔♖♘♙♙ vs. ♔♕♙

The superior side (in this case white) wins 95.5% (!) of the time.

A draw happens 0.5% of the time.

And if anyone wonders what the drawn game is,you can find it here:Will Bravo vs U Capo Vidal, 2008.

Jun-15-11  DrMAL: Unusual opening choices on both sides. Black's plan to obtain material imbalance with 16...Bxc3 was fine. For example, deep analysis by Rybka 4.1 at d=25 scores it at +0.31 whereas +0.10 is scored for 16...Bb7 less aggressive.

Instead of simpler and better 21...Bxc4, the in-between move 21...Rb8 tries to gain initiative but with the two pawns lost in this process white got a passed pawn. White's advantage after 27.a4 is worth nearly a pawn.

27...Rd8 loses tempo, simply 27...Qd6 was better but this was offset by 28.Nd2 instead of 28.Qe5 (to trade queens and better place white's knight). However, 30...d3 instead of 30...dxe3 was a serious mistake that loses another pawn, probably fatal. White plays the correct line until 34.Qc6 instead of 34.Bf1 an offsetting mistake.

With 35.Nf2 instead of 35.Nc5 white chooses to hang the pawn on e3 to gain tempo. Declining this with 35...Rdd2 allows 36.Qc3+ to gain more tempo for white. Some repetition before move 40 gave white opportunity for 39.Qc4 and likely 40.Qf4 but this was missed until 41...h5 allowed it again.

42...Re2 instead of 42...Ra2 was probably the decisive mistake, allowing white's knight into the pawn march. Nice game for Grischuk in staying unfettered by black's aggression.

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