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Peter Svidler vs Veselin Topalov
World Championship Candidates (2014), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 5, Mar-18
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Neo-Archangelsk Variation (C78)  ·  1-0



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Given 5 times; par: 59 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Geez. Here I naively assumed that Topalov would try to stop the pawn from queening.
Mar-18-14  Marmot PFL: Th stop the pawn black would have to play 2 pawns down in a bad ending so maybe he rolled the dice and lost more quickly.
Mar-18-14  chessdgc2: FSR: Those things are quite easy to overlook...Black does have 1...Kg7 but after Rd7ch there's nothing...I never saw Svid's Bd8!! That was the killer!
Mar-18-14  Marmot PFL: Svidler says Topalov outplayed him, missed something and then blundered in the ending. That's how he usually loses it seems.
Mar-18-14  DcGentle: <45... Rxc3> was the loser move. 45... Kf7 was better, but whether the outcome would have been different, is doubtful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Another game with 14. axb5 Ne5:

Mar-18-14  PinnedPiece: Discussion after the match:

Svidler: "This is not going to be in any best game collections.

...I don't deserve a full point.....this is not my achievement, it's just something that happened."

Nice guy.


Mar-18-14  schweigzwang: Another reason I'm glad he's here.
Mar-18-14  donjova: Well, you could say that Svidler was "unlucky" in his games against Kramnik and Aronian, so he deserves some compensation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <Stonehenge> I wonder if the player with White resigned that because of the engine evaluation being -1 to black (they are allowed to use engines). I can't see actually how concretely black would win the ending a piece up though. I reached for example the following position which seems tricky still:

Svidler - Topalov, World Chess Championship Candidates 2014

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 x64:

1. (-0.99): 32.Kf2 Bd8 33.Kg3 Kc5 34.b4+ Kb5 35.Be6 Bf6 36.Bf7 Ka4 37.Be6 Be7 38.Bf7 Ka3 39.b5 2. (-0.99): 32.Bd5 Kc5 33.Be6 Bf6 34.Bf7 Bd8 35.b4+ Kb5 36.Be6 Bf6 37.Bf7 Ka4 38.Be6 Be7 39.Bf7 Ka3 40.b5

(Doe, 18.03.2014)

Mar-18-14  csmath: 10. Rxd1

[The sideline Ruy-Lopez opening is known to both.]

10. ...exf3

[continuation from home analysis.]

14. ... Ne5!
15. Bf4!

[15. bxa6? Bc6 16. Rxd8 Rxd8 17. Bf5 Kb8 18. Nd2 fxg2 and black is clearly better.]

15. ...Bxb5

[Black has achieved active game with complex pawn structure.]

18. ...Rg8?!

[This move is out of analyses. It makes sense that Topalov is continuing very active setup but too many pawn weaknesses will not allow him freedom of movement of his pieces.]

24. g4?!

[Svidler is opening room for his king allowing 24. ...Ra5 which Topalov will not play.]

26. ...Ka6?

[Crucial error leading to inferior game. Topalov continues active play but this king will get stuck on a-file. 26. ...Kc8 27. Bd5 hxg4 28. hxg4 c5 seems to provide equal game.]

30. ...Nc4?!

[Yet again Topalov chose more active response while 30. ...Nd7 31. Rc8 Kb7 32. Rxc6 Re5 33. Rc4 was obviously not in his taste and indeed leads to rather difficult ending.]

33. Bd8

[This seals the game as white is using power of his bishops not allowing 33. ...Nxa4. The alternative is also good as

33. h4 Nxa4 34. Bd8 Nxc3 35. Bc6

with a mate threat leads to a loss of piece for black.]

After few more moves we get ending with white up a pawn and threatening to take more. The ending is lost for black.

45. ...Rxc3?!

[In already lost position Topalov makes another error and now it is clearly over.]

48. Bd8!

and black resigned. [48. ...Kg7 49. Rd7 spells doom.]


Just when he achieved active equality Topalov played "active" moves that led to a loss. Svidler simply maintained high level of game and allowed Topalov to self-destruct.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nice work. big group at the top.
Mar-18-14  DrGridlock: <DcGentle: <45... Rxc3> was the loser move. 45... Kf7 was better, but whether the outcome would have been different, is doubtful.>

Rxc3 was the quickest way for Black to lose, but he was already in very deep doo-doo before the move:

Svidler - Topalov

click for larger view

1. (1.93): 45...Kf7 46.Kh2 f4 47.Rd7+ Ke6 48.Rg7 Bd3 49.h6 Ke5 50.h7 Bxh7 51.Rxh7 Rxc3 52.Kh3 Kf5 53.Bh4 Rc1 54.Rf7+ Ke4 55.Bg5 Rh1+ 56.Kg4 Rg1+ 57.Kh5 Rh1+ 58.Kg6 Kd3 59.Bxf4 Ke2 60.Be3 Rh4 61.Re7

Mar-18-14  csmath: In this game Topalov played "classic" Topalov.

This is a well prepared opening (by both) that gives black good chances to play active game for a win. This is how Topalov plays. On every turn he played active, unfortunately this was not warranted for some moves in this game. Sometimes it works but it did not here, the game was more complex.

Another thing, Svidler maintained very high level of the game and although this is not a masterpiece it shows that to beat such a well prepared and astute player one needs to play extremely precise and inspired chess. Topalov did not have that today.

I think Svidler proved again that he is in excellent form and that he will be a force to reckon with in this tournament.

Mar-18-14  Ulhumbrus: The exchange 19...Bxa3? was Topalov's main error, and an instructive error.

The knight may seem more powerful than even White's bishop pair but this is so only because the knight is able to act in concert with Black's king's bishop in threatening White's f2 pawn.

After Black exchanges his king's bishop his knight can no longer help to overpower the f2 pawn and it is no longer stronger than a bishop pair

Topalov may have realised too late that exchanging his king's bishop altered the evaluation of his knight. After this it was Svidler's bishop pair which was the more powerful, and so the remainder of the game suggests.

Mar-18-14  csmath: That is not an error.

The alternative:

19. ...Bxf2 20. Kxf2 Ng4+ 21. Ke1 Re8 22. Bf5 leads to inferior engame so it is surely not anything better.

Mar-18-14  paavoh: Was it Lasker who said something to the tune of "it is not about best moves, it is about struggle"? This was a great struggle even if the moves could have been improved upon - but this is not CC chess....
Mar-18-14  haydn20: I'm just a patzer, but it seems to me that the fatal error was 17...Be2?! It seems that Topo hallucinates that a Kside attack is possible, but sticks his LSB at e2 for the duration. I thought that 17...Bxa3 18. bxa3 fxg2 19. Re1 Re8 gave Black a good game.
Mar-18-14  haydn20: <csmath> "26. ...Ka6? [Crucial error leading to inferior game. Topalov continues active play but this king will get stuck on a-file. 26. ...Kc8 27. Bd5 hxg4 28. hxg4 c5 seems to provide equal game.]" Sometimes IMHO Topalov plays "actively" for activity's sake even if the position can't withstand it. 26...Kc8 does indeed seem even, perhaps drawish. Svidler's remarks are apropos and show the kind of humility some of our kibitzers, present company excluded, could use more of.
Mar-18-14  Ulhumbrus: <csmath: That is not an error.

The alternative:

19. ...Bxf2 20. Kxf2 Ng4+ 21. Ke1 Re8 22. Bf5 leads to inferior endgame so it is surely not anything better.>

19...Bxf2+ is not the only alternative to 19...Bxa3. 19...Bb6 is one other.

Mar-18-14  csmath: <19...Bxf2+ is not the only alternative to 19...Bxa3. 19...Bb6 is one other.>

That *would* be an error.

20. Bxh7

and now white has achieved free h-pawn passer that would likely decide the game in any ending. Topalov is smarter than that.

Mar-18-14  PinnedPiece: Maybe 48.? will be a Wednesday POTD some day.

I'll probably miss it.


Mar-18-14  DrGridlock: Much discussion on Black's 19'th move.

Komodo finds that Bxa3 is black's best option, and that Be2 is not really an "error":

Svidler - Topalov

click for larger view

1. = (-0.24): 17...Bxa3 18.bxa3 fxg2 19.Bf5+ Kb8 20.Be4 Re8 21.Bg3 Kc8 22.f4 Bc6 23.Bf5+ Bd7 24.Bb1 Bg4 25.Rd5 Nf3+ 26.Kxg2 Re2+ 27.Bf2 Nd2 28.Bd3 Bf3+ 29.Kg1 Re6 30.Ra5 Kb7 31.Bxh7 Bc6 32.Rh5 Re8 33.Rh6

2. = (-0.04): 17...Ba4 18.Ra1 Rd8 19.Nc2 Bb5 20.b4 Bd3 21.gxf3 Bb6 22.Ne3 Bxe3 23.Bxe3 Rg8+ 24.Kh1 Bxe4 25.fxe4 Nf3 26.Bd4 Rg6 27.Be3 Kb7 28.h3 Rg8 29.Bh6 Kb6 30.Bf4 h5 31.c4 Kb7 32.Rd1 h4 33.Ra1

3. = (0.05): 17...Bc6 18.Bxc6 Nxc6 19.Nc4 Rg8 20.g3 Rd8 21.Rxd8+ Kxd8 22.Nd2 Ne5 23.Bxe5 fxe5 24.Nxf3 f6 25.Kg2 a5 26.Nd2 Kd7 27.g4 a4 28.Ne4 Be7 29.Kf3 Ke6 30.Ke3 a3 31.bxa3 Bxa3 32.Kd3 Bc1 33.Kc4

4. = (0.05): 17...Be2 18.Rd5 Bd6 19.Bg3 Bxa3 20.bxa3 Re8 21.Bxe5 fxe5 22.Bxh7 fxg2 23.Be4 f6 24.a4 Rh8 25.Rd2 Bc4 26.a5 Rg8 27.Bc6 Rg7 28.Rb2 f5 29.Rb4 Be2 30.Rb2 Bc4

Mar-19-14  Ulhumbrus: <csmath: <19...Bxf2+ is not the only alternative to 19...Bxa3. 19...Bb6 is one other.> That *would* be an error.

20. Bxh7

and now white has achieved free h-pawn passer that would likely decide the game in any ending. Topalov is smarter than that.> Let us try a few more moves: 20...Ng4 21 Bxg8 Bxf2+ 22 Kh1 Bf1 threatening 23...Bg2 mate

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: After 48...Kg7 I imagine White would play 49.Rd7+
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