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Topalov – Kramnik LIVE!

Corus 2008 live commentary with Milena Stefanova and Goran Urosevic

The two players have turbulent history and many eyes will be carefully observing the game. Neglecting the sporting side, main question these days is whether there will be a handshake. In an interview for the portal sportni.bg (and not Chessdom, as maliciously commented on other forums), Silvio Danailov said the handshake is not expected. Let’s leave speculations aside and enjoy some fighting chess.

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PGN Topalov Karmnik

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{Hello! Today we’ll see the most expected game on this tournament – between Topalov and Kramnik. They have to decide a lot of personal questions behind the board. In interview for sportni.bg the manager of Veselin Topalov announced that today there won’t be a handshake. After the scandal in Elista they’ve played just one game, finished draw. But it seems that both sides haven’t forgot their mutual past. I hope there will be a good game. Enjoy!}
1.d4 {We were secretly hoping to see Topalov taking another aim at the Petroff defence. He was successful against Boris Gelfand in one of the earlier rounds.} d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 {Topalov allows the open Moscow variation. Kramnik plays that with white and black, while it is not unknown for the Bulgarians since Cheparinov won a game in this line against Nepomnichtschi} dc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.O-O Nbd7 11.Ne5 Bg7 12.Nf7 {A novelty!} Kf7 13.e5 {Very fast sacrifice! We blinked and Topalov had already sacrificed a figure!….. All this added to the fact that THERE WAS NO HANDSHAKE promises an exciting game! Yet, a very bad example from two ex world champions.} Nd5 14.Ne4 {Topalov’s idea is to press Kramnik on the d6,c5,f6 points, with support by the bishop from h5 and the queen from g4. The move f4 will opn the black king. Ne4 is better than immediate Bh5+. Black king will be forced to move anyway, because of the Nd6+ threat. Therefore, white will save the tempo to move the bishop to a more convenient square} Ke7 15.Nd6 Qb6 {A good choice. The queen will watch over ‘e4’ square, and will help c5 when needed. The rook from а8 will free the queenside and will help the kingside.} 16.Bg4 Raf8 {Anticipating Bxe6, with idea 17. Bxe6 Kxe6 18. Qg4+ Ke7 19. Nf5+ Rxf5 when black can probably hold.} 17.Qc2 {Sneaky surprise! Topalov wants to take on e6 and continue Qg6.} Qd4 18.Qg6 Qg4 {Instead of looking for the sharpest lines, Kramnik is giving back material in order to solidify the king.} 19.Qg7+ Kd8 20.Nb7+ Kc8 {The material on the board is equal, but the weak black king will be a problem for Kramnik. Time might also be a factor, as Topalov has 54 minutes more.} 21.a4 {Better than immediate Nd6+ because it breaks the pawn fort on the queenside. 21…Kxb7 22. Qxd7+ Kb6 23. a5+ would be a bad outcome for black.} b4 {Almost obligatory, as black has to keep the a-file closed. Now the c4 pawn is loosened up, but c4-c3 might be an important deflecting factor is Black’s further attempts to defend the king.} 22.Rac1 {Going after the c4 pawn outright. Kramnik would love to play Qf5 with idea Rh7, but e4 and f5 are unavailable because of Nd6 fork.} c3 $5 {Kramnik wants to close the c-file no matter what.
Perhaps it was better to first see what would white do with his Queen after} (
22… Rfg8 23. Nd6+ Kc7 24. Qf7 Rf8 25. Qg6 Nf4 $5) 23. bxc3 b3 $6 (23… Nxc3
{was expected, but now e7 is available for white queen.} 24. Qe7 Ne2+ 25. Kh1
Nxc1 26. Nd6+ Kc7 27. Rxc1 {with idea Nb5+! and Qd6}) 24. c4 $1 {Chasing away
black’s best piece. 24. Rb1 was also strong, idea would be Rb3, Nd6+ and Rb7…
} Rfg8 25. Nd6+ Kc7 {Kramnik is dangerously approaching to time trouble, while
Topalov is still playing rather quickly.} 26. Qf7 $1 Rf8 {Now that white queen
is touching e6 pawn, white can slip 27. h3 Rxf7 28. hxg4 in, and both Nd5 and
Rf7 are hanging. Unbalanced exchange with 27. cxd5 also looks promising.} 27.
cxd5 $5 (27. h3 $1 Rxf7 28. hxg4 Nf4 29. Nxf7 Ne2+ 30. Kh2 Nxc1 31. Rxc1 {
was even easier win. Topalov wants to win in great style, by sacrificing his
Queen. He still has to be very careful, though.}) 27… Rxf7 28. Rxc6+ Kb8 29.
Nxf7 {Rh8 is attacked and dxe6 is coming next! b-pawn might be a Trojan horse,
but Topalov has everything under control at the moment.} Re8 {Natural aim in
the time trouble – to save both rook and pawn. But Topalov can play Nd6 with
tempo…} (29… Rc8 30. dxe6 $1 Rxc6 31. exd7 Qxd7 32. e6+ {and game over…})
30. Nd6 $1 Rh8 {
Kramnik can only sit and wait, at least until he reaches the time control.} 31.
Rc4 $1 {
wins e6 pawn…Bg3 might be the final executor after e-pawns start rolling.}
Qe2 32. dxe6 Nb6 33. Rb4 Ka8 34. e7 {
One of the many ways to finish this game of. 34. Rb3 was also perfectly fine.}
Nd5 {35. Rxb3 Nxe7 36. Rfb1 looks like a best.} 35. Rxb3 Nxe7 36. Rfb1 $1 Nd5 {
Kramnik is desperately trying to cover c7 square, as Nb5-c7+ was threatening.}
37. h3 h5 {38. Nf7 and 39. e6 might be deadly because of mate threat on b8.}
38. Nf7 Rc8 39. e6 $1 a6 40. Nxg5 h4 41. Bd6 $1 {Topalov will solidify with
Rb7, e7, Nf3, probably exchange one pair of rooks and go for promotion.} (41.
Bxh4 {was also good, although} Nc3 42. Rc1 Qd2 43. Rf1 {
might still cause technical difficulties.}) 41… Rg8 {R2b3 and e7 are coming
in any move order, because Queen can’t protect the knight after capture on e7.
Immediate Rxg5 is also not a threat since white has mate with Rb8 and Rab7….}
42. R3b2 $3 Qd3 43. e7 $3 {The threat is Rb8+ and e8Q after the rooks exchange.
43….Nxe7 44. Bxe7 is dead lost.} Nf6 44. Be5 $3 Nd7 {45. Ne6 with Nc7+ and
Rb7 checkmate. It s amazing how fast Topalov played this game! He spent only
75 minutes up to now!} 45. Ne6 {Kramnik resigned as there is no escape from
the mating net! Wonderful game by Veselin Topalov, only two days after the
painful defeat from Anand and all distractions around the Short-Cheparinov
incident! This game is serious competitor for the brilliancy prize. Thank you
everyone for following the live commentary, see you again tomorrow at 13:130
CET!} 1-0

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