Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Linares 2006 r3

| Permalink | 45 comments

Wow, what a game. Thank Zeus that Topalov has more grit than the rest of the field put together. At the very least he played many more moves than the rest of the field put together today, and then some. He and Aronian battled for 123 moves, the last 70 of them in a theoretically drawn N+2 vs R endgame that Topalov defended without adventures. The insanity came earlier and it came in waves.

Topalov gained the initiative in the opening when Aronian, to his credit, wanted to play for a win after being surprised by 18...a5! Taking on a6 should be fine, but 19.Be4 is dubious. White got out of trouble with a creative temporary exchange sac but seemed to lose the thread. I thought the point was to play 24.Bxb7 and White gets the exchange back or a strong b-pawn. Topalov had an extra pawn and all the chances at that point, especially when Aronian selected an absolutely bizarre defensive plan, part of which was blitzing out his moves. The entire scheme 27.Rd1 28.Rd4 29.g3 looks ridiculous to me. g3 against a light-squared bishop?! Anyway, it was exciting, fighting chess on both sides.

Topalov was breaking through and just about to put White away when Aronian's blitz tactics paid off. On move 35 Topalov mouse-slipped his f-pawn (well, you get the picture). Instead of the deadly 35...f5 he played 35...f6? allowing a miracle perpetual check sac. Aronian pounced and then the final twist. Instead of retreating to f8 with a likely draw, Topalov ran his king into the open on the final move of the time control with 40...Kd7??. Suddenly White was winning, or close to it. The game ended up in a tough N+3 vs R+1 endgame that Topalov managed to draw. (57...f5+! is a joy.) It looks like White must have a win in there (55.Nf5, eventually winning the f-pawn looks good), but it's not as easy as it looks. Whew. Comments from Kasparov will be at ChessBase later today. (He was brutalizing Aronian's strange play so I'm glad he went to bed before Topalov blundered and almost lost!)

By the way, speaking of annoying endgames that should be won, nobody has answered my plea for a winning line in Vallejo-Leko from round one after 34.Kd3 instead of 34.Bxh5? It's weird that a rook and passed a-pawn don't win trivially, but providing a variation hasn't been easy. A few lines: 34.Kd3 Re5 35.Kc4 a6 (35...h4 36.Kb5= c4+ 37.Kxc4 a5 38.Kd4 Re2; 35...Kh7 36.Kb5=) 36.h4 (36.g3 Kh7 37.h3 Kh6 38.h4 (38.g4? h4) ; 36...Kh7 37.g3 Kh8 38.Bxh5 Kg8 39.Bg6 Kf8 40.g4 Re4+ 41.Kxc5 Rxg4 (41...a5 42.g5 a4 43.Kd5 Re1 44.f6 gxf6 45.gxf6 a3 46.e7+ Rxe7 47.fxe7+ Kxe7 48.Bb1 Kf6=) 42.h5 (42.Kb6?? Rxg6!) 42...Ke7 (42...a5 43.Kd6 Rd4+ 44.Ke5 Rd1 45.h6=) 43.Kb6= Ra4 44.Kc5 a5 45.Kb5 Ra2 46.Bh7 a4 47.Bg6 Ra1 48.Kb4 Kd6 49.Bf7 Rf1 (49...a3 50.Bg6) 50.Kxa4 Rxf5 51.Kb4


What can one say about these guys (topalov, Aronian)....
What is extremely attractive in their chess style is that it is human...
They make mistakes, they risk, they are passionate, they do not fear the alternative and the controversial. I really hope that, especially for Aronian, to start to pay off its style...maybe with a world title in the future...

I found that game just awful. It reminded me of the fide time control somehow.

Good fighting spirit is being portrayed at this years Linares!

It was a great game to watch. The only awful thing was watching the other players take early draws in mostly unclear positions.

Aronian blitzed out what appeared to be a prepared line in the Nimzo-Indian, sacing a pawn for attacking chances. Too me, it looked very difficult for black up until Topalov played 18..a5. Maybe Aronian made a mistake with his next move then, but it was nothing obvious and 19.Be4 certainly seemed a reasonable candidate.

24.Ne5 turned out to be a mistake, and from that point, it was Topalov pushing for a win. Then came 35..f6 instead of 35..f5, and the game should have been drawn by perpetual. For some reason Topalov didn't go for the perpetual (what a shock - not) and we wound up watching a very long K/R+1p vs K/N+3p endgame in which Aronian most likely missed a win.

It was a great game, with very few mistakes, unlike the hideous clown games the other participants played that day.

I agree that it was great game to watch—awful but exciting. I still can't believe some of their decisions (not taking a5 en passant, h3 etc.). It will be interesting to hear their personal comments.

Probably the game will take its place in chess history like the pearl of Zandvoort between Euwe and Alekhine.

Concerning my mentioning of the fide time control, Topalov simply had problems with his time management towards the first time control and thus played f6 instead of f5. At least we could see an interesting ending which is only rarely the case using the fide time control which I very dislike.

The game is full of instructive parts for further analysis, but don't you agree that it was kind of a horror movie?

For sure it showed that draws don't have to be boring.

(No preview button, I hope the &-m-d-a-s-h-; will look like ---.)

supergrobi - either you haven't watched many chess games, or you are trolling. You are suggesting White not taking a5 e.p., and White playing h3 as major turning points in that game? Maybe we were watching different games.

lwolf123, are you trying to start a discussion with me by telling that I'm either a troll or haven't watched many chess games? If so, I have to tell you that your attempt failed.

The Aronian - Topalov game was an emotionally drenching experience. First came an opening surprise by White with some nice piece activity, then came Topalov finding initiative seemingly out of nowhere, then came f6, then came Topalov punishing himself immediately afterwards with his King moves, then Aronian looking like he was going to win with the Knight and pawns, then Topalov with his resourceful rook maneuvers, and finally Aronian torturing and testing his opponent's technique. Throughout the third control, I was cursing Aronian every ten seconds, not admitting that I probably would have done the same thing myself. Seven hours of pleasure, pain, and relief. That's watching a Topalov game......
The Svidler-Leko game was not a surprise. They are great players, much more practical then Topalov, but they don't inspire. They don't want to be legendary. Those guys could win this tournament, and more to follow, but they don't motivate me to get off my butt and play chess tournaments. But I'm biased.

I don't know. It was an interesting game, but full of blunders. Is it good? Then, maybe, we should watch "no-title" games instead of SuperGM tourneys.

It is like a tennis match, where both players are loosing most of their serving games, and thus going 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-7 18-18 at Wimbledon. Is it a good game or just long and difficult?

Maybe I am biased, too...

supergrobi - First of all, thanks again for helping me with the chessbase pgn problem.

Second of all - I felt your comments "I found that game just awful", "don't you agree that it was kind of a horror movie?" seemed a bit trollish.

Finally, I apologise for the insult in my previous response. Feel free to insult me now, no hard feelings.

I have no idea what Topalov thinks about the last part of his game (after being down to rook against knight+2 pawns), but I can't help wondering what Korchnoi (or possibly Kasparov) might have said if forced to play on in Topalov's place. "Damned kid! Playing on in a drawn position?! He should go home and study some endgame theory!" Maybe something along those lines? :-)

Was there any point in the game where either one of the players was clearly winning?

Maybe if 35..f5 had been played Black was winning, but the position was not resignable then either.

In the Knight and pawn endgame, someone suggested 55.Nf5+ would have lead to a win.

I thought the game was well played, with a few mistakes. Not unlike most games between gm's in these kinds of unclear positions (when they are played out).

I watched the game on ICC. Gregory Kaidanov was doing most the commentary without any input from a computer. He'd get corrected via messages when he was wrong at times. It made it interesting though, listening to his way of thinking about the positions, knowing there was little bias from computer evaluations.

isn't it a little bit too much to credit topalov for palying such a seeschlange?
aronian was in the driver's seat during the last 80 moves. i bow before aronian.

The ICC chessfm broadcast is pretty enjoyable. I like Gregory Kaidanov's humble approach to commentating. The whole experience last night was like watching Topalov blow a massive advantage against Morozevich in San Luis - he has big lapses like that, especially in Topalov - Leko (Linares 2005). Kaidanov stressed that Topa puts a lot of energy into his games, trying to come up with winning tries, that it's understandable how he could tire out in critical moments later in the game.

I don't recall the game being "full of blunders," but yeah, you're going to see errors in a Topalov game. Before I get on any academic, ivory tower high-horse, I take a look at his 2801 rating, his first places in three supertournaments last year, a first place in Wijk this year, and say to myself, who cares? If you want your display of perfection and efficient expenditure of energy, revisit those glorious Kramnik - Leko games in Brissago.

Off topic, but when was the last time you saw heavyweight tennis players lose their serve consistently on a grass court? Never mind that I don't agree with the analogy (although it was interesting), but that just wouldn't happen, and if it did, I woudn't compare that to the game last night. It was possibly two big errors that changed the evaluation of the result, not a comical series of oversights over and over again.

Still biased and loving it......

Have to agree with previous, was a very emotionally crazy roller coaster of a game. Was feeling very guilty trying to follow Dennis's lecture on playchess at same time as sneaking occasional peak at game at same time. Was running late after errands, so joined after other three took quick draws for extra rest time before rest day. Sorry state of affairs that top GM's dont plan ahead at all for travel time to rest BEFORE tourney instead of playing such style of quick-im-out-where-is-the-bar? Not very good chess, but I relegate my low playing ability style of fight for every chess game like my life depended on it for the sake of the beauty of the game itself to my idealism more than a practical view of professional chess. Imagine if (insert personal soccer or american football team, double points for using a curling team!!) USC and Texas in the Big Bowl game decided ahead of time that they were pretty evenly matched, to just take a draw for regular game, then wait for double overtime shootout (read blitz tie breaks) to decide "the big game". Given that true draws are part of our game, more than a few occasions during topalov match last night where both players could have "wimped out" earlier in game, and several moves tried to test that. Point is, even after Yasser Seriwan even commented about tthe respect for BOTH to keep fighting it out. Even after 5+ point difference after Top's f6 blunder. A position that instead after f5(-2.44 eval under Fritz8, f6 lead to a +2.67 almost immediately) should have been easily finished off by most GM's pretty easily, (playchess op's, not MHO). Gives my sorry play hope that if I can keep learning, maybe I can salvage a few more of my own stupid mistakes. But at least both players can hold their heads up high, very much above the rest. For even though most players(and computers) agree that mistakes were made, they truly played like CHAMPIONS. They played it like it meant something more. That takes MOXY!!! Much respect for any player that doesnt choose to keep to known lines that are drawish at best and choose to at least try to find different path for possibilities, whether unclear or not. Am gaining alot more respect for Top's play to manage to eek out a draw given the circumstances.

My only real question for the rest, and maybe MIG can get Freddy F to comment on is Anands comments about how he didnt like the venue. Not meaning Morelia specifically, but Linares' style of having more people around watching under more people closer to the players. The feet shuffling, coughing, mumbling etc, that can cause a huge amount of distractions and untold amounts of pressure under a clicking clock. That main blunder of f6, had to be an extremely tense time at the site, with all the other top games finished, most everyone standing around, and so on. Am very curious to hear what those moments were like first hand. Tension out the ying yang without a doubt.

lwolf123, almost in unison, on playchess, 99% of FM's, IM's, and GM's announced that after f6 the mating net was nearly complete and game Aronian would resign within 1-3 moves, the game was (practically) over then. Big surprise at that point. But a strongly worded lesson from a former instructor rang thru my head at that moment. To always play my heart out when that close to an end of game. Always make them make the correct moves to finish you off. At least to the last few forced move mates. Not expecting a blunder in a losing position, just make sure that you have been defeated properly and didnt miss a saving move somewhere overlooked. Kudos to Topolav and Aronian for not giving in before they were real sure where this was going, and HUGELY giving RESPECT to each other playing their butts off.

Cant wait for next "REAL" games from them all

Hi Mig,

I am obviously not an expert in Chess and answer to my question may be obvious. But I think on move 100, Aronian had a win. If had played 100. g7, would he not have won? There are only 2 places, the black king can go and both could be checked by knight and then g8 will give White a chance to get Queen.

In fact, for the previous 3-4 moves I was imagining the scenario and I thought Toplaov blundered to get that position. But for some strange reason for me, Aronian did not use that opportunity. What is going on here?

You can ignore the question if it's obvious. But I will love to know the answer.




The problem with 100. g7+ is that Black can go 100. ... Kf7! After 101. Ne7 Black has the finesse 101. ... Rd2+! after 102. Kc7 Rg2! 103. g8=Q Rxg8 104. Nxg8 Kxg8 the pawn ending is drawn.

Also, after 101. Nd8+ Kg8, White can't make progress either. Black will find a way to go Rg2 and Rxg7 although it may require a finesse or two.

"supergrobi - either you haven't watched many chess games, or you are trolling. You are suggesting White not taking a5 e.p., and White playing h3 as major turning points in that game? Maybe we were watching different games."

Indeed. He is probably regurgitating playchess commentary where it was mentioned that a GM thought Be4 was a weak move.

lwolf, I see no problem after your explanations.

MondoMango, I wasn't reurgitating "playchess commentary". For a patzer like me taking a5 en passant looked like a natural move. If I remember correctly, the GM comments came much later when that GM entered the room and went through the game.

It was a riveting game, no doubt. Spectators fall in love with their Fritz evaluations when they go to +0.54, never mind +4.00! But, thank god, chess is still a human game and a difficult one. These evaluations mean almost nothing because they don't reflect complexity or winning chances. Look at the first round game in San Luis between Leko and Topalov. It went from White having a forced win to being lost in five or six moves, both sides making serious blunders. But it was incredibly complex.

40..Kd7 was a mistake, but it was played in a few seconds on the last move of the time control. I was watching the games while on the phone with Kasparov and he wasn't seeing everything perfectly; chess is hard. (He did see the Rg4-Rxg6 sac instantly though after ..f6.)

It was pretty clear that Black was doing fine soon after Be4. Taking on a6 was drawish and Aronian avoided it intentionally. Brave or foolish? Who knows, but human and interesting.

I have N+2 vs R tablebases on my machine and there were no forced wins in that endgame after 57.g4. Aronian kept things fluid instead of advancing the pawns to give Topalov a better chance of making a mistake. Only a few times was there an only move, and it was usually obvious.

Yes, the game was a bit of a horror movie. However, these things happen when two relentless fighters go at each other's throats. Neither is backing down, the situation becomes very complex, they get tired, time trouble ensues, and soon come the errors.

But what is the alternative? Two cautious professionals eyeing each other from a distance, neither willing to throw his pieces forward and commit to a sharp line, eventually drawing on move 30 in a perfectly balanced position?

From the pure 'quality' standpoint, every single game of the Kramnik-Leko match was superior to yesterday's Aronian-Topalov game. From the sporting interest, chess content and overall worth standpoints, I will take the Aronian-Topalov game over all 14 Kramnik-Leko games combined. That was a rich and fascinating game, it reminded me of the Em. Lasker - Ed. Lasker game from 1924, and will take its place in the pantheon of chess the way hardly any Kramnik-Leko game ever will.

It's easy to play "quality" games when you barely venture outside theory, play conservative, safe moves, and agree to an early draw at first opportunity.

It was a good game. I didn't watch the whole thing. (I missed the f6 move) I am a patzer as well so must rely on junior 8. Still though that is a pretty stong program. I a few times I saw they played a move that Junior's eval would all of a sudden favor (suggesting that Junior misevaluated its strength?)

As far as the draws I don't see what misunderstanding is. In tournaments it is just good stategy to take draws when they are obvious. In matches when you play on you are of course tirignn your next round opponent out as well. So then playing on can make sense. But in tournaments it doesn't make so much sense. I think sophia sort of showed that. The players were forced to play on and the beginnign of the event had great chess while at the end everyone started to fall apart.

Bringing in Kramnik Leko is a bit of a stretch. Still want to get a few digs in huh? This game was very good for a tournament but didn't come close the excitement and enjoyment I had from that match. IMO the last game of that match blew this game away.

I am not 100% positive, but I don't think there is a win in that Vallejo-Leko line.

If there is anything I dont like is when I mouse slip and my opponent ignores my pleas for takeback on the move.

I mean come one. Aronian must have known it belonged on f5 and not f6. an obvious mouse slip.

When my opponent leaves me with my mouse slip begging for a takeback and he ignores me. there I am frustrated at the dumb mouse slip and so I transfer my frustration to my dumb opponent who sits there smuggly ignoring me.

of course I refuse to move and finally let the tme run out. What else can I do on the internet. can I call in an arbiter like Geurt Gijssen. no he is never available when I need him.

Poor Topalov what could he do. there he sits with a dumb mouse slip f6 wanting f5 and a million people watching. can he ask for a takeback. It would be as embarassing as when Kasparov touched a piece on Judit Polgar and moved a different piece to save a lost game. poor Kasparov what he had to go through sometimes to get a win.

I think Aronian as white missed the win on 55 Nh5. that was a big mistake and lost a pawn later. he should have played either of 55 h5 or 55 Nf5. both would have been much better.

Alex Shternshain

I disagree. Absolutely one of my favorite games ever was the Marshall Gambit game with Leko black. that was a master game. I watched it live and Kramnik apparently had computer analysis that showed he won as preparation for the game. and Leko saw much deeper.

Watching the game live everyone was giving their computer analysis showing a win for Kramnik. when out of no place the computers suddenly changed to show that black was really winning. and the evaluations changed from say +4 to -4 a huge amount. Leko won that game.

I believe if you go over that game carefully you will realize that Leko really showed World Championship caliber without question in that game.

after that game he tried to ride draws to victory and of course that does not work. he lost the last game and the title remained with Kramnik.


You're sympathizing with Kasparov cheating to win a game against a 17-year-old girl!?


That particular game was:
a. very one-sided. There were never any shifts, it was all home preparation to middlegame to win.
b. only one player played well. The other essentially committed suicide by poor preparation.

While I acknowledge Leko played like a genius in that game, it wasn't overall a great game by both players.


The "mouse slip" was a joke. Of course they play on real (DGT) boards in these tournaments :-)

Tommy I agree with you on the Leko win. That was another classic game. I also agree with Mr. Shternshaains point b. I don't agree with point A however. That was not "all home prep" Leko did nto have it as home prep. He was finding the moves over the board. Kramnik had it as pretty much all home prep. He was quite forthright in admitting that his strategy was to keep playing the preparation to put Leko in time trouble. Kramnik's strategy didn't pay off as the computers didn't see the tactics that were to come just a few moves "out of book"

Yes its true it can't be considered a great game by Kramnik. He thought he had cooked the books on this line. This sort of ditracts but it also adds in that it makes the game somewhat unique.
But it certainly was a great game in that it was very exciting to watch and was a brilliant game by Leko. Everyone trusted in Kramniks prep - perhaps even more than kramnik - until there was jsut like a big shift and realization that Kramnik was lost. Crazy game and one I don't think anyone who saw it will ever forget.

tommy conversely i am frustrated when my opponent pleas for a takeback. I find it pathetic to cry for some dumb ratings points. I usually just resign and play another game.

Following this line of logic Kasparov was absolutely pathetic and miserable when he tried to cheat Polgar. Dignity calls for a resignation!

Leko's game with kramnik was really memorable.And it definitely illustrates the world champion calibre Leko carries, if only he was equipped with Aronian's Fighting spirit...

moreover...the f5 move is not so obvious as you are saying. I bet that in a real OTB game many of us would not have found it....

That game in Brissago was very memorable and exciting. I will remember it for many-many years. And the last round, too.

Topalov (with White!) lost to Radjabov in round 4. Topalov is now in the basement along with Vallejo Pons!

I guess reaching 2800+ is one incredible thing, maintaining it, like Kasparov did, is another incredible thing altogether?

Radjabov is something, all right. Eighteen years old and he already has black wins over Kasparov, Anand and now Topalov.

Disaster for Topa, obviously. I don't think that even he can make up 2.5 points on players as solid as Leko and Svidler.

It's only encouraging and inspiring that
champs (e,g., Topa)
are beaten by
younger stars (e.g., Radj) -
otherwise how can progress proceed?
There is nothibg
pro Radj or contra Topa anyway.

WHERE is everyone who was talking abt Radjabovs KID? Does this result now mean KID is the best response to d4? No. Similarly losses with the KID dont mean its bad.

I would just like to mention that there were many negative comments pertaining to Mexican Chess after the cancellation of the International. However, the Chess world owes Mexico a debt of gratitude for an incredible Chess extravaganza! The city of Morelia is truly beautiful (wonderful comes to mind) and the local people are very nice and strive to be helpful to foreigners who aren't too good with the Spanish language. Outside of the airfare which wasn't outlandish, every other expense was very reasonable. The entire operation was and is being run very smoothly and efficiently by the authorities. As I stood there before the start of Rd. 1 of Linares and watched as each of the participants entered the stage area, I felt truly blessed to be there and I would like to personally thank the organizers for providing such an awesome Chess experience for me. If they do it again next year, I will be there. I can hardly wait.

Topalov is -1 after R4. He can steady himself and get back to even in this first half, and then really turn on the pressure to finish +4, and shared, or even clear, first.

Topalov is -2 actually, Ashish. While it is theoretically possible that he may still win this tourney, I'd be very surprised if he does, especially considering his level of play so far. Not losing any more games and finishing with a small plus score should be his ambition right now.

The blogmeister is not updating on Linares R4. Why?

Hi Mig, why does it take you so long to update on chessbase.com? It happened during the Wijk Ann Zee and now here in Linares. I remember with Shipov (?) it used to be updated that day itself. I mean because there are new rounds everyday it is tough to follow if we have game reports after every 2 days or so.
Unless you are writing chessbase reports for free, I suggest you update there before you do here... not only to reflect your professionalism but for all the diehard chess fan's sakes. If you have time to update here on round 3 and about US chess player groups, before you update on chessbase, I am sure you will find the time to help us out here.

I'm not posting the reports on Linares. Nor did I post the reports for Corus. Frederic is there. For these I'm just sending him wrap-ups and analysis notes each round, or almost every round. But the posting is up to him and he's very busy in Morelia.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 21, 2006 4:48 AM.

    Kreiman Punishment (Not) was the previous entry in this blog.

    US Ch Player Groups is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.