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Linares 2006 r4

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Will the real Veselin Topalov please stand up? For a while I wasn't sure. Svidler played a brilliant game to beat him in the first round, and I'm not at all convinced that the Berlin is to Topalov's taste. Then he came very close to making something from nothing against Bacrot. In round three he completely outplayed Aronian and was on his way to a well-deserved win with black when time trouble (and Aronian's alertness, to give some credit) struck and he had to salvage a draw. A little rocky, but no reason to panic.

Panic! Topalov lost to Radjabov's King's Indian in round four in a truly ugly game. Granted, Radja is no sissy and counts black wins against Kasparov and Anand in his oeuvre, but this really looked like something was wrong with Topalov's radar. And he knows these positions, having been a Benoni man for most of his career. The kingside storm had the stench of desperation. 20.g4 is such a dog it could hump your leg. As always, full props for being aggressive in an equal position, but that was pretty ugly. I'm assuming he missed the cute 26...Nh5! He could have bailed out with 27.Rxf8+, but kept looking for more and went down. Again, give credit to Radjabov for ruthless precision, but this was mostly self-inflicted. (And how about that KID!? Refuted indeed.) This puts the world champ in the cellar with -2 and out of the running for anything but pride.

Yes, there are still many rounds to play, 10 of them to be exact. But Leko and Svidler are tearing things up with 3.5/4 scores. Leko nabbed a pawn against Ivanchuk and converted quickly. Svidler took more time to grind Bacrot in a superior rook endgame well worth study. I'll be at Playchess.com in a minute watching the round five games while on the phone with the world's highest rated guest...


"20.g4 is such a dog..." This commentary is priceless.

IMO, Topalov is inadvertently highlighting the genius of Anand and Kasparov. VA can be aggressive without being stupid. GK could lust for blood like no other, but maintain some semblance of objectivity. I understand “Fortune smiles on the brave,” (as in San Luis) but I also understand that, at times, “Discretion is the better part of valor” (as in 20.g4???).

Yah, as consistenly aggressive as he is, I don't think he plays that move if he's on +1. He wanted to make up some distance. But hey, if you miss a move, you miss a move.

What did Kramnik say? Something like 'every chess player has a period where he can do no wrong'. Looks like Topalov's is over. Radjabov looked more like the 'old master': he set up a solid defensive position and waited to see if Topalov would over-extend himself. I wouldn't be surprised to see these sort of tactics backfire on the Bulgarian some more, now that other players are going out of there way to prepare for him.

I don't know if it will last, but it does appear that Svidler's play has moved to another level. He's been finding some really strong moves. Leko really knows how to grind it out on the white side of the Spanish - details, details.

This year's FIDE champ may be suffering from hubris. Wasn't he going to take a year off and write a book?

And tonight Svidler jumped off a cliff. I'm hoping he can turn it around quick!

Round 5. Svidler lost, Topalov won. Leko draws and takes first place.

standings after round 5.

4.0 GM Peter Leko (Hungary 2740)
3.5 GM Peter Svidler (Russia 2765)
3.0 GM Levon Aronian (Armenia 2752)
2.0 GM Etienne Bacrot (France 2717)
2.0 GM Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine 2729)
2.0 GM Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan 2700)
2.0 GM Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria 2801)
1.5 GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain 2650)

Yes, Svidler's play has gone to another level. That 37 ... Be8?? tonight was a howler for a 2700+.

Mig I was wondering what Aronian has to do to earn some good marks from you guys. Every win of his is attributed to luck or an opponent's mistake as if the guy is some sort of wiccan or worse yet a voodoo listening to The Doors all day long and chanting Hallelujahs and piercing voodoo dolls of Topalov and Svidler. Maybe, just maybe, he is a great chess player too? Just asking.

Aronian is the real deal. He is far stronger than he thinks he is (if I interpret his interviews correctly and am correct in my assessment). That way greatness lies.
And actually, he is the kind of guy who might indeed be listening to The Doors a lot, but not the rest of your suggestions!
I expect him to reach the Very Top in two years or so. Probably not a World Champion - or whatever title is available then, but close, very close.

Never mind Be8, Black's game was already lost at that point. But Svidler will rebounce and catch and surpass Leko. Just wait.

Anybody look at an earlier g4!? in place of Kh1? I'm not strong enough to understand why, but Fritz seems to like it then but not later.

Sorry, I should have mentioned it, but I'm talking about Topalov-Radjabov.

Svidler's g5?? in the B+N endgame against Aronian was completely unnecessary, IMHO. Did perhaps someone, not necessarily Aronian, prick Svidler dolls?

Mig, you cant just tease us with the Kasparov link, you gotta give us the meat!! All you do is make us drool! We need to hear the thoughts of the Maestro!!!! Com'on man, have a heart!!!

Svidler's f5 was clearly because he saw that bishop endgame and thought that he might be able to hold it. That said, I have looked extensively at that endgame with moves instead of Be8?? and I still have not found a definitive win there for white.

If someone wants to give a concrete line that proves there is a win, I am listening.

If Svidler doesn't play Be8, Aronian wins with the plan of Kc7, Bg8 and e6 followed by Bf7

Whatever the result of the subsequent analysis, why make such a concession like f5?? if there is no need at all? That's when the doll gets pricked, not afterwards.

Yeah..C'mon Mig...if I was on the phone with Bobby observing the action I'd make note of his observations here and now!

I'm putting together a collection of stuff for a ChessBase 'analysis review', with some of his comments. I will say that last night he spotted a cool plan for Chucky to draw that horrible position with Qh1-Qh6 with the insane threat of Ndf4!!! This while watching live. After Ivanchuk's Qd1 he was, shall we say, not complimentary.

I'm 99% sure the Svider 3 vs 2 endgame is drawn. Seems rather simple. Unless you allow e6 with your bishop on e8 and the white king on c5, of course.

Hmm, looking at it afresh this morning, it does look lost no matter what. So much for simple. Sleep is a good thing.

Yah, it's lost.

C7c6 The reason I said give a specific line is for just that reason. I looked at lines similar to that and still could not find a win.

It is easy to say "put this here and that there...wins". A bunch of GMs did that last night on ICC, but when we did that, every time eventually they would say, "But this draws".

It is not so simple. If you have a specific win, give it.

Lines, you want lines? Here are some messy ones, a few with repetitions, etc. The main ideas are shown in the lines with 37..Bd7 and 37..Bf3. Even swapping pawns it's not trivial. The key idea of winning f4-g5 vs f5 is in the line with 54.Bh5, a pretty zugzwang. 37..Bd7 avoids some tricks, but has one major flaw; the bishop is en prise after Bg8 Kf8 Kd6. There is no way to stop the plan of Bg8-e6-Bf7. If the bishop does leave that diagonal, allowing the king to chase the bishop, black can't control e8 anymore.

[Event "XXIII SuperGM"]
[Site "Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP"]
[Date "2006.02.23"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Aronian, L."]
[Black "Svidler, P."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D80"]
[WhiteElo "2752"]
[BlackElo "2765"]
[PlyCount "75"]
[EventDate "2006.02.18"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bg5 Ne4 5. Bh4 c5 6. cxd5 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Qxd5 8.
e3 cxd4 9. Qxd4 Qxd4 10. cxd4 e6 11. Rb1 Be7 12. Bxe7 Kxe7 13. Bd3 Nc6 14. Nf3
b6 15. Ke2 Bb7 16. Rhc1 Rhc8 17. g4 h6 18. h4 Na5 19. g5 hxg5 20. hxg5 Rxc1 21.
Rxc1 Rc8 22. Rxc8 Bxc8 23. Ne5 Bb7 24. a3 Nc6 25. Ng4 Nb8 26. Kd2 Bc6 27. Kc3
Nd7 28. f4 a5 29. e4 b5 30. Bc2 f5 31. exf5 exf5 32. Ne5 Nxe5 33. dxe5 b4+ (
33... Kd7 34. Kd4 Bf3 35. Kc5 Be2 36. Bb3 Ke7 37. Bd5 Bf1 38. Bc6 b4 39. axb4
axb4 40. Kxb4 Ba6 41. Bb5 Bc8 42. Kc5) 34. axb4 axb4+ 35. Kxb4 Bd7 36. Bb3 Bc6
37. Kc5 Be8 (37... Bd7 38. Bg8 (38. Kb6 Be8 39. Kc7 Bb5 40. Bg8 (40. Bd5 Ba4
41. Kb6 (41. Bc6 Bb3 42. Bd7 Bc4) 41... Be8 42. Kc5 Ba4 43. Bg8 Kf8 44. Bc4 Ke7
45. Bf1 Bb3 46. Kd4 Be6) 40... Kf8 41. Bd5 (41. Bh7 $2 Kg7 $11 42. Bxg6 Kxg6
43. Kd6 Kf7 44. e6+ Kg7 45. Ke5 Bd3 46. e7 Kf7 47. Kd6 Bb5 48. Ke5 Bd7 49. Kd6
Bc8 50. Kc7 Ba6 (50... Be6 51. Kd8) 51. Kd6 Bb5) 41... Ke7 42. Bb3) 38... Ba4 (
38... Kf8 $2 39. Kd6) 39. e6 Bb3 40. Bf7 Bxe6 (40... Bd1 41. Bxg6 Kxe6 42. Bh7
Bg4 43. Bg8+ Ke7 44. Kd4 Kf8 45. Be6 Kg7 46. Ke5 Kg6 47. Bd7 Bh3 48. Be8+ Kg7
49. Bh5) 41. Bxg6 Kf8 42. Kd6 Bc8 43. Ke5) (37... Bf3 38. Bg8 Be4 (38... Kf8
39. Bh7 Kg7 40. e6 Bd1 41. Kb5 $1) 39. e6 Bf3 (39... Bg2 40. Bf7 Be4 41. Bxg6 (
41. Kb6) 41... Kxe6 42. Bh5 Bg2 43. Kd4 Bf1 44. Bd1 Kf7 45. Bc2 Bh3 (45... Kg6
46. Ke5 Bh3 47. Ba4 Bg4 48. Bd7 Bh3 49. Be8+ Kg7 50. Bh5) 46. Ke5 Kg6 47. Ba4
Bg4 48. Be8+ Kg7 49. Ke6 Bh3 50. Bc6 Kg6 51. Ke5 $1 Bg4 (51... Kf7 52. Bd7 Kg6
53. Be8+ Kg7 54. Bh5 Bg4 55. Bxg4 fxg4) 52. Bd7 Bh3 53. Be8+ Kg7 54. Bh5 Bg4
55. Bxg4 fxg4 56. Ke4 Kg6 57. Ke3) 40. Bf7 Bh5 41. Kc6 Bd1 42. Kc7 Bh5 43. Kc8
Bd1 44. Bxg6 Kxe6 45. Kd8) 38. e6 1-0

Is that hard?
37-Bd7 38.Kb6 Be8 39.Kc7 Bb5 40.Bd5 Ba4 (black needs to stay on diagonal a4-e8, I think) 41.Bc4 Be8 (black can't move his king, cause white penetrates then) 42.Bg8 (this threatens 43.e6 followed by 44.Bf7 and white just wins) 42-Kf8 43.Kd8 Ba4 44.Bh7 Kg7 45.e6 Kxh7 46.e7 Kg7 47.e8Q Bxe8 48.Kxe8 Kg8 (black thinks he has opposition) 49.Ke7 Kg7 50.Ke6 (breaking the opposition) 1-0

This is just a 2-minute moveorder without moving the pieces from a elo 2100-player so it can of course be wrong.
But it seems easy!!
What do you say KCotreau?

Mig, you were four minutes faster, I didn't see your post.
Actually it's quiet hard to read, but yes - there seems to be more than one way to win.

It's only a tricky because the win with an extra pawn isn't so obvious when the pawns are close to the side of the board. So Bf3 is worth looking at, instead of "just wins." The cute zugzwang is worth a look at least.

If the black bishop leaves the a4-e8 diagonal White can play his bishop to h7 because if the king goes after it, the e-pawn goes. I'll annotate the whole thing in plain english for the newsletters.

Do these pages self-refresh themselves, or it has to be done manually from time to time?

Do the players have any friends, seconds or trainers (offline or online) with them, I'd like to know?

The pages refresh with every change (new comment, etc) but your browser is probably caching them, forcing you to refresh if you check the page frequently. If you are on a fast connection, you can change your browser under options to "refresh every visit to the page."

Mig, I see now and I am convinced. I believe that that line with Bd7 Bg8! is maybe the only way to win that. I had some ideas with Bf3 that I thought held, but looking again, they fail.

Mragel, your defenses don't even begin to offer any resistance so your line is really not of much value. 41...Be8 is very weak and leads very quickly to the loss by force, as well as 42...Kf8 allowing penetration.

41...Bc2 is a much more stuborn defense. 41...Bc2 42.Bg8 Kf8 doesn't allow the Kd8 move with tempo and I don't see how white can make progress in this line since 43.Bh7 Kf7! (only move) 44.e6! (Kd7 Bb3 or Kd6 Kg7!) Ke6 45.Bg6 Ke7 has done little but trade pawns.

Hi Mig

In Aronian - Svidler I think Black can hold with 35... Bd5!. My engine fails to find a win for white.

BTW what were Garry's comments on Round 5? I thought Ivanchuk's loss was pathetic.

I'm assuming that Garry's Ivanchuk comment ran something like "Well, Ivanchuk is brilliant but his nerves are made of silly string." Which is sort of cruel, but accurate.

Really disappointed in Topalov. Bet Anand is pissed he's missing this, given that Kasparov is gone, Topalov is trying to convince everyone he's really Alexei Shirov, and the tournament is being led by a guy who can't SPELL "full point" in the second half of a tournament... I loved the post above somewhere (or maybe it was on Chessbase) about "Leko draws his way into first place." Bet he's fuming.


Topalov "drew" into first place in San Luis.

If Leko manages to get such a massive score in the first half of the tourney that all he needs is a bunch of draws to get into clear first - who's gonna blame him for playing it safe!?!

Sorry, I missed your move 43-Kf7! when i thought about it.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 23, 2006 5:02 PM.

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