24 Feb 2010

Topalov versus Gelfand

Final round Linares 2010
Petroff C42

unusual 9...Re8 and novelty 10.h4

leading to


He is a magician.
Frighteningly good.
He may go off the rails from time to time,
but when he stays on, it is a marvel to behold.

75 vs 31 mins.

Those two Rooks on the kingside, and the way he builds up the attack/defence,
pure wizardry. Black magic? I can't say. But it is execeptional.No doubt about it.

leading to:

Anybody who can make a Petroff interesting is special in my book.

66 mins vs 18 mins
14 moves to play


I wasn't too happy with 26.c4 moving away from the kingside push.
Still, it is likely that this game will have to be decided by a blunder or lack thereof.
63 vs 14 minutes.

Why make it easy when you can make it difficult.

Topalov again throws away a win.
This time on move 32.Rxf6, when 32. Rd1 looks extremely promising.

Who cares?
We're having fun.

As the time control bell tolls for Black, Topalov strews the paths with red herrings.
Gelfand doesn't trip over any of them and gets safely to move 41.


Don't think White can make the extra pawn count.
Not the way they have locked horns on the queenside.

Grischuk drew as Black.
If what I read is correct: that a tie is decided by the number of black draws, then Topalov must win this game.

I'm out of here.

23 Feb 2010

Grischuk versus Topalov

LINARES 2010 round 9
Deciding game?

The game in a play-through board.
Two versions, one the way I saw it while it was being played.
the other with variations of possibly better lines.

This is the way the game ended.
I thought it looked like a draw, but somehow Grischuk managed to pull through.
Well done him and thanks to both players for a very entertaining game.

Further commentary in previous post.

Grischuk versus Topalov

Linares 2010 round 9
E15 Queens' Indian


Ionov versus Beliavsky 2004 draw in 82 moves

and Huzman versus Azarov draw in 2005

Still in book, with games by Ionov-Beliavsky, Huzman - Azarov
who played Bc1 and Bg5

Now e4 would elicit Nb4, which is a little scary.


We are still following Huzman - Azarov (Saint vincent 28 moves 2005)


and we get the usual motif: exchanges on =f6= with the Queen coming forward and the fianchetto from White.

leading to

The pawns in the center are stopping the Bishops for the time being and Bb4 isn't as much of a threat any longer. 13.e3 is not out of the question now, but castling or cxd5 are also possible.

Grischuk chooses to 0-0. Now a pawn trade on =c4= and a Rook move to the center.

leading to

leading to

Still a lot of time for deviousness

8 mins vs 22 and still 8 moves to play.
What out-of-the-way moves is Topalov going to dream up?


leading to

Grischuk took advantage of the chance to throw in some extra moves. I somehow don't think that was Topalov's purpose.


24 mins vs 56
13 moves to the next time control.

What if Grischuk wins this?
Are they tied and does Grischuk have a better games perspective?
What is the Linares criterium again?
Same number of draws, but what about draws as Black or White?

Anyway, tomorrow is another day.

21 Feb 2010

Topalov and Aronian draw in Round 8

Aronian escapes Topalov's clutches after White misjudged move 34.

Round 8 LINARES 2010
Linares 2010 Round 8
D43 Semi Slav

First half of the game to play through.
Comments inside the game notation.

and what an entertaining game it is proving to be.

I always think that Aronian brings out the best in most of his opponents.
It is a gift that I as a viewer really appreciate.

A real pity that Topalov put his Queen on 29.Qd2, when 29.Qc2 looked so very good.
Still, what doI know.

and this is the end for Aronian, or something very similar.

Oh no, it isn't

Too easy. Topalov deviates on 34, where he plays 34.Bb3, heaven only knows why, instead of the desirable 34.Rxe4.

the engines have him plunged back into equality, rather than +3.10

and they draw.

Topalov must be as sick as a dog and Aronian will be thanking his lucky stars.

I thank them both for a most entertaining afternoon.

20 Feb 2010

Gashimov versus Topalov


These are my observations as I followed the game.

The complete game in a live board to play through, at the bottom of this post.

Linares 2010 Round 7

Ruy Lopez Berlin Wall C65

like in Round 1.

leading to

Is -c2- a poisoned pawn?
Can Black afford to take it?
Engines don't agree.
13.Qg5 *
13...Qxc2 or 13...Qe5?

Sofar it has been Gashimov who is slinging the traps at Topalov.
Both have 80 mins left and Topalov has already spent more than ten minutes on this move.


And now Black has yet again a difficult decision to make:

Is he going to trade Queens?
Bring his Rook over to the e-file to back his Queen?
Or is he going to counter on the a-file with a6?

He opts for Re8, boosting the center and let White initiate the Queen trade-off.
Wise choice. He ends up with his Rook in the midst of things and after the trade off on -b6- it is White who will have to do the thinking.

Although, Bf4 , pushing the Rook back, is probably an obvious choice.

But then what?
Rooks to the center?
Bishop out on a limb on -c7- or to -g3-?

The Rook is pushed forwards rather backwards as I had expected. What fun!

18.Bf4 Re4

Another one of Topalov's python moves rubbishing Gashimov's previous train of thought? Wicked. Psychology at its most effective.
It is always difficult to let go of a plan and start anew.

A rook move now is dangerous for White, and of course the previously suggested Bishop moves were daft even then.

So what then?

Bd6 is possible, and Bg3 is less lame.
-g3- deserves consideration.

Just when I have fallen for Bg3, he plays Bd6. What a pity.
Ah. Not to worry: it is a transpostion of the line I was hoping for. Goodie.

leading to:

50 mins versus 70 mins and White has to decide his course ahead.
Left - middle - right?
Eeenie meenie

Push the a-pawn?
Push a kingside pawn?
Rook to the middle?
Bishop back to open the d-file?

A touch too far? A waiting move?
We shall see.

Topalov doesn't hang about 25...Rc8

Still up to Gashimov to 'make a move' so to speak.
Same choices as before.

Black is producing a coordinated attack, while White seems to be hanging about as if wishing somebody else would take the decisions for him. I can't see him having a plan of any kind other than awaiting his fate.

There is no armour against fate

and it seems that White is not going to get through the time portal unscathed.

As far as I can ascertain Gashimov has been running on empty for quite a few moves.

the clocks must be wrong, as White has just played move 40.Kc1 and there has been no 0-1 sign posted.
So....... he is through, but has lost his earlier advantage. Not too badly behind though, in fact one might say even.

Still, now there is another 20 moves to be played, with Topalov having an extra 22 minutes on the clock.

Still time for all sorts of deviousness from His Devious Highness.

leading to:

6 pawns and a Rook each with White having the Bishop pair against Knight plus LSB.
Black seriously on his way forward,
White cowering a little.Still very equal.

Too equal apparently, as they decide on the draw.

Full marks to Gashimov for hanging in there,
It seems against Topalov that is the best you can expect when being White.

Play-through game below.

19 Feb 2010

Topalov versus Vallejo

LINARES 2010 Round 6

Another pythonesque time squeeze from Topalov.
He is going through the players like a dose of salts.
Frighteningly efficient at the Carlsen method.
Only Topalov starts much earlier on in the game.
He has a real talent for it and even these seasoned players fall for it one after another. They topple like nine-pins, poor things.

This English 4 Knights, which threw up a Novelty on Black's move 7...g5, was played tightly and accurately through the opening, with innovative lines from both sides.

Only for Black to come a cropper in Zeitnot on the penultimate move before the first time control.

What a cruel game chess is.

Topalov - Vallejo

Linares Round 6
English 4 Knights

(As it happened. For completed game see next post.)

So far like Van Wely vs Shirov in the London Classic 0-1
where White castled on move 7.0-0 but today's game could still transpose to that.

Topalov played 7.a3
Timman vs Bareev in 1997 drew
Lautier beat Piket in 1996

Partial game with notes, to play through.

I would love to see 12...a5, which would destroy Topalov's carefully prepared defence on the queenside, where he has to retract his DSB now or later.

My wish wasn't granted and Vallejo played 12....Nd4 instead. Oh well...

Pluschenko didn't get gold either. Not my lucky week.


I fancy 21..Bb3 22.Rb1 f4 23.gxf Qd4 and attack on both fronts.
Didn't get that either:

21...Rh5 22.Ne2 ?

Again one of those time-testing moves from Topalov.
It does make for an interesting game.

Now castling long is on the cards for Black. He will be pleased to have his King tucked away safely.
The black Queen will have to come forward, Qd6 better than Qc7

He plays 22...Qc7.
Well, what do I know.

18 Feb 2010

Linares 2010 Round 5


Topalov versus Grischuk


commented as it happed.

Subtle start to this game, with White trying to stir things up and Black trying to keep things quiet.

Topalov applied the Carlsen technique of getting his opponent into time trouble,
He started to play slightly offbeat moves to make Grischuk use up extra time and then applied more pressure by move 30 when Black had only a few minutes left for the remaining ten moves.

Crucial moves

27....Kh7 were Grischuk played 27....Kg7

31....Qg3, where he played 31...R8f7

52...h5 where he played 52...Ne8

Things got a little out of hand and both sides produced inaccuracies. The blitzing meant Black lost his decided advantage but he still managed to come out of move 40 with a chance of equality.

Play through game up till move 42.

So many errors, then on move 52. Qb8..* he misses the chance of a rep draw, by playing 52..h5 or at least get in enough easy moves to pass thru the next time portal.

I am rather disappointed that Grischuk fell apart under pressure.
Well done Topalov.

Topalov versus Grischuk

Round 5
Topalov playing Grischuk
Najdorf B90

Opening to play through

16 Feb 2010

Gelfand vs Topalov

First half of their Catalan

I need a walk now.
And some tea.
And a nap, if I am honest.
This midnight skating is getting to me.

15 Feb 2010

Aronian versus Toplalov

Brilliantly interesting BENONI
Round 3 LINARES 2010

Play through entire game on line
with its ups and downs for both sides
and comparison boards for crucial positions.

A64 Modern Benoni Fianchetto
Out of book on Move 17.Rb1, where Bf4 or Bg5 were played earlier.

Topalov has placed his Rook on -e7- so that it can assist in the battle for the =b5= square. Forces from both sides get themselves ready for the skirmish on the queenside and Topalov sacrifices the b5 pawn to create room for attack.

Topalov brings up the other Knight on move 24...Nb6, whereby he gives Aronian the chance to defuse the situation with 25.Ra2 followed by getting his Knight out of the congested position 26.Ne2. giving us this:

Possibly, if Topalov had played a4 one move earlier, he might have prevented Ra2 and Aronian would not have been able to free himself tht easily.

This is a game and a half!
The Benoni does that: it allows a middle game of hand-to-hand combat unencumbered by tedious lengthy theory.

I was right for a change: Black should have played 24.a4 one move earlier than he did.

And White should have played 35.e6 which he didn't.

Oh, I do nice work :-)
Wish somebody would tell me so once in a while.