Featured Game, Kosteniuk-Stefanova

Annotated by GM Efstratios Grivas

As we worked on the scheduled interview, GM Efstratios Grivas has kindly provided an unexpected bonus – three annotated games! Bellow are his analysis of the Armageddon game between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Antoaneta Stefanova in the Women Blitz Final of the 1st World Mind Sports Games.

Antoaneta Stefanova Eti Alexandra Kosteniuk square

Antoaneta Stefanova and Alexandra Kosteniuk

IM Xavier Vila Gazquez vs FM Jan Krejci

GM Arthur Kogan annotates

GM Arthur Kogan has recently completed his Olala Masters course in Tarragona and is already back in action as a coach to talented IM Xavier Vila Gazquez who is competing in the U18 section of the European Youth Chess Championship. After eight rounds, 14th-seeded Xavier is sharing first place with 6.5 points. GM Kogan annotates one of his games.

Update: Xavier Vila Gazquez is new U18 European Champion! Congratulations!

See also annotated game Erik Hedman – Arthur Kogan.

Erik Hedman – Arthur Kogan

a display of olala chess spirit

GM Arthur Kogan lives in Tarragona, Spain, and is intensively preparing the first Masters training camp at his Olala Chess Academy, that will take place on 1-7 September in Salou.

Olala Chess Facebook Group

Arthur sent us a very interesting game from the recently completed Politiken Cup. His notes are full of detailed variations and useful advices. Enjoy!

Shirov – Anand, Linares Morelia

commentary by GM Radek Kalod

Shirov and Anand played one of the most interesting games of Morelia Linares so far. Here is a post game commentary by GM Radek Kalod. Our good friends at Novoborsky are doing very nice coverage of Morelia Linares, check it out!

Morelia Linares 2008 reports

General page / Pairings / Standings / Round one report / Magnus Carlsen interview

Commented games

Round 1: Topalov – Aronian / Carlsen – Ivanchuk

Round 2: Shirov – Carlsen / Anand – Aronian

Shirov,A (2755) – Anand,V (2799) [B96]

XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (1), 15.02.2008

[commentary by GM Radek Kalod]

1.e4 c5

Shirov has a bad score with Anand. Alexei lost with him a couple of important games already; WCH final in Teheran 2000 or other KO tournaments of FIDE WCh. Shirov once impressed his opinion, Anand being a very unpleasant opponent to him.

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

And here comes the Najdorf! We missed it on WCh in Mexico 2007 and here we start with it right on the start.

6.Be3 is more frequent these days. 6.Bg5 is propagated e.g. by Shirov and Radjabov.

6…e6 7.f4 Formerly the main move was 7…Qb6. Nowadays the situation is changing, for this line demands lot of theoretical knowledge. Thus Anand continues with a standard queen development on c7.

7…Nbd7 [7...Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 and white has a sufficient compensation for the pawn. But the actual praxis shows, that when black knows the originating positions, he draws without much problem. He must really know them or he can also lose in 20 moves. ]

8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 b5 10.Bd3 Bb7 Black develops his QS before castling.

11.Rhe1 Qb6 With this move black finds the right moment for driving the white knight back from the centre.

12.Nb3 The main continuation is 12. Nd5, which tried my team-mate GM Hracek against GM Naumann on the ECh in Dresden 2007. He won that game after a tough fight as you can see on Novoborsky (in Czech). He guesses other continuations are too soft, giving white no advantage. [12.Nd5 Qxd4 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Bxb5 Qc5 15.Nxf6+ Kd8 16.Nxd7 Qxb5 17.Nxf8 Rxf8 18.Qa3 with a very sharp game. Hracek,Z (2613)-Naumann,A (2543)/Dresden GER 2007]

12…Rc8 Sergej Karjakin prefered against Shirov 12…b4. [12...b4 13.Nb1 Be7 14.N1d2 Qc7 15.Qh3 e5 16.Nc4 0-0 with complicated and roughly equal game. Shirov,A (2739)-Karjakin,S (2694)/Khanty-Mansiysk RUS 2007]

13.Qh3 Rxc3 Typical sicilian sacrifice. Black does not win immediately but gets only compensation in the weak pawns of whites QS. Blacks often pressure the e4 pawn as well and profit from the weakness of the white king.

14.bxc3 Qc7 The Indian aims for the c3 pawn and covers the e4-e5 threat at the same moment.

15.Kb1 Be7 Before taking the weak pawns or attacking the white king black ends his development. In addition he still defends the advance e4-e5.

16.e5 16. Qg3 to push 17.e4-e5 was interesting. With the normal 16…0-0 black gets in trouble….. Alexei Shirov acts immediately. Would he not, black ends the development and whites sitation becomes critical. [16.Qg3 h6!? (16...0-0?! 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nh5 19.Qh4 Bxg5 20.Qxg5 g6 21.g4 ) .17.Bh4 g5 18.fxg5 Rg8 19.Qf2 hxg5 20.Bg3 Qxc3C]

16…dxe5 17.f5 Alexei tries another break-through. His goal is to open the columns for his rooks. [17.fxe5?! Nd5! (17...Nxe5?! 18.Qg3 Bd6 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Qg7 Rf8 21.Be4") 18.Bxe7 Nxc3+ 19.Ka1 Nxd1 20.Rxd1 Kxe7-+]

17…Nd5 17…e4 was interesting too. Vishi Anand centralizes his knight and prepares to involve his KS rook on c8 after Bxe7 Kxe7. [17...e4 18.fxe6 fxe6 19.Be2 Bd5÷]

18.Bxe7 Kxe7 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Qg3 g6 20…Nxc3+ was already possible, but the Indian doesnt haste, the c3 victim cant escape. [20...Nxc3+!? 21.Ka1 g6 22.Rd2 Rc8]

21.Rd2 Rc8 Black gets his last piece ready to start the harvest.

22.Qg5+? But this is already a mistake, Alexei goes off the path. He should try 22.Qh4 with complicated game e.g. [22.Qh4+ N7f6 23.Rf2 e4 (23...Qxc3 24.Ref1 Rf8 25.g3 Qc7 (25...b4?! 26.Qh6 Rf7 27.Be4?) ; 24.Rxf6 Nxf6 25.Bxe4 with unclear game. In such sharp positions ecery minor fault could lead to defeat. ]

22…Ke8 23.Qg4 Nxc3+ 24.Ka1 Bd5 Black already dominates the board. Compare the activity of the pieces!

25.Re3 Nf6 26.Qh4 Qe7 27.Bf1 Bxb3 27….Nce4 was good enough too, but Vishi finds a win here, so he goes for it. [27...Nce4 28.Rde2 Qa3-+]

28.cxb3 Nce4 29.Rb2 Rc1+ 30.Rb1 Qc5 Here Shirov stopped the clock. The machines announce a checkmate in 8, but that is already not the subject of our analyse, black is obviously won.


Carlsen Anand

Morelia Linares 2008 preview

Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand protagonized one of the most interesting battles during the Corus chess tournament. These days they will meet again in Morelia and Linares. Will Carlsen attack in a brave manner the world champion again? Will Anand be able to show he is the world champion? Stay tuned for live commentary of Morelia Linares 2008.

Carlsen Anand – replay the game

download pgn

Magnus Carlsen – Viswanathan Anand

Corus A, Wijk aan Zee 2008
Round 11
Wijk aan Zee

A series of important games for Magnus Carlsen is starting with today’s clash against World Champion Vishwanatan Anand. Carlsen has been leading at Corus since the very first round, but Aronian at 6.0 and pack of players at 5,5 (including Anand) are constantly breathing on his neck. Carlsen has yet to win against Anand in classical games, and this might be perfectly time for it, as he is in good shape and always plays for full point no matter who is on the other side of the table.

1.e4 We were wondering if Magnus would try to crack the Slav defence, but he seems to be more eager to fight in Anti-Marshall.

1… c5! Small surprise! Instead of drawish Anti-Marshall, Vishy Anand is obviously going for a win with the Sicilian. He already used Naidorf against Judit Polgar in one of the previous rounds.

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Teimour Radjabov would play 6. Bg5 :)

6… e6 More flexible than 6…e5, transposing the game to Kasparov’s long time favorite – Sheveningen.

7.a4 Nc6 8.O-O Be7 9.Be3 O-O 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 Important move in this system. It allows dark-squared bishop regrouping and stands by for central breaks d5 or e5.

12.Bf3 Rb8 13.Qd2 Bf8 14.Qf2 Both are well prepared, banging out moves at lightning speed.

14… Bd7 (14… e5 Anand played this move on earlier occasion against Mickey Adams.)

15.g4 (15.a5!? was also tried, with idea 15… Nxa5? 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Bb6 but of course, black has variety of better moves.)

15… e5 Black has to react in the center, or white will overrun him on the kingside. e5 breaks white’s pawn chain, but now there are good outposts on f5 and d5 for the knights.

16.Nf5 exf4 (16… Bxf5 17.gxf5 (17.exf5?! e4!) 17… exf4 (17… d5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.exd5 e4 20.Bb6! Qxf4 21.dxc6 exf3 22.c7! reveals the idea behind Bb6) 18.Bxf4 Ne5 19.Rad1 with small but longterm advantage for white…)

17.Bxf4 ( Interesting is 17.Bb6!? Qc8 18.g5 Nxe4 (18… Bxf5 19.gxf6 Bh3 20.Rg1 Ne5 21.Nd5) 19.Nh6+ gxh6 20.Nxe4 with huge complications)

17… Be6 Cleaning d7 for the knight, after white pushes g5

18.Rad1 Ne5 ( Black has to cover d6 pawn. 18… Bxf5 19.exf5 is just bad as white will occupy d5 square…)

19.Bxe5!? Giving the dark-squared bishop in order to keep Bf3. It shoots in its own pawn at the moment, but white wants to play Nd5, and since black might be forced to trade, Bf3 will support the passer on d5. (19.g5 Nfd7 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.exd5 Nxf3 22.Qxf3 Ne5)

19… dxe5 20.g5 Nd7 21.Nd5 Qc6 White knights are wonderfully placed, and black can exchange only one of them.

22.Bg2 Qc5 Anand comes up with an odd move. White probably has slightly better ending after 23. Qxc5, but knowing Magnus, he will probably avoid the queens exchange….perhaps with 23. Nfe3!? (22… Qxa4? 23.Nc7 Red8 24.Nxe6 fxe6 25.Ne7+! wins for white) (22… Rbc8! threatening both Qxa4 and Qxc2 was definitely more testing!)

23.Qh4! Aggressive idea to play 24. g6 after black takes on c2. Safer was Nfe3…

23… Qxc2 24.Rc1!? Idea is to lift the rook to c3-h3… It still seems like black will defend with h6 at some point, and after gxh6, to play g6. Position will be very messy, and even if it’s well known that Anand calculates fast, white has chances for successful attack. ( The alternative and probably Carlsen’s initial intention was 24.g6!? hxg6 25.Nde7+ Bxe7 26.Nxe7+ Rxe7 (26… Kf8?? 27.Nxg6+ Kg8 28.Qh8#) 27.Qxe7 Nf6 black is better in spite of being exchange down, because white’s pawns are weak and Bg2 is worst piece on the board.)

24… Qxa4 (24… Qxb2!?)

25.b3!? Probably to earn tempo for Rc3 if black takes. 25…Qb5 is met with Nc7, so maybe simple Qa5.

25… Qa5!? (25… Qxb3 26.Rc3 Bxd5 27.Rxb3 Bxb3 would be funny to see. Black is enjoying full compensation here as white’s attack evaporated.)

26.Rc3 g6 (26… Bxd5!? 27.Rh3! h6 28.exd5 Qd8 29.Qh5 Qxg5? 30.Nxh6+! gxh6 31.Rg3)

27.Rh3 h5! 28.Bf3 Obviously, idea is to sacrifice bishops on h5 and open the file for heavy pieces. Black should now trade Be6 for one of the knights and reduce the attacking pressure, or try with a sneaky 28…Qb5 (28.Ng3 Bxh3? 29.Bxh3 is fun (for white only, as he would be winning), but black has 28…Bg4!)

28… Bxd5! 29.exd5 Bg7! Precise play by Anand. He has huge experience from both colors in this line. Bishop move is cleaning the path for kings’ escape, should it be necessary.

30.Bxh5 (30.Nxg7 Kxg7 avoiding the 30th game move might have been more stubborn.)

30… gxf5 31.Bxf7+!? (31.Rxf5 might be a tad too slow 31… Qxd5+ 32.Rhf3 Re7 33.Bxf7+ Rxf7! 34.Rxf7 Nf8 refutes the attack and black is close to winning)

31… Kxf7 32.g6+ Kg8! The only move! The main difference is that after 33. Qh7+ Kf8 34. Rxf5+ black king can run via e7-d8 (no more queen on h4). (32… Kxg6 33.Rg1+ Kf7 34.Rxg7+! Kxg7 35.Qg5+ checkmates) (32… Kf8 33.Rxf5+ also checkmates quickly)

33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Rxf5+ Ke7 35.Qxg7+ Kd6! ( Much better than 35… Kd8 36.Qf7 and white still has threats on the 7th rank and advance of g-pawn.)

36.Rf7 Qxd5+ It is quite possible, since he played so fast, that Anand saw this position (and all of the many subvariations) as early as on 26th move. And this is just amazing. One subtle difference (Queen on h7 instead of h4 allows king’s escape), and the evaluation goes from winning to losing. It must have been a real shock for Carlsen.

37.Kg1 Rbd8 38.Rh7 Qd4+ 39.Kg2 Qg4+ 40.Kh1 Rg8 41.Rf6+ Kc7 42.Qe7 Qe4+ Here Carlsen resigned because he is losing his last hope – g6 pawn. Excellent effort from both players, Anand simply calculated one image deeper. Kudos to Magnus for attacking the world champion in situation when most would play conservative. Levon Aronian beat Loek Van Wely today and took over the leading position, Carlsen and Anand (and maybe someone else) will be tied on the 2nd place. Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 13:30 CET.


Efstratios Grivas – Dennis Ruijgrok

This is the analysis of the game Efstratios Grivas – Dennis Ruijgrok by chess.gr. The game was played during the Corus Wijk Aan Zee competition.

1.c4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e4!? fxe4 [5...d6 6.Nge2 Nc6 7.d4 e5 8.0-0+/= Haroun,S-Sorsa,M/Szeged 1994.] 6.Nxe4 Nxe4 [a) 6...0-0 7.Ne2 d6 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Nxf6+ Rxf6 10.d4+/= Koberl,F-Gasztonyi,E/Budapest 1957.; b) 6...Nc6 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 8.Ne2 d6 9.0-0+/= Uhlmann,W-Zysk,R/Germany 1991.; c) 6...e5 7.Ne2 Nc6 8.0-0 0-0 9.d3+/= Podkriznik,G-Djurkovic,M/Finkenstein 1994.] 7.Bxe4 7…c6! [a) 7...c5 8.h4! Bezold,M-Setzer,G/Berlin 1989.; b) 7...e5?! 8.h4 Qf6 (8...d6 9.h5 Qf6 10.Qf3 Ke7 11.hxg6 hxg6 12.Rxh8 Bxh8 13.Bxb7+/- Pribyl,J-Flaisigova,P/Schwaebisch Gmuend 1998.) 9.d3 Rf8 10.Be3 Nc6 11.Nf3 d6 12.Ng5 Rh8 13.h5 Bf5 14.h6 Bf8 15.Bxc6+ bxc6 16.Qf3 Kd7 17.g4 e4 18.dxe4 Qxb2 19.0-0 Be6 20.Rfd1 Qe5 21.Bf4 Qc5 22.e5 Be7 23.Ne4 Qxc4 24.Rac1 Qxa2 25.exd6 cxd6 26.Bxd6 Bd5 27.Bxe7 1-0 Grivas,E-Szkudlarek,F/Dortmund 1991.; c) 7...Nc6 8.h4 e5 9.h5 Qf6 10.Nh3 d6 11.d3+/= Orso,M-Hoang Thanh Trang/Budapest 1998.; d) 7...d6 8.Ne2 Nd7 9.d4 Nf6 10.Bg2 0-0 11.0-0+/= Fernandez Manrique,A-Santos Izquierdo,C/Tenerife 2005.] 8.Ne2 d5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Bg2 Nc6 11.0-0 0-0 12.d3 [12.d4?! Bg4 x d4.] 12…e5!? [12...Bg4 13.h3 Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Nd4 15.Qd1 Rc8 16.Bd2~~ .; 12...Rb8 13.Rb1 e5 14.b4~~ .] 13.Qb3 Be6 14.Qxb7 Qd6 15.Qa6! Qd7! [15...Rab8?! 16.d4! Rb6 (16...exd4 17.Bf4 ) 17.dxe5 Bxe5 18.Qd3 Bxb2 19.Bxb2 Rxb2 20.Nf4+/- .] 16.Bd2 Rab8 17.Rac1 Rb6! [17...Rxb2?! 18.Rxc6 Rxd2 19.Rxe6 Rxe2 20.Rd6 Qc7 21.Bxd5++/- .] 18.Qa3 [18.Qa4? Nd4! 19.Nc3 (19.Qd1 Bg4 ) 19...Ne2+ 20.Kh1 Nxc1 21.Qxd7 Bxd7 22.Bxd5+ Be6 23.Bxe6+ Rxe6 24.Bxc1 Rd6 25.Be3=/+ .] 18…Bg4!? [18...e4!? 19.b3 (19.b4 Bg4 ) 19...exd3 (19...Bg4 20.Nc3 ) 20.Nf4 Nd4 21.Kh1 Nc2 (21...Ne2 22.Nxe6 Qxe6 23.Rc7+/- ) 22.Qa5 (22.Qa4 Qxa4 23.bxa4 Bf5 24.Bxd5+ Kh8 25.Rb1~~ .) 22...Rb5 23.Qa6 Bf5 24.a4 Rb6 25.Qa5~~ .] 19.f3 [19.Nc3 Nd4! 20.Bxd5+ Kh8 21.Be3 Bf3© .] 19…Bf5 20.g4! [20.b4?! Rfb8 .] 20…Be6 21.b3 Qb7! 22.Rc2 22…e4?! [22...Nb4!? 23.Bxb4 Rxb4 24.Qc1 (24.Qa5 Rb5 ) 24...a5 25.Rc7 Qb6+ 26.Kh1~~ .] 23.dxe4 Nd4? [23...dxe4 24.Qc1! Qa6 25.Bh6 Bxh6 26.Qxh6 Ne5 27.Qe3+/= .] 24.Nxd4 Bxd4+ 25.Kh1 dxe4 26.Bh6! Bg7?! [26...Rf7 27.f4! (27.Qa4 Bg7 28.Bxg7 exf3! 29.Rxf3 Rxf3 30.Rf2 Bd5 31.Bxf3 Bxf3+ 32.Kg1 Kxg7 33.Qd4+ Kg8 34.Qf4 Rb4 35.Qxf3 Qxf3 36.Rxf3 Rxg4+= ) 27...Bxg4 28.Qa4 Rd7 29.Qc4+ Be6 30.Qc8+ Qxc8 31.Rxc8+ Kf7 32.Bxe4+/- .] 27.Bxg7 Qxg7 [27...Kxg7 28.Qc1 Kg8 29.Rc7+/- .] 28.h3! Bd5 [28...exf3 29.Rxf3 Rxf3 30.Bxf3+/- .] 29.Qc5 Bb7?! [29...Qd7 30.Rd2 Rb5 31.Qe3 exf3 32.Rxf3 Rxf3 33.Qxf3 Bxf3 34.Rxd7 Bxg2+ 35.Kxg2+/- .] 30.Qc4+! Kh8 31.fxe4 Rxf1+ 32.Qxf1 Qe7 33.Qf4 [33.Rc7! Qe8 34.Qa1+ .] 33…Rf6 34.Qc7 Qb4 35.Qc3 1-0

Aronian – Topalov

Linares Morelia 2008 preview

Topalov and Aronian will meet again in Linares Morelia 2008, only several weeks after they played in Holland. The Linares and Morelia games will be commented live on the Morelia Linares general page. Here we offer you the comments on their last encounter.

Levon Aronian square Topalov square

Levon Aronian and Veselin Topalov

Levon Aronian – Veselin Topalov

Corus Wijk Aan Zee 2008

Round 1

Wijk Aan Zee


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.Nf3 Nc6 With his third move Topalov chose a sharp KID with which he shows intentions for an aggresive game. Last year the two players started with a calm English opening, that finished draw. The Grunfeld variation shows that Topalov does not want to play in the fiachetto variant of the KID

8.Bf4 O-O 9.e3 A popular move for white is (9.O-O)

9… h6 Other possible moves are 9…Be6 or 9…Bg4, but it is probably just a different move order

10.h4 Bg4 11.Rc1 Topalov’s choice of a rare variation sent Aronian into deep though. After this move we are out of theory and beautiful chess starts! Aronian avoided ( 11.Qb3 ) and (11.O-O), probably sensing that this is still home preparation for Topalov. Interesting plan in this position includes the moves Qc8,Rd8,Nb4

11… e5 Topalov is trying to open up the center for aggressive play

12.dxe5 Qe7 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Qxd5 the pawn on e5 is doomed, . White is aiming at strenghtening the position as much as possible while black prepares to take the pawn. A possible win of a figure is (14…Bf3 15.Bf3 g5 16.hg5 hg5 ), but it is not recommendable since it gives nice opportunities for counterplay of Aronian on the h file and possible attack. Topalov has to choose between difficult position with material advantage and looking for other stable options

14… Nb4 Black did not like the position with figure for pawn. A more stable idea is to use the late castle of Aronian. With active moves and by placing pieces on more stronger positions black can take an advantage

15.Qc4 Be6 16.Qc7 Nd3 Aronian is also looking for sharp lines! White rarely sacrifices a castle for active play! The idea of Aronian is to press Topalov and reach an endgame where his King in the center will not be a problem. If 17.Kd2 Qb4+ best is 18.Qc3 and Aronian will be close to getting the desired endgame

17.Kd2 Qb4 18.Qc3 Qxc3 19.Rxc3 Nxf2 White is losing an exchange here. The question is if there is compensation.Probably a better continuation was 19.bc3 Nc1 20.Kc1. The idea of Aronian is to escape the “pawn islands”, which would form after a take on c3. Topalov definitely looks better.

20.Nd4 Nxh1 Aronian did not have to lose the pawn on f2. After a g5 move by Topalov (now or even later) the pawn structure on the kingside will break

21.Bxh1 The black bishop on g7 is not very strong at the moment, but there is a solution with Rfc8, Bf8,Bb4.

21… Rfd8 22.Rc7!? (21.Bb7 Rab8 22.Be4 Rb2+) it is not nice to let the opponent so close, the retreat of the black rook to the second rank does not look good. As a reply white will step on the 7th rank

22… Rac8 Probably better was 22…Rd7 23.Rd7 Bd7. in this line we see that the Aronian’s move Rc7 wasn’t so strong. White’s plan is not to exchange rooks, so he will take b7. Topalov will get an open “c” file.

23.Rxb7 Bxa2 24.Rxa7 Topalov could have been more precise here. Pawns on the queenside will disappear and winning a game with an exchange up only on the kingside is a difficult task. We are going to witness an interesting and instructive endgame!

24… Be6 25.Rb7 It is time for planning. Here Topalov has to decide if a draw is enough or he will look for a way to victory

25… Bf5 26.Bf3 Rc2+ 27.Ke1 Rc1+ 28.Kf2 Be6 29.g4 Bc8 Time starts to press the players. Topalov doe not seem to have a plan, however, the position is not dangerous for him because it is rather static.

30.Rb8 Rf8 31.h5 g5 32.Bg3 The position is a dead draw. After move 40 they will probably shake hands and save energy for later rounds. Tomorrow Topalov plays with Ivanchuk and Aronian with Gelfand

32… Ra1 33.Rb6 Re8 34.Be2 Be5 35.Be5 Re5 36.Rh6 Re4 37.Bf3 Re5 38.Rc6 Be6 39.Ne6 fe6 40.Be2 Rb1 41.Rb6 Rd5 In that position white has some chances to push for the victory, but still looks drawish. After 42.Bc4 Rd2+ the pawn on b2 will disappear and white will use their “h” pawn.

42.Bc4 Rd2+ 43.Kf3 Rbb2 44.Re6 Topalov will have to concentrate because he is falling into a difficult position. (44…Kh7) and (44…Rf2+) look very dangerous. After 44…Kh7 will follow 45.Rg6 Rf2+ 46.Ke4 and advantage for white. On the check from f2 will follow 45.Ke4 Rb4 46.Kd3 and again advantage for white

44… Rbc2 45.Rg6+ Interesting opportunity for a draw with the king going to h8 i.e. a quare with opposite color to the bishop

45… Kh8 46.Be6 46…Rd6 47.Ke4 Rc5!

46… Rc6 47.Ke4 Rd8 48.Kf5 Rc5+ 49.Kf6 Rf8+ 50.Ke7 Rf3 51.Bf5 (51…Rc7+ 52.Kf6 Rc6 53.Kg5 Rg6+ 54.Kg6 Re3= ) as we mentioned before, the black king on h8 is giving a draw to Topalov. Here black could sacrifice a rook for the “g” pawn

51… Re5+ 52.Kf7 Rff5+ 53.gf5 Rf5+ 54.Ke6 Topalov chose another possibility for a draw by going into a Rook endgame. That is the advantage of being an exchange up, you can always sacrifice it and enter in the final position with equal material or maybe some advantage. In that case it is an easy draw. Or is it?

54… Ra5 55.e4 The rook endgame looked attractive, however, maybe not so effective. Black does not have a way to stop white in their plan to push the “e” pawn. The king on h8 may not save the situation as we expected. It will be lacking activity, which is crucial in Rook endgames.

55… Kh7 56.e5 Ra1 57.Rg5 Kh6 58.Rg2 Kh5 59.Kf6 Rf1+ 60.Ke7 a theoretical win for white, as the black king is kept away from the action

60… Ra1 61.e6 Kh6 62.Kf7 Instructive endgame by Aronian who took advantage of a series of weak moves by Topalov and grabbed the victory.


Mihajlo Stojanovic (2576) – Michael Rahal (2390)

Analysis by GM Mihajlo Stojanovic

Mihajlo Stojanovic

GM Mihajlo Stojanovic

Mihajlo Stojanovic (2576) – Michael Rahal (2390)

Verona, 05.01.2007

My opponent and I were leading the tournament prior to this round, both with perfect score, and this game was to decide who would remain alone on the top. I was expecting long and tough positional struggle.

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6

Surprise! In my preparation with the database, I haven’t seen Mr.Rahal playing this move in his previous games.


Theoretically, 3.e4 is main line, but since I wasn’t prepared to enter sharp line 3…Bb7 4.Bd3 f5, I decided to play more solid Nf3.

3…Bb7 4.g3!?

I allow spoiling of my pawn structure, because 4… Bf3 is giving other positional benefits to White, as we will see later in the game.


After 4…Nf6 5.Bg2 Be7 (Also possible is 5…Bb4+) 6.0-0 we are transposing to the Queens Indian Defence.

5.Bd2 (Another possibility was 5.Nc3 aiming to keep the pair of Bishops) 5…Bxf3!?

So the game won’t be quiet! White is obligated to fight for the initiative in the middlegame, otherwise he will suffer in the ending with his weakened pawn formation.

6.exf3 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 d5

A very important move in Black’s conception. After possible exchange of d5 and c4 pawns, the one on d4 becomes isolated and object of an attack.

8.Nc3 Ne7 9.0-0-0

White has more space and better development, but if he doesn’t play energetic, this advantage will melt down.

9…c6 10.f4

The game Toloza Soto (2347) – Short (2683), Linares Open 2000, saw 10. Kb1 a5 11. cd5 ed5 12. Bh3 with unclear position (White won on 43rd move).

10…Nd7 11.cxd5

The last move has both good and bad sides. Now Black cannot open d-file for pressure against d4 pawn, but he gets open c-file. 11.g4 was deserving attention.

11…cxd5 (11…Nxd5 12.f5!) 12.Bd3 0-0 13.g4

It is logical to advance kingside pawns in order to get open files for the heavy pieces.

13…Nc6 14.Qe3 b5?

Critical moment! Wishing to launch queenside attack as soon as possible (as he kindly explained after the game), my opponent is mistaking. True, the pawn sacrifice is opening b-file for the possible attack – the problem is that Bb5 will paralyze it! Correct solution was 14…Re8! with idea to meet 15.Qh3 with 15…Nf8 and White’s attack is losing the edge. After mutual pawn charge, for example 15. g5 a6 16. h4 b5, position is highly unclear, maybe even slightly better for Black.

15.Bxb5 Na5 16.f5 Nb6

Interesting attempt for gaining practical chances by sacrificing another pawn. Pawn e6 cannot be protected anyway (Note how Bb5 is preventing Re8!), and in case of 16… ef5 17.gf5 or 17.Nd5 White is dominating.

17.fxe6 fxe6 18.Rhe1

Computer recommendation 18.Qxe6+ Kh8 19.Rhf1 was also perfectly fine, but I liked to have my Rook on e2: it protects b2 and f2 and controls open e-file!

18…Kh8 19.Re2 Qd6

It is hardly possible to recommend better move.

20.Qxe6 Qxh2 21.Kb1

Prophylactic getting away from the c1-h6 diagonal.


21…Rxf2?? 22.Qe8+ Rf8 23.Qxf8+ Rxf8 24.Rxh2


Bishop has completed its mission on the queenside.

22…Qh4 23.Re5

Threat is Rh5. Now a sequence of forcing moves is following.

23…Qf6 24.Rh1 h6 25.g5 Qxe6 26.Rxe6 Rxf2 27.gxh6 g5 28.Rhe1?!

Imprecise move, but Black position is already falling apart. Better was 28.Rh7 which is not allowing organizing defence on the 7th rank.

28…Rdf8 29.Re7 Nc6 30.Rh7+ Kg8 31.Rg7+

Time trouble was dangerously close, but I managed to spot that 31.Rg1 is weak because 31…Rf1+! is giving wonderful drawing chances.

31…Kh8 32.Rg1 R2f7 33.R7xg5 Nxd4 34.h7 Nf5 35.Rxf5! and Black resigned because after 35… Rf5 36.Rg8 Rg8 37.hg8 Kg8 38.Bf5 he is left a piece down 1-0

Replay in Game Viewer