Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir
Twelve games, played from September 23 to October 12 in Elista, Kalmikia.
The games start at 15:00h (3:00 p.m.) local Elista time, which translates
to 11:00h GMT, 13:00h CEST, 12:00h London, 7 a.m. New York.
|Live coverage is available on the official
FIDE site and on Playchess.com
(with live audio commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan for ten Ducats
per day). You can buy them in the ChessBase
Game three – Tuesday, Sept. 26
The handshake: Kramnik and Topalov arrive for game three of their match
Before the start of the game the press gets five minutes for photography
The setup in Elista. The glass panel is intended to stop visual contact
between the player and their seconds – or other spectators in the audience
Commentary on Game Three
The following express commentary was provided to us by Romanian GM Mihail
Marin, who is the author of a number of very popular ChessBase
training CDs and articles for ChessBase Magazine. GM Marin will study the game
from the World Championship in Elista in greater detail and provide the results
of his analysis in the next issue of ChessBase
Magazine. Note that there is a replay link at the end of the game.
have replay buttons but can also click on the notation to follow the moves.
Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [E02]
WCh Elista RUS (3), 26.09.2006 [Mihail Marin]
The start of game three, Kramnik vs Topalov
... and after 3...d5 by Black
Vladimir Kramnik, Classical Chess World Champion
Veselin Topalov, FIDE world champion
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3. In previous matches for the
World Title, the Catalan Opening has usually been a sign that White finds himself
in a peaceful mood. However, it seems that Kramnik intends it as more than
just a one-game surprise weapon. 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Nc6. Deviating from
5...Bb4+ which had been played in the first game. According to an old advice
regarding general match strategy, one should not repeat a variation that led
him to defeat, even if the result of the opening had been satisfactory. The
main point is to avoid having bad memories during the new game. On the other
hand, Topalov's apparently multilateral preparation against the Catalan makes
one think that he did not discard such an opening choice of Kramnik during
his pre-match preparation. 6.Qa4. Here we go again. I have already mentioned
in the notes to the first game White's tendency to spend a lot of time on early
queen moves in the Catalan. 6...Bd7 7.Qxc4 Na5 8.Qd3 c5.
Curiously, the game Kramnik-Naiditsch, Dortmund 2006 reached a similar position
with the only difference that the f6-knight had been transferred to b6 already.
This had been made possible by a rather tortuous trajectory of the white queen
(c4-b5-b3-d3) as an answer to Black's 6...Nd5. Dr. Tarrasch used to evaluate
an opening position by counting the tempi needed by the pieces of each side
to occupy their actual squares. According to his method, Naiditsch was two
whole tempi up (or better) than Topalov, but in fact it seems that the knight
is better placed on f6 than on b6! In that game Kramnik captured on c5 and
after ...Bxc5 played Qc3, attacking on c5 and g7 at the same time. This should
have brought him an advantage but he later avoided the most ambitious continuation
and the game ended in a draw after interesting but equilibrated fight.
9.0-0 Bc6. Black has managed to neutralize the Catalan bishop at the
cost of several tempi and the awkward placement of his queen's knight. This
compensates entirely for the time loss provoked by the white queen. 10.Nc3
cxd4 11.Nxd4 Bc5 12.Rd1 Bxg2 13.Qb5+! An important intermediate check that
finally forces Black remove his king's knight from its optimal square. 13...Nd7
14.Kxg2 a6 15.Qd3 It might look that White just lost two additional moves,
but in fact Black faces now problems castling because of the threat Nc2! attacking
the d7-knight and enabling the fork on b4. (Nxe6 would be worse because it
would open the f-file for the enemy rook). 15...Rc8.
16.Bg5! A nice way to connect rooks. Each player with long experience
in the Catalan has probably played such a move at least once. 16...Be7.
The bishop is taboo. 16...Qxg5 17.Nxe6 would lead to a very strong white
attack. 17.Bxe7. To a certain extent, this can be regarded as a premature
release of the tension. 17.Ne4! was the main alternative. 17...Qxe7 18.Rac1.
White has completed his development, while Black still needs to find a
way to remove his king from the centre. For the first time in the match, the
outcome of the opening looks very promissing for Kramnik. 18...Nc4 19.Na4
b5 20.b3 0-0. Black could have inserted a knight jump to e5 somewhere,
but Topalov seems to prefer simpler ways today. 21.bxc4 bxa4 22.Nc6. Probably
the only way to fight for an advantage. If Black was allowed to get his knight
to c5, he would hardly faced any problems. In this case, the double pawns would
have been quite useful. The a6-pawn would have denied the enemy knight's access
to b5-d6 while his colleague would have prevented the exchange of the own knight
by means of Nb3. 22...Rxc6 23.Qxd7.
23...Qc5!? In case of the exchange of queens, Black should probably
dispose over sufficient resources to make a draw in spite of his double pawns,
but only after long suffering. Topalov's move shows that he does not wish to
give away the psychological initiative in the match. By keeping queens on board,
he preserves his own chances for active play. 24.Rc3 g6 25.Rb1 h5 26.Rb7
e5 27.e4. White's position looks quite active, especially wth such an outpost
for his pieces on d5, but Black's next moves wll force him retreat almost completely.
27...Rf6 28.Rc2 Qa3 29.Qd1 Rd6 30.Rd2 Rfd8 31.Rd5 Rxd5.
32.cxd5. A critical moment. Optically speaking, the position is just
asking for 32.exd5 when, for the second time in a row, Kramnik would have obtained
two connected passed pawns, quite advanced this time. He probably feared that
his far from optimal coordination would not allow him defend them properly,
especially in view of the outside passed a-pawn (after an eventual ...Qxa2)
as well as of intermediate moves cush as ...e4. It is early to give a definitive
verdict yet; for complete analysis please consult CBM 115. 32...Qxa2 33.Qf3
Rf8 34.Qd3 a3 35.Rb3 Apparently, Black has no way to avoid the loss of
both his a-pawns now. 35...f5! Now that the white pieces have retreated,
this move does not present any risk for the black king. In fact, the pressure
against the f2-pawn forces White take a draw by perpetual. 36.Qxa6 Qxb3
37.Qxg6+ Kh8 38.Qh6+ Kg8 1/2-1/2. [Click
Parapsychologists, food and fighting spirit
At the end of the games there is a press conference. In other interviews
the seconds answered questions put to them by the official press officers.
Here some excerpts.
Apparently one of the mysterious names on the Veselin Topalov team is that
of a mystic or parapsychologist, as Topalov's second Silvio Danailov admits.
"We do not show him in public," said Danailov, "because we are
worryied about overreaction from the media. Such people do not like publicity.
Sometimes he talks with Veselin, but more often chats with me. As for the starting
losses, I would warn you against hasty conclusions. This did not tell negatively
on Topalov’s fighting spirit."
Vladimir Kramnik's manager reacted to the presence of the the mystic: "I
can tell you my personal attitude. I do not want to sound rude, but in my opinion
using parapsychologists is just a lot of nonsense [a stronger expression was
used]. Such things affect you only when you take them seriously, and we do
not. Vladimir has a very strong personality, and he feels fully responsible
for his own decisions, both at the board and outside it. So there is nothing
to worry about."
Kramnik has brough in his own cook, not because they rejected the local cook.
However, Vladimir suffers from chronic polyarthritis, and his doctors have
urged him to avoid certain ingredients, including some that are widely used.
It was too complicated to instruct a new cook on all the details of his regimen.
Veselin Topalov, on the other hand, is perfectly happy with the new cook, especially
after he learnt to make the traditional Bulgarian salad (vegetables and cheese),
which is the main course of the team. Topalov does not eat meat during a match,
but subsists on fish, vegetables and fruit.
Press conference after game two
After game two President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov not only attended the press
conference but askes most of the questions. Ilyumzhinov is a strong chess
player and asked very specific questions. For instance:
Ilyumzhinov: Vladimir, did you notice after 31...Bxf8
that it loses in two moves because of 32.Rxg4+ Bg7 33.Qc7?
Position after 31.gxNf8Q+
Kramnik: (thinks for several seconds) No I didn’t
(shakes his head). To be honest, I did not see Qc7… I started overlooking
White’s resources earlier.
Position after 29.hxPg6
Initially I wanted to play 29…Nxg6, but then White gives fantastic mate:
30.Qxg6! If 30.Rxg6, then 30…Kh8. And after 30.Qxg6+ hxg6 31.Rxg6+ Kh7
he has 32.Rg3! I have an extra move and an extra queen, but there is no defense
against mate. And after that it seems I had no choice. Maybe I have some other
move instead of 28…Rxb2, like 28…Qc4, it has to be checked.
The engine gives 31…Kxf8 instead of 31…Bxf8 drawing [in the
Kramnik: Drawing? It looked very dangerous to me… I
also overlooked 33.f5! – I considered only 33.Ng5. And it turned out
that after 33.f5 exf5 34.Ng5 Black is helpless! First I thought that 33…Re7
draws, but then White just checks and calmly moves Rf1, and there is checkmate.
Well, I got lucky I am not losing at once. Generally it was a very nervous
game. It is in principle difficult to play after such games as we had yesterday,
but it can’t be helped. On the other hand, it was probably quite emotional
for chess lovers.
Veselin, what did you prepare to 31…Kxf8?
Topalov: I calculated a lot, but could not find anything
promising... First I thought it is winning, but then I found 35…Bg5.
The position is very interesting, and I probably have to make a draw. But when
you don’t see mate in three, there is something wrong... However, 32.Qg6
was also winning, although not in three moves. I didn’t see the mate
and didn’t look for it. I figured that after 31…Kxf8 there is no
win. Therefore when I saw 31…Bxf8, I was so happy that almost instantly
gave a check.
On the move 41 you could force a draw by playing Ng5 instead of f5 –
did you see it?
Topalov: Yes, I did. However, I kept playing for a win. Even
after 41.Bxa3 the position is objectively drawish... I thought I can take a
pawn by brining the king to d6, but – I got into a time trouble...
Veselin, how do you plan to spend the day-off? The main task is probably
to forget everything?
Topalov: Generally I am good at forgetting (laughs). I stand
losses well. I just need to have some rest.
World Championship Match Topalov-Kramnik
Summary: the World Championship Reunification Match between
FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov and classical chess world champion Vladimir
Kramnik is being held in Elista, Kalmykia, from September 21 to October 13.
It consists of 12 games, played under classical time controls (two hours for
the first 40 moves, one hour for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for
the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from
If the match is tied there will be a four game rapid chess tiebreak (25 min
+ 10sec), after that two blitz games (5 min + 10 sec), then an armageddon game
(6 min / 5 min, with white to win). The prize sum is US $500,000 USD per player,
regardless of the outcome. The winner of the match is the unified and sole
world champion and goes through to the next world championship tournament in
October 2007 in Mexico City, while the loser has to wait for the next cycle.
|Schedule of the World Chess Championship 2006
|| 21 Sept
|| 22 Sept.
|| 26 Sept.
|| 27 Sept.
|| 28 Sept.
|| 29 Sept.
|| 30 Sept.
|| 1 Oct.
|| 2 Oct.
|| 3 Oct.
|| 4 Oct.
|| 5 Oct.
|| 6 Oct.
|| 7 Oct.
|| 8 Oct
|| 9 Oct
|| 10 Oct
|| 11 Oct
|| 12 Oct
|| 13 Oct
The starting time for the games is 15:00h local Elista time, which translates
to 13:00h CEST, 12:00h London, 7 a.m. New York. You can find the starting time
in your country here.
The games will be broadcast on the FIDE web site and also on Playchess.com,
the latter with live audio commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan.