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 eight – Thursday, October 5th
Our correspondent in Elista, Misha Savinov, writes:
Game 8 was the first White of Kramnik in more than a week. Maybe he has become
a bit White-rusty, so to speak, and this fact may have affected his play. Everything
went wrong for the Russian, who did not quite manage equalizing in the opening.
Despite the queens leaving the board, Kramnik's superb sense of complex endgame
positions did not help him. White had a rook and a pawn versus two knights,
his rooks enjoyed some temporary activity, but there were no attacking objects
in Black's camp. Topalov slowly consolidated, improved his position, secured
excellent outposts for the knights, and after one or two indifferent moves
by Kramnik the white position fell apart. It seemed Vladimir continued resisting
only to restore his emotional state before obligatory meeting with press…
The start of the game, with Kramnik, Arbiter Geurt Gijssen and Topalov
... and the players settle down to a Semi-Slav Meran
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) [D47]
WCh Elista RUS (8), 05.10.2006
Topalov with black on his way to a first match win
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6. Apparently, during the last three games Kramnik has
managed to convince his opponent that the Slav is not such a bad opening after
all. 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6. But only this must have been the real surprise
for Kramnik! Topalov usually employs the ...a6 systems and only accidentaly
played the Semislav throughout his carrier. If his intention was to confront
Kramnik with the unpleasant psychological situation of fighting against his
own weapons, we can safely state that the experiment has been crowned with
success. 5.e3 Nbd7. Even here, Topalov preferred 5...a6 in his game
against Ponomariov, played at Sofia 2006. 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Be2. Kramnik
is consistent with his policy of avoiding sharp opening lines. The modest bishop
retreat to e2 is supposed to offer White little chances for an advantage, but
even less danger of getting into trouble. 8...Bb7 9.0-0 b4. Topalov's
desire to take his oppponent out of the well-known paths as soon as possible
becomes obvious. Black usually plays 9...Be7 here or, even more frequently,
8...a6. 10.Na4 c5 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.Bb5+ Ncd7 13.Ne5 Qc7 14.Qd4 Rd8 15.Bd2.
Looking at this position, I have the feeling as if players would have changed
places with each other. It is Kramnik who has a slight advance in development,
while Topalov mainly relies on the solid character of his position. Quite opposite
with what we have seen during the last few days. 15...Qa5N And now,
Topalov moves for the second time with his already developed queen, something
that Kramnik did frequently in the first part of the match. The move is a novelty,
which is quite curious because it is the computer's first suggestion. We can
suppose that Kramnik had looked at it at home (even though not especially for
this game or match) and the time spent on the next moves was destined to let
him remember the old analysis. 16.Bc6 Be7 17.Rfc1. This looks like
the more logical way of maintaining the advance in development, but knowing
the further course of the game it is easy to recommend 17.b3 instead. 17...Bxc6
18.Nxc6 Qxa4 19.Nxd8 Bxd8 20.Qxb4 Qxb4 21.Bxb4 Nd5 22.Bd6.
At first glance it might look as if White is doing just great. His material
deficit is almost insignificant, while his rooks are ready to invade the enemy
queen side. However, there is a certain detail that favours Black: the centralized
position of his king. Since the white king would need considerable amount of
time to get into play, we can state that for practical purposes Black is a
whole... king up! From this point of view, Kramnik's 20th move is slightly
questionable. In order to prove 17.Rfc1 to be playable, White needs to exchange
queens only after Black gets castled. The only open question remains whether
this can be achieved in practice. 22...f5 23.Rc8 N5b6 24.Rc6 Be7 25.Rd1
Kf7 26.Rc7 Ra8 27.Rb7 Ke8. Black's last three moves can be considered some
sort of artificial (but huge) castle. 28.Bxe7 Kxe7 29.Rc1 a5 30.Rc6 Nd5.
Both sides have completed the first phase of piece mobilisation. The placement
of the white rooks creates a strong optical impression, but they fail to create
any serious threats. With the e6-pawn and the d7-knight safely defended by
the king, Black has little to fear here. At the same time, the transfer of
the white king to the queen side is highly problematic, because of the numerous
possible forks. 31.h4?! "Do not move pawns on the wing where you
are weaker" they say. It is remarkable how much quicker Black will make
progress on this wing after White's unnecesary pawn move. 31...h6 32.a4
g5 33.hxg5 hxg5 34.Kf1 g4. Now, White has to permanently reckon with the
enemy rook's penetration through the h-file or the pawn break ...g3. 35.Ke2
N5f6 The start of a highly original manoeuvre. 36.b3 Ne8! Black
intends to drive the enemy rook away from the b-file by means of ...Nd6. The
seemingly more active 36...Ne4 , bearing the same idea, would have been less
accurate in view of 37.Rcc7. 37.f3. It is hard to apply to this move
the same kind of criticism as to White's 31st move. Kramnik must have felt
that he is rapidly losing ground and aimed to exchange as many pawns as possible.
37...g3! Rejected. 38.Rc1 Nef6. Now that White has weakened his
king side, the knight changes plans. 39.f4. But this looks like suicide
already. White weakens his structure even more, in order to get the possibility
to attack the g3-pawn, without noticing that it is posioned. 39...Kd6 40.Kf3
41.Kxg3? White offers to his opponent the only thing that he was missing
yet: an open file for attack. 41...Nc5 42.Rg7 Rb8 43.Ra7 Rg8+ 44.Kf3 Ne4.
Black has a decisive attack already. 45.Ra6+ Ke7 46.Rxa5 Rg3+ 47.Ke2
Rxe3+ 48.Kf1 Rxb3 49.Ra7+ Kf6 50.Ra8 Nxf4 51.Ra1 Rb2 52.a5. Allowing mate
in 5. However, 52.Rg8 would have failed to safely defend the g2-square because
of 52...Kf7. 52...Rf2+ 0-1. [Click
The loneliness of a world championship contender
Grandmaster Vladimir Belov commenting for the audience
The press conference was again given separately. Kramnik came first, smiling,
and assured everyone that he does not consider this loss tragic. His words
and body language were supposed to show that he is in great mood, and is confident
in winning the match.
After Vladimir left the hall, there was an unexpected break. Topalov stood
in the playing hall, waiting for Danailov, who disappeared somewhere, and refused
going to the journalists and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who also attended the meeting.
The FIDE champion started moving only when Silvio showed up.
After the game Topalov waits for manager Danailov before going to meet
The match course has changed dramatically. Yesterday Kramnik had two wins
and no losses. Regardless of the score, his inability to win a single game
was depressing for Veselin. Today's encounter turned the situation around:
the score is now even, and Topalov's confidence is boosted. With just four
games to play, it means a tough situation for the classical champion.
Photos by Misha Savinov and FIDE
| Veselin Topalov
| Vladimir Kramnik
|Schedule of the World Chess Championship 2006
|| 6 Oct.
|| 7 Oct.
|| 8 Oct
|| 9 Oct
|| 10 Oct
|| 11 Oct
|| 12 Oct
|| 13 Oct
Press conference after game seven
Today there were two separate press conferences instead of a joint one. When
Kramnik was already sitting in the press conference hall, Topalov suddenly refused
to attend, leaving the stage with the words: "I'll give a separate press
conference!" Vladimir sighed with relief and said: "Okay, this is even
easier for me", and spent half of the twenty prescribed minutes in lively
Question: Thanks to Silvio Danailov, today we found out
that you are a strong player! We were given the paper listing frequencies of
your moves coinciding with Fritz 9 main lines. It revealed that 78% of your
moves were also suggested by Fritz. In the second game this number equaled
87%! How high this frequency was in today’s game in your opinion?
Kramnik: A proper analysis must take into consideration
that in the second game we both blundered a mate in three! First of all, this
87% is total nonsense – everything depends on the time allotted to the
engine for analyzing a given position. Secondly, Topalov’s percentages
in San Luis, for example, were even higher. And, thirdly, it is clear already
that the opponent’s team is using the dirtiest of tricks to mess with
my mind. I do not want to blame them; I just feel sorry for them. But all these
scandals can only harm chess. Everything that already happened and will surely
happen later in the match must become known to the chess community, and Danailov’s
conduct must be investigated by the Ethics Committee. I have never faced more
unethical conduct with respect to organizers and me. I feel sorry about this.
Vladimir, this last week was indeed black for you: playing three Blacks
in a row is a unique case in the WCC matches. Are you satisfied with sporting
result of these games, and how do you assess their content?
I cannot say I experienced any serious problems in the first two games. However,
today’s game was rather difficult; at some point my position was dangerous,
and I was short on time, but then I simply outplayed the opponent. Maybe Black
had some winning chances after the first time control, but Veselin defended
very accurately, and they evaporated… Three draws as Black is acceptable
result. Everything goes according to the plan. Tomorrow I’ll finally
have White – I almost forgot the feeling…
How could you explain your lengthy thought in today’s game?
Obviously, I ran into Topalov’s preparation. Veselin played his opening
moves at machine gun speed. The value of moves in the position that occurred
after the opening was high, so I took my time. If you haven’t studied
certain position at home, you need a lot of time to grasp the essence of it
at the board. Maybe I played too slowly, but I succeeded.
Technology is becoming dominant in our world, and chess is no longer
the issue between one man and another man. What do you think about it?
Of course, chess has been changed much since the computers appeared; we even
started to understand it differently. I am convinced that all major events
like world championship, etc., must be played under total control aimed against
using external assistance. The earlier it happens, the better it is. This is
like doping control in other sports. Here in Elista the players do not have
even a theoretical chance to use external help. One requires very strong imagination
for inventing stories like Mr. Danailov does. If the measures taken here are
taken in other major tournaments, computer technologies will not pose a threat
to chess. Otherwise anything can happen. I think it is time for FIDE to include
such rules into their regulations. This does not require much investments;
certainly not thousands dollars. Most major tournaments have sufficient funds.
You mentioned that you expect more dirty tricks from the Bulgarian side.
Do you have any idea what to expect?
I guess you should ask this question on the next press conference. To be
honest, I cannot think of anything my opponents can complain about.
Immediately after Kramnik left the room, Topalov and Danailov came in. Silvio
warned the journalists to avoid forbidden grounds: "Veselin will only
answer the questions about today's game!"