MTel R8 analysis by GM Mihail Marin

5/20/2006 – Topalov confirms his fighting character with another fine win against Ponomariov in a slow manoeuvring game which ended in a brilliant attack with many unexpected moves. The other two games (Kamsky-Anand and Svidler-Bacrot) ended in draws after a relatively uneventfull fight. Short annotations by Mihail Marin.

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Round eight commentary

Round 8: Friday, May 19, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Svidler 
 Etienne Bacrot
Gata Kamsky 
 Vishy Anand

All games so far in PGN


Commentary by GM Mihail Marin

Topalov confirms his fighting character by obtaining another fine win against Ponomariov. The slow manoeuvring phase was followed by a brilliant attack, with many unexpected moves. In order to avoid the worse, Ponomariov had to sacrifice the queen, but failed to build up a reliable fortress. Unfortunately, the game ended after I initiated the complex and demanding operation of packing my luggage for my trip to the Olympiad and I had no chance to annotate it properly. For complete annotations, please consult the next issue of the CBM. The other two games (Kamsky-Anand and Svidler-Bacrot) ended in draws after a relatively uneventfull fight.

The following notes are the short version of the full training analysis that is scheduled to appear in the next issue of ChessBase Magazine. You can replay the shorter versions here.

Topalov,V (2804) - Ponomariov,R (2738) [C88]
Mtel Masters Sofia BUL (8), 19.05.2006 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a4 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nd7 13.Nf1 Nb6 14.Bd2 b4 15.c3 bxc3

16.Bxc3 This seems to be one of Topalov's favourite methods of play in the Anti-Marshall: instead of re-capturing with the pawn and maintaining the flexibility of his structure, he prefers to place his bishop on an active diagonal, targetting the enemy king in the long run. See also Topalov-Grischuk, Wijk aan Zee 2005 and Topalov-Ivanchuk, Morelia/Linares 2006. 16...Nc6 In the next phase of the game, both sides will manoeuvre with their pieces in such a way that they take under control the numerous important squares made available after the structural modifications. Besides, White will aim to open the long dark diagonal by means of f4. 17.a5 Nc8 18.Ne3 N8a7 19.Nf5 Bc8 20.Nd2 Rb8 21.f4 Bxf5 22.exf5 exf4 23.Qg4 Nd4 24.Ne4 Nab5 25.Bd2 Of course, Topalov is not the kind of player to be afraid of "losing" an exchange after the fork on c2. According to the terminology instituted by Rudolf Spielmann (the last of the romantic platers, as he was frequently named) this is a passive sacrifice. White does not force, but allows his opponent to win the exchange. 25...Nc2 26.Bxf4 Kh8 27.Qh5 Nxe1 28.Rxe1 Qxa5

29.Ra1!! The only way to defend both attacked pieces, but a very dangerous attacking move at the same time. Black's king will soon find itself under unstoppable attack. 29...Rbd8 30.f6 gxf6 31.Kh2!! Removing the king from the exposed g1-square, White threatens 32.Bxf7 Qxa1 32.Bg6. 31...d5 32.Nxf6 Bxf6 33.d4!! The last brilliant move in this game. The threat Bb1 can be parried only by sacrificing the queen. 33...Qxa2 34.Rxa2 Nxd4 Black has some hopes to build up a fortress, but White's energetic play demolishes his plan little by little. 35.b4! Ne6 [35...cxb4 loses material to 36.Be5] 36.Be5 Bg7 37.bxc5 Rc8 38.Bd6 Rfd8 39.Ra5 Kg8 40.Rxa6 Rd7 41.Qxd5 Bf8 42.Qf3 Bxd6+ 43.cxd6 Rcd8 44.Qd5 Ng7 45.Ra8 Ne6 46.Rxd8+ Rxd8 47.g4

Black's fortress cannot last for tyoo long, because his king's position is too weak. 47...h6 48.h4 Rb8 49.Kg3 Re8 50.Kf3 Nf8 51.Qd2 Kg7 52.Qd4+ Kg8 53.Qf6 Re6 54.Qe7 Kg7 55.Qc7 Kg8 56.d7 Nxd7 57.Qxd7 Kg7 58.Qd4+ Kg8 59.Kf4 Rg6 60.Kf5 Re6 61.Qd7 Threatening Qxe6, which would transpose to a winning pawn ending. 61...Rg6 62.h5 Rg5+ 63.Kf6 Kh8 64.Qe8+ Rg8 65.Kxf7 1-0.

Svidler,Peter (2743) - Bacrot,Etienne (2708) [C88]
Mtel Masters Sofia (8), 19.05.2006 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1

13...Bc8 The transfer of the bishop to e6 is considered to be a reliable method of neutralizing White's control over the relatively weak d5-square. 14.c3 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 Such double pawns can eventually become weak, but for the moment their presence improve Black's control over the centre. Besides, the pressure along the f-file could become annoying for White in certain cases. 16.b4 White aims to prevent Black's expansion in the centre, which happened in, for instance, Shirov-Onischuk, New Delhi/Teheran 2000 16.Ng3 Nd7 17.Be3 d5 18.exd5 exd5 19.b4 Kh8 20.Qb3 c4 21.dxc4 bxc4 with active play for Black. 16...Qd7 17.Ng3 a5 18.bxc5 dxc5 19.a4 b4 20.Be3 c4 21.dxc4 Qxd1 22.Rexd1 bxc3 23.c5 c2 24.Rdc1 Nb4 25.Ne1 Rfc8 26.Nxc2 Bxc5 27.Nxb4 Bxe3 28.Rxc8+ Rxc8 29.fxe3 axb4 30.Rb1 Rb8 31.a5 Ra8 32.Rxb4 Rxa5

Queen side complications have led to almost perfect symmetry. Instead of asking for permission to agree to a draw, players preferred repeating moves. 33.Rb6 Kf7 34.Rb7+ Kg6 35.Rb6 Kf7 36.Rb7+ Kg6 37.Rb6 Kf7 1/2-1/2.

Kamsky,Gata (2671) - Anand,Viswanathan (2803) [C68]
Mtel Masters Sofia (8), 19.05.2006 [Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 An early deviation from the otherwise inevitable Anti-Marshall systems. Kamsky seems to have had enough of it here in Sofia, although the practical results were quite favourable for him. 4...dxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 6.h3 h5 7.d3 Qf6 8.Nbd2 Ne7 9.Nc4 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Qxf3 11.gxf3 Ng6 12.Rd1 c5 13.Kf1 Bd6 14.Ke2 f6 15.c3 Kf7 16.Be3 Rhd8 17.a3 a5 18.a4 b6

Pawn structures of both players are quite solid. Strictly speaking, the f-pawns are weaker than the c-pawn, but the fact that the black bishop is restricted by the own structure maintains the balance even. 19.Rdc1 Rd7 20.b4 The only way to try something concrete. 20...cxb4 21.Nxd6+ cxd6 22.cxb4 axb4 23.Rcb1 d5 24.Rxb4 d4 25.Bd2 Rda7 26.f4 Finally getting rid of these annoying weaknesses. 26...Nxf4+ 27.Bxf4 exf4 28.Kf3 b5 29.Rxb5 Rxa4 30.Rb7+ Kf8 31.Rg1 g5 32.h4 Ra1 33.Rxa1 Rxa1 34.Rb5 gxh4 35.Rxh5 Ra3 36.Rxh4 Rxd3+ 37.Ke2 Ra3 38.Rxf4 Ke7 39.Rf5 Ke6 1/2-1/2.

Mihail Marin, 41, Romanian Grandmaster, three times national champion (1988, 1994, 1999), nine times member of the Olympic team, participant in two Interzonals (Szirak 1987 and Manila 1990). In 2005 Marin was the second of Judit Polgar at the FIDE world championship in San Luis. Highest rating: 2604. Author of the ChessBase opening CDs English 1.c4 e5 and The Catalan Opening and the books: Secrets of Chess Defense, Secrets of Attacking Chess and Learn from the Legends. Graduate from the Polytechnic Institute Bucharest (Specialty Electrotechnic) in 1989.

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