(1) V. Topalov - L. Aronian [D43]
XXVII Linares Linares/Spain (8), 21.02.2010

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6
Topalov decided not to go to the razor-sharp Anti-Moscow Gambit, which arises after 6.Bh4.

6...Qxf6 7.e3 Nd7 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 g6 10.0-0 Bg7 11.e4 e5 12.d5 Nb6

Here we get one of the main lines of the Moscow Variation.

[13...Bg4 is another main move. After something like 14.Rc1 0-0 15.h3 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxf3 17.gxf3 Rfd8 18.dxc6 bxc6 we get a more pleasant endgame for White. Recently Aronian won this endgame with white against Gelfand. ]

14.Rc1 Rd8 15.h3!
A strong and logical novelty. [15.Qe2 was played before. Recently 15...Bg4 happened in Bacrot-Aronian Jermuk 2009]

15...Bd7 16.Qe2 Be8 17.Rfd1 Bf8?!
An innacuracy. [17...Rac8! was better, first improving the rook. The bishop can be developed a bit later.]


[18...Rxd1+ was not the solution to all problems either: 19.Rxd1 Bxc6 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.Bxd5! and White is better.]

19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.exd5! Bd6 21.Nd2 Qe7 22.Ne4 Kg7
[22...Rac8! ]

23.Re1 Re8
[23...Bb4 was possible, but after 24.d6! Bxd6 25.Nxd6 Rxd6 26.Qxe5+ Qxe5 27.Rxe5 White gets a better ending, thanks to his bishop against Black's knight.]

A strong idea by Topalov. Now White wants to weaken some squares around Aronian's king.

[24...h5! was much better. I guess Levon didn't like that from now on Black wouldn't be able to play f5 (due to Ng5). But perhaps he can just play Rac8, change some rooks and hold the position.]

25.h5 f5 26.Nxd6 Rxd6 27.Rc5 e4 28.hxg6
Now White is better, and Levon's agressive try

only makes things worse. [28...Kxg6 was better.]

29.Qd2 Qe5 30.Rc7+ Rd7 31.Rxd7+ Nxd7 32.Ba4 Rd8 33.Qa5!
Now White is simply winning...

Hoping that opponent doesn't see an easy winning trick...

And he doesn't! [34.Rxe4! was a simple BAM, that a player with 2800 can normally find in couple of seconds. 34...Qxe4 35.Qc3+ Kg8 36.Qc7 and White threatens Qh7+ and Qxd8, so the game could have finished like this.]

Now Black get's counterplay and easily manages to make a draw.

35.fxe3 fxe3 36.Qb4 Rd6 37.Re2 Rxg6 38.Qc3 Qxc3 39.bxc3 Rg5 40.Rxe3 Nxd5 41.Bxd5 Rxd5 42.Re7+ Kf6 43.Rxb7 Ra5 44.Rb2
White's pawn is not enough for anything, due to Black's activity and White's passivity. Topalov played the game pretty well and he quickly got a winning position (I should also mention that Levon helped him energetically). I don't know what happened on move 34. Perhaps Topalov is not in shape in this event.. However he still leads it by a full point! 1/2-1/2