Elista 2006: game 12 drawn, match ends 6:6

10/12/2006 – The twelfth game of the World Championship match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov ended after 3h 50 min in a 47-move draw, with Topalov harboring slight hopes to win. This leaves the final score at 6:6. The tiebreaks will be played tomorrow, Friday the 13th (oops!). Full report and analysis of game 12.

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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik

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 Shop.

Game twelve – Thursday, October 12th

The final 12th game of the World Championship in Elista ended after three hours and fifty minutes in a hard-fought 47-move draw (commentary by GM Mihail Marin below). With that the match is tied 6:6 (with the forfeit game) and will be decided in tie-breaks on Friday, October 13, 2006. Like all the previous rounds the games start at 13:00h local Elista time, which translates to 11:00h GMT, 13:00h CEST, 12:00h London, 7 a.m. New York. Here are the exact rules of the tie-breaks:

3.7 Tie-breaks

3.7.1 If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colours, four (4) tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes on the clock for each player with an addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.2 If the scores are level after the games in paragraph 3. 7.1, then, after a new drawing of colours, two (2) five-minute games shall be played with the addition of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.3 If the score is still level, the players shall play a single decisive sudden death game. The player, who wins the drawing of lots, may choose the colour. White shall receive 6 minutes, black shall receive 5 minutes, without any addition. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared as winner.


The start of game 12 in Elista


and now in full concentration mode...

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. Clicking this will produce a (separate) JavaScript replay window, where you have replay buttons but can also click on the notation to follow the moves.

Kramnik,V (2743) - Topalov,V (2813) [D12]
WCh Elista RUS (12), 12.10.2006

1.d4 d5. With the exception of the first game of the match, Topalov faced serious opening problems in the Catalan. There is little wonder that for the decisive game he chose the rock-solid Slav. 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Nxg6 hxg6.


Veselin Topalov playing move seven

Today I connected with some delay to the Playchess.com server. When I saw the current position my first thought was that I had clicked on an earlier game in which Topalov had White. Indeed, this is the first time in the match when the players repeat a previously tested variation with reversed colours. 8.g3. Kramnik had occasionally played this variation with White, but only in rapid events. Unlike Topalov, he does not seem inclined to make experiments, preferring to follow the well known paths. 8...Nbd7 9.Bd2. Kramnik had also played 9.Bg2 which leads to a position typical for the Catalan gambits after 9...dxc4 when Black can defend his extra-pawn with a further ...Nb6. 9...Bb4N.


Vladimir Kramnik contemplating Topalov's novelty 9...Bb4

Topalov is consequent with his handling of this position with White. We can understand now that one of the purposes of his 8.a3 had been to prevent ...Bb4, which he apparently considers the most efficient way to counter White's strategy, based on placing several pawns on dark squares. Previously, Black developed the bishop to e7 or d6. 10.Qb3 Bxc3 11.Bxc3 Ne4 12.Bg2 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 f5. By switching to the Stonewall structure, Black not only restricts the enemy bishop even more, but also creates himself chances for a king side attack. 14.0-0 Qe7.

By delaying the castle, Black keeps his opponent under some psychological pressure regarding the possibility of a brutal attack along the h-file. 15.cxd5. We can feel that Kramnik's treatment of the position differs from that of his opponent in radical way. In the previous game Topalov blocked the queen side by means of c5, while two games earlier his whole opening play prepared this move, eventually causing Black to give up the centre with ...dxc4. It is remarkable that Kramnik refrained from blocking the queen side in the last 10th game, even though that is the almost automatic reaction to Black's ...b5 in the Catalan. There, too, he exchanged on d5, in order to retain some initiative in an half-open position. 15...exd5 16.b4. The minority's attack remains a simple and dangerous plan in spite of simplifications. Black cannot avoid the weakening of his queen side. 16...Nf6 17.Rfc1 Ne4 18.Qb2 0-0 19.b5 Rac8 20.bxc6 bxc6. White can count on a small but stable advantage because of his more compact structure. 21.Qe2. White's general plan consists of pressure along the c- and b-files, but he should not neglect prophylactic measures on the other wing. By placing the queen on e2 he inhibit to a certain extent the attack based on ...g5 and ...f4 (when the queen would place the knight under unpleasant pressure and keep the weakened g4-square under control). Besides, the last move is useful for active purposes, too, by enabling the transfer of the queen to a6 in the most rapid way. 21...g5 22.Rab1. The continuation of the same policy. Before choosing the concrete plan, Kramnik improves the position of his pieces. After taking the b-file under control, the threat Qa6 becomes unpleasant. The more straightforward 22.Rc2 would have allowed Black continue his king side play with 22...Rf6. 22...Qd7. A multi-purpose move. Black avoids the pin along the e-file (enabling ...f4 in certain cases) and over-defends the c8-rook and the c6-pawn in order to enable ...Rf6 without fearing Qa6. However, the removal of the black queen from the e7-square is a small success for White, who will not have to care about an eventual sacrifice on g3 in case of a further f3. 23.Rc2. White overdefends the second rank (the f2-square in first line) and prepares doubling rooks along the c- or b-file. Abstractly speaking, 23.Rb2 looks less adequate because it would leave the rook over-charged by the control of the second rank and the b-file, although from practical point of view it would have probably made little difference. 23...Rf6 24.Rbc1. In case of 24.Qa6 f4 25.Rb7 Qf5 Black attack could become dangerous. 24...g4.

Black decides to eliminate the possibility of White's f3. 24...Rh6 was possible, too, when after 25.Qa6 (threatening to win a pawn with f3 already) he would have had a choice between transposing to the game with 25...g4 or play 25...c5. 25.Rb2?! For the same aforementioned reasons, 25.Rb1, might have been more accurate. The difference will become clear at a later stage of the game. 25...Rh6. A logical but very committal plan. If the attack along the h-file will fail, the rook will be left out of play, leaving White free hands on the opposite wing. 26.Qa6 Rc7. Now, 26...c5?! would be strongly met by 27.Rb7! when the weakness of Black's central pawns would make itself felt. 27.Rb8+ Kh7 28.Qa3. We can notice now another effect of the move Qe7-d7. This important diagonal became available to the white queen. Suddenly, the threat Qf8 puts the black king in some danger. 28...Rb7 29.Qf8?! After this move the game will soon enter drawish paths. White's last chance for an advantage consisted of 29.Ra8 , when exchanging queens on e7 or d6 would not absolve Black from all his strategic problems. 29...Rxb8 30.Qxb8 Qf7 31.Qc8 Qh5 32.Kf1.

32...Nd2+. With the rook on c2, this check would not have been possible. Besides, against 32...Qg6 (which would have been a worthy alternative in the game), White could have continued his invasion along the b-file with 33.Rb2. In the game, 33.Rb1?? is impossible because of the fork on d2. 33.Ke1 Nc4 Covering the weakness of the c6-pawn. 34.Bf1. Well, at least temporarily... 34...Rf6 35.Bxc4 dxc4 36.Rxc4. White has managed to fragment Black's structure even more, but now the light squares around his king are weak, allowing Black display strong counterplay. 36...Qxh2 37.Ke2 Qh1 38.Rc5 Qb1 39.Qa6 Qb2+ 40.Kf1 Qb1+ 41.Ke2 Qb2+ 42.Kf1 Rh6 43.Qd3. After the return of the queen to the centre, the white king is out of danger. 43...g6. 43...Qa1+ 44.Ke2 Qxa2+ 45.Kf1 g6 would win a pawn, but after 46.Qc4 he would have to give perpetual anyway. The rook ending would be microscopically worse in view of White's better structure and the inevitable loss of the a7-pawn. 44.Qb3 Rh1+ 45.Kg2 Rh2+ 46.Kxh2 Qxf2+ 47.Kh1 Qf1+ 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

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 Defence, Secrets of Attacking Chess and Learn from the Legends. Graduate from the Polytechnic Institute Bucharest (Specialty Electrotechnic) in 1989.

Final standing

 Player
Rating
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
 Tot. 
 Perf. 
 Veselin Topalov
2813
0
0
½
½
(1)
½
½
1
1
0
½
½
6.0
2702 
 Vladimir Kramnik
2743
1
1
½
½
(0)
½
½
0
0
1
½
½
6.0
2844 

Tiebreaks (Friday 13 Oct 3:00 p.m.)

 Player
Rating
R1
R2
R3
R4
B1
B2
Ar
 Tot. 
 Veselin Topalov
2813
             
-
 Vladimir Kramnik
2743
             
-

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