Linares R13: The incredible Topalov comeback

3/10/2006 – Remember two weeks ago in Morelia? After the first half of the Super-GM FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov was at the bottom of the table, with 2.5/7. Now, one round before the end, he is at the top, sharing the lead with three other players. This he achieved with a win over the leader Peter Leko today. Full report with pictures, videos and commentary.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Round thirteen report

Round 13: Friday, March 10th

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
1-0
Francisco Vallejo
Teimour Radjabov 
1-0
Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian 
½-½
Etienne Bacrot
GamesReport

The central game of the round was Topalov-Leko. The Hungarian Grand Master needed a draw to more or less secure the first place in the tournament. However, the peacefull strategy he seems to have chosen for the Linares half failed just one step before the finish. Having been submitted to long term pressure by Topalov, Leko made a fatal mistake just when he was very close to the desired result.

Ivanchuk's win over Vallejo was of brilliant simplicity. In a chaotical position he played some developing moves and obtained a decisive attack.

In Radjabov-Svidler Black played a premature ...h6 and then found no means to prevent the natural sacrifice Bxh6, leading to a strong white attack, which eventually brought him a win.

Aronian obtained a huge spatial advantage against Bacrot, but the premature advance of the g-pawn to g5 allowed his opponent to free his position and reach a draw.

Standings


Facing off against Spain's top GM Francisco Vallejo


Ready to get to work: Vassily Ivanchuk

Ivanchuk,V (2729) - Vallejo Pons,F (2650) [D44]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 10.03.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5. Recently, Black has faced some problems in the main line of the Vienna variation after 6...c5 7.e5 . The move played in the game seems to suit Vallejo's general approach better: in this tournament he has repeatedly proved his willingness of defending passive or simply dangerous positions for the mere sake of an extra-pawn. 7.a4 c6. Unexpectedely, we have reached a position that is typical for the Botwinnik system, where the moves ...c6 and ...Bb4 are played in reversed order. This transposition can be considered a partial success for White, because in the Botwinnik Black has several alternatives on his seventh move, 7...Qb6 being the relatively safest one. 8.e5 h6 9.exf6 hxg5 10.fxg7 Rg8. The alternance of actions on the opposite wings makes these variations quite difficult to handle. The position has become completely chaotical, but the next phase of the game will have a calmer character: both sides need to develop some more pieces before starting new complications. 11.g3 Bb7 12.Bg2 c5 13.0-0 g4.

The attitude towards pawn moves in the opening varied along the decades. In their chess text books, Lasker and Capablanca recommended that a player should not move more than 2-3 times with the pawns before completing his development. Nimzovitsch went a little further and stated that the advance of a pawn can be considered an auxiliary move in the process of mobilisation of forces, but not really a developing move. Modern theory and practice sustain a more flexible evaluation. In several lines of the Sicilian, Black effectuates 5-6 pawn moves before even starting to develop, which proves that building a pawn barrier in front of the opponent's pieces can sometimes be just as useful as developing his own. Reformulating, this means that under certain circumstances pawn moves can and should be considered to form part of the process of development, contrary to Nimzovitsch opinion. The diagrammed position cannot be judged easily from this point of view, because we have an extreme situation here: out of the first 13 moves Black has made none less than 9 (!) with his pawns, seriously neglecting the piece development. At the same time, it can be seen that White has more or less completed the first phase of mobilisation. Black's initiative looks threatening, but it is clear that in the case it gets extinguished without causing any major damage to White's position, he will suddenly find himself in big trouble.

14.Nh4 Bxg2. Regrettably, Black has to exchange one of his very few developed pieces, leaving the long diagonal rather weak. 15.Nxg2. In the meanwhile, White improves the position of his knight, whose next jump will be to f4. 15...Rxg7. Black has so many things to do that it is not easy to decide what to start with. Vallejo's move (which is a novelty) is easy to understand. Previously, 15...cxd4 had been played, but after 16.Nxb5 Nc6 17.Qxg4 a6 18.Qe4 Rc8 19.Qh7 White managed to defend this dangerous pawn in Sakaev-Yakovich, Kazan 2005. 16.axb5! Psychologically, a very hard move to find. Black is allowed now to build an impressive pawn centre. In fact, in some comments to a game where 15...cxd4 (instead of 15...Rxg7) had been played, the rather inoffensive 16.dxc5 had been recommended. Ivanchuk's move has two main purposes: to restrict the possibilities of development of the black knight and to open the a-file for the rook at the same time. Just as simple as that. The central tandem of black pawns is not so dangerous, since the white knights still have the e4- and f4-squares at their disposal. The first thought when we see such messy positions is that a lot of concrete calculation is required in order to find the right path. However, I believe that the more chaotic a position is, the lesser the posibilities of calculating "everything" becomes, at human level at least. Instead, we should use logic and intuition as a veritable Ariadna's knott. I cannot know which was Ivanchuk's process of thinking in this game, but his brilliant play can be explained in a logical way, without the help of long and forced variations.

16...cxd4 17.Ne4 f5. Black could not develop his knight because the d4-pawn would be lost and with it, the whole game. Therefore, Vallejo makes just another pawn move (the eleventh!), questioning the stability of the e4-knight. Under different circumstances, such a fantastic pawn structure would entirely compensate for a reasonable material defficit such as an exchange, but the delay in development can be amore serious problem than that. 18.Nf4!

What a beautiful pair of knights! Ivanchuk hits the Achile's heel of Black's position: the e6-square. Obviously, there was no question of retreating with the attacked knight, since this would have lowered the rhytm of the attack. 18...Kf7? From an aesthetical point of view, this is an awfull move. The king gets in a way of the very few developed pieces, the g7-rook. It looks like if a bad wizard had just mixed Black's castle and teleported it to a strange place at the same time. True, accepting the sacrifice with 18...fxe4? would have led to fatal consequences after 19.Nxe6 Qf6 20.Nxg7+ Qxg7 21.Qe2 . Black's central pawns are in big danger. After 21...Qe7 22.Qxc4 the main problem is that the long awaited development of the knight with 22...Nd7 would allow the decisive activation of the rook with 23.Ra6; One of Black's problems is that he cannot develop the knight to d7 because his d4-pawn would be hanging. This suggests that 18...Qb6 would be a better way to defend the e6-pawn, apart from the fact that b6 is such a nice square for the queen. True, after 19.Qc2 Black can neither capture on e4 because of the simple 20.Qxe4 when too many black pieces and pawns would be hanging, nor develop the knight because of 20.Ra6, but with the twelfth pawn move 19...a5 he would make the mentioned threats quite real. This would have led to a position where, finally, deep and accurate calculation would have been needed in order to avoid losing thread.

19.Rc1!! I find no words to praise this brilliant but basically simple move. Ignoring the threat against the central knight, White develops just another piece, taking another weak square under observation. Black is in dire straits already. 19...fxe4 20.Rxc4 Against any retreat of the bishop, White would simply capture on d4 with gain of tempo and depriving Black of the possibility of developing his knight for 1-2 more moves. Next, he would attack and capture the e4-pawn, putting the e6-pawn under irresistible pressure and, finally, he would start the king's hunt. Obviously disliking such a predictable scenario, Vallejo decides to maintain his remaining structure intact, but in fact he just makes things easier for White. 20...Bc5!? 21.Rxc5.

With such a unusual structure, it is easy to overlook that the material is completely equal. White has a decisive attack for free. 21...Nd7 22.Rh5 depriving Black of his last hope: the transfer of the knight to f3. The numerous threats against the central pawns (such as Qxd4, Qb3 or Re1) are impossible to parry. 22...Nf6 23.Re5 Qd6? Not a good square for the queen. 24.Rxe6 Vallejo might have initially intended to place his queen on b4, in order to maintain the d4-pawn defended, while preventing Qb3, but noticed in the last moment that this would lose to 25.Rxf6+. 1-0. [Click to replay]



Aronian needed a win today to take sole lead. The game was drawn.

Aronian,L (2752) - Bacrot,E (2717) [D20]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 10.03.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4. Aronian seems to have built up an aggressive repertoire with White especially for this tournament. Previously, he had never played this move, just as he had not played the Slav Gambit until the game against Vallejo. 3...e5. This is a new guest in Bacrot's games, too. 4.Nf3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Nbxd2 exd4 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 Qf6 9.b4 Nge7 10.b5 Ne5. This is a novelty. A slightly older game between two experts continued 10...Nd8 11.e5 Qg6 12.Nxd4 Ne6 13.N2b3 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bg4 15.Qb3 Rd8 and Black had sufficient counterplay, Dreev-Rublevsky, St Petersburg 1999. 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.f4 Qd6 13.f5 Bd7 14.Nf3 f6 15.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 16.Nxd4 0-0-0 17.Be6.

It is interesting to follow the way in which White will maintain the occupation of this square for a very long time, in spite of the radical modification of the structure. 17...Kb8 18.Bxd7 Rxd7 19.Ne6 Nc8 20.e5 fxe5 21.Rae1 Nd6 22.Rxe5 Re7 23.g4 h5.

24.g5. This unnecessarily weakens the f5-square. 24.h3 looks like a better way to maintain the domination. 24...Rhe8. Now, the threat ...Nxf5 forces White to extreme measures. 25.f6 gxf6 26.Rxf6 Nxb5 27.Rxb5 Rxe6 28.Rxe6 Rxe6 29.Kg2.

In spite of his extra-pawn, it is Black who has to be carefull. White's piece activity and the dangerous passed pawn offer him at least adequate compensation. 29...Kc8 30.Kg3 Re4 31.h3 Kd7 32.Rxb7 Ra4 33.a3 Ke6 34.Rb4 Rxa3+ 35.Kh4 Kf7 36.Rc4 a5 37.Rxc7+ Kg6 38.Rc6+ Kg7 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]



Taimour Radjabov on the way up, Peter Svidler on the way down

Radjabov,T (2700) - Svidler,P (2765) [D16]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 10.03.2006

1.d4 d5. Quite predictable. One has no time for capital reparation of a "damaged" opening during the tournament, but we can probably hope to see more nice Grünfeld-games played by Peter in the future, after the wounds from Morelia and Linares will be well healed. 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3. Two rounds earlier, Bacrot met Svidler's Slav with a rather modest variation, allowing Black obtain a satisfactory position with relative ease. By choosing the main system, Radjabov invites his opponent to disclose his cards. 4...dxc4 5.a4 e6.

Here it is! It appears that Svidler had no time to prepare any of the main variations of the Slav and had to resort to a relatively rare move, introduced into the top level practice by Kramnik during his match against Leko. 6.e3 c5. The loss of time is not of decisive relevance here. Black transposes to one of the relatively undangerous variations of the Queen's Gambit Accepted, with the small difference is that his a-pawn is on a7 instead of a6. The control of the b5-square can be important in certain cases, but on the other hand the weakness of the b6-square can give White additional ideas. 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4. In the similar line of the Queen's Gambit accepted the early capture on d4 is considered to give White active play. Black generally plays 8...Qc7 followed by 9...Bd6, which is obviously impossible here because of the knight jump to b5. However, 8...Be7 looks like a safer choice, postponing the capture on d4. 9.exd4 Be7 10.Bg5. As a consequence of Black's 8th move, White gets an easy development of pieces. In Brissago, Leko reacted to the opening surprise in a more restrained way, provoking drawish simplifications almost by force with 10.Be3 0-0 11.Ne5 Nb4 12.a5 Bd7 13.d5 Leko-Kramnik, Brissago 2004. 10...0-0 11.Re1.

11...h6. A questionable decision. The weakness induced by this move will have much heavier consequences than we might expect at this stage of the game. In a game played after Brissago, Kramnik refrained from this move, but could not solve the opening problems either: 11...Bd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Ba2 Nb4 14.Bb1 Bc6 15.Ne5 g6 16.h4 Nbd5 17.Qd2 Nxc3 18.Rxc3 Qd5 19.Rg3 Rfd8?! 20.Rf3! with a clear advantage for White, Van Wely-Kramnik, Monte Carlo 2005. 12.Bf4! In this concrete position, this is a novelty, but the idea is known from other openings. White keeps his bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal, in order to take advantage of the weakness of Black's king side. In case of the more "natural" 12.Bh4 Black can gradually equalise with 12...Bd7 13.Qe2 Nh5 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.Ne5 Nf6 . The idea of ...Nh5 was successfully employed by Karpov in the ninth game of his match against Kortschnoi, in Merano 1981. The essential difference was that Black had played ...h6 before the structure in the centre was stabilised, in a moment when the retreat of the bishop to f4 would have meant just losing a tempo.

12...Nb4 13.Qd2. Just as simple as that. White threatens to sacrifice the bishop on h6. Having played all his life the King's Indian and the Grünfeld, where the king's bishopis developed in fianchetto, Svidler was probably unaccostumed to such type of problems. 13...Bd7. Black intends to meet White's aggressive intentions with normal developing moves. In fact, he had little choice. The only alternative I see is to physically defend the h6-pawn with the awkwardly looking 13...Kh7 , relying on the fact that White has no obvious way of transferring his light squared bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal. However, it looks like there should be a way to take advantage of White's superior development and the black king's exposed position. 14.Bxh6 Rc8 15.Bb3 gxh6 16.Qxh6.

The main threat now is Ng5 followed by Nce4 with a mating attack. Black has to react quickly. 16...Nh7. Possibly not the best defence. Black had no time for 16...Re8 with the obvious aim to transfer the bishop back to the square where Svidler is accostumed to have it from the beggining, because of 17.Re5! Ng4 18.Qh5 Nxe5 19.Nxe5 Rf8 (the only way to prevent Qxf7+ followed by Ng6 mate) 20.Re1 followed by Re3, with a decissive attack.; Maybe 16...Ng4 would have been somewhat better, although after 17.Qf4 f5 18.Rxe6 White would get more or less the same kind of position as after his slightly innacurate 20th move.

17.Re5. The brutal threat of Rh5 forces Black to weaken his king's position even more. 17...f5 18.Rxe6! Bxe6 19.Bxe6+ Kh8 20.Bxc8?! Possibly overlooking Black's reply. 20.Ne5! with the threat of mate in one, looks a more clear-cut way to an advantage, for instance 20...Rf6 21.Ng6+ Rxg6 22.Qxg6 . White will soon have four pawns for a knight, retaining an attack with opposite colourd bishops at the same time. 20...Rf6! The only way to put up some resistance. 20...Qxc8 21.Ne5 would win material for White. 21.Qh5 Qxc8 22.Re1 Bf8 23.Ne5 Kg8.

Play has more or less calmed down. White has three pawns for a knight and a very active position. With his next move, Radjabov initiates a rather surprising queen's manoeuvre. 24.Qd1!? The queen was somewhat restricted on h5. Her next stop will be on b3. 24...Ng5?! 25.Qb3+?! Conequently following his plans. Both players seem to have overlooked a small tactical trick. 25.Qc1 would have attacked the knight and threatened 26.Nd5! Qxc1 27.Nxf6+ followed by 28.Rxc1 with considerable material advantage in the endgame. 25...Kg7 26.h4 Nf7 27.Ne2. White keeps improving the placement of his pieces. The knight will stand very well on f4, blocking the f-pawn and threatening the enemy king. 27...Nxe5 28.dxe5 Rc6 29.Nf4 Be7 30.Qg3+. After a small diversion, the queen retruns to the king side. Black's position might be objectively defensible, but in conditions of over-the-board play it is hard to resist against the numerous threats (be them real or imaginary). His main problem remains the fact that the beutifully placed b4-knight is in fact out of play. 30...Kh7 31.Qf3 Qe8 32.g3 Qf7 33.e6. After having improved his position to the maximum, White starts concrete action. 33...Qf6 34.Qh5+ Kg8. More stubborn seems to be 34...Kg7. 35.Qe8+ Qf8 36.Qg6+ Qg7 37.Qxf5.

White has won a fourth pawn and has a clear advantage already. 37...Rc5 38.Qe4 Nc6. Finally returning home, but making the d5-square available for the enemy knight. 39.Nd5 Qxb2?! Shortening Black's suffering. The queen would have done better staying close to the king. 40.Qf5. Threatening not only Qf7+ followd by Nxe7 but also the immediate nxe7+, winning the rook. 40...Rc1. Returning with the queen would have not saved the game in view of 40...Qg7 41.Nxe7+ Qxe7 42.Qg6+ Kh8 43.Re4! (Threatening Rg4 with a mating attack) 43...Qg7 (For the sake of king's safety, the queen has to unblock the e-pawn) 44.Qxg7+ Kxg7 45.e7 with a winning rook ending. 41.Nxe7+. 41...Nxe7 would be answered with 42.Qg5+, winning the rook. 1-0. [Click to replay]



Topalov drinks while Leko carries out the blowing ritual...


...after which they can settle down for the game

Topalov,V (2801) - Leko,P (2740) [E32]
XXIII SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 10.03.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 b6 7.Bg5 Bb7 8.Nf3 d6 9.Nd2 Nbd7

10.f3. Topalov had played this quiet variation against Leko under almost identical circumstances. Leko was leading with two rounds to go and only a win by Topalov (who, just as now, was a whole point behind) could have changed something in the fate of the tournament. That game went 10.e3 Rc8 11.f3 c5 12.dxc5 Rxc5 13.Bh4 d5 14.b4 Rc8 15.Qb2 Qc7 16.Bg3 e5 17.Bd3 Ba6 18.b5 Bb7 19.0-0 Qc5 20.Rfe1 e4 and Black gradually took over the initiative, Topalov-Leko, Wijk aan Zee 2005. Although he failed in his previous attempt, Topalov seems to have remained faithful to the belief that this is the right variation to play against Leko when desperately needing a win: nothing really forced in the opening, just some long term positional pressure. 10...d5 11.cxd5. This exchange is usually effectuated after the inclusion of the moves 11.e3 Re8. 11...exd5 12.e3 Re8 13.Be2. This move is not a novelty, but the idea with which it is connected is new. The apparently more ambitious 13.Bb5 has been tried at the highest possible level. However, after 13...c6 White had to retreat with 14.Be2 anyway. (As we shall see, Topalov had other plans for this bishop, but here the immediate 14.Ba4 would have allowed Black prevent White's castle with 14...Ba6 when 15.Qxc6? would be bad in view of 15...h6 when White could not cover the e3-pawn anymore, for instance 16.Bxf6 Rxe3+ 17.Kf2 and now the intermediate check 17...Re2+! followed by Nxf6 leaves Black with big advantage.) 14...Qe7 15.b4 h6 16.Bxf6 Nxf6 17.Kf2 Qd6 with a good position for Black, Kasparov-Karpov, Frankfurt 1999. 13...Rc8 14.0-0 Qe7.

15.Bb5!? Now that White has castled, the transfer of the bishop to a4 looks entirely possible. Topalov seems not to be put off by having to lose a tempo in order to carry out his plans. 15...c6 16.Ba4 h6 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Rfe1. White has obtained some pressure against the c6-pawn, but it is early for him to claim an objective advantage. However, Leko's desire to clear matters in the game and in the tournament as soon as possible will cause him some serious positional problems. 18...b5. Unnecessarily weakening the queen side dark squares. 19.Bc2 c5 20.Bf5. Quite a resourcefull bishop. 20...Rc7 21.dxc5 Rxc5.

Leko understood that in this case the exchange of queens with 21...Qxc5 22.Qxc5 Rxc5 would not bring him any closer to a draw. White would transfer his knight to d4 with 23.Nb3 Rc7 24.Nd4 with a clear positional advantage. If Black could retreat his b-pawn to b6, his position would most likely be defensible, but the way it is he risks getting into a typical ending with a bad bishop. 22.Qd4. There are certain cases when the queen stands very well on this central squares. However, it is generally known that Her majesty is not too well suited for the purpose of the blockade. Therefore, 22.Qb4 deserved serious attention, keeping the d4-square for the knight after, for instance 22...a6 23.Nb3 with a similar position as in the previous comment.

22...a6 23.a4. Topalov opens the a-file for his rook, but in doing so he helps Black get rid of one of his pawns placed on the same colour as the bishops, thus bringing him some postional relief. I believe that 23.Nb3 Rc4 24.Qd2 followed by Nd4 would have been a better way of consolidating his positional domination. If we think back to the game against Aronian, where the control of the d4-square was one of the main themes of the game, it is hard to understand why Topalov neglected this aspect in the present game. The World Champion might have thought that he would be able to transfer the knight to d4 at a later moment, but, curiously, he will not get another chance for that too soon. 23...bxa4 24.Rxa4 Rc6 25.b4.

25...Qe5! A strong defensive move, underlining White's lack of stability on d4. If White could play now 26.Nb3, he would preserve his positional advantage intact, but, unfortunately, the bishop is hanging. 26.Qxe5 Rxe5 27.Bd3 Rb6. The relative weakness of the b4-pawn partly compensates for the weak a6-pawn. 28.Kf2. White can still not transfer his knight to d4 under favourable circumstances because 28.Nb3 would be met by 28...Bc6 29.Rxa6 Rxb4! and in view of the reduced number of pawns remaining on board, Black is out of the danger of losing. 28...Bc8. Now, 28...Bc6 would simply lose a pawn to 29.Rxa6 but Leko's move threatens to put the b-pawn in danger with ...Bd7. 29.Rb1 Bf5.

By exchanging his "bad" bishop, Black makes further progress in his way to equalising, although White still maintains some advantage because of the active placement of his pieces and the better pawn structure. 30.Bxf5 Rxf5 31.Ra5 [Pinning the d-pawn and making the knight jump ...Ne4+ impossible in view of the simple Nxe4. In case of 31.Ke2 with the double threat of winning space on the king side with g4 and to transfer the knight to d4 via b3, Black would be just in time to defend with 31...Rh5!? 32.h3 Rh4 safely preventing Nb3.] 31...g6 32.Ke2 By unpinning the f-pawn, White intends to win space with g4, harrassing the enemy rook at the same time. 32...h5 33.g3 Kg7 34.h3 Nd7 35.g4 hxg4 36.hxg4 White has managed to carry out his kingside plan, but every new pawn exchange brings the game closer to a draw. 36...Re5 37.Kf2 Rc6 38.Rb3 Rb6 39.f4 Ree6 40.g5. Winning even more space and threatening to capture the d5-pawn. The immediate 40.Rxd5 would have led nowhere because of 40...Nf6. 40...Red6.

41.e4!? A surprising move, aiming to take advantage of the relative lack of coordination of the black pieces. Topalov might have feared that 41.Nf3 would lead to even more pawn exchanges after 41...f6 . By changing the natural course of the game, he probably wanted to face leko with psychological problems of adapting himself to the new circumstances. Anticipating a bit, we can state that his "plan" was correct. 41...Rb5 Removing the rook from the exposed position (in view of ...dxe4?, Nc4!) and continuing to simplify the position. 42.Rxb5 axb5 43.Rd3. With so little material left on board, this pin is not dangerous. However, the strategically more ambitious 43.e5 would have hardly offered more in view of 43...Rc6 followed by ...Nf8-e6, with pressure against the f4-pawn. 43...Nb6 44.Nb1.

This apparently modest retreat marks the start of a glorious carrier of the knight that has been imobile for 25 moves already. The threat Nc3, attacking the d5- and the b5-pawns is unpleasant, but Leko reacts accurately. 44...Rc6! 45.exd5 Rc4 46.Kf3 Rxb4 47.Nd2 f6. With only two pairs of pawns left on board, the position starts ressembling a football game that reached the 90th minute already, when players are more concerned about the refferee's whistle rather than the game itself. White's last hope is to concentrate his efforts to ensure the advance of the d-pawn. 48.Ne4 fxg5 49.Nxg5 Kf6 50.Kg4 Nc4 51.Ne4+ Ke7 52.d6+ Kd8. The king has blocked the enemy pawn, but the passivity of the black rook still offers White some chances. 53.Kg5 Nb2 54.Re3.

54...Rd4? Leko's desire to activate his rook is understandable, but this is the decisive mistake already. Although he did not make direct use of it, the d4-square seems to have brought luck again to Topalov. In his game against Aronian, the occupation of this square on the 74th move led to decisive mating threats. Here, Black's rook's careless move annihilates all his previous defensive efforts. The safest way to a draw consisted of 54...Kd7 55.Kxg6 Nc4 56.Rd3 Nxd6! although we can suppose that Topalov would have tried to win the R+N vs R endgame during the allowed 50 moves. 55.Nf6 Rxd6 56.Re8+ Kc7 57.Re2!

In view of the double threat Ne8+ and Rxb2, Black loses material. 57...Rd1 58.Rxb2 Rg1+ 59.Kh6 Kc6. White's task consists of capturing the g6-pawn without losing his last pawn and prevent the b-pawn from becoming dangerous at the same time. In fact, Topalov will simplify the problem. He will keep the b-pawn under control by the permanent threat of sacrificing the knight for it, once the capture of the g6-pawn willbe ensured. 60.Ne4 Kd5 61.Rb4 Kc6 62.Rd4. Restricting the enemy king and keeping the b-pawn under control. 62...Rg4 63.Nf2 Kc5 64.Rd1 Rg2 65.Nd3+ Kc4 66.Ne5+. The vivacity of White's pieces is impressive. 66...Kc3 67.Rc1+. 67.Nxg6 would have led to a undesired pawn race after 67...b4 . Topalov's move keeps things under control in a more efficient way. 67...Kb2 68.Rc6 Kb3. For instance, in case of 68...b4 69.Nd3+ Kb3 the least White could do is 70.Nxb4 followed by Rxg6, witha winning rook ending. 69.Rxg6 Rf2 70.Rg3+ Kc2 71.Nd3 1-0. [Click to replay]

Picture Gallery


Top brass at the start of round 13: the Mayor of Morelia, Salvador López Orduña, the Mayor of Linares, Juan Fernández, Presidential Secretary Gaspar Zarrias, Cultural Secretary of Morelia, Luis Jaime Cortez Méndez


The two mayors of the two chess cities, Morelia and Linares


El Ayuntamiento de Linares – the City Council


Orange trees bearing fruit in this southern part of Spain


A torro trophy in the Museo Taurino-Taberna


Inside the bullfight museum-tavern


Everything dedicated to and reflecting one theme


Famous bull fighter, heroes of the local Spainsh population

Videos


Schedule and results

Round 8: Friday, March 3rd

Peter Leko 
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
Peter Svidler
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
Etienne Bacrot
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
Levon Aronian

Round 9: Saturday, March 4th

Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Etienne Bacrot 
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Peter Svidler 
½-½
Francisco Vallejo

Round 10: Sunday, March 5th

Peter Leko 
½-½
Peter Svidler
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
Etienne Bacrot
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
Teimour Radjabov
Free day: Monday, March 6th

Round 11: Tuesday, March 7th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
Peter Leko
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
1-0
Francisco Vallejo
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
Peter Svidler

Round 12: Wednesday, March 8th

Peter Leko 
½-½
Etienne Bacrot
Peter Svidler 
½-½
Levon Aronian
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk
Free day: Thursday, March 9th

Round 13: Friday, March 10th

Veselin Topalov 
  Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Francisco Vallejo
Teimour Radjabov 
  Peter Svidler
Levon Aronian 
  Etienne Bacrot
GamesReport

Round 14: Saturday, March 11th

Peter Leko 
  Levon Aronian
Etienne Bacrot 
  Teimour Radjabov
Peter Svidler 
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Francisco Vallejo 
  Veselin Topalov
GamesReport
End of Tournament

Links


Topics: Linares 2006
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register