Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Game 3 LIVE Commentary



Kramnik, Vladimir (2743) - Topalov, Veselin (2813)
WCC Match 2006 - Game 3, 09-26-2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 (Typical setup from Kramnik, very solid.)

5...Nc6 (He varied from game 1 where he played 5.Bb4+)


6.Qa4 Bd7 7.Qxc4 Na5 8.Qd3 c5 9.O-O Bc6 10.Nc3 cxd4 11.Nxd4 Bc5
(Topalov is willing to give Kramnik a Bishop pair in exchange for some play. Otherwise, it is very hard to go for the win with a symmetrical pawn structure.)

12.Rd1
(Kramnik would want nothing more than exchanging Queens and head to endgame. White has a slight edge. I expect Topalov to try to do something but I do not expect much.)

12...Bxg2
(allowing Qb5+)

13.Qb5+ Nd7 14.Kxg2 a6
(White still maintains a small edge due to more space advantage and piece development.)

15.Qd3
(I don't see anything here for Black that can make Kramnik sweat. Most logical or "normal" would be Nf6 or Be7. 15..0-0 is bad due to Nc2 +-)

15...Rc8
(I am nervous about this move because it allows 16.Ne4 or 16.Bg5. I like White's position. I don't like the Black King in the middle of the board.)

16.Bg5
(Topalov allowed it and Kramnik played it. If 16...Qxg5 17.Nxe6 Ne5 18.Nxg5 Nxd3 and White has a solid advantage. 16...Be7 is the most logical response but you never know with Topalov.)


16...Be7
(Finally Topalov played a move I expect. But now White has 17.Ne4 and White still maintains a solid advantage, a position that is hard for Kramnik to lose. I very much like 17.Ne4 now. I am just not sure how much complication does Kramnik want to get into. Kramnik is wise to take his time now, about 30 minutes. This is the critical moment on how he wants the game to proceed.)

17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Rac1
(So this is typical Kramnik! He wants to avoid any complication and secure a safe position. After the trade of Bishops and symmetrical pawn structure, Kramnik is happy to draw this game and he plays like it. Some may not like his style but it works for him and that is all that matters.)

18...Nc4
(this is a very sound move. If 18...0-0 White then has 19.Nf5 with an edge)


19.Na4
(A good response by White, probably the most solid response. Now, I would play 19...b5 if I was Topalov.)


19...b5 (
This is Garry Kasparov's LIVE analysis 19…b5 20.b3 Nde5 21.Qe4 f5 22.Qh4 (22.Qxe5 Qb7+) bxa4 23.bxc4 Qxh4 24.gxh4 Ke7 (24…Nxc4 25.Nxe6 Ke7) 25.c5 Rhd8 26.f4 Ng4 27.Kg3 Rd5 28.c6 Nf6)

20.b3 0-0 21.bxc4 bxa4 22.Nc6 Rxc6 23.Qxd7
(Kramnik is playing as safe as possible. Can anyone blame him? It is clearly his match strategy.)

23...Qc5 (Topalov is desperate not to trade Queen. I cannot possibly fathom Kramnik losing here as he is one of the best endgame players in chess.)

24.Rc3 g6 25.Rb1
(White has a very comfortable position here. In fact, White is slightly better. I think Black can play something like 25...a3 but not much for Black. It is easier to play White here.)

25...h5 (A logical and sensible move! However, again, Topalov needs to be careful. White has an advantage in this position with little or no risk to lose.)

26.Rb7 (As I just stated above, White has an advantage and Topalov better take Kramnik's position seriously! He cannot afford to go down 0-3. I expect him to play 26...e5 now. He needs some counter chances.)

26...e5 27.e4 Rf6 28.Rc2 Qa3 29.Qd1 (Even though Black seems to have some counter play, White still has a solid advantage. Kramnik is not worried at all. I am sure he likes his position.)

29...Rd6 (White still has nothing to worry about with this move. 30.Rd2 is obvious and maintains the advantage.)

30.Rd2 (If Black goes back to Rf6, White would play 31.Rc7 and push the c pawn. I would definitely take White here. But you have to give it to Topalov for trying hard!)

30...Rfd8 31.Rd5 (Now White is CLEARLY better. I am very concerned for Topalov here. Kramnik is awesome in endgames.)

31...Rxd5 (Kramnik is willing to sacrifice the a pawn for the connected passed pawns. This position is so much better for White! Topalov will have a difficult time holding this unless Kramnik plays passively. The best shot is 32...e4 but not much will be achieved.)

32.cxd5?! (Wow! Kramnik took with the c pawn! I am completely shocked! He clearly wants to avoid the more complicated but stronger exd5 line. I can't say I blame him with a 2-0 lead. However, I am sure the fans would have loved to see the fireworks with 32.exd5)

32...Qxa2 33.Qf3 Rf8 34.Qd3 (Leave it to Kramnik to avoid complications! That is why he chose to take back with the c pawn. Black has more life because of this. Kramnik still has an advantage but smaller now.)

34...a3 (I still believe this game would be a draw unless Topalov is pulling a Topalov in the first 2 games. White's small advantage should not be enough to win here.)

35.Rb3 (I can't believe Kramnik played this. It seems that he is trying to draw this game in the safest possible fashion. This shows me that Kramnik still worries about Topalov even up 2-0. Actually, it may not be a bad thing to have a 2 point lead with 9 games to go.)

35...f5 (Now, Black is safe but still not winning. At least he is not worst now.)

36.Qxa6 (Again, typical Kramnik, choosing the safest possible line to guarantee a draw. This is why Kramnik is so hard to beat in a match. He is almost unbeatable. The good news for Topalov is he will have White tomorrow. The bad news is there are only 9 games left and his opponent is the rock solid Kramnik.)

36...Qxb3 37.Qxg6+Kh8 38.Qh6+Kg8 1/2 (I think this draw is good for both sides. It helps Kramnik because it is one more game out of the way. It also helps Topalov because I think he can calm down now. I expect an all out assault by Topalov tomorrow.)
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41 comments:

Marc Shepherd said...

It seems to be a very dry position. I don't see a thing for Black.

Rook House said...

Queen's Gambit Declined seems to be Kramnik's preference so far. Is this a common thing for him??

Marc Shepherd said...

Is this considered a Queen's Gambit? I thought this set-up was considered a Catalan.

Sean said...

It's a Catalan - a great choice when 2-0 up. Got to worry for Topalov if he tries too hard to create chanbces from this sort of position.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Topalov take the free Bishop?? Kramnik didn't calculate well in the 2nd game, maybe he wouldn't again?? Why not try to win like this? Can someone please explain?

Marc Shepherd said...

Best choice for Topalov is to force Kramnik to expend a lot of energy in an ultimately drawn game. Wear him down for tomorrow. Of course, Toppy has to be careful not to blunder it away, as he's done the last two games.

Marc Shepherd said...

As Susan pointed out in her live commentary, the bishop wasn't free. There's a forced variation where Kramnik gets it back, with a clearly better position.

Sean said...

Taking the Bishop allowed the tactic Nxe6 when Qxd7 mate is too strong to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanations! I would still take the risk, if I were him! After all, 2-0 is too much.

Sean said...

Topalov has shown many times that a couple of losses at the start of a tournament don't stop him winning in the end, but in match play it's all very different - especially in such a short match. I can't see how he is going to get the sort of game he loves out of this though; I don't remember many Kramnik losses from this solid type of position. I predict a draw with White remaining slightly better throughout.

Sean said...

Now if 18 ...0-0 White can try 19 Nf5.

White holds all the trumps here.

Anonymous said...

Why Topa didn t tried to play to win (i think, with better chances)some more aggressive system, like King s indian, Modern benoni,or even Dutch? I think he has no really better chances to win with white, if Kramnik will play some wery solide defence, like the petrov, or the semi-slav...

Sean said...

The more daring Black defences will come later in the match.

White is looking good here though.

QM1 Todd R. Forbes (Ret) said...

Having combed sites such as TWIC, Chess Base, FIDE's offical, etc...I like Susan's much more. Her easy to understand, interesting, and insightful comments enhance the viewing of these Championship games. Well done!

Kurt Utzinger said...

Great comments by Susan Polgar, many thanks ... much better than a lot of other meaningless statements.

hansj said...

Why should Kramnik lose? He is clearly better. Topalov has drawing chances, though, quite good ones.

Marc Shepherd said...

25.Rb1. At this point, Topalov needs to find a drawing variation. In Game 1, he tried to create something out of nothing, and lost. He now has the unbalanced position he wanted, but he's stuck with doubled wing pawns vs. a passed pawn for Kramnik. A miscalculation here could be fatal for Topalov.

ChessBlog said...

Be carefully with the post, some movements of the game have disappeared.

Anonymous said...

We can't see moves after 14?

hansj said...

Rd5 - that ought to settle things. Topalov is on the brink of his third loss.

Anonymous said...

Kramnik doesn't even have to work here.
Topalov insists on aggression in positions he's not even better in. It makes for great chess, but he needs Kramnik to lose his cool.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty bad when your trump cards
are two weak a pawns that can be won by force. Kramnik's rook on the seventh and very strong D pawn give him a big advantage.

Vohaul said...

... it reminds me to european football ("soccer") or american football: the defence win's the match ...

Kramnik remind's me of Lasker ...

just my two pence, Vohaul

PS: endgame is the key to success in chess ...

Anonymous said...

it's a draw ...

Anonymous said...

I guess owing to his time trouble Kramnik will be forgiven for not winning this game. Again Topalov takes his position to the brink of defeat.
Perhaps this draw will settle him down.
If it were just desire needed to win
Kramnik wouldn't have a chance.

Michael C.M. said...

Kramnik could have iced this tournament by going up 3-0

Shame he didn't take with the e pawn

Anonymous said...

Why such incredibly anti-Kramnik text. It's jarring. Other commentators manage to sound less like fans and more like actual commentators.

Anonymous said...

Susan, the castling notation on White's 9th move used the digit 0, tho Fritz9 and PGN demand the uppercase letter O. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Kramnik could have iced this tournament by going up 3-0."

This wasn't an easy mop-up victory. For Kramnik, a draw was a reasonable outcome, especially as it leaves him +2 with 9 to play, against an opponent who has historically had trouble beating him.

It was also a decent outcome for Topalov, because he forced his opponent to work for the draw. The last thing you want is to give your opponent the equivalent of extra rest days.

Marc Shepherd said...

"Kramnik could have iced this tournament by going up 3-0."

This wasn't an easy mop-up victory. For Kramnik, a draw was a reasonable outcome, especially as it leaves him +2 with 9 to play, against an opponent who has historically had trouble beating him.

It was also a decent outcome for Topalov, because he forced his opponent to work for the draw. The last thing you want is to give your opponent the equivalent of extra rest days.

D.Vincent said...

Hi Susan !
You've written one of Garry Kasparov LIVE analysis: where can we follow him ?
Thanks for the answer,
Friendly yours,
David
http://famillevincent.over-blog.com

SusanPolgar said...

Garry showed his analysis on move 19. He was in a meeting so he only briefly showed this line.

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar
www.SusanPolgar.com
www.PolgarChess.com

Anonymous said...

Hi

I hope next game is 1.e4!

Yves

wg said...

To all interested, here's a PGN file of Susan's live commentary. (Susan I hope this is OK!)

[Event "WCC Match 2006"]
[Date "2006.09.26"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

{Annotated by GM Susan Polgar.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2
{Typical setup from Kramnik, very solid.} Nc6 {
He varied from game 1 where he played 5. Bb4+.} 6. Qa4 Bd7 7. Qxc4 Na5 8. Qd3
c5 9. O-O Bc6 10. Nc3 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bc5 {Topalov is willing to give Kramnik a
Bishop pair in exchange for some play. Otherwise, it is very hard to go for
the win with a symmetrical pawn structure.} 12. Rd1 {Kramnik would want
nothing more than exchanging Queens and head to endgame. White has a slight
edge. I expect Topalov to try to do something but I do not expect much.} Bxg2 {
Allowing Qb5+.} 13. Qb5+ Nd7 14. Kxg2 a6 {White still maintains a small edge
due to more space advantage and piece development.} 15. Qd3 {I don't see
anything here for Black that can make Kramnik sweat. Most logical or "normal"
would be Nf6 or Be7.} Rc8 {I am nervous about this move because it allows 16.
Ne4 or 16.Bg5. I like White's position. I don't like the Black King in the
middle of the board.} (15... O-O {is bad due to} 16. Nc2 $16) 16. Bg5 {
Topalov allowed it and Kramnik played it. 16...Be7 is the most logical
response but you never know with Topalov.} Be7 {Finally Topalov played a move
I expect. But now White has 17.Ne4 and White still maintains a solid advantage,
a position that is hard for Kramnik to lose. I very much like 17.Ne4 now. I am
just not sure how much complication does Kramnik want to get into. Kramnik is
wise to take his time now, about 30 minutes. This is the critical moment on
how he wants the game to proceed.} ({If} 16... Qxg5 17. Nxe6 Ne5 18. Nxg5 Nxd3
{and White has a solid advantage.}) 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Rac1 {So this is typical
Kramnik! He wants to avoid any complication and secure a safe position. After
the trade of Bishops and symmetrical pawn structure, Kramnik is happy to draw
this game and he plays like it.} Nc4 {This is a very sound move.} ({If} 18...
O-O {White then has} 19. Nf5 {with an edge.}) 19. Na4 {A good response by
White, probably the most solid response. Now, I would play 19...b5 if I am
Topalov.} b5 {This is Garry Kasparov's LIVE analysis 19...b5 20.b3 Nde5 21.Qe4
f5 22.Qh4 (22.Qxe5 Qb7+) bxa4 23.bxc4 Qxh4 24.gxh4 Ke7 (24...Nxc4 25.Nxe6 Ke7)
25.c5 Rhd8 26.f4 Ng4 27.Kg3 Rd5 28.c6 Nf6} 20. b3 O-O 21. bxc4 bxa4 22. Nc6
Rxc6 23. Qxd7 {Kramnik is playing as safe as possible.} Qc5 {Topalov is
te not to trade Queen. I cannot possibly fathom Kramnik losing here as he is
one of the best endgame player in chess.} 24. Rc3 g6 25. Rb1 {White has a very
comfortable position here. In fact, White is slightly better. I think Black
can play something like 25...a3 but not much for Black. It is easier to play
White here.} h5 {A logical and sensible move. However, again, Topalov needs to
be careful. White has an advantage in this position with little or no risk to
lose.} 26. Rb7 {As I just stated above, White has an advantage and Topalov
better take Kramnik's position seriously! He cannot afford to go down 0-3. I
expect him to play 26...e5 now. He needs some counter chances.} e5 27. e4 Rf6
28. Rc2 Qa3 29. Qd1 {Even though Black seems to have some counter play, White
still has a solid advantage. Kramnik is not worried at all.} Rd6 {White still
has nothing to worry about. 30.Rd2 is obvious and maintains the advantage.} 30.
Rd2 {If Black goes back to Rf6, White would play 31.Rc7 and push the c pawn. I
would definitely take White here. But you have to give it to Topalov for
trying hard!} Rfd8 31. Rd5 {Now White is CLEARLY better. I am very concerned
for Topalov here. Kramnik is awesome in endgames.} Rxd5 {Kramnik is willing to
sacrifice the a pawn for the connected passed pawns. This is so much better
for White! Topalov will have a difficult time holding this. The best shot is
32...e4 but not much will be achieved.)} 32. cxd5 $6 {Wow! Kramnik took with
the c pawn! I am completely shocked! He clearly wanted to avoid the more
complicated exd5 line.} Qxa2 33. Qf3 Rf8 34. Qd3 {Leave it to Kramnik to avoid
complications! That is why he chose to take back with the c pawn. Black has
more life because of this. Kramnik still has an advantage but small now.} a3 {
I still believe this game would be a draw unless Topalov is pulling a Topalov
in the first 2 games. White's small advantage should not be enough to win here.
} 35. Rb3 {I can't believe Kramnik played this. It seems that he is so happy
to try to draw this game. This shows me that Kramnik still worries about
Topalov even up 2-0. Actually, it may not be a bad thing to have a 2 point
lead with 9 games to go.} f5 {
Now, Black is safe but still not winning. At least he is not worst now.} 36.
Qxa6 {gain, typical Kramnik, choosing the safest possible line to guarantee a
draw. This is why Kramnik is so hard to beat in a match. He is almost
unbeatable. The good news for Topalov is he will have White tomorrow. The bad
news is there are only 9 games left and his opponent is the rock solid Kramnik.
} Qxb3 37. Qxg6+ Kh8 38. Qh6+ Kg8 {I think this draw is good for both sides.
It helps Kramnik because it is one more game out of the way. It also helps
Topalov because I think he can calm down now. I expect an all out assault by
Topalov tomorrow.} 1/2-1/2

vvchess said...

I am glad Topalov is trying to find his rhythm. It was hard to play for a win from the positions and he shouldn't.

He should have played like this from game one but it too late to cry over spilt milk.

At least he's calming down which is good.

The priority for Topalov should be to find a way to equalize without taking unreasonable risks. I think he is on that path.

Marc Shepherd said...

"He should have played like this from game one but it too late to cry over spilt milk....The priority for Topalov should be to find a way to equalize without taking unreasonable risks."

Actually, he more than equalized in Game One. But it wasn't a winning advantage, and instead of taking the clear draw when it was offered, he blundered into a loss.

In today's game, he never reached equality, and against a more aggressive opponent he could have landed in a very tough endgame. I give him credit, though, for trying to create chances while keeping the draw in hand.

I believe that Topalov will have winning chances in at least a few of the remaining nine games. But he needs to convert those chances without being reckless, and that will be tough.

Should the match become competitive again, nerves and stamina (for both players) could prove crucial.

Marc Shepherd said...

"I hope next game is 1.e4!"

It depends whether Topalov wants to allow a Petroff.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping for a Petroff with 4)Nf7?!

vvchess said...

marc,

I meant equalize the score not the game.

"I believe that Topalov will have winning chances in at least a few of the remaining nine games. But he needs to convert those chances without being reckless, and that will be tough."

Agree.

I personally think he should play some new openings and stay away from the well trodden paths in WCC games.

- VV

irishspy said...

Nah. Vienna Gambit. It's the Romantic in me. :)

Anonymous said...

WG thanks so much for posting Susan's comments in pgn notation, it is much appreciated!!