giovedì 26 aprile 2018

The Breakthrough

Magnus Carlsen – Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov
5th Gashimov Memorial; Şəmkir, April 26, 2018
English Opening A28

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 Bb4 5. Qc2 Bxc3 6. bxc3 d6 7. e4 0-0 8. g3 Ne8 9. Nh4 Ne7 10. d3!? Certainly no one could seriously expect Carlsen to follow Mihai Șubă’s footsteps: 10. Qb3 Rb8 11. d4? c5! 12. dxc5? dxc5 13. Qa3 b6 14. Qxa7 Bb7 15. f3 Bxe4! 16. Qa4 Bd3 17. Bg5 Bxf1 18. Rd1 Bd3 19. Bxe7 Qxe7 20. Rxd3 Nd6 21. 0-0 Ra8 22. Qb3 b5! with great advantage to Black, Șubă – Komarov, 43rd Romanian Team Chess Championship, Sovata 1998. 10. ... f5 11. exf5 Nxf5 12. Nxf5 Bxf5 13. Bg2 c6 14. h3 Nc7 15. 0-0 Ne6 16. Be3 Nc5 17. Rad1 Qd7 18. Kh2 Bg6 19. Rd2 Rae8 20. Qd1 b6 21. Re1 h6 22. Bxc5 dxc5. 22. ... bxc5!? might have been sounder. 23. Re3 Re6 24. Kg1 Rd6 25. h4 Rd8 26. Rxe5 Bxd3 27. Be4


27. ... Bxc4? This is a strange decision on Topalov’s part, who seems to have believed that Black could somehow establish a fortress. Stockfish’s 27. ... Kf8 28. Qf3+ Kg8 29. Bxc6 Qxc6 30. Qxc6 Rxc6 31. Rd5 Rxd5 32. cxd5 Rd6 33. Rxd3 b5 appears to lead to a drawish 3 vs. 2 Pawns on the same side Rook endgame. 28. Rxd6 Qxd6 29. Re8+ Rxe8 30. Qxd6 Rxe4 31. Qxc6 Re1+ 32. Kh2 Bxa2 33. g4. Carlsen denies Black any possible Rook + Pawn fortress set-ups, and finishes the game with great elegance. If, instead, 33. Qa8+ Kh7 34. Qxa7 there might follow 34. ... Re2 35. Qxb6 Rxf2+ and Black could still hope for survival. 33. ... Kh7 34. f4 h5 35. f5 hxg4 36. h5 Bf7 37. Qb7 Kg8 38. Qxa7 Bxh5 39. Qxb6 c4 40. Qd8+ Be8 41. Kg3 Kh7 42. Qc7 Kg8 43. Qxc4+ Bf7 44. Qd4 Re8 45. c4 Rf8 46. c5 Be8 47. Qd5+ Kh7 48. Qe6 Bb5 49. c6 Bxc6 50. Qg6+ Kg8 51. Qxc6 Rf6 52. Qe8+ Kh7 53. Kxg4 Rh6 54. Kf4 Rf6 55. Ke5 Rh6 56. Qe6! 1 : 0.

Magnus Carlsen (standing) and Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov (seated) shaking hands. Photo: Jeroen van den Berg (@Jvdbergchess).

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