Giri's Tricky Knight Keeps the Intrigue

Время публикации: 25.06.2015 01:50 | Последнее обновление: 25.06.2015 10:51

Stavanger: the two most experienced participants will face each other in the decisive battle

After the penultimate round in Norway Chess 2015, the tournament situation got much more complicated. Veselin Topalov, who had been in the seemingly unshakeable lead, failed to hold a worse ending against Anish Giri, while one of his nearest pursuers, Viswanathan Anand, beat Jon Ludvig Hammer and is now only half a point behind his historical rival. Moreover, Anand and Topalov are to face each other tomorrow in the decisive battle, Anand being Black. 

Veselin's reaction to his defeat was philosophical: "If Vishy tomorrow wants to play for the tournament victory, it doesn't matter if I am one point or half a point ahead. Of course, it'd be better to have made a draw, but the attitudes would be similar anyway."

GIRI - TOPALOV

This calm ending, one of those favored by Ulf Andersson, is in fact full of hidden resources. One of them is that the knight might be stronger that the bishop, which happened indeed. Thus, Topalov could have preferred 25...Bxd6 26.Rxd6, although it wouldn't have saved him from something he doesn't like, namely passive defence.
25...Rd7 26.Nc4 Rxd1 27.Rxd1 b5?! It seems this is the move which costed Topalov dear. Better was 27...Rd8! and neither 28.Rc1 Rc8 29.a4 Kf8 nor 28.Rxd8+ Bxd8 29.a4 Kf8 give White anything but a microscopic plus.
28.Ne5 Bf6 29.Nd7 Giri liked this knight transfer, since it prevents the black king from coming to the center.
29...a4 30.Rc1 axb3 31.axb3 Be7 32.Rc7 Rd8 33.Rb7 Bd6 34.g4!

34...h5 At the press conference, both players disapproved of this move, but there is no clear equality in other lines either. For example, 34...h6 35.h4 b4 36.h5 Rc8 37.Rb6 Be7 38.е3, and 38...Rc3 gives Black nothing, since after 39.Ne5 the rook must come back in view of the mating threats.
35.gxh5 Kh7 36.b4!? Bxb4 Black could have tried calm 36...Kg8, aiming at 4 vs 3 endgame: 37.e3 Bxb4 38.Ne5 Rf8 39.Rxb5, or 37.Nc5 Rb8 38.Rxb8 Bxb8. It looks like the position could still be saved by long patient defence.
37.Ne5 Rd5 (the problem is that 37...f6 is met with the fork 38.Nc6) 38.Nxf7 Rxh5 39.f4 Kg6?! The last chance is 39...Bd2, which was also possible two moves later, since Giri went for the repetition.
40.Ne5+ Kh7 41.Nf7 Kg6 42.Ne5+ Kh7 43.Nf3. Soon Anish won the weak e6-pawn and went on to convert his advantage without much trouble. 1-0

Topalov's other pursuer, Hikaru Nakamura, was close to catching up with Anand, but he failed to make use of his winning chances against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Norway Chess 2015: the crosstable, schedule, results, games, other reviews, etc.

One should add that history knows at least one more crucial game between Topalov and Anand - it was the last game in the World Championship match in Sofia 2010. Veselin Topalov didn't want to compete with Anand in rapid and played sharply for a win with White. As a result, he went too far and lost the game and the match. This time, however, Topalov will be content with a draw in any case.
The last round will begin at 17.00 Moscow time, as usual.

 [Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8.3"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2773"] [BlackElo "2798"] [ECO "E10"] [Opening "Queen's pawn game"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Rd1 b6 10. b3 a5 11. Bc3 Bb7 12. Nbd2 c5 13. Ne5 cxd4 14. Bxd4 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qc8 16. Rac1 dxc4 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. Qxc4 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Qb7+ 20. Qe4 Rfb8 21. Rc6 Qd7 22. Rcc1 Qb7 23. Qxb7 Rxb7 24. Ne4 Be7 25. Nd6 Rd7 26. Nc4 Rxd1 27. Rxd1 b5 28. Ne5 Bf6 29. Nd7 a4 30. Rc1 axb3 31. axb3 Be7 32. Rc7 Rd8 33. Rb7 Bd6 34. g4 h5 35. gxh5 Kh7 36. b4 Bxb4 37. Ne5 Rd5 38. Nxf7 Rxh5 39. f4 Kg6 40. Ne5+ Kh7 41. Nf7 Kg6 42. Ne5+ Kh7 43. Nf3 Rf5 44. Ng5+ Kh6 45. Kf3 Bd2 46. e3 b4 47. Nxe6 Rh5 48. Nxg7 Rxh2 49. Nf5+ Kg6 50. Ne7+ Kf6 51. Nd5+ Ke6 52. Ke4 Rh3 53. Rb6+ Kd7 54. Kd3 Bc1 55. Rxb4 Kd6 56. Kd4 1-0[Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2781"] [BlackElo "2805"] [ECO "A49"] [Opening "King's Indian"] [Variation "fianchetto without c4"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. d4 d5 4. c4 c6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. Qb3 O-O 7. Nc3 Qb6 8. O-O Rd8 9. Na4 Qxb3 10. axb3 Na6 11. Nc3 Bf5 12. Bf4 Nh5 13. Bg5 Nf6 14. Bf4 Nh5 15. Bg5 Nf6 16. Rfc1 h6 17. Bd2 Ne4 18. cxd5 cxd5 19. Be1 Nb8 20. e3 Nc6 21. Nh4 Nxc3 22. bxc3 Be4 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. b4 a6 25. c4 e6 26. Rab1 Na7 27. Ng2 g5 28. Bc3 Rac8 29. c5 e5 30. dxe5 Nc6 31. Ne1 Bxe5 32. Kf1 Bxc3 33. Rxc3 Rd2 34. Rc2 Rcd8 35. b5 axb5 36. Rxd2 Rxd2 37. Rxb5 Nd8 38. Rb4 Ne6 39. Rxb7 Nxc5 40. Rb5 Nd7 41. h3 Kg7 42. Rb4 f5 43. Rc4 Ne5 44. Rc2 Rd1 45. Ke2 Ra1 46. f4 exf3+ 47. Nxf3 Nxf3 48. Kxf3 Rf1+ 49. Kg2 Ra1 50. Kf3 Rf1+ 51. Kg2 Ra1 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2876"] [BlackElo "2780"] [ECO "C90"] [Opening "Ruy Lopez"] [Variation "closed, Pilnik variation"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. Re1 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2 Nc6 12. Nf1 h6 13. Ne3 Re8 14. a4 Be6 15. d4 exd4 16. cxd4 Nb4 17. Bb1 bxa4 18. Rxa4 Bf8 19. Ra1 d5 20. e5 Ne4 21. h3 Qb6 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Bxe4 Rad8 24. Bxd5 Rxd5 25. Be3 Red8 26. dxc5 Bxc5 27. Qb3 Bxe3 28. Rxe3 a5 29. e6 fxe6 30. Rae1 R8d6 31. Rc1 Nd3 32. Rc8+ Kh7 33. Qa4 Qxb2 34. Qe4+ Rf5 35. Kh2 Nf4 36. Rc2 Qa1 37. g4 Qf1 38. Ne1 Nh5 39. gxf5 exf5 40. Qc4 1-0 [Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8.4"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2802"] [BlackElo "2723"] [ECO "B92"] [Opening "Sicilian"] [Variation "Najdorf, Opovcensky variation"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Qd3 b5 9. a4 b4 10. Nd5 Bb7 11. Nxf6+ Bxf6 12. Bd2 a5 13. c3 bxc3 14. Bxc3 O-O 15. O-O Nc6 16. Rfd1 Re8 17. Bf3 Be7 18. Qb5 Qc8 19. Bg4 Qxg4 20. Qxb7 Rec8 21. Nxa5 Nxa5 22. Qxe7 Nb3 23. f3 Qf4 24. Ra3 Nd4 25. Raa1 Ne2+ 26. Kh1 Nxc3 27. bxc3 h5 28. Qxd6 Rxc3 29. Qd5 Ra6 30. Qb5 Rac6 31. Qf1 h4 32. h3 Rc2 33. Re1 Qd2 34. Red1 Qg5 35. Re1 Qd2 36. Rad1 Qb4 37. Qd3 Kh7 38. Qd8 Rf6 39. Rc1 Qxa4 40. Rxc2 Qxc2 41. Qd1 Qf2 42. Rf1 Qg3 43. Qd7 Rg6 44. Rg1 Rf6 45. Rf1 Rg6 46. Rg1 Rf6 47. Rf1 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Norway Chess 2015"] [Site "Stavanger NOR"] [Date "2015.06.24"] [Round "8.5"] [White "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Black "Hammer, Jon Ludvig"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2804"] [BlackElo "2677"] [ECO "A20"] [Opening "English opening"] [EventDate "2015.06.16"] 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nc3 Nb6 6. d3 Be7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Rc1 f5 9. Nf3 Nc6 10. O-O Be6 11. b4 a6 12. a3 Kh8 13. Na4 Nxa4 14. Qxa4 Bd5 15. Bc5 Bd6 16. Qc2 Qf6 17. e4 Be6 18. exf5 Bxf5 19. Be3 a5 20. b5 Ne7 21. Bg5 Qf7 22. Qc3 h6 23. Bxe7 Qxe7 24. Nh4 Bxa3 25. Bxb7 Bxc1 26. Nxf5 Rxf5 27. Bxa8 Ba3 28. Qxa5 Bc5 29. Be4 Rf8 30. Kg2 Qd6 31. h4 h5 32. Qd2 Qf6 33. Qe2 g6 34. Bxg6 Qxg6 35. Qxe5+ Kg8 36. Qxc5 1-0 


  


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