Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary
The round 2 game between Topalov and Bu Xiangzhi begins at 7:30am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.
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49. Bf4+ – White decided to take a draw with perpetual check as Bxd4 Nc6 brings nothing. A good, instructive game where both Topalov (28. g4-29. b4 and 37. f4) and Bu (38…e4) missed some better lines.
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42. Bf4 – Has to prevent Ne5.
42…a6 – Immediate 42…d3!? was also interesting, if White takes there is Rxf4.
45. Ba2 – There are a number of possible retreats, but Topalov wants to keep an eye on e6 and f7.
41. b4 – Topalov is fighting to access the 7th rank via e7.
38…exf4 – 38…e4! was critical test for White since f4 came too late. 39. Rxf5 Bxf5 40. g4!? e4+ with Bc2 was slightly better for Black. Perhaps Bu was not in the mood to allow White to roll the kingside pawns, and decided to play the safer exf4 which leads to an equal ending. Black is a pawn ahead, but White has excellent pair of Bishops.
37. h4?! – Tame… Bu immediately responded with 37…Ref8, and then 38. Kg2 Rxf3! 39. Bf4 Rxf4 40. gxf4 Rxf4 is a much better version of exchange sacrifice (compared to previous note).
36…Rf5?! – Small slip on Bu’s side? 37. f4! now comes as very strong since 37…e4? 38. Rxf5 and Bf6+ fails, otherwise 37…Ref8 38. Bh6 Rff6 39. g4 which is still sharp but probably favorable for White.
34…Kh8 – Topalov should now think about the e5-e4 advance. One way is to march the King to d1, the other is to allow e5-e4-e3 by playing Bb5 and Bf4.
33…Bg6 – While looking frightening, 33…Bg4 was not really good as White can choose between 34. Bg2 and 34. f4!?, in both cases with slight advantage.
32. Re1 – Topalov is starting to press against e5, next will be Rc5. 32…e4 33. fxe4 Bxe4+ is not that good as White has 34. Bf4.
30…fxe5 – Black pawns look very powerful, but they can be a liability as well. Bu now threatens annoying 31…e4, therefore Topalov plays 31. Bd2 in order to have f-file cover with Bf4.
29…d4 – Better than 29…fxe5 30. b4! and White grabs some initiative.
28. Kf2 – Not as convincing as the plan with b4. A forced line will ensue as Black has nothing better than to push immediate e6-e5, otherwise White can switch back to b4.
27. Bf1! – Black can prevent Bh3 by playing 27…Bf5, but then a fine subtlety behind Bf1 comes to the surface, 28. g4! Bg6 29. b4! (the main difference between immediate 27. b4 being that Bf1 covers the 1st rank!), then 29…e5 30. dxe5 d4 31. Bxd4! Nxd4 32. Rxd4! (this was not possible before because Rxc1 would come with check).
26…Rfd8 – preparing e6-e5. White can prevent it in several ways: 27. f4 is not the best as it surrenders e4 to Black. 27. b4!? is still possible but it doesn’t seem convincing. 27. Bb5!? looks good, but it gets on the way of the b-pawn, which White wants to push forward. The best appears to be the neat 27. Bf1!? which threatens annoying Bh3.
25. f3 – 25. Rfe1!? was also interesting, with the idea of creating some pressure over the e-file. Topalov has different plan, he wants to place the Roon on d1. Then, Black won’t be able to easily double his own Rooks as Bc3-b4!? with ideas Bd6 or Bc5 can be annoying.
22. Rac1 – Topalov has to put this Rook on c1, because the other one should be on f1 in case of Black taking on e3.
22…f6!? – 22…Qxe3 23. fxe3 Be4! looked completely equal. The game move invites some dynamism into play as the blocked central pawn mass will be transformed.
20…Qh4 – A very sensible solution. Black Queen keeps an eye on d4 pawn and disrupts White’s kingside coordination.
21. g3 – Topalov immediately demonstrates that he doesn’t like the Black Queen on h4. If 21. f4 Be4! (not 21…f5?! as White gets some initiative after 22. b4 and next b5), Black is perfectly fine.
17…Nb8 – Knight has nothing left to do on d7 and Black has plenty of time to relocate it to c6.
18. Qe3!? – This appears to be a novelty! Magnus Carlsen and Topalov himself played 18. Qxd8 Rxd8, both against Bu Xiangzhi.
15. Ng5!? – Clearly the most popular with aggressive players like Carlsen, Topalov and Gelfand, but the “calm” 15. Ne1 can also induce huge complications, like in Eljanov-Harikrishna, Montreal 2007. Older guard used 15. Bd2 as the main continuation.
16…Bg6 – 16…Qxg5 17. Bxg5 Nb8 would most likely be a transposition as White has nothing better than to continue with Bg5-d2-c3.
14…Be7 – Now that Nc3 is gone, Black retreats the Bishop to cover a very important g5 square. Vladimir Kramnik likes 14…Re8!? better, and he played it against both Topalov and Anand in the World Championship matches.
12. e5 – 12. Bf4 appeals as more flexible, as Black then has to play 12…Re8 to renew the threat of e6-e5. But in this case, Black can later take exd5 after the exchange on of the Knights on d5, and Re8 is already on the semi-open file. Topalov played immediate 12. e5 against Kramnik in their World Championship match, and here he does it again.
9…Nbd7 – Bu experimented with 9…Ne4!? against Topalov in their earlier encounter at the Mtel Masters, but White won that game pretty convincingly.
10…Bg6 – Another possibility is 10… Bg4!?, but then 11. Rd1 Qe7 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 e5 14. d5!? and Black didn’t score well in this variation.
11…Bh5!? – A very annoying move, with the idea of pushing e6-e5. White has to prevent it…
4…dxc4 – A very solid and therefore popular variation of the Slav defence.
6. e3 – 6. Ne5 was very attractive some years back and Vladimir Kramnik used it to achieve excellent results. Kasparov and Topalov himself also played it, but nowadays Black have found good antidotes, and White have directed the attention back to the good-old 6.e3
7…Bb4 – A very convenient pin now that White has weakened b4 square. The Nc3 is needed to control d5 and e4, and Black wants to keep the contact with his Bishop in order to make an exchange when necessary.
The information that we brought on Tuesday is now official – Michael Adams confirmed that he is withdrawing from the FIDE Grand Prix.
Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament. Bu Xiangzhi was the only winner in the yesterday’s first round, to the delight of the local chess fans. He is clearly determinated to prove that 2008 Mtel Masters catastrophe was an isolated incident. That tournament featured the same 6-player double round robin system. Veselin Topalov started with a lazy draw against Levon Aronian, most likely the consequence of the long travel. We should see him playing more aggressive today. The third game of the first round, Vassily Ivanchuk – Peter Svidler, also finished in a draw, but Svidler missed a winning blow when he accepted perpetual check.