Aronian – Topalov LIVE!

live commentary of Nanjing Pearl Spring

The round 1 game between Aronian and Topalov begins at 8:00am CET. The commentary has begun, scroll down below the board for details.

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10:20 CET

40. Kd4 – Finally a draw, as expected. Not a very fighting game, but the players are probably still suffering from jet lag (Topalov flew on Tuesday). We can surely expect much more in the following rounds. Thank you everyone for following Chessdom live coverage, see you again tomorrow at 7:30 CET. Have a nice day!

10:15 CET

39. g4 – The players are now blitzing in a drawish endgame with unlike Bishops. We are not sure if there are any anti-draw restrictions, but this game should be over soon.

10:00 CET

27. Qc1 – It looks like Aronian wants to clean the board.

28…Kf8 – It would be difficult to anticipate that either player can really win this, but Magnus Carlsen’s games teach us that almost anything is possible!

9:55 CET

26…Nd7 – The Knight might be heading to c4 or maybe even a4.

9:45 CET

24. Rd1 – After the relatively forced sequence, we have a completely equal position. Black holds some space on the queenside, but it doesn’t count for much.

24…g5!? – A common motif is to push the pawn to g4 and reduce the mobility of White’s pawn mass.

9:40 CET

20…a6 – This is neat. White can’t take on b7 because after Rb8 and Nxb2, Rd1 is attacked and Bd2 needs protection. Therefore, Topalov simply prepares to expand on the queenside with b7-b5…

9:30 CET

19. Bd2 – This is now inviting direct 19…Nd3 or maybe even better 19…Ng4!? with idea Ne5 and then Nd3.

19…Nd3 – Topalov immediately replies with Nd3. Now on 20. Be1 he can take the Bishop or play 20…Ne5!?

20. Qb3 – Aronian also moves instantly…Black can ignore b7 and counterattack f2 with Ng4!? or even 20…Qb6 might come into consideration because then b2 would be asking protection.

9:00 CET

16…Be7 – The Bishop clears the way for the Knight to reach c5. It is not only taking a tempo on the Qb3, but it also conveniently controls important squares d3 and e4.

17. Bg2 – Nine moves later, the Bishop finally justifies g2-g3 in its most practical feature – a fianchetto.

17…Nc5 – It is not easy to decide where to put the Queen (b5, c4, d1), as Black will always quickly challenge the d-file with Rfd8 and then try to exploit the weak d3 square by directing his Knights towards it.

8:45 CET

15. Qb3 – Aronian wants to keep the Bishop on c4 for the time of being, but after 15…Qc7 or 15…Qb6!? he will likely have to retreat to e2 or f1 anyway.

16. Bf1 – 16. Bd2 was also possible as Black still does not have discovered attacks, but in general it is best to step away on time.

8:30 CET

14…Rc8 – Topalov is following Gelfand’s footsteps. Alisa Gallamova played 14…Qe7 in one of her games, which seems natural, as Black is connecting the Rooks.

8:20 CET

11. Qc2 – was curiously seen in both games between Gelfand and Kramnik at last year’s Melodi Amber. Kramnik won the mini-match by 1.5-0.5. The alternative was 11. b3.

8:15 CET

It is interesting to note that Boris Gelfand and Wang Yue have tested this position with both colors. Wang Yue beat Topalov’s second Ivan Cheparinov with White in Taiyuan 2007.

8:10 CET

4…Bf5 – Considered to be a safer option, instead, 4…e6 would be Meran defence which contains much sharper lines.

8. g3 – Usually a good idea if White delays capturing on g6. This way Nh4 is defended in case of Black’s Nf6-e4, but also after the later Nxg6 hxg6, which opens the h-file, the h2 pawn will not be under attack.

8:05 CET

Topalov decides to play Slav defence, a favorite opening of his opponent. Perhaps this has some psychological background, or Topalov is simply mixing around as he already played Slav before, also against Aronian in a rapid game.

7:40 CET

In 2008, Levon Aronian and Veselin Topalov have met relatively often over the chess board – 7 games with classical time control. In Morelia-Linares they have exchanged wins with White pieces, while Aronian won one game at each Corus and Bilbao Masters. Topalov won both games on his homeground, at Mtel Masters.

7:30 CET

Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament. As earlier speculations about Pearl Spring joining the Grand Slam Association are becoming more and more valid, we have just learned that San Luis, Argentina is set to host a Grand Slam event in 2009.