Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary
The round 9 game between Peter Svidler and Veselin Topalov begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.
More about Nanjing chess tournament
36…Bh4 – White pawns are awfully weak and the position is without perspective, so Peter Svidler decided to give up. As Bu Xiangzhi and Levon Aronian drew their game, Veselin Topalov secured win in Nanjing with one round to go. Congratulations!
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31…Bd8 – Black still has to find the way to protect b6-pawn and 8th rank before storming forward with the Rook. White, however, has additional problem with the weak base on d4.
32…g6 – Better not to allow f4-f5 with Ne2-f4 next…
27…0-0 – Never too late to castle Black Rooks are finally connected and we can be certain that Black is better. White’s initiative is vanishing.
26. Rb7 – 26…Nb8 with idea Nc6 and 0-0 should be working fine for Topalov. The other White Rook is still tied for the first rank as Black has Nxd2 and then Nc1 would be hanging. For example 26…Nb8 27. Ra8 0-0! 28. Raxb8 Nxd2 29. Rxc8 Nxf3+ with Rxc8 next, which is a very poor ending for White.
24. Bd2 – The Knight is not really in danger as there is exit via a3-c4. The only remaining (but not that simple) problem for Black is how to connect the Rooks.
21. Nc1 – Covering d3, with idea 22. Nd2
21…Nb4 – Opening the c-file for Queen’s retreat after 22. Nd2. If Ra2 leaves the 2nd rank, Qc2 will follow.
20…Qc4 – Black should be careful not to have his Queen trapped, but there are lots of light squares for the Queen to wonder on. 20…Nb4!? with idea 21…Qd3 deserved attention.
17…Qxc3 – The most consistent is to accept the gift. However, 17…Qxf1+ 18. Kxf1 f6! was also giving edge to Black, without big risk involved.
17. c3!? – The best way to get rid of the weak pawn is to simply throw it? There are no concrete lines to backup the pawn sacrifice, except that White might win some tempi to open up the queenside. 17…Qxc3 18. a5!? Qc4! and looks like Black will be able to maintain the blockade.
16. Qf1!? – Interesting was 16. a5!? b5 17. a6!? with possible counterplay against b-pawn in the future.
16…Nc6 – In case of 17. Qxc4 dxc4 (c-file covered atm so there is no Rxc4) 18. Nbd2 Na5, White gets e4 square for the Knight, but Black has succeeded in blocking the queenside and has easier play.
13…Ne7 – Also possible was 13…Bb4+, but Topalov wants to keep the Bishop for a while longer.
15. Rb1!? – Svidler is allowing doubled pawns on d-file, because this would help him get rid of the weakness from c2 and also d3 pawn prevents some future anchoring with Nc4. Pawn majority wouldn’t count for much as White Rooks would be very active on the queenside.
11. Ra2 – The c2-pawn will be a serious burden on Svidler’s position. Later maybe a4 as well.
11…Qc7 – Topalov is adding more pressure, now 12. Bd3 is forced. Bb4+ will also come in.
9…cxb3 – 9…c3!? was also interesting, but then White simply continues Nf1-g3 and turns his focus to the kingside for the time of being.
10. Nxb3 – 10. cxb3 Bb4 looks wonderful for Black, one of the drawbacks of 8. a4 is weakened b4 square.
7…c4!? – Caro-Kann guru Anatoly Karpov played 7…a6!? in a blitz game against Sergei Movsesian earlier this year
8. a4!? – It looks like a time waste, but Svidler has a clear idea on his mind. He wants to break Black’s queenside blockade with b3 and prevents possible b7-b5.
8…h6 – Useful move in many Advance variations. Now that there is no more d4-c5 pawn contact, Be3 is not doing much and White might want to put it on more active square g5. Also, Bf5 will find good shelter on h7.
7. Nbd2 – Relatively rare, compared to 7. c4 and 7. 0-0. Perhaps Svidler is planning to recapture with the Knight in case of some c2-c4, dxc4, but his move is also dropping some of the central pressure now that Nc3 is no longer a “threat” (after c4).
6…Nd7 – Better than the “normal” 6…Nc6, which leaves Black in huge trouble after 7. dxc5! With the game move Black is defending c5 and leaves vacant square for Ng8-e7-c6. The drawback is that in some lines White can push quick c4 and later break with d5. 6…cxd4 is also fully playable.
5. Be2 – Seemingly quiet setup, but in fact this is the most promising continuation for White. England’s GM Nigel Short was one of the first to popularise it. The arising positions are not razor-sharp, as in 4. Nc3 e6 5. g4!?, but White will create strong pressure in the center and queenside, using the fact that Black’s light-squared Bishop is absent.
3. e5 – Caro-Kann holds a reputation of a boring and drawish opening. The Advance variation is by no means quiet or harmless, just remember Shirov-Topalov from the Olympiad. Even the traditional main line can turn into wild adventure, replay the recent Bacrot-Leko to see for yourself.
1…c6!? – This is hardly a surprise anymore, as Veselin Topalov already played Caro-Kann at the Dresden Olympiad, and his friend and trainer Ivan Cheparinov is using it regularly in FIDE Grand Prix.
Both players have had late start in Nanjing. Topalov signed his first win exactly against Svidler in round five. It was a brilliant exchange sacrifice after which Black position collapsed. Svidler woke up a bit later and scored two consecutive wins against Movsesian and then-leading Bu.
Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament.