Nanjing Pearl Spring chess tournament live commentary
The round 5 game between Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler begins at 8:00 am CET. The commentary will appear below the board.
More about Nanjing chess tournament
Peter Svidler resigned and Veselin Topalov scores the first win in Nanjing! Black is losing not only e6, but most likely b6 pawn as well, since 29…Rb7 30. Nxe6! threatens discovered check, then 30…Rb8 31. f4 the pawns are rolling forward and we can’t see how would Black break the pin.
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29. Bb3! – A fine change of plans. The Knight was targeting e6 for so long, but in the end it will be the Bishop to collect this pawn. The point is that the Knight will head to newly freed square d5, which would prove that Bf6 was simple waste of time.
26. Rd1 – Threatening 27. dxe6 Rxd1+ 28. Bxd1 fxe6 29. Nxe6
26…Bf6?! – It is unclear what was the idea behind this move, Topalov simply takes on e6. The only way to save e6 was radical 26…g5, but then White’s f2-f4 would come with great force.
23…Rc8 – Svidler decides to give a7 instead of e6 pawn. 23…Qxc5 24. Bxc5 Rd7 25. dxe6 (25. Bxa7 Ra8 takes a4 back) dxe5 26. Nxe6 b6 and Rc8 next with solid counterplay.
22. Qc3 – A fine move that also highlights the weakness on e6. The Rook can’t go back, or White takes on e6, and then there remains 22…Bg7. Only now White takes on c5, because after the exchange, Rdd8 is not discovering Bc5-Bf8 contact anymore and so e6 is hanging as well.
20…Bxb5 – It wasn’t really necessary to rush with this, the Rook won’t escape (a4 hanging otherwise). Maybe 20…Rbc8!? first?
20. a4!? – Topalov is insisting, he clearly said good-bye to the exchange. Now there is no turning back because Ra6 and Be8 are hitting on a4.
19…Bf8 – Without too much thought. Svidler realised that accepting the exchange would be too dangerous. Now Rook goes to b2, and if Black plays Bg7 back, at least White won a tempo for Rooks’ doubling by 21. Rfb1. White won’t get much on the b-file, but it at least discourages Qa5 and Black pieces will have to take care of b7.
19. Rb5! – A thunder from the clear sky! Topalov wants the c5 pawn and pays no attention to the material. 19…Bxb5 is critical, of course, then 20. cxb5, attacks the Rook and opens the gate to c5 and e6, 20…Rd6 gives two pawns for consolidation of forces, but maybe the annoying 20…Ra3!? is worth trying.
In the end, Svidler is not forced to take on b5, he can play 19…Bf8 to defend the c5 and then Rb5 has to move backwards.
17…Rd6!!? – “It looks crazy, but the pain has disappeared”, said an old commercial for spine sustainer. The Rook will neatly support the weakened e6 and press on a2 at the same time.
17. Be2! – Exclamation mark attached only because White is attempting to solve the problem of his worst piece. The light-squared Bishop is very clumsy, but now after the Queen moves away from the d-file, White could even threaten dxe6.
15…e6 – The standard method of challenging White’s massive but immobile center. It might be argued though that now with the Bishop on e8, 15…a6 and 16…b5 was more to the point? Topalov’s next 16. Nf4 immediately reminds that e6 might be a liability in the later stage of the game.
13…Be8!? – This was the point behind Rfd8, Bishop does not have to necessarily retreat to c8. White center is hanging and Topalov pushes d5 next. Perhaps the slight drawback of Be8 is that Bishop will not protect e6 in some variations. Topalov’s 13. h3 looks kinda slow, but maybe he was simply temporising?
13. h3 – This is a new move, previously GM Vitiugov played standard 13. Bf4, while Hungarian GM Berkes used curious 13. Qc1!? to beat Emil Sutovsky. Perhaps the straightforward 13. f4 would best suit Topalov’s style?
12…Rfd8!? – As an unwritten rule, this Rook is allowed to leave its post when White Bishop steps away from the diagonal with f7 pawn. Of course, Black wants to increase the pressure on White’s center, but 12…Rad8 has been almost automatic in this position, as it allows Bishop’s or Queen’s retreat to c8 while the Rooks remain connected. Svidler himself moved the “a” Rook in a last year game versus Shirov.
12. Bd3 – Bishop on c4 was sort of hanging on the c-file against Qc7 and White has to take the necessary precaution. The game move allows the central tension to last a little longer. More common is 12. Bf4 Qc8 13. d5 Na5 14. Bd3 e5!?
11…Qc7 – Svidler also played 11…a6!? quite often. Pawn b7 is indirectly protected because Na5 forks Bc4 and Rb7. In this case, facing with the prospect of queenside expansion, White usually break the central pawn mass with 12. dxc5. This is possible since b6 has been weakened.
11. Rb1 – It is usually a good idea to move the Rook from the Bg7 diagonal at the first convenience. Rb1 is by far most popular but Rc1 has also been played. The point behind Black’s move order (first Bd7 and then Qc7), is that while Rc1 is main move against Qc7, now it is not that effective since Black Queen is still on the starting square.
10…Bd7 – Svidler prefers quiet approach with 11…Bd7 or 11…Qc7 (transpositions possible) over the most popular but sharper 11…Bg4. It is not surprising that Bg4 has been played by Shirov, Van Wely and Sutovsky, all of them being famed as very aggressive players.
7. Bc4 – Botvinnik/Estrin variation never lost its popularity, but 7. Nf3 c5 8. Rb1 was the main battleground for the top players over the last decade. Now they are slowly switching back to explore new possibilities with Bc4. Perhaps GM Konstantin Sakaev’s monumental analytical work, published in a thick book by Chess Stars, sparkled the revival.
4. cxd5 – Blacks experienced some problems in 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bg5 earlier, but Topalov is always using the main lines against the Gruenfeld.
3…d5 – This was not difficult to guess, Peter Svidler is playing his favourite Gruenfeld Indian defence.
Good morning everyone, welcome to the Chessdom LIVE coverage of the Pearl Spring tournament. Both Topalov and Svidler are yet to score the first win in Nanjing, hopefully we will have a decisive result today