The Spanner in Topalov's Tournament

Topalov's great performance in Stavanger was put to an end in round eight. Anish Giri of Netherlands played a strong positional endgame and guessed correctly the most unpleasant line of battle against the former number one.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Norway Chess"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.06.24"]
[Round "8.3"]
[White "Giri, Anish"]
[Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2773"]
[BlackElo "2798"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:58:33"]
[BlackClock "0:11:02"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 {Diagram [#] Topalov has a lot of
experience in the Catalan. He had played it in two matches for the world
championship.} Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 Nbd7 9. Rd1 b6 10.
b3 a5 ({It is funny that Giri had played this position very recently, but with
the black pieces! He did not do so well after} 10... Ba6 11. a4 c5 12. a5 Rc8
13. Qa2 Nb8 14. axb6 axb6 15. Nc3 dxc4 16. Bf4 cxb3 17. Qxb3 Bb7 18. dxc5 {in
the game Caruana,F (2802)-Giri,A (2790) Shamkir 2015, in which he miraculously
survived.}) 11. Bc3 Bb7 12. Nbd2 c5 {The central clash frees Black's position.
Two pairs of central pawns will soon leave the board, as well as some minor
pieces.} 13. Ne5 cxd4 14. Bxd4 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Qc8 $146 {Diagram [#] Once again,
the Bulgarian GM comes with a novelty.} ({Previously only} 15... Ng4 16. Bd4 e5
17. h3 exd4 18. hxg4 Rc8 {has been tested, Hungaski,R (2486)-Gajewski,G (2628)
Barcelona 2012}) 16. Rac1 dxc4 17. Bxf6 {Giri is heading for slight advantage
without any risk.} ({Nothing gives} 17. Qxc4 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qb7+ {as now White
cannot block the check with the queen from e4 and the line} 19. Qc6 Qxc6+ 20.
Rxc6 Rfd8 {is equal (Giri).}) (17. Nxc4 $5 {was interesting as well, for
example} Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qb7+ 19. f3 Rac8 20. Qb2 $14) 17... Bxf6 18. Qxc4 Bxg2
19. Kxg2 {[%csl Gd2,Yf6] Diagram [#] Very soon a famous Catalan endgame will
arise in which the knight proves superior to the enemy bishop. The other
problem for the second player is that he has no control of the open "c" and"d"
files.} Qb7+ 20. Qe4 {The point behind White's previous play. He wants to get
the knight active on e4.} Rfb8 {The rook on a8 stands well to support the
advance of the queenside pawns.} (20... Rab8 21. Qxb7 Rxb7 22. Ne4 $14) 21. Rc6
Qd7 22. Rcc1 ({The pawn is invincible due to the pin along the "d" file} 22.
Rxb6 $6 Rd8 $1 {[%csl Yd1][%cal Rd8d1] Diagram [#] for example} (22... h6 23.
Rc6 Rc8) 23. Rc6 Rac8 24. Rxc8 Qxc8 25. Qc4 Qb7+ 26. Kg1 Be7 {and White cannot
free the knight easily.}) 22... Qb7 23. Qxb7 Rxb7 {[%csl Ya1,Yb2,Yc3,Gd2,Yd4,
Ye5][%cal Yf6a1,Gd2e4,Ge4d6,Gd2c4,Gc4e5,Ge5c6] Diagram [#] This is the endgame
in question. The black bishop is rather empty and cannnot attack anything,
while the knight can go pretty much everywhere. On the top of this it seems
that he arising positions not to the liking of Veselin Topalov. His two main
weapons- creativity and attacking skills are taken away and he needs to suffer
forever to held the game to a draw.} 24. Ne4 Be7 25. Nd6 Rd7 ({In case of}
25... Bxd6 26. Rxd6 Kf8 {Giri intended to proceed} 27. Rcc6 Rab8 28. e4 $16 {
"and after e4-e4 and h2-h4-h5 like he did in his game against Aronian." (Giri)}
) 26. Nc4 Rxd1 ({In case of} 26... Rb7 {Giri planned} 27. Ne5 {but it seems as
Black can defend with both the rooks on the board after} f6 28. Nc6 Bc5 {
followed by Kg8-f7.}) 27. Rxd1 b5 ({Both player spent time analyzing the
endgames after} 27... Rd8 28. Rxd8+ Bxd8 29. Kf3 Kf8 30. Ke4 Ke7 31. a4 f6 32.
Kd4 Kd7 33. Nb2 Kc6 34. Kc4 {Diagram [#] and came to the conclusion that it is
drawish, but with some difficulties still.}) 28. Ne5 Bf6 29. Nd7 {Giri found
an interesting attacking construction.} ({Worse is} 29. Nd3 Rc8) 29... a4 {
Topalov is trying to trade all the pawns on the queenside. However, this is
where Black missed the interesting resource} (29... Rc8 30. Rd6 Rc7 $1 {[%cal
Gc8c7,Rf6e7] Diagram [#] very difficult move for a human. The idea is to get
rid of the annoying rook with Bf6-e6, possible line} (30... Rc2 31. Ra6) 31.
Nxf6+ (31. Kf3 Be7 $1 {is the point behindBlack's last move.} 32. Rd2 f6) 31...
gxf6 32. Ra6 Rc2 33. Rxa5 Rxe2 $11) 30. Rc1 (30. Rd6 $5) 30... axb3 31. axb3
Be7 32. Rc7 $1 {The position that Giri had in mind. The knight on d7 is placed
superbly, stopping the black king from getting into the center.} Rd8 33. Rb7 ({
Black can defend after} 33. Nc5 Kf8 34. Nd3 g5 35. Rb7 Rd5 {(Giri)}) 33... Bd6
34. g4 {Since the knight is paralyzing Black's position, White can improve the
position of his pawns.} (34. Nb6 Rb8 $1 $11) 34... h5 $6 {[%csl Yh5] Diagram
[#] Being low on time Topalov decided to sacrifice a pawn, but this looks
dubious. He had to stick to the passive defense} (34... h6 {although after} 35.
h4 {"things are not that easy" (Topalov), say} b4 36. h5 Rc8 37. Rb6 Be7 38.
Ne5 $16) 35. gxh5 Kh7 {The king is getting active at last but a pawn is a pawn.
} 36. b4 $1 (36. e4 Kh6 {allows counterplay.}) 36... Bxb4 ({Topalov's last
chance was the rook endgame after} 36... Kh6 37. Nc5 Bxc5 38. bxc5 Rd5 {with
chances for a draw.} (38... Kxh5 39. Rxf7)) 37. Ne5 $1 {[%csl Re6,Yf7,Rg7]
Diagram [#] Now the key pawn on f7 drops, and with it the black kingside
crumbles.} Rd5 ({No time for} 37... f6 $2 38. Nc6) 38. Nxf7 Rxh5 (38... Bd2 39.
e3 Rxh5 40. Nd8) 39. f4 Kg6 40. Ne5+ ({White did good to avoid the tempting}
40. Ng5 e5 41. Rb6+ Kf5 42. Rxb5 ({and there is no mate after} 42. Kf3 exf4 43.
Rxb5+ Kg6 44. Kg4 Bc3) 42... Bd2 $1 $11 {(Giri)}) 40... Kh7 41. Nf7 Kg6 42.
Ne5+ Kh7 43. Nf3 $1 {Diagram [#] Wins the e6 pawn and the game.} Rf5 ({The
point is that} 43... Kg6 44. Nd4 e5 {does not save the pawn due to} 45. Rb6+
Kf7 46. Rxb5 Bd6 47. Nf3 {(Giri)}) 44. Ng5+ Kh6 45. Kf3 ({No need to rush} 45.
Nxe6 Rf6) 45... Bd2 46. e3 b4 47. Nxe6 Rh5 ({Topalov suggested} 47... Bc3 {as
a more stubborn defense, but White is winning anyway} 48. Kg4 Rd5 49. Ng5 $18)
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 {Diagram [#]} 1-0


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