Суперфинал чемпионата России проходит в Москве, в ЦДШ им. М.М.Ботвинника со 2 по 15 декабря при 12 участниках по круговой системе.
Крамник - Fritz
С 25 ноября по 5 декабря в Бонне чемпион мира Владимир Крамник сыграет матч из 6 партий с программой Deep Fritz. В случае победы Крамник получит 1 миллион долларов, тем самым удвоив свой стартовый гонорар ($500000).
В Москве с 5 по 19 ноября проходил Мемориал Таля, в программе которого супертурнир 20-й категории и выдающийся по составу блицтурнир. Призовой фонд каждого состязания - 100.000 долларов.
Топалов - Крамник
После того как "основное время" не выявило победителя (счет 6:6), 13 октября соперники сыграли 4 дополнительных поединка с укороченным контролем времени.
Томск. Высшая лига
Со 2 по 11 сентября Томск принимает Высшую лигу чемпионата России 2006 года. В турнире участвуют 58 шахматистов - как получившие персональные приглашения, так и победившие в отборочных состязаниях.
В последние годы фестиваль в Майнце вслед за "Амбер-турниром" стал центром легких шахматных жанров. Наряду с массовыми ристалищами традиционно проходят чемпионские дуэли.
Россия - Китай
С 10 по 20 августа в Китае проходит товарищеский матч сборных России и Китая. В нынешнем поединке как мужчины, так и женщины соревнуются на пяти досках по шевенингенской системе в два круга.
It is very difficult for me to play with the people I know, friends and countrymen. I can’s help feeling some sort of connection, the common past, prehistory of relations, etc. It is really hard to fight with determination, put aside the human factor and concentrate solely on chess.
In the fourth round the participants were paired by territorial criteria so to say: two Russians, two Hungarians, two East representatives and two Westerners (since Topalov has been living in Spain for a long time let me call him so). The round set up four derbies and again produced no draws!
Anand’s defeat came as the biggest surprise. Probably the Indian GM thought that he had to beat Kasimdzhanov given the Uzbek GM’s painful defeat in the last round. Actually, it is the right approach. One can push for a win regardless of the color of his pieces and tournament situation. However, don’t underestimate an opponent! Never lose your head. I think that is exactly what happened with Anand.
Good new is that Leko is back. I think he can contest for the highest positions in the final standings, including the first one!
Recently Veselin has been extremely lucky in the games against Michael. No doubt, he deserves it! Success goes with the brave. If you work on chess both at home and over the board like Topalov, and you’ll find your luck too.
English Opening, A30
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 Be7 7.Re1. Adams doesn’t like to play this particular version of the Hedgehog System
Topalov (2788) – Adams (2719)
7...Ne4. I prefer 7...d6! 8.e4 a6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qc7. You can find the rest in my book “Hedgehog System” (unfortunately, published only in Russian) 8.d4 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Be4 10.Bf1. Typical maneuver. White avoids the exchange of white-squared bishops and occupies the center. The bishop retreat to h3 is also possible: 10.Bh3 Bxf3 11.exf3 cxd4 12.cxd4 Nc6 13.Be3 0-0 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.f4 Na5 16.Qd3 g6 17.Bg2 Qc7 – White is slightly better, but later he didn’t play at his best – 18.c5 d5 19.cxd6 Qxd6 20.Qa6 Qd7 21.h4 Bf6 22.Bf3 Rfd8 23.h5 Nc6 24.Qa4 Ne7 25.Rxc8 Nxc8 26.Qxd7 – draw (Kramnik – Yudasin, Yerevan 1996).
I like this novelty. The exchange on f3 is standard move here, but the bishop also deserves a better fate! Black usually played 10...Bxf3 11.exf3 cxd4 12.cxd4 0-0 13.f4 Nc6 14.Be3 Rc8 and White stands slightly better (Malaniuk – Koziak, Mielo 2005).
11.h4. Typical “Topalov move”. Just the same as “Gucci dress” or “Cardin suit”. This is a move from the most popular and the most stylish chess couturier! Veselin is advancing a pawn on the king side with the idea to launch an attack later on. This plan was yielded dividends, this very “h”-pawn had a leading role in Veselin’s scenario. A usual plan – 11.Nd2 Bb7 12.e4 – was also possible, but the question is – what White should do after 12...0-0? Black’s position is quite solid in this line.
11...Nd7 12.d5 (I don’t want to judge the winner, but the White’s play is not perfect from the positional standpoint. Black obtains a comfortable position.) 12...0–0 13.a4 h6 14.Bh3. White forces the opponent to seize the initiative. This psychological stunt proves to be correct.
14...exd5 15.cxd5 Bf6 16.Ra3. White has to put his rook in such an embarrassing position.
16...b5! Nice combo. Black knight on d7 becomes more active and transposes into Modern Benoni-like pawn structure.
17.axb5 Nb6 18.c4! (The only worthy response. Without d5-pawn Black will be definitely better) 18...Bxf3. I think, in the line 18...Nxc4!? 19.Ra4 Bxf3 20.Rxc4 Bh5 Michael doesn’t like the possibility of 21.Bf5, but, frankly speaking, there is no real threats for Black there. It’s possible to play 21...Rb8, for example.
19.Rxf3 (After 19.exf3 Nxc4 Black has a slight but steady advantage) 19...Nxc4 20.Qa4. In case of 20.h5 Black is at least equal after 20...a5 21.bxa6 Rxa6, and 22.Qd3 isn’t dangerous in view of 22...Qa5!
20...Ne5 21.Ra3. The key moment. As the ex-fan of Modern Benoni system I migh be biased … I think Black has the upper hand here. His minor pieces are strong, pawn structure is good. The c-pawn pawn may become a strong passer. Black should start from restricting opponent’s possibilities...
21...Re8?! One may think that such a move just can’t be bad. But it gives the opponent some extra attacking possibilities. Better was 21...h5! followed by Black’s operations in the center.
22.h5! Veselin is exceptionally resourceful. He can begin his attack out of nowhere. He spotted the weakness of the b1-h7 diagonal and prepared his field gun.
22...Re7 23.Bf4 Rb8 24.Bf5! (the first warrior has come) 24...Qe8. Black’s moves are fine and correct. Adams attacks pawn b5 eying its colleague on e2.
25.Bc2! (White has already forgotted about the pawns! Topalov is going to send his queen to h7) 25...Qd7. Of course, we should figure out what did White prepared for a cold-blooded 25...Rxb5!? 26.Qe4 g6 – the key line, probably, starts with 27.Bxe5 (27.hxg6 fxg6!) 27...Bxe5 28.hxg6 Rb4 29.Qh1!? Kg7 30.gxf7 Qxf7 31.e3 – White has a small edge as his king is better defended. The capture with the queen is no good – 25...Qxb5?! 26.Qe4 Reb7 27.Rb1 Qd7 28.Rxb7 Rxb7 29.Qh7+ Kf8 30.Ba4 Qd8 31.Bc6! Rc7 32.Bxe5 Bxe5 (32...dxe5 33.d6) 33.Re3! and there is no defense against the f2-f4 threat.
26.Qe4 Ng6 27.Qd3. White insists on rendez-vous of his queen with black king. Adams doesn’t want to place the knight on f8 – it’s too passive. Michael tries a deceptive maneuver.
27...c4!? 28.Qxc4 Nxf4 29.Qxf4 Re5 30.Qf3! White fully realizes, that without pawn on h5 his attack is futile.
30...Qh3?! Poor maneuver, Adams clearly missed something. The line 30...Qxb5 31.Rb1 Qe8 32.Qd3 Rxb1+ 33.Bxb1 Kf8 34.Qh7 Qd7 35.Qh8+ Ke7 36.Qa8! Qd8 37.Rxa7+ Kf8 38.Qc6 Re8 also doesn’t allow Black to build a fortress. White will either win the d6 pawn or send his queen on h7 once again.
Probably, 30...Rc8! was the best option. Trying to find a forced win, I found the following nice variation – 31.Qd3 Kf8 32.Qh7 Ke7 33.f4!? Rxh5 34.Re3+ Kd8 35.b6! axb6 36.Ba4
and here instead of resigning Black forces a draw with a rook sacrifice – 36...Rh1+! 37.Kxh1 Qh3+ 38.Kg1 Bd4 39.Qg8+ Kc7 40.Qxf7+ Kb8 41.Kf2 Rc3 42.Qe8+ Kc7 43.Qe7+ Kc8 – White has nothing but perpetual.
31.Rxa7 Rxh5 32.e3 Qh2+ 33.Kf1 Qh3+ 34.Ke2. (черные Black pieces get stuck on the king side) 34...Re5 35.Rc7! White doesn’t allow Black queen out of cage.
35...Rc8! The last mistake of the old soldier. However, Black is lost even after the best 35...Qh5, for example, 36.Qxh5 (we can also expect from Topalov a vigorous attack – 36.g4 Qg5 37.Rh1 g6 38.Rxh6!) 36...Rxh5 37.Rb1 Rxd5 38.b6 Rc5 39.Bb3! – and Black is losing the f7 pawn as 39...Rxc7 is impossible in view of 40.bxc7 Rc8 41.Bc2! and 42.Rb8.
36.Bf5! Rxf5 37.Rxc8+ Kh7 38.Rh1! Black resigns.
In the following game Black launched active operations too early. He should not have tried to pluck a green fruit.
Sicilian Defense B90
1.e4 c5. The opening choice speaks for itself – Indian grandmaster was in aggressive mood. When he is OK with a draw, he opts for Caro-Kann defense.
Rustam KASIMDZHANOV (UZB) – Vishwanathan ANAND (IND)
2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3. What did Rustam prepare for 6...e6? Yesterday he was crushed after 7.g4!? May be, Judit convinced him of the White’s attack power in this line...
6...Ng4 7.Bg5! They say that after 7.Bc1 the knight’s retreat is mandatory. And what can Vishy do after 7...Nf6 8.Be3? It does not necessarily means that White is be happy with a draw – in case of 8...Ng4 they still can play 8.Bg5!
7...h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3. (after 10.Be2 White should be ready for 10...h5) 10...Ne5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 Nbc6 13.Nd5.
13...e6. Many believes that the white knight should be dislodged from d5. I like the way another Asian player solved this problem: 13...Nd7 14.c3 Nf6 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6 16.Bd3 Ne5 17.Be4 Qc7 18.Qa4+ b5 19.Qd1 Rb8 20.0–0 h5 21.Re1 g4 22.h4 Qc5 23.Bd5 Kf8 24.Qb3 Nc4 25.Rad1 Kg7 26.Re2 Rhc8 27.Kh1 b4, and Black is definitely better Yeo Min Yang – Wynn Zaw Htun, Bangkok, 2004. Of course, White’s play in this game leaves a lot to be desired...
14.fxe6 fxe6 15.Ne3 0–0 16.Be2 Qe7. Black’s difficulties in this live can be illustrated by the game Shirov – Gelfand (Monako 2000): 16...d5 17.0–0 Ng6 18.c4 Nd4 19.cxd5 exd5 20.Bg4 Nf4 21.Bxf4 Rxf4 22.Qd3 Qd6 23.Rad1 Raf8 24.Rd2 Kh8 25.Rfd1 a5 26.Qa3!, and d5 pawn was lost in the endgame.
17.0–0 Rad8 18.Bh5!? Novelty. As this bishop hampers White Kasimdzhanov decides to move this piece to the far corner and play with the rooks in the center. The encounter Dolmatov – Sakaev (Moscow 2003) went 18.c4 Ng6 19.Qd2 Nf4 20.Rab1 Qf7, and draw was agreed. I believe Black has nothing to worry about here.
18...Kh8 19.Re1 d5. Anand arranged his pieces pretty well and built a strong center. On the other hand there is no weaknesses in White camp. Besides, Kasimdzhanov has two strong bishops. In such a situation any risky attempt by Black can be fatal. Black should calculate all the lines with utmost presicion.
20.a4 (Rustam was probably a bit afraid of the black pawns’ advancement on the queen side) 20...Nc4! It’s a beginning of Black’s suicidal activity. Anand opens up the centre and attacks the b2 and f2 pawns only to discover that weakness of the black king is much more important factor.
In the middle of the night (when I am writing this commentary, all the Muscovites are already asleep) I could recommend Black a fantastic continuation – 20...Nd7 with the main idea – 21.c3 Be5!? One bishop is not two bishops, it’s twice as less! After this exchange it will be easier for black knights to find suitable squares. It also offers some opportunities to launch an attack on the king side. 20...Nd7 also sets a nice trap – 21.Nxd5 (why not?) 21…Qc5! 22.Ne3 Nf6 23.Qe2 Nd4! – the knights finds the bishop hiding in the corner and devour it! Probably, after 20...Nd7 White should play 21.Ng4, and Black can’t take on b2. 21...Nc5, aiming at e4, is definitely better.
21.Nxc4 dxc4 22.Qg4 Qb4 (22...Nd4 doesn’t work in view of 23.c3! Nc2 24.Rxe6 Qxe6 25.Qxe6 Nxa1 26.Be5+–) 23.Qxe6 Rd2. (inferiour is 23...Qxb2 24.Qxc4! or 23...Nd4 24.Qe4 Qxb2? 25.Be5!) 24.Rad1! White’s play is simple – the pieces are going to attack the black king through the center.
24...Nd4 25.Qe4. (25.Bd6 is also good) 25...Nf5 26.Be5! (White pays no attention to f2 weakness) 26...Rxf2 27.Bf3. White liquidates all Black’s active ideas.
27...Rd2 (27...Qb6 28.a5! Qa7 29.Kh1+–) 28.Bxg7+ Kxg7 29.Qe5+ Rf6 (the rook exchange on d2 and capture on b7 was also possible) 30.a5. Surprise. White advances his just in case. In the endgame it might become a queen.
At this moment Kasimdzhanov was in a serious time trouble already, and Anand as usual decided to be quick and aggressive – this style makes him phenomenally successful in active chess. But in this game the trick did not work.
30...Nh4! (after 30...b5! Black still has chances to save a game) 31.Qc7+ Rf7 32.Qe5+ Rf6. After repetition Rustam finds the way to victory...
33.Bh5! The bishop returns to its favorite position. But it’s not a far corner anymore, but an alight corridor leading to the black king. Check from g2 is not dangerous at all.
33...Ng6 (33...Rxg2+ 34.Kh1 Rd2 35.Rxd2 Qxd2 36.Qc7+!) 34.Bxg6 Rxd1 35.Rxd1 Kxg6 36.Qe4+ Kg7 37.Rd7+ Kg8 (37...Rf7 38.Qe5+; 37...Kf8 38.Qe5!) 38.Qh7+.
Black resigns one move before the checkmate.
What’s wrong with the Sicilian defense for Black? The price of mistake is extremely high! And what’s good about the Sicilian defense for Black? Price of mistake is extremely high for White! In this game Black was first to make a mistake and lost without resistance...
Sicilian Defense B48
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7. (a modern way to play Paulsen System) 6.Be3 a6.
Peter LEKO (HUN) – Judith POLGAR (HUN)
7.Qd2! (The plan with the queen side castling is Leko’s trademarked weapon) 7...Nf6 8.0–0–0 Bb4 9.f3 Ne7 10.Nde2 b5 11.g4. Judit has good memories of this line: 11.Kb1 Ba5 12.Qd4 Nc6 13.Qc5 Bb4 14.Qg5 0–0 15.Qg3 Ne5 16.h4 Bb7 17.h5 Ne8 18.a3 Bd6 19.Bf4 f6 20.Na2 Rc8 21.Nec3 Bc6 22.Be2 a5! – Black seized the initiative and was close to vistory (Topalov – Polgar, Sofia 2005), though the game ended in a draw.
11...h6. Black keeps the knight on f6 but loses her right to castle short as White is always ready to open the “g”-file with g4-g5.
12.Rg1! Good novelty. White is always ready to bring the rook into play through g5. The standard plan with h2-h4 and g4-g5 is also good. The game Naiditch – Nisipeanu (Warsaw 2005) saw 12.h4 Ba5 13.a3 b4 14.axb4 Bxb4 15.Bh3 Qa5 16.Kb1 d6 17.Nc1 Rb8 18.N1a2 Ba3 19.b3 Nd7 20.g5 h5 21.f4 Qc7 22.Bd4 0–0 23.g6 and Black prevailed in the complications. The encounter L'Ami – Van der Elburg, Amsterdam 2005 followed absolutely different scenario: 12.a3 Ba5 13.b4!? Bb6 14.Bxb6 Qxb6 15.Nd4 Bb7 16.h4 Nc6 17.Nb3 Ne5 18.Be2 0–0–0 19.g5 Nh5 20.f4 Nc4 21.Bxc4 bxc4 22.Na5 and White won pretty soon.
12...Ng6 13.a3 Be7 14.f4! If h2-h4 isn’t possible, White moves another pawn. From this moment Judit was playing poorly.
14...b4?! In my opinion being severely underdeveloped Black is not ready for an active counter-play. Judit had to choose between 14...Bb7 and 14...d6, and this choice should have been made at home! It’s pretty hard to make the right decision over the board. That’s why it’s even more surprising that Hungarian chess-player made this move almost immediately, without any doubts. She probably thought, that opening the queen side is in her favor in any case...
15.axb4 Bxb4 16.Qd4! (White defends e4 pawn and prepares its advancement) 16...Qa5 17.Kb1. Of course. 17.e5 was premature in view of 17...Nd5!, and White can’t take on d5 because of the mate on a1.
17...Rb8. One more step to abyss. Black should have ventured upon 17...d6!, creating some kind of defense in the center. The possible continuation in this case is 18.g5 hxg5 19.Rxg5 e5. I course of the battle in the center Black at least can castle, removing the king from under the fire. I didn’t find a clear refutation of this line. It’s unbelievable, but Black holds everywhere...
18.g5. Peter continues his plan – g1 should be brought into play, and it will clarify the matter.
18...Nh5! Last slip. Realizing that the carped is being pulled from Judith is trying lure her opponent into promising complications, hoping to outcalculate Leko! But there will be no complications... Judit could have resist with 18...Ba3! 19.b3 hxg5 20.Rxg5 Qc7, though Black is in for tough defense here.
19.gxh6 Rxh6 20.Rg5! The most efficient way. Leko doesn’t want to calculate long variations! Of course 20.f5 was also winning, as an attempt 20...Ngf4 is refuted by a brilliant 21.Rxg7!
21.Nb5! (White greatly benefits from this exchange) 21...Rxb5 22.Rxb5 axb5 23.Qxb4 (the d6 square is very week) 23...Nhxf4 24.Nc3! ... and white knight is making its way there.
24...Rxh2. Last hope.
25.Bg1! Judith resigns.
Sasha and Peter are the old rivals. For many years they has been fighting for the leading position in Russian chess. The GM from St-Petersburg is ahead of Muscovite in terms of winning Russian champion titles so far. On the other in the Russain team they get along just perfectly. Both GMs worthily uphold the honor of Russia in team events.
King’s Indian Defense E81
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 (I was pretty sure that we would see the Groenfeld Defense on the board as Peter Svidler is the best expert in this opening) 3.f3!? Making an ambush!
Alexander Morozevich (RUS) – Peter Svidler (RUS)
3...Bg7! Black has experienced some problems in the line 3...d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3. Most likely Peter knows the survival remedy but he decided to avoid the opponent’s home preparation just in case. Svidler has a great experience in the King’s Indian Defense whereas Alexander played this opening on the white side just a few times. That is why I put the exclamation mark to Peter’s move.
4.e4 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 a6. Svidler has no desire to check his opponent’s preparation. Peter avoids all the sharp lines banking on his excellent positional touch.
7.Nge2 c6 8.Qd2 b5. Black is demonstrating his aggressive intentions on the queen side but the Whie’s king is not scared at all.
9.h4. A spectacular game between top Dutchmen ednded in a draw: 9.Bh6 e5 10.0–0–0 Bxh6 11.Qxh6 Qa5 12.g4 b4 13.Nb1 Qxa2 14.Ng3 Nbd7 15.Nf5! gxf5 16.gxf5 Kh8 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Rg1 Rg8 19.Rxd7! Nxd7 20.Rxg8+ Kxg8 21.Qg5+ 1/2 (I. Sokolov – Van Wely, Wijk an Zee, 1997).
9...h5. (the white pawn must not be allowed to h5) 10.Bh6 e5. That is a standard reaction on the white bishop’s sortie to h6. Bearing in mind a possible exchange of dark-squared bishop Black should arrange his pawns on the dark squares.
11.0–0–0! This novelty is the matter-of-principle move in this position. The exchange approach is absolutely innocuous: after 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Qxd8 Rxd8 14.Nc1 Be6 15.Nb3 (Cooke – Bogdan, Harkany 2000) Black should have develop his queenside with an excellent position.
11...Nbd7 12.Kb1 Qe7 13.Bxg7 Kxg7.
14.Nc1. It is too early to dart into hand-to-had fight! Indeed, 14.g4 does not offer a winning attack whereas the sacrificed pawns might not be regained.
14...Bb7 15.Nb3 (threatening with Nb3-a5) 15...Rac8. I am not sure that it is the best square for the queen side rook. I suggest placing it on b8 to harass the white king in some lines.
16.a3. White played a good temporizing move at least judging from Black’s reaction…
16...Qd8! This move is way too subtle to figure it out. Besides, it looks like Black overlooked something. Peter could have made a temporizing move of his own such as 16...Ba8 although one of the rooks’ move 16...Rfe8 or 16...Rfd8 looks even more natural.
17.dxe5 dxe5 18.g4! (it turns out that the f6-knight is tied to defense of his d7-fellow) 18...bxc4 19.Bxc4 Nb6. The only way to avoid an immediate defeat.
20.Qg5. I think that the endgame emerging after 20.Qxd8 Rcxd8 21.Be2 is very promising for White. Black’s queenside pawns are very weak.
20...Qc7 21.Be2 c5 22.Na5 Rb8. Any annotator is always right as he knows the result. It is very easy for me to lecture the participant of the World Championship.
23.gxh5. (White could have obtained steady advantage with a trite 23.Nxb7 Qxb7 24.Rd2 – he controls the only open line; Black’s pawns are weak) 23...Nxh5.
24.Nxb7. The line 24.Rdg1 Nf4 25.h5 f6 26.hxg6 fxg5 27.Rh7+ Kxg6 28.Rxc7 Nxe2 29.Nxe2 Ba8 30.Rxc5 Na4 31.Rxe5 Rxb2+ 32.Ka1 Rxe2 33.Rgxg5+ Kh7 34.Rh5+ results in a draw by perpetual. Naturally Morozevich wanted more.
24...f6! (With this in-between move Black holds his e5-panw) 25.Nxc5! (a good riposte) 25...Qxc5 26.Qg1 Qc6. Black got a decent counterplay for the pawn in form of open files against the white king and a good f4-square for his knight.
27.Rc1 (I can’t see the refutation of a greedy 27.Bxa6!?) 27...Qb7 28.Rh2 Kh7 29.Bf1 Nf4 30.Rhc2. Both opponent took a slippery time scramble path.
30...Ne6! (30...Rf7!?) 31.Nd5 (the surest way to the victory was 31.Qg4! Nd4 – 31...Nf4 32.Nb5! – 32.Rg2 Rg8 33.f4 and so on) 31...Nxd5 32.exd5 Qxd5 33.Bc4 Qd7 34.Bxe6 Qxe6 35.Qa7+ Kh6 36.Rc7 Rh8 37.Qe3+ Kh5. The black king miraculously survived.
38.R1c6 Qf5+ 39.Ka1 (better was 39.Ka2! Rbc8 40.Rxc8 Rxc8 41.Rxa6) 39...Rbc8 40.Rxc8 Rxc8 41.Rxa6 Rd8! (Black is just in time to create couterplay. He is OK!) 42.Qe2. The endgame after 42.Qe4? Qxe4 43.fxe4 f5! Is unacceptable for Whtie. On 42.Ka2 Black has an unpleasant rejoinder 42...Rd3!
42...Qf4 43.Ra7 Kh6.
44.Rc7! Alexander keeps pressing for a win by inertia and gradually loses the game. 44.Ka2! was a good alternative. The endgame arising after 44...Rd2 45.Qe4 Qxe4 46.fxe4 is about equal. My rough extimations suggest that in this case the game would have been drawn. 44...Rd2 45.Qe1 (with the king on the first rank the queen exchange is bad for White as the black pawns will queen with check…) 45...Rd3 46.Ka2 (too late!) 46...Qxf3 47.Qc1+ Kh5! Tanks do not suffer from mud; the black king takes not heed of White’s checks.
48.a4?! Finding problem-like subtleties such as 48.Qc4 Rd4 49.Rh7+ Kg4 50.Qe6+ Qf5 51.Qb3! are is beyond human capacities. Actually, it is impossible to win such a position against computer!
48...Qd5+ 49.Rc4 (49.Qc4 Qxc4+ 50.Rxc4 f5–+) 49...e4. The black passers are advancing much faster. Besides, the white king fell under attack.
50.b3 Rd2+ 51.Ka3 (51.Rc2 e3!) 51...Qd6+ 52.Rc5+ f5 53.Qg1 Kxh4! 54.a5 Rc2 55.b4.
55...Qd3+. White resigns.
Standings after the fourth round: 1. Topalov – 3.5 (Veselin is advancing with an impressive speed!); 2. Svidler – 3 (Peter took a slow start but managed to pace up); 3. Anand – 2,5 (Vishy should leave his defeat behind. It is still a long way to go); 4. Kasimdzhanov – 2 (Rustam deserved some credit and who knows…); 5-6. Polgar and Leko – 1.5 (Peter is the leader in this duet. I believe in him!); 7-8. Adams and Morozevich – 1 (Michael and Alaxander will have problems making up for their losses in the start).