The playoff format is 4 rapid chess games (25 minutes per player + 10 seconds increment per move). If the score is still tied after the 4 rapid games then the players will play 2 blitz games (5 minutes per player + 10 seconds increment per move). If the score still remains tie then a sudden death “armageddon” game (White has 6 minutes vs. Black has 5 minutes) with Black having draw odd. What that means is if the “armageddon” game ends in a draw, Black would win the World Championship.

I will do my best to blog as fast as I could since this is rapid and the actions will be fast! This will be RAPID BLOGGING 🙂

Topalov – Kramnik
Game 1 – Playoff

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O Nbd7 9.Qe2 O-O 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Re8 (This is where Kramnik deviated from game 2.)

15.Ne1 Rc8 16.f4 Bxe1 17.Rxe1 Bg6 18.Bf1 Rc2 19.b3 (Hot actions by both sides. The game started out similarly to game 2 where Topalov missed the win. The game is pretty much equal. Black has control of the open file. White has a pair of Bishop.)

19…Qa5 20.Bb5 (14…Be4 is an interesting move.)

20…Rd8 (White needs to play 15.Rd2 now. Cannot allow that Rook to sit on the 7th ranked. 15.Ba3 is also playable. This is a dynamic position where both sides have weaknesses. I still think that this is roughly equal.)

21.Re2 (As predicted. Too dangerous to allow Kramnik’s Rook on the 7th rank. Trading Rooks now is in order.)

21…Rcc8 (Shocking move. Now I like White. I think Kramnik needed to trade Rooks.)

22.Bd2 Qb6 23.Rf2 a6 24.Bf1 Rc6 (White may be able to start with g4 soon but Black is not lost at all. Black is OK but I prefer White and the space advantage.)

25.b4 Rc2 26.b5 (I like White very much with the space advantage and the Bishop pair.)

26…a5 27.Bc3 Rxf2 28.Qxf2 (Black’s pieces are very inactive. There is no immediate winning line for White. White should just continue to press.)

28…Qa7 29.Qd2 Ra8 (Black has Knight to b6 coming. Black is still fine but I somehow like the space in White’s position.)

30.Rc1 Nb6 31.Bb2 Nxa4 32.Ba3 h6 33.h3 Be4 34.Kh2 Nb6 35.Bc5 a4 36.Ra1 (I am not sure if Topalov will have enough for the Pawn sacrifice. Black is up a pawn but is stuck in an ugly pin. White has compensation for this pawn. Black is also down by 5 minutes on the clok. Time WILL be an issue since this is rapid chess.)

36…Nc4 37.Bxc4 b6 38.Qe3 Rc8 (Amazingly, this position is still even.)

39.Bf1 bxc5 40.dxc5 (Now Black has to take back with 40…Qxc5. Taking back with the Rook will lose because of 41.Rc1)

40…Qxc5 41.Qxc5 Rxc5 (This should be a draw. If White wants to win, 42.Kg1 may be the only shot.)

42.b6 Rc6 43.b7 Rb6 44.Ba6 (Now it will be a draw. It will end up with something like R and 4 Pawns on the same side.)

44…d4 45.Rxa4 Bxb7 46.Bxb7 Rxb7 47.Rxd4 (OK, 100% draw.) 1/2

Well, we did have an exciting game but Kramnik managed to hold. Now, the advantage has shifted to Kramnik since he will have 2 Whites in the final 3 rapid playoff games.
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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar