Thursday, February 26, 2009


Gata Kamsky - Veselin Topalov

Round 2
Chess Challengers 2009

The game starts at 14:00 CET, feel free to leave your thoughts about Topalov - Kamsky in the forum. The replayable game 1 is here. The first game demonstrated how uncompromising the fight in this match is going to be. In a high quality game the opponents rushed directly into a fierce battle. Topalov was incredibly persistent in his attempts to develop attack against Gata's King but the American defended in cold blood and neutralized Veselin's White pieces. Now he has White and we will see what his team has prepared for this match as an anti-Topalov opening weapon. Another spectacular game is awaiting, so stay tuned at 14.00 CET.

1.e4 e5 We won't be able to see today what has Kamsky prepared against the Sicilian Najdorf.

2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense. The line Topalov choses if he wants to play safe.

4.O-O Bc5 ( Well, this is a surprise. I expected 4... Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 as Topalov had played on numerous occasions.)

5.Nxe5 5.c3 is the most popular continuation but Kamsky wants to get away from his opponent's preparation as fast as possible.

5... Nxe4 ( The main theoretical discussions in this line are after 5... Nxe5 6.d4 a6)

6.Qe2 Nxe5 7.d4 Qe7 (7... Qe7 8.Nc3 Ng6 is a bit passive but very solid for Black.)

8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Nc3 Ng6 ( Clock readings: 1.04 1.59 . Kamsky is spending a lo of time. A logical sequence would be 9... Ne6 10.f4 f5 11.g4 creating threats before Black manages to consolidate.)

10.Qh5 Finally, Topalov has to solve problems on his own. Until this move he spent only a minute but now is very concentrated over the chessboard.

10... c6 11.Bg5 Intermediate move, weakening the support of Ng6.

11... f6 12.Rae1 Ne6 The position is very complex and it is very hard to say without deep analysis which is the best way to play it. White obviously has compensation for the pawn but soon may experience time trouble. Time: 0.27 1.44

13.Bd3 O-O 14.Bd2 d5 Topalov is still playing very rapidly

15.f4 Winning back the pawn by capturing on 'g6' would lead to approximate equality. Having spent so much time - he has only 13 minutes left - Kamsky needs more convincing solution. (15.Be3 d4 16.Bxg6 does not suit Topalov's style and is easy to play as White even with little time.)

15... Qc5+ 16.Kh1 Is this inaccuracy due to the time trouble or the American has deeper insight in the position?

16... d4 17.Bf5 Had Kamsky noticed the possibility 17...Nexf4?

17... Rf7 (17... Nexf4 18.Rxf4 dxc3 seems to be good for Black. Topalov keeps playing at a very fast rate not leaving time to his opponent - and the ones that comment live - to realize what is going on.)

18.Ne4 Qd5 19.Bxg6 Time: 1.12 0.08 (19.Ng3 was an interesting possibility to keep the pressure on but that is not a position to play with 20 seconds per move.)

19... hxg6 20.Qxd5 cxd5 21.Nd6 White found a way to develop the initiative. Now Ne6 is threatened. Computer modules recommend piece sacrifice after 21...Rc7 with Black advantage, which does not seem serious at all as the doubled 'd' pawns would be as good as non-existent.

21... Rc7 Seems forced. 21...Re7 would allow White to increase the pressure and eventually once again to win material.

22.c4 (22.Nxc8 Raxc8 23.Rxe6 Rxc2 24.Re2 Rxb2 25.a4 Rcc2 should give Black sufficient for at least equality counterplay thanks to the active Rooks. Kamsky prefers to have the initiative instead of finding subtle technical moves in time trouble. But this seem to be losing the game.)

22... dxc3 23.Bxc3 d4 Objectively, this position should be lost with proper play even if there is no time trouble.

24.Bb4 Bd7 25.Rf2 Clock readings: 0.02 0.48

25... a5 26.Ba3 b5 27.b3 Kamsky has only 1 minute left, he is a pawn down and a move like 27...Ra6 could seal Topalov's advantage.

27... b4 28.Bb2 Ra6 29.Ne4 Rac6 30.Kg1 Rc2 As if the opponents are playing blitz.

31.g3 d3 32.Rd1 f5 And White resigned as he is losing Bb2 (update: the position is totally lost, but Kamsky's time was over as well). Topalov surprised his opponent with the opening. Kamsky spent an hour and a half for the first 10 moves, sacrificed a pawn and seemed to have promising initiative. The approaching time trouble made him commit accuracies. Topalov, who played very fast to make things even harder for the American, missed the opportunity to play 17...Nexf4. Nevertheless, his opponent completely lost track with bare minutes on the clock and the ex-World Champion did not miss his chance after 22.c4? to take the lead. Photos from today's round are already available in the photo gallery. Tomorrow is a rest day in the Kamsky - Topalov match, but live commentary continues with the games of Anand and Carlsen from Linares. Thank you for following live with! 0-1

No comments: