Thursday, February 26, 2009


Veselin Topalov - Gata Kamsky

Round 5
Chess Challengers 2009

The game Kamsky - Topalov starts at 14:00 CET. Make sure to check out the other top news of the week: GM Kiril Georgiev breaks a World chess record! Hello! It's GM Dimitrov and once again I will follow for you with live comments the World Chess Championship Challenge. So, the match resumes at 2-2. We have witnessed 4 very spectacular games. The two opponents clash every game without any fear and the resulting show should make happy all chess fans. I am convinced that things will go like this in the second half. Today Topalov has White. Would he be able to strike back and finally overcome the preparatory work of Kamsky's team? Stay tuned at 14.00 CET

1.e4 So, Ruy Lopez is to be expected.

1... e6 Surprise, surprise... French Defense.

2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 (3.Nc3 is the move that Topalov plays regularly. During a match a lot of things change.)

3... c5 ( The classical line. 3... Nf6 enjoys great popularity as well.)

4.Ngf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 (5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 was the main repertoire against Tarrasch system for many players during the last 20 years. Recently there were found ways to fight for advantage as White, but having in mind that this line was not played before by either opponent, it is hard to expect them to be familiar with novelties around move 20.)

5... Nc6 (5... Nf6 is the alternative.)

6.Bb5 Bd7 7.Nxc6 Bxc6 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.c4 I myself have played this position on several occasions an I consider White having small but long-lasting advantage.

9... Bd6 ( The main line is 9...Qa5 not letting Qd1-a4. 9... dxe4 10.Nxe4 Qxd1+ 11.Kxd1)

10.cxd5 (10.O-O Ne7 11.Qc2 O-O 12.Nf3 is another way to play in such position.)

10... cxd5 11.exd5 exd5 12.O-O Ne7 13.Nf3 O-O Topalov decided not to keep the central tension but to play against an isolated pawn.

14.Qd3 Qd7 15.Rd1 'e1' seemed like a better square for that Rook.

15... Rfd8 16.Be3 The really weak pawn is not 'd5' but 'a7', so Veselin's plan is to make it vulnerable.

16... a5 17.g3 h6 18.Bb6 For the moment I don't see the point of forcing the Rook to a better square.

18... Rdc8 19.Bd4 Clock readings: 1.15 1.05

19... Bc5 20.Bc3 Without the Bishops White has only symbolic advantage but how about 20...Bb4

20... Bb4 21.Be5 Bd6 22.Rd2 Bxe5 23.Nxe5 So, the Bishops were traded but Topalov managed to improve his position meanwhile.

23... Qd6 24.Re1 Rc7 25.Qf3 Provokes Black to weaken his kingside pawn structure.

25... Rf8 26.Kg2 Rb7 27.h4 Prevents Black from playing g7-g6 because of h4-h5.

27... Qb4 28.Ree2 For some more moves we will witness calm manoeuvring.

28... Qa4 29.b3 Qb4 30.Nd3 Qd6 31.h5 Makes Kamsky's kingside pawn structure static, but the general impression is that White didn't achieve anything real.

31... Rc7 32.Nf4 d4 33.Re4 Nc6 With his pawn secured on 'd4' Black should have solved his problems.

34.Nd3 Rd8 35.Rc2 Nb4 ( Is this a blunder or a sacrifice. I'd say he missed 35... Nb4 36.Nxb4 axb4 37.Rxd4) (35... f5 36.Ree2 Ne5 37.Nxe5 Rxc2 38.Nf7 Qc7 39.Nxd8 Rxe2 40.Qxe2 Qxd8 was almost forced tactical line that would solve any problem of Kamsky.)

36.Nxb4 axb4 37.Rxd4 ( Initially I thought that Kamsky may be trying to force transition into Rook ending after 37.Rxd4 Qxd4 38.Rxc7 Qd5 39.Rb7 Qxf3+ 40.Kxf3 Rd2 41.Rxb4 Rxa2 , but with the White pawn on 'h5' it should be lost.)

37... Qf8 38.Rxd8 Qxd8 39.Rxc7 Qxc7 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qe4+ Kg8 42.Qxb4 Qc6+ 43.Kg1 Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Qc2 ( Black is 2 pawns down and after 44... Qc2 45.Qb8+ Kh7 46.Qf4 Veselin shouldn't experience technical difficulties.)

45.Qe1 Kf8 46.a3 'b3' is untouchable because the pawn ending is easy to win as White.

46... Qb2 47.Qb4+ Kg8 48.Kg2 Qe5 49.Qg4 Qb2 50.Qc8+ Kh7 51.Qc4 Qxa3 52.Qxf7 Finally, this position is reached. Now the 'b' pawn is unstoppable.

52... Qb4 53.Qc4 Qb7+ 54.Kg1 Qf3 55.g4 Black resigned. After the opening Topalov had slight advantage and kept pressing on. Kamsky defended well but just when he completely equalized the game, Bulgarian's persistence was rewarded - 35...Nb4? was played and Veselin once again has the lead. With the score being 3-2 the finish of this match turns into a real thriller. 1-0

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