acirce: This is a great game, and highly enjoyable to play over. Some of Dolmatov’s notes below, taken from Damsky/Kramnik <Kramnik: My Life And Games>
In the introduction Kramnik and Topalov are called <the two youngest participants, the most promising players in the world>. The tournament took place in 1997, and the book is from 2000 (before Kramnik beat Kasparov) although I don't know when Dolmatov's notes are from. It's not a surprising assessment after Topalov's brilliant 1996, but it's useful to be reminded that he was considered such a fantastic talent, even though he would be at least one notch behind the KKA triangle until 2005.
<16..c6?! If 16..f5 Topalov was concerned about 17.c5!? but 16..Bh6!? came into consideration, when neither 17.b5 Bxe3 18.bxa6 Bb6 19.axb7 Rab8 20.Rab1 Nd6 nor 17.c5 Bxe3 18.fxe3 c6 is dangerous for Black. White would probably have had to fight for the initiative with 17.Nd5!? Bxe3 18.fxe3.>
<20.Rb1! A brilliant positional decision. Firstly, it defends against 20..a5, secondly, it plans the pawn advance a3-a4-a5, and finally, it prepares 21.Nb3, when in reply to the almost obligatory 21..b6 White can begin an attack on the queenside with 22.c5. In general, an excellent ’mysterious’ rook move.>
<20..b6?! An unsuccessful attempt. 20..f5 was essential, in order after 21.exf5 gxf5 22.f4 Bh6 to try and divert White from his play on the queenside, although here too he would retain an appreciable advantage with 23.g3 followed by Kf2.>
<22..bxa4 Extremely risky. More circumspect was 22..a6 23.Nb3 Bxb3 24.Rxb3 Bh6 25.Bxh6 Nxh6 26.Ra3, although here too after both 26..Nf7 27.Bg4 and 26..Kg7 27.axb5 axb5 28.Rxa8 Nxa8 29.Nxb5 cxb5 30.Bxb5 Black’s position is unenviable.>
Later <33.Nc4!> is given an exclam, <36..Bd4?!> criticized with <passive defence by 36..Re7 37.c6 Bc7> suggested instead, and <38..Be5?> called the final mistake in the game: <Only with 38..Rc8 could Black have still tried to hold on.>
<Playing through such a game provides enormous aesthetic pleasure. White’s play was exceptionally consistent.>