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Judit Polgar vs Veselin Topalov
"Topa the World, Ma!" (game of the day Sep-23-2015)
FIDE World Championship Tournament (2005), San Luis ARG, rd 6, Oct-04
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  0-1


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Judit Polgar vs Veselin Topalov (2005) Topa the World, Ma!
Photograph copyright © 2005 World Chess Championship Press.  Used with permission.

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <> my text of this game breaks off after 14 Rad1.
Oct-05-05  Ulhumbrus: I have just taken a look at the game which Kasparov won against Kramnik at Astana as well as the game which Kramnik won against Anand on the black side. In the game against Kasparov, Kramnik played ...Ke8 whereupon Kasparov was able to start an attack against the king. Against Anand, Kramnik played for ..Kc8 by ..Bd7 as Tarrasch did, and as indeed Topalov did in the present game. If White cannot prevent Black's king from reaching safety by ...Bd7 and ...Kc8, Lasker's recommendation of 9Rd1+ Ke8 10 Nc3 Be7 11 h3 Be6 12 Bg5 may turn out to be right.
Oct-05-05  erimiro1: <Ulhumbrus >It seems to me, that the Berlin defense demands more than 99% of the grandmasters can offer in positional game. It looks like "anti-chess" to us, and that the black pieces are locked and passive, while the king starts traveling on the board very early in the game, provoking the white rooks and bishops. BUT...nothing happens. White sweats hard to prove his positional advantage, and black, like Tarrasch 100 years ago and Topalov today, waits for the error such as g4. So Lasker's opinion in "Common sense in chess" (that was given in 1895) says nothing. The "Berlin wall" is one of the cases that common sense is not enough.
Oct-05-05  iron maiden: She was pregnant not long ago.
Oct-05-05  PARACONT1: <acaling1000> Analysis from the 1980s has already proven beyond a doubt that Kd5 draws with correct play. I'm convinced your analysis is exactly the same, congrats on your "originality" but some GM beat you to it 20 years ago!
Oct-05-05  capanegra: Topalov's comments after the game (made in Spanish and translated by me):

- "I think Judit blundered with 20.g4; it was a pretty bad move"

- "I don't know what happen with my rivals, but it is evident that they play different with me and make incredible errors"

He also told that in the morning after breakfast he decided with his analysts team (Silvio Danailov and Ivan Cheparinov) to play the Berlin to surprise Judit:

- "We arrived here with the idea to play it in some game, and today we decided to do it. Everything resulted as planned"

Oct-05-05  Averageguy: The thing I really like about this game is that Judit Polgar never seems to make an obvious mistake, (apart from maybe 20.g4), yet Topalov builds up a dominating position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <- "I don't know what happen with my rivals, but it is evident that they play different with me and make incredible errors">

Interesting quote and quite true, although much of it is simply that they crumble under his pressure. It could mean something for today's game, because while Kasimdzhanov is certainly not that great a player overall, he is at least known for resisting very well and finding the moves needed for defence even in difficult positions. Maybe it won't be so easy.

Oct-07-05  Elrathia Kingi: The tournament website gives the last move as 64...Ke5.

Oct-07-05  Kriegspiel: Wow, that photograph is something. Look at all those empty seats! What does that signify?
Oct-07-05  WMD: A small crowd?
Oct-07-05  Boomie: 10. h3 is the most commonly played move in this position in the Fritz database (28/59). 12. b3 was the move that bothered me. A little research shows that this game followed Karjakin vs Kramnik, 2004. Karjakin played 12. b3 and won. Here Topalov uncorks the novelty 12...c5.

Although b2 is a fine square for the bishop, a better post is...d8!

12. ♖d1+ ♗d7 13. e6 fxe6 14. h4 h5 15. ♗g5+ ♔c8 16. ♖d3 e5 17. ♖ad1 ♗d6 18. ♖1d2 ♖e8 19. ♘xd6+ cxd6 20. ♖xd6 ♗f5 21. ♗d8 (0.84/17) and black's development will be an exercise in torture.

Of couse black can also play 12...♔e8, but white keeps about the same advantage. I get a real chuckle out of moves like ♗d8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: After Judit Polgar's weakening 20. g4?, Topalov's 20...h5! wins a pawn with advantage. At this level of play, that is often all that is needed to pull off the win -- as is the case in this game.
Dec-30-05  HannibalSchlecter: Doesn't 50. Kg3 hold for white?
Dec-30-05  THE pawn: The Berlin is really an amazing weapon in the right hands. That was the last good heritage Kramnik gave us, unless 2006 becomes a better year for him...and all of us (reunification match please!)
Mar-06-08  positionalgenius: <THE pawn> Wish granted
Mar-06-08  Udit Narayan: wow, deja vu
Mar-01-09  WhiteRook48: I don't know how that happened!
Feb-11-11  Owerbart: Nice king infiltraton by Topa!
May-06-12  Dargone: I just played this game using "Guess the Move", and it was really interesting. An intense positional battle. I was pretty happy with myself because I played the endgame quite well. I finished with 127 points and didn't make any major blunders.
Sep-06-14  Tigranny: Interesting how Judit demonstrates her skillful play against Kasparov in the Berlin Defense in 2002, but then gets beaten by Topalov in 2005 as White against the exact same opening.

BTW, nice game by Veselin with the Berlin Wall.

Sep-23-15  abstract: Hats off to the black King
Sep-23-15  The Kings Domain: It's nice to see there are Cagney fans at Chessgames. :-)

Nice opening, the start is reminiscent of Victorian-era play. Polgar must have been disappointed with the endgame; she got outpointed there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The King mobility seems to be the main factor here. Topalov allows his king to be kicked around in the opening, but then wins with a bold king march in the endgame.

Interesting how Topalov uses a knight outpost on d4 to shield his king as he relocates from the queenside to the kingside.

With rooks on the board who would have thought that the black king could get safely to d3?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The passed pawn eventually allows the black king to gobble up the pawns.
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