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Michael Adams vs Veselin Topalov
London Chess Classic (2016), London ENG, rd 5, Dec-13
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Topalov appears to be in decline. He doesn't seem to do well in these big tournaments anymore. Sloppy tactics. Mick Adams is a good player, but a 'super GM' shouldn't' be blown off the board tactically.
Dec-13-16  Atking: Give credits to Adams. This game is a little gem on White side! Somehow a new taste in this line of the Berlin defence.
Dec-13-16  scormus: <HeMateMe> I followed almost all the game and was surprised how completely Topalov was outplayed. Adams played a great game, taking the initiative with bold play. Once he had an advantage he never relaxed his grip.
Dec-13-16  studentt: I don't know how Topalov could get himself like this. It was a total wipe out.
Dec-13-16  maelith: To be fair thought, Adam at his best is beast.

<Garry Kasparov, the former world champion nicknamed Adams "the Spider" and the name has stuck. "He weaves a web around his opponents," says Saunders. >

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: A sign of the times: in a tournament with 10 players, eight of whom are in the top ten, all the exciting chess comes from the other two. That's why they are not in the top ten, is the sad part.

Great play by Adams though: he is still close to his best, if only he can stay out of time trouble and avoid lapses after too long at the board.

Funny how some engine slaves criticized Adams' play near the finish. I think he always had it under control. Besides, Veselin was in such horrible time trouble he barely had time to resign.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: I agree with all of the above. Adams has always been an amazing tactician but it's still surprising how easily he makes Topalov topple off his perch, here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kdogphs: Topa must be ill. No game has ever been won against a "well" chess player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Topa? You mean the Topster?
Dec-13-16  izimbra: My guess about the psychology: <16..O-O> is fine, but feeling the sting of last place in the tournament, Topa wants to go for something more aggressive. <16...Qd5>, protecting e5, would also be okay and fit his concept to castle opposite and have an aggressive game. But he does a thinko with <16...Qd3> that is almost already losing. Realizing that, after he loses composure, and plays poorly the rest of the way.
Dec-14-16  galdur: Poor guy, first manhandled by Nakamura and now this in short order...
Dec-14-16  Ulhumbrus: There may be more than one possible explanation for the move 16...Qd3. One example of an explanation or one small part of an explanation is as follows: Topalov saw that 16...Qd5 could be answered with 17 Ne4 while on 16...Qd3 17 Ne4 would allow 17...Qxf1 mate. So in that respect 16...Qd3 was intended to improve on 16...Qd5. Unfortunately for Topalov, in reply to an improvement on Topalov's 16th move 16...Qd3 Adams could also improve on Adams' 17th move 17 Ne4 by 17 Qxg7. That need not be the only explanation or more than a small part of the explanation.
Dec-14-16  positionalgenius: << Topalov appears to be in decline. He doesn't seem to do well in these big tournaments anymore. Sloppy tactics. Mick Adams is a good player, but a 'super GM' shouldn't' be blown off the board tactically.>>

I think it's clear he's been in decline for at least a year. This game was brutal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: For all the spectacular tactics towards the end, the key move of the game was Adams' quiet 22.c4! Without this, Topalov would actually have had good chances to overrun White's position. But 22.c4 was, to quote Kasparov, 'The Spider weaving his web'.
Dec-14-16  scormus: yes, in fact the f-pawn advance was what set up the prison but 22 c4 was the key that locked Topalov inside. Adams spent a long time thinking about the move, followers of the game getting worried he might not play it.
Dec-14-16  jerseybob: How best to banish Berlin Boredom? 4.d3!
Dec-14-16  Ulhumbrus: 22 c4 puts the black queen out of play by obstructing her on the f1-a6 diagonal
Dec-14-16  starry2013: Tiggler: <Great play by Adams though: he is still close to his best, if only he can stay out of time trouble and avoid lapses after too long at the board.>

No increment for the first 40 moves in this probably takes adjustment, though they all have to adjust. But it's strange how the rules for chess games differ from tournament to tournament on things like this. That's one of things that stops chess from being a modern sport still perhaps.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: I heard Topalov in an interview last year say he wasn't taking preparation as seriously as he used to and that his family took a higher precedence now.
Dec-14-16  BOSTER: < 16...Qd5 could be answered by 17.Ne4>. But 16...Qd7 with 0-0-0 after was good enough.
Dec-16-16  Clement Fraud: It saddens me to see my hero playing like this: Never has Veselin Topalov's chess been so labored and lacking in direction. The four moves wasted with his King bishop (7... Bd6, 10... Be5, 11... Be4, followed by retreating to b6 on move thirteen... where it should've gone in the first place) were not worthy of a player half his strength. Perhaps remembering games like this Topalov vs Kasparov, 1994 ; and this Short vs Topalov, 1995 will help "jog" our hero's memory?
Jan-15-17  Rat1960: Rank Name Fide Games Born
17 Adams, Michael ENG 2751 11 1971
21 Topalov, Veselin BUL 2739 9 1975
Above are the 2017 rankings.
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