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Veselin Topalov vs Anatoly Karpov
"Oh! Wholly Knights!" (game of the day Dec-25-2019)
Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2000) (rapid), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 8, Mar-16
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Two Knights Defense Blockade Line (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-21-06  Fast Gun: I like it !! Topalov makes it look so easy, the finish could be 74.Ne2 g3
75.Nc3+ Ka1
76.Nb4 g2
77.Nc2 Mate
76.Ne1 g2
77.Nc2 Mate
in both lines the knight delivers mate from the c2 square. Good technique from Topalov, and it also shows just it is difficult to beat Karpov in his later years:
Mar-18-07  PositionalBomber: Karpov found this endgame to be impractical to study. Surprisingly, Topalov did and played "Troitzky line" perfectly. Karpov should have gone for h2 square instead.
Mar-18-07  Bob726: Accorinding to chess databases, the games is a draw after 60.Nxd4. 65 Kb2 and there is a forced mate in 16
Mar-18-07  Bob726: However, Topalov blew it with 66.Nf5? only nb5, ne2, ka4, and kc4 win
Mar-18-07  Bob726: 66.Kb1 draws but Kaprov played kb2? and topalov then demonstrated the forced win
Aug-08-08  dumbgai: What an incredible endgame (and in a rapid game, no less)! Actually the position is theoretically drawn after white's 61st move, since the black pawn is beyond the Troitzky line. However, Karpov didn't know the theory for this endgame (and who can blame him?) and ran his king into the wrong corner. Topalov then demonstrated the proper winning method: blocking the pawn with a knight, chasing the enemy king into a corner with his king and other knight, and finally moving the blocking knight to force the opponent to push his pawn. We might not see this endgame occur again at the super-GM level, but if it does it should be interesting to see how the players handle it.
Aug-08-08  Woody Wood Pusher: lets see Topalov try that in a classical game....
Jan-07-09  WhiteRook48: Wow. Hardly anyone can pull off a win with ♔♘♘ vs ♔♙. Topalov had a lot of skill to win this.
Mar-09-09  David2009: In Topalov vs Karpov, 2000 it turns out that

click for larger view

is drawn with W to play, lost with B to play

Jul-10-09  Justawoodpusher: Some theory:
Apr-28-12  Llawdogg: Wow! Topalov is amazing! Almost perfect.
Nov-13-14  Xeroxx: What Nightmare for Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Wow! Worth another look.

White wins with 74...g3, 75.N-c3#, K-a1, 76.N-b4...g2, 77.N-c2##. Tricky, to cut off the King with the Knights.

Mar-13-18  PJs Studio: Wow...never knew this game existed. Looks like Topolaov was studying his Dvoretsky at the time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <dumbgai: We might not see this endgame occur again at the super-GM level, but if it does it should be interesting to see how the players handle it.>

You're in luck. A year after you wrote this, there was Wang Yue vs Anand, 2009, which the players didn't handle right. Anand first blockaded the lone P with his K instead of the N.

Then only recently, there was Karjakin vs S Sevian, 2018 which was a theroetical draw but again the defender headed to the wrong corner.

Oct-30-18  John Abraham: white conducts his pieces with the finesse of a maestro
Dec-25-19  andrewjsacks: Pun timely and very well done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sargon: 74...Ka1 75. Nec1 Kb1 76. Kb4 Ka1 77. Ka3 Kb1 78. Na2 Ka1 79. Ndc1 Kb1 80. Nc3+ Ka1 81. Nb3#
Dec-25-19  rcs784: <sargon> That variation looks wrong to me (after 76. Kb4, the black king can escape to c2), but even if it's correct, there's a much faster mate with 74...Ka1 75. Nc3 g3 76. Ne1 g2 77. Nc2#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plaskett: IT occurred in a key variation of the game Korchnoi Vs Nunn, Phillips and Drew, London 1980. Korchnoi vs Nunn, 1980 Korchnoi did not know if it was winning. A spectating Quinteros commented "Larsen maybe know...". And during a game Karpov Vs Korchnoi, Vienna 1986 there was a key variation in which Karpov would have had Queen Vs Rook and a Bishop´s pawn on the fifth. Despite having p`layed twice (you might say THRICE) matches for the World Championship NEITHER of them knew the outcome. (In fact it would have been drawn.) Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1986 I´ve only had the ending of two Knights Vs Pawn twice in my life: once, in a Rapids game here in España a few years ago and once in an "Allegro" finish to a game (on which the, not insubstantial, first prize hinged) in the last round of a weekend tournament in England Vs Suba in 1989. In THAT game MY flag fell and the arbiter awarded a loss on time against me. At the event TWO meetings of TWO separate Appeals committees (during the meetings Suba told me "I have no regret") the result was upheld. Many people were disgusted by that, including IM Lawton and GM Kosten. However I was subsequently informed that many others agreed with it. GM Hodgson noted, "Well you´ve lost!", and cited a recent game of his which had concluded with a similar finish, where a loss on time had been awarded against him when his opponent, GM Nunn, had only six seconds left and Hodgson had only a Rook Vs Nunn´s solitary Knight. The sponsorship for that weekend event of 1989 was withdrawn and articles appeared in national newspapers appeared about it all. One cited a BBC TV chess tournament of the 1980s, The Master Game where some Rules were drawn up and the first one was "We are all gentlemen".
There were never any disagreements.

That Topalov was able to demonstrate the winning technique also shows him to have been a worthy World Champion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Not a bad pun, <Sargon>. But of course you have a ways to go before joining the likes of <Phony Benoni>, <OCF> and <FSR>.

And so do I.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a strong knight!

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < johnwgoes: Mate with two knights is sometimes possible when the lone king is accompanied by a pawn.>

Yes, it is. But I've never before seen it happen in a game between two Super GMs.

What a Christmas gift this game is! I enjoyed it immensely.

Dec-25-19  RandomVisitor: From the final position it is mate in 3, with white playing 75.Nc3, 76.Nb4, 77.Nc2 regardless of what black plays

click for larger view


245/7 00:00 +M3 74...g3 75.Nc3+ Ka1 76.Nb4 g2 77.Nc2+

245/7 00:00 +M3 74...Ka1 75.Nc3 g3 76.Nb4 g2 77.Nc2+

Dec-25-19  dumbgai: What’s with the annotation at the end of the game?
Jul-28-20  Chesgambit: Karpov blundered
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