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Veselin Topalov vs Gata Kamsky
"Mtel Me Another One" (game of the day May-16-2006)
MTel Masters (2006), Sofia BUL, rd 5, May-15
Slav Defense: Chameleon Variation. Advance System (D15)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <aw1988> Good observations. Still, as I look at this sacrifice and the compensation Topalov gains:

1. Isolates and doubles two Black center pawns, while also weakening the pawn on g6;

2. Cuts off the King from his defending pieces, and gains tempo for an attack while Black tries to organize a defense;

3. Opens up more targets and space on the diagonals and files in the center and on the Kingside as targets for his Rook and two Bishops;

4. Demolishes Kingside pawn structure for a potential Kingside attack;

5. Psychology unnerves his opponents when faced with defending against a sound exchange sacrifice in positions which are Topalov's forte, and probably gains time on the clock;

I can't help but wonder if Topalov doesn't assess these advantages as greater than the equality the computers and most GMs would assign to this and similar positions (i.e. after 27. Rxe6 =).

May-31-06  aw1988: I think he's simply a very powerful attacking player, who happens to play exchage sacrifices a lot. It's not really a mystery, as this is a preference. I make exchange sacs where ever possible, it's one of the chess positions (rook vs minors) I enjoy playing. The difference is that my rating isn't in the 2800's. No, I think it's far more likely that it's just Topalov's strength as a player that makes him who he is, not just his exchange sacs.
Jun-05-06  notyetagm: Ray Keene says Topalov's 27 ♖xe6! is a direct successor to Keres' 19 ... ♖xe3! from Benko vs Keres, 1963.
Jun-05-06  notyetagm: <patzer2> Good analysis of Topalov's compensation for the exchange. Kramnik had better watch out for ♖x♗! and ♖x♘! in September or else it will be a short match.
Jun-05-06  notyetagm: <Ezzy: ... 30.Re5 <Threatening 31 Rxh5+> 30...Nf6 31.Qe3 <Threatening mate in 5 - 32 Qh6+ Kg8 33 Qxg6+ Kh8 34 Rg5 Rg8 35 Rxh5+ Nxh5 36 Qh6 mate.> 31...Kg7 32.Be4 <Threatening mate in 4 - 33 Qh7+ Kg8 34 Qxg6+ Kh8 35 Rxh5+ Nxh5 36 Qh7 Mate >32...Kf7 33.Bc2 Rad8 34.Qh6 <Threatening mate in 2 - 35 Qxg6+ Kf8 36 Bh6 mate> 34...Rg8 35.Ba5 <Threatening not only 36 Bxd8 but 36 Rg5 with a winning attack.>>

Like Chernev wrote about Lasker's play in his game against Porges, <EVERY MOVE A THREAT>.

Jun-07-06  LIFE Master AJ: I think that all of you are correct, I have lost count of the number of times that Topalov has sacrificed the exchange recently.

He usually wins when he does this, and often times the computer does not necessarily see it as the best move. (So what does he know that all the rest of the GM community does not?)

Jun-09-06  LIFE Master AJ: This game is now posted on my website, (the curious could find it with any search engine).
Jul-11-06  madlydeeply: What was the thinking behind 23...Bxe5? When I saw this game live this move struck me as dreadfully wrong. all that time spent blockading the d4 pawn and the moment it's achieved create darksquare weaknesses, eliminate the blockaded pawn, remove the only kingside defender. Was it just a little brain cramp or a more serious matter like the return of Zhukar or some kind of Bulgarian gypsy curse?
Jul-22-06  notyetagm: What a brilliant game by Topalov. And remember, Kamsky had a 2800+ TPR when this game was played so he was in outstanding form.
Feb-16-07  AAAAron: What a game, what a game!!!!!! I have a whole new respect for Topalov after this game. I wish Toppy would've beat Kramnik at Corus. I firmly believe that with the exception of draw by threefold repition, and match draw limits, players should not be allowed to "agree" to a draw. It's one of the worst things about chess. Often times, especially with Drawnik, the game will be a draw after 11 moves. 11 moves! Come on, thats just REALLY guttless chess! Be a man and play the battle out. The player must make a move, so eventually the drawn position will undo and someone will gain a tempo. If someone could explain how agreed draws are unavoidable, I would listen with an open mind... <anyone>
Feb-16-07  Phoenix: Yes, it is hard to believe someone who can play such chess has trouble counting how many times someone goes to the bathroom.
Aug-05-07  drmariogodrob: How to tell that this sacrifice should be called "positional": it occurs on move 27, and the next capture made by either side is on move 38. There are ten moves in between of just shifting around. What?
Nov-17-07  zealouspawn: agreed draws are unavoidable because if two players really want to draw, they will decide on moving their pieces back and forth three times for the threefold.
Oct-02-08  Poisonpawns: Topalov like Kasparov before him has a great feel for the initiative in chess.Count How many tempi Topalov gains after the rook sac.Look at the position of whites pieces at move 26.Bxe6.Then skip 10 moves later to 36..Qc4.Noticed how economically Topalov used TIME in order to set up a killer attacking position.If you can see this position from move 26.Then the exchange sac is a no brainer.For a GM to have all those moves in a row basically means a loss for the opponent.Topalov is a specialist in this area.Forcing his opponents to give up time,i.e moves.Look at it this way.Imagine if you played 1.e4 and your oppent played 1.e5 and then ypu only moved your king back and forth for 5 moves.You would lose the game most of the time.Not because you didnt move,but because of the kind of move.So here Kamsky is moving,but being kicked around by topalov because of the position of the pieces.Investment:Exchange for 5 good tempi,Worth it.
Dec-04-08  LIFE Master AJ:
Dec-04-08  LIFE Master AJ: The above link is this game annotated, as many of you said that you could not locate it.
Feb-02-09  notyetagm: A *stupendous* game by Topalov.

His <POWER CHESS> is irresistible to me.

Feb-02-09  notyetagm: "Topalov is absolutely gonna rip Kamsky to shreds" -- Nakamura
Feb-09-09  ajile: The move 5.c5? has to be seen as questionable since it releases the pressure on d5. I'm betting Topalov doesn't try this again against Kamsky. This is more of a surprise weapon for White but positionally suspect. The key of course is for Black to prepare and play ..e5 as soon as possible to destroy White's pawn center. Some other interesting possibilities include 7..f5! with Black going into a favorable Dutch Stonewall structure. This could be good for Black since White has given up his pressure on d5 with his move 5.c5. Also a good try might be 7..Qc7 to keep the pressure on to play ..e5. If Black gets an early ..e5 in this opening it's instant equality. Maybe even a slight plus for Black since White's c5 pawn will be potentially weak. Black could also play the odd 7..a5! since this stops a quick b4 by White. Probably one of the points for 5.c5 is that it is played after ..a6 by Black so now Black playing ..a5 seems to lose a tempo. But ..a5 is a logical idea.
Feb-09-09  ajile: K Volke vs S Volkov, 2006
Feb-09-09  Riverbeast: <"Topalov is absolutely gonna rip Kamsky to shreds">

I like Kamsky in that match, I think his super solid style is perfect to frustrate Topalov, who is prone to blunders as well as brilliancies.

It should be close though, and I fully expect Topalov to force the play and win some nice games

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Kamsky has never beaten Topa head to head. Their match could be like Capa vs Alekhine, or Fischer vs Spassky. If you know what I mean...
Feb-09-09  ajile: The last 2 games they played were draws though. Kamsky has improved his play. I expect a close match when these 2 meet.
Jul-30-13  Xeroxx: great game in kamskys pet opening
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: I remember going over this game soon after it was played. This game exhibited the 'exchange sacrifice' which was part of Topalov's playing style at the time.

After over 13 years, what does computer analysis say?

On move 26, instead of Topalov's 26. e6, Stockfish 9 gives 26. g4 hxg4 + (0.85--) Depth=34/53 0:02:18 211 MN

Stockfish 9 is not too keen on 26. e6 which lead to the exchange sacrifice in this game. After 26. e6, Stockfish gives this line:

26. ... Bxe6 27. Rxe6 fxe6 28. Re1 Qd7 29. Be4 Nf6 30. Qc2 Red8 31. Ba5 Nxe4 32. Qxe4 Kh7 33. Bxd8 Rxd8 34. Qxe6 Qxe6 35. Rxe6 Rd7

+ (0.08) Depth=43/57 0:03:18 446 MN

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