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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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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-18-06  samikd: <Topalov's move -26.e6 wasn't liked by Rybka nor Junior>

Who the hell cares ?

May-18-06  square dance: <samikd> <Who the hell cares ?> well, <atragon> might since <monad> was responding to him.
May-18-06  FISHEROV: WHY NOT 35.)...Rg7?
May-18-06  spirit: you see, assigning weights to pieces...just puts chess in perspective for we lesser thinks in the wider whole a queen can be worth a pawn and vice versa...and then when you are in the realm of 2750+...the demands of the position dictate your play...the pieces begin to loose their meaning...and sometimes their names!!??
Premium Chessgames Member
  numbersguy70: I can understand Gata's reluctance to expose his king to f7 on move 29, but he's forced there by move 32 anyway. I have to wonder if taking 1 move to get there rather than 3 would have taken some punch out of Topa's sacrifice.
May-23-06  pawn to QB4: Three of us - one of whom can definitely tell a knight from a bishop - went over this game at our club last night. Our thinking is you're right. We think White still has an advantage, e.g. 30.Bc3 Rad8 31.Ba5 R moves 32.Re5 and so on...the point being that the attack depends not on speed but on Black having (just) undefendable weak points. This was the only query we still raise about attack or defence and we were struck by how many of our other suggested improvements throw away White's advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  numbersguy70: See, to me, and I'm far from an expert, Black's queenside looked solid after 29, but the kingside is a disaster. Uncastling in a hurry looks crucial with an apparent need for rooks in both the h and g files asap. Rad8 does nothing from my view. It seems that if the king goes straight to f7, followed by Nf6, Rh8, and Rag8...the defense is in better shape with more counter opportunity.

I play the king's indian/fianchetto defense regularly, and 23...Bxe5 breaks my ironclad rule, "When castled under a fianchetto, NEVER willingly trade off that bishop until the queens or the opponent's bishop of the same color have been removed from the board"

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Topalov's exchange sacrifice 27. Rxe6! proves to be Kamsky's undoing in this game. At the Super GM level, it almost appears as if Veselin has a patent and a near monopoly on attacking positional exchange sacrfices.

It's surprising how many super GMs he's beaten with seemingly equal positions after such exchange sacrifices. Perhaps he knows something the other Super GMs and super computers don't understand about these kinds of positions.

May-31-06  aw1988: At the super-GM level, as I gave an example case of Kasparov and Karjakin, there are very few things that some super-GM's know that others don't. Morphy was one of those players, and Fischer another, but it's very rare...

I think Topalov doesn't necessarily know more, he simply looks for the possibility more often than not, while other players may be "confined" to more quiet positional considerations.

That said, I do believe that Topalov will force other players to raise their defense. Each of these rare cases brings something completely new into the realm of chess, as a rule.

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.
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