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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik
"A Knight's Tale" (game of the day Jan-24-2008)
Corus Group A (2008), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-22
Semi-Slav Defense: Anti-Moscow Gambit (D44)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik (2008) A Knight's Tale
photograph courtesy of "LostEmperor"


Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 36 OF 36 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-28-10  Garech: I agree - a fantastic photo, and a fantastic game. Credit where it's due - very nice play from Topalov, cooked or otherwise.

-Garech

Oct-28-10  rapidcitychess: Why does every one use this one game as evidence for Topalov being better than Kramnik? A shocker, and a shoddy shocker. Not impossible like a Tal sacrifice, it was refuted in a couple days, not decades...
Oct-28-10  AuN1: <praddy06: . This game must be renamed as Topalov Immortal >

you're joking, right?

exhibit a:

Topalov vs Aronian, 2006

Nov-08-10  sevenseaman: A top game indeed. Topalov has a knack with the Knights, it seems.
Nov-20-10  sevenseaman: I am inclined to agree with < rapidcitychess>. Topalov had his brilliant patches but Kramnik nicks him for class and stature.
Mar-15-11  Themarkgon: Every time I look at this game, I can't help but think that Topalov's pride kept him from becoming the world champion (the true one, not FIDE's).

Should Topalov kept this amazing line in secret until his match in 2010, I don't think even Anand could have found a refutation over the board (much less be home prepared for it). In a short match that was tied until the last game, this could easily have been the difference between the title or not.

Instead, he felt as if he had to prove to the world that he was better than Kramnik, and used his secret weapon in a tournament game. Sadly, he ended up with nothing: Anand won the match, and instead of this game being called the "Topalov's Immortal", 12Nxf7 is now remembered as an amazing Cheparinov's move.

Mar-15-11  acirce: Not that Topalov could know anything about that in 2008, but of course Anand never played the Semi-Slav in their match...
Mar-15-11  micartouse: <Instead, he felt as if he had to prove to the world that he was better than Kramnik, and used his secret weapon in a tournament game. Sadly, he ended up with nothing: Anand won the match, and instead of this game being called the "Topalov's Immortal", 12. Nxf7 is now remembered as an amazing Cheparinov's move.>

Even if acirce's point weren't true, it is worth noting the real reason Topalov didn't win either match: he was not as strong as his opponents. He played his openings just fine in 2006 and 2010, but he made too many tactical mistakes.

This game is an example of why it doesn't matter. Topalov does indeed have breathtaking masterpieces (well known opening influences aside), of which this is only one. And hey, the FIDE championship is nothing to scoff at - it was a pretty strong tournament! Topalov was surely correct to play 12. Nxf7 when he did and watch his biggest enemy squirm.

Topalov's career isn't nothing. He definitely achieved greatness.

Nov-18-11  sevenseaman: A classy photo here - two greats of chess being overviewed by yet another in intense concentration.
Jan-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: 12.Nxf7 is a really interesting knight sacrifice.
Jan-10-12  kurtrichards: <12. Nxf7> One of Ivan Cheparinov's many contributions to Topalov's chess battle against Vlad Kramnik.
Jul-09-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "When Ι touched my knight, he almost wrote the move 12.Nxd7 on his score sheet, but when he realized the pawn f7 was taken he didn't believe his eyes."

- Veselin "Chainsaw" Topalov

Dec-26-12  Norbi506: What a knight!
Mar-27-13  Eduardo Bermudez: The value of the pieces is always relative, in this case the knight on e6, is far the most valuable and decisive of all white pieces !
Aug-01-13  JureIvanusic: Funny.. If the white's pawn would be on a5 instead of a4, then black could try with 45... Rxg2+, which could lead to a stalemate (f.e.: 46. Kxg2 Qg6+ 47. Kh1 Qxe6 48. Rb8+ Nxb8 49. Rxb8+ Ka7 50. e8=Q Qd5+ 51. Kg1 Qg2+ 52. Kxg2 stalemate).
Nov-18-13  RedShield: We're approaching six years since these two last played a classical game. Here's a pre-game video in which eye contact and handshake are notably missing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjoW...

According to the DB, they've met across the board only seven times since, in rapid/blindfold events of lesser import. Topalov's re-emergence into the superGM elite should mean that they'll find it harder to avoid the other in future. They're set to play twice at the 2014 Candidates in Khanty-Mansiysk in March, so fingers crossed there.

Dec-12-13  KingPetrosian: What a knight! Gallant, Chivalrous!
Dec-23-13  condition: I've tried putting the movies into Houdini, stockfish, komodo - they can't find the sac -- now upto 100's of millions - still going with Nxd7 If you have time see which one finds the sac first :)
Jan-01-14  Clunney: Is this Nf7 sacrifice actually sound (ie, better for white), or is it better for black, but very hard to defend? It's certainly provocative, and clearly caught Kramnik off guard.
Jun-29-14  Jambow: This game is a perfect example that it's not always the absolute objectively best move that always matters, but the move that allows my opponent the maximum chance to take a wrong turn in a minefield of tactics.

12 Nxf7 took the game from a slow positional grind Kramnik excels at to a tactical complex game where Topalov has the advantage.

Jul-30-17  leroquentin: Just amazing! Don't retired Topa!
Jan-21-20  Whitehat1963: I prefer this one to the game with Aronian. I’d call it Topalov’s Immortal.
May-14-20  fligorna: Yep. But, this is just one of the Topa's immortal games. A huge humiliation for Drawnik… Poor Volodya… Kramnik, actually, is an excellent player, but his style is a paragon of oposit to Topa's style. I like very much Topa!
Jul-27-20  Chesgambit: Re8 lose tempo
Jul-27-20  Chesgambit: Qxg4? Bf6!
.Bf6 19.Nxb7 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Qxe5 21.Rae1 Nf4 22.Rxe5 Qxd4?!
Rhg8! Qg6 Nc7 holding Qe4 with idea f4 Nd5 Qg6 Nc7 draw
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