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Veselin Topalov vs Francisco Vallejo Pons
"Top This" (game of the day Feb-01-2015)
Tromso Olympiad (2014), Tromso NOR, rd 3, Aug-04
Dutch Defense: Queen's Knight Variation (A85)  ·  1-0



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Given 7 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-11-14  notyetagm: Topalov vs Vallejo-Pons, 2014

<Kinghunt: Amazing game by Topalov. This has to make his top games list.>

Yes, this is one of Topalov's all-time best games. Especially since he was playing against a 2700-strength player.

Aug-11-14  posoo: now dis - DIS - is a scorcher of a game. GOD BLESS da toplove, and cognrats on an excellent idea.

To be perfectly honest, I'd have played QxF4 in an instant (I only play BLITZ) not seeing dat i'd get trapped next move!

THEN however I think I'd be able to gobble up da material and do nearly as well as tupple in a slow-roasting barnburner.

YOURE SO SLOW, I have to play you FAST!

Aug-11-14  Marmot PFL: Topalov beat Vallejo-Pons, Vallejo-Pons beat Kramnik, and Kramnik beat Topalov.
Aug-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: This could be the best game in the Olympiad. A genuine tactical brilliancy.

Stylistically Topalov is of the same line as Alekhine, Tal, and Kasparov. These people just can't help it; somehow they just keep on producing these tactical masterpieces.

Aug-19-14  drtombari: this has to be topalov's immortal game
Aug-20-14  computer chess guy: 9. .. g5 looks very questionable.
Aug-20-14  SetNoEscapeOn: < newzild: A fine game by Topalov, but in my opinion 18. Qxf5 is not quite so amazing as has been suggested, as White gets full material compensation (Rook, minor piece and pawn) plus the initiative.>

In fact white gets two pawns (the d pawn is dead) so the operation leaves Topalov ahead in material.

This is, of course, an outstanding positional game. But in my opinion not one of the greatest played by Vesselin.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Great game, although I have to agree that any reference to a Queen sac is simply wrong, White was more than compensated in material. Which certainly doesn't diminish his effort. The material imbalance reminds me of Topa in his heyday where he'd sac an exchange without batting an eye.
Jan-05-15  Gilmoy: Yah, it's more a case of a strategic flaw in this line. It cedes to White the <freedom of choice> between two lines, <18.Qxf5> or not. It's always a risk to let a player of Topalov's caliber have that choice with no pressure: his OTB deep-think might really exceed your shallow analysis from years ago.

Surely Topalov saw the possibility 3-5 moves in advance (from <14.d5 e5?!>). Hence <18.Qxf5> means he's already judged it to be better. In fact, he must have seen beyond his own exchange sac to the unstoppable-pawn theme to make that assessment.

<25.Bg3> may have puzzled Vallejo Pons: <Why do that now?> It gave him a free tempo to defuse the exchange sac, e.g. 25..Ne8, which suggests that he missed <26.Rxf6!> and the grand conceptual shift from tactical material-grubbing to rosette-escort with <everything protecting everything else> -- which utterly trumps a lone Q. His desperado exchange sac (down RN+PPP for Q) removes the wrong B, and the f2-DSB chain is a fortress by itself.

Jan-17-15  Abdel Irada: <Beholder: <Sally Simpson: I suppose beauty is in the eye of beholder>

Damn right it is. Beauty is in my eye ONLY.>

Didn't I meet you in a game of D&D in the early eighties? :-D

Feb-01-15  Phony Benoni: No comment. I'm just here so I don't get fined.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: I ain't got nothin' for y'all.
Feb-01-15  yadasampati: What a magnificent play by Topalov! Especially i admire 25. Bg3, making space for the king and preparing 30. Kh2. This move escapes from the Queen check and keeps the white bishop in active play. Such a foresight!
Feb-01-15  Steve.Patzer: I am too sleepy. What is the finish? <Phony Benoni> Great line.
Feb-01-15  fisayo123: I'm glad this magnificent game finally gets the limelight it warrants.
Feb-01-15  fisayo123: This is the thanks Paco gets for seconding Topalov in his WC match?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I'm just gonna sit here and look at this game for 3 minutes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Great game by Topalov. 31 more collections, and it'll be listed in his top 10. :D
Feb-01-15  thegoodanarchist: Worthy of game of the day status. Shocking queen sac that IMO embodies what a positional sacrifice should be. I don't really have words to describe the beauty of this game. If you are not impressed, you either don't understand chess or you don't really like chess.
Feb-01-15  Phony Benoni: <Steve.Patzer> It's not one of those slam-bang finishes with checks and sacrifices and other fireworks. Black is simply helpless:

click for larger view

Left to his own devices White has various ideas, such as 44.e4 / 45.Nf5 / 46.Rg7#. Black's bishop doesn't have time to help out, and his queen is badly tied down by the promotion threat. Black not only has no good checks, he has trouble even threatening one. For instance, 43...Qc5 is countered by 44.Ne6 Qd6+ 45.Nf4+.

It's not any sort of zugzwang, just total domination. The position simply floats in midair while White takes his time playing the threat of his choice and Black can do nothing about it.

Feb-01-15  morfishine: If this isn't a Queen-sac, I don't know what is. According to Rudolph Spielmann, there are 'real' sacrifices and 'sham' sacrifices. What separates 'real' and 'sham' sacrifices is the 'sham' sacrifice immediately recovers the material and/or immediately forces mate, while the 'real' sacrifice is more "positional" in nature.

What really elevates this game is the exchange-sac <26.Rxf6> which is very real in nature since material is spent for a positional advantage. While there is no immediate mate, the move is forcing and it enhances White's positional plus.


Feb-01-15  schnarre: ...Very impressive Queen sac & follow-up!
Feb-01-15  drnooo: seems to me the threat is rook check, then interpose it behind the pawn and theres no way to stop the queening, or did someone mention that not sure if there is any way to stop it the very next m0ve
May-07-15  posoo: I meant qxF5.
May-07-15  ToTheDeath: <Phony Benoni>: <Black not only has no good checks, he has trouble even threatening one. For instance, 43...Qc5 is countered by 44.Ne6 Qd6+ 45.Nf4+.>

Funny, I was thinking White would answer 43...Qc5 with 44. Re6+ 45.Kg7 45.Rc6! winning. Clearly many roads lead to Rome here.

Fantastic attack, from the Queen sac which was fairly standard actually to the methodical maneuvers and tactics to break Pons down. A gem!

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