Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kamsky (2725) - Topalov (2796) [C65]
Sofia Match, 18.02.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0–0 Bc5 This is a very surprising choice for Topalov. This line is generally considered risky for Black. However, I am sure that the Topalov team has something prepared. If the clock is correct, Kamsky is spending a lot of time on his 5th move. One thing you have to give Topalov a lot of credit for, he does take chances and go for the win with both Black and White pieces.

5.Nxe5 Nxe4 6.Qe2 Nxe5 Both 7.d4 or 7.Qxe4 are fine

7.d4 Qe7 Both 8.Qxe4 and 8dxc5 are playable. 8.dxc5 maybe a slightly better option. It seems the the Topalov team has out prepared the Kamsky team in the first two games. However, we have yet to see the fruitful result for Topalov. That's due to Kamsky's resourcefulness.

8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Nc3 Ng6 Topalov is moving with lightning speed. He is ahead by around 50 minutes on the clock. However, I do not see much for Black. White is still slightly better. He has excellent compensation for the pawn with far superior development. I like 10.Be3 here for White. White surely does not want to trade Queen with a pawn down.

10.Qh5 Kamsky now has approximately 42 minutes vs 118 minutes for Topalov. I do not think that this is not the strongest move for White. Black can simply 0-0 and then try to convert the pawn up endgame. White does have compensation for the pawn. However, being low on time, Kamsky does not have an easy task. But never count him out though. He is a fighter.

10...c6 I think 11.Bg5 is the only move to maintain compensation for the pawn. It gains a tempo for the Rooks to be connected.

11.Bg5 Excellent find by Gata. Black must defend with 11...f6.

11...f6 If 12.Rae1 then 12...Ne6 =

12.Rae1 Ne6 This position is quite complicated and dangerous for White. One false move and he will be looking at an inferior endgame. The best move for White here is 13.Bd3.

13.Bd3 Once again, Gata found the best move under pressure.

13...0-0 Yesterday, Topalov sacrificed early for an attacking initiative. He failed to make serious progress and the game ended in a draw. Today, it is Kamsky's turn.

14.Bd2 Gata continues to make good moves. If 14...Qf7 then 15.f4. If 14...d5 then 15.Bg6 hxg6 16.Qxg6.

14...d5 Topalov decided to give back the pawn to trade down pieces. White can either take the Knight of g6 or play 15.f4.

15.f4 Gata decides not to trade pieces. He wants to keep the pressure on. The threat is obviously f5. Black has 15...Qd6 If 16.f5 then Nef4 =+. 15...Qc5 is also fine for Black.

15...Qc5+ This is an interesting continuation: 16. Be3 Qb4 17. a3 Qxb2 18. Nd1 Qxa3 =

16.Kh1 Time pressure is starting to get to Gata. This is not the most accurate move. 16.Be3 would have been a better move.

16...d4! 17.Bf5? Now 17...Nexf4 and Black stands better.

17...Rf7? I have no comprehension of this move. This allows Gata back in the game.

18.Ne4 Qd5 19.Bxg6 = The ONLY move for Black here is 19...hxg6. Everything else wins for White.

19...hxg6 20.Qxd5 cxd5 21.Nd6 At first glance, White seems to be better because of the threat of Nxc8 then Rxe6. However, Black has 21...Rc7 22.Nxc8 Raxc8 23.Rxe6 Rxc2 24.Re2 Rxb2 =+

21...Rc7 22.c4?! Now Black has 22...dxc3 23. Bxc3 d4 24. Nxc8 Raxc8 25. Rxe6 dxc3 26. bxc3 Rxc3 -/+ Gata is also in severe time trouble. He has around 5 minutes or less to make move 40!

22...dxc3 23.Bxc3 d4 24.Bb4 Now White is in serious trouble.

24... Bd7 25. Rf2 a5! An excellent move to expand his advantage.

26. Ba3 b5 27. b3 -+ b4 28.Bb2 Ra6 29.Ne4 Rac6 -+
Both players played very fast in the past few moves.

30.Kg1 Rc2 31.g3 Unless Topalov blunders here, Black will score a full point in this game.

31...d3 32.Rd1 Now 32...f5 and game over. If White moves the Knight, Black will take the Rook on f2, followed by Rc2+ winning the Bishop on b2.


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