Monday, February 23, 2009

Topalov - Kamsky

Game Five

Topalov,V (2796) - Kamsky,G (2725) [C07]World Chess Challenge Sofia BUL (5), 23.02.2009

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5
3...Nf6 Is another major line

I don't think anyone would have picked a French defence being on the board today.
4.exd5 4...Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.a4 Qc7 12.Qe2 Bd6 13.h3 0-0 14.c3 h6 15.Re1 b6 16.Bd3 Bb7 17.Bd2 Rfd8 18.Rad1 Bc5 19.Nf3 Bd6 20.Bc2 Rd7 21.Be3 Rad8 22.Bd4 Bc5 23.Bxf6 Rxd1 24.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 25.Qxd1 gxf6 26.Nd4 Qe5 27.Bd3 Bd6 28.Nf3 Qf4 29.Be2 Kg7 30.Kf1 Bc7 31.Ne1 a5 32.Qd7 Bd5 33.Nd3 Qh2 34.Bf3 Bxf3 35.gxf3 Qxh3+ 36.Ke2 Qh2 37.b4 h5 38.bxa5 bxa5 39.c4 h4 40.c5 h3 41.c6 Bb6 42.Qb7 Qg1 43.Qxb6 h2 44.c7 h1Q 45.Qb3 Qf1+ 46.Ke3 Qh6+ 0-1 Short,N-Ivanchuk,V/Montreal 2007
4...cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.Nxc6 Bxc6 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.c4
Kamsky Second/Manager Sutovsky has played games down this line.

Not the main continuation here. Kamsky had a bit of think before playing this move but then made his next moves almost instantly.
9...Qa5 Talliveson 10.Qc2 Qa6 11.0-0 Nf6 12.b3 Be7 13.Bb2 0-0 14.Qc3 Rfd8 15.Qe3 Ne8 16.h3 Rd7 17.Rfc1 dxe4 18.Nxe4 Rad8 19.Qf3 Rd3 20.Qe2 Qa5 21.Rc3 R3d7 22.Rg3 Qf5 23.Bc3 e5 24.Re1 f6 25.Ba5 Nc7 26.Qe3 Rc8 27.Qxa7 Nb5 28.Qe3 Nd4 29.Qh6 g6 30.Bc3 Ra8 31.Bxd4 Rxd4 32.Nc3 Bb4 33.Rf3 Rf4 34.Rxf4 exf4 35.Rc1 Qe5 36.Na4 Rd8 37.Qh4 Be1 38.Qg4 Bxf2+ 39.Kh1 Rd2 40.Rf1 Bg3 41.Qf3 Kg7 42.c5 Kh6 43.Qxc6 Rf2 44.Qb5 Qd4 0-1 Wells,P-Gurevich,M/Port Erin 2007
10.cxd5 cxd5 11.exd5 exd5 12.0-0 Ne7 13.Nf3 0-0 14.Qd3 Qd7 15.Rd1 Rfd8 16.Be3 a5 17.g3
Both players are moving quickly useing 20 - 25 minutes each.
17...Qg4 18.Kg2 a4 19.h3 Qe4 20.Rac1 h6 is an option for black
18.Bb6 Rdc8 19.Bd4 Bc5 20.Bc3 Bb4 21.Be5 Bd6 22.Rd2

22...Bb4 Kamsky seems in a hurry to draw this game.
23.Nxe5 Qd6 24.Re1 Rc7
24...a4 25.Qf3 Rf8 Liquidating the a pawn will be a mjor goal for black. His main weakness in the position are his two isolated pawns.
25.Qf3 Rf8 26.Kg2
After the trade of bishops white has picked up a little bit of iniative and forced black into some defesive moves. Topalov is still along way from winning.
26...Rb7 27.h4 Qb4
27...a4 must be played soon 28.h5 Rbb8 29.Qg4 Nc6
28.Ree2 Qa4 29.b3 Qb4 30.Nd3 Qd6
Time is 41 minutes remaining for Topalov and 27 for Kamsky.
31.h5 Rc7 32.Nf4 d4 33.Re4 Nc6 34.Nd3 Rd8 35.Rc2

35... Nb4?
An unbelievble mistake. In a position that has white with a small advantage Kamsky looses concentration and drops a pawn. Throughout the game Kamsky would pace the stage while Topalov remained seated.
35...Qd7 or 35...Rcc8 and Black will have some nagging problems but a position that is very far from lost.
36.Nxb4 axb4 37.Rxd4

37... Qf8?
Mistakes rarely come alone and Kamsky now blunders again, simply 37...Qxd4 38.Rxc7 Rf8 39.Rc4 Qd2 and white is a pawn ahead but black may have some slim chances to draw.
Now black will lose a second pawn and be dead lost.
38...Qxd8 39.Rxc7 Qxc7 40.Qa8+ Kh7 41.Qe4+ Kg8 42.Qxb4 Qc6+ 43.Kg1 Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Qc2 45.Qe1 Kf8
45...Qxa2 46.Qe8+ Kh7 47.Qxf7 is still winning for white.
46.a3 Qb2 47.Qb4+ Kg8 48.Kg2 Qe5 49.Qg4 Qb2 50.Qc8+ Kh7 51.Qc4 Qxa3 52.Qxf7 Qb4 53.Qc4 Qb7+ 54.Kg1 Qf3 55.g4


A very strange and tragic loss for Kamsky,
After 5 games Topalov leads 3-2 with 3 reamining.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kamsky - Topalov

Game Four

Kamsky,G (2725) - Topalov,V (2796) [C92]World Chess Challenge Sofia BUL (4), 21.02.2009

1.e4 e5
After this game It will be interesting to see if Topalov will continue to play into Kamsky's Ruy Lopez. My theory is he doesn't want to use his best opening preparation prefering to save it for his match with Anand assuming he will get that far.
2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6
Topalov does not wish to play a Marshall Gambit or a anti-marshall system and so indicates his intentoins by playing 7. ...d6 before castling.
8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7
This is the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez

10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.Ng5
A rare line
12.a4 follows is a nice win for Kamsky against Anand in their PCA Candidates match. Kamsky was at the height of his career in the nineties making it too the final stages of the PCA and FIDE world championship cycles. 12...h6 13.Bc2 exd4 14.cxd4 Nb4 15.Bb1 g6 16.Ra3 Bg7 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Nh5 19.axb5 axb5 20.Qb3 c5 21.Ne4 Bxe5 22.Nxc5 Bxf3 23.Qxf3 Rc8 24.Ne4 Kg7 25.Rd1 Qe7 26.Be3 Red8 27.Ra7 Qe6 28.Nc5 Rxd1+ 29.Qxd1 Qd5 30.Qg4 Rc7 31.Rxc7 Bxc7 32.g3 Qc4 0-1 Anand,V-Kamsky,G/Las Palmas 1995
12...Re7 13.d5 Nb8 14.Nf1 Nbd7 15.Ng3 g6


16.Be3 Qc8 17.Rc1 Nc5 18.Bc2 c6 19.b4 Ncd7 20.Bb3 h6 21.Ne6 cxd5 22.Nxf8 Qxf8 23.exd5 h5 24.Bg5 Ree8 25.Qd2 Qg7 26.c4 bxc4 27.Bxc4 Nb6 28.Bb3 Rac8 29.Bh6 Qh8 30.Be3 Nbd7 31.Ba4 Kh7 32.Bc6 Rc7 33.Bg5 Rec8 34.Bxb7 Rxb7 35.Rc6 Rb6 36.Bxf6 1-0 Romanishin,O-Beliavsky,A/Minsk 1979/URS-ch

16...h6 17.Nf3 Nb6 18.h4 Qd7 19.Nh2 Bg7 20.h5

With such a pawn structure black's main breaks are f5 and c6 trying to break down the center. White stops f5 as a possibility and will hope that after c6 he can take control of d5 for his own pieces.

20...Rf8 21.Nhf1 c6 22.dxc6 Qxc6 23.Ne3 Kh7

GM Ian Rogers commented "Quietly accepting his fate. The advance 23...d5 24.hxg6 fxg6 25.exd5 Nbxd5 26.Nxd5 Nxd5 27.Be4 when White controls the board" Full Annotations here http://www.http//

GM Marin has a different opinion. "Topalov approach in this stage of the game is too static. By slowly improving the placement of his pieces, he will allow Kamsky catch up with the development. It looks more logical to open the position at once with 23...d5"

24.Qf3 Bc8 25.Rd1 Be6

A fantastic sacrifice.
A normal continuation might be 26.Bb3 Nc4 27.Nd5 Bxd5 28.exd5 Qc7 29.Bc2 Nb6
Topalov is not one to back down from a challenge but this is a risky pawn to take at least practically.
26...Rd7 27.Bd2 Rc8 28.Rac1 d5 is a possibly safer option
27.Bd2 Qc7
27...Qb2 28.Bb4 Nc8 29.Ne2 a5 30.Rab1
28.Ba5 Qb8 29.Rd2 Nc8
29...Rc8 30.Rad1 Rd7 31.Bb1
30.Rad1 b4?!
30...Rd7 31.Bb4 Qb6 32.Ngf5!? gxf5 33.exf5 Kh8 34.fxe6 fxe6 35.Qh3 a5 36.Ba3 b4 37.Bb2 Re7 Is an interesting variation.
Stopping black's Qb5 threat.
31...Kh8 32.Bd3 Na7 33.Rc1 Nb5
33...Rc8 34.Rdc2 Rxc2 35.Rxc2 Nb5 36.Bxb5 axb5 37.Bxb4
34.Bxb5 axb5 35.Bxb4 Rd7 36.Rc6
Kamsky is torturing Topalov who must find it difficult to be in a position like this.

37.Nd5! This is a stronger move but Kamsky is in no hurry especially with both players time running low at this point. 37...Bxd5 (37...Nxd5 38.exd5 Bf5 39.Qf3+-) 38.exd5 Kh7 (38...Qb7 39.Qd3 Kh7 40.Rdc2 White has a dream position.) 39.a3 Qb7 40.Qd3 Rc8 41.Rdc2 Rdc7 42.Ne4 Nxe4 43.Qxe4 Bf8 44.f4+-
37...Bf8 38.Qc2 Kh7 39.Ba5 Re8 40.hxg6+ fxg6 41.Bc7 Qb7 42.Bxd6 Bf7
42...Bc4!? 43.Rc7 Rxc7 44.Bxc7 Qxc7 45.bxc4 b4 White is still on top
43.Bxf8 Rxd2 44.Qc1! Rxf8 45.Rxf6 Rfd8 46.Ngf1 R2d6 47.Nf5 Winning
43...Bxb4 44.Rxd7 Qxd7 45.Rxf6 Re6?!
45...Be6 46.Nd5 Be7 47.Nxe7 Qxe7 48.Qc6 Kg7 49.Rxe6 Qxe6 50.Qxb5 looks better for black than the game continuation
46.Nd5 Bf8 47.Rf3
47.Rxe6 Qxe6 48.a4 bxa4 49.bxa4 Qd6 50.a5 Kg7 (50...Bxd5 51.exd5 Qxd5 52.Qc7+)
White has a winning advantage now.
I have some live footage from the game at this point.
48...Ra6 49.Rc7 Qd6 50.Qe2 Kg8 51.Qxb5 Rxa2 52.Qb7 Ra1+ 53.Kh2 Bxd5 54.exd5 Qf6 55.Qc8 Qh4+ 56.Qh3 Qxh3+ 57.Kxh3 Rd1 58.Ne4 Ba3
58...Rxd5?? 59.Nf6+ Its not the rook but 59...Kh8 60.Rh7#
59.Ra7 Bb4 60.Rb7 Ba3 61.f3 Kf8 62.Rb5 h5 63.Kg3 Rc1 64.Rb8+ Kf7 65.Rb7+ Kf8 66.Kf2 Rc2+ 67.Kf1 Rc1+ 68.Ke2 Rc2+ 69.Kd3 Rxg2 70.Ra7 Be7
70...Bc1 71.d6 Ke8 72.Kc4 Be3 73.Re7+ Kd8 74.Nf6 Rc2+ 75.Kb5 h4 76.Re8#
71.d6 Bd8 72.Nc5 Ke8 73.Rh7

[73.Rh7 Ba5 74.d7+ Kd8 (74...Kf8 75.b4 Bb6 76.Ne6+ Kg8 77.Rg7+ Kh8 78.Rf7 Rg1 79.Rf8+ Kh7 80.Kd2 Rg2+ 81.Kc3 Ra2 82.Rb8 Ra3+ 83.Kc4 The bishop is lost ) 75.Ne6#]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Topalov- Kamsky

Game two

Kamsky,G (2725) - Topalov,V (2796) [C65]World Chess Challenge Sofia BUL (2), 18.02.2009

1.e4 e5
This had to be a surprise. Normally Topalov is a faithful sicilian player but perhaps with Kamsky's weakness in opening theory Topalov wishes to fine tune some old lines and put Kamsky under pressure with an early novelty.
2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5
The classical Ruy Lopez

5.c3 is considered the main continuation here. 5.c3 0-0 6.d4 Bb6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.Qd3 Bd7 10.Nbd2 a6 11.Bc4 exd4 12.cxd4 g5 13.Nxg5 hxg5 14.Bxg5 Kg7 15.Nb3 Ne7 16.Bxf6+ Kxf6 17.f4 Be6 18.Kh1 Bxc4 19.Qxc4 Kg7 20.f5 f6 21.Rf3 Rh8 22.Rg3+ Kf8 23.Qe6 Ng8 24.Re1 Qe8 25.Qc4 Qf7 26.Qc3 Re8 27.Rg4 Qh5 28.Qg3 Ne7 29.h3 Nxf5 30.Qf4 Rg8 31.Rxg8+ Kxg8 32.Rf1 Ng7 33.Qxf6 Rxe4 34.Kh2 Qe8 35.Qg5 c6 36.Qg3 Qe6 37.Nd2 Rxd4 38.Nf3 Rd5 39.Re1 Qf7 40.Qg4 Bd8 41.Qc8 Qc7 42.Qxc7 Bxc7 43.Re7 Bb6 44.g4 Rb5 45.b3 Kf8 46.Rd7 Ne6 47.Nh4 Ke8 48.Rh7 Nf8 0-1 Topalov,V-Leko,P/Dortmund 1999
5...Nxe5 6.d4 a6 7.dxe5 axb5 8.exf6 Qxf6 9.Nc3 c6 10.Be3 Bxe3 11.fxe3 Qe5 12.a3 d6 13.Qd4 Bg4 14.h3 Be6 15.Rad1 Rd8 16.Rf2 Rd7 17.a4 bxa4 18.Nxa4 b5 19.Nc3 Qg5 20.Qb6 Qc5 21.Qxc5 dxc5 22.Ra1 Ke7 23.Ra6 Rc8 24.Kh2 c4 25.Kg3 f6 26.Ne2 Rd1 27.Nd4 Bd7 28.Ra7 Kd6 29.Kf4 Re8 30.h4 g6 31.Kf3 h5 32.Kf4 Re7 33.Nf3 Bg4 34.Rxe7 Kxe7 35.e5 Bxf3 36.gxf3 b4 37.exf6+ Kxf6 38.e4 c5 39.c3 b3 40.e5+ Ke6 41.Rg2 Kf7 42.Ke4 Rh1 43.Kd5 Rxh4 44.e6+ Kf6 45.Kd6 Rh1 46.Re2 Rd1+ 47.Kxc5 Ke7 48.Kxc4 Rg1 49.Kxb3 Rg3 50.Kc4 Rxf3 51.b4 h4 52.b5 h3 53.b6 g5 54.b7 Rf8 55.Kd5 g4 56.Rf2 Rxf2 57.b8Q h2 58.Qa7+ Kf6 59.Qxf2+ 1-0 Rozentalis,E-Polgar,Z/Groningen 1993
6.Qe2 Nxe5 7.d4
7.Qxe4 Qe7 8.Re1 Nc6 Black is fine
7...Qe7 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Nc3
This pawn sac could be designed to put Topalov on the defensive where he is not as well suited to play his best. Problem is Kamsky in this game almost defeats himself with his time usage. 9...Ng6 10.Qh5
10.Be3 Ne6 11.f4 f5 12.Nd5 Qf7 13.Bc4
10...c6 11.Bg5 f6 12.Rae1 Ne6 13.Bd3 0-0
13...fxg5 14.Bxg6+

14. ... d5
14...Qf7 15.Ne4 Ne5 16.Qh3 Nxd3 17.Nd6 Marin gives this variation as good for white on the chessbase site but his next move is 17...Nef4
A) 17...Qg6! This is a stronger move in my opinion but of course why play 14...Qf7 it makes black's game a bit more tricky than is needed, 14...d5 is simple and good.
18.Qxd3 (18.cxd3 f5 19.Re5 Nd4 20.Bb4 b6 Black threatens c5 forcing the knight to move or white exchanges queens with 21.Qg3 in either case black is fine)
18...Qxd3 19.cxd3 b6 20.f4 Ba6 21.Rf3 Nc7 When the extra pawn and white's weakness on d3 help black keep his chances equal. Black's knight has good squares to go to.
B) 17...Nef4?! 18.Bxf4 Nxf4 19.Qg4 And white has a clear edge according to Marin. His annotations are to be found at
At this stage Kamsky was under quite a bit of time trouble and rejects swapping on g6 to get his pawn back. Kamsky has 13 mins left and needs to make it to move 40 before more time is added.
15.Bxg6 should be equal but maybe more pleasant for black
15...Qc5+ 16.Kh1
16.Be3 d4 17.Bxg6 Qxh5 (17...hxg6 18.Qxc5 Nxc5 19.Bxd4 Ne6 Marin believes black can gradually equalise.) 18.Bxh5 dxe3 19.Rxe3 Rd8 Marin gives white a small edge.
16...d4 17.Bf5 Rf7
17...Nexf4! 18.Rxf4 (18.Bxf4 Qxf5) 18...dxc3 19.Bxc3
18.Ne4 Qd5 19.Bxg6 hxg6
Time's are now a major factor Kamsky only has 8 minutes left to Topalov's 112
20.Qxd5 cxd5 21.Nd6
At first glance this looks excellent for white but Topalov finds an excellent resource

Kamsky admitted at the press conference that he missed this move!
22.Nxc8 White can win a piece but the cost is 3 pawns and white has an awkward position after it as well. 22...Raxc8 23.Rxe6 Rxc2 24.Bb4 Rxb2 25.a3
22...dxc3 23.Bxc3 d4 24.Bb4
24.Nxc8 Raxc8 25.Rxe6 dxc3 26.bxc3 Rxc3
24...Bd7 25.Rf2
Kamsky is a pawn down but more importantly he is incredibly short of time and self destructs. 25...a5 26.Ba3 b5 27.b3 b4 28.Bb2 Ra6 29.Ne4 Rac6 30.Kg1 Rc2 31.g3 d3 32.Rd1 f5 32...f5 33.Ng5 Rxf2 34.Kxf2 Rc2+ Is the point so white is losing a piece, Kamsky however I believe lost on time first.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Topalov - Kamsky

Game one

Topalov,V (2796) - Kamsky,G (2725) [D87]World Chess Challenge Sofia BUL (1), 17.02.2009

Topalov starts the match with 1.d4 as he did against Kramnik in 2006.
1...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5
Kamsky does play the Gruenfeld so not a big surprise but it is interesting to note he is avoiding his pet a6 Slav line which is very solid.
4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4
Theory is long and heavy in many Gruenfeld lines.
7...c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Na5

10...Bg4 This is a sharp alternative. Shirov tried this against Kramnik in their failed Candidates match. Failed because Kramnik lost the match but was later hand picked by Kasparov to play a World championship match anyway. 11.f3 Na5 12.Bxf7+ Rxf7 13.fxg4 Rxf1+ 14.Kxf1 cxd4 15.cxd4 e5 16.d5 Nc4 17.Qd3 Nxe3+ 18.Qxe3 Qh4 19.h3 Bh6 20.Qd3 Rf8+ 21.Kg1 Qf2+ 22.Kh1 Qe3 23.Qxe3 Bxe3 24.Rd1 Rf2 25.Ng1 Kf7 26.Rd3 Bb6 27.Rf3+ Ke7 28.Rxf2 Bxf2 29.Nf3 Kd6 30.g3 Bxg3 31.Kg2 Bf4 32.Kf2 Kc5 33.Ke2 b5 34.Kd3 - Kramnik,V-Shirov,A/Cazorla 1998/
11.Bd3 b6 12.Qd2 e5 13.Bh6 cxd4 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.cxd4 exd4 16.f4 f6

This is an apparant novelty by team Topalov.
Kamsky lost a game on 2008 to Topalov's second Cheparinov after 17.Rac1 Bg4 18.Ng3 Bd7 19.Ne2 Bg4 20.Ng3 Bd7 21.h4 Rc8 22.Rxc8 Bxc8 23.h5 Qe7 24.Qe2 Bd7 25.Rc1 Rc8 26.Re1 Rc3 27.e5 f5 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Qd2 Nc4 30.Bxc4 Rxc4 31.Qd3 Qc5 32.e6 Bb5 33.Nh5+ Kh6 34.Qh3 d3+ 35.Kh2 gxh5 36.Qh4 Be8 37.Re5 Qf8 38.Qg5+ Kh7 39.Rxf5 Qg7 40.Qd8 Rc2 41.Rg5 Qc7 42.Qxd3+ Kh6 43.Qf5 1-0 Cheparinov,I (2687) -Kamsky,G (2723)/Sochi 2008
Kamsky had a long think over his reply.
18.Nxd4 This is a natural reply but Topalov wants maximum attacking potential out of the position.
18...Qxf6 19.Ng3 Kh8
White is trying to expose black's king at the cost of a pawn.
20...gxf5 21.Bxf5 Bxf5 22.Rxf5 Qd6 23.Raf1 Nc6 24.Ne4 Qe7 25.Qh6
Topalov has sacrificed a pawn for a K-side attack but the position is quite open and simplified, Kamsky is also excellent at defence.
25...Rxf5 26.Rxf5 Ne5 27.h3
Topalov has a minimal time edge now.
27...Ng6 28.Rh5 Rg8
28...Kg8 This would prolong the game a bit but I don't really believe black has good winning chances.
29.Nf6 Rg7
29...Qxf6?? 30.Qxh7#

A flashy move but it will only lead to a drawn position.
30...Rxh7 31.Qxg6 Qe3+ 32.Kf1 Qc1+ 33.Kf2 Qd2+ 34.Kg3 Qe3+ 35.Kh2 Qf4+ 36.Kg1 Qc1+

Kamsky must be satisified with game one having survived a Team Topalov novelty. 7 games remain unless a tie occurs but I wonder if Kamsky will stick with his main move 1.e4 in game two or are we destined to see another Slav.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Press Conference

The first move is due to be made in less than 24 hrs.
Goto for a run down of the press conference.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Topalov Tactic

The following position is taken from Kamsky - Topalov MTel Masters 2006. Black has a nice shot but the combination is deeper than you may expect.
Black to play

Kamsky - Topalov Match

Previous encounters

Tournament Date Gata Kamsky Veselin Topalov
3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL 19.05.2007 1/2 1/2
3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL 14.05.2007 1/2 1/2
2nd M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL 20.05.2006 0 1
2nd M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL 15.05.2006 0 1
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED 14.01.2006 0 1
Closed GM Dos Hermanas ESP 27.05.1996 0 1
Closed GM Las Palmas ESP 1994 1/2 1/2
12th Closed GM Linares ESP 1994 1/2 1/2

Topalov is a clear favourite on paper, he is the No. 1 world rating's list at 2796 while Kamsky is further back at number 17 rated 2725. Topalov also has a clear lead in all their previous encounters. Kamsky however has only recently made a return to professional chess and his losses to Topalov excluding one was during the period of his comeback trial. Topalov is still my pick to win but anything is possible in match play. For example, who would have thought Anand would crush Kramnik in their match last year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Career and Legacy of Bob Wade

Chesscafe site contributor Tim Harding has written a good article about Bob Wade
here's the link

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kamsky- Topalov Match

In less than a week we are are scheduled to see an extension to the World chess championship cycle. The match between Topalov and Kamsky could promise to be a very torrid affair. Topalov has to be the favourite but Kamsky can't be underrated. Whatever the outcome atleast the match is happening and I am sure the current world chess champion Anand will watch with intense detail.
Official site

North Island Championship 09

April 10th-13th 2009 - 2009 North Island Championship,

Wellington. Hosted by the Wellington Chess Club. Venue: The Wellington Bridge Club Rooms, 17 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington. Open 8-round FIDE-rated tournament with a time control of all moves in 90 minutes plus an increment of 30 seconds per move from move one.

Single group swiss with B and C division prizes. Prizefund: Open 1st $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $150; B-grade 1st $125, 2nd $75; C-grade 1st $125, 2nd $75; Best Junior $75. Personal trophies for all division winners and Best Junior. Highest placed Wellington Region player to be Wellington Champion.

Entry fees: standard $85, unwaged or junior $60. Players must be NZCF-registered. Schedule: Friday 10th April: 9:15am players' meeting; rd 1 9:30am; rd 2 2:30pm. Saturday 11th April: rd 3 9:30am; rd 4 2:30pm. Sunday 12th April: rd 5 9:30am; rd 6 2:30pm. Monday 13th April: rd 7 9:30am; rd 8 2:30pm. Enquiries: Alan Aldridge, e-mail Download entry form (Word document) here. This event is a Millennium Hotels Grand Prix class 1 event.

Anthony Ker first NZ Title

Garbett,P (2276) - Ker,A (2316) [B08]New Zealand Chp (96th) Dunedin (8), 05.01.1989

Twenty years ago Anthony Ker at the age of 21 won his first New Zealand championship finishing on 8/11 equal first with Paul Garbett. His first NZ title was his fifth time playing in the Championship. The following game has a very instructive ending, atleast I found it to be especially after my last round loss at Queenstown which cost me the major open title and dashed any chances I may have had to win the NZ championship, even if they were very slim.

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3
The Pirc has remained a solid foundation to Anthony's black repoitaire. Some may criticise his loyalty to this opening but nobody has cracked it, atleast not yet.
4...Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0
This approach to the Pirc is a Karpov favourite Garbett has also played a few games down this line. Garbett and Ker will repeat this opening in two more NZ championship games trading wins.

6...c5 Tal had an excellent win against Speelman down this line. 7.d5 Na6 8.Re1 Nc7 9.Bf4 b5 10.Nxb5 Nxe4 11.Nxc7 Qxc7 12.Bc4 Nf6 13.h3 Re8 14.Rb1 a5 15.Qd2 Qb6 16.Re3 Ba6 17.Bxa6 Qxa6 18.Rbe1 Kf8 19.Ng5 Qb7 20.c4 Qb4 21.Qe2 h6 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Rb3 Qa4 24.Qe6+ Kf8 25.Rb7 Qxc4 26.Bxd6 Ng8 27.Re3 Bf6 28.Rf3 Kg7 29.Bxe7 Rxe7 30.Rxe7+ Nxe7 31.Qxf6+ Kg8 32.Qf7+ Kh8 33.Qxe7 Qxd5 34.Rf7 1-0 Tal,M-Speelman,J/Reykjavik 1988/
7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 e5 9.dxe5
9.d5 Ne7 10.Rad1 Bd7 11.Ne1 Ng4 12.Bxg4 Bxg4 13.f3 Bd7 14.f4 Bg4 15.Nf3 exf4 16.Bxf4 f5 17.Rde1 Bxf3 18.Rxf3 Qd7 19.e5 dxe5 20.Bxe5 Nc8 21.Bxg7 Qxg7 22.h4 Nd6 23.Qf4 Ne4 24.Nxe4 fxe4 25.Qxe4 Rxf3 26.Qxf3 Qxb2 27.c3 Qb6+ 28.Kh2 Rf8 29.Qg3 Qc5 30.Re5 Rf1 31.Re8+ Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Qf4+ Kg8 34.c4 b6 35.a4 a5 36.Kg3 Qa3+ 37.Kg4 Qe7 38.Kf3 Qa3+ 39.Kg4 ½-½ Karpov,A-Nunn,J/Hamburg 1982/
9...dxe5 10.Rad1 Qc8 11.Qc1 Rd8 12.Rxd8+ Qxd8 13.Rd1 Qf8 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 h5 Black has the plan to exchange of his worse piece the bishop on g7.
16.Nb5 Ker lost a later game down this line. 16...Rc8 17.c3 Kh7 18.Kf1 Bh6 19.Bxh6 Qxh6 20.Qxh6+ Kxh6 21.Ke2 Kg7 22.Ke3 Kf8 23.Be2 Ke7 24.b4 a5 25.a3 Ne8 26.Bc4 Ra8 27.Rd5 b6 28.Bb3 f6 29.Rd2 Nb8 30.a4 c6 31.Na3 axb4 32.cxb4 b5 33.a5 Na6 34.Nc2 Nd6 35.Rd3 c5 36.Bd5 Rc8 37.Rc3 Nxb4 38.Nxb4 cxb4 39.Rxc8 Nxc8 40.h4 Kd6 41.Bf7 Ne7 42.f3 f5 43.Kd3 Kc5 44.Be8 f4 45.Kc2 Nc6 46.a6 Kb6 47.Bxg6 Ne7 48.Bxh5 Ng8 49.Bf7 Nh6 50.Be6 Kxa6 51.Kb3 Ka5 52.Bd5 Ka6 53.Kxb4 Kb6 54.h5 Kc7 55.Kxb5 Kd6 56.Kb6 Kd7 57.Kc5 Ke7 58.Kc6 Kf6 59.Kd6 1-0 Mok Tze Meng-Ker,A/Jakarta 1993/
16...Kh7 17.Rd3 Bh6 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Rd8 20.Qd2 Rxd5 21.exd5 Nd4 22.Bd1?!
Clearly better is 22.Be4 This diagonal is ideal for the bishop, it is interesting how this slight inaccuracy affects white's position later on.
22...Nf5 23.Bxh6 Qxh6 24.Qxh6+ Kxh6

We have reached a fischer endgame with King knight and pawns verse king bishop and pawns. Critical for black is to find a good out post for his knight. Black has a K-side pawn majority and white a queenside one which means each side must try to get a passed pawn but just blindly throwing the pawns up the board is not good. The pawns will neeed support so each side is trying to create a passed pawn and at the same time slow down the other side making progress. Ultimately it must start with getting your pieces to good squares or taking away good squares from your opponent.
The white king must be centralised or head towards where the action is most likely to occur
Nd6! 26.Ke2?
White misses black's idea behind his last move and unnecessarily drops a pawn. The resulting position will still be a difficult one for black to win.
26.Be2 is better
26...Nc4 27.b3 Nxa3 28.c4
This pawn chain block's in white's bishop which should be placed on this diagonal for optimum annoyance for black. If white could get his bishop on c2 or d3 then he would be at least looking at a black pawn but white's knight on the edge of the board has the important function of slowing this down.
Black now hurries to activate his king

29.Kd3!? This is a more energetic square for the king. He keeps an eye on any central and K-side possibilities as well as threatening to win the knight on a3 basically forcing black's next move.
Just to show the some possibilites
A) 29...a5?! 30.Be2 b5 (30...Kf6 31.Kc3 The knight will be lost.) 31.Ke4
A1) 31...Kf6 Leads to a interesting win for white. 32.cxb5 Nc2 33.f4! h4 (33...exf4 34.d6! cxd6 35.b6+-) 34.fxe5+ Ke7 35.b6 cxb6 36.d6+ Ke8
A2) 31...bxc4 32.bxc4 Nc2 33.Kxe5 Leads to a more or less forced draw where white sacs his bishop for the a pawn uses his c and d pawns as bait to eliminate black's only winning chances. His King-side pawns. 33...a4 34.c5 f6+ 35.Ke4 a3 36.Bc4 Kf8 37.d6 cxd6 38.cxd6 Nb4 39.Kd4 a2 40.Bxa2 Nxa2 41.Kd5 Ke8 42.Ke6 f5 43.Kf6 Kd7 44.Kxg6 f4 45.Kg5 Nc1 46.Kxf4 Nd3+ 47.Kg5 Nxf2 48.Kxh5 Kxd6=;
B) 29...b5 This is a better move for black he must act quickly to get his knight a retreat square. 30.c5 Black remains a pawn up but whiite has good chances to draw.
Necessary to prevent the knight being trapped.
30.Kc3 a5 31.Kb2?!
White's king is too far away from black's pawn majority on the K-side.
31.b4! trying to trade as many as possible. A good general idea to know is in minor piece endgames your winning chances diminish with each pawn that leaves the board, because of course a King and minor piece is not enougn to mate. Nxc4 (31...axb4+ 32.Kxb4 Nxc4 33.Kxb5 Nd6+ 34.Kc6 Ne8=) 32.bxa5 Nxa5 33.Kb4 Nb7 34.Kxb5 Nd8]
31...b4 32.Be2 f5 33.g3
To prevent h4 fixing white with a backward g-pawn or if white tries to rid himself of this weakness then black is able to create a passed pawn. [33.Kc1 h4 34.g3 hxg3 35.fxg3]
33...Kf6 34.f3 e4

White's position is now hopeless. White's bishop has been dominated by pawns of both colour's while black's knight as funnily as it looks has played a more cruical role of taking away key squares and causing white to put his king offside. Black will now infiltrate decisively with his king 35.f4
35.fxe4 fxe4 36.c5 Ke5 37.d6 Ke6 (37...cxd6 38.c6+-) 38.dxc7 Kd7 39.Kc1 Kxc7 40.Bf1 Kc6 41.Bg2 Kd5 42.c6 Nb5 43.Kd2 Kd4 Black is winning
35...c6 36.dxc6 Ke7 37.g4 hxg4 38.hxg4 Kd6 39.g5
39.gxf5 gxf5 40.Kc1 Kxc6 41.Bf1 Kc5 42.Bh3 e3 43.Bxf5 Kd4 44.Kd1 Kc3 45.Ke2 Kxb3 46.c5 Nb5 47.Bd7 Kc4-+]
39...Kxc6 40.Bh5 A desperate attempt to trick black.
of course not 40...gxh5 41.g6 e3 42.g7 e2 43.g8Q e1Q 44.Qc8+ =
41.Kc1 gxh5 42.g6 Nb1 43.g7
43.Kxb1 e2 44.g7 e1Q+ 45.Kc2 Qc3+
43...e2 44.g8Q e1Q+


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Svidler Wins Gibraltar

In a great finish Peter Svidler was able to beat Vadim Milov 2-0 in a rapid play-off to take first place. Going into the last round several players had a chance for first place, but the critical encounter's were Svidler who beat Harikrishna and Milov who beat Avurkh to share the lead. What makes Gibraltar a great tournament is their are no agreed draws allowed before 30 moves and if their is a tie for first then a play-off match is organised to decide an outright winner. Svidler showed his class by beating Milov 2-0.
Official website for full details is

Monday, February 2, 2009

Auckland Chess Center Weekender

March 27th-29th 2009 is the date for the first Fide rated event of the year. Details are to be found at

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chess Video

I have annotated the game Mikhalevski - Rozentalis from the Queenstown chess classic. It was quite a long game but I found it extremely interesting especially because I witnessed it first hand. I hope to do more videos as surely the more I do the better I will get.

Youth Dominates at Wijk aan Zee

This year's Corus chess festival had a dramatic finish with the standing's not clear in the top A and B groups until the after the last round. Sergey Karjakin defeated Dominguez with the black pieces to claim first in the Group A, while the young Italian-American Fabiano Caruana wiped out Nigel Short's hope for first prize in a interesting Catalan battle. The young Philippine Grandmaster clinched first in group C with a round to spare and made a quick draw in the last round to get first outright.

The other major news of the tournament was that of Anish Giri playing in group C achieving his last GM norm. With his excellent result from this tournament his rating will make it over 2500 making him the youngest GM in the world at the age of 14. This achievement cannot be underestimated as David Smerdon the winner of the recent Queenstown Chess Classic who finished ahead of many strong Grandmasters is still an IM. He has made all the required norms and then some but is still just needing to get his rating over 2500 to get the much sought after GM title. So congratulations to GM Anish Giri.

Results and more news at