Gata Kamsky – Veselin Topalov

Mtel Masters 2006, Round 9

Topalov and Kamsky

Kamsky – Topalov at Mtel 2006

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Nb3 Be7 9. Qf3 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Qc7 11. Bd3 b5 12. Rhe1 Bb7

12…b4 13. Ne2 Bb7 14. Ned4 was played in Kamsky-Novikov, 2006 US championship just two months before the Sofia Mtel. It was a mistake for Kamsky to repeat this line as Topalov’s team possibly had analyzed position and had prepared strong novelty on the 15th move. The move order employed by Topalov (first Bb7, then b4) is better because the Knight will be forced to the worse (b1) square.

13. Qh3

More popular moves are a3 and Qg3.

13… b4 14. Nb1 e5!

This stops White’s main idea of pushing e5 and opening files for the heavy pieces. The attack is stopped for a while and Black can heedlessly advance his queenside pawns.

15. N1d2 a5 16. Kb1?

It was time for some damage control to take place. But instead of standard Kb1-Nc1 maneuver, it was better to play 16.dxe5 fxe5 17.Bb5 preventing Black castle at least for a while.

16…a4 17. Nc1 O-O 18. Ne2 Rfc8

Black is simply better and Topalov can slowly bring his pieces to the queenside for the final breach.

19. Ng3 g6 20. Nc4 Ba6

20… b3 combined with d5 or exf4-Ne5 might be even faster.

21. b3 axb3 22. cxb3 Nc5

It becomes obvious that White cannot close files and support those pieces at the same time. His position is falling apart.

23. Ne2 Nfxe4 24. Bxe7 Qxe7 25. Bxe4 Nxe4 26. Nb6 Qa7! 27. Nxa8 Rxa8 28. a4 Bxe2 29. Rc1 Nf2 0-1

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