Posts Tagged ‘Topalov’

The Fabulous 00s: Kamsky Loses like he Wins

February 18, 2009

The Kamsky Win

Consider this game from the US Championship finals, 1991.

[Event “ch, USA Finals Match 1991”]
[Result “0-1”]
[White “Joel Benjamin”]
[Black “Gata Kamsky”]
[ECO “C69”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O Qd6?! Not a trustworthy line although it was popular in the dawn of modern theory in the 80’s. White meets it effortlessly.

6.d3 Ne7 7.Be3! Ng6 8.Nbd2 c5 9.Nc4 Black has a very poor game already.

9…Qe6 10.Ng5 The computer likes 10. h4 also.

10…Qf6 11.Qh5 Bd6? 11…h6 was required.

12.f4! Black is toast.

Les noirs sont perdus

Les noirs sont perdus

Black toddles on to what should have been an early grave…

12…exf4 13.e5 Nxe5 14.Bxf4 White is completely winning.  So simple!

14…Nxc4 15.Bxd6 Black is also not long for this world after 15. Rae1+ Be7 16. dxc4.  The text should also win trivially.

15…Qd4+ 16.Kh1 Nxd6 17.Rxf7?? Oh no! The brutal 17. Rae1+ Kd7 18. Nf3! with the idea of Ne5+ crushes black.  This backs up the psychological finding that the most common blunders overlook retreating moves.  In this case, reculez pour mieux avancez! (to e5).  But to make the blunder more perplexing, there are several reasons why it’s no good.

17… Qg4! Cold shower. The computer also shows that the cold-blooded and scary-looking  17…Nxf7! repels white after 18. Nxf7  O-O! or 18.  Re1+ Kd7! 19. Nxf7 Re8! and white has no good discovery after 20. Rxe8 Kxe8.  Or, 20. Qh3+ Kc6 finito.  Finally, 18. Qxf7+ Kd8 19. Re1 Bd7 and black consolidates and wins. 

18.Re1+ Kd8 19.Qxg4 Bxg4 20.Rxg7 h6 21.Nh7 Bd7 22.Nf6 Bc6 23.Kg1 Kc8 24.Ree7 Kb8 25.Rxc7 Ne8 26.Nxe8 Rxe8 27.Kf2 Re6 28.Rce7 Rf6+ 29.Kg3 Ka7 30.Ref7 Rxf7 0-1

Conclusion:  Gata played black, didn’t know the opening, staggered into a lost game immediately, and then somehow was forced to win by his opponent who was, it is true, suffering from a virulent case of Rustam-itis.

The Kamsky Loss

Now consider game 2 from the 2009 Topalov-Kamsky match. This time it is Gata with the ‘unlucky’ white pieces in a Ruy.  Once again black’s treatment does not impress.

[Event “Topalov-Kamsky Match”]
[Date “2009.02.18”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Gata Kamsky”]
[Black “Veselin Topalov”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C65”]
[WhiteElo “2725”]
[BlackElo “2796”]
[EventDate “2009.02.18”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Bc5? 5. Nxe5! This line is just bad for black.  What kind of Bulgarian preparation is this?  We won’t be seeing this line again in the match, since Gata will have read my notes.

5…Nxe4 6. Qe2 Nxe5 7. d4 Black is not having a whole lot of fun after the simple 7. Qxe4 Qe7 8. Nc3.  For example, 8…c6 9. d4!.  There is also the nice pendulum variation 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. Re1 Qxe4 10. Nxe4 Be7 and now the paradoxical and hard to spot 11. Nc3!! which is very bothersome. I’m surprised white did not go for that, as Russians say “the game can only have two possible results” – white win or white draw.

7…Qe7 8. dxc5 Nxc5

19th Century Dismal

19th Century Dismal

Black’s pieces are poorly placed and he has lost the bishop pair.   He has sold his soul for one lousy pawn which white can win back. We’re in 19th Century Dismal.

9. Nc3? The obvious first tendency for a novice player is 9. Bf4! giving a nice edge.  Did white somehow out-think himself here?  Maybe he just has a case of the Bulgarian Willies (TM). For example, 9…f6 (ugly! – but other moves are even worse, hanging the c7 pawn) 10. Re1! c6 11. Bxe5 and white is better.  Or, 10. Re1 O-O 11. Bxe5 fxe5 12. Bc4+! (a nice zwischenzug) 12…Kh8 13. Qxe5 and white has an obvious edge powering through to the 7th rank.  Another crummy variation for black is 12. Bc4+! Ne6 13.  Qxe5 Qh4 14. Qe2.

Why didn’t he do this?  Since the Topalov team is also reading this as I see from my access logs, expect some “fine-tuning” in the openings as the match goes on.

9…Ng6? This is not good.  9…c6 is correct. The psychedelic follow-up 10. b4 a6!! with level chances is quite droll.  Topa didn’t eat his Wheaties on this day.

10. Qh5? Why lurch over there?  Suddenly in aggression mode? The exceedingly simple 10. Be3 gives a nice edge.  Next time order an espresso around move 5!

10…c6 11. Bg5 f6 12. Rae1 Ne6 13. Bd3 O-O It is totally unclear what white was thinking but his “tempo gains” have come to nought and black is fine.

14. Bd2 d5 15. f4 Qc5+ 16. Kh1? The elementary 16. Be3 kept the balance.

16…d4 17. Bf5?? What the heck?  A tactical blackout reminiscent of low-quality 19th century matches.  17. Qxc5 was necessary with only a small edge.

17…Rf7?? Oh no!  Black misses the simple 17…Nexf4! and wins!   Was there something in the air or water?

18. Ne4 Qd5 19. Bxg6? 19. Ng3!

19…hxg6 20. Qxd5 cxd5 21. Nd6 Rc7! Was this totally overlooked by white?  Maybe.

22. c4 It’s just horrible for white after 22. Nxc8 Raxc8 23. Rxe6 Rxc2 24. Bb4 Rxb2 25. a3 d3 26. Ree1 Rcc2! and white is paralyzed.  The text is also miserable.

22…dxc3 23. Bxc3 d4 And black is just winning.  A truly bad game.

24. Bb4 Bd7 25. Rf2 a5 26. Ba3 b5 27. b3 b4 28. Bb2 Ra6 29. Ne4 Rac6 30. Kg1 Rc2 31. g3 d3 32. Rd1 f5 0-1

Do you see the parallels?   We have two Ruys in which utter indifference was displayed to good moves in the opening.

In game 1 of our selection, Gata played the part of the Village Oaf in the opening and was forced to win.  In game 2, Veselin played a dismal variation (were his helpers the oafs?) that might draw and might lose and Gata, through a “tactical firestorm”, forced Veselin to win.

In Other Chess News

The grass-roots movement to ban Hanken from writing about chess games in Chess Life is gaining momentum.

And In Other News – ChessBase Misses the Most Key Guy

ChessBase published what it considers the biggest (monetary) winners and losers in chess in the past year. It’s hard to understand why they would overlook Steve Feinberg, a chess master who has lost billions by an ill-timed acquisition by his private equity firm, Cerberus LLP, of Chrysler.  Apparently knowing nothing of cars or recent history, he appointed Robert Nardelli (who had spectacularly failed at running Home Depot but awarded himself a gigantic “golden parachute” cash bonus for being fired) and also knows nothing of car companies.  Guess what, Chrylser is going down the toilet and so is billions of U.S. taxpayer money in the form of (insane) government loans.  And the story is never-ending – the government might flush billions more down this Caissic toilet.  Feinberg’s losses dwarf the paltry $1.8 Billion loss of Boaz Weinstein – one of many risk-taking chess trader cowboys who has gone off the rails. Bankers Trust didn’t do well with the New In Chess-advertized “Chess players must be good at trading” thesis in the early 90’s.

Search Engine Terms

Readers used these terms to find my site. Note the multiple “Anne V” entries.

anne v 21
alex sherzer 6
chess forced mates 4
vladimir kramnik 3
scary sushi 3
stephen feinberg 3
wood backgammon chess 20″ “30.00” 2
chess robert james fischer marshall 2
esserman morra 2
anne v….. 2

Facebook Suggestion Oddities

Sometimes Facebook recommends some pretty odd ‘friend’ possibilities. Recently I was amused to see a) a notorious tournament chess cheater and b) a psychotic (the best kind) female in my list.


The Fabulous 00s: Dos Hermanas OTB 2008

April 24, 2008

Topalov-Vallejo – What the Dealio in this Classical Ruy Lopez?

This game from Dos Hermanas OTB (G/20), 2008, (not the ICC cyber-blitz tourney), is interesting. I had never heard of the “Benelux” (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg) variation before. It features the age-old question of when is h6 and g5 chasing away a white bishop on g5 too weakening?

GM V. Topalov – GM P. Vallejo Ruy Lopez, Classical. Benelux Variation. G/20 + 10 sec increment. Dos Hermanas 2008.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. d4 Bb6 7. Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 9. Qd3 Bd7 10. Nbd2 g5?! TN? This is a key moment. To …g5 or not to …g5?, i.e. wait for later? Vallejo plays this right away and it might be new? Salov played the less committal 10…a6!? and drew against Ehlvest after 10….a6 11. Bc4 Qe7 12. Rfe1 Kh8!? (very mysterious), and 1/2 in 82 moves, Ehlvest-Salov, Moscow 1988, USSR Ch.

Anand tried to improve against Leko: 10…a6 11. Bxc6!? Bxc6 12. Rfe1, but after 12…Bb5! black would have been fine. Leko eventually lost (Anand-Leko, Frankfurt 2000) but it had nothing to do with the opening. Here is a humorous sample line: 12…Bb5! 13. Qc2 exd4 14. Nxd4 Re8 15. Nxb5 axb5 16. Nf3 g5 17. Bg3 Nh5 18. Qd3 Nxg3 19. hxg3 Qd7 20. e5 g4 21. Nh4 Qe6! 22. exd6 Qxe1+ 23. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 24. Kh2 Bxf2 25. d7 Bg1+ and perpetual check!

There is also the interesting and logical 10…Re8. After 11. Rad1, black could have played 11…exd4!? TN with an unclear game. The surprising point is that 12. cxd4 a6! 13. Bc4 Bg4 creates counter-pressure on the center. If 14. Rfe1 Bh5! the game is very sharp. On the other hand, 13…g5? is ruinous: 14. Nxg5! hxg5 15. Bxg5 Bxd4 16. e5! Bxe5 17. Qg6! and wins. There was a game 10…Re8 11. Rad1 Qe7!? and after 12. Rfe1 black missed a good chance with 12…exd4!? 13. cxd4 g5! and here this move works. He played 12…Rad8?! and eventually lost in Morozevich-Zhurov, Moscow 1992.

11. Bxc6?! A “soft” move in Stohl’s parlance. More testing is 11. Bg3 g4 12. Nh4 exd4 (there’s no other way to justify black’s 10th except by being greedy) 13. cxd4 Nxd4 14. Bxd7 Nxd7 15. Nb3! Qf6 16. Nxd4 Bxd4 17. Nf5 Bb6 and white has good compensation. The text prepares an adventurous sacrifice.

11…Bxc6 12. Nxg5 After 12. Bg3 Re8 black is OK after 13. d5 Bd7 or even 13. d5 Bxd5 14. exd5 e4. Black also has the crazy looking 12. Bg3 Nxe4!!? 13. Nxe4 f5 with decent chances. The text should lead to a draw.

12…hxg5 13. Bxg5 Kg7 Forced.

14. a4 a5 14…a6 is less committal.

15. Nc4 Qc8! 15…Qd7 16. Bxf6+ Kxf6 17. d5! Bxa4 18. Nxb6 cxb6 19. f4! with a clear edge. With the text, black eyes g4 as a defensive square for the queen and gives his queen bishop more scope.

16. Nxb6 It looks like a Cochrane Gambit after 16. Bxf6+ Kxf6 17. f4. However, black is OK as long as he is careful. The right line is 17…cxd4 18. Nxb6 cxb6 19. e5+ (or 19. cxd4 d5! 20. e5+ Ke7 21. f5 Kd8! 22. Qg3 Qd7 with a nice light square blockade) 19…dxe5 20. fxe5+ Ke7 and black is fine.

16…cxb6 17. f4 Nxe4! Correct.

18. d5 Nc5??? A horrific blunder, tossing the game away. The draw was there for the taking with the simple 18…Bxd5! (quite obvious) 19. Qxd5 (forced) Qc5+ getting the queens off with a good game. For example, 20. Qxc5 bxc5 21. Bh4 f5! and black is happy.

19. Qg3! Winning. Black must have felt sick.

19…Ne4 20. Bf6+! Maybe black missed this move; it is a KO punch.

20...Kxf6 21. fxe5+ Ke7 22. Qh4+ f6 23. exf6+ Kd8 24. Qxe4 Bd7 25. Qe7+ Kc7 26. Rf4 Qe8 27. Re1 Qxe7 28. Rc4+ Kb8 29. Rxe7 Bf5 30. Rcc7? White could have saved a lot of time with the obvious 30. f7! keeping this important pawns – it wins immediately: 30…Bc2 (or 30…Ka7 31. g4, same thing) 31. g4 Ka7 32. g5 and wins. Black can’t defend against the avalanche.

30…Rxf6 31. Rxb7+ Kc8 32. Rec7+ Kd8 33. Rg7 Kc8? Another bad blunder. The outcome is in doubt after the more active defense, 33…Ke8. For example, 34. Rg8+ Rf8 35. Rxf8+? Kxf8 36. Rxb6 Ke7! and black has enough counterplay. Of course white should not trade a pair of rooks at this juncture.

34. Rxb6 Now white is completely winning again. The rest of the game has no surprises.

34…Bd7 35. c4 Kc7 36. Rc6+ Kd8 37. Rg8+ Be8 38. c5 Ke7 39. Rc7+ Kd8 40. Rh7 dxc5 41. d6 Rxd6 42. Rxe8+ Kxe8 43. Rh8+ Kd7 44. Rxa8 Rd1+ 45. Kf2 Rd2+ 46. Kf3 Rd3+ 47. Kf4 Rb3 48. Rxa5 Rxb2 49. Kf3 Kd6 50. Ra8 c4 51. Rc8 Kd5 52. h4 Ra2 53. h5 Rxa4 54. h6 Ra7 55. g4 Ke5 56. g5 Kf5 57. Rc5+ Kg6 58. Kg4 Ra1 58…Ra6 59. Rc7 forces mate.

59. Rc6+ Kh7 60. Rc7+ Kg8 61. Kh5 c3 62. Rxc3 Ra6 {White wins} 1-0

Another Dos Hermanas Game

A perplexing Modern Benoni in an old favorite of mine (7. Bf4, 8. Qa4+) in the 1980s.   It turns out the player with the black pieces is named ‘Vugar’ not ‘Vulgar’ as I originally thought.

GM Ernesto Inarkiev – GM Vulgar Gashimov (Vulgar is a great name!)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nc3 exd5 6. cxd5 g6 7. Bf4 Bg7?! It is more careful to play 7….a6 8. a4 Bg7 as has occurred in dozens of games.   The text is an important inaccuracy.

8. Qa4+! This is the point of the set-up. Black has fallen into a disguised positional trap!

8…Bd7 Former Candidate GM Borislav Ivkov destroyed D. Sahovic after 8…Kf8? 9. e4 Nh5 10. Be3, white won in 35 moves, Zemun 1980. The move 8…Nbd7? is simply unsound and Joel Benjamin beat GM Y. Kraidman with 9. Bxd6 Qb6 10. Nb5! and white is already completely winning, 1-0, 24 moves, Jerusalem 1986.

9. Qb3 Qc7 10. e4 O-O 11. Nd2 Uhlmann and Petrosian have been successful with 11. Be2. However, Ljuobjevic managed to trick Timman in Amsterdam 1972 and win as black with 11. Be2 Nh5 12. Be3 Bg4 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Bxf3 Nd7!? 15. Bxh5 gxh5 16. O-O Rae8 with murky play, 0-1, 37 moves.

11…Nh5 12. Be3 f5 “Active” but very weakening.

13. exf5 gxf5 Dearly departed GM Lembit Oll beat David Norwood in Groningen 1988 after 13…Bxf5 14. Be2 Nf6 15. h3 Na6 16. a3! playing consistently to restrict black’s knights and white retains a small plus.

14. Be2 Be8 The mainline of the 11. Nd2 variation, but doesn’t this move look artificial? At any rate, the main alternative, 14…f4?, is dealt with harshly after 15. Bxc5! Qxc5 16. Bxh5! and white is hugely better, or 15…f3? 16. Bxf3 Rxf3 (just unsound) 17. gxf3 Qxc5 18. Qxb7 and white won easily, Korchnoi-Nunn, London 1984. Lastly, 15. Bxc5 Na6 16. Ba3! and white consolidated and won in Malaniuk-Norwood, Lvov 1986. The tactics just don’t work for black after 14…f4.

15. O-O!? Very rare. White has an edge and indeed has scored heavily with 15. Nf3!, for example he gave up material for a big attack after 15…f4 16. Bd2 Qe7 17. O-O! Bxc3 18. Bxc3 Qxe2 19. Qxb7 Qa6 20. Qe7! Bg6 21. Rfe1 with a crushing edge; white won in 26 moves, Lputian-San Segundo, Chicago 1983. In this line, he even triumphed with the craven 20. Qxa8 Bd7 21. Rfe1 Nc6 22. Qxf8 Kxf8 23. dxc6 with a big edge, Spraggett-Norwood, Toronto 1985, 1-0, 35 moves. As we can see from this note and the prior note, David Norwood was busy exploring many avenues of this bad variation!

15…a6 16. Qd1 Nf6 17. Nf3! White was unsuccessful with 17. a4 Nbd7 18. Nc4 Nb6 19. Na3?! Ne4 and black won in 47 moves, K. Burger – J. Nun, Brighton 1983. But the departed American (Brooklyn, actually) International Master Dr. Karl Burger had the right instincts in steering for this position! All he needed to do was play Inarkiev’s strong move, aiming for g5, and this looks great for white!

17…b5 18. Ng5! White has a huge edge.  The simple 18. a3!, with similar ideas, also gives a big edge.

18…Bf7 19. Bd3 Qc8 20. Qf3 Bg6 21. Ne6 The move 21. Bf4 is also strong (it occurred in the game one move later).  21…Nbd7 22. Bf4 b4 23. Nd1?! 23. Na4 wins easily.  The pawn on d6 is hanging so black has no time to move the rook.  Black can’t defend: the simple trick 23. Na4 Qb8 24. Naxc5! spells finis.  This was white’s best chance to put Vulgar   Vugar away in short order.

23...Ne5 24. Bxe5 dxe5 25. Bc4?! 25. Nxf8! 25…Ne4 26. Qe2?! 26. Nxf8! 26…Re8 27. Rc1 Nd6 28. Bb3 f4 29. Rxc5 Qb8 30. Rc6 Ra7 31. Re1 a5 32. Ba4?! 32. Bc2 wins.

32…Ree7 33. Qd2?? Both 33. Nxg7 and 33. Qg4 are very strong.

33…Be8! Black is OK now.

34. Nc5 Kh8 35. b3 Nf5 36. Nb2 Nd4 37. Nc4 Bxc6 38. dxc6 Qc7 39. Ne4 Nxc6 40. Qd5 Nd4 41. Ned6 Ra6 42. h3 h6 43. Kh1 Re6 44. Ne8 Qe7 45. Bd7 Qh4! Holding the balance.

46. Nxe5 Qxf2 47. Nf7+ Kh7 48. Rxe6 Rxe6 49. Bxe6 Qe1+ 50. Kh2 Qg3+ 51. Kh1 Qe1+ 52. Kh2 Qg3+ Acquiescing to the repetition. Black can take on e6 with the queen, but that is equal anyway.  Poor Inarkiev.  Did you know his first name Ernesto is taken from the famous revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara?  Well, it’s true.


Appendix: A Gruenfeld Blitz Chestnut Played 4/24/08

Aries2 – ChessMedic ICC G/5 English/Gruenfeld Bf4

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Qb3 Nb6 I had an exceptionally pleasant memory of 5…c6?! 6. e4 Nb6 7. h4!? – MG – Lonoff, Midwest Masters 1987, 1-0 45 moves. In that game, I established a pawn phalanx at the cost of a piece.

6. d4 Bg7 7. Bf4!? An interesting anti-Gruenfeld treatment made possible by this move order. I have had good experiences with this (example vs Pieta Garrett, Az St Champ 2004), and also some reverses from good positions, for example vs GM V. Mikhalevski, Las Vegas, 2005. I will post the latter game when I find it.

7…Be6 8. Qc2 Nc6 9. Rd1 Nd5?!
9…O-O looks better.

10. Nxd5 Qxd5 11. e4 Qxa2 12. d5 Nb4 13. Qxc7 Now the game is completely crazy. Objectively white is doing well.

13…O-O 14. dxe6 Rac8 15. Qxb7 Nc2+ Somehow in the game I barely get my King to safety then proceed to attack. A typical confusing blitz game.

16. Kd2 Rfd8+ 17. Bd3 Bxb2 If 17…Qxe6, 18. Ke2 wins.

18. exf7+ Kxf7 Of course not 18…Qxf7 19. Qxb2.

19. Ng5+ Kg8 20. Qxe7?? Correct is 20. Ke2 h6 21. Nf3 and wins easily. Now black has his moment in the sun.

20…Bc3+?? A reciprocal blunder. Black wins with the brutal 20…Rxd3+!! 21. Kxd3 Ne1+!!. This is forced mate after 22. Rhxe1 Rc3+ 23. Ke2 (23. Kd2 Ba1#! discovered checkmate, an unusually nice mate!) 23…Qc4+ 24. Kd2 Qd3 mate. Another sadistic mate is 23. Kd4 Qc4+ 24. Ke5 Rd3# discovered checkmate.

If white does not capture the far-flung knight and instead plays 22. Ke2, then black simply picks up the white queen with 22…Ba3+ and Bxe7 next, winning.

If 21. Ke2 declining, that doesn’t help: 21…Nd4+ 22. Kxd3 Qb3+ 23. Kd2 Qc3 is mate. The text move hands the game back to white.

21. Ke2 Ne3+ 22. Kf3 No reason not to play the cold-blooded 22. Kxe3! Bd4+ 23. Kf3 and the king has an escape hatch; that wins too and more easily.

22…Nxd1 23. Qxh7+ Kf8 24. Rxd1 Qb3 25. Bc2! Deflection; of course if 25…Qxc2 26. Qf7 mate.

25…Qc4 26. Bd6+ Nicer is the obstruction shot 26. Rd5! and mates.

26…Ke8 27. Qe7# {Black checkmated} 1-0