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Veselin Topalov vs Anatoly Karpov
Melody Amber Rapid 7th (1998) (rapid), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 7, Mar-20
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Main Line New Main Line (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-27-09  outsider: what does the black move 14 mean???
Mar-27-09  furrer: good question.
Mar-27-09  wakeupbomb1234: After 14. Nb3 the only square that black can move the queen to is b6, after which 15. Na4 traps the queen anyway. I assume this was a blindfold game.
Mar-27-09  sheaf: 14..Nb4 is forced as black queen has no squares.. for instance 14..Qb6 Na4 traps the black decided to sac the knight for the pawn..
Mar-28-09  furrer: Ahh, im blind :(

Was this a classical game? Becase then its one huge bludner from Karpov.

Mar-28-09  slomarko: the score says the game was played in monaco so its either blindfold or rapid.
Mar-28-09  furrer: I hope it was blindfold
Apr-13-22  Canadian chesser: <wakeupbomb1234> and <sheaf> have explained Nb4 by Black. Neil McDonald in his QDG book has pointed out that the move before, Karpov must take the pawn with the queen not the bishop: if 13...Bxc5, then 14.Na4 "winning a piece cleanly".(p.180) Looking at the position after White's 12.Nd2 I can see what McDonald means when he says watch out for tactical tricks in this kind of position in the Queen's Gambit Declined: Topalov has created a threatening situation for the black queen in that its escape squares are all running out and coming potentially under quick attack from the d2 knight (moving to b3), the c3 knight (with its deadly a4 move), and the f1 bishop (with its discovered attack on b6 when the white c4 pawn moves). Worse, the c4 pawn can move AND offer a tempting pawn sac, and if we look at the sequence, isn't it Karpov's attempt to go up a pawn that lures him into the queen trap set up by Topalov? Note also the white queen's role covering c5 with x-ray force (through her knight)! Of course, we can agree with McDonald that Karpov had put his queen on b6 in a rather obvious attack on the white king involving pinning the b2 pawn so the DSB can take a3. We can perhaps surmise he was focused so much on ATTACK, that he lost sight of the danger to himself in the position after White's 12th, and neglected DEFENCE. Psychologically, I would argue that with his c5 move Topalov also lulled Karpov's mind from worrying about defence, because instead of it seeming like an element of an aggressive queen-trap scheme, it sort of looks like a defensive response to the Bxa3 threat of Black.
Apr-13-22  Canadian chesser: Hi folks,
I need to correct my post as in it I imply that Karpov was tempted by a pawn sacrifice to enter Topalov's queen-trap. But playing through the sequence starting from 12.Nd2 I can see that he wasn't "tempted" as the pawn capture was forced at that point. So I should have said above, "Worse, the c4 pawn can move AND attack the queen!" So bottom line, Karpov was lost when he blundered with 12...Qb6 and no wonder McDonald gives the move two question marks. My ideas about the pawn sac and Karpov being psychologically trapped may still have been correct in explaining WHY Karpov made this blunder, as it is likely that he saw the pawn move ... though not clearly enough! This is reminiscent of Capablanca vs Spielmann, 1927 where I quote Abrahams making a similar point about Spielman erring in inviting a sacrifice move.

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