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Gata Kamsky vs Veselin Topalov
MTel Masters (2006), Sofia BUL, rd 9, May-20
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Poisoned Pawn Variation (B97)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Annie K.: <technical draw: <<Dr. B> I always thought it was, hear hear.>>

It is "hear hear". The expression originates from the news crier's call before the time of printed newspapers.

May-20-06  chessmoron: Is this the poison pawn variation for Najdorf?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Afternoon: <chessmoron>, it becomes the Poisoned Pawn when White does not protect the b-pawn with 8.Nb3, but instead gambits it with 8.Qd2,Qxb2; 9.Rb1 (or 9.Nb3).

Come to think of it, maybe Kamsky should have gone in for this line.

May-20-06  KingG: <Is this the poison pawn variation for Najdorf?> Yes, it's the poisoned pawn declined. I don't think it's really that dangerous for Black personally, and Kamsky hasn't been very successful with it. Even when he's won, it hasn't been that impressive. If Kamsky is going to continue playing 6.Bg5 against the Najdorf, then i think he should just play 8.Qd2, and have some good home preparation ready.

If he wants to play positionally, then there are plenty of other systems for him to chose from.

May-20-06  notyetagm: <chessmoron: Is this the poison pawn variation for Najdorf?>

No, Poison Pawn Najdorf looks like ♗g5 ♕b6 and then ... ♕xb2, taking the White b2-pawn that was left undefended when White played ♗c1-g5.

May-20-06  square dance: 8.Nb3 is listed in mco-14 under the pp variation.
May-20-06  notyetagm: <square dance: 8.Nb3 is listed in mco-14 under the pp variation.>

Gee, and I thought in the Poison Pawn variation Black had to take the Poison Pawn. Guess not.

May-20-06  OneArmedScissor: Luck is just when preperation and opprotunity meet. Enough said.
May-20-06  LuckyBlunder: It's funny that after San Luis, Linares 2005, 2006 and a long etcetera, some people still do not give credit to Topalov. Even though people are free to have their own favourite players, the fierce style and play of Topa deserve appreciation. I may agree that a positional, 40-move draw can be thrilling, but one has to admit that Topalov "always-go-for-the-kill" style is lovely and that it is, nowadays, the best display of how chess is meant to be played. - IMHO, of course ;) -
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Kamsky had white against Anand and Topalov in rounds 8 & 9 with a one point lead against each opponent. Against Anand he played quietly correctly guessing that Anand does not usually take risks with black. Kamsky must have felt that this would be a bad strategy against Topalov. Topalov has recently won some nice games with black against quiet opening play. Against Vallejo in Linares in 2005 and against Ivanchuk in Linares in 2006 are two examples. So instead, Kamsky chose a sharp opening system. It was a reasonable idea but executed poorly.
May-21-06  Drifter: It would interestig to know the % of games where Topa sacs the exchange.
May-21-06  Open Defence: so its all down to the Final round .. since there have been so many wins with Black in this year's MTel can't say Kamsky and Anand can complain about having Black in this round ... Topalov might complain about having White!!
May-21-06  Karpova: <Yes, it's all just luck, beating 2700s and near 2700s three games in a row.>

Yes, look at the ratings but please never look at the games, you know...

May-21-06  ismetov: Kamsky , What done !!! is that open game against Bulgarian Lion means EAT ME easily....
May-21-06  grook: All that is being said about Anand is true, I am learning most painfully - I almost certainly will lose the massive 300 chessbucks I bet on him :-(
May-21-06  alexandrovm: one more game where Topa wins giving up the exchange, this is another great game with the Najdorf...
May-21-06  McCool: A Blunder by Gata that's all. Dissapointing as he almost had Mtel added to his resume. He still has a chance.
May-21-06  alexandrovm: be cool my friend ;)
May-21-06  walker: this is a test message
Premium Chessgames Member <Drifter: It would interestig to know the % of games where Topa sacs the exchange.> According to the Sacrifice Explorer: Veselin Topalov there are 96 decisive games with an exchange sac, but only 67 where Topalov wins. Draws are not considered, and it's possible that the Sac Explorer overlooked some. That's somewhere around 7.5%.
May-22-06  michiganling: Thanks for the info, <chessgames>. I'd be curious to know what his ratio of exchange sac to win has been in the last few years? After all, the Topalov of 2004-present is certainly stronger than the Topalov of 1995 or even of 1999...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Are you suggesting, <MTal>, that this game was even as late as move 27? <"Nevertheless, as late as moves 27-30 or so, the position is still dead even."> It seems to me that Topalov had a decisive advantage before move 20, and certainly after 21. b3 (in lieu of 21. Ne3). Kamsky, without making any outright blunders, just gradually slipped into a losing position by playing a series of second-best moves (losing about 0.1 to 0.2 evaluation points, if I can put it that way, on about half of his moves). This is a sure sign that he just did not understand the position he got into in this game as well as his opponent. Thus, his choice of opening, while certainly commendable in terms of courage and competitive spirit, may have been lacking in prudence. At any rate, Kamsky's overall performance in this tournament was wonderful and made those who were saying before it began things like, "based on recent form, Kamsky does not belong in this field", look rather silly. Bravo and congratulations, Gata.

One further thought: Does this game qualify for inclusion in a collection under the heading "Topalov wins by sacrificing the exchange"? After briefly being materially down the exchange after move 27, Topalov picked up a second piece on the next move (28. ... Bxe2). Actually, considering the success he has had giving up a Rook for one minor piece, it was after he captured the second minor piece in exchange for his Rook that I wondered briefly if Topalov might have miscalculated. ;-)

May-26-06  cotdt: Just a blunder on move 27 by Kamsky, before that, Topalov has an advantage but I wouldn't call it decisive. It's hard to say, really, but you think these "what ifs" and if Kamsky didn't make the blunder, it could have been a draw.
May-26-06  percyblakeney: <Just a blunder on move 27 by Kamsky, before that, Topalov has an advantage but I wouldn't call it decisive. It's hard to say, really, but you think these "what ifs" and if Kamsky didn't make the blunder, it could have been a draw.>

Shredder does see Topalov as 7 pawns up by then, and 27. Nxa8 is considered the best move for Kamsky by both Shredder and Rybka...

Premium Chessgames Member
  HAPERSAUD: Kamsky doesn't seem to be improving! I've been searching this database and collecting data charts on the najdorf and I've coke across so many losses kamsky has suffered on the White side of the poisoned pawn. Perhaps it's time to pursue the 6.h3 lines :)
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