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Veselin Topalov vs Alexander Grischuk
Linares (2010), Linares ESP, rd 5, Feb-18
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Adams Attack (B90)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Viewer Deluxe: During the game I didn’t quite get the maneuver 19.Qa3 and 20.Qb2 but, now (after the game), it appears that Topalov was very determined to keep his queen on the board. Is it possible that he had this endgame in mind from the very beginning?
Feb-18-10  pulsar: If something can be called an "all-out attack", what Topa did here would be it.

Makes me really look forward to the Anand-Topalov WCC match!

Feb-19-10  jhoro: nice analysis by Anish Giri on CB
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: What is fascinating and delightful about this game is its human element. Topalov's 21. Nf5!? is an inspired sacrifice, which takes a calculated risk against an opponent prone to time trouble in difficult positions. Essentially Topalov is betting Grischuk with undeveloped pieces and a weaker King position will not be able to find a way through the maze of complications before he (Topalov) can win back the sacrificed material with decisive advantage.

It's not a move a strong computer program would play, knowing a strong opponent would find the deep refutation. Moreover, it's a calculated risk that few super GMs would take against another super GM in an important contest, especially if they know there's a refutation to be found.

From the perspective of a fan, the question I have is did Topalov plan this sacrifice in advance as a deep calculated bluff? Or was it an inspired sacrifice made at the spur of the moment over the board?

Either way, Grischuk came within a hair's breath of finding his way through the maze of complications and winning. However, failing to find the decisive 27...Kh7 , the combination of time pressure and a difficult position led to his defeat.

Once again we're reminded Chess (event at the highest levels of human play) is not just a mathematical calculation of advantages by the strongest computer programs and players, but it's truly a human game involving risk -- ranging from unclear variations and sacrifices to complicated bluffs -- based on an assessment of an opponent's human weaknesses (i.e. Chess skills, time management, psychological factors etc.).

Indeed, I think Tal would have been pleased to see Topalov's 21. Nf5!? played in a category 21 tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: At, there's some analysis of this game which observes that with 21. Nf5!? < White is taking some strategic risk with this plan, since if there is no mate on g7, he will be lost.>
Feb-19-10  kb2ct:

<jhoro: nice analysis by Anish Giri on CB>

!! analysis of a ?! game.


Feb-19-10  didiablito: Eyal: <patzer2: Looks like 27...Kh7! was a clearly missed winning move. For example, after 27...Kh7! 28. Rh2 Qg3 29. Rdh1 Nxg4

Yes, the problem with 27...Kg7? is that ...Nxg4 is no longer available, because the knight is pinned - so 28.Rh2! becomes playable. Perhaps Grischuk was afraid of 27...Kh7 28.Rdh1 Qxg2 29.Qc1, but 29...Nxg4 is holding>

Nxg4 is NOT holding, as after Rg1 black loses the knight.

Feb-19-10  Ladolcevita: TOPALOV is so brilliant!!!!
What a breathtaking endgame!!!
Feb-19-10  Eyal: <didiablito: [Perhaps Grischuk was afraid of 27...Kh7 28.Rdh1 Qxg2 29.Qc1, but 29...Nxg4 is holding]

Nxg4 is NOT holding, as after Rg1 black loses the knight.>

Yes, it DOES - 30.Rg1 Qe2, winning White's knight in return (and in any case, Black is already two pieces up); if 31.Nxc8 then 31...Nde5! and the white knight is trapped (32.Ne7 Nf3).

Feb-19-10  percyblakeney: The amazing 21. Nf5 does seem to be sound. Black had to find some tricky moves with little time on the clock but was still not better. Then Topalov started to play quickly to take advantage of Grischuk's time trouble (reminding a bit of the last game in the match against Kamsky), and the engines didn't like many things that happened around move 25-30. A very entertaining game though.
Feb-19-10  badest: <A very entertaining game though.> Yes, watching games like that "live" is a real treat ... of course "the purists" would get upset by all the bad moves looking at the game after it has been played ... but in real-time it was fun :)
Feb-19-10  Topista: Topalov can't be very happy about thsi game.I ain't either...
Feb-19-10  Bobby Fiske: Great game and stamina from Topalov yesterday. Now he is only +1 away from regaining from Magnus Carlsen, "The worlds #1 player" title. That is on the unofficial Elo list of Hans Arild Runde. Regarding FIDE, they have a 7 day limit prior to 1st. March listing, which Linares doesn't meet. But with FIDE you never know for 100% sure what will be decided.
Feb-19-10  Stavrogin: Fantastic game. Game of the year so far.
Feb-19-10  Stavrogin: patzer2: Good post on the human aspects of this game.

Personally I m always - when watching chess - hoping for this kind of game; where it is all about the fight, not just preparation and cold calculation.

Feb-19-10  lopium: < Topista: Topalov can't be very happy about thsi game.I ain't either...> I think you meant Grischuk!
Feb-19-10  tacticalmonster: Topalov, following the footstep of such giants as Alekhine, Tal, Spassky and Kasparov, is the master of initiative.
Feb-20-10  Birthday Boy: Hello,just a patzer question

whats that point of playing 6. ...Ng4?

Feb-22-10  Shams: <whats that point of playing 6. ...Ng4?>

To threaten an exchange of knight for bishop that could sap much of white's prospects for advantage. At this stage white would be foolish to surrender the bishop pair.

Feb-24-10  alexandrovm: Alexander was winning at some point. He made some mistakes around move 40, then went down in flames by a well game made by Topalov.
Feb-26-10  black.pr0jekt: grischuks an over-rated player,
Feb-27-10  black.pr0jekt: there is no point of Ng4 its anti, english but white can simply retreat the bishop to c1 then play f3 and bring the bishop back
Mar-01-10  mmmmisha: I realize 18. Nd4 is strong because of the sac at e6, but why not 18.Rh1f1? If ...Qxg7, 19. Rxf6, or 19.QXe5 (the troublesome Knight) with open d and f files, plus the Black Queen is misplaced. Also prevents the black Queen retreat to f6, followed by the Queen exchange on e7 that everyone seems to assume favors Grischuk.
Mar-01-10  ounos: <black.pr0jekt: there is no point of Ng4> Given that they got more time at move 40, playing a couple of extra moves makes an actual difference in the game.
Mar-01-10  black.pr0jekt: <ounos> youl see me competing with the best players, I am the best player right now, u really think u can teach me something?
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