Veselin Topalov seems to be the kind of player who makes his opponents playing brilliantly. Both Kramnik and Kasparov have won really beautiful duels against the Bulgarian: Vlad has even indicated his victory against Topalov in Monte Carlo, four years ago, as the best game he has played up to now (see http://www.lekokramnyik.hu/eng/ and click on “Players”). It’s really curious that this was a rapid blindfold challenge. About Garry, do you remember the game Kasparov-Topalov, Wijk aan Zee 1999? A really amazing victory by the Russian and former world champion, even if he said, after that: “I haven’t played my best game yet” (or something similar).
Well, here are the two games.
Kramnik,V -Topalov,V [B82], Monte Carlo (blindfold) 2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f4 a6 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Bd7 10.Nb3 Rc8 11.Kb1 b5 12.Bd3 Nb4 13.g4 Bc6 14.g5 Nd7
After 14...Nxe4!? 15.Bxe4 d5 16.g6!! hxg6 (16...dxe4 17.Qh3!) 17.Bxg6 d4 (17...fxg6 18.Nd4) 18.Qg4 White has a terrible attack.
15.Qf2 g6 16.Rhf1 Bg7 17.f5 Ne5 18.Bb6 Qd7 19.Be2! Qb7 20.Na5
White doesn't want to allow his opponent to castle.
20...Qb8 21.f6 Bf8 22.a3 Nxc2 23.Kxc2 Bxe4+ 24.Kb3 Ba8 25.Ba7 Qc7 26.Qb6 Qxb6 27.Bxb6 h6
After 27...Nd7 28.Bf2 h6 29.h4 d5 30.a4 White is better, but the game might have lasted much longer.
28.Nxb5! Kd7 29.Bd4 Bd5+ 30.Ka4 axb5+ 31.Bxb5+ Bc6
The best try was 31...Nc6, but White is winning anyway: 32.Bb6 Rb8 33.Rxd5 Bxb6 34.Nc4! Rb8 35.Ne5+ Kc7 36.Nxc6! Ra8+ 37.Na5 exd5 38.Rc1+ Kb8 39.Bd7 hxg5 40.Kb5 Bh6 41.Bg4! +-
32.Bxe5! Bxb5+ 33.Kxb5 Rc5+ 34.Kb6 Rxe5 35.Rc1 Rxa5 36.Rc7+! Kd8 37.Rfc1 Rc5 38.R1xc5 dxc5 39.Kc6!! 1-0
A very beautiful study-like position. Well, this is a pretty nice game, but I can’t believe it is the best Vlad has ever played…
And now here is Garry’s victory.
Kasparov,G – Topalov,V [B06], Wijk aan Zee 1999
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.f3 b5 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.Bh6 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 Bb7 10.a3 e5 11.O-O-O Qe7 12.Kb1 a6 13.Nc1 O-O-O 14.Nb3 exd4 15.Rxd4 c5 16.Rd1 Nb6 17.g3 Kb8 18.Na5 Ba8 19.Bh3 d5! 20.Qf4+ Ka7 21.Rhe1 d4 22.Nd5 Nbxd5 23.exd5 Qd6 24.Rxd4!! cxd4?
The losing move. Black can equalize the position by 24...Kb6! (Kasparov) 25.Nb3 Bxd5.
The key move.
Even worst were 25...Qxe7?? 26.Qxd4+ Kb8 27.Qb6+ Bb7 28.Nc6+ Ka8 29.Qa7# and 25...Kb8? 26.Qxd4 Nd7 27.Bxd7 Bxd5 28.c4! Qxe7 29.Qb6+ Ka8 30.Qxa6+ Kb8 31.Qb6+ Ka8 32.Bc6+ Bxc6 33.Nxc6 Rd7 34.Nxe7 Rxe7 35.Qxb5 and White is winning.
A forced move: 26...Qc5? 27.Qxf6+ Qd6 28.Qd4+ Qc5 29.Qf6+ Qd6 30.Be6!! +-
27.b4+ Ka4 28.Qc3
Much more stronger looked 28.Ra7!!
28...Qxd5 29.Ra7 Bb7 30.Rxb7 Qc4?
More stubborn was 30…Rhe8.
Black must play: 31...Rd1+, even if 32.Kb2 Ra8 33.Qb6 Qd4+ 34.Qxd4 Rxd4 35.Rxf7 White has very good winning chances.
32.Qxa6+ Kxb4 33.c3+!! Kxc3
After 33...Kb3? 34.Qb2+ Kxc3 35.Qb2+ Kd3 36.Bf1+ White wins easily.
34.Qa1+ Kd2 35.Qb2+ Kd1 36.Bf1!! Rd2 37.Rd7!! Rxd7 38.Bxc4 bxc4 39.Qxh8 Rd3 40.Qa8 c3 41.Qa4+ Ke1 42.f4 f5 43.Kc1! Rd2 44.Qa7! 1-0
A really fantastic combination. This games has been christened “Kasparov’s immortal”.