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  Welcome to MY web page on the 1st greatest game of chess ever played. Many hours of work went into bringing you this page. I hope you enjoy it.  (page-banner, kas-top1.gif; 04 KB)


  Garry Kasparov (2815) - Veselin Topalov (2725)  
  [B07]  
  61st (Hoogovens) Chess Festival 
  Wijk aan Zee, NED; (Round # 4) / 01,1999.  

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  

 You definitely will need a chess set to play over this game. 
  Click  HERE  to go to a page with this game on a js re-play board.  
(Lightly annotated.)

(See the bottom of this page for escape links, or click the "Back" button on your web browser.) 

***

Friday; October 7th, 2011:  I just created TWO video's!!! (On chess, natch.) Both are on this game! Watch these video's now ... and tell me what you think. I had to split it up into two parts ... because you are NOT allowed to exceed the 15-minute time limit on the "You-Tube" channel. Watch them now!   PART IPART II.

NOTE:  All of these games in this series contain - usually one or two words - on the same line as the move itself. These comments are meant to be explanatory, funny, or highlight the play. The copies of these games, as they exist in my database, do not contain these comments; and I would  NOT  want them reproduced anywhere! (The main intent of these comments is to entertain. You also have to remember that although these could easily baffle and amuse a Master - my web pages are primarily designed with younger people in mind.)  Nov. 12, 2001. 

NOTE #2: May, 2013: I decide to update this page and also add a few diagrams. I should also point out that GM VeselinTopalov eventually became the FIDE World Champion ... in October of 2005. (Read more about this player.) 


The Greatest Chess Game Ever?


One of the greatest games of ALL time!!!! 
(Several GM's {and also the editor's of several state chess magazines} have told me this is one of the finest games ever played.)  
(Click here to read more.) 

 

GM Andy Soltis,  in his book, "The 100 Best Games of the 20th Century, Ranked;" considers this the fifth best game of chess ever played. 

 *** 

"Kasparov's Masterpiece ranks among the very top games of all time. It deserves a place in the Louvre." - GM Larry Christiansen. 
( In his book,  "Storming The Barricades." ) 

 *** 

"A fantastic game. Garry was moved to crown this game as his finest as his finest accomplishment ever!!"  - GM Yasser Seirawan. 
(In his magazine, "Inside Chess."  Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. Beginning on page 37.)  

 *** 

GM Kavalek called this one of the most fascinating games ever played. 
{ See his column in the newspaper,  "The Washington (D.C.) Post." (Feb. 1st, 1999,  I believe.) } 

 *** 

"One of the most beautiful games ever played, it will be the subject of discussion for years to come."  - GM Arnold Denker.  
 ( See the magazine, "Chess Life."  May, 1999. Page # 40. {#352} )  

 *** 

This game must also hold some kind of record.   I have seen more exclams and DOUBLE EXCLAMS  -  in the game AND in the analysis - than any other game I ever remember looking at!  (5 - 7 moves in this game have been legitimately awarded a DOUBLE EXCLAM.  {OTHER annotators have given this award, not me.} Plus nearly another  20   (THAT'S TWENTY folks!)   moves in this game have received a single exclamation point.  ONLY ONE of these originated with me. I am pretty certain this is a record, which no other game even comes close to approaching! 
(I have not yet counted the number of exclams and double exclams in the analysis.)

(At least 5-6 different people sent me copies of clippings from newspaper articles and magazines and asked me to annotate this game.) 
 - LM A.J. Goldsby I

Another funny thing about this game, is that virtually every single annotator finds a different move that stands out for him (or her) and will award it an exclamation point. 

 I also managed, during the time frame of Sept/Oct. 2001, to access approximately a dozen different magazine's archives that were   
 available on the Internet. (Ref. to this game.) 

(My annotation of this game is based mostly on Soltis's annotations in his book, "The 100 Best Games of The 20th Century, Ranked."  But I have also accessed dozens of other books and magazines. I have indicated what the major sources of other material are when they are used.)  


1. e4 d62. d4 Nf63. Nc3 g6;  The Pirc Defense. 

A fairly regular part Topalov's opening repertoire. 
( GM Y. Seirawan also plays it. But not many GM's, especially those in the 'Top 25' of the world's best players use this defence today. ) 

4. Be3!?,  A relatively new move to opening theory. 

This move did not even appear in Master praxis until probably the 1980's.

***

 [ The Main Lines are: 

4. f4,  This is the Austrian Attack. 
(The preferred line of Bobby Fischer.) 

4...Bg7;  5.Nf3 0-0;  6.Bd3 Nc6;  7.e5 dxe5;  8.dxe5 Nd5;  9.Bd2 Bg4;
( Or  9...Ncb4; 10.Be4 c6; 11.Nxd5,  (11.a3!?);  
11...cxd5; 12.Bxb4 dxe4; "=" )

10.Be4 e6; 11.h3 Bxf3; 12.Qxf3 Nd4; 13.Qf2 c5;  
The end of column # 3, page # 362.  
14.0-0 f6; 15.exf6 Nxf6; 16.Bd3 Nh5; "Unclear" or "~" (Maybe "=/+" ?) 
Grigorian - Spilker;  U.S.S.R. 1978. 
[ See MCO-14;  pg.'s # 362-363,  col.'s # 1-6;  (Mainly column # 3 here.)
  and note # (j.). ];  

***

Or 4. Nf3,   The "Classical Line" vs. the Pirc. 
4...Bg7; 5.Be2 0-0; 6.0-0 Bg4; 7.Be3 Nc6; 8.d5! Bxf3; 9.Bxf3 Ne5; 
10.Be2 c6; 11.f4! Ned7; 12.dxc6 bxc6; 
The end of the column # 13, page # 366. 
13.Qd3 Qb8; 14.a3 Nc5!?; 
( Or 14...Rd8 ; 15.Rad1 Ne8; 16.b3 Nc7; 17.Kh1, "+/=" 
Malaniuk - Tseshkovsky; Kropotkin, 1995. )

15.Bxc5 dxc5; 16.e5 Nd5; 17.Na4! f6; 18.c4 Nb6; 19.Nxc5 fxe5;
20.Ne6, "+/="  (Maybe - "+/") 
Hracek - Ftacnik;  Yerevan Olympiad, 1996. 
[ See MCO-14; pg.'s # 366-367, col.'s # 13-18; 
(Mainly column # 13 here.) and note # (c.). ]  ]  

***

4...Bg7!?;  There cannot be anything wrong with simple development.  
(No matter what anyone says.)  

(Although several annotators have questioned the move, 4...Bg7.  They pointed out that by playing the Bishop to g7,  then B on g7 captures on h6 is a basically a loss of tempo. This may or may not be true. But to play a new system as Topalov has done here is very brave. 

 The first person to play a new system almost never plays it perfectly.)

 

[  MCO gives: 4...c6!;  "Queen-side expansion is demanded, 
the sooner the better."  - GM DeFirmian in MCO.  
5.Qd2,  Development, and preparing Q-side castling.

GM's L. Ftacnik and I. Stohl  (in their ChessBase analysis)  give the line 5. h3! ('!?')  
But the final position of their analysis is not convincing, indeed the computer gives 
the evaluation that Black is slightly better! So I will not reproduce it here. 

5...b5; {Diagram?} Not only gaining space, but it keeps the White (light squared) Bishop 
off the potent c4-square.  Black can also kick the White Knight at c3 at an appropriate 
moment, preferably when the Knight has no good retreat squares to go to. {A.J.G.} 

6.f3,   Seemingly the best.  

  Or 6.Bd3 Nbd7; 7.Nf3!? Qc7; 
   Or 7...e5!?; 8.dxe5 dxe5; 9. h3, "+/=" 
   GM J. Nunn - GM B. Gelfand; Munich, 1991.   
  8. 0-0 , The most logical.  
 
If 8.Bh6 b4; 9.Ne2 Bxh6; 10.Qxh6 c5; "=" "is equal," according to  
 
MCO. 
 
(The computers still show White to have a slight edge of about + .035. "+/=")  
 8...Bb7;  ... "with the plan of ...a6; and ...c5; should equalize.  
  - GM N. DeFirmian  in MCO.  
 [ See MCO-14; Pg.'s 368 - 369, col.'s 19 - 24, 
 (Really only col. # 21 here.)  
 notes (a.) through (t.) {Notes (j.) through (l.) for col. # 21. 
 Mainly note (k.) here. } ]. 
 Now the move: 9.a3, "+/=" and the computers still give White a 
 slight but clear edge here. {A.J.G.}  

 

(Returning to the main analysis line [here] of 6. f3.) 
6...Nbd7;  7.g4!?, 

 (The move  7.Bh6!?,  looks reasonable here.  The continuation: 
 7.Nge2 b4
; 8.Nd1 a5; 9.Nf2, "+/="  also looks very playable.

7...Nb6;  8.h4!?,  

(A logical line is: 8.g5 Nh59.d5, "with a slight edge for White,"  or  "+/="  ... 
although MCO fails completely to point this out. - LM A.J. Goldsby I

8...h5;  9.g5 Nfd7;  10.d5!? Ne5!;  11.dxc6!? Nbc4;  
The end of the column (# 21.) on page # 368 of MCO-14. 

12.Bxc4 Nxc4;  13.Qd4 Rg8!?;  14.Nxb5?!, ('?')  

     (Much better was: 14.Nge2 Qa5; "=") 

14...Qa5+;  15.Nc3 Be6!;  ("=" ...  or "good compensation for Black.") 
..... " allows Black fine play for the Pawns."  
- GM Nick DeFirmian in MCO. 
GM F. Nijboer  -  GM I. Smirin;   Pula, 1997. 
[ See MCO-14; Pg.'s 368 - 369, col.'s 19 - 24, 
  (Really only col. # 21 here.) 
  notes (a.) through (t.). {Notes (j.) through (l.) for col. # 21.}  
  { Mainly note (l.) here, for the end of the column. }  ]. 

It is hard   (impossible!)   to believe this line represents the apex 
[the absolute best]  of White's play!!!  ]  

 

5. Qd2 c6!?;  A modern continuation. 

It is played with the idea for Queenside expansion, a concept which has gained favor in recent years. 

 

[  Not 5...Ng4!?; (Maybe - '?!')  and now just 6.Bg5,  and Black only 
winds up losing tempo, according to  GM Yasser Seirawan

Or  5...0-0!?;  6.0-0-0 Nc6?!; ('?')    (Maybe better is: 6...c6);   
7.f3 e5; 8.Nge2 exd4!?; 9.Nxd4 Nxd4; 10.Bxd4 Be6; 11.Be3 Re8; 
12.Bg5 Qe7; 13.g4,  "--->" 
... " allows White a strong attack."  - GM N. DeFirmian. 
GM Chernin - Zaichik;  Lvov, 1987. 
[ See MCO-14; Pg.'s 368 - 369, col.'s 19 - 24, (Really only col. # 21 here.) 
notes (a.) through (t.).  {Notes (j.) through (l.) in col. # 21. 
Mainly note (j.) here.} ]  ]

 

With his next move, White erects a pawn formation/attacking position similar to the Samisch of the King's Indian and The Yugoslav Attack of The Sicilian Dragon. (White also securely anchors his KP and prevents intrusions into the g4-square.) 

6. f3!?  (Maybe - '!')  Very aggressive and modern. 

Someone just recently, (late Sept, 2001 - AFTER  I posted this game on the Internet); sent me a letter from Europe. (It was in English, so thank goodness I did not need an translator.) 

This individual (who asked not to be named), was nice enough to photo-copy about 9 different European chess magazines that contained an analysis of
this game. There was a lot of stuff in there I had not seen before. (He also sent me a fairly comprehensive list of nearly all the magazines - in Europe and in Russia - that had published an analysis of this game. The list was quite long. Around - at least 20-30 different magazines.)

Apparently several annotators liked this move enough to award it an exclam. (It was also not a novelty, but apparently may have been only a fairly recent 
development in Master praxis. This may have also been the first time this system was played at this level.)  

6...b5;  Q-side expansion. 
With White getting a firm grip on the squares on the King-side, Black grabs some squares (and some space) on the Queen-side.

7. Nge2!?,  Development. 
This is interesting, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this move.
(There can be nothing wrong with developing a piece! But ... several annotators did criticize this move.) 

[ Several annotators recommended: 7.0-0-0,  with the idea of Bh6 next, as better.  I personally don't feel its better, just different.   
(The computers show little or no difference in the evaluation of these lines.) ] 

 

7...Nbd78. Bh6 Bxh6;  Probably the best. 
Soltis writes: 
"An astute decision. Black recognizes he will not castle King-side but can benefit from the Bishop trade by creating dark-square play in the center." 

[ Risky is: 8...0-0?!;  9.h4,  "--->"  White will have a strong K-side attack. ] 

 

9. Qxh6 Bb710. a3!,  The best decision. 

Soltis  writes: "Black has fine counterplay after 10. 0-0-0, b4;  and 11...Qa5."  

Many annotators give this move an exclam, as does GM Soltis. 

GM Ftacnik  awards this move an exclam, and then says: "The right moment for prophylaxis."   

 

kasp-topa_pos01.jpg, 54 KB

 

[ 10.0-0-0 b4 ; 11.Nb1 Qa5; "<=>" "with counterplay."  ] 

 

10...e5!;  I like this move. 
Several annotators have given this move an exclam. Black fights for his fair share of the center. 

Apparently [many] other moves have been tried here, [in Master praxis] but have had [much] less success. 

11. 0-0-0 Qe7;  (Maybe - '!') 
The safest thing to do, is if you are unsure of the course the game might take ... 
is to keep a powerful piece like the Queen in the center.  Here it will be the most flexible and can meet threats on either side of the board.

[ The continuation: 11...Qa5!?; 12.g4 b4; 13.axb4, "+/="  
  is at least slightly better for White, according to the computers. 
 (Maybe even - "+/".)  ].  

 

12. Kb1,  (Probably - '!')   Almost worthy of an exclam too. 
The basic idea is that immediately attacking the King-side is pointless if the King flees to the other side of the board. And until Black reveals more of his intentions this is a good waiting move. 

 Also, the White King will be much safer here than on c1. (Generally, as a rule... in these types of positions.)  

'!?' - GM Yasser Seirawan,  in his magazine,  "Inside Chess." Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. (Beginning on page 37.) 
(A German chess magazine gave this move an exclam.)

 

[ If 12.h4!? then 12...Qf8; "~" {Unclear.} White may have the slightly 
  better endgame. ] 

 

12...a6;  Protection and prevention. 
Black reinforces the b5-square with the idea of a later freeing advance of ...c6-c5. (This will also release his Bishop on b7.)  

[12...a5!?] 

 

13. Nc1!,  Relocating the Knight. 
Many annotators have given this move an exclam. (Ftacnik, Stohl, Ligterink, & Soltis; to name a few.) 

Soltis  writes: "The Knight heads for a5." 

[ 13.dxe5!? dxe5; 14.g4!?, "+/=" and White has a slight edge 
   to his having more space, better development, and better 
   piece co-ordination.  ].  

 

13...0-0-014.Nb3 exd4!;  Unbalancing the position. 
Soltis gives this move an exclam, as does the Dutch annotator in  "New In Chess." 

***

Topalov, typical of his style, plays every position very aggressively - going for the win. (Which he usually does.) 

I should also point out that this is "the norm" for Topalov, a young man whom I admire and respect very much. Regardless of who he plays, his chess is always aggressive, dynamic, and he fights for the full point at every turn. (Topalov rarely plays dull chess, cravenly going for a draw.) 

***

With the last move,  Black accomplishes several nice things:
# 1.)  He breaks down White's center a little;
# 2.)  He breaks the symmetry of the position somewhat; & 
# 3.)  He prepares the freeing advance ...d6 to ...d5. 

[ Apparently the continuation: 14...c5!?; 15.dxe5! dxe5; 16.g3!, "+/" 
  gives White a significant edge. ].  

 

15. Rxd4!,  Very nice.  And  not  at all obvious.  
This is a very subtle move. An extremely subtle one. 

 99% of the chess players I have asked would have taken with the Knight here.  (Including  several  Masters!)   

And no one [else] seems to notice just how unusual a move it is. 
(No one - other than myself - gives this move an exclam, to the best of my knowledge.) 

It looks artificial to capture with the Rook this way. But the idea is logically sound. White wants to send the Knight on b3 to a5, so this move actually saves White several tempo! 

[ Perfectly playable was: 15.Nxd4, "+/="  when White retains a small, 
  but steady advantage. ] 

 

15...c516.Rd1 Nb6!;  Preparation.  
Soltis gives this move an exclam. (As do a couple of other annotators.)
Apparently it is far superior to Black's MANY reasonable alternatives, such as 16...Rhe8. 

It also prepares the very energetic advance of ...d6-d5. This move, IF left unpunished, would have virtually freed Black's game and equalized
completely. 

[ If 16...Rhe8!?; then 17.Na5, "+/=" Maybe - "+/". ]  

 

17. g3, (Maybe - '!')  ['!' - GM Ftacnik.]  Very innovative. 

A very unusual deployment of the White KB for this type of position. But Garry is a very creative and imaginative player. (Even though the game started off as a Pirc, we now have a Sicilian-type Pawn Structure.) 

Many annotators have given this move an exclam. (Such as France's chess magazine, "Les Eschechs.") 

[ An average player would probably play the move: 17.Be2, in this position. ].  

 

17...Kb818.Na5, The Knight reaches the prized square. 
Some people have praised this move, others have questioned it. 

Stohl and Ftacnik give it a dubious in CB. (ChessBase.) 

But the move looks logical and it is the first choice of many computer analysis engines. So it is VERY difficult to agree with Ftacnik's assessment.

Certainly this is the destination square White had wanted to play this piece to for a very long time.  
(Completion of a plan means a lot in chess!) 

  [ White could have played: 18.Be2!?;  or 18.Bh3! ]  

 

18...Ba8;  A humble retreat. 
Black does not want to trade his [long-range] Bishop for the [in-fighting] Knight. (It would also weaken key light squares leading to his King!) 

19. Bh3, (Almost - '!')  
White finds the best way to complete his development.

   [ Also good for White were: 19.Bg2, or 19.Bd3. White would then 
      have a very small advantage ("+/=") in either case. ] 

19...d5!;  Break-out!  
GM Soltis gives this move an exclam. 

The reward is for Black apparently realizing he must play ...d5; even though there are some risks involved. 
Soltis writes: "Black appears to stand well and White could have easily end up with a bad-Bishop Middlegame.  
(20. exd5, Nfxd5; 21. Nxd5, Nxd5; etc.)" 

'!' - GM Yasser Seirawan.  (In his magazine, "Inside Chess." Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999.  (Beginning on page 37.)  

 

kasp-topa_pos02.jpg, 53 KB

 

     [ 19...b4?!; 20.axb4 cxb4; 21.Na2 Qe5; 22.Qf4!? "+/" (Maybe - "+/-") 
         White's advantage here is very large here, nearly decisive. ]  

 

20. Qf4+!,  The fireworks begin. 

No one else praises this move. 

[ This was true at the time I wrote it. But apparently several magazines, 
editors, and annotators felt this was good enough to receive an exclam.
But I was not aware of this. (See the note after White's 6th move.) ]  

 

But the idea of the Queen check, followed by moving the King's Rook to the center file is clearly the best plan. 

White had MANY reasonable move alternatives here. (Actually White had over a dozen reasonable alternatives here!) 

[  White could have played:  20.Qg5!? "+/="  
A 'normal' Master might play:  20.exd5,  20...Nbxd5; 21.Nxd5 Rxd5;
  (21...Nxd5!?; - GM Soltis.   22.Rhe1 Rxd1+; 23.Rxd1 Qe5!?; 
24.Qd2,  "+/="   White has a slight edge.  
Or White could have played: 20.Rhe1, "+/="  ]  

 

20...Ka7;  Forced.  (Poor Black!) 

Christiansen discussed this position,  (in his book, "Storming The Barricades");  at some length at this point.

[ Not 20...Qd6??; 21.e5, "+/-" and White wins a piece. ] 

 GM L. Christiansen  writes:   " Kasparov devises a brilliant way to stabilize his position and throw some amazing tricks ...   
- worthy of Siegfried & Roy!  - at his opponent.  Kasparov has seen certain mating possibilities are made possible by Black's slightly shaky King position. " 

 

21. Rhe1!,  Centralization and preparation. 
The best, according to GM Larry Christiansen. 

(Soltis did NOT give this move an exclam, although it does deserve one. (Several other annotators did award this move an exclam.) 

"This move (21.Rhe1!) strengthens his e4-point and completes the mobilization of White's forces."  - GM Larry Christiansen. 

[ The continuation: 21.exd5!? Nbxd5;  22.Nxd5 Nxd5;  
23.Qc1, "="  ... only leads to equality. ]  

 

21...d4;  ('!?') This move is pretty much forced. 
Several annotators chose to give this move an exclam, because Black had so many ways to go wrong. (I will avoid the temptation.) 

GM Andy Soltis writes:  "Playing for the advantage. (22. Ne2, Nc4!) 
Old  man hindsight would later say that 21...dxe4; 22. fxe4, and Nd5 was too risky." 

[ 21...dxe4?!; 22.fxe4 Rhe8; 23.Nd5 Nbxd5; 24.exd5 Qd6; 
  (24...Qxe1?
; 25.Qc7+ Bb7[]; 26.Qxb7#)    25.Rxe8 Nxe8; 
26.Qxf7+,  "+/" Variation by  - GM Larry Christiansen. ]  

 

22. Nd5!!,  Inspiration.  (Plus a Pawn sack.) 
(Only '!', according to - Ftacnik.)  

Most GM's guard their pawns very jealously. (And do not want to give them away.) 

(The computer, after analyzing virtually all night, will NOT consider this move in its top 3 choices!  And I tested over a dozen strong programs in this position.)  

Kasparov instead opens lines to the Black King.  

Soltis only gives this move one exclamation point, but I think that is far too stingy. 
Garry must have had to calculate close to 10 moves ahead here! 

[ 22.Na2!? "Unclear," or "~" ]. 

 

22...Nbxd5;  Interesting. 
(DeFirmian, in MCO-14, gives this a dubious appellation, but offers no alternatives.) 

This is very strange, as this move looks 100% forced,  (Black's Queen is attacked after White played the move 22. Nd5. This would seem to limit the number of responses that Black could reasonably play.); and all other alternatives lose VERY quickly. The computer, after analyzing for over 20 minutes, gives this position  (after the move 22...Nbxd5;) an evaluation of equal. 

After analyzing this position for over an hour,   (see the continuations just below);  I have come to the only possible conclusion that DeFirmian made a mistake in giving this move a dubious appellation. {A.J.G.}.  

(Perhaps this was an "editorial mistake," and the dubious appellation was meant for Black's 24th move?) 

 

[ The computer gives the line: Junior 6.0:  22...Nfxd5?;  ('??') 
23.exd5,  The computer rates this position as completely winning. 
(+ 2.41/3, "+/-")   Now to analyze a little further: 
23...Qd6[];  Forced. 
 (Not 23...Qf8??
; 24.Qc7+ Bb7; 25.Qxb7#),     24.Qxf7+ Nd7[]; 
 (Again, this is forced. Not 24...Kb8?!; 25.Re6 Qc7; 26.Re7, "+/-"),  
And now  25.Re7, "+/-"   White wins a piece, with an easily won game. 

                                                     ***   

I also looked at: 22...g5??; 23.Nxe7 gxf4; 24.Nec6+,  wins the 
exchange for White, with an easily won game for White. "+/-"  ]  

 

23.exd5 Qd6;   This seems forced.  
(Black's Queen was attacked.) 

Soltis writes: "Now 24. Qxd6, Rxd6; or 24. Nc6+ lead to bad endgames."   

 

 

kasp-topa_pos03.jpg, 52 KB

 

[ Not 23...Nxd5??; 24.Rxe7+, winning for White. ("+/-") ]. 

 

Kasparov said he had prepared his next move when he analyzed 20.Qf4+. 
24. Rxd4!!
(Maybe - '!!!')   Shocking, incredible, ..... and PURE GENIUS!   (What else can you say?)  
When I first went over this game, I thought this move was a misprint! 

One of the most shocking moves in all of chess literature. It looks like a typo - indeed I thought it was when I first went over this game. 

Virtually every annotator gives at least one exclam to this move. (Around 10 annotators in books and in various magazines, give this move two exclams.) 

(GM's Ftacnik  and  Stohl  both give it 2.) 

Soltis only gives this move one exclamation point, but I think that is far, far too stingy.  
Especially as this may be one of the most brilliant moves - in maybe  the most amazing game of chess ever played!!  

FM G. Burgess   ( In his book, "Chess Highlights of the 20th Century." ) picks up the game with White's 24th move. 

Burgess also awards one exclam to the move,  24. Rxd4! 

***

One of the best books of all time  (in my book, anyway)  is, "The World's Great Chess Games,"  by the late, great GM Ruben Fine. 

I feel quite sure he would have been enthralled with this move and given it a triple exclam, as he did for just a handful of other moves in that book. 

***

GM Larry Christiansen  writes: 
"This terrific shot was a basis of the strengthening move 24. Rhe1. White saves his position by finding mating patterns that utilize to the
degree his apparently disjointed forces. His seemingly randomly placed Knight and Bishop cooperate in creating mating-nets out of thin air." 
( From his book, "Storming The Barricades." ) 

'!!' - GM Yasser Seirawan.   { In his magazine, "Inside Chess." Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999.  (Beginning on page 37.)  }  

'!!' - GM Nick DeFirmian,  in MCO. Page # 369, note (j.).  

[ Plausible was:  24.Nc6+,  This move is the first choice of MOST 
 computer programs/analysis engines.  24...Bxc6;  25.Qxd6 Rxd6; 
 26.dxc6 Rxc6; 27.Re7+ Kb6; 28.Rxf7,  "="   with a pretty level game. 
 {A.J.G.} ]  

 

24...cxd4!? ; (Maybe - '?!')  Aggressive, but maybe not the best defense. 
(But Topalov thought close to an hour before playing this move.)

 

('?' - GM Larry Christiansen.) 
('?' - FM Graham Burgess.) 
('?' - GM Yasser Seirawan.) 
('?' - GM Lubosh Ftacnik.)  
( '?' - GM Igor Stohl.  {In the book.} ) 

 

Personally I feel it is unfair to criticize this move too harshly. I have studied many of the games of Topalov. He is a fighter who avoids draws and level positions, and he may have still been striving for a win here. There can be no doubt that 24...Kb6!; is superior to what was played in the game.  But the move (...Kb6) looks very risky and Topalov may have had a hard time considering that move. It also goes against the natural instinct that good players have to keep your King safe. 
(The old rule,  "Never let your King go 'a-wandering' with a lot of pieces still on the board,"  is good advice.) 

(Also Topalov may have still been trying to win.)  

 

  I should also point out that to see  THE WIN,  Black would have to calculate nearly TWENTY moves ahead!!  
  I think this might be asking a bit much?   

 

Many strong computer modules,  [analysis engines]  (Such as Crafty and Comet.); think for many minutes,  and then give the evaluation of: "-/+". This means that they consider this position as  WINNING for BLACK!!!!  (White now has a forced win!)  

 

[ Several GM's have pointed out that the best defense was probably: 
Var # 1.)  24...Kb6!;  Easily the best move here. 
"After this move, I didn't see a (real) advantage for White." 
 - GM Garry Kasparov. 

25.Nb3!,  "Other tries don't come close."  - GM Christiansen. 

  (If 25.b4 Qxf4; and "Black is alive." - Soltis.   Or 26.Rxf4 Nxd5; "=")  

25...Bxd5;  This looks like the best move. 

 Or 25...cxd4? ; 26.Qxd4+ Kc7 ; 27.Qa7+ Bb7 ; 28.Nc5 Rb8 ; 29.Re7+!! 
 29...Qxe7
; 30.Nxa6+ , and White wins. ("+/-");  Or 25...g5!?, "=/+" 
 - Soltis. 
  

26.Qxd6+ Rxd6;  "Level," according to  - FM Graham Burgess.  
27.Rd2 Rhd8;  28.Red1 a5!,  "=/+"   "And Black has a small edge due 
to his greater control of space."  
- GM Larry Christiansen.  
(I should probably hold my tongue, but I cannot.  If the game had ended
 this way ... ... who would have remembered it?) 

***

Var # 2.)  24...Nxd5?;  25.Qxf7+ Kb6?;   (25...Kb8[]);    26.Re6, "+/-" 
Variation by - GM A. Soltis.  

***

Var # 3.)  Not  24...Qxf4?;  25.Rxf4, "+/-"  

***

Var # 4.)  Several annotators have given the move, 24...Bxd5; 
as Black's best defense.
24...Bxd5!?;  25.Rxd5! Nxd5[];  (Not 25...Qxf4?; 26.Rxd8! Qc7
  27.Rxh8, Qxa5; 28.Re7+ Kb6; 29.Rxf7, "+/" (Probably "+/-")
   
26.Qxf7+ Nc7[]
; (Forced.)  27.Re6!,   (27.Re7? Kb6; "-/+" 
27...Rd7!; 28.Rxd6 Rxf7; 29.Nc6+ Ka8; 30.f4,
"~"  ["Unclear."]  (Maybe "+/=" ?) 
 ... "followed by Bg2, was very promising for White."  - GM A. Soltis.  
( I can find no clear-cut win,  even though I spent many hours 
analyzing this variation. - {A.J.G.} )
 ...  "when White has a pawn and annoying pressure for the exchange."  
  - GM Larry Christiansen. 

*** 

Var. # 5.)   Was  24...g5!?  possible here?  (July 26, 2005.)   ].  

 

White to move, what move would you play? 
25. Re7+!!   A very shocking move.  
Also the linchpin of Garry's attacking ideas. 

Soltis also awards TWO exclams to this move ... and justly so. 
It is so shocking, it even looks like an error. 
(Dozens of other annotators also give this move at least one exclam.) 

FM G. Burgess  does not even bother to give this move one exclam.
(Apparently the appreciation of beauty and the realization of chess as
a form of art does not live in his soul.)  

GM Larry Christiansen  also gives White's 25th move  TWO exclams. 

GM Yasser Seirawan  also awards this move  a double exclam. 

GM Igor Stohl  gives the move,  (White's 25th move, Re7+.) 
two exclamation points  also. (As does GM Ftacnik.)  

GM N. DeFirmian,  in MCO, only awards this move one exclam.  :( 

 

[ Of course, not: 25.Qxd4+? Qb6; "-/+"  ] 

 

25...Kb6[];   Again, this may be forced. 
(Actually this IS forced. Any other move would lead to an immediate loss for Black.)  

 

[ The following two variations are by GM Garry Kasparov. 
  Var. # 1.)  25...Qxe7?!;  (Maybe - '?')  Soltis gives this move a question mark.  
  (Seirawan gives it 2 question marks.)  26.Qxd4+ Kb8; 27.Qb6+, 
  27...Bb7; 28.Nc6+ Ka8[];  (The square, c8 is guarded by the White 
  Bishop on h3.)  29.Qa7#.  

  Var. # 2.)  25...Kb8?!;  (Maybe - '?')   Soltis does NOT give this move 
  a question mark. - How strange! 
  (Several annotators - such as Yasser Seirawan in the magazine,
   "Inside Chess," -  do award 25...Kb8; a question mark.)  
  26.Qxd4 Nd7; This looks like it is forced. 
    (26...Qxe7?; 27.Qb6+ Bb7; 28.Nc6+ Ka8; 29.Qa7#   {A.J.G.}  
   Not  26...Rd7??; 27.Rxd7 Nxd7?!; 28.Qxh8+, "+/-")  
  27.Bxd7!,  (27.Rxd7!?,  - FM G. Burgess.  27...Bxd5; 28.c4! Qxe7; 
  29.Qb6+ Ka8; 30.Qxa6+ Kb8; 31.Qb6+ Ka8; 32.Bc6+!, ("+/-") 
  and White wins. 
   - GM Garry Kasparov  in  Informant # 74/110.  

  Now we pursue this line to its logical conclusion:  32...Bxc6; 
  33.Nxc6, and now 33...Rd7[]; This appears forced. 
   (Not 33...Qb7??; 34.Qa5+ Qa6; 35.Qxa6#)  
 
34.Nxe7 Rxe7; 35.Qxb5,  "+/-"  - GM Yasser Seirawan.  
  (In his magazine, "Inside Chess."  Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999.
  (Beginning on page 37.)  ]   

 

26. Qxd4+ Kxa5!?;   Is this forced?  
Unfortunately, (for Black!) this move looks forced. 

Soltis (now) writes: 
"This is the kind of a game that you need two (2) [chess] sets to appreciate: 
  One to follow the actual course of play and another to examine the dazzling 'might-have-been' variations." 

 

[ Soltis gives the following main line: 26...Qc5!?;  ('?' - Seirawan.) 
27.Qxf6+ Qd6;   (27...Kxa5??; 28.b4+,  which wins Black's Queen.
28.Be6!!, (Maybe - '!!!')  An amazing move, based on the fact that if 
Pawn captures Bishop (?), then Rook takes Pawn on e6; and White 
wins the Black Q.  (The Bishop also gains access to the a2-g8 diagonal.)
Another amazing and little known fact is that BOTH Kasparov and Topalov 
saw this move at the board! (This was reported in a London Newspaper.) 
  (28.Qxf7!?, "+/=" 
 28...Bxd5;
  This looks relatively forced. 
 (28...Kxa5
; 29.b4+ Ka4; 30.Qc3 Bxd5; 31.Kb2!, "+/-"  - FM G. Burgess.
 29.b4!! Bc6;  
Forced, to guard d4 and give Black another square for his King. 

***

The alternatives were not pretty:
a).  29...Ba8!?;  30.Qxf7, "+/-"  I think Soltis stops here. 30...Qd1+;  
31.Kb2 Qxf3;  (31...Qd4+; 32.Ka2, "+/-")   32.Bf5!, "+/-" 
 - GM Garry Kasparov,  in  "Informator 74/110."  
b).
  29...Rhe8??;  30.Qd4+ Qc5;  31.Qxc5# ; 
(This variation shows the threat Black had to address.);  

***

(Returning to the main analysis line that began with 26...Qc5.
The last two moves were 29. b4!!, Bc6;) 
30.Qxf7 Qd1+31.Kb2 Qxf3; This looks forced.  
 (31...Qd4+; 32. Ka2, "+/"

32.Rc7!, (Maybe - '!!')   32...Qxf733.Rxc6+ Ka734.Bxf7, "+/-"  
 ... "and wins." - GM A. Soltis. 
(Apparently Soltis stole this line from Seirawan,  ...  and did not 
give any credit as to where the line originated from!) 

"White has achieved a winning ending."  - GM Yasser Seirawan.  
(In his magazine, "Inside Chess."  Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; 
 April 1999. Beginning on page 37.)  ]   

 

27. b4+ Ka4;  
Black has done the best that he could - up to here ... but now comes an interesting crossroads. 

 

kasp-topa_pos04.jpg, 50 KB

 

28. Qc3!?,  (Probably - '!')  Nice. Tightening the noose.  
"Mate is threatened on b3." - Soltis.  

 

[ GM Lubosh Kavalek, (in his column for a Washington D.C. newspaper);
  probably found a big improvement. 

  The best move is: 28.Ra7!!,  Now play could proceed:  28...Nxd5; 

***

Or a).  28...Bb7;  FM G. Burgess gives this as the primary winning line.
29.Rxb7 Qxd5;  "Best," according to Christiansen. 

(  If 29...Rhe8; 30.Bf1!!, More fireworks.  
{The threat is now Bxb5+, followed by a winning check on a7.}  
 30...Re1+; 31.Kb2 Rxf1;    If 31...Nxd5??; 32.Bxb5+ axb5; 33.Ra7+, 
 33...Qa6; 34.Rxa6#      32.Qc3 Rb1+; 33.Kxb1 Qxd5; 34.Ra7! Rd6;
 35.Kb2,  .....  "and White mates soon." - GM L. Kavalek. 
 Also reprinted in GM Seirawan's magazine, "Inside Chess." 
 See Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. (Beginning on page 37.)  )  

30.Rb6! a5;   (If 30...Ra8; then 31.Qxf6, "+/-"  31.Ra6! Ra8; 32.Qe3!, 
 '!!' - GM Yasser Seirawan.   32...Rxa6; 33.Kb2!,   
Burgess stops here  and says: ....  
"and Black suffers ruinous losses."  - FM Graham Burgess. 

Continuing, we get: 
33...axb4; 34.axb4 Qa2+;
  "Best," according to Christiansen. 

 Not 34...Kxb4?; 35.Qc3+ Ka4; 36.Qa3#- GM Yasser Seirawan. 
 
(In his magazine, "Inside Chess."  Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. 
 Beginning on page 37.) 

35.Kxa2 Kxb4+; 36.Kb2 Rc6; 37.Bf1 Ra8[]; 
 Not 37...Re8?;
38.Qa3#     38.Qe7+ Ka5; 39.Qb7,  "+/-"  
...  "winning at least a full Rook." - GM Larry Christiansen. 

***

or  b).  28...Bxd5; 29.Qc3 Rhe8;  
  (Or 29...Ra8!?
; 30.Kb2!! Rxa731.Qb3+ Bxb3; 32.cxb3#;  
Or Black could play:  29...Bc4
; 30.Kb2 Ra8; 31.Qb3+ Bxb3;  32.cxb3#)  
 30.Kb2 Re2; 31.Qc7! Qxc7; 32.Rxa6+ Qa5; 33.Rxa5#  
Variation by -  GM Larry Christiansen. 
(Who may have gotten part of his analysis from 
GM L. Kavalek's 
newspaper column.) 
(This line was also printed in GM Yasser Seirawan's magazine, 
"Inside Chess." See Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. 
(Beginning on page 37.); 

***

(We now return to Kavalek's main analysis line, after 28. Ra7!!, Nxd5.) 

29. Bd7!,   '!!'  - GM Yasser Seirawan.  

 Or  29.Rxa6+!?,  ('!')  "Exclam," says Burgess.  29...Qxa6; 30.Qb2!,  Burgess 
 stops here, apparently concluding that White is winning. ("+/-") 30...Nc3+;   
 (There is no other way to prevent Qb3#.)   31.Qxc3 Bd5;  32.Kb2!,  "+/-"  
 The computer says it is a forced mate in 5.  
 (Black has to 32...Qf6;  to prevent  33. Qb3+ Bxd5; 34. axb3#.)  

29...Rxd7;  

 (Or 29...Rc8!?; 30.Qd3 Nc3+; 31.Kb2 Qf6; 32.Qd4!! Nd1+
 33.Kc1!,
"+/-")  Yet another incredible variation with a double 
 exclam move in the line.  

30. Qb2!,  "+/-"  The GM stops here and concludes that Black is helpless 
to prevent Qb3 without giving back  copious amounts of material. 
  Main variation by: - GM L. Kavalek.  

(Or 30.Rxd7!? Qxd7; 31.Qb2 Nc3+; 32.Qxc3 Qd5; 33.Kb2, "+/-"). 

 Following this line to its logical conclusion,   we get:  30...Nxb4;  
Black must do something to stop Qb3 mate. 

 (Or 30...Nc3+; 31.Qxc3 Qd1+; 32.Kb2 Qd4;  {Black is helpless against  
 mate threats at a6 and b3.}  33.Rxa6#)  

31. Rxd7 Qc5;  32. Rd4 Qe7;  33. axb4 Qe3;  34. Rd6 Bb7 
 ( Or 34...a5
; 35.c3, "+/-"   35.c3 Qe1+;   36.Ka2,  "+/-" 
Black is in a mating web, and has to play [massive] "give-away" to prevent mate.
LM A.J. Goldsby I ]  

 You may have to scroll back a few pages ... and carefully examine all of the pages of kibitzing. 
 However, there is good analysis of the move 28.Ra7!! Please see this page for more details.  
 ---> Also, scroll down this page, and see some other computer-aided analysis of 28.Ra7!!  ]

 

28...Qxd5;  This looks forced too. 
"Black must somehow prevent mates along both the a-file, and also schemes involving Kb2 and Qb3+."  - GM L. Christiansen. 

[ Definitely not: 28...Bxd5??;  29.Kb2 Qe5[];  30.Rxe5 Rhe8; 
  31.Qb3+, ('!')  31...Bxb3;  32.cxb3#. ]   

 

29. Ra7! Bb7;   This also may be forced. 

"Black must return some of his enormous bounty to avoid mate, but ...  "  - GM L. Christiansen. 

 

[ Black should not play: 29...Rhe8?;  30.Kb2! Rd6;  31.Qb3+ Qxb3+;
  32.cxb3#  This mating web is what Black must struggle to prevent. ]  

 

 Soltis does NOT give White's next move an exclam, but Burgess does! 
(GM Mike Adams, annotating this game for a British chess magazine, also awarded this move an exclamation point.) 
30. Rxb7! Qc4;  (Maybe - '!?')  The struggle continues.  
Many people claimed there was a better defense here, but this was never proven. 

Seirawan gives this move a question mark in parenthesis, but that is too harsh.  
(I have analyzed this position to a completely forced win for White. So to criticize any Black move is rather pointless.)  

 

[  Some of the alternatives here are: 

Var. # 1.)  30...Qxb7??;  31.Qb3#. 

***

Var. # 2.)  30...Rd6!?;  31.Rb6!! Rxb6;  Forced? 

***

Black could also try: 
a).  31...Ra8;  32.Rxd6 Qc4;   (Not 32...Qxd6??; 33.Qb3#.)   
33.Qxf6, "+/-" 
b).  31...Qc4;  32.Rxd6!, "+/-"  

***

32.Kb2 Re8;  33.Qb3+ Qxb3+; 34.cxb3#.   An amazing mate, White's 
lone Bishop on the far side of the board is not even in the game. Black 
is ahead in playing points almost 15 points, but loses the game.  What 
is also noteworthy is that the mate is accomplished with only  .............
a King and three White Pawns! 

***

Var. # 3.)  30...Rhe8!;  -  GM V. Topalov,  (shortly after the game).  
31. Rb6 Ra8;  32. Bf1!!  - IM Gert Ligterink.  32...Re1+;  
This seems to be forced. 

***

Some of the alternatives are: 
a).  32...Nd7;  33.Rd6 Re1+; 34.Kb2!, 
 (Not 34.Qxe1?? Qxd6;
"-/+")    34...Qe5;   (Or 34...Re3; 35.Qxe3 Qe5+;  
 36.Qxe5 Nxe5; 37.f4 Nc4+; 38.Bxc4 bxc4;   Or 38...a5; 39.Bb3#   
 39.Rd5!, "+/-" )    35.Rd4!,  "+/-"  White is winning easily. 
White is winning easily. 
Black will have to play 'give-away' to prevent - Qb3+,  ( ...  with mate to follow.) 

Or  b).  32...Re6?;  33.Rxe6 Qxe6; 34.Kb2, "+/-" 

Or  c).  32...Rec8;  33.Qxc8! Qd1+; 34.Ka2 Qd5+; 35.Bc4! Qxc4+;  
 (Or  35...bxc4; 36.Rxa6+ Kb5; 37.Rxa8, "+/-")  
36.Qxc4 bxc4; 37.Rxf6,  "+/-" 

Or  d.) 32...Nh5;  33.Rd6! Re1+; 34.Kb2 Qe5; 35.Rd4 Qxd4; 
36.Qxd4 Rxf1; 37.Qd3, "+/-" 

***

(We now return to the main analysis line of 30. Rhe8.) 
33. Qxe1 Nd7;  34. Rb7!! Qxb7; 

 (If 34...Ne5; then 35.Qc3 Qxf3; 36.Bd3 Qd5; 37.Be4! Qc4; 38.Qxe5, "+/-")  

35. Qd1!! Kxa3;  36. c3!,  
Soltis stops here and remarks that White is mating Black. 
36...h5;  37. Qc1+ Ka4;  38. Qc2+ Ka3;  39. Qa2#,
  
This line of analysis by  - GM Andrew A. Soltis. 
(Although it is not clear how much of this analysis he  'borrowed' 
from GM Yasser Seirawan in the magazine, "Inside Chess."); 

***

Var. # 4.)  Or  30...Ne4;  31.fxe4 Qc4; 32.Ra7! Rd1+; 33.Kb2 Qxc3+; 
34.Kxc3 Rd6; 35.e5 Rb6; 36.Kb2 Re8; 37.Bg2 Rd8[];  

  (Or 37...Rxe5; 38.Bb7 Re3;  
 
Definitely not  38...Ree6??; 39.Bd5 Re3; 40.Bb3+ Rxb3+; 41.cxb3#.   
 39.Bxa6 Rxa3; 40.Bc8+ Kxb4; 41.Rxa3, "+/-")  

38.Bb7 Rd7; 39.Bc6! Rd8[];   (Or 39...Rxa7??; 40.Bd5 Rd7; 41.Bb3#). 
40.Bd7, "+/-" .....  "with c4 to follow, is also a win for White." 
 - FM Graham Burgess.  
(This line may have originated with GM G. Kasparov.)  ]   

 

31. Qxf6 Kxa3!?;  What else can Black do?  

'?' - GM L. Christiansen. 
'?' - GM Yasser Seirawan. 
(I personally think this is a little too harsh.) 

(Black may not have yet seen the knock-out blow. The end is still many moves away and there are several pretty and surprising moves yet to find.) 

                                                 ************************   

Without doubt, this move is ... ... ... hmmm, shall we say ... "less than perfect." In 2005, there is a one - or even a two point difference - between this move, and the rook check on d1. However, this can be considered an audacious winning attempt by the second player, and one that fails only by a very slim margin. In fact, perhaps we should be grateful for this this play by Black, for now Garry is given a chance to really shine. 
(This last paragraph was added on Thursday; July 28th, 2005.)   

 

[ Soltis gives the line: 31...Rd1+;  32.Kb2 Ra8;  

 If 32...Qd4+; 33.Qxd4 Rxd4; 34.Rxf7, "+/"  (Maybe "+/-") 
 - GM Andy Soltis.  

33.Qb6 Qd4+;  GM Soltis  stops here.  34.Qxd4 Rxd4;  35.Rxf7, 
Burgess stops here, and says,  
... "winning more prosaically." - FM G. Burgess. 
This line was also printed in Seirawan's magazine, "Inside Chess." 
See Vol. # 12,  Issue # 4; April 1999.  (Beginning on page 37.) 

35...Rd6[]; This looks forced. 

***

The alternatives are:
a).  35...h5??; 36.Be6, "+/-" 
b).
  35...a5; 36.Be6 axb4; 37.Bb3+ Ka5; 38.axb4+ Kb6[];  Forced. 
 Not 38...Rxb4?; 39.c3,  and the Rook is trapped.    39.Rxh7, "+/=" 
(Maybe "+/") .....  "with a winning ending."  - GM Larry Christiansen.  

***

(Returning to the main analysis line after 35...Rd6.)
36.Rxh7,  "+/="  "A very deceiving position. Materially, Black is not  
doing so badly. But if White's light-squared Bishop ever gains one of 
the diagonals leading to the Black King ... "   LM A.J. Goldsby I  ]   

 

32. Qxa6+ Kxb4
Once more, Black has been defending the best that he could, but now White begins a series of amazing shots. 

 

kasp-topa_pos05.jpg, 48 KB

 

33.c3+!!,  It rains beautiful moves. 
Soltis only awards this move one exclamation point. But this is such an amazing move, I think it fully deserves two. 
(Many other annotators also give this move an exclam. Including the South American magazine I was recently sent.)   

White attacks Black's King, but further exposes his own royal leader. 

Burgess also only gives White's 33rd move one exclam. 

"33. Bd7, Rxd7; 34. Rxd7, Rc8!; and Black is still fighting."  - GM Larry Christiansen.  

GM Y. Seirawan  also gives this move TWO exclamation points. 

GM Arnold Denker  also gives this move TWO exclams. ( See the magazine, "Chess Life."  May, 1999.  Page # 40. {#352} ) 

'!' - GM N. DeFirmian.  

'!' - GM L. Christiansen. 

[ I have showed this game {and position} dozens and dozens times
  to friends and students. Most strong players want to play the move:
  33.Bd7!?, "+/=" (Bd7, maybe - '!') This looks winning. ]  

 

33...Kxc3[];  Very clearly, this is forced. 

[ Not 33...Qxc3?; 34.Qxb5+ Ka3; 35.Ra7+ Qa5; 36.Rxa5# ]  

 

34.Qa1+ Kd235.Qb2+ Kd136.Bf1!!,  Incredible. 
How many brilliant moves can one man play? 

Soltis writes: "A fine concluding blow. The Bishop cannot be taken because of because of 37. Qc2+, and 38. Re7+." 

(Soltis gives this move only one exclam. But the move is so pretty and surprising, I think it fully deserves two exclamation points.) 

Burgess also gives White's 36th move one exclam. 

GM Larry Christiansen  gives White's 36th move  .............  TWO exclamation points!  
"The attack reaches its climax. Black must yield his Queen to avoid mate."  - GM Larry Christiansen. 

GM Yasser Seirawan also awards White's 36th move two exclams! 
(In his magazine, "Inside Chess." Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. Beginning on page 37.) 

'!!' - GM Joel Lautier,  in a French chess magazine. 

'!' - GM Nick DeFirmian.  (MCO-14) 

(After posting this game on the Internet, an avid reader scanned a Spanish Magazine from South America and sent me this game as a text attachment to an e-mail. I am not sure who the annotator was, but they also awarded this move {Bf1} two exclams.) 

--->  GM John Emms - in his book, "The Most Amazing Chess Moves of All Time,"
 - considers this one of the Ten Greatest (and most amazing) chess moves ever played. 
 Who am I to argue with a Grand Master?  

[ Not 36.Re7?? Qd3+; 37.Ka1 Ra8+; "-/+"  (One of my beginner 
  students suggested 36. Re7 to try to threaten mate. The problem 
  is the White King is too exposed for this to work.) ]  

 

36...Rd2[];  Forced. (Not much choice here.)  

[ 36...Qxf1?!;  37.Qc2+ Ke1;  38.Re7+ Qe2;  39.Qxe2# ]  

 

37. Rd7!(Maybe - '!!')   Yet one more tactical shot. 
(Soltis also awards this move only one exclam.) 

FM Graham Burgess, in his excellent book, "Chess Highlights of The 20th Century," also awards this move an exclamation point. 

( As does GM Christiansen in his book. ) 

(Seirawan awards White's 37th move, {Rd7}  TWO exclams.) 

***

37. Rd7, '!' - Ftacnik. 

'The final trick, but white is completely right - the game is finally over.' GM L. Ftacnik. 

***

GM N. DeFirmian, in MCO-14, awards this move one exclam and stops here and concludes that White is winning. 
[ See page # 369, note # (j.). ]  

 

[ If 37.Bxc4 Rxb2+; 38.Kxb2 bxc4; 39.Kc3 f5; 40.Kxc4, "=".].  

 

37...Rxd738. Bxc4 bxc439. Qxh8,  The end. 
"Black can resign." - GM A. Soltis. 

(The game concluded:) 
39...Rd340. Qa8 c341. Qa4+ Ke142. f4 f543. Kc1 Rd244.Qa7,  Black Resigns.  1 - 0 
(If 44...Rxh2;  45. Qg1+, wins the Rook. ) 

 

   ************   

kasp-topa_final-position.jpg, 45 KB

  (The final position.)  
   ************   

 


Friday; October 7th, 2011:  I just created TWO video's!!! (On chess, natch.) Both are on this game! Watch these video's now ... and tell me what you think. I had to split it up into two parts ... because you are NOT allowed to exceed the 15-minute time limit on the "You-Tube" channel. Watch them now!   PART IPART II.


 "A genuine masterpiece."  - GM Arnold Denker. ( See the magazine, "Chess Life." May, 1999. Page # 40. {#352} ) 

***

"A game for the ages!" ("And a magnificent effort.")  - GM Yasser Seirawan.  

***

"Simply one of the best games of chess ever played."  - GM Larry Christiansen.  

(GM Larry Christiansen rated this as the  Number One attacking game of the 1990's!) 

***

Rated as one of, "The Ten Best Games of Chess Ever Played,"  - by GM Andrew Soltis.  (In his book.)  

***

"One of the best chess games on record."  - GM John Nunn. (Writing for a British newspaper.)  

***

GM Raymond Keene was reported to have said, "I am in awe of this game." 

***

Of all the games that were played in 1999,  FM Graham Burgess picked this one game to highlight the year of 1999.  I think this speaks volumes for this game being one of the best games of that year. 

***

This game was also picked by the folks who bring you the Informant as one of the best games of 1999. 

***

Is this Garry Kasparov's greatest game of chess?  (Click here.) 

***

Copyright  ()  A.J. Goldsby, 2001. 
(This information is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form whatsoever, without the express written consent of the author.) 


Bibliography: 

The following are some of the sources that I have researched in writing this piece, and annotating this game: 

  1. The best annotations of this game (IMOHO) are in the book: 
    "The 100 Best Chess Games,"  (Of the 20th Century, Ranked.)  by  GM Andrew Soltis.  
    (This game is Game # 5 in this book.  The game and analysis starts on page # 45.) 

  2. The next best annotations are in the book, "Storming The Barricades,"  by GM Larry Christiansen. 
    He considers this game the BEST  (#1)  attacking game of the nineties, and his analysis begins on page 169. (And runs to page 172.) 

  3. An excerpt of the key part of this game can be found in the book, "Chess Highlights of the 20th Century," by FM Graham Burgess. 
    He considers this the most outstanding game of 1999, and his analysis of the critical part of this game is found on page 202. 

  4. An extremely good analysis can be found in  Informator 74/110. (By Garry Kasparov himself.) 

  5. The best analysis of this game, (done first) was published by  GM Lubosh Kavalek  in his column for the newspaper,  
     "The Washington Post."
      (Feb 1st,1999.) { A friend photo-copied this and sent it to me. } 

  6. GM Yasser Seirawan  did some of the most extensive analysis done on this game in his (now unfortunately defunct) magazine, 
    "Inside Chess.
      See Vol. # 12, Issue # 4; April 1999. (Beginning pg. # 37. Runs about 6-7 double-column pages.) 
    {I transferred all this analysis to my friend's computer under CB6. I added a few diagrams and printed it out  ... and it ran over 30 pages!}  

  7. A very good analysis of this game was printed in the magazine, "New In Chess,"  Later reprinted in their 'Yearbook.'  (# 46 or # 47.) 

  8. ChessBase's [electronic] magazine has a very thorough and incredible analysis by GM Ftacnik.  [& GM Stohl.] 
    (I cleaned this analysis up and added some diagrams to it and printed it out. It ran over 50 pages!!) 

  9. MCO-14  also analyzed this game.  [ See page # 369, note # (j.). ]  

  10. I also accessed about a dozen magazine archives (on-line) in the Internet, when I was preparing my annotations for this game. 

    (Note: The book,  "The World's Greatest Chess Games,"
    (First edition - printed in 1998), {by GM Nunn, GM Emms, & FM Burgess.},  does NOT contain this game. But this is only because the book was printed BEFORE this game was played. I am 100% sure if this book had been printed after this game was played, it would have been included.) The second edition of this book, {2004}; does include the annotations of this historic game of chess, but completely fails to do this extraordinary 'partie' justice ... Burgess does not award Garry even one double-exclam! 

  11. After  posting this game on the Internet, I have received many comments and contributions in reference to this game. It seems virtually every chess magazine and chess newspaper column in the world published this game. I have attempted, where-ever I felt it was appropriate, to comment on these contributions and highlight other peoples annotation of this great game. (Many annotators - perhaps without the knowledge of the other - did their own work on this game. I have attempted to concentrate mainly on those that were first to publish their thoughts, or did the best job.)  

  12. In November of 2003, I purchased the following book, But I only noticed recently (June, 2004); that this game was annotated in that volume.  
    "Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces,"  by  GM Igor Stohl.  
    (Game # 39, page # 236.)  Copyright (c) by the author in 2001.  Published by  "Gambit"  publishers, of London, England. (Great Britain)  
     ISBN:  # 1-901983-42-0   
    (Stohl's analysis in the book does not differ too much from his ChessBase version.)  

  13. This grand contest is also analyzed in the book:  
     << "Garry Kasparov's Greatest Chess Games," (Volume 2). >>  by  GM Igor Stohl.  
    (Game # 101, Page # 157.)  (Copyright by the author, published in 2006 by Gambit Books.)  
    ISBN:  # 1-904600-43-3  (His work here offers nothing new over this web page.)  

  14. Search Google for more on this game. GM Y. Seirawan annotates this game.  


Thursday; May 12, 2011:  I used to think that the final word - on the analysis of this game - had been spoken ... maybe by me. 

However, this could be far from true, who knows what computers ... 25 years from now ... might discover about this game? 

See the CG page ... for this game .... for more details. (See the kibitzes/comments below the game itself.) 

Below, I copied my own analysis, it differs somewhat from the actual game analysis that I gave above ... 

   ***************************    

May-13-11 / LIFE Master AJ: 

Better was: 28.Ra7!! Bb7T; (forced) 

(</= 28...Nxd5!? 29.Rxa6+!! Qxa6 30.Qb2 Nc3+ 31.Qxc3 Qe6;  

{31...Bd5 32.Kb2! Qf6; (32...Rc8 33.Qb3+ Bxb3 34.cxb3#)  33.Qxf6 Bb7 34.Qxf7} 

32.Bxe6 Rd1+ 33.Kb2 Rb1+ 34.Kxb1 Bd5 35.Bxd5 Re8 36.Qb3#.) 

29.Rxb7!,

 (</= 29.Qc3 Qxd5; 30.Rxb7 Qc4; 

{</= 30...Rhe8?! 31.Rb6! Ra8 32.Bf1!}  

31.Qxf6 Rd1+;  32.Kb2 Ra8;  33.Qb6 Qd4+;  34.Qxd4 Rxd4;  35.Rxf7 a5;  36.Be6 axb4;  37.Bb3+ Ka5;  
38.axb4+ Kb6;  39.Rxh7 Rc8;  40.h4 Rd2;  

(</= 40...Rxb4?? 41.c3 )  41.h5 gxh5;  42.Rxh5, "+/-" ) 

29...Qxd5; 30.Rb6! a5T; (Forced/best.) 31.Ra6! Ra8T32.Qe3!! Rxa6; 33.Kb2! axb434.axb4 Qa2+;  35.Kxa2 Kxb4+;  
36.Kb2 Kc4
37.Qe5 Nd538.Qxh8,  "+/-"  and White wins. 


  Game first posted on my web-site in 2000.    Last {major} up-date: Tuesday;  May 07th, 2013.  
Diagrams first added in late May of 2013.  (Last edit on: 11/06/2015 .)  


   Copyright  (c)  A.J. Goldsby I   

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985 - 2015. 
  Copyright   A.J. Goldsby, 2016.  All rights reserved.   


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