Monday, February 23, 2009

Kamsky Wins Game 4, Evens Match Against Topalov

Gata Kamsky of the United States beat Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria Saturday in Game 4 of their world chess championship challengers match. The best-of-eight match, which is being played in Sofia, Bulgaria, is now even with one win a piece and two draws. The winner is supposed to play a title match against Viswanathan Anand of India. More information about the match and the players is on the official Web site.

In Game 4, Kamsky had White and was able to steer the game into the kind of closed position in which he excels. Actually, Topalov almost seemed to acquiesce to taking the game down a quiet path. It was a curious decision as he is much better in open positions where his tactical prowess is superior to Kamsky’s, as he showed in Game 2. In that game, he surprised Kamsky with an unusual variation of the Berlin Defense and Kamsky took a lot of time on his clock to navigate the variations. Eventually, he ran low of time, erred and lost.

Game 4 began as Game 2 had, but Topalov did not employ the Berlin Defense. Perhaps he figured that the shock value he got from the opening in Game 2 would no longer work as Kamsky would now be well-prepared. Whatever Topalov was thinking, he followed the well-known paths of the Ruy Lopez, an opening that suits Kamsky’s style.

Topalov actually got a reasonable, albeit somewhat passive game. Then Kamsky sacrificed a pawn to restrict Black’s pieces and Topalov clearly got frustrated. He pushed his b pawn too far, allowing White’s pieces inroads into Black’s position. Kamsky recovered his pawn and had an ideal position where Black had multiple weaknesses.
Kamsky soon won a pawn and simplified to a position where his pieces were better placed than Topalov’s and he had a dangerous passed d pawn. From there, Kamsky used excellent technique to convert his advantage into a victory.

It was Kamsky’s first win against Topalov.
Source: Gambit Blog

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