Monday, February 23, 2009

Kamsky Bluders Away Game Five

Kamsky Blunders Away the d pawn with 35...Nb4
Image captured from

Gata Kamsky again surprised Veselin Topalov with his selection of opening by playing the French for the first time in his career in Game Five with the Tarrasch Variation. Topalov chose what Nigel Short called a "primitive" line and was adamant that Kamsky had secured a draw - until the blunder on move 35.

Kamsky was visibly shaken that he had missed the 36.Nxb4 axb4 37.Rxb4 line that loses the d pawn after the tremendous defense he had played to that point. Kamsky then assured the negative result by bludering the b pawn.

Kamsky has two more games with the white pieces.

Nigel Short also had an instructive point about the Bishops during the game. Short took Kamsky to task over trading them during the middle game (moves 19-22), "...exchanging bishops was an imprecision on Kamsky's part. Not only has he freed up the White position, but he has loosened the defence of the e7 knight, which has been doing a fine job of protecting d5."

Important note: When playing with a passed pawn do not simplify by trade. That is also a principle detailed by Nimzovich in My System in his chapter on Isolated Queen Pawns. The Iso is a force in the middle game, capable of battering the opponent's defenses. In the end game it becomes a liability that will drain a defender's resources. Kamsky fulfilled the passed pawn's "lust to expand" aided by less then correct play by Topalov, but blundered his drawing chances away.

[UPDATE] I forgot about the "controversy" that started the game today. In all the material and announcements preceding the match it had been announced that, following convention, Kamsky would have the White pieces today so that one player would not have the Whites following consecutive rest days. Topalov had the Whites following the last rest day.

However, the game started with Topalov behind the White pieces and commenters across the blogosphere and in chess chats were agog with talk about another FIDE manipulation. However, it was disclosed about 30 minutes in that the players had decided during the Dresden negotiations in November 2008 that this particular convention would not be observed since the match was to be a short eight games. FIDE and the organizers simply decided the rest of the chess world didn't need to know until the game had started and observers had been properly scandalized, I would guess.

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