Reports | February 25, 2009 1:26

Kamsky-Topalov: 6th game drawn

Kamsky-Topalov Game 6Using the Caro-Kann, Veselin Topalov drew Gata Kamsky today in the Challenger's Match to retain his one-point lead: 3¬?-2¬?. The Bulgarian is one win away from his second world championship match.

The Kamsky-Topalov World Championship Semi-Final Match takes place February 16th to 28th in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Challenger’s Match consists of eight games and possible tie-breaks and has a prize find of US $250,000 which will be shared equally by the players. The winner qualifies for a World Championship Match against Viswanathan Anand.

Game 6
This time Topalov decided to say goodbye to the Black side of the Ruy Lopez, and instead go for the Caro-Kann. It cannot have been a surprise for the Kamsky team, since Topalov has played this opening several times lately. Since his comeback, Kamsky had only played against 1...c6 four times, chosing the Advance Variation in three of them. Last year against Postny at the European Club Cup in Greece, he played the line with 4.Nd2 and 5.Nb3 but today he chose the even more solid 4.Nf3.

White developed his pieces most naturally and Black decided to trade his queen's bishop before anything else, which is not a strange concept in such structures. In this position the bonus is that if frees the f5 square for the knight, but instead of playing it there at once, as was done in several games before, Topalov first played 11...g6 which was the theoretical novelty.

It didn't look too convincing and Kamsky showed why, with the strong plan of c4 and taking on d5, which gave White the possibility of winning some more time on development with 14.Bc5. However, he probably should have followed up with a move in the same spirit, which was 15.Rc1. White does seem to have a slight edge there.

In the game, 15...Rc8! solved all of Black's problems tactically and the position was about equal from there. On move 43, just after the first time control, the players agreed to a draw.

Next Thursday is Topalov's last White game. There's a good chance he will try to decide the match immediately, to prevent a tense last Black game. Even a cool guy like Leko didn't survive the psychological pressure in a similar situation...

Name Nat. Rtg
















Kamsky USA 2725
¬? 2¬?
Topalov BUL 2796
1 ¬? 0 1 ¬? 3¬?

Kamsky-Topalov Game 6

Kamsky-Topalov: the solid Caro-Kann was enough for a draw today

Photos © Ivan Stoimenov - courtesy of the official website



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Castro's picture

Completely agree! The information is very good and the forum makes the difference.
That said, I'm still hoping someone explained me exactly how one does to assure the posting of his texts, because they're simply lost sometimes (even if "not so long - non offensive - and no links").
Other times they'd show up, but with hours of delay, and with not even a note regarding some posible "moderation"!

Peter Doggers's picture

If a post doesn't show immediately, it is (almost by definition) under moderation. Patience is the only thing left in such cases.

Thomas's picture

Something else ... now it is my turn to complain (or at least to be puzzled) about FIDE's coverage of the event.
This site (scroll up, then look at the right) mentions three articles on the FIDE website:
"Kamsky blunders and loses fifth game" - that's exactly the same title as Chessvibes' report. But I cannot (no longer?) verify if it was copy-pasted ... because the link doesn't work any more !!?
"Topalov-Kamsky 3.5-2.5 after game 6 - the "article" does not mention anything else but the score, and recommends live coverage by Chessdom
"Topalov wins convincingly game 5" - quite a contradiction to the earlier title!? No source or author is given, the article does not appear as such on Chessdom (or I couldn't find it) but somehow (at least to me) "it sounds very Bulgarian", already the title "Kamsky couldn't stand the pressure".

What's this?? FIDE, which is supposed to be neutral, first seems to take over independent (Dutch) coverage of the event [if my hypothesis is correct] and then changes its mind and uses a Bulgarian source. At the very least, they should give both sides of the medal ... .
Maybe the truth is somewhere in between, Topalov kept pushing in a += position, until Kamsky was blundering in an objectively still almost equal, but "blunder-prone" situation.

ejh's picture

Isn't it really the case that we don't really know what the law is because it's never been tested? Hence we have a situation where sites are both tempted to broadcast live (because there may be no legal force to any contractual restrictions) and yet cautious about doing it (because they can't be sure about that). We really don't know.

To be honest it reminds me a little of the situation eighty years ago when English football fixtures were deemed copyright which meant the pools companies were obliged to pay a little money to the Football League in order to print them in advance. Even now this judgement has an effect and websites can't just list forthcoming fixtures for the season willy-nilly, something a t of people aren't aware of. At the time the judgement surprised many but it did at least establish something. In the case of these moves I don't think anything is yet established since live simultaneous transmission of moves is essentially quite new. So which side of the football analogy actualy apllies - we can't be sur.

I'm inclined to think that "me" might be right about sponsors, though. They're going to want there to be a premium site to which people are directed, just as whoever places advertising at half-time in a football match wants to know that people watching the match are going to watch a particular channel.

ChessGirl's picture

"I don’t know what’s going on lately on ChessVibes, otherwise a lovely chess site, but apparently there’s an increasingly large number of comments that are just spam, public fights between users or simply this kind of statements repeated ad nauseam on every single thread."

Well RICARDO, I don¬¥t think you can see any of that in the articles. I think it¬¥s a very good thing that Chessvibes has a forum, there you can comment on your impressions, or even easily report a mistake in the article. This doesn¬¥t happen in very important chess sites such as Chessbase, and believe me there ARE important mistakes there sometimes. The forum is one of the reasons why I follow this site, it¬¥s just that the people gathered here are very different people with different opinions and characters that sometimes clash. If the neverending comments make you bored just don¬¥t read them! D?©jalos que se maten entre ellos y a otra cosa, mariposa ;)

Tarjei's picture

Secondly, I think the reason ChessBase decided not to cover it, was not because they are afraid of lawsuits, (they would win it) but because they care about having a good relationship with an organiser such as the Bulgarians. They could eventually risk getting locked out of future Bulgarian events, but surely they would not risk losing a lawsuit.

Bootvis's picture

Chess moves are facts so broadcasting them is just reporting news.

So 'me' please stop posting your unfounded garbage until you have found the law applicable to chessbase that would forbid the broadcasting. Repeating your unfounded opinion is a waste of everybody's time.

Besides it is not unfair to the sponsors because it was a well known fact before the sponsor contracts were signed that broadcasting is 1) legal and 2) widespread. They could have known a third party was going to broadcast this match.

Tarjei's picture

In Istanbul a few years back, during the European Championship, the Turkish organisers put up a similar note claiming ICC violated broadcasting rights and they also threatened a lawsuit. ICC ignored the warnings and continued to broadcast. I suppose they realised that such a case wouldn't last very long, in any court.

bertjeweetwelbeter's picture


I come home late... C at icc that Carlsen won from Anand!!!

HUGE NEWS! i want to read the news on chessvibes (first site where i wanted to get more info)..

And what do they present about this amazing victory??///.................

Chessvibes... your running the best chesssite in the world.. Your readers get spoiled and want more and more and more. so give us info!

pete's picture

As far as I heard chessbase did not ask the Bulgarian organizers about the permission, maybe ICC did so they can transmit the games.

Tarjei's picture

me: No, you are wrong. More people watching the game on the chess servers, will lead to more interest in the event, and more people visiting the official site, generating more interest in the sponsor. I would think the sponsor wants as many people as possible coming to the site, and less people watching on the servers will just be bad.

You just can not legally prevent someone, for example a person at the site, in the playing hall, of an event like Kamsky-Topalov from letting the world know that 1.e4 has been played. How do you intend to do that? The current position IS just a game score, just like 2-2 is. The result is NOT copyrighted.

The better official web coverage of a chess event, the more interest the event will have, generating more income for the sponsors.

Guillaume's picture

@pete: I don’t see any reason why I should be forced to watch a chess game on a website. That just sucks. I like to be able to follow multiple games at once, have my favorite engine assess the position of each game on the spot, explore specific lines by simply moving the pieces, follow discussions and chat in various dedicated channels (kibitzers, general, French, etc), and last but not least I like to follow the live analysis from a strong GM like Yasser Seirawan whenever available (and I don’t mean just the audio, I mean with all the variations at hand, and highlighted squares and ideas). Websites don’t do that. ICC and Playchess are popular chess servers for a reason.

By the way, I didn’t like the Phoibos system during the WC match between Kramnik and Anand. It felt like a horrible downgrade from what Playchess usually offers (all it had was multiple video and audio streams, which is nice, but unfortunately none of the other features I mention above).

As to going to ICC, I already have an account on Playchess, and that should be enough for a chess fan. Do we really want as a future for chess to have some events exclusively covered by ICC, and some others exclusively covered by Chessbase, with lawyers running around to make sure that offending website are shut down? It‚Äôs quite clear that as long as his prot?©g?© can get another chance at the WC title, Danailov doesn‚Äôt care one bit if he destroys chess in the process, but I certainly hope other organizers of tournaments won‚Äôt follow this self destructive path.

@me: Are you actually saying that all Chessbase had to do was either ask kindly for permission or delay their broadcast by a few seconds? I might very well have said something stupid above, but you seem certainly up to the challenge.

me's picture

"How does ICC transmit the moves then?"

I have no idea. Maybe they asked for a permission?

"Could you kindly quote the Bulgarian, EU or International law that makes chessbase’s coverage illegal?"

I have no idea, I'm not a lawyer. However there most likely is such a law, or do you think ChessBase would stop transmiting just like that?

Yesterday while I was watching the Linares games, one of the user asked why they soped transmiting the Sofia match and Frederic responded that t is because of Bulgarian organizers. Then some other user said that moves are not copyrightable and that they aren't doing anything ilegal and Frederic said something I don't buy. He said that there is nothing illegal but that they just don't want to spent weeks on the courts because of that.

I don't buy this explanation. There is such a law, I'm sure of it.

Tom's picture

"I have no idea, I'm not a lawyer . . . There is such a law, I'm sure of it."

You'd make a great lawyer :)

me's picture

What part you guys don't understand?

The Bulgarian organizers invested money in this match and it's official site. And now instead of people visiting the official site, they are following the match elsewhere. This deprives companies who sponsored this match of the public attention. they don't see their adds and stuff. So they are less likely to sponsor another chess event again. So yes, there is material loss also.

And since I hear this stupid "it's like the scoreline of a football match" over and over. It's not the same! It's nothing like that. Let me explain so that you will understand. If some site just reports minute by minute reports of the action on the footbal pitch (cards, opportunities, shoots on goal, score, etc) it is VERY different if the viewer would be able to see the game live (or on TV). If you get all the moves from the chess game, then you get ALL the information as the spectators that are actually there. So giving all the moves is like making an unauthorized broadcast of a footbal game on TV. So giving a score-line of a footbal match would be in chess, like if they would only give a computer evaluation of a chess game (without the moves). That would be equal. You would know who is better (like you know with footbal scorecard) but you wouldn't know what is actually going on. Get it. This is the diference.

P.S.: I said that I'm not a lawyer and neither do I care to investigate if the re is such a law or not, but Frederic's response made me believe that it is such a law. I would be surprised if there wouldn't be. They ignored the warnings for the first four games, but then probably received a heavy legal note from the Bulgarian organizers and decided not to risk anything and ceased to broadcast the match.

chess.watcher's picture

@ Peter Doggers on 25 February 2009 20:19 PM:
Now that is funny, Peter, that YOU are complaining about copypasting from ChessVibes. You yourself have been violating copyright since the start of your website. Stop stealing photos or one day the ChessVibes game is over.

Tom's picture

"They were taking the moves from the official site in REAL TIME. And that my friend IS piracy."

Could you kindly quote the Bulgarian, EU or International law that makes chessbase's coverage illegal? Thanks.

Mario's picture

How does ICC transmit the moves then? Apparently they are not doing anything illegal as opposed to Just wondering what initiated all this fuss.

Ricardo's picture

@me: "It was ChessBase who was robbing."

There we go yet again. You keep going on and on with that whole "Chessbase was robbing" even though it's not at all clear, to say the least, that there's anything behind your legal claims. On the other hand, accusing Chessbase of robbing does have clear legal consequences.

I don't know what's going on lately on ChessVibes, otherwise a lovely chess site, but apparently there's an increasingly large number of comments that are just spam, public fights between users or simply this kind of statements repeated ad nauseam on every single thread.

Remco Gerlich's picture

Here we go again. Moves of chess games actuallly played are FACTS, therefore there is no copyright on them. It doesn't matter that the organization "reserves" these rights, since they cannot reserve something they do not own in the first place.

It's impossible to pirate chess moves, they're free for all. Like the scoreline of a football match.

loselips's picture

Looks like Vishy Anand is getting a sore backside at linares. First he received a sound thrashing from Aronian. Second he received another sound thrashing from Carlsen. Are his gray cells dying out faster than expected? How can he play Topalov? He will be creamed so bad he'll require a brain transplant operation after its over.

pete's picture

hehe loselips c'mon, I am a die hard Topa fan, but don't make the mistake thinking Vishy is out of the game because of two losses .... I am sure that from 2007 on there is nothing more important for him than keeping the world championship title, he had won so many tournaments in the past that this cannot be a strong motivation force any more. But being a world champion is new for him and he hasn't got much time to enjoy it hence this will be top priority in the future ;)

Daan's picture


dude, check the text under the photo, it says:

Photos © Ivan Stoimenov - courtesy of the official website

So please not falsely accuse Peter or Chessvibes, who bring so much joy to so many chess fans.


me's picture

"Robbing one of the two biggest chess sites of the possibility to cover your event is a sign of stupidity."

It was ChessBase who was robbing. What if the organizers decided to shut down the official site, or just to not show the games live? How would ChessBase broadcast the games then, huh? They couldn't. And that goes for all others too. I don't think anybody have their own staff their who is in charge of the transmition. They all rely on the official site. They have a software that transmits the moves from official site to playchess in real time (not with delay). And they do it without asking anybody. That's piracy.
They are robbing the organizers (and their sponsors) because people watch the games on playchess and they don't visit the official site at all (most even don't know that it exists). It's the same with all broadcasted games. Do you think that they would be able to transmit games from Linares if there wouldn't be an official site with games???

If you are transmiting the games, at least have the decency to ask. I'm sure they would allow it, like they are allowing it to ICC, ChessOK and others.

And about the argument that moves are not copyrightable and what if someone would see the moves and call somebody to tell him/her, and then they would transmit it. Fine, let them do that. But that is not what it is happening. They were taking the moves from the official site in REAL TIME. And that my friend IS piracy.

test's picture

You can still follow the match at ICC, trial membership is free and they have live commentary.

guitarspider's picture

Robbing one of the two biggest chess sites of the possibility to cover your event is a sign of stupidity. Many people will react like Guillaume and that only hurts the match they were trying to promote.

me's picture

Thats the most stupid reason why not to follow a match, I have ever seen.

And by the way: The match is far from private.

pete's picture

I don't agree with that Guillaume, you can still follow the match via the main site, at Susan Polgar's blog or at chessdom. I am not a member of ICC, but I heard they transmit it too.

Pointless or not the match is a fact and whether we like it or not it will determine who the world champinship contender will be, everybody who is interested in chess should also be interested in that as well ;).

Peter Doggers's picture

@ chess.watcher

I know that accusing is very fashionable these days, but when you don't know what you're talking about, it doesn't make too much sense. We always ask (and almost always receive) permission for using photos. Since many people who accuse without having proof also often have difficulty believing the truth, I'll copypaste (again in good style) the email exchange with the Sofia Press Center:

from ChessVibes | Peter Doggers
date 17 February 2009 17:04
subject photos

Dear Mrs Dimitrova,


I have a question - can we use a few photos for our coverage of the
match? Of course we will put the name of the photographer and a link
to the official website in the article.

Best wishes,

Peter Doggers


to ChessVibes | Peter Doggers
date 18 February 2009 13:50
subject Re: photos

Dear Mrs. Doggers,
you have a permission from the technical staff to use our photos.
Best regards
Leyla Dimitrova

pete's picture

interesting game .... Kamsy's biggest problem in it was once again the clock. The caro-kann isn't bad, but I don't think it gives much winning chances, especially against a strong oponent ..... I was hoping for a sicilian, but to no avail.

I'll root for Topa on Thursday, hope he can decide it then.

Guillaume's picture

I lost interest in this match when they decided to forbid us to follow it on Playchess. It was already hard to root for a match that has no reason to be, but now that it has become a private matter it becomes even more pointless.

ChessGirl's picture

Once again, FIDE working hard and efficiently.

ChessGirl's picture

So, if they made propaganda for Topalov, you can agree with me that they´re not working very efficiently as the International Chess Federation, one and objective, that they should be? :) Anyway I was criticizing more the fact that they can´t even get a single person to write the articles for the site, quite pathetic IMO

Thomas's picture

Thanks Peter, that clarifies part of the story ... . It is your decision, and I accept and understand it - but in the present situation I would have preferred if you had allowed to use your text. Of course you can and should then insist on a disclaimer "by Chessvibes(NL), reprinted with permission".

Why do I think so? Your site may well be the only widely available neutral one covering the event - with "widely available" I exclude Russian ones [of no use if one cannot read Russian, and I guess I am not the only chess follower who has this problem ,:)]. Several other sites are American. Actually during her live coverage, Susan Polgar was criticized by a few bloggers for favoring Kamsky (not surprising and perfectly OK in my opinion). And Chessbase is accused by some of being anti-Topalov - not true and unfair in my opinion, but I respect the one by other people.

"apparently there’s still a missing link now somewhere"
"Somewhere" is Chessvibes ,:). I do not know how your "link service" exactly works, but I know that I appreciate it - I can use this site as an entry point and go elsewhere if they have something new. The service may be automatic (search engine type) or human (someone from the Chessvibes team checking manually from time to time). The second is suggested by the fact that you occasionally have difficulties "catching up" with Susan Polgar's site, she can post as many as ~10 new items in an hour (also mostly Copy-Paste) ,:).
In either case, one cannot expect that machine or man regularly double-checks if the links still work ... so in conclusion, once again thanks for the service (no need to read anything else between the lines).

Finally @ChessGirl: While your post is clearly ironic, in the present case FIDE made quite efficient propaganda for Topalov - but that is not at all their role!!

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed, Thomas. I can explain how this came about. As you probably have seen. FIDE has been copypasting lots of content from other sites, for several months now. They have a new content manager but he doesn't write too much himself. For the fifth match game he had used a full text from ChessVibes (and notified us), which we could not accept. We asked him to remove it and he did, but apparently there's still a missing link now somewhere. And apparently Chessdom doesn't mind that their texts are being used at the FIDE website.

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