Reports | February 26, 2009 22:34

Topalov beats Kamsky 4.5-2.5, qualifies for World Championship Final

Kamsky-TopalovVeselin Topalov defeated Gata Kamsky today to score a 4.5-2.5 win in the Challenger's Match in Sofia. In doing so, the Bulgarian qualified for a World Championship Match against Viswanathan Anand.

From February 16th to 28th the match between Kamsky and Topalov match will take place in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Challenger’s Match will consist of 8 games and possible tie-breaks. The winner qualifies for the World Championship Match 2009.

Game 7
It was the most spectacular game of the match, and so the chess fans were treated with an excellent dessert today. Just like in game 5, the Tarrasch Variation of the French came on the board but this time Topalov went for the more popular 4.exd5. Kamsky was well prepared and right after the opening the board was set on fire when White sacrificed his b-pawn, and Black took it. After a long series of forced moves, a very difficult middlegame with opposite-coloured bishops came on the board.

Until 25.Qd6, both players had used an equal amount of time (about an hour and twenty minutes) but then Kamsky took a long (almost half an hour) think over his 25...Ba4, where the computer prefers the passive 25...Bc8. A few moves later it was about equal, but still very complicated, and Kamsky was down to eight minutes for thirteen moves.

The match was more or less decided by the remarkable strategy Topalov then followed: he kept on playing quickly along with his opponent! This is usually not a very good idea, and the Bulgarian did make some inaccuracies, but with his time ticking away, Kamsky couldn't profit from them. He was probably winning at one moment (31...b4!) but he missed Topalov's great move 32.Qc7!, after which Black can only save himself with the impossible 32...Bd3!! but the American didn't see it (who would have?) and when he had reached the time control, he was looking at a lost position. After twenty very disappointing minutes of thinking, nodding and looking at the big screen, he played a few more moves before offering his hand to Topalov for the last time.

A deserved victory for the current world's number one, who didn't play his best chess, but it was certainly strong enough to beat Kamsky, whose main problem in this match was his handling of the clock. Topalov will have a rating way over 2800 on the April 1st list, and will be a very tough opponent for Anand. Unfortunately FIDE has been very silent about the next World Championship Match, which is scheduled for 2009.

Name Nat. Rtg
















Kamsky USA 2725
Topalov BUL 2796
1 ¬? 0 1 ¬? 1 4¬?

Topalov-Kamsky Game 7

Topalov-Kamsky game 7 - a sharp Tarrasch French

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.


adriano's picture

Congrats to Veselin Topalov!!!!!!!
also to his rival Kamsky

Topalov will defeat Anand and will be for second time WORLD CHAMPION!!!!

pete's picture

Oh my God, what an insane game ... I can't watch any more :P

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to Milke;
kamsly is a Rook down !!!!
I am wathed the game live and Kamsky is very very sad ...
Kamsky is a worth chalenger for WCC, he knocked out many best players (Shirov ....) in the last Fide-Knout-out

suneet's picture

wow... its over topalov prevails.

anand vs topalov! expect FIRE ON BOARD!!!

Mike's picture

It was like a Football (the real..) game, when wining the Game with a goal at the last second of the second half...thanks to an oponent goal-keeper failure, when everithing was almost lost...

VB's picture

I like this crazy chess!!!

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to VB;
I like also this crazy chess but when I do not play !!!

VB's picture extreme chess

Frits Fritschy's picture

What do de engines say about 32... Bd3 33 d7?

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to Frits Fritschy.
32. ...bd3?? you lose the queen !!!???

VB's picture

What a game!!!!!!!!

Mike's picture

@ Popuscu: Wow..! After 31... b4 Kamsky was wining.....What a He's a rook down...

macarel's picture

1-0 !

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to Frits Fritschy,
Sorry I went to an other position;
your suggestion would give an equal game but

jussu's picture

Heh, I like this crazy chess only when I play it.

Anyway, congrats to the winner. Topalov made less mistakes in the entire match and was clearly better, I would say. Kamsky got even a point more than I expected.

suneet's picture

Anand topalov... top two in rating list... would be interesting!!!

Michel83's picture

@ Peter

I know this is a pretty lame comment considering that it is chess that matters, have a BEAUTIFUL typo up there : ) :

"It was the most spectacular game of the match, and so the chess fans were treated with an excellent desert today."

Treated with a "desert", huh? Sounds pretty hot and dry, if you ask me...

trumpcard's picture

Sounds exciting in a wierd way of course. Because Anand will get his tail painfully synged in this match. He is a one-time champion who will be shown his true place at long last. The drubbing he will receive at the hands of Topalov will be a memorable one indeed. Of course the only SAD part of this is that ***deleted, we've had enough of this Danailov bashing, go somewhere else please*** Danailov, will be dancing with joy. That's something I don't want to see but it goes with the territory. Anand's linares performance just sucks totally. He will even lose to a loser like Kamsky.

vassil's picture

Interesting game and nice comments from Peter Doggers. Thank you!

4i4mitko's picture

felt sorry for Kamsky but thats live bravo Vesko

Phil's picture

Lets wait for the Topalov-Anand match, it will be very interesting.

pete's picture

man that was a great thriller ... Topalov is really brave and as GM Dimitrov wrote he is playing with fire here, this time this worked well for him. Overall though, I think he deserves the victory, Kamsky proved he is a tough opponent, but he is not quite that good to become a world championship challenger.

The match with Anand will be something spectacular, but Topalov needs to prepare better. Otherwise, he might find himself on the losing side because Anand showed great fighting spirit last year against Kramnik and he will not have problems with the clock, that is for sure.

me's picture

I completely agree!

Two of the curently best players on the world should under no circumstances play a World Championship match.

Thomas's picture

And - while this may be considered spam - I cannot resist giving another Freudian typo which I recently came across [source unpublished and confidential]:
malgorithm (sic)

supergrobi's picture

@Michel83: what about the other typo:

"I was a semi slave (If I remenber well)"

Michael X Tractor's picture

Another black day for world chess, although entirely predictable. What we now need is an absolutely clear and unequivocal statement from Anand, to the effect that he will never, in any circumstances whatsoever, play a world championship match with Topalov. Sadly, though, I have no expectation that he will take such a principled stand.

Sherman's picture

Michael X Tractor,
I am very cared about your mental health.

me's picture

"Topalov has never been Worldchampion. For those who are still confused or ignorant here are the true Worldchampions: 1.Steinitz 2.Lasker 3.Capablanca 4.Aljechin 5. Euwe 6.Botwinnik 7.Smyslov 8.Tal 9.Petrosian 10.Spassky 11.Fischer 12.Karpov 13.Kasparov 14.Kramnik 15.Anand"

Interesting. Do you know that in early 1999 no other than Kramnik himself said that Karpov (!!!) is the the official owner of the World Championship title?

Of course he later decided to quickly forget about this statement.

Thomas's picture

@Brian Wall: Interesting and (most probably intentionally) confusing list! But I would say at least one name doesn't quite fit: Carlsen is not an almost champion, but rather may be a future champion - of course only the future will tell.

pete's picture

I can't wait for the match ... it will be a gigantic clash between the best players at this moment

Jeroen's picture

Hi Peter,

IMO 28.Rec1 deserves '??' instead of '?!', simply 28.Rxa3 is excellent for white. Topalov took a huge gamble in Kamsky's time pressure and was lucky the American spoilt his winning advantage.

In any case it was exciting stuff! Looking forward to Anand-Topalov.

Jan's picture

Topalov has never been Worldchampion. For those who are still confused or ignorant here are the true Worldchampions: 1.Steinitz 2.Lasker 3.Capablanca 4.Aljechin 5. Euwe 6.Botwinnik 7.Smyslov 8.Tal 9.Petrosian 10.Spassky 11.Fischer 12.Karpov 13.Kasparov 14.Kramnik 15.Anand.

gogomil's picture


thats a fine new word ,realy great :]

Guillaume's picture

@me: Interesting undocumented troll. I have another one for you. Did you know that in 1997 Topalov stated that Kramnik was the only true genius of his generation?

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to me and Guillaume;
I heard also that Tigran Pertossian said that Korchnoi is juste a beginner !!!
bla bla bla bla ....

to Guillaume, desol?© pour mon humeur si vous aimez Korchnoi.

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

to Guillaume
plutot humour.

me's picture

Are you implying that what I said is not true? It is.

When all sorts of speculations regarding Kasparov vs. Shirov match were going on, and Kasparov stated that he would rather played with Anand than with Shirov, Kramnik gave an interview for Europe Echecs. In that interview Kramnik agreed with Shirov that Kasparov had an obligation to contest the promised match with Shirov. He also declared that, for what little it mattered, Karpov was the official owner of the world championship title, and attributed Kasparov's fine playing form, especially in the openings, to his preparations for the match with Shirov. He also said his loss to Shirov in the WCC qualifying match was 'an accident' due to non-chess problems he was having at the time of the match.

Now please tell me that I'm making all this up?
Don't judge others by your own ignorance.

P.S.: What does Topalov's statement (if he really said it - which is entirely possible) have to do with the topic???

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

kamsky played two dubious moves: 25. ...Ba4?! and 27. ...Qc4?!
The a3 pawn is thrown.

25. ...Bc8 was necessary.

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

I continue my last comment:

hence, the d5 pawn (move 27) is cleary more dangerous than the b7 one.

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

on move 27.
Topalov has got a quit "similar!?" position against Ivanchuk in Bilbao 2008, and managed to win it.
I was a semi slave (If I remenber well)

Mike's picture

@Popuscu: Correct, it seems Kamsky is missing opportunities... Started missing 23....Rae8, and then he missed 25...Bc8 He is depending now either on his good luck or some Topa mistake... Ooopps...! It seems now Kamsky created some advantage after 30...b5... What's going on guys..?

Michel's picture

I admire Kamsky´s fighting spirit.

pete's picture

Peter you say it will probably be a draw, but it looks veery dangerous for white ... I am afraid Topa would lose this one ... at least rybka and GM Dimitrov say so ;)

randy mercado's picture

As already expected, GM Topalov prevailed over GM Kamsky in style! In terms of talent and other factors surely GM Kamsky was an underdog. If only one can trace back the history of GM Kamsky one can reasonably conclude that he is not even equal to GM Topalov. However, it is only in terms of fighting spirit that he is so strong. I agree that we will expect high quality chess between the GM Anand and GM Topalov in their WCC Match. GM Topalov could have won his WCC Match with GM Kramnik but his rude match strategy ruined him. Hope that he will just focus on playing chess in his WCC Match with GM Anand. So far, GMs Kramnik and Anand had already been World Champions in their respective time. Hope it will be the time already for GM Topalov next year. After GM Topalov, who will be the next World Champion? Guess who!

jussu's picture

Looks like Kamsky is going to use up all his time in a good position. Sounds vaguely familiar.

Castro's picture

Big market of confusions and ignorances!
Suit yourself!

ChessGirl's picture

4.5-2.5! Exactly what I predicted in the poll, too bad I´m not into gambling ¬¬U

Kristian Pade Frederiksen's picture

The rights of the organisers are currently being violated by Chessvibes...



Peter Doggers's picture

I knew that comment had to be coming. :-) Well, we're actually bringing the game with a delay and our source of the moves is ICC and TWIC. ;-) It's an exception of course; we're not really into bringing games live. But I just couldn't resist bringing some notes already.

R.Mutt's picture

Why do you say Kamsky is "following the computer"? In this day and age that seems to be a rather unfortunate way of putting it...


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