Topalov wins another marvellous game. He played with great precision and energy throughout though it was a more traditional storming of the kingside than the last miraculous game. Kramnik was passive and it’s not looking so good for him. Though it’s still drawn (if he gets back the forfeited game) he has built himself an edge in only a couple of games.
Of the two games Kramnik won, one he played well but Topalov got himself into a dangerous position and stuffed it up. In the other, Topalov whipped up a swingeing attack, got to mate in three, missed it and then drifted into a lost position. In the last two games Topalov has played with more insight into the position than Kramnik, not just attacking but working out clever ways to keep his opponent tied up. It’s a pity about all the carrying on as we will never know how much it may have harmed Kramnik’s play, but at least the best man is winning and looks like going on to unify the title.
It’s fun to watch Topalov play. He does not just build up an enormous attack and let fly – like someone like Tal. He gets into edgy very difficult positions (which Susan Polgar says computers don’t play very well). He seems to have a lot of the skills that Kramnik has – he knows how to squeeze his opponent – he is patient but he’s much more energetic than Kramnik.
On both this occasion and with the last win, Grandmasters were saying that Topalov had an edge but it was very hard to see how to convert it with a really good plan to build the pressure and convert to a win. At 22 This is what Susan Polgar reported.
(Nigel Short [a UK Grandmaster who used to be in the top ten – you can watch him play blitz on www.playchess.com] made a good observation: “One minute ago there was near unanimity that Kramnik was lost: now people cannot find plans or ideas for White and say that his King is draughty!” That is a real problem at times in chess: How to find the best plan in a good position?)
22…Be7 (Garry Kasparov chimed in: “Do i hear you saying white can’t find good plan? Agree, black isn’t lost yet”. . . . Tyomkin said: “Looks like Topalovs advantage is smaller than few moves ago.”)
With Topalov playing very fast and accurately only seven moves later Kramnik was in time trouble and his position was deteriorating. Play through the game with good commentary if you like here.