Kasparov - Topalov 

Garry Kasparov (2815) - Veselin Topalov (2725) 
Wijk aan Zee, NED
61st (Hoogovens) Chess Festival  (Rd. # 4),    01.1999 

[A.J. Goldsby I]

 Kasparov's, "Game of The Century." (?) 

  (Or possibly, {just} Kasparov's Immortal Game.)  

Perhaps the greatest single game of chess ever played, especially one created over-the-board. (And not a postal game.) 

Kasparov is reported to have said this was his, "Best ever." (Immediately after the game.) 

The annotations here are based primarily on GM Andy Soltis's book, "The 100 Best Games." (Of The 20th Century, Ranked.)

1.e4 d62. d4 Nf63. Nc3 g64. Be3
A modern system, that was not even seen in Master practice prior to the 1980's. 

[The moves: 
4.f4, (The Austrian Attack.); 
and 4.Nf3, (The 'Classical' Continuation.); 
are more often seen than the move, 4. Be3!? ]. 

;  There cannot be anything wrong with simple development. 
(Several annotators have questioned this move.) 

[The book recommends: 4...c6!; ... - MCO-14. ]. 

5. Qd2 c6
6. f3 b5;  Queenside expansion. 
(Since White has played f3, and could play g4; it makes sense for Black
to grab some squares on the other side of the board.)  

7. Nge2!? Nbd78. Bh6,  Probably the best. White relieves Black of his 
dangerous fianchettoed Bishop. 

[ 8.0-0-0!? ].  

8...Bxh6;  Probably best. 

[Too risky is: 8...0-0!?; ('?!'')  9.h4, ---> ("+/=") and White has a huge attack.]. 

9. Qxh6 Bb710. a3! e5!;  Black fights for his fair share of the center. 

11. 0-0-0 Qe7;  (Maybe - '!') Again, probably the best. (Centralization.).

12. Kb1!?, (Maybe - '!')  A high-class waiting move. 

[ 12.h4!? ].  

13. Nc1! 0-0-014. Nb3 exd4!;  Black is playing for the win. 
Topalov's style is to NEVER play it safe. He almost always plays hard-hitting chess.

15. Rxd4!
,  A very nice move. 
Most players do NOT even seriously consider this move. 

[ Most players, even Masters, play the move: 15.Nxd4, without hesitation. ].

16. Rd1 Nb6!; 17. g3!,  Bishop ...  in the side pocket?
Kasparov finds an unusual, but extremely effective deployment of this 
Bishop in the given Pawn Structure. 

[ 17.Be2!? ]. 

17...Kb818. Na5 Ba819. Bh3 d5!; 20. Qf4+!,  Nice. 
This move, in connection with his next move is very fine. 
Considering White has at least 6 reasonable moves here, 
this is an outstanding idea. 
(White is already setting up the sacrifices that follow.) 

[ 20.exd5 ].

20...Ka721. Rhe1! d4!?;  Again the best. 
(And maybe worthy of an exclam.) 

White to move. 
22. Nd5!!,  A brilliant move that is NOT at all obvious.  
(White must be willing to sack at least a Pawn.) 

[ 22.e5!?; or 22.Ne2!? ].

;  This looks forced, and OK for Black. 
The computers, after running for over 30 minutes on a Pentium 4, 
consider the position after this move to be completely equal.

23. exd5 Qd6;  Black's Queen was attacked. 

24. Rxd4!!(Maybe - '!!!')  One of the most incredible moves in all of chess. 
And maybe one of THE most brilliant. The best move in maybe the greatest 
game of chess ever played. 

[ Just about all of the computers pick the move: 24.Nc6+!?, here. ].

;  (Maybe - '?!')   Many annotators criticized this move. 
It may lose by force, BUT ..... you have to be able to calculate nearly 
20 moves ahead!! 

Many strong computer modules, [analysis engines] (Such as Crafty and Comet.); 
think for many minutes, and then give the evaluation of: ("-/+"). 

This means that they consider this position WINNING for BLACK!!!! 
(White now has a forced win!) 
(Topalov probably did not see the mate, and wanted Garry to 'prove' he had a win here.)

[ Several annotators have pointed out that Black could defend with: 24...Kb6!
 "After this move, I didn't see a (real) advantage for White." - GM Garry Kasparov. ]. 


(White's next move is almost as incredible as the last one.)
25. Re7+!! Kb6[]; Forced again. 
If 25...Qxe7?;  then 26. Qxd4+, Kb8[]; 27. Qb6+, Bb7; 
   28. Nc6+, Kh8; 29. Qa7#. )

26. Qxd4+ Kxa5!?
;  Maybe forced, unfortunately for Black. 

27. b4+ Ka428. Qc3!?(Maybe - '!')  This is probably a [forced] 
win for White. And it is very, very pretty. 

[I think GM Kavalek was the first to point out that the move: 28.Ra7!!, is even 
better than the text move. (But the analysis is very complicated - and runs many, 
many pages!! - and I will not reproduce it here.) ]. 

28...Qxd5;  From here on out its a King Hunt. But an exceptionally pretty one.

29. Ra7! Bb730. Rxb7! Qc4!?31. Qxf6 Kxa3!?32. Qxa6+ Kxb4
When I first went over this game, I thought Black had escaped here. 

(With his next few moves, White continues in an ultra-brilliant vein.
Then he finishes crisply.)
33. c3+!! Kxc334. Qa1+ Kd235. Qb2+ Kd136. Bf1!! Rd2;
37. Rd7! Rxd738. Bxc4 bxc439. Qxh8 Rd340. Qa8 c3
41. Qa4+
42. f4 f543. Kc1 Rd244.Qa7,  Black Resigns. 1 - 0. 

(If 44...Rxh2; then 45. Qg1+ wins Black's Rook.) 

Easily one of the most brilliant games ever played.

 1 - 0

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(But there are only a few diagrams, so you have to use a chess board & set!)

This is a much shortened copy of the game than the version that exits in my database. (I had to shorten it for publication. The other version was simply too difficult to convert to an HTML document.) 

The original "ChessBase" file contains a  VERY DETAILED  look at the opening of this game, "The Pirc Defense." This includes many columns, notes, and comments that MCO has on this opening. Additionally, it also contains a few lines that MCO does NOT CONSIDER!! This would be a great asset to have, if you wanted to study this opening. 

If you would like a copy of this game, please contact me. 

 Copyright, () A.J. Goldsby I.

Copyright A.J. Goldsby;  1985 - 2012, & 2013. (All rights reserved.)