Game 4: Kasparov-Topalov, 1999


For the 4th game in our Best Games of Chess series, I have selected a famous game played by Garry Kasparov and Veselin Topalov at Wijk aan Zee, 1999.  For those (like me) who like to use the "Guess the Move" chess training tool to play through master games of chess, here is a link to the game on that web site:  Guess-the-Move Kasparov-Topalov 1999.

I'll present the full game, below, but in order not to give the moves away for those using the "Guess the Move" utility, I'll first present a few comments on this game.  First, here's a picture of the two contestants as Kasparov (right) is about to make the opening move:

This game is known as "Kasparov's Immortal Game", and Garry Kasparov himself has claimed this was the greatest game of chess he ever played.  Andrew Soltis thought this was the 5th best game of chess ever played (as he described it in "The 100 Best Games of the 20th Century, Ranked").  GM Larry Christiansen, in his book "Storming the Barricades" stated that "Kasparov's Masterpiece ranks among the very top games of all time.  It deserves a place in the Louvre."

Before presenting the actual game, here is a little puzzle.  Can you guess the move Kasparov made in this position?


This game was featured in Burgess, Nunn, and Emms excellent "Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games".  Their introduction to the game states:

"You are about to witness one of the most extraordinary king-hunts in the history of chess.  The opening and early middlegame are relatively quiet:  Kasparov adopts an aggressive stance, but Topalov plays flexibly and obtains a fully acceptable position.  Indeed, Kasparov is fighting not to be worse from move 14 to move 24, but as so often when a great champion's back is against the wall, he gives his opponent plenty of chances to go horribly wrong.  In a moment of inspiration, an amazing idea pops into Kasparov's mind, and he embarks upon a sacrificial sequence.  Topalov bravely decides to play down the main line when he had a perfectly safe alternative, but it turns out that Kasparov had been right:  his pieces and pawns work in perfect harmony to hunt down the errant black king."

Without further ado, here is the game:


Finally, for those who are interested, I found this video of the game to be illuminating:  YouTube Video of Kasparov-Topalov, 1999 as well as this annotated version by GM Yasser Seirawan:  Inside Chess Analysis of Kasparov-Topalov, 1999.

I encourage the members of our study group to post a response when they have played through this game.  Please let us know your score if you used the "Guess the Move" chess training tool, or if you manually scored the game by awarding 3 pts for each of Kasparov's moves that you guessed correctly.  FYI - par score for this game is 58 pts, corresponding to correctly guessing roughly 19-20 of the 44 moves in this game.

Finally, please provide your own comments on the game or pointers to other commentators who have annotated this game.

Thanks for participating!


Why was it that at move 25, Black Queen didn't take the rook?


@furck_u because 26. Qxd4+ Kb8 27. Qb6+ Bb7 28. Nxb7 Qxb7 29. Qxf6 White wins a knight

furck_u wrote:

Why was it that at move 25, Black Queen didn't take the rook?



There's an explanation as to why the black queen did not take the white rook on move 25.