Is the match already over?

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
FIDEIs it too pessimistic to declare that the reunification match between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik is already over? A friend of mine said to me that he considers it to be already decided, because two points behind is too much in such a short match. To this he added: "Topalov has?Ǭ†shown very weak play in game 3. With such opening play even Loek van Wely can beat him in a match!" Indeed, if Kramnik would have played 17.Ne4 it would probably have been a devastating 3-0 (and Kramnik would finally have been compared to Fischer...).

This moment in the game has been underestimated by several commentators and me too.

Kramnik-Topalov Wch match (03), 2006

"The Russians already analysed 17.Ne4 to a win for White", my friend told me, and indeed IM Maxim Notkin considers it virtually winning in this morning's Chess Today: 17. Ne4!?Ǭ†Nc4 (17... Bxg5?Ǭ†18. Nd6+ Ke7 19. Nxc8+ Qxc8 20. Nf3 Bf6 21. Qa3+;?Ǭ†during the press conference Kramnik said about 17.Ne4 the following: "Yes, it was interesting! But how to proceed after 17?¢‚Ǩ¬¶N?ꬵ5? It looks like Black solves his problems." Notkin gives 17... Ne5 18. Qb1 Qc7 19. Bxe7 and now not 19...Qxe7??Ǭ†because of 20. Nf5! exf5 21. Nd6+, but?Ǭ†perhaps Kramnik isn't sure if he can profit from the obligatory 19...Kxe7...)?Ǭ†18. Rac1

a)?Ǭ†18... Nde5??Ǭ†19. Qb1! Bxg5 20. Nxe6 fxe6 21. Rxd8+ Bxd8 22. b3! Na3 23. Qb2 Rxc1 24. Qxc1 Nb5 25. Qc8?Ǭ†+- b) 18... Nce5 19. Qb3 Rxc1 20. Rxc1 Bxg5 21. Nxe6! fxe6 (21... Bxc1 22. Nxd8 Kxd8 23. Qc3! Bh6 24. Nd6 +-) 22. Qxe6+ Kf8 23. Nxg5 h6 24. Ne4?Ǭ†+/- c)?Ǭ†18... Bxg5 19. Rxc4 Be7 20. Nf3! d)?Ǭ†18... Ndb6 19. Nxe6! fxe6 (19... Qxd3 20. Nxg7+ Kf8 21. Bxe7+ Kxe7 22. exd3 +-) 20. Qc3 e) 18...Nxb2?Ǭ†19. Qb3! (19. Qb1 was given by?Ǭ†Seirawan)?Ǭ†19...Nxd1 (19... Rxc1 20. Rxc1 Bxg5 21. Nxe6!)

20. Nxe6!! fxe6 (20... Rxc1 21. Nxd8 Bxg5 22. Nxf7 +-) 21. Rxc8 Qxc8 22. Qxe6 Qd8 23. Nd6+ Kf8 24. Qf7 mate.

Pretty convincing analysis by IM Maxim Notkin. So how about you guys? Do you think the match is virtually over?

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