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Kamsky Draws in Round Six Print E-mail
By GM Ian Rogers   
February 24, 2009
Snow-covered Sofia,
Photo Cathy Rogers
After a round five loss, Gata Kamsky scored a draw in round six of the World Chess Challenge (Sofia, Feb.16-28). The match resumes on Thursday, when the pressure will be on Kamsky in this short, 8-game match. GM Ian Rogers annotates game six below. Also see his two live, in-depth reports on the decisive games Saturday, "Kamsky Evens Score with Fantastic Win!" and Monday, "Kamsky Loses in Round Five."

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Ne7 8.Nd2 Nbc6 9.N2f3 Bg4
Kamsky himself had played 9...a6 against Svidler and achieved a fairly comfortable draw.
 10.0–0 Bxf3 11.Nxf3 g6

The first new move; previously Black had moved his e7 knight to g6 or f5. The new weakening on the dark squares will only be important if White can open up the position, a task Kamsky now undertakes.
 12.c4! Bg7 13.cxd5 Nxd5 14.Bc5 Bf8 15.Qc1?

Position after 15.Qc1

Another tactical oversight by Kamsky, which allows Black instant equality. After [15.Rc1! Black still has some problems to solve after 15...Bxc5 16.Rxc5 0–0 17.Qd2 Kg7 18.h4 h6 19.Rfc1 , although whether White can increase the pressure is uncertain.]
15...Rc8! 16.Bxf8 Nd4!
17.Qd1 Nxe2+ 18.Qxe2 Kxf8 19.Rac1 Kg7 20.h4 Qb6 21.g3 h6 22.a3 Rc5 23.Rc2 Rhc8 24.Rfc1 a5 25.Qd2 Rxc2 26.Rxc2 Rc5 27.Qc1 Rxc2 28.Qxc2 Ne7

Position after 28...Ne7

White's e-pawn is only a marginal disadvantage  but since Kamsky had fallen well behind on the clock, Topalov keeps probing.
29.Qc3 Nc6 30.b3
Here Kamsky, perfectly reasonably, offered a draw but after Topalov's refusal, he began to drift.
30...Qd8 31.a4?!

An unnecessary weakening. After 31.Kg2 White would have little to fear.
 31...Qd1+ 32.Kg2 Qe2
32...Qd5 followed by ...Nb4-d3 was also promising, albeit in a position still expected to end in a draw, but Topalov's move sets Kamsky, with less than 2 minutes remaining per move, with more immediate challenges.
 33.Qe3!? Qd1
33...Qb2 intending ...Nb4-d5 was more promising.
"Now it is perfectly equal," said Kamsky.
 Nb4 35.Nc4

Kamsky's knight has found a stable square and Black has no longer any time to build up as his a pawn is hanging. 
35...Nc2 36.Qd2! Qb1
36...Ne1+ 37.Kf1! Qxb3 achieves nothing after  38.Qf4 , in analogy to the game.
 37.Qf4! Ne1+ 38.Kh2 Qxb3 39.Qf6+ Kg8 40.Qd8+ Kh7 41.Qf6 Kg8

Position after 41...Kg8

 Repeating moves because 41...Qf3 42.Qxf3 Nxf3+ 43.Kh3! Nd4 44.Nxa5 b5 is also trivially drawn.
42.Qd8+ Kh7 43.Qf6 Kg8 ½–½

Root on a Kamsky comeback Thursday 2/26/09 at 8 AM EST. You can watch on the Internet Chess Club,the official website, or chessdom, where there will be live GM coverage.