(1) Topalov,V (2804) - Anand,V (2803) [C88]
Mtel Masters Sofia BUL (2), 12.05.2006
[Mihail Marin]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 Re8 10.c3 h6 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.a3 d6 13.Ba2 Nb8 14.b4 c5 15.Nb3 Nc6 16.Rb1 Bc8 17.Be3 Be6 18.Qc2 Rc8 19.Qb2
White has placed some of his pieces on rather unnatural squares, while Black has regrouped in a harmonious way.

19...c4 20.dxc4 Bxc4 21.Nbd2 Bxa2 22.Qxa2 d5
This thematical central break ensures Black at least equal play.

23.Rbd1 d4 24.cxd4 exd4 25.Nb3?!
[Still fighting for an advantage, something not surprising in Topalov's games. 25.Nxd4 would have been safer.]

25...Nxe4 26.Bxd4 Nxd4 27.Rxd4

A fantastic move, overlooked by Topalov. All of a sudden, White is in trouble.

[Accepting the "sacrifice" with 28.Rxd8 would have led to equally unpleasant consequences after 28...Nxf3+ 29.gxf3 Rxe1+ (This intermediate move is possible only because the back rank is defended by the bishop.) 30.Kg2 Rxd8 with a small material advantage and the safer king's position for Black.]

28...Nxh3+! 29.gxh3 Qg5+ 30.Kh2
[In case of 30.Rg4 Black had an "echo-line" at his disposal: 30...Rxe5! 31.Rxg5 Rxe1+ followed by 32...hxg5.]

[Avoiding unnecesary complications after 30...Rxe5 31.f4!? ]

31.Rde4 Rxe5 32.Rxe5 Bd6 33.Nc5 Bxe5+ 34.Kg2 Rc6 35.Qb3 Rg6+ 36.Kf1 Bg3
Just like in Morelia 2006 and Sofia 2005, Topalov seems to have problems of warming up. From this point of view, the World Championship from San Luis 2005 is an obvious exception: from the first 7 rounds, he only "lost" half a point! 0-1