Adams M. (2734)
Topalov V. (2772)

M-Tel Masters (7)
Sofia, 2007

The key game of the 7th round is Adams - Topalov. Mickey is the player who demonstrated the most solid chess until yesterday’s blunder, while Topalov is accelerating and gaining momentum. These facts are a guarantee for an exciting game today.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nge2 Nc6 6. d3 Adams declined the theoretical clash in Najdorf and decided to follow the Sicilian Defence (Closed variation), which is also met sometimes in his games. 6... e5 Black had to choose several possible plans: 5...e6 и Nge7, 5...Rb8 or 5...Nf6. Veselin decided to stick to his favorite Botvinnik. 7. a3 Nge7 8. Rb1 Be6 9. b4 Adams delayed the castle in order to create counter play on the Queen side as soon as possible. Topalov follows his standard scheme. The common rule in these tactical structures is to play Nc3-d5 and Nc6-d4 after the opponent develops Bc8-e6 or Bc1-e3 respectively. However, 8...Nd4 could have been more effective. 9... Qd7 10. Nd5 Nd4 11.c3 Ne2 12.Qe2 leads to a complicated tactical fight with equalized chances. 11. O-O b6 12. bxc5 bxc5 13. Nxe7 Qxe7 14. Nxd4 cxd4 15. f4 12...dc5 deserved attention. Now White is conquering space on the King side. 15... f6 16. f5 Bf7 17. c3 dxc3 18. Qa4+ Qd7 19. Qxd7+ Kxd7 20. Rb7+ Ke8 Adams creatively used the fact that Topalov left the King in the center (15...f6?! instead of 15...0-0) and opened the game on the Queen side. Now Topalov has to solve the problem how to activate the "Rh8". Now White has a choice between 21.Be3 and 21.Rc7. The danger for Veselin is the variation 21.Rc7 Rb8 22.Be3 Rb3 23.Rc1 a5 24.Bd2! 21. Rc7 Rd8 After 22.Be3 Rd7 23.Rc3 Ke7 the Black "Rh8" finally enters in the game, but 24.Rb1 gives Adams advantage. 22. Bh3 Provokes Topalov to close the King side with "g5". 22... d5 The only way to take advantage of the absence of the White bishop from the main diagonal. After 23.Rc3 g5 24.ed5 Bd5 25.Be3 Rd7 26.Bg2 Bg2 27.Kg2 Rf7 Black have chances to equalize the position. 23. exd5 23...Bf8 is dangerous because 24.fg6 hg6 25.Rf6 Rh3 26.Rff7 23... Rxd5 24.Be3 builds a web around the Black king: 24...c2 25.Rf2, 24...Rd3 25.Rb1, 24...Rd7 25.Rc3 g5 26.Bg2 24. Rxc3 gxf5 25. Be3 Be6 26. Bg2 Interesting pawn sacrifice by Adams, after which he takes control of the 7th rank. 26... Rd6 27. Rc7 Bd7 28. Rb1 The preventive 28.Rd1 was strong, but Adams wants the initiative. 28... Kf7 29. Rbb7 Rd8 Adams is dangerously running out of time, while the Black King is surrounded by threats: 30.Bc6 Ke8 31.Bf3 Rd3 32.Bh5 Ke7 33.Bc5 Ke6 34.Rc6 30. d4 Kg6 31. Rxa7 Bh6 32. Bxh6 Kxh6 33. dxe5 fxe5 34. Bf1 f4 35. gxf4 exf4 36. Ra6 Rxa6 37. Bxa6 Bg4 38. Rc2 Rd1+ 39. Kf2 Ra1 40. Be2 Bxe2 After a chain of imprecise moves in time trouble by Adams and a creative defense by Topalov, the two players reached the time control. Veselin has a pawn more, but the Rook endgame looks like a dead draw. 41. Rxe2 Rxa3 42. Re8 Kg5 43. Rg8+ Kh4 44. Rf8 Kg4 45. Rg8+ Kh3 46. Rh8 Ra7 47. Rf8 h5 48. Rxf4 Ra2+ 49. Kg1 Ra1+ 50. Rf1 Rxf1+ 51. Kxf1 Kxh2 52. Kf2 1/2-1/2 [Dimitrov V.]