Games: Chess

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Michael Adams had one of the best results in his career to finish third, behind Anand and Kramnik, in Wijk aan Zee. He had previously shown himself capable of winning top-class events, but he has rarely before looked such a consistent threat to the very best grandmasters.

Adams's high placing was secured with a win in the penultimate round against Veselin Topalov, who was also in the running for a top prize. Topalov is a player of great imagination who likes nothing better than plenty of open lines for his pieces to engage in complex tactical adventures. One of the greatest exponents of the Dragon Sicilian and the Modern Benoni, he can be particularly dangerous with Black, but on this occasion, Adams stifled all his ambitions.

The choice of 4.Qxd4, sidestepping the Dragon's fire, was inspirational. White's developing scheme with 6.Qd2 and 10.Rb1 looked cumbersome, but left Black passively placed. When Topalov attempted counterplay with 21...b5 it rebounded badly. 23.Rxd6 Rxd6 24.Rxd6 b4 would not have been bad for Black, but 23.Bf1! (when b4 is met by Nb5) led quickly to a decisive advantage for White. 26...Nxa4 would have been met by 27.Ra6!

White: Michael Adams

Black: Veselin Topalov

1 e4 c5 21 Rbd2 b5

2 Nf3 d6 22 cxb5 axb5

3 d4 cxd4 23 Bf1 Na7

4 Qxd4 Bd7 24 Rxd6 Rxd6

5 c4 Nc6 25 Rxd6 b4

6 Qd2 g6 26 Na4 Nb5

7 Be2 Bg7 27 Bxb5 Qxb5

8 0-0 Bg4 28 Nb6 Rb8

9 Nc3 Nf6 29 Nc4 Na4

10 Rb1 0-0 30 Qd3 Nc3

11 b3 Nd7 31 a4 Qg5

12 Bb2 Nc5 32 Kg2 Qc1

13 Rfd1 a6 33 a5 Qa1

14 Qe3 Bxf3 34 a6 Rf8

15 Bxf3 e6 35 Ne5 Ne2

16 g3 Qc7 36 Qxe2 Qxe5

17 Bg2 Rfd8 37 Qd3 Qa5

18 Ne2 Bxb2 38 Qc4 h5

19 Rxb2 Rac8 39 h4 resigns

20 Nc3 Qa5

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