Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Strange Overlooking

When beginners start playing chess, they learn how to move pieces. Later, they familiarize themselves with basic checkmates and occasionally solve puzzles where they have to find a checkmate in one move.
Moving on, they learn opening rules and progress to more difficult puzzles, like checkmate in two moves and exercises solving tactical motifs (pin, double attack, fork, …)

In every step, the degree of complexity increases and one assume that previous learning remain.
Nevertheless, reality shows that not always is the case and sometimes players overlook obvious variations.
It applies not only to beginners but also to professional players who occasionally suffer from those memory lapses.

Today’s game shows one of those cases at the professional level.
It corresponds to the World Championship Match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov.
That match took place in Elista (Russia) in 2006 and it was the end of the schism from FIDE initiated 13 years before by Kasparov.

In that match, the controversy appeared because Topalov’s team complained about Kramnik’s cheating and threatened with aborting the match. At that time the crisis received the name “Toiletgate”.
That crisis took this peculiar name due to Topalov’s team’s suspicion that Kramnik cheated. They supported their complaint on the fact that Kramnik frequently went to his private bathroom where they found cables in the ceiling.

Why didn’t Topalov see the winning combination in move 32? It’s hard to say.
When in a later interview a journalist asked him that question, he explained that: “It was precisely because he played like a computer. He kept capturing pieces very quickly, with total calm, when my attack was very dangerous. I couldn’t believe it. If you look at the position with a computer it loves black, although it’s lost, until it’s too late. How could he be so confident?

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