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Mtel 2005 r6

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A day of incredible, mind-bending chess that won't soon be forgotten. Also a good day to remember to be really annoyed with people who watch live games online with Fritz & Co. running, making a constant stream of remarks about how the top players in the world are "missing" moves or are "definitely" going to play X. These games are being played by humans, so shut the damn engines off and realize how damn hard this game is!

Anyway, some spectacular stuff that will take a long time to analyze even with computers. Topalov sacrificed a piece against Anand and won. Kramnik sacrificed a piece against Ponomariov and lost. Polgar preferred to sacrifice the other guy's pieces and beat Adams. All were tactical nightmares for long stretches. Suddenly Ponomariov is the clear leader at +1 and Anand is in the cellar! Report soon at ChessBase.com. Whew!

Update: Kasparov is on political tour in Siberia (yes, people go there on purpose now) and without internet, so I just read today's games to him over the phone. "18.Re6..." "Oooof!"


Topalov's Knight sac was incredibly good, best TN in years methinks. The second or third move after the sac Anand looked lost, though I freely confess I only looked at it for about half an hour and then had to rush off, and my analysis is worth nothing anyway. Topy kicked some serious butt today, would love to see some GM comments on the line.

And Kramnik can only be commended for his imaginative, sacrificial chess. Too bad it caused his second loss; it seems that whenever Kramnik tries to be more of a crowd-pleaser his results deteriorate. This seems to give him enough justification to play his super-solid-invincible style (I think he could get back to his 99-00 invincibility if he wanted to) and guarantee his +2. I hope that does not happen, that he continues fighting in every game till he improves (heck, it worked for Leko, might work for Kramnik as well...)

I was watching live at the office. When Polgar finished off Adams I let out a "Holy Cow" and got quite the stares from my office mates. They just did not understand.

Will the *real* Vladimir Kramnik please sit down and play chess in the next rounds?! He should do what he does best -- compare the nature of his wins so far with the nature of his losses.

I can't think of a better way to spend 5 hrs on a beautiful Wednesday morning. I was particularly glued to the Polgar-Adams match, and he seemed to have the upperhand throughout most of the battle with his queen camped out in the middle of the board...even to the point of expecting a bishop sac to open up the king side
(although Fritz shows me no mercy when I "take over" for Michael;)

And then Judith plays 27. h4, backing off the queen, next move takes the f-pawn, a flurry of moves running out of time, a swapping of the queens, and finally the queen's knight seals the deal, after seeming out of position all day long.
"Hats off" to her for hanging in there and getting a victory! :))

I think that the tournament is already an unqualified success. The games today were just magnificent and I'm wondering what Kaspy will say if he has to eat his comments about Pono(I think Kaspy has to already, but patience is a virtue).

I want someone to explain Topalov's game to me (please, no childish general comments - I'm a strong enough player to understand the light square and king position weakening strategy - I want variations). 18. Re6 is the kind of move that sends me back to high school (I don't have any PCs).

more than re6, the critical moment in the game appeared to be 21 ...be7? comps and non-patzers on ICC immediately declared the position as lost for Anand ... looks like 21 .. kg8 is the move vishy should have played. It looks yuck, but apparently gives him a small plus because Vishy himself has counter threats on the c-file. It maybe though that the Re6 idea was so deep that it took even these highly rated guys a few moves to figure out what is happening.

Fantastic tournament so far. Lots of exciting games. Hard to predict who is going to be the winner. Even Anand if he wins tomorrow vs Kramnik would have a chance. I have a feeling that excluding Kasparov (whose preparation is/was a step above the others) the players at the top 10 or even 20 of the rating list are pretty much playing at the same level. One day Pono is at the botton of the table and two days latter he is leading the tournament! This tells me for a top 20 to really break through it is matter of getting invitations to the super tournaments I guess. It is a pitty super tournaments are in such short supply. Congrats to Mtel and Bulgaria for organizing this one!

What should we interpret "ooof" to mean?

Oooof = positive expression of surprise.

I think today we have seen one of the most exciting tournament rounds of late. A pity these games weren't played in different days so we could pay full attention to each of them.
But obviously, my highest praise must go for Topalov, what an incredible game. Right after the sacrifice I thought he must have quite strong compensation, despite the stranged comments of most fritz-equipped kibitzers. In fact he found in the position resources not suggested by the computers, at least within the time he spent. For example, instead of 18.Re6, computers suggestedthe quite obvious 18.Ba6 Ba6 19.Qg6 Kg8 20.Nf5 Bf8 with Re7 and Bh6 ideass to follow, but Topalov's idea might be even more promising, even though I haven't analysed the other position in detail. Anand's defence seems quite good up to 21...Be7, which seems an error. But even without that move, life doesn't look easy for him. The most natural alternative seems 21...Kg8, when 22.Ng6 seems to fail on account of 22... Be6 23.de6 Rc8 24.Bc4 Qe8. But more interesting seems then 22.Bc4 a5 23.Nf5 Be6 24.de6 Be7 25.Rd1 Qf8 26.Rd7 Re8 27.Nh4 is death for black and I can't think of many ideas against Nf5, so I'll wait for others'.
Later, instead of 23.Re7, 23.Re5 intending ...Bb7 24.Qf5 Kg8 25.Bc4 seems a 'cleaner' win, but fortunately, the game continuation was enough for an extremely well deserved win.
Obviously these are only minor thoughts and probably inaccurate if not wrong, as the position is very complicated, and even a strong GM with Fritz would have analysis for many hours to get near the truth, so imagine someone like me ;-)

Did Kasparov offer any analysis or suggestions?

"I have a feeling that excluding Kasparov ... the players at the top 10 or even 20 of the rating list are pretty much playing at the same level. One day Pono is at the botton of the table and two days latter he is leading the tournament!"

I think you need much more than six rounds of one tournament to draw such conclusions. Taken as a whole, Pono's performance since winning the FIDE KO hasn't been impressive. His results here could suggest that he's turned a corner, or they could be an aberration. We just don't know.

Similarly, no one who's followed Kramnik to play in decided games four out of six times. This is not characteristic of him. But without a larger sample, we just don't know whether he's changed his style, or if these results are a temporary blip.

By definition, there isn't a huge difference between #1 and #20. You could do the math and see the expected win-lose-draw percentage. It's not like what happens when #1 plays #20 in NCAA football. But that doesn't mean there isn't a meaningful difference between being rated #1 and #20 in chess.

We also don't know how the "no draw" rule is affecting the players. I'm sure this will start to come out in their post-tournament comments.

No, he was just curious about the results and openings. It was past 1am where he was and we were talking about other stuff.

What a tournament! And don't forget to congratulate Judit. That was a nice win in a very tense game that hung in the balance the whole time.

What a tournament! I am a fan of Topalov and Adams, and a deep admirer of Anand and Polgar (The difference between a fan and a deep admirer is hard to explain). I have not studied Ponomariovīs games so far, and sometimes I yawn at Kramnikīs. Topalov plays for his fans, his plans are risky and he sacrifices even when the sac is not entirely sound (someone remember FIDE WC, in Libia, against Krasenkow (was he?)when Topalov got insane and played like Tal?). Adams is more self contained, playing most of the time crystal clear chess, easy to follow and good to learn something. But sometimes he gets nuts, which is also good for chess fans. It could only get better if Kasparov were there.

I used to think (until today) that Moro is just Shirov II and Topo is just Moro II. I also agreed with some of the fellow Ninjas that Topo couldn't stay at the 2780 range for too long.

It all changed today with his scintillating performance against Anand. I haven't had time to look at the games deeply, I only briefly followed the Topo-Anand games for the first 15 moves or so and when I came back from lunch, it was all over!

I'm going to go into some analysis mode now. I also like the "Sofia" Kramnik. He may not come across as invincible, but he certainly comes across as an entertaining player at Sofia. (Today, I believe he lost because he underestimated Pono).

'Ooof' originates in British comics such as The Beano - a rather cheeky contraction of 'oh f*ck'

I agree that Anand's 21. ..Be7? was not the best response. It doesn't even jibe with his previous pawn sac of b5. I believe its worthwhile to look at a rook sortie with 21. ..Rb8, followed by Rb7 followed by Rc7 if bishop moves to Bc4 after Rb8. Now, Bishop is pinned to the White Queen and if Q gives check at g6, bishop is pinned to the King and Anand can follow through anaother sac to give back materail to equalize. Here's the line I looked at:

21...Rb8 22.Bc4 Rb7 23.Qg6+ Kf8 24.Rd1 Rc7 25.Nf5 Bxe6 26.dxe6 Qe8 27.Qxe8+ Nxe8 28.Nxd6 Nxd6 29.Rxd6 =

If you accept Topalov's sac, you'll have to give it back with interest :-)

"I used to think (until today) that Moro is just Shirov II and Topo is just Moro II. I also agreed with some of the fellow Ninjas that Topo couldn't stay at the 2780 range for too long."

What? Topalov plays nothing like Morozevich.

Couldn't Pono's win over Kramnik be counted on the fact that he's much younger and the hard fighting is starting to take its toll on the physically lesser vigorous participants in general? 5 days in a row with games that drag to the bitter end must be harder for some than others...and thus, the quality of especially Kramnik's is not so high, i think.

Topalov plays nothing like Moro, and Moro is CERTAINLY not Shirov II!!!! Moro is madness personified, with his unique style.

Dear chess-loving friends,

Saguni did some excellent analysis.
Congratulations, Saguni! However, I do not agree with his stance that the position on move 29 is perfectly even. The White pawn on e6 supported by the white bishop on c4 shall prove difficulties for Black in the endgame. Without the advanced white e-pawn, the position would definitely be even or slightly better for Black. However that is not the case, thus I regard that position is quite in White favour and Black would be hard-pressed in fighting for a draw.

In my modest view, I did some analysis on Black's 13th move, instead of Anand's 13...h6?!, I did some work on 13...Bxd5 (yes, I know, this move gives White compensation for the pawn, but pls look at my analysis before any comments) and here are my results:

13...Bb7xd5 14.Bf1-b5+! Ke8-f8 (forced) 15.Bb5-d3 h7-h6 16.Ng5-e4 Nf6xe4

[16...b6-b5 (suggested by Hiarcs 9) 17.Qc2-b1! c5-c4 18.Bd3-c2 Nf6xe4 19.Bc2xe4 Be7-f6 20.0-0! Nb8-c6 (20...Bf6xa1 21.Bd2-b4+ Kf8-g8 22.Be4xd5 Qd8xd5 23.Rf1-d1+- Black loses his queen) 21.Rf1-d1 Bf6xa1 22.Bd2-e3 Ba1-f6 23.Be4xd5 Qd8-d7 24.b3xc4 b5xc4 25.Bd5xc4+- Black's rook on h8 is out of play]

17.Bd3xe4 Bd5xe4 18.Qc2xe4 Nb8-d7 19.0-0-0! (19. 0-0 Nd7-f6 20.Qe4-e2 21.g7-g5 followed by Kf8-g7 promise equality) Nd7-f6 20.Qe4-e2 Qd8-e8 21.Rh1-e1 Ra8-d8 22.Nf3-e5 Be7-d6 23.Bd2-f4 g7-g5 24.Ne5-d7+! Kf8-g7 (forced)

(24...Rd8xd7 25.Bf4xd6+ Kf8-g7 26.Qe2xe8 Rh8xe8 27.Re1xe8 Nf6xe8 28.Bd6-e5+ and White gains material; 24...Nf6xd7 25.Qe2-b2; 24...Qe8xd7 25.Bf4xd6+ Kf8-g7 26.Bd6-f8+)

24...Qe8xd7 25.Bf4xd6+ Kf8-g7 26.Bd6-f8+) 25.Qe2-b2 Bd6xf4+ 26.g3xf4 Rd8xd7 27.Re1xe8 Rd7xd1+ 28.Kc1xd1 Rh8xe8 29.f4xg5 h6xg5= both position and material is roughly even (Black knight+rook+pawn versus 1 White queen)

Of course, the game do not have to continue the way according to what I mentioned but in my opinion, even though 13...Bxd5 gives White compensation in the form of development and space, it's still enough to draw but not really necessary to win the game for Black. Nevertheless, it's much safer than Anand's 13...h6 which led to Topalov's sacrifice and massive complicated play. I certainly hope my analysis is objective enough.

By the way, I am sure that many of you realised that all the 6 decisive games were won with White. I think this tells us something about the psyche of top-players--Win with White at all costs. It appears to me that the axiom of "Black is Okay" has been proven negative so far in this tournament. I really hope that the next decisive game can finally be won with the Black pieces, perhaps with the Petroff, since so far the defence had suffered two losses in the hands of both Kramnik and Adams. :-)



Some of my light notes are now up at ChessBase.

As for the wins with white, this is natural because there are few sharp defenses being played. When Kasparov, Anand, Topalov, Leko, and Kramnik play the Sicilian, you see wins with black. When they play the Petroff (well, Kasparov doesn't), you see more draws overall and almost no wins for Black. We've seen only four Sicilians, versus five Petroffs, two Caro-Kanns, and a Berlin. Black just doesn't win many of those at this level.

It's a cute anomaly that White has won all four 1.d4 games. These haven't exactly been razor-sharp lines either.

21...Rb8 is another possibility, but seems to fail too. Instead of Bc4, first 22.Qg6+ and now
a)...Kf8 23.Nf5 Qc7+ 24.Bc4 Be6 25.de6 Re8 26.Rd1 Re6 27.Nd6 Re7 28.Nf5 +- seems quite forced, so 24...Bf4+ might be a better try, but after 25.gf4 Be6 26.de6 Qf4+ 26.Ne3 I still prefer white.
b)...Kg8 23.Nf5 Bf8 (...Qf8 24.Bc4 Be6 (if Rh7 simply 25.Rhe1 forcing to take the rook and winning after Be7 Qf7+) 25.de6 in this position to avoid Rd1-d7, black will have to play Rc8-c4, but then he can hardly move so, white might win by simply advancing his kingside pawns, or even c5 ideas to get the c-file for the rook 23...Qc7 24.Bc4 Be6 25.de6 Rh7 26.e7+ Kh8 27.Qf7 is also winning) 24.Bc4 Rh7 (Be6 25.de6 Rc8 26.e7+ Rc4 27.bc4 Qc7 28.Kb1 Qd7 29.Rc1) 25.Rhe1 seems also +-.

13...Bd5 is another interesting possibility, but you should also consider a quick 0-0-0 and Bc3 idea for white, either with or without the check in b5.

if Topo = Moro II, and Moro = Shirov II, then Topo = Shirov III, Reloaded.

But I'd say Moro = Chucky II, and Chucky = Fischer II, so that
Moro = Fischer III, Demo version.

PS: "Oooof!" means "Thanks god I've retired and don't have to face these
positions against them!

I think you made a mistake in chessbase report, the last time Anand and kramnik lost the same day was in Corus 2005 ! To Leko and Topalov :-)

Dear Mig and friends,

I read your analysis on chessbase.com today and I agree with your analysis on the Polgar-Adams game of 27...Qg6! 28.Rxe3 fxe4 29.Bxe4 Bc6!! (this move is hard to find for a human, I overlooked this move in my analysis) (a triple pin, amazing!) as dangerous for White. I continued your analysis with 30.Rbe1 (forced) Rf4! (making use of another pin on the g-file to win back material) 31.Kh2 Rxe4 32.Rxe4 Bxe4 33.Qb3 c6 34. Nd3 Bd5 35. Qd1 Rf6! (not 36.Nf4?? Rxf4 or 36.Ne5 Rf2+) 36.Re3 and the position is roughly even although I think Black has a slight edge due to its active bishop. This should lead to at least a draw for Black.


Yah, good spot, thanks. I actually checked Corus 2005 but somehow saw the Kramnik-Topalov game was in round three.

Let's have a look:

Kramnik-Pono, 1-0: Black lost the plot starting with g5?!

Adams-kramnik, 1-0: Black made a risky sac of bishop.

Pono-Topalov, 1-0: Black erred starting with Nc6?!

Kramnik-Polgar, 1-0: Black overpressed and lost.

Topo-Anand, 1-0: White pressed and won. <===!!!

Pono-Kramnik, 1-0: Black risk sac a knight

Polgar-Adams, 1-0: Black overpressed and lost.

Except Topo-Anand, in all others White won because Black "got crazy" in
'normal' positions.

That's regarding White wins.

Now with respect to Black not winning, I agree with Mig (it's the general,
usual, commonly accepted explanation )

When was the last major tournament where the Petroff was the most frequent opening played? This is rather surprising, is it not?

Anyone analyze what happens if 13...0-0 instead of 13...h6?! in the Topo-Anand game?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 18, 2005 1:54 PM.

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