Mig 
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Mtel 2005 r9

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Another spectacular showing by Veselin Topalov at the Mtel Masters. His strong Linares showing had elements of luck, but in Sofia the hometown boy is looking like a combination of Boris Spassky and Vasil Levski. Today Ponomariov sharpened the play and quickly paid the price, losing to a brutal sacrificial assault. Anand somehow bamboozled Adams, proving once again that no matter how well Adams plays or how good his position, chances are always on Anand's side when they play.

Kramnik went back to the Petroff yet again, this time against Polgar, and earned a steady draw. It's been a while since we've seen so much theoretical activity in one opening during a tournament. It used to happen with the Najdorf when Kasparov, Anand, and Topalov were all matching novelties.

Adams has lost 3/4 after briefly leading near the start. Topalov is the very deserving clear leader with Anand right behind him. Final round tomorrow. Anand-Polgar and Kramnik-Topalov should mean first place is still up for grabs. You'd like to think Kramnik would want to avoid finishing with a negative score. (At which point the "when was the last time a world champion finished with a negative score?" trivia can start.) Games and more at ChessBase.com.

36 Comments

Thanks for introducing me to Vasil Levski!

Mig

I should say that Topalov had a losing position against Adams and was almost lost against Polgar.

Is there any plans on a tournament book for MTel?

My answer to the trivia would be Petrosian Santa Monica 1966? Or did Karpov hit a slump sooner as FIDE champ?

You could add that he actually lost to Ponomariov. But his chess has been consistently spectacular. You don't play so aggressively and be better all the time in a field this strong. Even Kasparov rarely pulled that off. Topalov has always given up a loss or two, which, at least in recent years, has kept him behind Anand, Kramnik, and Kasparov. If he can shift the mix to +4 -1 he'll win a lot of events now that Kasparov isn't around to put up +5 in big events and Kramnik isn't winning tight events with +2 the way he used to.

At the very least he'll give Anand a run for the trophies if he can be as consistent as Vishy is. Leko is clearly at that level, seems to be more a matter of desire and form with him. But we'll save this new world order talk for tomorrow when the event is over.

I think that Topalov is should be called
"The new Tal"!!!

Trivia: No recent FIDE champs please (94-05)! I could toss in Kasimdzhanov 05 in Linares off the top of my head if we did.

How about Morphy II?

Kramnik according to the official site:

"Today I just wanted not to lose like in my previous Russian games in this tournament. I cannot look at this opening anymore!"

I was thinking a similar thing actually; tournament books really don't seem popular at all any more (although I did come across a bundle of tomes relating to the Melody Amber tournaments up until about 1997 in Baker Street the other day), but I think this tournament is ideal for a book. I seriously can't remember such a good tourney for years, even though I was initially very sceptical indeed about the rules regarding draw offers.

Yes, I'm hoping that these new rules will be integrated into further high-category tournaments. I'm sure that other sponsors will have realized by now that these rules seemingly enhance the entertainment factor and do tend to produce more decisive and longer games.

Viva Topalov!

Ng5 and another Tal┤s (or Nezmedzinov┤s?) move!

"I think that Topalov is should be called
"The new Tal"!!!"

Yes. After reading Korchnoi's analysis of Tal Games and finding quite a few of them to be unsound, I always thought, if some one at the top plays like that, others would pulverize him. What a naive assessment!

Hearing about "unsound" sacrifices is old. These guys aren't playing computers that can wade through every tactical complexity. People are affected by the shock of newly opened lines to their King, fear of losing and doubts about their calculations. All of these psychological factors - in addition to positional and material reasons - motivate making a sac. If the only way to label a winning sac unsound is postmortem anlysis by computers and a dozen GMs, then it was sound for the purposes of OTB play.

I agree.When Kasparov annotated Tal,s games several moves were given ?! but for the practical purpose these were really !!,Tal was not one who really cared whether his ideas were objectively correct or not.
Korchnoi was very mentally strong and resilient and Tals usual hypnotism type effect didnt work at all enabling Korchnoi to have a huge plus score against him,but Tal was very effective at every level.
I personally am very skeptical abt the supposed improvement in middle game play which means such attacks "dont work anymore" claims which Kasparov and Kramnik have made,I think this has a lot to do with opening thoery expansion artificially inflating the quality of play

One thing to look for in the last round: Ponomariov has to win to have any (albeit small) chance of sharing first place. Pono has White against Adams tomorrow and one has to wonder if in a must win situation the Ukrainian will opt to test Adams' Ruy Lopez Marshall as he successfully did in 2002. Adams is the acknowledged expert for Black in this opening - will Pono dare to go back to the well again?

One question: Wasn't Ponamariov winning against Topalov after 20...Bd4 (instead of ...Kf7) 21.Rh8+ Kf7 22.g6+ Ke8 23.R:f8+ K:f8 24.Qe4 e5, etc.?

20...Bd4 21.Qg6, threatening Rh8+, is a killer.

Yeah Anand does seem to have 'the better chances' when he plays Adams. It's a pity more chess matches aren't decided on the quality of play.

Anybody following today's games?

I think Anand-Polgar game ending into a tame draw! by repetition of moves.What a pity!!!!!

Topalov is playing very high quality Chess, not just tactics at all costs. Another humdinger today. This guy should come with a fire hazard warning

Kramnik dropped a Bishop and blundered again :-( (Was he thinking of playing Ng1, but played Ng1 instead?)

Topalov wins MTEL with +3 clearly ahead of Anand and others.

Congratulations to the new champion!!

TPOLOV THE NEW WORLD NO.1 !!!
HATS OFF TO HIM.

This is bizarre.. What's happening to poor Kramnik?? The man is suffering from something that's for sure. Unrecognisable from the smooth defensive machine that drove Kasp almost mad in that match.

In that position Kramnik would certainly have been forced to give back the exchange thanks to the unpleasant pins,however unless Nc1 was a funny way of resigning its totally inexplicable,surely he didnt fail to see Qxb1??
On another note it is good to see an attacking tactician Topalov dominating the world scene after Kramniks IMO dubious claims that attacking chess is wrong "Chess is a defensive game" and that in modern chess it is only pragmatic defensive players who succeed.In practice he is routinely getting walloped by Topalov regaradless of colour.

Kramnik just seems so uncomfortable in these sharp positions, whereas Topalov seems to revel in them. Anyway hope Kram cleans up his act soon cos this is an embarassment. Whatever his tactical-vs-positional propensities, he's certainly a MUCH better player than this.

Where are you getting these quotes, Prab?

Kramnik had a long streak of unbeaten record--culminating at WC match with Kasparov.It continued willy-nilly upto Dotrumund-2001, where Anand was at his nadir.Sinc then Kramnik never played to his perceived potential despite winning couple of Linares with +2 and drawing leko.Sofia today is his new low.I think he will be NO.6 or below by next list.(BTW Anand should be still No.2 behind Kasparov if Bundlesliga games are included.).
Essentially Kramnik was fighting for privillages which his title bestowed on him but his play never substantiated it for the past 4 years.This is what Kasparov and not necessarily his(kasparov) fans question all along.You can't blame for that.One may comeout with a long list of explanations to prove -how Kramnik is still the greatest blah..blah..blah..But the reality is not even Kramnik buys it.
Anand had the similar situation before.He cameout of that.It is high time Kramnik reinvent himself ,concentrate on his play rather than indulge in endless discussion on the legitamacy of his title.
Kramnik is no small player.He can deffinately regain his past glory and I wish for it to happen ASAP.

Google "Chess is a defensive game". There is one hit for some chess today pdf.

Kramnik has claimed that attacking chess is "wrong" and that "chess is a defensive game"? LOL! Keep those jokes coming.

From http://www.chess-knights.com/chess_today/CT-1418.pdf

'GM Mikhail Golubev wrote about the
forthcoming match for the Ukrainian
sports newspaper Komanda. Here are
a few quotes:
"Frankly speaking, it is hard to
imagine less intriguing pair of players
ľ both Kramnik and Leko play most
correct and sometimes boring chess.
"Chess is a defensive game", says
Kramnik.'

Well, it's impossible to infer anything from this quote isolated from its context and without source. Of course he's not of the opinion that "attacking chess is wrong".

acire, not more funny than your comments in general! Especially the one about police brutality in Sweden. I now depend on you for my daily laugh, from comments on above, right up to Topalov's "uninteresting win against the amateur defensive skills of Ponomariov". Keep it coming mate!

Glad I can help.

"...right up to Topalov's "uninteresting win against the amateur defensive skills of Ponomariov"...

I hafta kinda agree there with acirce, Pono was pushin' pawns despite the circle jerk goin' on in the back corner (bishop, rook, knight) ...
Topalov did make the comment that 15...Nd7 must be played to defend the king and not 15...f5.

Not that d is quoting me correctly, but I do (still) think it was nothing special or brilliant with that win. Pono played like a fish and Topalov just won by playing normal moves. Not more impressive than me beating a 1500 player by the bishop sacrifice on h7.

Topalov-Anand, now THAT's brilliance.

...interesting, the first 8 moves of the Topalov-Anand game are identical to the Topa-Pono match, and then both involve a knight sac, and the rook coming off the back row...my personal observation, black wastes 3 tempi early with the bishops,...Ba6, the needless check at b4, and then retreating to e7.

I think Topalov felt confident after 14. h4 (Pono), and 18. Re6 against Anand.

These were the only 2 games Topalov opened with 1. d4, and won both!

For what's it worth, Ponomariov beat Topalov in the fifth round with this same opening, and employed a knight sac on move 24...hmmm... :))

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 21, 2005 2:52 PM.

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