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MTel 2006 Round 9

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Topalov wipes out Kamsky with black in the Najdorf to win his third straight and enter a tie for first with Kamsky. Amazing. This is the same Najdorf line that Kamsky has used almost exclusively of late (against Smirin, Sakaev, Vallejo, and Novikov) and while he has done okay (if you consider two wins and two losses okay) it scores very well for black. Being so predictable in such an important game is a little cringe-inducing, but I guess you dance with who brung ya, as the saying goes.

Now it seems so obvious that Topalov would have a strong novelty (14..e5, improving on the Smirin game from the World Cup, although Smirin won that one too) and win almost without a fight. White is so many moves behind by move 20 it's hopeless. (At the press conference Kamsky said he forgot to play 13.Kb1 instead of 13.Qh3. Then after 13..b4 14.Ne2 is playable, probably going into his game with Sakaev.) Tangling with Topalov in the Najdorf is a very high mountain to climb for anyone, no doubt. Very disappointing for Gata after such a tremendous run, but it's not over yet.

Svidler let Anand off the hook in another Ruy Lopez. Even in the final position it looks like Black can play on with the better chances, but there are dangers for both sides. The tail-enders drew a relatively bloodless fight. Topalov has white against Bacrot tomorrow while Kamsky has black against Svidler and a painful loss to recover from. Anand is just a half-point off the lead and has black against Ponomariov. Three more Ruy Lopezes? Ruy Lopi?


Should that crushing defeat put an end to the conspiracy theories, or fuel them further? See the theory on why Kamsky was invited (i.e., to beat Anand and to lose to Topalov; mission accomplished. Oh, by the way, he can even win the tournament!).


ruyot lopim!

First place is up for grabs. When doing the math there's even the possiblity that Svidler could tie for first. Highly unlikely, but once again stranger things have happened.

los ruyos lopos!!

another tournament where Anand's performance leaves a disappointing taste in the mouth. I thought that the start would be a taste of things to come, but he has done his usual trick of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In any tournament he can score say +6, but only if somebody else scores +7. I really hope he can get his hands on another World title before age catches up with him.

you gotta love this Topalov. He has brought the fun back to Chess, and unlike say Morozevich, he seems to be able to keep it up consistently. Long life him..

I agree about Topolov, no doubt about it. Regarding Morozevich, I think just about every grandmaster including Shirov is more consistent. Although when Moro's on it's fun...to be a spectator. I still want Kamsky to win this thing, but Bacrot is going to have to play his best for that to happen.

Why did Kamsky allow the Najdorf? He played it safe against Anand with a Lopez exchange variation. Why not play it safe against Topalov with a Bb5 Sicilian, especially if opening preparation is a weakness for him? Is it because the Bb5 Sicilian is not in his repertoire? It seems like it would have made more sense to play a sharp line against Anand, against whom he has had success lately, in the hope of putting the tournament away. I don't get it.

Let me explain it seem Topalov for the moment is stronger player tham Anand.

Interesting rating issues to be decided tomorrow. As things stand, Anand will drop below 2800, Bacrot and Pono below 2700, and Kamsky will go above 2700.

For Kamsky to win, Bacrot has to hold Topalov to no better than a draw, and Kamsky must beat Svidler with Black. Both are unlikely.

For Kamsky to win, either he must draw with Svidler while Topalov loses to Bacrot; or, he must beat Svidler with the black pieces while Topalov and Bacrot draw.

Either scenario is unlikely.


As of now, neither will Ponomariov or Bacrot drop below 2700 (for that, Ponomariov needed to loose 38 points total!!), nor will Kamsky cross the 2700 again.
As a matter of fact, even if he wins against Svidler tomorrow, he still wouldn't get over 2700!

Another thought, if Anand were to win tomorrow and Topolov lose, I would find it difficult to believe if Anand is dropping under 2800, Topolov wouldn't be joining him with their current ratings at 2804 and 2803?

Anand winning tomorrow ? Unlikely. He is the
"Draw" master even here. He should take the
cue from Kaspy and retire.

Like all other sports, aggression and Killer
instinct is the key to success. IQ is not
that important any more. This why Anand is
on a free fall and Topo is on the rise.

You can see Magnus Carlsen - aggressive with
a lot of Kill.

Anand, "He is the 'Draw' master even here." I can't speak for anyone else, but that's definately a first for me.

Topalov is Alekhine without the negatives.
I guess chess is not dead yet.
A 2700 can get dizzy and lose just like a 1700.

Isn't it about time we had a "Life and Games" book about Topalov? It would be wonderful if he wrote it himself, of course.

That would be great! I hope he doesn't turn out to be a Petrosian or Spassky regarding a best games book.

After Topalov's loss in Round 6, Mig said "That knocks Topalov, the defending champ in Sofia, out of contention." I think he opened his mouth too fast :-)

“After Topalov's loss in Round 6, Mig said "That knocks Topalov, the defending champ in Sofia, out of contention." I think he opened his mouth too fast :-)
Posted by: ikalel at May 20, 2006 21:57”

Yes, I remembered that with a chuckle last night but just remember, no one took issue with Mig's comment - everyone thought he was correct. That man Topalov is a real fighter.


The thing with Topalov is that he is one of the few players in the world today who can run off a string of wins against elite GMs. People do not routinely score four consecutive wins over 2700 players, so nobody actually expects it, even from Topalov.



I meant to say (in my messed up post above) that no one at the time said that Mig was premature with his comment. It seemed like a reasonable position. Wow, Topalov is a fighter...with Kasparov taking early retirement we are indeed fortunate that Topalov stepped up to the plate.

"Wow, Topalov is a fighter...with Kasparov taking early retirement we are indeed fortunate that Topalov stepped up to the plate"

And should Topalov retire early, there will still be Aronian and Carlsen.

"This why Anand is on a free fall and Topo is on the rise."

Anand is not in "free fall." That's laughable.

Thanks Mig! You always have the inside scoop... :-) I just wrote about it on the Ninja Boards (was aware of it from the current ChessBase report "MTel Rd #9" where they alluded to it but they gave no specifics (Gata's 13th move)... - Mal
Ninja Forum (mtel round 9): http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=001241;p=2#000029

how can someone say Anand is in a free fall when he is now hitting his highest rating ever of over 2800.

Anand is doing just fine.

In any competition where everyone is doing his best to win. any sport. it is hard to always win. remember the other guy is trying to win also.

No matter the result of the final round Kamsky has certainly proven he's a force to be reckoned with. He sure answered the critics who claimed he had no place at this event. It'll be interesting to read some comments from him after it's over...and of course to see what his opponents have to say.

Well, I guess that Kamsky deserves credit for having guts. If one has the White pieces, a player ought fear no opening, no matter how sharp, as long as the resulting position is theoretically sound. Alas, Kamsky was clearly ill-prepared to play against Topalov's Najdorf. I can understand the desire to get revenge, and if Kamsky had won, he would have tied the mini-match vs. Topalov, and secured an epic + 4 result. However, if he simply held as White, the tournament was his for the taking. Why not open with 1.d4, and play for symmetrical equality. Or, he could have played a solid Anti-Sicilian line.

Despite Kamsky's gutsy choice, he ended up playing the opening rather meekly, simply throwing away several tempi making "solid" moves. Not to be too harsh on Gata, but it does seem that he did, indeed, "choke", in order to get beaten so badly. One hopes that Kamsky will not develop a Topalov complex.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 20, 2006 1:40 PM.

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