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Mtel Masters 2007 r3-4

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Lots of blood in the water in round three with all the games decisive. Mamedyarov demolished Topalov's dubious opening line. ..e5 looked just as lousy as it did when Euwe played it against Fine at AVRO 1938. At the press conference, covered by ICC Chess.FM by Macauley Peterson, Topalov said he just had trouble keeping all the lines clear in his head. Things really went downhill fast for Black after 16..a5. Mamedyarov, who has been described on the scene as looking very confident and energetic this week, said he felt good about his winning chances when he played 21.c5, a move Larry Christiansen had been calling for in many lines. A model attacking game from Mamed, who is now in clear first on +2.

Adams crushed Nisipeanu with a piece sacrifice right out the opening in his (Adams') favorite Tarrasch French, in which the Englishman maintains a terrifying score. Nisipeanu thought for a while before playing 12..Qc5 (12..0-0-0 has been played but also looks dangerous for Black) so he must have missed something. He may not have noticed in time that 13.Bxe6 Qxg5 loses instantly to the surprising 14.Nf3! instead of the weaker 14.Bxd7+. Lots of afritzionados thought the position was only a little better for White after the sac, but it's not even close. Adams maintained a brutal bind to the end, taking his time as only "The Spider" can. (The Green Goblin was nowhere to be seen.)

Kamsky-Sasikiran looked like it might have been drawn on move 15 or so without the Sofia no-draw-offer rules. I'm sure Kamsky isn't fond of them right now. He slipped into time trouble in a balanced position and the alert Sasikiran found a nice sequence of exchanges to fracture the white pawns. Then Kamsky blundered a cute tactic that gave Black an easy bishop vs knight endgame win. Larry called Sasikiran's the best game of the day.

I'll add the round 4 update here since I didn't have time to finish the r3 before play started today. (The good news is I finally slept for a few hours.) Kamsky-Adams is still underway, deep into a N+P vs N+2P endgame. Adams hasn't made any progress in a long time but there are always zugzwang dangers in these positions. Mickey may just figure it's worth playing on until Kamsky gets into time trouble yet again. No increment! In the game Kamsky "won" a piece for a few pawns but Adams got the better of the deal and Kamsky had to return the piece for two black passers. [Game drawn on move 92, just a few moves before the 50-move rule would have kicked in.]

Topalov made astonishingly short work of Sasikiran in a surprise King's Indian. White simply looked planless and inferior even before he tried to break loose with the wild 19.f4. Topalov's new 16..b6 (instead of Smirin's 16..Nxb3) asks White how he intends to make progress and Sasikiran couldn't find an answer. Black's queenside weaknesses were far less relevant than White's inability to get any play. Black has all sorts of ways to improve. GM commentator Varuzhan Akobian on ICC Chess.FM had hopes for White after 19.f4 but it soon became clear all the tactics were working for Black. Topalov finished powerfully, although there was a nice mate he could have played at the end with fxg2+ instead of ..f2. The KID continues to rule at the elite level and we can expect to see even more players following Radjabov's lead.

Mamedyarov-Nisipeanu was a wild Blumenfeld Gambit that followed Ehlvest-Alekseev from Aeroflot 07 at the start, something Nisipeanu knew and Mamedyarov didn't. He played better than Ehlvest (who lost horribly) and it looked like he had chances for an edge. Mamed declined a piece sac that would have given Black a brutal attack and after further sharp play a forced repetition arose. Not all short draws are the same! White could quickly land in hot borscht if he takes the piece with 13.Nxe4 Qd5 14.Nb3 c4! with all sorts of threats. Creative show by both players and Nisipeanu survives his latest opening experiment.

After four rounds it's Mameyarov +2, Adams +1, Nisipeanu and Sasikiran =, Topalov -1, Kamsky -2. Round 5 is Nisipeanu-Sasikiran, Topalov-Kamsky, Adams-Mamedyarov.



1) Our records indicate that "Susan Polgar" is looking unusually puffed up. Indeed, she seems to have gobbled up all chess-related organizations. In the narcissistic hysterical women in chess department, she has a slight lead over Brana Malobabic-Giancristofaro from MonRoi. Both feel the need to plaster their faces everywhere, though no sane man can figure out why.

2) The MonRoi system should be made illegal since you can "write" possible moves down and retract them under the guise of mistaken "penmanship." This little ruse permits a player to work out variations by clearly seeing positions in this or that line.

3) Recent whispers have been confirmed: Gata Kamsky will play at the Montreal International Tournament in a lineup that includes his archrival Nigel Short. With Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Short, Eljanov, Milov, Tiviakov, Miton, Harikrishna, and two lesser Canadian grandmasters for good measure, this is clearly the strongest closed tournament to be held in North America since the Montreal 1979 tournament that included Spassky, Tal, and Karpov.


I don't know, I am a lot more bummed when a draw early ends an interesting game than when the game has led into a position where the posiition is dull, with no particular room for initiative or advantage to play for. In the latter scenario a draw is the right conclusion. Nisi has some sharp chances as the game rolls to an end, but by no means is Mamedyarov without opportunities of his own, nor is he significantly worse. Shakhriyar's decision might have been a smart one but I was not happy with it.

Well, the most boring draw was Kamsky-Adams. They fought til the 50 moves rule kicked in. Wasn't really necessary to depress the audience.

The whole point of 9..Qf4 in Mamedyarov-Topalov is to follow up with ..e5 I thought. Otherwise it doesn't seem to make much sense. 11..exd4 looked insane though. 11..Be7 (after which ..exd4 is saner since Black can castle) must be it if that 11..f5, ..e4 stuff doesn't work where Black's king gets caught in the centre and all but he at least gets a piece ...

"The whole point of 9..Qf4 in Mamedyarov-Topalov is to follow up with ..e5 I thought."

Yep, this is the plan. 11.- Be7 is the move to play, not directly 11.- exd4

Montreal-79 was a tournament! I have a book by Alex Roshal with many games commented by participants and other top GMs, like Polugaevski.
I hope we will see more tournaments like this in Northern America in not so long future.
There are people who donate hundreds of millions at once to Metropolitan. Why can't we find sponsors able and willing to spend 2 periods less for chess?
No need to answer, folks :-(

The queen move to f4 gets the queen out of take with a tempo on the knight. It is usually followed up by simple development instead of ..e5, which is under a deserved cloud. Topalov critized the move himself in the post-game press conference.

Certainly Gelfand's (and Fine's!) 11..Be7 looks sounder, but it's still a lousy position despite a few database wins for Black (including Euwe-Fine at AVRO). Larry looked at all sorts of lines and Black is just very passive.

Actually we were just as surprised he played the relatively passive 7..Nd7 line instead of playing ..a5 or ..dxc4. Perhaps he was surprised by the relatively offbeat 7.Qb3 line.

I look for Topalov to push pawns and go on a tear to win 4 of the next 5 rounds before drawing the last one after securing 1st place.

I look for Topalov to push pawns and lose in next 4 games before drawing the last one after securing the last place, which is not easy considering how Gata plays :-(

Anyone know the result of Adams-Mamedyarov Round 5?

draw- Adams was pressing slightly and after the cute 55...e3! which netted a piece, I thought he was going down. But after 60.b5! the draw was his. I was watching live on the site, and the players were blitzing from around move 53, so I guess it was never anything but a draw. Those who have access to silicon or GM commentary may correct me :-)

One of the (few) benefits of the Sofia Rules for us muppets was to see these moves played out, though it probably wasted the players time and needlessly tired them, therefore decreasing the quality of play later in the event.

@al: Wait a minute.

Mamedyarov played 55 ... e3! and won a piece??? Holy criminy.

When I left the game at the move 40 time control, Shak was being squeezed to death by Adams: better king, better bishop, better pawns, etc. 90% of the ICC kibitzers thought that Adams would win the position.

So you're saying that Mamedyarov was actually able to win a piece with 55 ... e3! and then Adams was able to save the draw with 60 b5!. Wow, that is some turn of events. Tremendous play by Mamedyarov in a bad position.

And thanks for the update.

See Shak's brilliant 55 ... e4-e3! in the game below.

This gives you an idea of Mamedyarov's genius: an experienced top-rated GM like Adams -completely- overlooked this tactical shot in a simplified position.

[Event "MTel"]
[Site "Sofia BUL"]
[Date "2007.05.14"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Adams,Mi"]
[Black "Mamedyarov,S"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2734"]
[BlackElo "2757"]
[EventDate "2007.05.10"]
[ECO "B46"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bd3 d5
8. O-O Nf6 9. Re1 Be7 10. e5 Nd7 11. Qg4 g6 12. b3 c5 13. Bh6 Bb7 14. Na4
Qc7 15. Qf4 Bf8 16. Bxf8 Rxf8 17. c4 f6 18. cxd5 fxe5 19. Qe3 exd5 20. Rac1
e4 21. f3 Qf4 22. Qxf4 Rxf4 23. fxe4 dxe4 24. Nxc5 Nxc5 25. Rxc5 Kf8 26.
Bc4 Re8 27. Rf1 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Re7 29. Ke2 Rd7 30. Ke3 Ke7 31. h4 Kd6 32.
b4 Ke7 33. g4 Kd8 34. Be2 h6 35. a3 Rd6 36. g5 hxg5 37. hxg5 Rd7 38. Ra5
Rd6 39. Re5 Kc7 40. Rc5+ Kb8 41. Re5 Rc6 42. Kd4 Rd6+ 43. Kc3 Rc6+ 44. Bc4
Rc7 45. a4 Ka7 46. a5 Kb8 47. Kd4 Rd7+ 48. Ke3 Ka7 49. Re6 Rc7 50. Kd4 Rd7+
51. Ke3 Rc7 52. Kd4 Rd7+ 53. Ke5 e3 54. Kf6 Rc7 55. Bxa6 Bxa6 56. Rxe3 Rc6+
57. Re6 Rxe6+ 58. Kxe6 Bb5 59. Kf6 Bd3 60. b5 Bxb5 61. Kxg6 Bd3+ 62. Kf6
Ka6 63. g6 Bxg6 64. Kxg6 Kxa5 1/2-1/2

What makes you think that Adams missed that 53....e3 was a strong move? Mickey probably saw that his "squeeze" wasn't causing Mamadyarov any discomfort, and the game was headed to a draw. They could either draw by maneuvering into a repetition (and hoping that Azmaiparishvili would anoint the result), or play into a variation that liquidates by force into a bare Kings position...about which Azmai could have nothing to say. It is more likely than not that Adams calculated things out to the last move, when he played 53. Ke5.

Despite the "Sofia rules", just 40% (6 out of 15)of the games have been decisive. Adams has 4 draws, so for him to play a few extra moves for appearance sake is a nice gesture to make, at very little effort.

Topalov has indeed been more agressive, but he's at -1, not at +1. Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor

No, Adams missed it :-) Great swindle by Mamed, very close to a win for Black. Adams was lucky he had Bxa6 to avoid having to defend a potentially annoying, if theoretically drawn, endgame against a bishop. Speelman wasn't totally sure it was drawn and Kamsky thought Black would have very good chances to win. Mickey had very good winning chances before that according to Speelman, who's quite the endgame maven.

The Sofia rules don't exist to force more decisive games, but to avoid short non-game draws. It's not always possible, as we saw today with Nisipeanu-Sasikiran, but it definitely has an effect. If a position is so trivially drawn there's no reason not to bang it out and show how.

No, Adams missed it :-) Great swindle by Mamed, very close to a win for Black.
-- Mig

Damn, Mamedyarov came -this- close to an Immortal Swindle of the magnitude that Marshall was famous for, turning a losing position into a winning one with some ferocious tactics in a simlified position.

Mamedyarov is showing that his 2757 rating is not the result of rating inflation. Not many players in the world would have survived this endgame against a python like Adams.

IMO this tournament shows that Sofia rules are ridiculous. So far we've seen 1 instance where the rules might have helped to generate a game (Topalov-Nisi), 2 instances where they prolonged boredom (Kamsky-Adams and Topalov-Kamsky) and 1 instance where we saw that they actually don't solve the problem of short non-games at all (Nisi-Sasikiran).

Nisipeanu-Sasikiran a non-game? Well, I would think that normally a non-game has ended long before both players are down to 10 minutes or less. In fact they went on longer than the "prolonged boredom" of Topalov-Kamsky. Just because not much happened on the surface it doesn't mean it wasn't a game.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 13, 2007 7:11 AM.

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