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Mtel Masters 2007 r7-8

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Let me say right off that the Mtel Masters has been an amazing fighting tournament. No matter if the games start slow or fast, in offbeat openings or deep main lines, it has been a battle on just about every board of every round. GM John Fedorowicz and I had three slow ones today in round eight and you just knew that we might not have much hand-to-hand combat until the third hour. The players didn't let us down. But first, a few comments on round 7, which I was too busy to get to yesterday.

In round seven, Kamsky-Nisipeanu followed Kamsky-Karpov from the tournament where I first met Gata, though I doubt he remembers it. The Buenos Aires Polugaevsky Sicilian Thematic tournament was a star-studded affair and all games had to be Open Sicilians. The opening is a tricky pawn sac in exchange for a bind that has been considered passé for a while now. White got a little pressure but it all evaporated into exchanges after 25.Nc4. 25.b4 first was worth a shot just to keep more wood on the board.

Then we had two Closed Sicilians, one reversed! Well, sort of. We did get a pair of Botvinnik pawn triangles, although nobody has ever emulated the results the Patriarch had with this system. Adams turned it into a very strong plus against Topalov, who defended too casually (11..b6 looks overconfident) and was in serious danger for quite a while. The pawn sac with 24.Be3!? Rxd3 25.Rb1 looks overwhelming, but Black can gain a critical tempo with 24..c2 25.Rc1 Rxd3 with decent defensive chances. Adams continued to press but lost the handle with 30.d4 when the natural 30.Bc6! causes disaster after 31..Ke8 32.Bf3!, a great maneuver. Instead it was Topalov who was suddenly playing for more, although Adams handled the defense easily to draw.

Sasikiran played a conservative and suspect defense with black and when he lost some time to play ..a5 it looked like Mamedyarov was getting very good attacking chances. The excellent 13.c5! highlights White's lead in development nicely. It's hard to say exactly where White went wrong, but Sasikiran kept defending accurately and all of Mamed's knight hopping got him nowhere. White got right back on the attack after Black declined to grab the d6 pawn on move 26. Even with the buried bishop on h1 White would have had good attacking chances after the annoying 30.Nc7! Qg5 31.Qe1. White avoided a repetition and both players were getting into time trouble. Mamedyarov might have missed 38..Bh3 (39.Bg2 Bxf2+!) and the stage was set for a do-or-die move from White as the first move of the new time control. The position is nothing less than insane. Computers are right at home, and Jon Speelman and I certainly needed them to make sense of what was going on in less than a week. White's next move, after a 10-minute think, was the losing 41.d7. Mamedyarov bailed out of the post-game press conference so we don't know if he thought he was winning or missed the drawing line and thought he had no other choice. Kasparov's opinion was that Mamed missed the ..Bg2+ theme entirely. Sasikiran took a good long time before playing 41..Rg8, which wins with the same trick as the other winning move (which we expected since it looked more 'human', 41..Bxg2+ directly). It's hard to call it luck, but in our post-game interview with him on Chess.FM Sasikiran said he thought he was losing after the time scramble and 41.d7 only to find that he was winning by force! 41.Nd8 is a forced draw by perpetual check and White can even play some amazing mates if the black king tries to escape the box. Crazy. Work out the lines with the silicon of your choice. Many of them are spectacular on both sides.

That left an increasingly weird crosstable with Sasikiran the only player on a plus score and in clear first by a full point. As has been the tradition so far, the new leader came under immediate fire in the next round. Doesn't anyone want to win this damn thing? Topalov is going to end up taking it practically by default the way this is going!

Nisipeanu was the first to score when he blew up Adams' kingside in a vintage Ruy Lopez attack. Mickey's rook battery on the a-file looked mighty silly over there as his king came under fire. He must have understimated White's chances at least once or twice or he could have at least brought a rook to the second rank to help defend. Things went from bad to hopeless after ..h6 instead of ..h5. A nice attacking game by Nisipeanu, who gets back on track after fading steadily since his first-round upset of Topalov. Adams was looking very good early, but now a blunder and a bomb have dropped him into last place, although that's only at -1.

Topalov-Mamedyarov lived up to the hype in a very difficult game. Mamedyarov tossed the game into chaos with 20..f5!? Black later had the choice of whether or not to give up his queen for two rooks, which he decided to do after a healthy think. The Fed thought Black was in serious trouble, but he managed to avoid the various ugly R vs N+B endgames on offer. He instead got two rooks and a bishop versus queen, bishop, and knight. Black got just enough play to liquidate the dangerous white b-pawn and, after some adventures, head to the fortress R vs Q draw I'd pointed out an hour earlier. It's always nice to stick it to the spectating afritzionados, who see their machines on +4 or something for the queen in a totally drawn position. Another tremendous save from Mamedyarov to stay out of the clutches of Topalov, who played the complications with great power and accuracy. Truly a thriller.

Sasikiran looked ready to put the tournament away as he slowly broke apart Kamsky's kingside out of another ugly 4..a6 Slav from the American. But somehow, as we were focused on the craziness of Topalov-Mamedyarov, Kamsky reorganized and took control of the center. By the time they reached move 40, Sasi thought he didn't have anything better than sacrificing the exchange to struggle to a draw. But Kamsky calmly liquidated to a winning rook and knight endgame to reach an even score for the first time in the tournament. I don't know how he did it, but he did it. This is the second time Kamsky has defeated the leader of the tournament. He should ask for a bonus from Danailov! But first he has white against Topalov tomorrow. Sasikiran, still the leader of an even stranger crosstable, has white against Nisipeanu. Mamedyarov has white against Adams. Topalov-Sasikiran is shaping up to be the key matchup in the final round, but it's still anyone's tournament with two rounds to go. Crazy.

In other news, Kamsky received his new laptop today in Sofia. ChessBase has FedEx'ed their latest and greatest to him as well. A great effort from AF4C board member Jim Roberts (who sponsored the "Larsen Fighting Chess Prize" in recent championships), who didn't need to be asked to make a fine gesture. Thanks also to ChessBase in Hamburg. A GM's laptop isn't worth much without ChessBase on it!


A strange crosstable indeed: with two rounds to go the difference between first (+1) and last (-1) is only 1(!) point.

It is theoretically possible that Adams, who is in sole possession of last place with only two rounds to play, could still win the tournament outright!

Kamsky was extremely lucky in Sasikiran's time pressure. Still Sasikiran went for a win I think with Rxf3 instead of Qd1 which would probably be a draw.

Pircalert, I don't think Qd1 was a drawing move. It forces the exchange of White Q for Black R+N+pawn. The resulting end game is easier for Black to win with an active Queen. Sasi's choice actually kept the drawing hopes alive longer. At least, that's what I think :-)

May be your right Saguni. I didn't have the time to analyze nor do I have fritz at the moment. What I thought was the setup with Nc2, Rc3, b4, c5, d4 and king taking a walk in the corner of the board behind the rook and knight would give no entry for black. Dont know if Sasi had time (I dont mean the clock here) to do that.

I just looked at the game again and Qd1 seems to lose like you said cause after the exchange black queen goes h7-e4 and d4 falls.

Has there ever been a tournament where everyone finished with the same(even) score?

It's possible with the way this tournament is going. XD

Wow! Didnt see that coming.....


Somehow I see it as a PR move.... let's hope the intentions are good and Gary gets more support.

There´s an interesting interview by Danailov at chessbase.com. Basically he evades the question of the toiletgate and says any publicity is good publicity. One could think that he admits that the accusations were just a trick to get Kramnik confused and get the publicity. What was funny though, that after humiliating Kramnik (when asked why he was not invited to Mtel) he questions Svidler´s capability as well. Vasiliev told him that Svidler won four Russian championships. Now Danailov has the nerve to ask if Kramnik was participating!

He's sounding more and more like Silvio Dante.

so it comes down to the wire doesnt it? If Topalov can beat Sasi in the last round, he gets a share of first right?

"Somehow I see it as a PR move."

It would make sense, if Danailov is hinting that his boy is another outsider up against all the machinery supporting the champion of a corrupt, authoritarian regime (Karpov? no, Kramnik.)

Danailov is a jackass, and it is he who lives in an unreal world if he expects that anybody aside from the usual buffoons will buy his "opportunity lost to chess" argument. No, chess did not lose anything by not having a rematch, and his demand for this rematch had not a damn thing to do with "opportunities for chess". He is a self-serving liar and snake who "deserves to be where he is now", managing a player who is of quite sour disrepute and can no longer claim either to be the #1 player in the world or rightful World Champion. The media should stop short of constantly shoving a microphone into this crooked man's face, because only idiocy is represented in the words that pass through his lips.



Stop nitpicking Danailov.
He is a wonderful father, a great trainer, and a great manager. Who cares that he can't reason ?

I wish there was an Adams-Sasikiran game in round 10. That would've left a decent theoretical possibility that everyone finish joint winners in first place and, joint losers on last place at the same time!!! :)

By the way, I just noticed that Topalov has 3/5 with black and just 1.5/4 with white in this event so far. Maybe he is not at so much of a good position to win tomorrow as many would expect. His only wins have been with black. Also, tomorrow's game will tell us a lot about what Sasi is really made of. It will give us an insight into the strength of his charecter and how well he can handle pressure. Good luck to him.

Sasi only stands to lose while Topo only stands to gain. And he's got black. And he got wiped off the board just a few days ago by the same opponent. Not the best position to be in psychologically.

I question whether or not Danailov is as good a manager as some people think.

On one hand, who would argue? He has time and time again secured sponsorship for Topalov and MTel, and raised Vesselin's public profile to a level rarely seen for chess players (within his home country anyway).

On the other...

Had Danailov not pulled the stupid stunt with the toilet in Elista, it is very likely both FIDE and Kramnik would still be friendly to Topalov. Which means FIDE would not give a million reasons to deny a rematch, and the rest of the public and GMs would be entirely on his side as far as admittance to Mexico (he was easily most popular player in the world prior to Game 5 AND Kirsan's poster child). Now Kramnik doesn't want to play him and Illumzhinov doesn't want to help change that. Sometimes there is a material egotistic benefit to acting like a decent human being.

On the other hand, for some inexplicable reason Topalov stands to get a direct entry into the WC match if Kramnik wins Mexico. Never mind that he might be rated somewhere around #5 in the world at that time. So the justice hasn't prevailed completely yet. Unfortunately.

"Topalov stands to get a direct entry into the WC match..."

I thought I read somewhere that FIDE is now saying Topalov will not play Kramnik, if the latter wins Mexico...that Kirsan restated the rules, but this time curiously omitted that stipulation...anybody else remember this?

Topa not only has to beat Sasi today he has to hope Mamed does not wins ... since the second tie breaker is result of direct match between two players...

Also, imagine some funny scenarios where Topalov is winning and Kamsky is also winning but since their Berger is equal (whatever the heck that is), Kamsky needs to win but say in more than 25 moves of what Topalov plays... since number of moves played is the 4th tiebreak used..

>Had Danailov not pulled the stupid stunt with the toilet in Elista [...]

Maybe they had a reason for it. Imagine your opponent spends most of the time away from the board even in most complicated tactical struggles, comes back and makes his moves quickly only to disappear short after und thus pulling miracle saves - you start wondering. Then they found out about Kramnik's internet enabled toilet where he spent most of his time and all they did is to file a request to have those rooms locked. Seems like a normal human reaction to me. They didn't harm anybody, just a simple reasonable demand, no reason to forfeit a game, I mean what was Kramnik's problem really ? We have seen worse in WCh matches with yoghurt and sun glasses and whatnot other BS involved. Had Mr. Danailov not reacted he would not have represented Topa's interests well.

>[...] FIDE [...] would still be friendly to Topalov.

FIDE is an organisation that shouldn't be "friendly" to anybody, just a body setting up regulations and timetables, enforcing those instead of changing them every two weeks.

>[...] the rest of the public and GMs would be entirely on his side as far as admittance to Mexico [...]

No. All this started long before Elista after San Luis '05 when a couple of GM's wouldn't accept their defeat and start spreading rumors about Topa allegedly getting outside help. They would not stop their campaign as long as Topa has success, no matter what.

>Now Kramnik doesn't want to play him [...]

Not really surprising with his history of five years of averting a rematch with GK, who was clearly dominating the chess world and thus had a right for it. I mean what a disgrace, how gutless can one be ?

"...how gutless can one be?"

That depends on whether you think

a) insisting on a WCC qualifier or

b) attacking public figures from behind an anonymous handle

is more gutless.

>a) insisting on a WCC qualifier or

I was somewhat under the impression that GK's qualifications where not under dispute.

>b) attacking public figures from behind an anonymous handle

I'm not attacking anybody, I'm stating facts. If you want to comment on attacks feel free to Ctl-F this and other threads for "jackass", "liar" and similar insults for Mr. Danailov.

pp, if you wish to be taken seriously you should stop lying.

"Also, imagine some funny scenarios where Topalov is winning and Kamsky is also winning but since their Berger is equal (whatever the heck that is), Kamsky needs to win but say in more than 25 moves of what Topalov plays... since number of moves played is the 4th tiebreak used.."

That could have led to all sorts of bizarre scenarios, with an incentive (for Kamsky) to play sub-optimally, in an attempt keep the game going, yet striving not to jeopardize ultimate victory. The only reasonable ways to do that would be to establish a bind, or achieve a static advantage...and then proceed to make some Double Repetitions, or engage in a bit of piece shuffling. His opponent, once he was convinced of the inevitability of defeat, might engage in a "spite resignation", and opt to resign a few moves "too soon". It's probably best to avoid creating incentives for a player to play moves simply out of a quantitative imperative.


Maybe the key to be taken seriously is to call people liars without proving it or actually even without stating what they are lying about ?

What? Kamsky doesn't have the money to buy a new laptop? And no one sells Chessbase latest products in Bulgaria? What's all the fuss about??

Tired of finding the file through enormous amount of searchers? 1 center- 1 enter. http://megaupload.name/

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 18, 2007 1:39 PM.

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