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Topalov Blunders, Kamsky Flags

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A wild first round in Sofia (pronounced SO-fia, not so-FIA like Loren) today. I has the luxury seat online with GM Larry Christiansen as my co-host for ICC Chess.FM and he rocked the mic as always. There was considerable less rocking on the board if you were Gata Kamsky. His black against Mamedyarov looked a lot like several of his losses at Corus last year when he played his first big event back from retirement. He was busted early and decided to give up a full piece so he could suffer with swindling chances instead of just suffering. Kamsky managed to work up a little counterplay, but it was Mamedyarov trying to blitz him that really allowed Black back in the game as the first time control approached. But the Azerbaijani's strategy eventually paid off when Kamsky ran out of time on move 38, even though by then he was no worse on the board according to GM Yermolinsky and other kibitzers. Rust is always most noticeable on the clock.

The opening was an offbeat 4..Bg4 line in the Slav followed by the horrible-looking 6..Be6, which was tried by Taimanov once. Mamedyarov's straightforward plan of pushing Black off the board was hard to deal with, and if 12..Nbd7 is the best Black has it would be better to head straight to the bar to get a good seat. After going up a piece White let things slip with a wasted set of queen moves, first to c4 and then back to d3. By the time Mamedyarov missed 35..Re2+! he was playing nearly as fast as Kamsky, who was down to seconds. In the post-game press conference, Kamsky said his hand was ready to play 38..c5 -- the best move -- but summed it up by saying he's no longer a young man. (Despite the abovementioned evalutions, Black is still in considerable danger after, say, 38..c5 39.Kc1.)

Topalov-Nisipeanu was a very taut game throughout. White had pressure and nursed a small advantage while keeping the tension and the pieces on the board. The Romanian kept finding good moves and eventually Topalov decided to force matters, which backfired. 38.f4 was already a little risky and 40.b5 allowed Black to create many threats against the open White king. Topalov had a considerable time advantage before the control but Nisipeanu refused to crack. It was Topalov, after a long think, who blundered into a pretty tactical shot with 43.Qd3?? Bd4! and White either loses his queen or gets mated. Black settled for winning a piece instead of mating with 46..Qg2. An amazing oversight after such a long think. Bronstein wrote about this phenomenon, saying it was common to see various themes at first sight and then forget about them while in a deep think. We can't exactly chalk this up as a win for Nisipeanu's surprise use of the Scandinavian, I'm afraid. I'm still surprised Black survived after 6..g6 and ceding so much space. Nisipeanu played very well and deserves full credit. He got rolled 3-1 by Topalov in their match last year.

Adams got a small pull against Sasikiran in a "Caro-Nimzo" line he used against Jobava at Dortmund last year. Larry thought White would be able to generate real chances against Black's weak dark squares, but Black managed to hold without too much drama. In tomorrow's second round it's Nisipeanu-Kamsky, Topalov-Adams, Sasikiran-Mamedyarov. Larry's on the record calling for a win by Mamed with black!

Kudos to today's ICC Chess.FM trivia winners bioniclime, rusi, and WhiteEagle. The latter won a year's subscription to New In Chess magazine. Who was the only player to defeat Kamsky at last year's Mtel tournament? / Who is the president of Bulgaria? / Who was the last player to beat Topalov in the first round of a tournament?


In my opinion, Topalov may occasionally win or lose, but he still plays very-very interesting chess.

@george: Yes, blunder-prone chess is very, very interesting. All the kibitzers constantly must ask themselves, "Is Topalov's next move going to be the blunder that loses the game?".

Funny, I thot Nisi's 43..... Bd4 was a blunder because White has all the squares around the King covered and the pieces protect each other once you have 44. Bxd4!

If 44.... Qh4+ 45. Qh3!! and the Queens have to come off because of 46. Qh8# and White is winning with 3 minor pieces v 2.

If 44.... Nxd4 45. Qxd4! is no better for Black and again the White Queen acts like a Bishop covering all the dark squares around the White King and despite its precarious looking position, White's king is safe.

I can't see the purpose behind 43....Bd4 honestly.

Funny, I thot Nisi's 43..... Bd4 was a blunder because White has all the squares around the King covered and the pieces protect each other once you have 44. Bxd4!

If 44.... Qh4+ 45. Qh3!! and the Queens have to come off because of 46. Qh8# and White is winning with 3 minor pieces v 2.

If 44.... Nxd4 45. Qxd4! is no better for Black and again the White Queen acts like a Bishop covering all the dark squares around the White King and despite its precarious looking position, White's king is safe.

I can't see the purpose behind 43....Bd4 honestly.

Ooops. Sorry for the double post. :(

I can't see the purpose behind 43....Bd4 honestly.

The purpose is to weaken f4, where Black is threatening to take and fork White's Queen. It also threatens Qf2+, if White should try to keep f4 supported the only way he can, with Bc1. Otherwise, White plays Bxe6 and loses as in the game.

Arggh... Nxf4+ surely! Duh duh duh

>>Arggh... Nxf4+ surely! Duh duh duh

Doesn't work right away. It's double dovered. That's the point of Bd4.

There is a funny video of Mamedyarov walking in the playing hall today. I can imagine what is the pressure on the guys there. http://videos.chessdom.com/mtel-masters/mamedyarov-marching . I do not think Mame will win tomorrow, but I am sure he has big chance for first place.

Toplaov lost - didn't see that coming

Topalov "blunder"? Nah...Bd4 wasn't obvious. Missing it wasn't exactly a blunder. Nisi played great and won. Topalov's position immediately prior to Qd3 was cramped, and Nisi's pieces were superactive, like a coiled snake. And they bit Topalov. Ouch!

Notkin noted Bd4 as winning immediately after 43. Qd3. The game is drawn at 36, with Topalov having slightly better position, but no real way of materializing that. Corus or Linares: draw. Sofia: keep moving pieces around, and at move 39, Topalov makes a mistake, choosing to press b5, which gives him more chances of winning rather than eliminating black's pesky developing attack by getting a pair of bishops off the board. Nisi did play well and wasn't afraid to go for an opportunity, but it looked to me like Topalov simply misjudged the situation after black's 39th move.

Predictions for round 2? I believe players warmed up and we will see exciting battles, the only one that I think will lose is Mamedyarov. He will be nervous after the first win. And Sasikiran played very stable, the tournament is his chance.

It is indeed unfortunate for Topa that he has to lose games, in order to prove to the usual bunch of idiots that he doesn't cheat...

Yes, Topalov losing so often now prove that now he doesn't cheat...


A string-member of the bunch of idiots appeared again...

Let's keep this forum clean and not abuse each other. We are only allowed to abuse GM's here.

Sasikiran does not seem brave enough this tournament. Yesterday he tried to block the position and today he doesnt go in complications.
GM Dimitrov commented on http://www.chessdom.com

"17... Bxf5 18. exf5 Qb6 19. Rb1 The Indian GM did not dare to go into complications after 19.Ne3, but now there are variations with Ne5-d3. "

Probably 19... Nd7 will be the continuation, but it would have been more interesting Ne3.

"Adams got a small pull against Sasikiran in a "Caro-Nimzo" line"

What is a "Caro-Nimzo"?

I'm guessing those IQP positions with ....Bb4, which can come from the Caro or the Karpov Nimzo.

I thought Dimitrov's comment was pretty dumb, possibly due to language differences. maybe Sasikiran just didn't think they were favourable complications. They didn't look very favourable to me.

"Topalov-Nisipeanu was a very taught game throughout."


Heh, good typo, thanks.

A Caro-Nimzo is a Nimzo-style position reached through a Caro-Kann move order. Not a regular term; I may have made it up. There are all sorts of funky transpositions out of the Panov-Botvinnik into positions reachable from entirely different openings.

Some interesting excerpts from Yuri Vasiliev's first M-Tel 2007 commentary

From interview with ALex Brunetti, winner of previous M-Tel Masters "Play as Topalov" Internet trophy:
(Q) How did you manage to guess right so many moves by Topalov?
(A) I am computer engineer, came to know Topalov's works very deeply, and used Rybka during games.

From interviews with players:
(Q) In what direction does chess move after Elista? Was this unification, or, on the contrary, the division?
(Topalov) This was not a unification match. I just defended my title. Last years there are too many
changes in the WC cycle rules. We acept some new rule, and after one year passed it is changed.
And people do not know what will it look like 2 years later. This is why there is no order here.

From interview with Danailov:

His explanation of most elite playes absence in my free form translation:
Anand rejected because he has some activities scheduled in India.
Ivanchuk said he'd love to play there, but is under obligation to play for his club in Russian club champ.
Aronian and Polgar rejected because they prepare for matches in Elista.
Leko was not invited because Silvio knew he wouldn't accept for the same reason (Elista).
Danailov does not understand why FIDE did not take into account traditional M-Tel schedule, and did not shift Elista matches schedule a bit.

And below I tried to transalte as close to the original as I can.

(Q) Was Kramnik invited?
(A) Kramink lives in unreal world. He refused to play the return match with Topalov in Sofia where he was guaranteed a milllion tax free.
And he found himself where he is now. We all saw what happened to him after he started hiding from Kasparov. He was Mr. Nobody.
And he would still be Mr.Nobody if we did not agree to play the match in Elista. After which he became the World Champion.
There was a wild wave of interest to chess inspired after the Elista match. But Kramnik hides again. This refusal shows that this man does not understand the world he lives in.
The unique chance was missed for chess. The interest to Sofia match would be much bigger compared to the Elista one. This was a golden chance for chess. But he missed it.
As he missed when he refused to give a revenge to Kasparov.
And now we'll look at how he will deal with his title. He will lose it in October in Mexico, of course.
And then he will wait for a revenge guaranteed by the FIDE President. But it is still open, will he get it or not.
Anything can happen during a year since he will lose the title.
(Q) Why are you so sure Kramnik will lose the title in Mexico?
(A) Such a tournament can be won only by player who get used to win in strong tournaments. This can be Anand or Aronian if he passes selection.
This could be Topalov who get used to win in strong tournaments, and who won many of it.
But Kramnik's inability to win such a tournament is obvious for me. He can make +2 or +3, but this is not enough to win the World Championship.
(Q) Svidler, Morozevich?
(A) How many big tournaments did Svidler win?
(Q) Svidler won 4 Russian Championships
(A) When was this? And what kind of championships were these? Did Kasparov, Kramnik participate? Those were swiss, not even round robin ones.
After Russians began to organize round robin Superfinals, Svidler looks very unassuming modest there. And Morozevich?
Once in a life he got +1 in Linares, and all around got noisy about his "triumph". The big achievement, of course: +1.
But before this there were last places in strong tournaments. Maximum what Morozevich can expect in Mexico, is 'his' 50%, what he got in San Luis.
If Aronian passes Elista, there will be 2 favorites in Elista. If Aronian absent, there will be only one - Anand.

(Q) In what shape is Topalov now, can we expect his second Olympus ascent?
(A) We watch an eiphoria now about Anand leading the FIDE rating list. He just became the first, and there is so much noise like he
won some incredible competition. Veselin was first for 2 years. He won most strong tournaments during this time or was second.
He aimed to be a true Champion, played all games till the end, and played beautifully, he associated with media, he moved chess ahead.
Played a hardest match in Elista. Continuous stress have shown up. And In Morelia-Linares we realized that there is no energy left.
We realized we need to stop to take a rest. This is why we refused to play in Monako where Veselin played 10 times in a row before.
Now he is second in the world. Of course, we will try to come back on top, but we are not going to speed up.
... (I dropped the question about Sofia rules, nothing new said)...
(Q) Do you feel after-effects of Toiletgate?
(A) Kamsky said very well in his interview to "Trud". There is no such notion as "bad publicity". There is just publicity.
Unfortunately, there are too many amateurs in the chess world. They do not understand what publicity is, what marketing is, what is real professioanlism.
Because they are amateurs. During toiletgate, everybody was talking about chess, New York Times dedicated front page to it.
This was real publicity. Not a "bad" not a "good". Just publicity. Everybody was interested in what is happening in the match where two strongest chess players participate.
Everybody was excited by this event.
I am disliked not because of the scandal, they envy me because I made Topalov to the top, because I created the most professional chess tournament,
because I am building Grand Slam, because I brought in Sofia rules. 50 years were spend on finding how to fight with short draws, and it
turned out to be so easy: prohibit negotiations OTB. Envy, jealous. But these are their problems. Chess must renew or die. No other options.
(Q) You mentioned Grand Slam. Any news?
(A) We work. We got euro 400K in a bank in Bilbao for the Masters final. As you watched in Linares, 3 tournament organizers already signed the agreement: WIZ, Linares, Sofia.
There will be Masters at the year end based on results shown there. And we have money for it. I think, the forth tournament will be the Mexico one,
where the mayor has shown his great interest. We work. Who found sponsors for Mexico Championship? Yours truly. Has anybody said "thanks"?
No. They say only "Danailov is so bad".
(Q) Is Bulgarian attittude to you different?
(A) We are supported in Bulgaria. The President opens the tournament. Which says much itself. We have reliable sponsors. Everything is fine here.
The second exceptional GM is growing in Bulgaria, Ivan Cheparinov. He is already 2680. He has a huge potential, he is only 20.
In few years he will fight for the crown. M-Tel Masters is absolutely best organised tournament. Paritcipants say so, as
organizers of other tournamanets and journalists do. This is very important sports and social event for Bulgaria. We'll do our best
to make the tournament an exemplary and traditional for many years.
(Q) I saw your small son and doughter, they already arrange small childish scandals... Pretty darling children. They grow so fast!
(A) Yes, I can consider myself a happy man. I have an excellent family, I have 2 excellent kids, do a loved work.
Achieved everything I wanted in professional area. 15 years ago I said Topalov will become the WC, and they laughed to my face. Now they don't.
I said chess playes should become true professionals whom we can see in tennis. And I managed to create a tournament with truly professioanal rules of play
and conversation with mass media, as professionals do in tennis. Now my main target is Grand Slam. It is very important and it will be done.
And I can add that I am very lucky!
And back to publicity as Danailov sees it. At this picture you can see Topalov presenting the "Toilet War" book and a toilet pot model to the President of Bulgaria
during the tournament opening:

More danailov ravings. Where is the "bringing the game into disrepute charge".

But a lovely small item. I had no idea that there is a chess publication called "trud". Is it new? Is it an anagram?

"Trud" means "Labor". This is tabloid targeted at general audience. In communist countries papers with this name were owned by trade unions.

Danailov looks more and more as Don King. I would not compare him to tennis managers. What he does and what he says is exactly what Don King did for decades.

"But Kramnik's inability to win such a tournament is obvious for me. He can make +2 or +3, but this is not enough to win the World Championship."

A while ago Danailov was convinced that Kramnik wouldn't play in Mexico at all. Well then, time to show him wrong again.

"No publicity is bad publicity"
lol....did Kamsky really recite that nonsense? I thought only respectable guys like Eminem subscribed to this idea.

The bright side of Danailov's monstrous self-regard: He says 'I' a lot, and mentions 'Topalov' as a separate entity.

In a year or two he will drop Topalov as he dropped Pono before. He already got a new money making marionette - Cheparinov.
I hope I am wrong, but I am afraid, I am not.

Presenting a toy-toilet to the President of your country...LOL

Didn't Forrest Gump do something like that?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 10, 2007 1:39 PM.

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