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Linares 08 r5

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What, doesn't anybody want to win this thing? After five rounds every player has a loss. Topalov blundered to lose an endgame to Shirov (who, to be fair, played it with his usual excellence in this department). Ivanchuk took one of his usual trips to the moon and turned a forced win against Aronian into a tougher win and then into a loss with a few seconds left on his clock. Horrible. He did this a couple of times here last year as well, though then it was usually turning wins into draws. The lucky beneficiary, Aronian, is now in equal first with Topalov and Anand on +1. Shirov and Leko have even scores, and Radjabov, Ivanchuk, and Carlsen are all on -1 to complete the fearsome symmetry.

Round 5: Leko-Anand, Topalov-Carlsen, Aronian-Shirov, Radjabov-Ivanchuk.

I wonder if some of the players will be tempted by short draws to settle their nerves a bit after four wild rounds.


Gutsy choice by Carlsen, especially against Topolov. Does anyone know if Magnus has played the Alekhine's before? I can't remember any at this level.

I think Mig is being unfair to Shirov in the comment that Topalov blundered. Shirov played better.

He played it in the world blitz championship a few times as far as I know, but not in any top level classical games I think

Wow look at Leko go, roll them doggies petey. Terrific tournament so far. Too bad Chucky blundered yesterday though....does anyone know of site with live comp analysis/eval of the games?

Not formally but sometimes users post some domestic runs:

Looks like Aronian and Shirov decided to take the rest of the day off.

See what happens when Leko plays for a win. =8-)

Carlsen just beat the #3 player in the world with the Alekhine. WOW.

Magnus wins with the Alekhines's! That one has to pucker Topolov's sphincter.

thx Ritch, thought Leko was winnng until Bb7....Wow looks like Leko had three great years and hes already stepping aside. Too bad.

Carlsen crushed Topalov with the black pieces- lost endgame in 20 moves. Nice one - I thought the idea was to restrict blacks QB not allow it to pin the knight on f3. Scaredy cat draw from Aronian and Shirov take a bit more chile with your food guys. Leko lost the plot against Anand and went down in flames - quite funny and just rewards for miserable opening play as white against the Najdorf. Ivanchuk got a good draw pulling off a perpetual when it seemed he might be in trouble now if he could just remember that he doesnt need to write his moves down when in time trouble .......

White: 5 wins
Black: 6 wins

A bit unusual at this level, is it not?


wow, carlsen is becoming a real matador, he defeats his opponents so quietly, steadily and ruthlessly

What is incredible is that Carlsen was able to avoid Topalov's opening preparation (Topalov was probably expecting a Ruy Lopez or a Sicilian) and get such a comfortable position after move 18. At that point is was clear he had no chances to win the game and was in danger to lose it if he wasn't able to find the right defensive plan, which happened at the end.

It is not common -and particularly for Topalov- to see a SuperGM game where black gets such a comfortable advantage in the opening before the 20th move without playing any strong theoretical novelty.

Can someone tell me why Topalov didn't capture the central pawn at move 20 or thereabouts. I'm still at work and can't look at it closer. He moved the King to F1, instead...


Kudos for Carlsen! He tamed a fearsome player with the Alekhine, quite a feat.

You have to admire the fighting spirit so far; you didn't often see this many wins/losses amongst the players in the past several years.

"Carlsen just beat the #3 player in the world with the Alekhine. WOW."

Topalov isn't even in the Top 25 players, IF you manage to get him out of book. However, he IS well prepared, in all but the offbeat stuff. The worst thing is that this is going to inspire some GM to churn out a gimmicky Alekhine Defense monograph over this coming weekend. Look for it in your local bookstore next month.

I'd be impressed if anybody has the guts to play the Alekhine again vs. Topalov this tournament.

Maybe hit him with the Scandinavian instead? Or 1....a6

Pathetic show....so much for the 3000 PR after 3 games.

Carlsen already has a good career score vs. Topalov. It's always good to have customers

"Can someone tell me why Topalov didn't capture the central pawn at move 20 or thereabouts. I'm still at work and can't look at it closer. He moved the King to F1, instead..."

Weak back rank and Bc1 after Black trades Rooks on the d-file. GM Dimitrov has analysis at the chessdom.com page.

Interesting to see a request (comment #4) for live computer analysis---my impression on the PlayChess server has been that it often causes irritation. I haven't had time to be on recently---I'm talking back in September. Of course there's a way to obtain live computer analysis for oneself:-)...the question is how much a strong human interpreting the engine(s) adds to the experience.

Mig, your round counter is off by 1, unless your item titles like this one are meant to say, "Today is Morelia 08 r5, now to recap r4..."

"Can someone tell me why Topalov didn't capture the central pawn at move 20 or thereabouts. I'm still at work and can't look at it closer. He moved the King to F1, instead... "

Certainly, even if he takes on d5 at move 20, Topalov will continue a pawn down, because after 21..Rd8, the pawn in b2 will be lost because the white bishop must open space for the rook, leaving the b2 pawn unprotected (black threats mate in d1). HOWEVER, in my opinion (and I think a machine would agree), it would be preferable to take the pawn, or at least it would be easier to defend the position... for example, the following line

20.Rxd5 Rd8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.Be3 Bxb2 23.Rb1 b6 (note the bishop cannot be taken because of 23..Rd1#) 24.Kf1

allows white better defensive chances in my opinion, because at the end, the pawn in the d-column forced white pieces to stay at most in third rank and that space superiority eventually caused Topalov to fall in a sort of zugzwang. But experiences seem to suggest Topalov doesn't feel at home in this kind of situation. For example, his 21th move Bg5 is really hard to understand, because eventually he lost a tempo because of that move. I am not a superGM to question, but it seems to me that Topalov (like Mamedyarov and Morozevich) tries to employ with more frequency "tactical resources" in certain endgames where a more "technical" play would have been better.

Of course, it looks like the game was already lost by move 19, so the judgement can be placed exclusively in Topalov's opening play. To be able to get such a nice and likely won position already in the opening, by move 19 in a game where black didn't make use of any theoretical novely, means Carlsen has shown us a serious flaw in Topalov's opening preparation, quoted for some people like the best in the world right now (opinion I don't share ... but well, I have not enough elements to compare).

let us see if Anand dares to play the Sicillian against Topalov.

It seems that top level players spend so much time preparing the najdorf to move 40 etc that other openings are ignored!!topalov looked like a club player

I saw that Anand had beaten Leko, and while playing over the game, thought for a long time that Anand was white! Surely, SURELY, white is better before Bb7?? Some tremendously deep calculation from Anand to go in to that line, wonder what he had in mind for Rc8 instead of Bb7. Analysis please!

Topalov had an off day, I think he was mixing up styles, playing a positional line and then trying to find tactical solutions. The former World Champion will however be back I'm sure! I think he will look to get his revenge against Carlsen in Linares!! I think he should forget about any expectations, pressure, and just relax and play normally, when his natural talent will surely prevail.

Obviously there is a mistake in the final move of Carlsen Topalov both on the official site chessbase and TWIC. Topalov would resign after the move 44...Ke5?? because 45 g6 would give him a very good if not winning position. So I assume he resigned after playing 44 g5 without waiting for 44...Rxe1+ and that the Ke5 is not a move just the demo board putting the king in the cntre to show game over - right?

Sorry my last comment should read Topalov would NOT resign after the move 44...Ke5?? because 45 g6 woudl give him a very good if not winning position

ok chessdom has the final move as 44..Rxe1+ resigns which must be right

Carlsen has played this line of Alekhine's before - Sutovsky-Carlsen at Rethymnon 2003 (a game I watched live in which he was crushed, but hey).

d_tal I think you are right Rc8 intead of Bb7 looks very strong for Leko winning in fact which makes me suspect that Anand entered a dubious line perhaps 20 ...f5 is actually a mistake as it is too loosening and ambitious and the ending requires more careful play by black. In this case it seems Anand has been a bit lucky to dodge the bullet as all his moves were very natural and the engines are all happy with black then suddenly flip oops blacks lost.

Andy, did you check lines with an engine after Rc8? It seems such an obvious move, that I wonder whether there isnt some reason Leko didnt play it, like a forced Q vs R line which draws or something like that. Perhaps he was searching for a definitively winning line?

Here is some analysis after the suggested 34 Rc8! in Leko Anand 34 ..Ra7 (34 ..Rxc8 looks like it loses to 35 Bxc8 Ne1 36 b6 Nd3+ 37 Kd1 Nc5 38 b7 Na6 39 c4)35 Rc4+ Kxf3 36 Ra4 Rd7 37 b6- b7 etc looks crushing

Here is an alternative way to play the ending after 20 Rd1 Rc7! (instead of f5) then if white continues the same way black has active play: 21 Bd3 Rb8 22 Rhe1 b4! (or 22 a3 a5 with b4 next )Now if white plays c4 black takes the d4 square for his knight by playing Kf6-Nd4 and doubles rooks on the d file alternatively Bxa6 or cxb4 exposes the white king.

Isn't it about time for Radjabov to change his t-shirt? Perhaps he only brought this one. Or is he employing a biochemical warfare strategy against his opponents. In warm Morelia I would guess this will be particularly effective. You have to beat him twice! Anyway, this years Morelia/Linares has been really exciting so far. Lots of fighting in every round, lots of decided games and few premature draws.

Ah, Topalov loses second game in a row. Not long before the Topalovapologists arrive...

I see the rats running from the sinking ship as we speak....

Just moving this to the thread it belongs.

Please try to refrain from such absurdities as "Magnus beating Topalov in a Capablanca style" etc. The fact is that once again Topa self-destructed in his unique manner. If this game was shown to analysts without naming the players, none of them would believe that there was a supergrandmaster playing white. In all likelihood they would conclude that white was an untitled player!

Topa probably went astray after realising too late that dxc5 can be answered with Nxc3. But to have lost that position so quickly is simply incomprehensible.

d_tal I think I know why Leko did not play Rc8 which on checking with chess engines appears to win easily. Perhaps it was the line 34 Rc8 Rxc8 35 Bxc8 Ne1 36 b6 Nd3+ the knight gets back and he wasnt sure it was winning ... 37 Kd1 Nc5 38 b6 Na6 39 c4 Nb8 40 c5 e4 and now the cool 41 Bd7! wins easily. Simple to see when you get there but perhaps not at move 33 with the clock ticking. Its a shame because I now appreciate that Leko had discovered that the ending after 20 Rd1 f5? is very good for white (despite what the engines think)and this deep understanding/preperation could so easily have netted him a point.

Andy, yeah, I was really impressed with White's play upto Bb7, and was surprised that Black could be taken apart so elegantly and simply. In fact, as I mentioned, I was under the impression that Anand was White, and was mentally singing his praises. The play of a certain recently deceased ex World Champion came to mind..

Thanks for the lines, I will look at them soon, they look really interesting.

Dr X

If you walk through the game with rybka. you'll se that Carlsen perform series of Rybka's 1. choice D25 moves. Several which is not obvious. Topalov may have played sub-optimally, but that does not mean Carlsen didn't play very strong.

"If you walk through the game with rybka. you'll see that Carlsen perform series of Rybka's 1. choice D25 moves. "

Hmmm. Could it be that Silvio was confused and thought that Topa was Black. So by mistake he kept signalling moves to Carlsen !-))

I'm tired of people saying that [insert grandmaster] played strong -because- they mirror Rybka, or Fritz. Rybka and Fritz aren't meaningfully stronger than a 2700 player when analyzing on your laptop; they aren't nearly as strong as Carlsen's analysis team setting this up months in advance.

Now, I'm open to the argument that Carlsen played strong moves, but you'll need to prove that with variations, not a 30-second Rybka evaluation.

Exactly so gmc!

Eggie (and others), please refrain from mystifying normal moves by referring to computer evaluations. In the Topalov game Carlsen first played normal developing moves, then he found the (again normal) equalizing move c5, next he took the pawn and converted. Good chess but nothing mysterious and no super-human moves.


More than that, I'm tired of those people who post variations from their computer programs with the explicit intent that it is something they worked out themselves. Especially when they go on to find fault with world class players. They know who they are.

gmc; "Carlsen's analysis team setting this up months in advance" is priceless!
Seems you are mistaking back-of-the-envelope notes as being rocket science.

Well, you can tell two stories about any chess game, in this case: "Topalov Lost" or "Carlsen Won". Usually citing the victor is considered more charitable, so generally that is what I do.

Also, saying a word against Carlsen, or implying that he might not be the Messiah, is like to get one deluged in Carlsen fanboyism around here... so I generally give him the benefit of the doubt even if I don't think he deserves it.

That said, it is my personal and relatively uneducated opinion, not being an expert on the Alekhine's (who is?) nor having looked at the game deeply, that Topalov just played passively and poorly. He pretty clearly did not have a line against the Alekhine's - which is pretty unforgivable at that level. He should at least be able to trot out a book line and make Carlsen prove his improvement.

Even though Carlsen hadn't played the Alekhines's in classical play, he had recently used it a few times at the World Blitz Cup. (Thanks chesshire cat) So yes, as a professional, Topolov should have been better prepared. Easy for me to say.

Along that thought of annoying analysis by machines, why not force a decree that if you're going to plug in fritz-y variations and then offer an opinion or even worse, an actual "evaluation" of the position as played by superGMs, man up and state your actual OTB rating so that we know where that opinion is actually coming from.

I have to agree with one of the posts above that Topa's play against Carlsen was many orders of magnitudes below the level we would expect from an elite GM like Topalov. I think this is the reason some Russian GMs keep accusing Topa of cheating. His play is so erratic that it makes some people wonder. I personally don't believe he ever cheated but have to admit his ups and downs are hard to come to grips with. In a good day he plays like Kasparov but in a bad day he plays like a 1900 player. If he could only play like a say 2400 player in a bad day he would be miles ahead of the competition! He is however the best dressed player in the circuit.

Topa's play seems to remind us all perhaps that even greats make blunders. Those usually happen when a player may be distracted for some unknown reason. It is refreshing to a degree to see that players are not computers, but subject to fallability. He does have the knack for being streaky in his play.

[Soapbox on] Will people who quote results by chess engines please state the /version/ of the engine they have? The current Rybka 2.3.2a is often notably different from Rybka 2.3.1, and there was Rybka 2.3.1 "LK" for Larry Kaufman as well. All are different from Rybka 2.2n2, which my analyses show had quicker knowledge of Rook's pawns and wrong-color Bishops, for instance.

It may seem corny of me to put it this way, like I'm your junior-high science teacher :-), but assertions like the one by Eggie above are reporting on experiments. If they are worth saying, then they are worth others' checking, and should come with the info that helps "reproduce" them. Awareness of this point is IMHO important even to questions of policy standards raised by the Anna Rudolf case.[soapbox off, and all help appreciated!]


No laptop, but a quadcore computer. D25 is verry deep. And Carlsen does not have an "analysis team setting this up a month ago".

Ah! I wasn't totally sure "D25" meant depth. Thanks---that info also helps a lot. I'll credit Eggie with the latest version Rybka 2.3.2a mp then, as it's been current since July. The lone thought here is that a natural case where a player matched often (perhaps thru opening prep?) is useful to know, as a kind of "scientific control"---and maybe paranoia-control.

can somebody pls tell me what time the live games start?

"I'd be impressed if anybody has the guts to play the Alekhine again vs. Topalov this tournament."

That would really be something... talk about a major psychological move against Topalov.

How do top players react to something like this defeat? Would T. devote precious resources to repairing holes in his Alekhine knowledge, or just assume no one will try it on him again?

Would an opponent assume T. would be ready for it? Perhaps one could surprise him with it because T. would assume that everyone else assumes he'd get his knowledge of Alekhine's defense in order?

Everybody seems to agree that the only way Topalov wins is if his cooks prepare something that others cannot digest. Hence, his win vs. Kramnik in Corus. Deep preparation by Chepa, etc.

When others, such as the SuperBoy' win against Topalov 'they take him out of his preparation'. What are those other people doing with their time? Playing tennis all day long? How does anybody become 2700+ without working on chess all day long with a team (doing the 'back of the envelope' calculations')?

Definitely 2700+ players must be not very intelligent. They could be beating 1800-rated Topalov any time by just playing 1...a6, b6 or Alekhine, but instead they keep entering his preparations until mate.
Fortunately for the chess world, Carlsen has opened our eyes, and Topalov won't score a single half point in the remainder of Linares.

For the record, I can give a fair degree of confirmation to what Eggie wrote: Running Rybka 2.3.2a w32 on my single-core Pentium-M 2Ghz laptop in single-line mode thru the end of 16-ply depth, all Black's moves from 10...O-O thru 27...f5 inclusive match except that Rybka prefers 19...Bf6 to the played 19...Bg7 and 22...d4 to the played 22...h6. This is using the nice scripting capabilities of the Arena 1.99-beta5 GUI, which is freely downloadable. Cold-starting Rybka at move 19, it has preferred 19...Bf6 thru depth=23, but is thinking a long time now about 19...Bg7 at depth=24. I will re-run to depth=25 with my quad-core when it comes free.

As for what this means? Probably the same as Bobby matching an earlier Rybka about 80% in the "Game of the Century", in runs I haven't seconded and posted yet. From Move 28 onward it's 50-50, i.e. "random", not counting the phantom 44...Ke5?? Which was recorded because Topalov resigned after 44.g5 without waiting for 44...Rxe1+!, but the DGT end-of-game convention is placing the Kings at d4 and e5, and the latter caused ...Ke5 to be recorded since it was a legal move.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 20, 2008 4:20 PM.

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