Bu leads in the Blindfold Chess World Cup

10/20/2007 – Four more rounds have been completed in Bilbao, with Chinese grandmaster Bu Xianghzi scoring heavily (3.5/4) to take a commanding lead. Only Magnus Carlsen, who is in second place, can catch Bu – who would have to lose both his final games to allow this. In third place behind these two former child prodigies is the ultimate child prodigy Sergey Karjakin. Report and games.

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Bilbao Blindfold Chess World Cup

The Bilbao Blindfold Chess World Cup is taking place from October 16th to 20th, 2007, in the Hotel Sheraton Bilbao. The participating players are listed in the graphic below (provided by the official web site):

The Blind Chess World Cup is being played in semi-rapid match mode, as a double round robin, with each pairing playing a mini-match of two games each day of the tournament. Time controls are 25 minutes per player plus for the entire game plus 10 seconds increment per move.

To take up the narrative from our previous report: in rounds five to eight it was Chinese grandmaster Bu Xianghzi who made the biggest impression, conceding only one (black pieces) draw to Veselin Topalov. Bu defeated the former FIDE world champion in his white game, and defeated Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna in bot their games on Friday.

Magnus Carlsen climbed the ladder with a victory over Judit Polgar, while winning and losing one to Sergey Karjakin. Carlsen is now in second place. Karjakin won two and lost two in these four rounds, and one must note that the record-breaking child prodigy – he became a grandmaster at the age of twelve – has only scored two draws in eight games. Judit Polgar won and lost one, moving from equal last after four rounds to fourth place after eight games. Veselin Topalov lost two and one one to remain in second-last place.

All results from rounds 5–8

Round 5: Thursday, October 18th, 18:30h
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Judit Polgar
Bu Xiangzhi
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Sergey Karjakin
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Round 6: Thursday, October 18th, 19:30h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Bu Xiangzhi
Magnus Carlsen
0-1
Sergey Karjakin
Round 7: Friday, October 19th, 18:30h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov
0-1
Sergey Karjakin
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Bu Xiangzhi
Round 8: Friday, October 19th, 19:30h
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Judit Polgar
Sergey Karjakin
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Bu Xiangzhi
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna

Here are portraits of the six players in Bilbao, arranged according to their current standings:


The leader: Bu Xiangzhi, who in 1999 was the youngest grandmaster in history, having completed his norms at the age of 13 years 10 months and 13 days


Magnus Carlsen, who made his final GM norm at the age of 13 years 3 months and 27 days, becoming the third youngest grandmaster in history


Sergey Karjakin, wo in 2002 smashed all records by completing his GM norms at the age of 12 years and 7 months. He was also assisting FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov at the time – all this before reaching his teens!


Judit Polgar, who has destroyed all female records by completing her GM title at the age of 15 years 4 months and 28 days in 1991, a record broken by Koneru Humpy in 2002. But Judit remains by far the strongest female player in history, having peaked at Elo 2735 in July 2005. Humpy achieved the second-highest rating of any female player in history, with 2606 in the latest (October 2007) rating list.


Veselin Topalov, 2005 FIDE world champion (in San Luis, Argentina), who lost his title in a reunification match against Vladimir Kramnik in Elista last year.


India's second highest ranked player, Pentala Harikrishna, who at 2668 is just seven points ahead of his main rival Krishnan Sasikiran (the forth strongest player in India is Koneru Humpy). Harikrishna made his GM title in 2003 at the age of 15 years, three months and five days.

All photos by Nadja Woisin. Many more pictures, including city scenes
from Bilbao, are available on our Spanish web site here, here and here.

Once again we bring you some examples of one-move blunders committed in these blindfold games in Bilbao, and once again we would like to stress that we do so not in order to belittle the efforts of the players, but to show you something you very rarely witness in regular over-the-board chess at this level. These are unique incidents, the sort you will only witness again, if at all, in the Monaco Blindfold event next year. So here for posterity are three more one-move blunders.

Harikrishna,P (2668) - Polgar,Ju (2708) [E30]
Blindfold World Cup Bilbao ESP (5), 18.10.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 c5 5.d5 0-0 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 b5 8.dxe6 fxe6 9.cxb5 a6 10.Bd3 axb5 11.Nge2 Bb7 12.0-0 c4 13.Bc2 Qb6 14.a3 Bc5 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Ng3 d5 17.Kh1 Nd7 18.b4 cxb3 19.Bxb3 Rxa3 20.Rb1 Qc6 21.e4 d4 22.Nxb5 Ba6 23.Nxa3 Bxf1 24.Qxf1 Bxa3 25.f4 Nc5 26.Bc2 Rf8 27.e5 Qd5 28.Rd1 Bb2 29.Qb5 Bc3 30.Ne2 Ne4 31.Qxd5 exd5 32.Kg1 Bd2 33.g3 Be3+ 34.Kg2 Rb8

35.Bb3?? Rxb3 36.Nxd4 Rb2+ 0-1.

Bu Xiangzhi (2692) - Topalov,V (2769) [A40]
Blindfold World Cup Bilbao ESP (5), 18.10.2007
1.Nf3 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.d4 c5 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 Nc6 6.d5 Nd4 7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.0-0 e5 9.dxe6 Bxe6 10.Na3 Qb6 11.Bf4 a6 12.Qa4+ Kf8 13.c5 dxc5 14.Nc4 Bxc4 15.Qxc4 Ne7 16.Rac1 Rc8 17.Bg4 Rd8 18.Qxc5 Qxc5 19.Rxc5 d3 20.Rc7 h5 21.Bd7 Nc6 22.Rxb7 Ne5 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Rd1 Bxb2 25.Rxd3 Be5 26.Rd5 f6 27.Be6 Rxd5 28.exd5 h4 29.Rf7+ Ke8 30.Ra7 Rf8 31.h3 f5 32.Kf1 Rf6 33.Ke2 g5 34.Kd3 g4 35.Kc4 gxh3 36.gxh3

Bu has played well and is on the path to victory, Topalov is fighting desperately for a draw. But then comes the one-mover: 36...Rg6?? 37.Bf7+ 1-0.

Harikrishna,P (2668) - Bu Xiangzhi (2692) [D17]
Blindfold World Cup Bilbao ESP (7), 19.10.2007
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.e3 Nbd7 10.Qb3 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nd7 12.e4 Be6 13.Qxb7 Rb8

Here it comes: 14.Qxc6?? Rb6. The queen is trapped, the position changes from +/= to –+. 15.Bb5 Rxc6 16.Bxc6 Qc7 17.Bb5 g6 18.0-0 Bg7 19.Be3 0-0 20.f4 Nxe5 21.fxe5 Bxe5 22.h3 Bc4 23.Nd5 Bxd5 24.exd5 Bxb2 25.Rad1 Rd8 26.Kh1 h5 27.Bc6 Rb8 28.Bb5 Ba3 29.Bg5 Qc2 30.Bh4 Bd6 31.Rde1 Qc5 32.Rd1 Qb4 33.Be1 Qe4 34.Bc3 Rc8 35.Bc6 Rb8 36.Bb5 Qc2 37.Bxa5 Qb2 38.Bd2 Qb3 39.Rc1 Qg3 40.Kg1 Qh2+ 41.Kf2 Qe5 42.Rfd1 0-1.

After eight rounds, using the traditional point system, the cross table would look like this:

However in Bilbao wins count for three points and draws for one. So the scores according to this system are calculated as follows:

Player
Wins
Draw
Loss
Points
1. Bu Xiangzhi
5
3
0
18
2. Magnus Carlsen
3
3
2
12
3. Sergey Karjakin
3
2
3
11
4. Judit Polgar
2
3
3
9
5. Veselin Topalov
2
2
4
8
6. Pentala Harikrishna
1
3
4
6

As you can see there is no difference in the ranks – they are exactly the same in both lists. With two rounds to go Magnus Carlsen could just catch Bu Xiangzhi in both systems, by winning both games and assuming Bu lost both of his. However consider this: if Carlsen draws his last two games he would be 5.5/8 on the traditional cross table and 14 points according to the system being used in Bilbao. And if Karjakin wins one game and draws the other, he would catch Carlsen on the traditional table (5.5/8) but overtake him in the Bilbao system (15 points).


Schedule and results

Round 1: Tuesday, October 16th, 18:30h
Veselin Topalov
1-0
Judit Polgar
Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Bu Xiangzhi
1-0
Sergey Karjakin
Round 2: Tuesday, October 16th, 19:30h
Judit Polgar
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Sergey Karjakin
½-½
Bu Xiangzhi
Round 3: Wednesday, October 17th, 18:30h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Sergey Karjakin
Magnus Carlsen
0-1
Bu Xiangzhi
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Round 4: Wednesday, October 17th, 19:30h
Sergey Karjakin
1-0
Judit Polgar
Bu Xiangzhi
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Pentala Harikrishna
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Round 5: Thursday, October 18th, 18:30h
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Judit Polgar
Bu Xiangzhi
1-0
Veselin Topalov
Sergey Karjakin
0-1
Magnus Carlsen
Round 6: Thursday, October 18th, 19:30h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Pentala Harikrishna
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Bu Xiangzhi
Magnus Carlsen
0-1
Sergey Karjakin
Round 7: Friday, October 19th, 18:30h
Judit Polgar
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov
0-1
Sergey Karjakin
Pentala Harikrishna
0-1
Bu Xiangzhi
Round 8: Friday, October 19th, 19:30h
Magnus Carlsen
1-0
Judit Polgar
Sergey Karjakin
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Bu Xiangzhi
1-0
Pentala Harikrishna
Round 9: Saturday, October 20th, 18:30h
Bu Xiangzhi
-
Judit Polgar
Sergey Karjakin
-
Pentala Harikrishna
Magnus Carlsen
-
Veselin Topalov
Round 10: Saturday, October 20th, 19:30h
Judit Polgar
-
Bu Xiangzhi
Pentala Harikrishna
-
Sergey Karjakin
Veselin Topalov
-
Magnus Carlsen

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Topics Bilbao 2007
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