Chess Champions League – benefit in Vitoria Gasteiz

11/3/2007 – Four former world champions – Karpov, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov and Topalov – plus Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, who jumped in for the ill Alexander Khalifman, and Judit Polgar, are taking part in a double round robin in Spain. All proceeds from this event go to a hospital in Mbuji-Mayi, one of the poorest regions in Congo. In round one there were two black victories. Report and games.

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The "Chess Champions League - Playing for a better world", also known as the "Jesus de Lafuente memorial", is taking place from Novembher 1st to 15th, 2007, in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. The idea was to have only former world champions plus Judit Polgar, but it did not quite work out when Alexander Khalifman (FIDE world champion 1999) had to undergo surgery just before his trip to Spain. He was replaced by Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu.

The other world champions are: Anatoly Karpov, who held the title from 1975 to 1985, and then the FIDE world championship title from 1993 to 1999; Ruslan Ponomariov, who held the FIDE title from 2002 to 2004; Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who was FIDE world champion from 2004 to 2005; and Veselin Topalov, who held the title from 2005 to 2006.

The main event with these six players is called the "Tournament of Champions" and is a double round robin, with the ten rounds being played on November 2-4, 6-7, 9-11, and 13-14. It is a benefit event to raise funds for a hospital in Mbuji-Mayi, one of the poorest regions in Congo.


Anatoly Karpov with Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, a fashion designer. Some of the most famous models and fashion designers in Spain are staging a fashion show next to the playing hall. The products are sold in an auction and the proceeds are given to the Congo benefit.


The Moscow Orchestra playing at the inaugural ceremony. All benefits obtained
from this concerts will be donated to the project in Africa.


Champions at the concert: Veselin Topalov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Judit Polgar,
Ruslan Ponomariov and Anatoly Karpov


Play is conducted in a glas cabin with large screens displaying the positions


First round game Anatoly Karpov vs Veselin Topalov (Karpov lost on time)

Polgar,Ju (2708) - Ponomariov,R (2705) [C78]
Chess Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz ESP (1), 02.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.d4 Bb6 10.Be3 0-0 11.Nbd2 Bg4 12.Qc2 Re8 13.axb5 axb5 14.Rfe1 Bh5 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.h3 Bxe3 17.Rxe3 Ra8 18.Rd1 Qb8 19.Bd5 Qb6 20.b4 Rad8 21.Ba2 Na7 22.Nf1 Rxd1 23.Qxd1 Bg6 24.Ng3 Nc8 25.Nf5 Bxf5 26.exf5 e4 27.Nd4 Nd6 28.g4 c5 29.bxc5 Qxc5 30.Nb3 Qe5

“I don’t understand what happened," said Ruslan Ponomariov after the game. "It was very strange. The position was level, but suddenly Judit collapsed. She simply lost it.” 31.Qd4? Nd5 32.Re2 Nxc3 33.Rc2 e3 34.Qxe5 Rxe5 35.fxe3 Rxe3 36.Nc5 Kf8 37.Kg2 Ke7 38.Bb3 h5 39.gxh5 Nxf5 40.Rd2 Nd6 41.Rd3 Rxd3 42.Nxd3 Nf5 43.Nb4 Nd4 44.Nd5+ Nxd5 45.Bxd5 b4 0-1. [Click to replay]

The game between Karpov and Topalov was more dramatic. The Russian played well and was close to winning, but he was under sever time pressure and at move 48, in a balanced position, his clock ran out.

Karpov,Ana (2670) - Topalov,V (2769) [E36]
Chess Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz ESP (1), 02.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 b6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Bg5 Ba6 10.Qc2 c5 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Rd1 Qa5+ 13.Bd2 Qb6 14.Bc3 Nbd7 15.e4 Bxf1 16.Kxf1 Qb7 17.Re1 Ne8 18.h4 Nd6 19.Rh3 Nb5 20.Rg3 f6 21.e5 f5 22.Ng5 Rfe8 23.Qe2 Nf8 24.h5 h6 25.Nh3 Nc7 26.Qc4 Nd5 27.Bd2 Kh7 28.b3 Qf7 29.Qe2 Rab8 30.Rc1 Nd7 31.a4 Rb7 32.Nf4 Nxf4 33.Bxf4 Reb8 34.Rcc3 Rb4 35.Bd2 Rh4 36.Kg1 Rbb4 37.f4 Re4 38.Qf3 Rxh5 39.Re3 Rd4 40.Rd3 Rxd3 41.Qxd3 Nb6 42.Qd6 Nd5 43.Rd3 Nb4 44.Bxb4 cxb4 45.Qxb4 Rh4 46.Rh3 Rg4 47.Qd2 a5 48.Qf2 Qc7 0-1. [Click to replay]

The game Ruslan Kasimdzhanov vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu will be played on the first rest day. It was postponed due to Nisipeanu's later arrival to replace Alexander Khalifman.

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