FIDE WCC R5-1: Can anyone stop this man?

6/28/2004 – Nine games, eight wins. That's Veselin Topalov's record so far in Tripoli. The number one seed is playing like a Bulgarian possessed. His latest victim was Kharlov in the first game of the quarterfinals. Adams, Dominguez, and Kasimdzhanov also won. All four games were full-bodied battles with white winning every game! Games, results, photos and report now up.

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Results of round five, game one

1 Topalov, Veselin (BUL) Kharlov, Andrei (RUS) 1-0
2 Dominguez, Lenier (CUB) Radjabov, Teimour (AZE) 1-0
3 Adams, Michael (ENG) Akopian, Vladimir (ARM) 1-0
4 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam (UZB) Grischuk, Alexander (RUS) 1-0

If this is what prohibition does for chess, let us be the first to empty our liquor cabinet! The teetotaling Muslim nation of Libya saw four fantastic games of fighting chess on the first day of the quarterfinals. All four were wins by White and two were considerable upsets. (Well, you can't really be sure Libya saw the games since there never seem to be any spectators in the photos, but at least the world got to enjoy them.)

The game between Teimour Radjabov and Lenier Dominguez was the first to finish. The two youths took turns upping the ante in a provocative showdown out of the opening. The Cuban threatened to plunge a knight into f7, Radjabov dared him to do it, Dominguez did it!

Dominguez - Radjabov after 9.Ng5

When we spoke to Garry Kasparov about this game he expressed the opinion that this line is simply bad for white because of 9...h6, daring White to capture on f7. Dominguez was using a lot of time, far more than Radjabov.

Eventually he took the plunge with 10.Nxf7 Rh7 11.Nd5 Nxd5. Now instead of settling for 12.Bxd5 g6, White threw gasoline on the fire with 12.c3, sacrificing a piece.

It's not clear what Dominguez had in mind against the strong counterattacking retreat 12...Nb6, hitting the bishop. Instead Radjabov allowed White a powerful set of pawns for the piece. The stunning move 16.d4!! put White in control. Dominguez picked up his rate of play and converted the win in impressive fashion.

There were fewer fireworks in Veselin Topalov's workmanlike win over Andrei Kharlov. White turned his two bishops into a bishop vs knight endgame that the Bulgarian won convincingly. The final zugzwang is a fine illustration of the weakness of a knight's inability to tempo against a bishop in the endgame. Kharlov lost his first game against Nisipeanu last round and lived to tell the tale.

England's Mickey Adams took a big step toward avenging his 1999 ko semifinal loss to Vladimir Akopian. He gained a kingside bind and exploited Black's back rank weakness in the endgame to notch his fourth win from five games with the white pieces in Tripoli.

Adams - Akopian after 52...Rff2

White finished off with a flourish. 53.Rc8+ Bf8 54.Rd2! 1-0. Black can only watch the a-pawn reach the promised land after 54...Kg8 55.Rxf2 Rxf2 56.a6.

Akopian certainly has what it takes to bounce back tomorrow. So far he has 100% effectiveness with the white pieces!

Alexander Grischuk has had better days. He was well on his way to scoring a precious win with the black pieces against Rustam Kasimdzhanov when a single slip sent him from a win to a loss. 46...Bc2?? removed control of a key diagonal and Kasimdzhanov pounced. The Uzbek won the exchange and later a full piece.

It was Kasimdzhanov's second lucky win in as many rounds. Almasi threw away a winning position against him in one move last round. At least Grischuk has the consolation of the white pieces tomorrow.

This was the first time all four quarterfinal games had ever been decisive in the short history of the FIDE KO world championships. Today's losers have much to play for tomorrow. They'll take home around $25,000 if they go home, but the semifinalists are guaranteed $36,000. That goes a long way in Uzbekistan!

The above pictures are from the event's picture gallery page and are brought to you be courtesy of FIDE (© FIDE.com)


General information

The FIDE site, which is being hosted by Libya Telecom And Technology, looks well equipped to handle live coverage of the event. The schedule, list of players, results tree and games are all in place, there are reports and picture galleries. The start page is http://wcc2004.fide.com and http://wcclibya2004.com.

Live coverage

The live game transmission from Tripoli, apparently of all games, requires you to have Java Virtual Machine installed on your PC. This program is distributed free of charge by Sun Microsystems (and is useful for many other applications). Visit the Java check page to see if you have everything required for the live coverage and install Java if you don't. To follow the games click on "Live coverage" in the link list above. There is a "View" button behind each pairing of players. Many of the key games will also be covered and discussed on the Playchess.com server.

Schedule

Note that local time in Tripoli is the same as in Central Europe. The start of the games is generally at 14:30h, which is GMT + 2 and translates to 13:30 London, 8:30 a.m. New York, 16:30 Moscow, 18:00 New Delhi, 20:30 Hong Kong, 21:30 Tokyo, 22:30 Melbourne, and 03:00 a.m. (on the next day) in the French Polynesia-Marquesas Islands of Taiohae.

World Chess Championship 2003-2004
18 June - 13 July 2004 – Schedule
Date Day Events Games Time
18 June Friday Opening Ceremony
Players' Meeting
18.00
22.30
19 June Saturday Round 1 Game 1 14.30
20 June Sunday Round 1 Game 2*
14.30
21 June Monday Round 2 Game 1 14.30
22 June Tuesday Round 2 Game 2*
14.30
23 June Wednesday Round 3 Game 1 14.30
24 June Thursday Round 3 Game 2* 14.30
25 June Friday Rest Day
26 June Saturday Round 4 Game 1 14.30
27 June Sunday Round 4 Game 2* 14.30
28 June Monday Round 5 Game 1 14.30
29 June Tuesday Round 5 Game 2* 14.30
30 June Wednesday Rest day
1 July Thursday Round 6 Game 1 14.30
2 July Friday Round 6 Game 2 14.30
3 July Saturday Round 6 Game 3 14.30
4 July Sunday Round 6 Game 4 14.30
5 July Monday Round 6 Tie-Breaks 14.30
6 July Tuesday Final Match Game 1 14.30
7 July Wednesday Final Match Game 2 14.30
8 July Thursday Final Match Game 3 14.30
9 July Friday Rest Day
10 July Saturday Final Match Game 4 14.30
11 July Sunday Final Match Game 5 14.30
12 July Monday Final Match Game 6 14.30
13 July Tuesday Final Match Tie-breaks 12.30
13 July Tuesday Closing Ceremony 18.00
* Tie-breaks at 20:30h

 


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