FIDE WCC R6-4: Tiebreaks for Topalov and Kasimdzhanov

7/5/2004 – Uzbek Rustam Kasimdzhanov has surprised the pundits by stopping the unstoppable Topalov. They drew their fourth semifinal game and will play rapid tiebreaks tomorrow to decide who moves on to face Mickey Adams. The Englishman drew comfortably against Radjabov to qualify for the finals for the first time. Analysis and photos.

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Results of Semifinals

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB 2652
½
½ ½ ½ *
2
Topalov, Veselin BUL 2737
½
½ ½ ½ *
2
Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2670
0
½ ½ ½  
Adams, Michael ENG 2731
1
½ ½ ½  

Report on semifinals game four

After surviving a scare yesterday Mickey Adams was back in control today against Teimour Radjabov. A 44-move draw put England's hope into the six-game final match that starts Tuesday. He wasn't ruffled by the teen's bizarre opening twist on move two (!): 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qe7!?. This isn't total insanity and a few GMs have tried it in the past. Okay, very few. Black wants to unbalance things by quickly castling queenside.

Adams used to be known for eschewing main-line theory, back when he went to bed later and studied less. He is quite a home in unorthodox positions. He wasn't worried about fighting for an advantage here, needing only a draw to qualify for the finals. He kept the pawns symmetrical and also put his king on the queenside to avoid any wild attacking scenarios. Radjabov tried in vain to make something of the only open file, but Adams kept the position locked down.

Adams now gets a day of rest while waiting to see who is finals opponent will be. Whoever it is will have his hands full. With Tim Henman joining Beckham in England's sporting dog-house, it looks like Adams is on a mission to give his country a champion. (All the Russians are out of the KO but at least they have Sharapova, even if she's lived in Florida for ten years.)

After scoring a stunning 9.5/10 Veselin Topalov has been held to four consecutive draws by Kasimdzhanov. The Bulgarian had his best chance yet to avoid rapid and blitz tiebreaker games today when he got a winning queen and knight endgame in the Uzbek's time trouble. Kasimdzhanov was saved when Topalov's aggressive instincts got the better of him.

Topalov - Kasimdzhanov after 38...e4

Topalov went for the natural 39.Ng5, allowing Black to start checking with both his pieces after 39...Qa2+ 40.Ke3 Nc4+ 41.Kxe4 Qg2+. Here White can go for a pawn-up queen endgame that looks drawn after 42.Nf3 Qxg4+ 43.Kd5 Qxf3+ 44.Kxc4 d5+. Instead Topalov acquiesced to a draw by repetition that was agreed on move 45.

Black would have had a hard time finding a move had Topalov instead retreated his knight in the diagram with 39.Nd2. This looks a bit silly because Black can shut the door on the knight with 39...d5, but our computer pals point out that if White continues his prophylactic play with 40.Ke1!, Black is almost in zugzwang.

With his king now safe from checks, White can focus on advancing his pawns or picking off the black ones. The knight can be powerfully rerouted via f1-e3. If Black tries to relieve the pressure by allowing a queen exchange, all the resulting knight endgames should be winning for White. Simply walking up and giving up the white knight on e4 for the two pawns is a relatively clear win, if perhaps unnecessarily flashy.

Rustam Kasimdzhanov is still something of an X-factor in Tripoli. He hasn't dazzled with his play, but he is always alert and almost never blunders. In a pressure-packed KO those are the most critical qualities.

Many in the chess world (and certainly FIDE) will be hoping for a finals showdown between two of the best and best-known players in the world in Topalov-Adams. The man from Uzbekistan has a different plan (and we can't really root against him since he plays regularly at Playchess.com). He has already eliminated other top seeds Ivanchuk and Grischuk and will clearly be a dangerous and worthy finals participant if he gets by Topalov (who, as the #1 seed, hasn't faced anyone rated higher than Kasimdzhanov's 2652.)

It's worth noting that this is the first time in the tournament that Topalov will have to play tiebreaks while Kasimdzhanov has now done so in four of his six matches, although never needing more than the two rapid games to decide the issue. Topalov might find it difficult to adjust to the faster rate of play after two weeks of slower games and there is no time to adjust. Adams can't but benefit from his opponent having to play a stressful day of tiebreak chess while he is resting and preparing.

Previous reports


General information

The FIDE site, which is being hosted by Libya Telecom And Technology, contains the schedule, list of players, results tree, games, reports, pictures and videos. 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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