FIDE WCC R6-5: Kasimdzhanov KO's Topalov in rapids

7/6/2004 – So much for the prognostications. After drawing four regulation games, Rustam Kasimdzhanov eliminated Veselin Topalov by winning both rapid tiebreak games. The Uzbekistani underdog will play Mickey Adams in the final match for the FIDE world championship title starting tomorrow. Photos and report here now.

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Results of Semifinals

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB 2652
½
½
½
½
1 1
4
Topalov, Veselin BUL 2737
½
½
½
½
0 0
2
Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2670
0
½
½
½
 
Adams, Michael ENG 2731
1
½
½
½
 

Final six-game match Adams - Kasimdzhanov begins Tuesday, July 6

The surprise is complete. First Rustam Kasimdzhanov held Veselin Topalov to four straight draws in their semifinal match. Then he outplayed the Bulgarian and eliminated him by winning both rapid tiebreak games. We have become used to the Uzbekistani's unflappable play. Despite being much worse in several games along the way in Tripoli he refuses to blunder and has lost only one game of 22 played, to Grischuk in the quarterfinals.

Kasimdzhanov didn't give Topalov much of a chance in the rapid games today. With black in game one he defanged Topalov's gambit in the Queen's Indian to reach rough equality. When Topalov kept pressing at the cost of his a-pawn, Kasimdzhanov grabbed the pawn and skillfully reorganized his pieces, not giving White any chance to generate an attack. Soon it was Topalov's king in danger and after piece exchanges the passed black a-pawn was a quick winner.

That was Topalov's first loss in Tripoli, but it wasn't to be his last. Needing a win at all costs with black in the second game Topalov gave it everything he could to sharpen the game, which started as a solid 3.b3 Sicilian. Kasimdzhanov didn't mind and went directly at Black's defenseless king. After all, white is white.

Kasimdzhanov-Topalov after 20...f5. In a wild exchange of blows White ripped things open with 21.Bxf5! Nf4!? (21...Rxf5 22.hxg6) 22.Rg3 (22.Qxf4? Rxf5 23.Qe3 Qc6) 22...Rxf5 23.hxg6 h5 24.Qxf5.

Kasimdzhanov prosecuted the attack mercilessly, never falling for any tricks and simplifying down to a position with three extra pawns. Topalov threw the kitchen sink, sacrificing the exchange, but it was already over. White kept control and the game ended with Black facing mate.

Kasimdzhanov, the 26th ranked player in the event, has now eliminated three of the top four seeds in Tripoli! If he can get the last of the four, Mickey Adams, he will become by far the least likely FIDE world champion ever (and the most difficult to pronounce). Adams will present Kasimdzhanov the same problem he presented Radjabov in the semifinals, a cool and calm foe who provides precious few opportunities for an opportunistic opponent.

Adams is also deadly in fast games, although he has yet to need to prove it in Tripoli. We know this from watching his performance here at Playchess.com! Adams is currently the number one blitz player on the server, with an astronomical rating of 3008. Meanwhile Kasimdzhanov is also a Playchess.com regular and is ranked #24 on the same list. Maybe his mouse needs greasing because he hasn't had any trouble in the rapid games so far in Libya.

Is England ready for its first claimant to the chess throne since Staunton? Would Adams be able to avenge his countryman Nigel Short's 1993 loss to Garry Kasparov? Is Uzbekistan ready for people to find out there is a country called Uzbekistan?

(It's north of Afghanistan, slightly larger than California, landlocked, population of 26.4 million, currency: the Uzbekistani sum, capital: Tashkent, radio stations: 27, internet country code: .uz. And we are embarrassed to note that "Uzbekistani" is correct for nationality and "Uzbek" is best used only for the ethnicity. We'll all have to learn this stuff if Kasimdzhanov wins, so start studying up now just in case!)

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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