MTel R2: Ivanchuk beats Topalov

5/9/2008 – It was a wild and vicious game, one of the most enjoyable we have seen in a long time. Both sides had chances, and it was the trademark throw-everything-at-the-enemy strategy of Veselin Topalov that failed against Vassily Ivanchuk, possibly the most experienced player in top-level chess. The other games were drawn. Full report with commentary and videos.

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The tournament, which is being held in the Central Military Club in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a double round-robin (all play all, with white and black). The rate of play is 90 minutes for 40 moves + 1 hour to the end of the game. Starting time: 15:00h local time (12:00h UTC), except the final round, which starts at 14:00h.


Sofia is the capital of the Republic of Bulgaria

We are reminded of a story: many years ago, longer than we care to contemplate, a friend, strong British GM by profession, played in a team championship in Sofia. From there he called his mother, and the following conversation, cross our hearts, occurred: "So where exactly are you?" – "In Bulgaria, mum." – "Which city?" – "I told you before I left. Have you forgotten?" – "Yes, dear, I have. Which city?" – "Come on mum, it's the capital of Bulgaria. It's a girl's name and starts with an 'S'". – "Sally?" That's it, Sally! Why do we keep calling it Sofia?

Round two report

Round 2: Friday, May 9, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Bu Xiangzhi 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Ivan Cheparinov

Topalov-Ivanchuk: 0-1

The opening was a classical French Defence, with Topalov playing 8.a3 in the hope of surprising his opponent. He, Ukrainian grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk, soon equalised and set about attacking Topalov's pawns. The game turned tactical and was the most exciting of the day.

Topalov,V (2767) - Ivanchuk,V (2740) [C11]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (2), 09.05.2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.a3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bc5 10.Be2 0-0 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.Bf3 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Nb6 14.Ne2 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 Bd7 16.b3 Bb5 17.Nc3 Rfc8 18.Nxb5 axb5 19.Be2

We bring you a diagram here to show you how Ivanchuk executes a plan with his knight. It is interesting that Fritz also comes up with the same idea. 19...Nd7 20.Ra2 Nb8 21.0-0 Nc6 22.Qd2 Qb6+ 23.Kh1 Qa5 24.Qxa5 Rxa5 25.Raa1 Rca8 26.Rad1

26...Rxa3 27.Bxb5 Nb4 28.c4 R8a5 29.f5 exf5 30.g4 Rxb3 31.gxf5 Re3 32.Rb1 Nd3

Things are looking better for White, who might be slightly better. Unfortunately the super-aggressive continuation does not really work. 33.e6? d4 34.Be8 Nc5? Better was simply 34...Kf8 – both players are in time trouble. 35.Bxf7+ Kf8 36.f6 gxf6 37.Rxf6 Ke7 38.Rh6 d3 39.Rxh7 d2

The excitement on the Playchess server – and we assume in the tournament venue in Sofia – reached fever pitch. Black is now clearly better, but White can still fight and hope to hold the draw. Unfortunately on the last move before the time control Topalov falters. 40.Rg1? This allows a forced win: Re1 41.Bh5+ Kxe6 42.Rhg7 Ne4 43.R7g6+ Ke5 0-1. [Click to replay]

The other two games were hard-fought draws: Levon Aronian was held by Ivan Cheparinov to a 46-move draw in a Slav; and Bu Xiangzhi vs Teimour Radjabov ended after 45 moves with bare kings.

Current standings


Video reports by Europe Echecs


In the round two report "Games and Interviews" GM Robert Fontaine talks to Ivan Cheparinov


The same report shows the terrible time trouble Topalov and Ivanchuk were in


Vassily Ivanchuk working hard for his second win in this tournament


Unlucky loss in a bravely fought game: Bulgaria's top GM Veselin Topalov


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, May 8, 2008

Levon Aronian 
0-1
 Veselin Topalov
Ivan Cheparinov 
1-0
 Bu Xiangzhi
Teimour Radjabov 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk

Round 2: Friday, May 9, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Bu Xiangzhi 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Ivan Cheparinov

Round 3: Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ivan Cheparinov 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
-
 Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Bu Xiangzhi
GamesReport

Round 4: Sunday, May 11, 2008

Teimour Radjabov 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Ivan Cheparinov
Bu Xiangzhi 
-
 Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Round 5: Monday, May 12, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
-
 Bu Xiangzhi
Levon Aronian  
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Ivan Cheparinov 
-
 Teimour Radjabov
GamesReport

Round 6: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
-
 Levon Aronian
Bu Xiangzhi  
-
 Ivan Cheparinov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Teimour Radjabov
GamesReport

Round 7: Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
-
 Bu Xiangzhi
Ivan Cheparinov 
-
 Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Round 8: Friday, May 16, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
-
 Ivan Cheparinov
Levon Aronian 
-
 Teimour Radjabov
Bu Xiangzhi 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport

Round 9: Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bu Xiangzhi 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
-
 Levon Aronian
Teimour Radjabov 
-
 Ivan Cheparinov
GamesReport

Round 10: Sunday, May 18, 2008

Veselin Topalov 
-
 Teimour Radjabov
Ivan Cheparinov 
-
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Levon Aronian 
-
 Bu Xiangzhi
GamesReport

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