MTel R9: Bu beats Topalov, Ivanchuk leads

5/17/2008 – Bulgaria's top grandmaster Veselin Topalov, rated 2767, had won three of his last four games; Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi, 2708, had lost three of his last four encounters and was languishing at the bottom of the table. Today they met head-on, and Bu won the game! With a round to go Vassily Ivanchuk is a full point ahead and playing "goal-keeper". Illustrated report with 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.

Round nine report

Round 9: Saturday, May 17, 2008

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

Bu Xiangzhi (2708) - Topalov,V (2767) [D23]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (9), 17.05.2008
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.Qxc4 Bf5 6.g3 Nbd7 7.Bg2 e6 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Re1 h6 11.e4 Bh7 12.Bf4 Rc8 13.Qe2 Re8 14.Rad1 b5 15.a3 a5 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Qb6 18.a4 Nd7 19.Bf4 b4 20.Nb1 Nf6 21.Be5 c5 22.Nd2 cxd4 23.Nb3 Qc6 24.Qb5 Qxb5 25.axb5 a4 26.Nxd4 Ng4 27.Bf4 g5 28.Bf3 Nxf2 29.Kxf2 gxf4 30.Nc6 fxg3+ 31.Kxg3 Bf8 32.Rd7 Bg6?

Bu sees his chance and plays 33.e5, which opens up the queenside and provides the b5-pawn full protection for a perspective promotion. Black should consider sacrificing the exchange with 33...Rb8. After 34.Nxb8 Rxb8 35.Rb7 Rxb7 36.Bxb7 a3 37.bxa3 bxa3 38.Ra1 Bc5 Black is not completely lost. Which he is after the immediate 33...Bc5? 34.Rc1 Be3 35.Rc4. Probably the best practical move, though 35.Ne7+ Kh7 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Nxc8 looks tempting. 35...a3 36.bxa3 bxa3 37.Ra4. Once again 37.Ne7 bears looking at. 37...Bc5 38.Ra6 a2 39.Rxa2 Kg7 40.Ra6 Rb8 41.Nxb8 Rxb8. This defensive manoeuvre comes too late. 42.Bc6 h5 43.Ra8 Rb6 44.Rdd8 h4+ 45.Kf4 Bh7 46.Be4 Be7 47.Rdb8 1-0. [Click to replay]


GM Robert Fontaine explains the critical position in the Europe Echecs report "Chess TV News (R9)" below


Veselin Topalov resigns to an obviously delighted Bu


Topalov analyses his game with Boris Spassky (Europe Echecs report)

Current standings


Video reports by Europe Echecs

Must-watch section with Vassily Ivanchuk in "Chess TV News (R9)", starting around 3 minutes into the report

Highlight is the soccer allegory, at around 3:50 min:

Fontaine: You started with five point out of five, and after the rest day four draws. You changed your strategy?

Ivanchuk: It's very strange. During the football match I was the goal-keeper [note that Russian speakers often use an h instead of g, as in garmony, gawaii, alchogol, and sometimes hypercorrect to an h where this is not required], and now for my games I feel myself like a goal-keeper [this time correct] in each game. I defend in each game only. It is very strange – some mystic explanation, of course.


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

Round 4: Sunday, May 11, 2008

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

Round 5: Monday, May 12, 2008

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

Round 6: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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

Round 7: Thursday, May 15, 2008

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

Round 8: Friday, May 16, 2008

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

Round 9: Saturday, May 17, 2008

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

Round 10: Sunday, May 18, 2008

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