Sofia 2007: All games drawn, Mamedyarov and Nisipeanu lead

5/12/2007 – Two days in, two white’s gone – and Veselin Topalov is still without a win. In his second round encounter with Michael Adams the British GM played the black side of a isolated queen's pawn position accurately. Adams managed to actually exert pressure before the draw was agreed. The other games were all drawn, after even struggles, on a day when statics balanced dynamics.

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Third M-Tel Masters in Sofia, Bulgaria

There are six participants in this double round robin tournament that goes from May 10 to 20. Time control: 2 hours for 40 moves + 1 hour for 20 moves + 30 minutes to the end the game. The players are not allowed to offer draws, they must consult the arbiter, who will decide (usually against) allowing the offer to be made.

Round two:

By Steve Giddins

Round 2: Friday, May 11 2007

Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
Shakriyar Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Gata Kamsky
Michael Adams 
½-½
 Krishnan Sasikiran

Topalov and Adams fought out a typical IQP (isolated queen's pawn) position, where Black’s active pieces made up for his potential pawn weakness. With accurate and active play (19…h5, for example), Adams created counterplay on the kingside and eventually even emerged with a nominal edge in a drawn ending.

Topalov,Veselin (2772) - Adams,Michael (2734) [E15]
3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia (2), 11.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0–0 12.0–0 Rc8 13.Re1 c5 14.cxd5 exd5 15.e3 Nf6 16.Qb1 Qd7 17.Qb2 cxd4 18.Bxd4 Bd3 19.Rac1 h5 20.Nf3 Be4 21.Ne5 Qe6 22.f3 Bf5 23.b4 Rfe8 24.b5 Rxc1 25.Rxc1 Bc5 26.Qc3 Bh3 27.Re1 h4 28.Nc6

28…Nd7 29.Bxg7 hxg3 30.hxg3 Qg6 31.Bxh3 Qxg3+ 32.Bg2 Qxg7 33.Qxg7+ Kxg7 34.Kf2 f5 35.f4 Nf6 36.Bf3 Ne4+ 37.Ke2 Nc3+ 38.Kd3 Nxb5 39.Ne5 Kf6 40.a4 Nc7 41.Rh1 Rxe5 42.fxe5+ Kxe5 43.Rh7 Ne6 44.Rxa7 b5 45.Ra8 bxa4 46.Rxa4 f4 47.exf4+ Nxf4+ 48.Rxf4 Kxf4 49.Bxd5 Ke5 draw.

Sasikiran-Mamedyarov was similar to Topalov-Adams, in that Black accepted static weaknesses (the f5 and d5 squares) in return for dynamic piece play. His activity kept the White knights from settling on the desired outposts and he never looked in any trouble. A drawn opposite-coloured bishop ending eventually resulted.

Sasikiran,Krishnan (2690) - Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2757)
3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia (2), 11.05.2007
1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c3 d6 4.e4 Nf6 5.Bd3 0–0 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Re1 e5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Nbd2 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Ne5 14.Bc2 Re8 15.Nf1 Bg4 16.f3

16…c5 17.Nf5 Bxf5 18.exf5 Qb6 19.Rb1 Nd7 20.Ne3 c4 21.Qd2 Nf6 22.Kh2 Qc5 23.b3 cxb3 24.Bxb3 Re5 25.Nc4 Rd5 26.Qe3 Qc6 27.Rbd1 Rxd1 28.Rxd1 d5 29.Ne5 Qc7 30.Ng4 h5 31.Nxf6+ Bxf6 32.f4 gxf4 33.Qxf4 Qxf4 34.gxf4 Rd8 35.Bxd5 b5 36.Kh3 Kf8 37.Bf3 Rxd1 38.Bxd1 h4 39.Be2 a6 40.Kg4 Kg7 41.Bf3 Bxc3 42.Kxh4 b4 43.Bd1 a5 44.Kg4 f6 45.Bb3 Bd2 46.Kf3 Bc1 47.g3 Bd2 48.Ke4 Be1 49.Kf3 Bd2 50.Ke4 Be1 51.Kf3 Bd2 52.Ke4 draw.

Kamsky’s unusual Slav sideline, 4…Qb6, held up well against Nisipeanu’s quiet response (5 Qc2 is more critical), and Black equalized with no problems at all. On Playchess.com, Grandmaster Iosif Dorfman, aka “Powerguru”, felt that Black could have been better around move 20. But Kamsky played relatively unambitiously and the game drifted towards a drawn ending.

Nisipeanu,Liviu Dieter (2693) - Kamsky,Gata (2705)
3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia (2), 11.05.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Qb6 5.e3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 e6 8.Bd3 Bb4 9.0–0 0–0 10.Qe2 Nbd7 11.Bd2 a5 12.Rfd1 Rfe8 13.Rab1 Bf8 14.Be1 g6 15.Qc2 Qa7 16.Bf1 Nb6 17.b3 Nc8 18.Qb2 Nd6 19.c5 Nde4 20.a3 Nxc3 21.Bxc3 Ne4 22.Be1 e5 23.b4 exd4 24.exd4 axb4 25.axb4 Bg7 26.h4 Qa3 27.Qxa3 Rxa3 28.b5 Bf6 29.g3 g5 30.bxc6 bxc6 31.Rb6 gxh4 32.gxh4 Re6 33.Bd3 Bxd4 34.Bxe4 Rxe4 35.Rxc6 Bc3 36.Bxc3 Rxc3 37.Rxd5 Rxh4 38.Rg5+ Kf8 39.Rf5 Rg4+ 40.Kf1 Rc1+ 41.Ke2 Re4+ 42.Kd2 Rcc4 43.Rc7 Rcd4+ 44.Kc3 Rc4+ 45.Kd2 Rcd4+ 46.Kc3 draw.

Standings after two rounds

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