This year the Ciudad de León Masters celebrates its silver jubilee, after 25 consecutive editions. The event pits Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov, winner of the FIDE tournament world championship in 2005, against GM Francisco Vallejo Pons, the top Spaniard in the current FIDE rankings. Both are considered creative and combative players. They know each other very well, which will require greater care on their home preparation. Topalov hired Vallejo as a coach for a couple of years, and was very satisfied with his work: "A large part of the new ideas that are in my games of those years are from Paco", he concedes.
The event consists of six games, played from Friday, June 8th, to Sunday, June 10th, two per day at a rate of 40 minutes per side plus 25 seconds after each move. If needed, a blitz tiebreak will be played on Sunday evening. GM commentary for the spectators is provided by GM Miguel Illescas (eight times Spanish champion) and IM Michael Rahal.
The venue, in León, Spain
The start of game one Francisco Vallejo vs Veselin Topalov
In the first game Topalov, playing black, had an advantage, but could not convert it into a full point. The game was drawn after 43 moves in a queen and pawns ending. In the second game it was once again black who had an advantage, this time Vallejo, and clearer than in the first game. Topalov defended repeatedly against the black threats, only to throw away the game with a terrible blunder.
Topalov,Veselin (2752) - Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2697) [C12]
XXV Torneo Magistral León León ESP (2), 08.06.2012
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.Bc1 Ne4 7.Qg4 g6 8.Nge2 Nxc3 9.bxc3 Ba5 10.Ba3 Nd7 11.h4 Nb6 12.Bb4 Bxb4 13.cxb4 Qe7 14.a3 a5 15.b5 Nc4 16.Qf3 Bd7 17.a4 Qb4+ 18.Nc3 Na3 19.Qd3 Rc8 20.Be2 c5 21.0-0 cxd4 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.Rxa3 Bf5 24.Qg3 Rxc2 25.Rb3 Qxa4 26.Bd1 Rc1 27.e6 0-0 28.exf7+ Rxf7 29.h5 g5 30.Rb1 Qc4 31.Rxc1 Qxc1 32.Bb3 Qc5 33.Qe5 Be4 34.f3 d3+ 35.Kh2 d2 36.Rd1 Bxf3 37.Rxd2 Be4 38.Bxd5 Bxd5 39.Rxd5 Qe7 40.Qb8+ Rf8 41.Qg3 Rf4 42.Qd3?? Just when White seemed to be safe at last.
42...Rh4+ and 0-1 because of 43.Kg1 Qe1+ 44.Qf1 Rh1+. Vallejo leads after the first day 1.5:0.5.
School children in the theatre
The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.