Essent 2006: Judit Polgar beats Veselin Topalov

10/23/2006 – Round two of the Essent tournament in Hoogeven, Holland, brought more drama: Judit Polgar outplayed former world champion Veselin Topalov to take her second point in a row. Shakhryar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan also scored a second victory, this time over Ivan Sokolov and with the black pieces. Full report.

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Essent Chess Tournament 2006

The 10th edition of the Essent Chess Tournament is taking place from October 20 to 28, 2006 in Hoogeveen, Holland. As in the past years there are a number of competitions: a Crown Group, a strong Essent Open, an Amateur Tournament, a pub tournament and an event for youth. The games are being broadcast live on the official site and on Playchess.com. Full details on the event are available on our first Essent report.

Round two

Judit Polgar and Veselin Topalov, both supreme attacking players, were at each others throats in a super-sharp Sicilian Najdorf. But it was the Hungarian's day, and Judit took her second full point in a convincing display powerhouse tactics. Ivan Sokolov was confronted with a surprising sacrifice on move 19, and although he was not lost it required just a few inaccuracies to set him on the path to defeat. That came once again with a blunder in a fairly hopeless position.

So the first four games in this super-strong tournament have all ended with a decision – no draws so far, even though there are no special rules in place to prevent them. We are trying to remember when we last saw a quick GM draw in top-level events. Hmmm, perhaps things are really improving and the news of the demise of chess were greatly exaggerated?

Polgar,Ju (2710) - Topalov,V (2813) [B81]
10th Essent Hoogeveen NED (2), 23.10.2006
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4 h6 8.Bg2 g5 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Ne5 11.h3 Nfd7 12.f4 gxf4 13.Bxf4 b5 14.Rhf1 Bb7.

In this position on the Playchess server a female visitor from the Gulf State of Bahrain proposed a strategy of moving the queen to f2 and bringing the c3 knight via e2 and g3 to h5, which Judit Polgar immediately proceeded to do. A gender thing? Naw, just a good plan. 15.Qf2 Rc8 16.Nce2 Bg7 17.Ng3 Rh7 18.Nh5 Bh8 19.Kb1 Nc5.

White is much better, but misses a promising chance to clinch it here and now: 20.Nf5 (or 20.Bxe5 transposing, as WGM Zsuzsa Veroci pointed out) 20...exf5 21.Bxe5 Bxe5 22.Qxf5, threatening Qxh7 and, if the rook retreats, Qxf7 mate. White ends an exchange and a pawn up. But Judit outplayed her opponent with less drastic means. 20.Bg3 Nxe4 21.Bxe4 Bxe4 22.Bh4 Qc7 23.Bf6 Bg6 24.Bxh8 Rxh8 25.Nf6+ Kd8 26.h4 Qc5 27.h5 Bh7 28.Qh4 Bxc2+ 29.Nxc2 Qxc2+ 30.Ka1 Rc4 31.Ne4+ Kc7 32.Nxd6 Rf4.

Now all of Black's pieces are unprotected, and White has easy work finishing him off: 33.Qe7+ Kb6 34.Qb7+ Ka5 35.Qa7 b4 36.Rfe1 Nf3 37.Rc1 Nxe1 38.Rxc2 Nxc2+ 39.Kb1 1-0. A very convincing performance by the amazing Judit Polgar, who has come back from a second motherhood leave stronger than ever.

Sokolov,Iv (2670) - Mamedyarov,S (2728) [B07]
10th Essent Hoogeveen NED (2), 23.10.2006
1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.Re1 e5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 b6 10.a4 a6 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Nc4 Qe8 14.b4 Nh5 15.Ne3 Nf4 16.Bb1 Rd8 17.Nc4 Nf6 18.Qc1 g5 19.Bg3

19...Nxe4. An imaginative sacrifice that gives Black the initiative, but is a long way off from actually winning. 20.Bxe4 Bxe4 21.Rxe4 Qc6 22.Qc2 f5 23.Bxf4?! fxe4. 23...Qxe4 24.Qxe4 fxe4 25.Bxg5 was an interesting alternative. 24.Nfxe5 Qe6 25.Bg3 b5 26.axb5 axb5 27.Qxe4 bxc4 28.Qxc4 Qxc4 29.Nxc4 Bxc3. Black has a rook for knight and pawn and must be winning. Ivan Sokolov makes things easier for the opponent: 30.Rc1 Rd4 31.Ne3 Bd2 32.Be5?? Re4 0-1.

Tournament schedule:

Date Round Robin Open Group Amateurs
October 20 opening 1st round 1st round
October 21   2nd round 2nd round
October 22 1st round 3th round 3th round
October 23 2nd round 4th round 4th round
October 24 3th round 5th round 5th round
October 25 Rest day 6th round 6th round
October 26 4th round 7th round 7th round
October 27 5th round 8th round 8th round
October 28 6th round 9th round 9th round

Playing hours: All rounds start at 14.00 hours daily. The final round (October 28th) starts at noon.
The Amateur Groups have other starting times: Group I: 14.30 hours (October 28th at 13.00 hours); Groep II: 10.00 hours (October 28th at 9.00 hours).

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Topics: Essent 2006
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