Mamedyarov beats Topalov at Essent Tournament

by ChessBase
10/22/2006 – Just eight days after the end of the World Championship in Elista Veselin Topalov in back at the board, at the 2006 Essent tournament in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen. The other players are Shakhryar Mamedyarov, Judit Polgar and Ivan Sokolov. Mamedyarov beat Topalov in round one, Polgar took a point from Dutch number one Sokolov. Report with pictures and video.

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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. The location is the city of Hoogeveen. 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. Commentary on the Crown Group games will be available in the chess café in Hoogeveen. The games are also being broadcast live on the Internet, on the official site and on

Participants of the Crown Group

The star attraction at the 2006 Essent tournament is former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, who still sports an Elo rating of more than 100 points above the average of his opponents (85 more than the second seed).

Player Federation Rating
Veselin Topalov Bulgaria  2813
Shakhryar Mamedyarov   Azerbaijan  2728
Judit Polgar Hungary  2710
Ivan Sokolov Netherlands    2670

Shakhryar Mamedyarov is the Junior World Champion, Judit Polgar the strongest female player (by a good bit) in the history of the game, and Ivan Sokolov the strongest Dutch player at the current time. Judit is a well-known face in Hoogeveen, and this is her eighth appearance there.

Round one

Shakhryar Mamedyarov beat Veselin Topalov in a Semi-Slav Meran, in which twenty moves was theory and the outcome of the game (probably) hinged on an inaccuracy on move 35. Judit Polgar played an Open Ruy Lopez against Ivan Sokolov, who played vigorously with the black pieces. But his attacked collapsed near the end and Judit could chalk up a first-round win in this event.

Mamedyarov,S (2728) - Topalov,V (2813) [D47]
10th Essent Hoogeveen NED (1), 22.10.2006
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.Nxc5 Nxc5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.0-0 h6 15.Nd2 0-0 16.Ne4 Bd4 17.Nd6 Bc6 18.Bh7+ Kxh7 19.Qxd4 f6 20.Bd2 Qd7N Veselin Topalov deviates, avoiding the usual 20...fxe5, which has produced a balanced score between white and black in the past. 21.Rac1 a5 22.Qd3+ f5 23.Rc5 Ne7 24.Rfc1 Ra7 25.Be3 Rfa8 26.Qe2 Ra6 27.h4 Qd8.

28.Bg5 hxg5 29.Qh5+ Kg8 30.Qf7+ Kh7 31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qf7+ Kh7. It looked like a quick draw, but after repeating twice Mamedyarov decides to try for a win. 33.hxg5 Ng6? Surely holding on to the bishop with 33...Be8 would have been better. 34.Rxc6 Qxg5. Now material is equal but White has a powerful attack. 35.Rc8.

Now a normal continuation would be 35...Rxc8 36.Rxc8 Rxd6 37.exd6 Qd2 (but not 37...Qg4, which loses) with a perpetual to follow. We don't know what Topalov had in mind when he played 35...Nf4? 36.g3 Rxc8 37.Rxc8. Now the path of the queen to d2 is blocked by the knight. 37...Qg4 38.Qg8+ Kg6 39.Qe8+ Kh7 40.Qh8+. Now any black dreams of a perpetual have dissipated. 40...Kg6 41.Rc7 Qd1+ 42.Kh2 Qh5+ 43.Qxh5+ Nxh5 44.Re7 Rc6 45.Rxe6+ Kh7 and the Junior World Champion finishes off the former FIDE World Champion with a florish: 46.Nf7 Rxe6 47.Ng5+ 1-0.

Peter Doggers, Editor-in-chief of the Doggersschaak web site, has made a very nice video with the key moments of the Mamedyarov-Topalov game – 36.g3, 41.Rc7, 44.Re7, the resignation – and put it on (where else?) YouTube.

Peter Doggers' video from round one: 6m 34s

Picture gallery

The venue of the Essent Tournament

Veselin Topalov arrives and is greeted by GM Mikhail Gurevich

Instructions from the arbiter [must ... resist ... temptation ... no ... wisecracks]

Note that the GMs are using glass pieces and mechanical Garde clocks

The opponent: Shakhryar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan

Judit Polgar arrives to face Ivan Sokolov

Mother of two, strongest female player in history

Ivan Sokolov, Holland's number one

The spectators, as seen through a glass chess pawn

The games of the Crown Group are played behind glass walls...

... while outside the Open Tournament is under way

Photos by Jeroen van den Belt

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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