MTel R6: Topalov and Cheparinov win, Ivanchuk draws

5/15/2008 – The shocker of round six: Vassily Ivanchuk only drew his game against Teimour Radjabov, the first time he has dropped half a point in this tournament. His performance has dropped to a dismal 3155. Both Bulgarians, Cheparinov and Topalov, won their games and are in second and third place. A prominent visitor was Boris Spassky, who commentated for the spectators. Full pictorial report.

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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 six report

Round 6: Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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

Current standings


Round six report from Sofia

By IM Dejan Bojkov

I was wrong. Much to my surprise PFC “Levski” managed to win against Chess United. 3-2. Despite of the fact that they almost broke all the negative records in the history of the club. Despite of the additional support that “Chess United” had in the names of Zurab Azmajparashvili and Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria’s best marathon swimmer ever. And even despite of the brilliant Ivanchuk as a goalkeeper! “We need to arrest Ivanchuk”, joked Danailov for radio Gong after the match. “He was a discovery as a goalkeeper. He plays strongly both chess and football. So far he is ingenious!”


Start of the match PFC Levsky vs Chess United (with Veselin Topalov, Ivan Cheparinov and Vassily Ivanchuk in blue, and Josef Vinatzer, CEO of Mobiltel as referee)


Ivanchuk impressed as a superb goalkeeper for the chess team


Unfortunately PFC Levsky was able to get past the goalie and win [pictures from tournament site]

Round six started with a minute of silence for the victims of earthquake in China. Thousands of people died in the disaster. We all sympathize with the Chinese people.

Some positive news came from Sofia with the arrival of Boris Spassky. The legendary GM went straight into the commentary studio and started to entertain the public. “The best tournament that I have ever played in was in 1950”, he said. “It was great – a waiter came to you during the game, and you could order anything you wanted to drink (even some vodka, if you liked). Pity, there are no longer tournaments organized in this manner…” – ”But didn't anyone protest against this?” asked someone in the public. “Oh, yes, and it was the strongest player of the event, Vasily Smislov.” Spassky kept on pleasing the audience with his colorful memories, excellent chess and witty remarks with short pauses.


Chess legend Boris Spassky with organiser Radislav Atanasov

Today the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov will officially receive Boris Spassky at 13:00 local time. Great champion will play a simultaneous exhibition against journalists. Krasimir Kushev from National TV is already asking me how to face 1.e4. “Sicilian," I advise him, "play a long battle against his favorite Closed System”. We shall see if this will work well.


Legendary Bulgarian GM Ivan Radulov

One other legendary player attended the tournament as well: Ivan Radulov. The many-times Bulgarian champion and one of our best players ever, Ivan still plays chess actively if a chance arises.


Cheparinov's second GM Vladimir Dimitrov

Vladimir Dimitrov is here as well. He is a long-time trainer of Ivan Cheparinov, and was with him in Baku for the Grand Prix. “I have some rest now”, he said, and in the meantime provides live annotation of the game Ivanchuk-Radjabov for a chess blog.


In the lobby I met the current Bulgarian women's champion Elitza Raeva (right)

In the meantime Ivanchuk opted for open game against Radjabov, and had to face the Sveshnikov line. Vassily looked confident and spend something like six minutes in the opening. But when Radjabov introduced the novelty he sank into deep thought

Ivanchuk,V (2740) - Radjabov,T (2751) [B33]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (6), 14.05.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7 11.Bd3 Ne7 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.c3 f5 14.Nc2 0-0 15.0-0 Rb8 16.exf5 e4 17.Be2 Bxf5 18.Nb4 Qg5 19.f4 exf3 20.Bxf3 Rbe8N

After the Radjabov novelty White decides to keep it safe with 21.Nc6. Critical were both 21.Na6 or 21.Qd6, but I guess that Ivanchuk’s sense of danger prevented him from capturing any of the pawns. The text move leads to mass exchanges, and with accurate play the game ended peacefully. The leader dropped his first half point! 21...Be5 22.Nxe5 dxe5 23.Qc1 Qxc1 24.Raxc1 Be6 25.Rfe1 f6 26.Rcd1 Rd8 27.Bb7 a5 28.Bc6 b4 29.cxb4 axb4 30.a4 Rxd1 31.Rxd1 Rc8 32.Be4 f5 33.Bd5 Bxd5 34.Rxd5 Rc2 35.b3 Rc3 36.Rxe5 Rxb3 37.Rxf5 Ra3 38.a5 b3 39.Rb5 Kg7 40.h3 b2 41.Rxb2 Rxa5 ½-½.


Vassily Ivanchuk being comforted by chess fans after dropping his first half-point

For the audience’s enormous pleasure he did not leave the tournament hall immediately, but joined Spassky, and they both started a deep exploring of the game Bu-Cheparinov. The Ukrainian’s devotion to chess is simply exceptional.


Radislav Atanasov and Boris Spassky annotating the game Bu-Cheparinov


Boris Vasilievich is joined by Vassily Ivanchuk and a bunch of young chess fans

Ivan Cheparinov tried to explore his opponent’s passive play in the opening. On move eight he jumped with his knight on e4, and later supported it with f5. A kind of favorable Stonewall arose and in the doubled-edged game the Bulgarian felt better. Little by little he managed to create an attack on the King’s flank, and on move 40 effectively sacrificed a whole rook and netted a full point.

Bu Xiangzhi (2708) - Cheparinov,I (2696) [D45]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (6), 14.05.2008
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.b3 Nbd7 6.Bb2 Bd6 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Be2 Ne4 9.Nd2 f5 10.0-0 Qh4 11.f4 Nxd2 12.Qxd2 Nf6 13.a4 Rf7 14.a5 g5 15.g3 Qh3 16.Bf3 gxf4 17.exf4 Bd7 18.Na4 Ne4 19.Bxe4 fxe4 20.Nc5 Be8 21.Ba3 Qf5 22.a6 b6 23.Nb7 Bxa3 24.Rxa3 Rg7 25.Nd6 Qf6 26.f5 Bh5 27.fxe6 Bf3 28.cxd5 cxd5 29.Nf7 h5 30.Ne5 h4 31.Nxf3 hxg3 32.b4 Rf8 33.h3 g2

34.Re1? The losing move. 34.Rf2 would have given White good chances to hold. 34...exf3 35.Qf2 Qf5 36.Kh2 Qf4+ 37.Kg1 Qf5 38.Kh2 Qf4+ 39.Kg1 Rg3 40.e7

Here there is a simple win, 40...Re8, after which White is lost: 41.Re2 Rxe7 (41...fxe2 42.Rxg3+ Kh7 43.Qxf4 e1Q+ 44.Kxg2 Qe4+ 45.Qxe4+ dxe4 wins, but in a longer fight) 42.Rxe7 Rxh3 and mate to follow. Cheparinov takes a more spectacular path: 40...Rxh3 41.exf8Q+ Kxf8 42.Rxf3 Rxf3 43.Re2 Kf7 44.b5 Kf6 0-1.

At the press-conference after the game journalists ask Bu what is the reason for his passive play, to which he replied that although he may play passive sometimes, today he felt that at some moment he even had the upper hand. With his win Cheparinov went on 50% average, which gives him clear third for the moment.


Topalov's second Francisco Vallejo

Veselin Topalov had a long battle against Levon Aronian. He got a slight edge out of the opening, but the Armenian defended well, and it looked like that he could easily share the point.

Topalov,V (2767) - Aronian,L (2763) [D47]
4th M-Tel Masters Sofia BUL (6), 14.05.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.a3 Bb7 11.h3 e5 12.Qc2 Re8 13.Bd2 Qe7 14.Ng5 h6 15.Nge4 Bc7 16.Rfe1 Bb6 17.Ng3 Rad8 18.Rad1 Qf8 19.Nce2 a6 20.b4 h5 21.Bc3 h4 22.Ne4 Nd5 23.Nc5 Nxc5 24.dxc5 Bc7 25.Bb2 Bc8 26.Bh7+ Kh8 27.Bf5 Bxf5 28.Qxf5 Qe7 29.Nc3 Nxc3 30.Bxc3 Kg8 31.Qe4 Qe6 32.Qxh4 Qb3 33.Rc1

33…Rd3 would have led to a draw. But Aronian went for the wrong plan and lost a pawn. 33...Qxa3? 34.Qe4 a5 35.Qxc6 axb4 36.Bxb4 Qxb4 37.Qxc7 Rc8 38.Qa7 Re6 39.Red1 Qe4 40.Qd7 Rec6 41.Qb7 b4 42.Rd7 Qf5 43.Rd5 Rg6 44.Kf1 b3 45.Qxb3 Qg5 46.g3 Qf5 47.Kg2 Rf6 48.Rd2 Qf3+ 49.Kh2

49...Rd6 “What is this, is it some joke?” asked Paco Vallejo, and quoted a long forced line that wins for White. Topalov did not make use of his second’s suggestion, but won in a safer way. 50.Qa2 Rxd2 51.Qxd2 Rc6 52.Kg1 Rh6 53.Qd1 Qc6 54.h4 Rf6 55.Qg4 g6 56.h5 Kg7 57.e4 Kh6 58.hxg6 fxg6 59.Kg2 Kg7 60.Qe2 Rf7 61.Rc4 g5 62.Qh5 Qf6 63.Rc2 Qd8 64.c6 Qd3 65.Qxg5+ Kf8 66.Qh6+ Kg8 67.Rd2 Qxe4+ 68.Kh2 Rf8 69.c7 Qf5 70.f3 1-0.

Now the distance between Topalov and Ivanchuk is just one point. On Thursday they face each other in a crucial game.


Video reports by Europe Echecs


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 
-
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
-
 Bu Xiangzhi
Ivan Cheparinov 
-
 Levon Aronian
GamesReport

Round 8: Friday, May 16, 2008

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

Round 9: Saturday, May 17, 2008

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

Round 10: Sunday, May 18, 2008

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

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