MTel R9: Topalov on top after victory over Kamsky

5/20/2006 – Veselin Topalov picked up his third win in succession, this time over Gata Kamsky, who got a move sequence mixed up and spoiled his incredible tournament performance with a blackout in this critical round. Now Topalov and Kamsky lead, after Anand drew Svidler. Big pictorial report from Sofia.

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Round nine report

Round 9: Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gata Kamsky 
0-1
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
GamesReport

All games so far in PGN

Standings

World #1 Veselin Topalov capped an amazing comeback by beating leader Gata Kamsky with the black pieces. After Topalov's third straight win they are now tied for first with one round to play. Kamsky stuck his head into the Bulgarian lion's mouth by allowing the Najdorf and then tickled the lion's belly by playing the exact same line he has used many times in the past few months. Topalov was ready with a strong new move (14..e5) and the white position was soon in ruins. The attack was executed with Topalov's usual ruthless precision and White resigned on move 29.

Vishy Anand escaped against Peter Svidler in another Lopez. Even the final position looks good for Black, but at the end of the first time control Svidler looked at his clock, then at White's menacing pieces, and decided discretion was the better part of valor and took a repetition. Bacrot-Ponomariov was a relatively peaceful draw.

Topalov has white against Bacrot in the final round. Kamsky has black against Svidler. Anand is a half point back with black against Ponomariov. The curious tournament regulations dictate that a tie for first place between two players results in rapid and blitz tiebreaks. If three players are tied for first, they use various systems, starting with most wins.

Video impressions by Vijay Kumar


Photo report from Sofia

By Frederic Friedel


An outdoor market on the way to the city centre, where the tournament takes place


It's the start of strawberry and cherry season. Quality is already excellent, prices I am told will go down to less than a dollar a kilogram.


Veselin Topalov arrives early for his game against Gata Kamsky


Gata comes at the last minute – no piping hot coffee before the game today


At the start of round nine: Etienne Bacrot of France


Bacrot vs Ruslan Ponomariov, both of whom are trailing in the table


Vishy Anand, preparing for a tense game against his friend Peter Svidler


Another Ruy Lopez, under the watchful eye of TV cameraman Vijay Kumar


Round nine is under way


The technology room where the live I
nternet broadcast is generated


Live audio commentary for the audience


What Topalov second Ivan Cheparinov does instead of anxiously biting his nails in the playing hall


"To the sweetest Romi" he signs the poster...


...and both enjoys the idea of this becoming part of our round nine report


Yet another young Bulgarian talent: Milena Stefanova, 16, this year's under 16 and under 18 girls' champion of her country. In 2002 Milena won the European under 12 championship in rapid chess in Novi Sad. She is trained by her father Plamen Stefanov, an IT specialist, and goes to a special mathematics school.


The book store just outside the playing hall


Prominently on display: the first four volumes of His Great Predecessors in Russian


During lunch break in a streetside restaurant we are approached by a young gypsy girl.
Mark Lefler, an American friend with whom I am staying in Sofia, is a contact magician and pulled the coin she wanted out of thin air.


This bright young girl immediately forgot about working the other guests and spent all of her time trying to figure out how Mark made the coin disappear and reappear.


No, turns out one cannot simply take them back to Germany


A traditional dance group taking a break on the balcony of their theatre


In the press room: international FIDE arbiter Gregorio Hernandez Santana, who in his caricature looks disconcerting like a former dictator who currently being tried in a Baghdad court.


A cartoon on the wall of the press center – can anyone with a knowledge of Arabic translate it? Alternately, can non-Arabic readers supply a plausible caption in English?

Addendum: Translation by Mahmud Hassain of Canada: "When he discovered that in chess there is king, visir (councilor or miniser for the queen) and soldiers (pawns), he got scared of playing ... He said to leave him out of politics".


This one needs no translation


Famous movie scenes with chess motifs


Lottery tickets with a chess position


Mild chess erotica in an unusual postcard collection


At the end of a hard-fought game Peter Svidler answers the question of Russian chess journalist Yurij Vasiliev


Anand showed us his scoresheet, noting that for the first time ever he had made use of the rule that allows players in time trouble to use dashes instead of the move notation during the last four minutes. At dinner Peter Svidler told us that in such situations Alexander Grischuk will write down the full move, in long algebraic if necessary, and even note the clock times next to it.


Very seldom in time trouble: Vishy Anand

Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, May 11, 2006

Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Gata Kamsky
Etienne Bacrot 
0-1
 Vishy Anand

Round 2: Friday, May 12, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Vishy Anand
Gata Kamsky 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Peter Svidler 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov

Round 3: Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand 
0-1
 Gata Kamsky

Round 4: Sunday, May 14, 2006

Etienne Bacrot 
½-½ 
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Gata Kamsky 
1-0
 Peter Svidler

Round 5: Monday, May 15, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Gata Kamsky
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Ruslan Ponomariov 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot

Round 6: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Peter Svidler
Gata Kamsky  
1-0
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot

Round 7: Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vishy Anand 
0-1
 Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Gata Kamsky
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Peter Svidler

Round 8: Friday, May 19, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
1-0 
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Peter Svidler 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot
Gata Kamsky 
½-½
 Vishy Anand

Round 9: Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gata Kamsky 
 
 Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand 
   Peter Svidler
Etienne Bacrot 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
GamesReport

Round 10: Sunday, May 21, 2006

Veselin Topalov 
 
 Etienne Bacrot
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler 
   Gata Kamsky
GamesReport


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