San Luis R11: Anand and Svidler win, Topalov on the brink

10/11/2005 – Round eleven was another exciting affair, with Vishy Anand winning comfortably against Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Peter Svidler outplayed Alexander Morozevich to take the full point. Meanwhile Michael Adams took Veselin Topalov to the brink (the game was drawn). Full illustrated report.

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The FIDE World Chess Championship is taking place in the Hotel Potrero de los Funes
Complex, in the Province of San Luis, Argentina, from September 27 to October 16, 2005.

Round Eleven Summary

Round 11: Monday, October 10th
Michael Adams
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
1-0
R. Kasimdzhanov
Judit Polgar
½-½
Peter Leko
Peter Svidler
1-0
A. Morozevich

Current standings at the World Championship in San Luis


World Championship Diary: Round 11

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

Lunchtime: As Topalov’s talisman I am dragged off for some food. My accidental presence at the Bulgarian’s table has been deemed to be good luck since his victory on the first day and so, in fealty, I have now no choice but to fulfill my obligations and stay with him.


Nigel with some of the young Argentinian translators

For the last week I have also been invited to dine with some rather attractive female translators, but regretfully I keep having to turn them down. I am secretly starting to hope that Toppy will lose. Oops, I am not allowed to think that am I? I am partly consoled by the regal treatment I receive with the winning Bulgarian team. I somehow feel part of the success, even though I know it is not really true.


Peter Leko with black against fellow-Hungarian Judit Polgar

3.30pm: I was going to say that the tournament has an end of term atmosphere to it: Polgar-Leko, a well-known Caro-Kann endgame, for instance, is about as thoroughly chewed a piece of meat as one can get. Whereas in the dim and distant past, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (i.e. in my youth), it was considered favourable to White, nowadays it is well known to be harmless. Experts like Alexey Dreev, have demonstrated Black’s numerous resources. I can only conclude that Polgar is sick and tired of losing games and wishes to play something solid and safe. I am predicting a quick draw.


Michael Adams (right), up for a fight against Veselin Topalov

Observing Michael Adams engrossed in thought, in a Scheveningen set-up that has occurred countless times in grandmaster chess, seemed like watching someone trying to re-invent the wheel. “Whom are you trying to kid with this charade?” I muttered to myself. We know that you are going to bring out some well trodden theoretical moves, shrug your shoulders when sterile equality inevitably appears, and then propose peace.


Someone taking a keen interest in Adams vs Topalov

I was wrong. Quite wrong. I had maligned the man. Suddenly he surprised the audience by doing something if not exactly new then at least a little unusual, sacrificing a pawn. Toppy was ready for this continuation however and quickly rattled off his next few moves. Adams has now obtained fair compensation due to the weakened dark squares around the Black king, but Black is in no great danger at the moment, and besides is master of the useful a8-h1 long diagonal. If Black can diffuse the initiative, he will simply stand better. The next 10 moves are critical.


Kasim arriving in the playing hall with his wife Firuza

In a topical Be3 Najdorf, Kasimjanov appeared unsettled when Anand casually plonked his knight on a5 leaving it en prise to the Black queen. He should not have done, because it has been played before in the important game Bologan-Gelfand earlier this year. In certain openings, a knowledge of general principles is more important than specific moves, but in the Najdorf this is most definitely not the case. One would go so far as to say that it is a recipe for disaster.


Vishy Anand vs Rustam Kasimzdhanov is a Be3 Najdorf

Needless to say, the knight was inviolable; grabbing it would have led to instant calamity. The Uzbek, who is enjoying his last few days as World Champion, avoided the transparent trap, but at the cost of some time. He may regret the waste of that valuable resource later.


He's Russian and it's a Russian: Alexander Morozevich

I guess that it is only fitting that Svidler-Morozevich should be a Petroff Defence or “Russian Game” as it known in some parts of the world. I believe that in draughts or checkers certain openings are simply banned. Perhaps FIDE ought to do the same for this opening: it is pretty dull, after all. It would at least make more sense than testing people for drugs. Anyway, Svidler arguably has a small advantage. It is not the sort of thing to get very excited about but perhaps he can work with this edge and massage it into something more significant. Incidentally, despite having Alexander Motylev – a Petroff expert – as his second, “Peter the Great” has not shown too much in the way of novel ideas in the games he has faced it so far. Probably the opening is not be refuted.


Judit Polgar, strongest female player in history

5.10pm: Golly gosh! Kasim is in serious trouble. His d-pawn is about to drop off and his position with it. What was that atrocious move Rb8? Fatigue is clearly playing its part. Perhaps if he spent less time reading Lewis Carroll and more time studying the game he would do better. Mind you, I much prefer him as he is: he would not be half as much fun otherwise.


Kasimdzhanov watching Adams vs Topalov

I said that the next 10 moves of Adams-Topalov would be crucial and they were. The Englishman’s knight danced around to the kingside whereupon it immolated itself on h5. Toppy nervously declined the sacrificial offering, but the horse then galloped in to e8, capturing a rook in the process. With a pawn for the exchange Black is only very slightly worse, but he may be somewhat rattled by this unexpected turn of events. The closer he is to becoming World Champion, the more likely he is to falter. With the tournament practically in the bag there can be nothing more frustrating than the prospect of losing to the only winless player.


The two Hungarians, Polgar and Leko, in the press conference

My apologies for not keeping you up to speed on the Polgar-Leko thriller. I had simply assumed that it was going to finish in a very boring draw and it did not disappoint. The game probably finished ages ago but I hadn’t noticed.

6.00pm: Wow! Adams has sacrificed a rook! With his queen and remaining rook combining to make threats against the king he will win back a bishop, but then what? He is not taking any risks but can he win? My first impression is that he will not quite have enough, but it is close indeed.


Always a delight: Firuza Kasimdzhanov and Aruna Anand

Kasim is hopelessly lost. Correction: he has just resigned. That was a catastrophe for the Uzbek: one shockingly bad move quite early on and it was game over. Anand moves up to plus two – level with Svidler. Now lets’s see how he is doing…


Peter Svidler, nursing a win out of a Petroff

Hmm, not bad at all. In fact I would say that his position is highly promising, if not to say downright winning. He is already a pawn up. Two further juicy targets, fixed on white squares and potential prey to the powerful bishop, may fall seriatim.


Michael Adams, still winless, but pushing Topalov to the edge

Adams-Topalov, draw. That was great stuff ! Very exciting. Toppy’s king wandered around precariously on the fifth rank, but Adams was just a little too short of firepower to exploit it. With his own king threatened with mate in one, he had no choice other than to acquiesce to a perpetual.


Adams and Topalov in the press conference

8.50pm: My friend Peter has been making a real dog’s breakfast of this one. Time after time he has disdained capturing pawns in favour of attempting to keep control. There are times when one just needs to calculate accurately and then take something. He has, in my opinion, unnecessarily allowed Alexander “Houdini” Morozevich to create difficulties. That said, he is probably still winning, and at the end of the day he will be very grateful for the full point however it comes.


Peter Svidler in the press conference after the game

9.20pm: Svidler brings home the bacon! Moro’s last move, putting a bishop en prise was a touch bizarre. He must have been lost anyway but that was a strange way to go.


A bunch of niños at the entrance to the playing hall

Svidler now moves to within a point and a half of Topalov. Should he succeed in defeating the leader with Black then he will have real chances to overtake him. If not, it is all over.

The Short glossary

fealty – noun; a feudal tenant’s or vassal’s sworn loyalty to a lord; the loyalty that citizens owe to their country, or subjects to their sovereign.

immolate – verb; to kill or offer yourself or someone as a sacrifice, usually by burning, in a ceremonial way. Origin Latin immolare ‘sprinkle with sacrificial meal’, from mola ‘meal’.

seriatim – adverb; in a series; one after another. Pronounced si-ree-ate-tim.

acquiesce – verb; accept or consent to something without protest. Pronounced ak-wee-ss.

All photos: Word Chess Championship Press


Full schedule

Round 1: Wednesday, September 28th

Peter Leko
0-1
Veselin Topalov
A. Morozevich
½-½
R. Kasimdzhanov
Peter Svidler
½-½
Michael Adams
Judit Polgar
0-1
Vishy Anand
Round 2: Thursday, September 29th
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Vishy Anand
Michael Adams
½-½
Judit Polgar
R. Kasimdzhanov
½-½
Peter Svidler
Peter Leko
½-½
A. Morozevich
Round 3: Friday, September 30th
A. Morozevich
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Peter Svidler
1-0
Peter Leko
Judit Polgar
1-0
R. Kasimdzhanov
Vishy Anand
1-0
Michael Adams
Round 4: Saturday, October 1st
Veselin Topalov
1-0
Michael Adams
R. Kasimdzhanov
1-0
Vishy Anand
Peter Leko
1-0
Judit Polgar
A. Morozevich
0-1
Peter Svidler
Free day: Sunday, October 2nd
Round 5: Monday, October 3rd
Peter Svidler
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
½-½
A. Morozevich
Vishy Anand
½-½
Peter Leko
Michael Adams
½-½
R. Kasimdzhanov
Round 6: Tuesday, October 4th
Judit Polgar
0-1
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
½-½
Peter Svidler
Michael Adams
½-½
A. Morozevich
R. Kasimdzhanov
½-½
Peter Leko
Round 7: Wednesday, October 5th
Veselin Topalov
1-0
R. Kasimdzhanov
Peter Leko
1-0
Michael Adams
A. Morozevich
1-0
Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler
1-0
Judit Polgar
Round 8: Thursday, October 6th
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Peter Leko
R. Kasimdzhanov
0-1
A. Morozevich
Michael Adams
½-½
Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand
1-0
Judit Polgar
Free day: Friday, October 7th
Round 9: Saturday, October 8th
Vishy Anand
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
½-½
Michael Adams
Peter Svidler
½-½
R. Kasimdzhanov
A. Morozevich
1-0
Peter Leko
Round 10: Sunday, October 9th
Veselin Topalov
½-½
A. Morozevich
Peter Leko
½-½
Peter Svidler
R. Kasimdzhanov
1-0
Judit Polgar
Michael Adams
½-½
Vishy Anand
Round 11: Monday, October 10th
Michael Adams
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
1-0
R. Kasimdzhanov
Judit Polgar
½-½
Peter Leko
Peter Svidler
1-0
A. Morozevich
Round 12: Tuesday, October 11th
Veselin Topalov
-
Peter Svidler
A. Morozevich
-
Judit Polgar
Peter Leko
-
Vishy Anand
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Michael Adams
Games – Report
Free day: Wednesday, October 12th
Round 13: Thursday, October 13th
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams
-
Peter Leko
Vishy Anand
-
A. Morozevich
Judit Polgar
-
Peter Svidler
Games – Report
Round 14: Friday, October 14th
Veselin Topalov
-
Judit Polgar
Peter Svidler
-
Vishy Anand
A. Morozevich
-
Michael Adams
Peter Leko
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Games – Report
Tie-breaks: Saturday, October 15th

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