San Luis R4: The World Championship slugfest continues

10/2/2005 – This FIDE event has provided us with another exciting 4-0 day in Argentina. Anand was sensationally mated by last seed Kasimdzhanov, Peter Leko defeated his compatriot Judit Polgar, Bulgarian champion Veselin Topalov gave Michael Adams his second loss in succession, and Morozevich was defeated by Svidler. Big report by Nigel Short.

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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 Four Summary

First it was Peter Leko, who beat fellow Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar in a Sicilian Paulsen in just 25 moves. Then came Veselin Topalov, taking the Mickey out of Adams in an English game that lasted 38 moves. That's exactly how long it took Rustam Kasimdzhanov to demolish top seed Vishy Anand in a Sicilian Najdorf. And finally, late in the evening, Peter Svidler had scored a second victory, over Alexander Morozevich, to stay within striking distance of the leading Topalov.

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

The number of spectators following the games on Playchess.com broke all records for the server. The audio commentary in rounds three and four was done by IM Andrew Martin. The next two rounds will be covered again by Yasser Seirawan. Here is our schedule (subject to change):

28 Sept. Round 1    Yasser Seirawan   6 Oct. Round 8 Yasser Seirawan
29 Sept. Round 2 Yasser Seirawan   8 Oct. Round 9 Yasser Seirawan
30 Sept. Round 3 Andrew Martin   9 Oct. Round 10 Yasser Seirawan
1 Oct. Round 4 Andrew Martin   10 Oct. Round 11    Yasser Seirawan
3 Oct. Round 5 Yasser Seirawan   11 Oct. Round 12 Andrew Martin
4 Oct. Round 6 Yasser Seirawan   13 Oct. Round 13 Andrew Martin
5 Oct. Round 7 Andrew Martin   14 Oct. Round 14 Andrew Martin
   15 Oct. Tie-break   Andrew Martin  

Current standings at the World Championship in San Luis


World Championship Diary: Round 4

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

2.55pm: The most tense looking player, as they take their seats, is Peter Leko. He surely realizes that he is in the last chance saloon. Anything less than a win over his countrywoman, Judit Polgar, will leave him with a near-impossible amount of catching up to do. Adams, who yesterday was butchered in horrific style by a rampant Anand, has today the exceedingly unpleasant task of facing Toppy with Black. He probably wishes that the free day were today and not on Sunday.

4.30pm: I have finally dragged myself away from the hall. After the thrills and spills of yesterday I wanted to witness the games “absolutamente en vivo”.


The arbiter starts the clock for Morozevich vs Svidler

The first prolonged think came as early as move three when Svidler was surprised by Morozevich’s primitive pawn advance. Should he take the game down the paths of his beloved Gruenfeld, he wondered, although it was clear that his opponent would have something specific and possibly very nasty prepared against it? Should he venture a speculative central gambit? No, instead he chose the (Saemish) King’s Indian with which probably neither side was entirely comfortable (nor entirely familiar, it must be said).

The World Champion, Rustam Kasimjanov, quickly obtained the bishop pair against the co-leader Vishy Anand in a well-known line of Najdorf, although at the cost of some time and co-ordination. In an endgame though he should be well placed, if he gets that far. I like to say that bishops are like money in the bank – although in Argentina, that is hardly a guarantee that they will increase in value or even hold their worth.

Veselin Topalov continues his brand of manly, attacking chess against Michael Adams. While on this subject, I am reminded of a perfectly true little anecdote: at the World Championship in 1993 my doctor, perhaps a tad unethically, recommended a course of testosterone injections. “Why?” I asked him.

“Well, Nigel it seems that you are gentle, friendly sort of chap. You need to be more aggressive. Testosterone has this effect.“

While I was pondering this interesting insight I enquired “What is the main medical use of testosterone?”

“To cure impotence of course.”

On further reflection I decided that I did not need the injections. I duly lost the match – although possibly my failure to follow the doctor’s sound suggestion was not the only reason for my defeat.


Veselin Topalov, watched by his main rival Vishy Anand

Anyway, back to Toppy: the guy is certainly not afraid to take risks as his uncompromising early acceptance of doubled c-pawns showed. Long-term they can be a serious liability. In return he obtained interesting attacking prospects on the kingside.


Morozevich and Anand, two unhappy losers in round four

6.15pm: Apologies. I have been struggling a little bit to follow this on the Internet due to the extraordinary interest in the games. As a result, the server became a tad sluggish and so I have been running in and out of the playing hall and back to my laptop.

Leko has won! He looked really mean and determined at the start of the day. He handles this sort of Sicilian Taimanov rather well, in general.


Going down against a compatriot: Judit Polgar

Perhaps Polgar’s downfall can be traced to a reluctance to play d6 at the appropriate moment, thus establishing some sort of a grip on the Black squares. When her queen was driven back and her dark-squared bishop fell to a small combination, the end was in sight. White’s knight threatened to enter decisively via b5 and d6. It was perhaps worth playing on in the final position by sacrificing the rook for this knight. Don’t misunderstand me – Black was objectively lost, but on the other hand no game was ever won by resigning.


Kasim with the typical look of an Uzbek delivering a mating attack

6.30pm: Big upset: Kasimjanov crashes through against Anand. I have just had a brief chat with Vishy after this debacle. He was very unhappy with his opening although it was largely theory I believe. Quite honestly it did not look that bad at all, but I think he lost the thread in the early middlegame. The pseudo aggressive 30…Nh4? was probably the last straw, as the Uzbeks response, Bh5! left him unable to make his intended capture on g2 with check without leaving his own king hopelessly denuded. I am not even sure that Vishy saw the mate in two at the end, but frankly it hardly mattered at that point.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the press conference after the game


His unhappy opponent Vishy Anand

7.20pm: Topalov wins! Boy, is he turbo-charged. It is hard to pin down exactly where Adams went wrong but perhaps he should have captured the b-pawn when he had the fleeting tactical chance. Even so, his position would not have been entirely rosy. Instead he pursued the chimera of an attack down the h-file which quite honestly never looked like succeeding. In the end he blundered the exchange which merely hastened his fate.


Topalov has just won his game, while Svidler and Morozevich battle on

That means unless Svidler can win the remaining game, Topalov will enter the free day with a clear point lead. Glancing at the screen, that would seem an unlikely outcome although, come to think of it, the equality which Fritz so blithely suggests is certainly not sterile. Queens rooks and pawns are still on the board, but the very unbalanced pawn structure would indicate a frantic race to promote should more pieces be exchanged. That could go either way. Or it might be a draw. I am not hedging my bets, am I?


The enthralled audience in the theatre in San Luis

7.45: I am starting to fancy Svidler’s chances. His king is reasonably safe and may well shelter in front of his pawns if need be. The crucial factor, it appears, is that his pawns are slightly further advanced. In a race that will most likely prove decisive. Can Moroz generate some threats or get his own pawns rolling? I have my doubts.

I am wondering where it began to go downhill for Moroz because I am sure he stood very well earlier on. He is another guy who has not looked in the best form here. Yesterday’s lackluster effort against Toppy was very strange and totally uncharacteristic. If he sinks today he will be in real trouble.

8.15: It looks as if we are on the verge of another spectacular day with all decisive results.


Late in the evening and after 55 moves Morozevich, facing mate, resigns

8.33: Morozevich resigns – boy, that is two defeats in a row with White for him – as Svidler is about to give mate! Brilliant!


Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler in the press conference after their game

Why can’t all chess tournaments be like this? I can’t wait for the Svidler-Topalov clash on Monday. See you then!

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
-
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
-
A. Morozevich
Vishy Anand
-
Peter Leko
Michael Adams
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Games – Report
Round 6: Tuesday, October 4th
Judit Polgar
-
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
-
Peter Svidler
Michael Adams
-
A. Morozevich
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 7: Wednesday, October 5th
Veselin Topalov
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Peter Leko
-
Michael Adams
A. Morozevich
-
Vishy Anand
Peter Svidler
-
Judit Polgar
Games – Report
Round 8: Thursday, October 6th
Veselin Topalov
-
Peter Leko
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
A. Morozevich
Michael Adams
-
Peter Svidler
Vishy Anand
-
Judit Polgar
Games – Report
Free day: Friday, October 7th
Round 9: Saturday, October 8th
Vishy Anand
-
Veselin Topalov
Judit Polgar
-
Michael Adams
Peter Svidler
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
A. Morozevich
-
Peter Leko
Games – Report
Round 10: Sunday, October 9th
Veselin Topalov
-
A. Morozevich
Peter Leko
-
Peter Svidler
R. Kasimdzhanov
-
Judit Polgar
Adamas
-
Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 11: Monday, October 10th
Adamas
-
Veselin Topalov
Vishy Anand
-
R. Kasimdzhanov
Judit Polgar
-
Peter Leko
Peter Svidler
-
A. Morozevich
Games – Report
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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