San Luis R6: Topalov beats Polgar with black

10/5/2005 – Veselin Topalov is on a rampage, the likes of which have not been see for a very long time in chess. In round six he chalked up yet another win, this time with black against Judit Polgar. With 5.5/6 points his tournament performance is now a staggering 3157. How far can he go? The other games were hard-fought, exciting draws. Full 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 Six Summary

Veseling Topalov cannot be stopped. Today he chalked up another victory, yet another with the black pieces. After six rounds the Bulgarian has conceded just one draw, and even that was a lucky escape for Anand in round two. Today it was Judit Polgar who, after playing the dubious 20.g4, was taken apart in the ruthlessly accurate style of this man. Garry Kasparov had a succinct explanation for Topalov's success: "He is playing chess." The result is a performance, so far, that comes to 3157 Elo points (i.e. one could only expect someone with that rating to score 5.5/6 in this field of players.

Anand and Svidler fought for 39 moves, with the Indian former world champion pressing, but to no avail. Kasimdzhanov vs Leko was a complex affair but ended in a 43 move draw. Adams vs Morozevich was even more complex, with the Russian pressing hard when his English opponent faltered. After almost exactly six hours and 76 moves the game ended in a draw.

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

The round six games on Playchess.com were commented by Yasser Seirawan, who helped to set yet another server record (at one stage 6700 visitors were logged in simultaneously). Yasser is becoming very proficient at doing live audio commentary for on Playchess. People appreciate that he speaks slowly and very clearly, so that even those who are not completely fluent in English have little trouble following his comments. Here's the schedule for the remaining rounds:

5 Oct. Round 7 Andrew Martin   10 Oct. Round 11    Yasser Seirawan
6 Oct. Round 8 Yasser Seirawan   11 Oct. Round 12 Andrew Martin
8 Oct. Round 9 Yasser Seirawan   13 Oct. Round 13 Andrew Martin
9 Oct. Round 10 Yasser Seirawan   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 6

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

Dinner last night: The Deputy arbiter, Herman van Riemsdijk, saunters over. One unspecified player has officially protested that Veselin Topalov is always playing at the same table whereas the other poor souls are rotating places. Apparently, according to the accuser, this confers a great advantage on the Bulgarian. I had assumed that Toppy’s excellent score had more to do with the moves he was making on the board, but this merely showed my great naivety. Neither the arbiters nor the other participants, however, seem too impressed with the protest, and it is quietly dismissed.


The arbiters at the World Championship Tournament in San Luis

Lunchtime today: Silvio Danailov, the manager of Topalov, revealed that his ward’s shocking sacrifice of yesterday had already featured in two unknown games of the Bulgar’s analyst, Ivan Cheparinov (with White), against Jose Iberra. The Spaniard was ill-rewarded for his ingenuity, losing one and drawing the other, but the strength of the idea was recognised by the team.


Veselin Topalov, who seems to be quite unstoppable

4.00pm: Jawohl! Toppy re-erects the Berlin wall. Garry Kasparov was another attacking player who notably thought this dour defence is a suitable opening choice against a woman, but it didn’t do him much good. I don’t think Judit will be unduly concerned. Toppy’s success so far has come from unbridled aggression. One wonders whether it is wise to change the mood. Black’s knight retreat on the ninth move breaks all known chess principles but for some reason it seems to work.


Svidler vs Anand in the foreground, Topalov vs Polgar in the back

Rooks have been treated with a lack of respect thus far. Perhaps it was Vishy’s tortured suffering at the hands of Topalov, despite supposedly enjoying a material plus, that prompted him to attempt to inflict similar punishment on Svidler. This time, on the White side of a Marshall Attack, he even enjoyed an extra pawn alongside his beautiful bishop as compensation for the heavy piece. While admiring the new mathematics of today’s chess, this skeptical kibitzer still can’t help thinking that bishop (three points) plus pawn (one point) is usually not greater than rook (five points). Call me old fashioned if you like, but what can I do?


Peter Leko (left) debates the Sveshnikov with Rustam Kasimdzhanov

One of the reasons that Soviet grandmasters in their heyday were so strong was that they possessed great patience. Those accustomed to standing in bread queues for three hours every day thought nothing of shuffling around interminably in some tedious endgame. People from the West, by contrast, placed greater value on their own time and tended to blunder when they thought they were wasting it.


Nothing is boring for young Hungarian Super-GM Leko

Peter Leko is of course Hungarian, and not from the Soviet Union, but he nevertheless has something of the same mentality. The concept of something being “boring” is quite alien too him. He thinks nothing of forever analysing the same strategically limited variation of the Sveshnikov. This, of course, gives him a fantastic advantage and has made him one of the finest players in the world today. In this round we have seen a small novelty – a supposed improvement on his game with Anand. It scarcely sets the pulse racing, but what the hell? This style of chess is extremely effective and will doubtless keep the aficionados of this opening happy.

5.00pm: The battle of the tail-enders has erupted into an exchange of tactical blows after a normal Sicilian Scheveningen. If Adams missed Morozevich’s 16…Bd5!? (which he probably didn’t in fact) he would have suffered temporary tachycardia* . After a sharp sequence we have now reached a position with Adams having two rooks against a queen – normally an advantage. It is rightly said however that queen and knight combine very well together. It will be on this that the Russian is pinning his hopes.


Judit Polgar vs Veselin Topalov

5.30pm: The guy is incredible! Topalov is a pawn ahead after Judit mistimed her kingside advance. It must admitted that victory far from assured, due to his semi-useless doubled c-pawns. But he must have excellent chances. Should a knight descend upon the d4 outpost things will be very bleak for White.

The fight for second place is a gripping one. Anand has swiped a couple of queenside pawns but at the cost of losing co-ordination. Svidler appears to have ample activity. His paucity of pawns mean though that it will not be at all easy for him to win. My guess is that a draw is the most probable result.


Vishy Anand hard at work

6.00 pm: The World Champion has been engaged in a philosophical debate as to the respective merits of knights and bishops. In Chigorin style he has sided with the cavalry over the clerics. Interestingly he seems to winning the argument, although whether he scores the full point, against so accomplished a defender as Leko, remains to be seen.


Anand pressing the clock

Anand-Svidler ended in a draw, after the Saint Petersburger returned the exchange to liquidize. The final position was about as sterile as you can get. It was a good tussle though and one of some theoretical importance.


Peter Svidler and Vishy Anand in the press conference

Morozevich will be striving hard to avoid the fate that befell Leko in game one of his match with Kramnik when slowly, inexorably, the rooks combined to overpower the queen. Isolated pawns tend to get picked off steadily in such situations. He must be careful.


Is there no way to stop this Bulgarian? Judit Polgar

Judit’s position has me humming the old blues song “Goin’ Down Slow”. Actually I suspect she may be goin’ down rather fast from this point onwards. The black knight has descended upon d4, as anticipated, with awesome effect. With no prospect of counterplay, the groaning edifice will surely collapse before too long.

6.30pm: Moroz wisely keeps his minor piece from being exchanged. I am not quite sure why Mickey did not take it while he had the chance. Three results are still possible although, given the limited material left, one would expect a draw as by far the most likely.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov in his game against Peter Leko

7.15pm: Kasim-Leko ends in a draw. Nothing much happened over the last few moves. If anything Black had the edge, but with all the pawns on one wing and White having an unassailable grip on e4, peace was logically concluded.

Moroz, meanwhile, bamboozled Adams with his swirling knight. The Englishman had to shed the exchange to stave off mate. The position though should still be drawn if White can give up his bishop for the Black passed pawn, as he should then be able to erect an impenetrable fortress.

Toppy has been making slightly heavy weather of his advantage, but is still well on track for victory. His passed g-pawn should decide matters in a manner highly reminiscent of his game yesterday.


Cheerful in defeat: Judit Polgar in the press conference

8.30: Judit resigns. He made a bit of meal of it but got there in the end. Incredible! A two point lead for Topalov after only six rounds.

8.45: Morozevich is convincing no one with this futile exercise. I wish he would just give up so that I can go for dinner. Gosh! Apparently he heard me. Draw agreed.


Morozevich and Adams at the press conference after their marathon

* Tachycardia: Noun; an abnormally rapid beating of the heart, with a resting heart rate of over 100 beats per minute.

All photos: FIDE (Casto Abundo), 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
-
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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