San Luis R7: Topalov. Wins. Again.

10/6/2005 – It may already be too late to stop Veselin Topalov. The Bulgarian beat Kasimdzhanov for his sixth win in seven games and leads by two full points at the halfway point. All four games were decisive today, including Morozevich's first win, against Anand. Svidler is in clear second after beating Polgar. 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 Seven Summary

Veselin Topalov has run away with the FIDE world championship but he's not a man in a hurry. He scored his sixth win in seven games, and fifth win in a row, by grinding down defending FIDE champ Rustam Kasimdzhanov in a rook endgame. Barring a second-half collapse as spectacular as his first-half dominance, Topalov will not only be the new FIDE champion but do it while recording one of the greatest tournament results of all time.

With Topalov running away with the tournament in the first half with win after win, it's nice to take a moment to look at his supporting cast, who are also playing some fine chess. All four games were decisive today, with a preference for endgames. Peter Svidler handed Judit Polgar her second consecutive loss and third in four rounds. The four-time Russian champion absorbed the typical black exchange sac on c3 and ground out the endgame. The win, combined with Anand's loss, put Svidler into clear second place at +2, still light-years behind Topalov.

Russia's Alexander Morozevich pulled himself out of the cellar by beating Anand in a wild game, the Indian star's second loss in three days. Morozevich gave up a rook for black bishop on g2 (!) and later exploited his chances when Anand opened things up. The loss dropped the top seed and heavy pre-tournament favorite down to an even score, illustrating the toughness of the field Topalov is dominating. Peter Leko crawled back to an even score after his terrible start by beating Adams, who is now at -3. The Hungarian got a plus against the Petroff and converted the rook endgame.

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

The games were commented on Playchess.com by IM Andrew Martin.... Here's the schedule for the remaining rounds:

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
10 Oct. Round 11    Yasser Seirawan   15 Oct. Tie-break Andrew Martin

Current standings at the World Championship in San Luis


World Championship Diary: Round 7

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

I should begin with a correction: I mentioned yesterday that there had been an official protest about the fact that Topalov has thus far always played on the same table. As he is number eight in the draw, there is nothing the least bit unusual about this, by the way. Apparently an official protest requires the deposit of $500, refundable in the event of winning the case. This has not been forthcoming as of yet. Therefore it would be more accurate to term the continuing protests “unofficial”. Apologies for inadvertently misleading anyone.


The man with the lucky candado ("padlock", Argentine slang for Topalov's facial hairstyle).

4.00 pm: The current and possibly future World Champions are engaged in the slow maneuvering of the Anti-Marshall. Rustam Kasimdzhanov should be happy that Toppy is playing with his weaker colour White, with which he “only” scores 75% (1.5/2) as opposed to Black where has managed a distinguished 100% ( 4/4). There is not a great deal in it so far, although perhaps the position is a smidgen more comfortable for White - as is often the case in the Closed Spanish.


Old versus new. Don't sit down, Kasim, it's dangerous!

The dreaded Petroff has reared its ugly head again with Adams trying the same offbeat line with which he drew so comfortably against Svidler in round one. Leko was obviously well prepared for this eventuality and appears to have gained a sizable plus by very natural and forceful means. In general one must be wary of playing the same lines over and over again as it makes one a sitting target. Adams looks in bad shape here, and indeed he has been of late, and his openings have been a bit substandard for survival at this rarefied level.


It's okay, nobody's watching.

Morozevich-Anand is a sight to warm my heart! Yes, the Short Attack of the Caro-Kann! Vishy may be my friend, but my baby takes priority in my affections! In truth it is something of an exaggeration for me to claim paternity of this line, but I did play a number of important games in the early stage of its development. The name seems to have stuck, except in Holland where Jan Timman rather sarcastically refers to it as the Short Defence. Putting narcissism aside for one moment, Morozevich has just sacrificed the exchange for a pawn. Very interesting. Yesterday I remarked that 3+1 is usually not greater than 5, but today might be an exception. “When the facts change, I change my mind. What, sir, do you do?” as the economist John Maynard Keynes once said.

Talking of exchange sacrifices: Judit has just done one against Svidler in the ever-popular Najdorf (we are in Argentina after all). In this case, the compensation is more tangible as White’s king has become exposed as a result. If the Saint Petersburger survives until the endgame he will be on top, although even that oneiric prospect will not guarantee his victory. If he fails to exchange queens then he could conceivably be gunned down in the middlegame: Judit is at her most deadly when conducting an attack.


Leko looks on as Morozevich and Anand get to work.

5.30pm: Kasimdzhanov is optically doing ok-ish although his king is perhaps not as secure as it should be. Toppy has a very good nose for the initiative. The key question will be whether he can whip up an attack with the queen, rook and bishop. If not, then Black will be fine. As I speak the White queen retreats from b3, where it has sat the whole game and now threatens to enter the game with powerful effect on the other wing. The more I look at it, the less I like it for las negras. Is Toppy going to win again? Is there no kryptonite to stop him?


Morozevich, about to show 3+1 > 5 against Anand.

All hell is breaking loose is Morozevich-Anand. I suspect that Vishy, who has a very fine sense of judgment, descried the drift in his position and embarked upon some tactics in an effort to turn the tide. I don’t think it is working though. White’s bishop and pawns look far superior to the rook. Furthermore the Black king, which is awkwardly placed on f8, could easily be trapped in a mating net. I am beginning to suspect that today will produce another bloodbath.
Meanwhile Leko is grinding away remorselessly in a double rook endgame. It looks very doubtful that Adams will survive, but one never knows: the Englishman is tough. He will pounce on a chance if one is offered.


No chance offered.

Svidler has obtained more than he could have hoped for: the queens have come off AND he has won a pawn to boot. It ought now to be purely a matter of technique – to use the dreadful phrase that ignores the frailties of homo sapiens – although Black’s much better pawn structure still means that there are still several obstacles to overcome.
Kasim is dropping a pawn. That will not be the end of his resistance though. He retains the chances of generating some counterplay down the f-file. I have not written him off yet.

6.20pm: Adams resigns. He looks completely demoralized. Yes he was lost, but were he in a better mood he would have played three or four more moves, at no cost, and hoped for a miracle. With a minus three score he is now firmly in the cellar.


It's over.

Anand is in dire straits. Looks like his dream scenario would be escaping to a rook and bishop versus rook ending a piece down. If that is the best he can get ( and he is far from that nirvana at the moment) then it is grim indeed. I would say he is completely busted in fact. Morozevich, if he converts, will register his first win. Peter Svidler has returned the exchange – a good idea, I think. The knight on f4 had been extremely annoying. Now he is just a clear pawn up with a dangerous outside passer.


Peter Svidler, about to move into clear second place against Polgar.

7.20pm: Anand is kicking somehow. He has set up a clever trap whereby he gives a surprise perpetual check in the most superficially attractive variation. Moroz pauses a while, sniffing the danger, and then deviates. Three moves later Anand resigns. A big upset in the context of this tournament. Kasim is fighting hard, a pawn in arrears, in a rook endgame. He has definite chances to save the game.

8.20pm: Svidler defeats Polgar, who now joins Adams in the basement, in good (enough) style to pose a semblance of a challenge to Topalov. Mind you, the Bulgarian has played in exemplary, Capablanca-esque fashion and is now close to victory. At 1.85 metres people sometimes remark about the inappropriateness of my name. However “topal”, which means “lame” in Turkish, has got to be even less applicable an appellation.

9.03pm: Toppy wins beautifully! He probably could have won in an ugly way too, but this was really elegant. Can anyone stop the runaway locomotive? We shall see, we shall see…


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
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
-
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
Adams
-
Vishy Anand
Games – Report
Round 11: Monday, October 10th
Adams
-
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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