San Luis R9: Morozevich wins, Svidler, Anand draw

10/9/2005 – A last practical chance to catch Topalov were disappointed when Anand drew against the tournament leader and Svidler drew an exciting game against the uxorious Uzbek Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Alexander Morozevich continued his late rampage with a fine victory over Peter Leko. Full illustrated report with a Short glossary.

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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 Nine Summary

Tournament leader Veselin Topalov played a Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez against Vishy Anand, who sacrificed a knight and forced a repetition in 17 moves. Judit Polgar had to be content with a draw against Michael Adams in a Marshall Attack. Peter Svidler played a spectacular fighting game against Rustam Kasimdzhanov, which ended in a 34-move draw. The last game to end was Morozevich vs Leko, in which the Russian continued his winning streak with a 54-move victory.

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

Current standings at the World Championship in San Luis


World Championship Diary: Round 9

By Nigel Short – on site in San Luis

3.00pm: This being the weekend, the hall is much fuller than it has been on other days. A throng of photographers jostle close to the boards snapping the stars.

If this tournament is to be anything other than a Bulgarian triumphal procession, Anand had better win today. The Indian looks tense and determined. Toppy appears reasonably relaxed, although underneath the façade I am sure he is also nervous. A few quick moves are made and Vishy, cunningly ducks underneath the Berlin Wall. Kasparov used to consider it unmanly to do anything other than meet the Wall head on. Mind you, all too often he ended up with a frightful headache.

3.30pm: Such confidence! Or is it recklessness? Barely pausing to think, Toppy advances the g-pawn in front of his king. Hey! Pawns can’t move backwards, you know. I would have invested lots of time before making such a committal decision, but such a conservative viewpoint merely emphasizes the difference between chess generations. In the computer era nobody gives a flying fig about general principles. Precise evaluations are all that count.


Peter Svidler in an exciting duel with Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Svidler is engaged in a heavy theoretical duel with Kasim in a Be3 Najdorf. I have no idea what is going on: these positions all look the same to me. Let us put it aside for the moment and wait until the middlegame proper.


Morozevich trying an old-fashioned line against Leko

Morozevich would doubtless like to make it three in a row. He tries an old-fashioned line against Leko’s robust Sveshnikov. There is a pause as the Hungarian either tries to remember the theory, or to anticipate what new idea may be in store for him.


Adams vs Polgar, a theoretical Marshall battle

If Judit Polgar is to emerge from the cellar, now is the moment to do it. Adams – the only player without a victory – would “undertake” her if she were to win. Masses of Marshall theory leads to an exchange of queens. My general view of such endings is that although White may be nominally better, due to the extra pawn, they are rarely winnable when Black is the possessor of two proud bishops against bishop and knight.


Anand jotting down his seventh move

4.00pm: Anand sacrifices a piece! He is really going for it! He has set up a nasty pin on the f6 knight from which it will difficult for Black to untangle himself. Will Black be cursing his early kingside pawn lunge? I don’t know. A piece is a hefty investment Anand had better show something tangible over the coming few moves.


Vishy Anand sacrifices a piece in round nine

4.30pm: Anand checks the Black king. Well, it looks like he can immediately force a draw, but surely he is not going to do that, is he? That would be, barring a unexpected implosion from the Bulgar in the remaining rounds, effectively handing him the title. Mind you, I don’t see anything better. It will be the soggiest of damp squibs if this clash of the titans ends peaceably within two hours play. Please, no! Do something different!


Chief arbiter Jorge Vega of Mexico

Svidler-Kasimjanov remains sharp and extremely murky. Polgar, meanwhile, has shed her extra pawn, although with her active pieces she is still a touch better. I can’t help thinking though that it will be insufficient to force victory. Black’s omnipresent threat of entering a drawish opposite bishops ending tends to pour cold water on White’s more ambitious plans.


Topalov and Anand agree to a draw after 17 moves

My plea fell upon deaf ears. Topalov escapes with a comfortable draw with Black against one of his most dangerous rivals. I am very glad for him, but a touch disappointed from the sporting point of view. Only a miracle will now stop Veselin from becoming the new World Champion.


Antoaneta "Estefannova" on San Luis TV

Incidentally the Women’s World Champion, Antoaneta Stefanova, also from Bulgaria, is here in San Luis for the duration of this lengthy event, although with important FIDE business to attend to, she rarely makes it to the playing hall.


Topalov and Anand in their post-game explain-it-to-the-press

Morozevich, in first fixing the queenside pawns and only then developing his bishop on h3, has improved on an idea that I have used myself with success, until being brutally flattened by Topalov earlier this year. The computer still fancies Black, although I would caution that the silicon oracle frequently has difficulty in accurately assessing certain quiet types of Sveshnikov positions.


The flamboyant Alex Morozevich in round nine

5.30pm: Polgar-Adams petered out into a draw and in precisely the way envisaged. Yes, she finished a pawn up – a moral victory perhaps – but only in a dead drawn opposite bishop endgame. I don’t think Adams will be that bothered with the philosophy: half a point is half a point, whichever way you look at it.


Getting a clearer view of the action

Svidler-Kasimjanov has descended into total mayhem. The uxorious Uzbek, who came with his wife but no analyst, has proffered his dark-squared bishop. Svidler wants none of it and has politely rejected acceptance. There are now fascinating complications lurking ahead involving a diabolical Black queen sacrifice. One false move from either side could be fatal.


Can drive a man to uxoriousness: Firuza Kasimdzhanov

7.00pm: I have been sat with Alexander Motylev, the second of Peter Svidler, trying desperately to understand this mind-blowing difficult game in the hall. The two perspiring combatants exchanged blow for tactical blow in epic style. Just when it appeared that Svidler was emerging on top, Kasim – a rook and bishop down, no less – calmly attacked the White b-pawn.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Peter Svidler during their game

At first it seemed preposterous that an assault with such slender forces – a rook-pawn and knight against the vast but scattered array – could possibly succeed, but the more we considered it, the more plausible it appeared. Finally Peter, arriving at the same conclusion, acquiesced to a draw by perpetual check. It was a humdinger of a struggle, although why they did not play out the last three or four forced moves for the benefit of the spectators is beyond me. Does it really hurt to make this miniscule effort?


Kasimdzhanov and Svidler in the post-game press conference

Morozevich, for the second time in as many rounds, made the most of his opponent’s time-trouble. It looked as if Leko was going to crash through on the kingside, but he became confused by his opponent’s ingenious defence. Even on the 39th move Leko could still have obtained a draw, but by this moment he had started to panic. On reaching the control at move 40 Morozevich miraculously emerged a piece to the good. There is still a bit of work to be done- however it is hard to imagine him failing to convert.


A sizable crowd, late in the round

8.00pm: It is all over. Morozevich wins his third consecutive game. Leko heads back into minus territory. The Russian is exactly the sort of player capable of defeating Topalov with any colour (or losing, for that matter) but even if he does, it is hard to imagine that this will affect the destination of the first prize. In some ways this was an anti-climactic day which the brilliance of the Svidler-Kasimjanov encounter did not quite overcome. The best man is still winning and will win, unless there is a major disaster in the coming days.


Slowly the picture is getting sharper: who will win this trophy?

The Short Glossary

squib – noun; a small firework consisting of a tube filled with powder that hisses before exploding. A damp squib is one that hisses but does not explode.

façade – noun; face or front of a building, a showy misrepresentation intended to conceal something unpleasant. Adding the diacritic mark to the c is more impressive than the pedestrian "facade". The C cedilla can be obtained by holding down the Alt key and typing 0231 on the numeric keypad.

diacritic – noun; a mark added to a letter to alter a word's pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words.

uxorious – adjective; foolishly fond of or submissive to your wife [from uxor ‘wife’ – and no, we have no idea how he comes up with these obscure but useful words].

humdinger – noun; a person or thing of remarkable excellence. Etymology: early 20th century. Probably from hum = "approving murmur" + dinger = "superlative thing"

All photos: Word Chess Championship Press, Nadja Woisin, Frederic Friedel


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
-
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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