Sofia 2007: All games drawn, Sasikiran leads

5/20/2007 – One round before the end nothing changed in the tables, with all three games ending in draws. Sunday is the final round, with the tournament leader Krishnan Sasikiran facing national hero Veselin Topalov with black. Topalov will do everything in his power to win the game and the M-Tel event. He has managed in the past – will he pull it off again?

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Third M-Tel Masters in Sofia, Bulgaria

There are six participants in this double round robin tournament that goes from May 10 to 20. Time control: 2 hours for 40 moves + 1 hour for 20 moves + 30 minutes to the end the game. The players are not allowed to offer draws, they must consult the arbiter, who will decide (usually against) allowing the offer to be made.

Round nine: All games drawn, Sasikiran leads

Round 9: Saturday, May 19 2007

Shakriyar Mamedyarov 
½-½
 Michael Adams
Gata Kamsky 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Krishnan Sasikiran 
½-½
 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Mamedyarov-Adams was a Queen's Indian which ended in 37 moves with a repetition.

Mamedyarov,S (2757) - Adams,Mi (2734) [E15]
MTel Sofia BUL (9), 19.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 Rc8 13.e4 b5 14.Re1 dxe4 15.Nxe4 bxc4 16.Qe2 Rb8 17.Bf1

18...Qc8. Last year in Foros Karjakin played 17...Bb4 against Shirov and lost in 35 moves, while Carlsen played 17...Nb6 in Turin against Macieja and drew. 18.bxc4 Nb6 19.Nd2 Na4 20.Ba5 c5 21.Qd1 Nb2 22.Qg4 Bd8 23.Nb3 cxd4 24.Qxd4 Bf6 25.Qxa7 Ra8 26.Qc5 Nxc4 27.Rac1 Nxa5 28.Qxa5 Qd8 29.Qxd8 Rfxd8 30.Bxa6 Rxa6 31.Re2 g6 32.Kf1 Kg7 33.Rcc2 Rd1+ 34.Re1 Rd8 35.Ree2 Rd1+ 36.Re1 Rd8 37.Ree2 draw.

Sasikiran-Nisipeanu was a Sicilian Maroczy which the Indian GM handled well. But the victory he was obviously striving for proved illusive and both sides exchanged down to an obviously drawn rook ending.

Sasikiran,K (2690) - Nisipeanu,LD (2693) [B38]
MTel Sofia BUL (9), 19.05.2007
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be2 b6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Rc8 12.Qd3 d6 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.Kh1 Rfe8 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nh5

17.Nd5. Possibly 17.Nb5 would have been more promising for White. 17...Bxd5 18.cxd5 Bxe5 19.Bxh5 Bxd4 20.Qxd4 gxh5 21.Rd3 e5 22.Qh4 Qd6 23.Qxh5 Kh8 24.Rg3 f6 25.Qh6 Qf8 26.Qh4 Red8 27.h3 Rxd5 28.Rg6 Rd4 29.Rgxf6 Rxh4 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.Rxf8+ Kg7 32.Rf3 Rb4 33.b3 a5 34.Kh2 e4 35.Rf5 a4 36.bxa4 Rxa4 37.Rb5 Rxa2 38.Rxb6 Ra3 39.Re6 Re3 40.Kg1 Kf7 41.Kf2 Rxh3 42.Rxe4 draw.

Kamsky-Topalov was an unusual Queen's Pawn opening with White deviating on move eight. After a lot of heavy piece play, with Black pressing, Kamsky took the opportunity for a perpetual and a 51-move draw.

Kamsky,G (2705) - Topalov,V (2772) [A46]
MTel Sofia BUL (9), 19.05.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 b6 6.Nbd2 Be7 7.h3 0-0 8.Bd3 Ba6 9.Bxa6 Nxa6 10.0-0 b5 11.c3 Nc7 12.a4 Ncd5 13.Bh2 a6 14.Qb3 Qb6 15.Ra2 d6 16.Rfa1 Rab8 17.axb5 axb5 18.Ra6 Qd8 19.Ra7 Nc7 20.Ne1 Nfd5 21.Nd3 Qd7 22.Nb4 Nxb4 23.Qxb4 Qc6 24.c4 Rfc8 25.cxb5 Qc2 26.Nf1 Nd5 27.Qd2 Qb3 28.Ne3 Bf8 29.Bg3 Nxe3 30.Qxe3 Qxb5 31.Qf3 f6 32.R1a6 Rb6 33.Ra1 Qxb2 34.Bf4 d5 35.Be3 Qc2 36.Kh2 Qg6 37.g3 h5 38.Ra8 Rbc6 39.R1a6 Qf7

Ever seen a position with rooks facing each other this way? 40.Bf4 Rc3 41.Qe2 Rc2 42.Qe1 Rxa8 43.Rxa8 Qd7 44.Qb1 Rc8 45.Rxc8 Qxc8 46.Qg6 Qc4 47.Be3 e5 48.dxe5 d4 49.e6 dxe3 50.Qf7+ Kh7 51.Qxh5+ draw.

Current standings

Tomorrow is the final round, and almost anybody can win the tournament. Sasikiran has black against Topalov and this will obviously be the game to watch. Adams may push for victory with white against Kamsky to move off last place, while it is hard to predict what the players will do in Nisipeanu-Mamedyarov.

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