Topalov brings life to a staid opening

by ChessBase
9/3/2008 – One rarely associates the Queen's Indian Defense with sharp and lively play. But (together with his second, Ivan Cheparinov) Veselin Topalov, a dazzling player we have been neglecting of late, has detonated many dangerous novelties on the white side of this opening. In his Wednesday night Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos provides us with an example. See you on the server.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Looking through my recent ChessBase shows and comparing them with the lineup for the Grand Slam Final in Bilbao, it seems that the only player not to have a win presented in the last couple of months is Veselin Topalov. This is an omission to rectify, especially as he's in the final four for the world championship. Another factor that makes him an easy choice is his very aggressive style. Whatever one's views about Topalov and the controversies he has engendered, the man can play some dazzling chess.

Accordingly, we'll look at one of the former world champ and #1's brilliant games from 2005, his banner year. He won everything in sight then: Linares (tied with Kasparov), MTel, and then – destroying the field – the FIDE World Championship in San Luis. That year, he dominated like no one had but Kasparov, and in his style, will to win, and superior opening preparation he also resembled the "Beast from Baku". It is from this annus mirabilis that we take our game of the week, the game Topalov-Ponomariov from the second cycle of the MTel Masters.

Topalov vs Anand in San Luis 2005

Topalov hadn't gotten off to a great start and had lost to former FIDE champ Ruslan Ponomariov in the first cycle, but now he caught fire. Although one rarely associates the Queen's Indian Defense with sharp and lively play, Topalov (with his second, Cheparinov) has detonated many dangerous novelties on the white side of this opening, and we'll see one of them in this game. He came out of his prep with a significant advantage, but the game still needed to be won. That he did it, you all know, but how he did it deserves to be seen and savored. Super-GMs can prepare brilliantly, but they can play brilliantly once the preparation finishes – as you'll see for yourself.

At least, you'll get to see if you join me tonight – Wednesday night – at 9 p.m. ET. The show is free if you catch it live on the server; go into the Broadcast room when the time is right, select the games tab, click on Topalov-Ponomariov, sit back and enjoy! (More details here.) Hope to see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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