Topalov tricks Kasimdzhanov with a Trojan Horse

11/4/2007 – Two former FIDE world champions clashed at the Chess Champions League in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. The ever flamboyant Veselin Topalov permitted his opponent to take a pawn, but in return he had the initiative that ended up being decisive. Judit Polgar drew Anatoly Karpov, while late replacment Nisipeanu held his own against Ponomariov. On the side we saw a bunch of chess pieces having fun.

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The "Chess Champions League – Playing for a better world" is taking place from November 1st to 15th, 2007, in Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. The participants are former world champions plus Judit Polgar, with Romanian GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu standing in for Alexander Khalifman (FIDE world champion 1999) who took ill just before the start of the event. The other world champions are: Anatoly Karpov, who held the title from 1975 to 1985, and then the FIDE world championship title from 1993 to 1999; Ruslan Ponomariov, who held the FIDE title from 2002 to 2004; Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who was FIDE world champion from 2004 to 2005; and Veselin Topalov, who held the title from 2005 to 2006.

The main event with these six players is called the "Tournament of Champions" and is a double round robin, with the ten rounds being played on November 2-4, 6-7, 9-11, and 13-14. It is a benefit event to raise funds for a hospital in Mbuji-Mayi, one of the poorest regions in Congo.

Round two report

The Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, World Champion 2005, has won again today and is now on the top position of the classification of the Chess Tournament in Vitoria. His opponent in the game was Rustam Kasimdzhanov, and his strategy was the one of the Trojan Horse: Topalov permitted his opponent to take a pawn, but in return he had the initiative that ended up being decisive. The Uzbek player regretted later for having overestimated his defensive options and admitted that he took a wrong decision.

Topalov,V (2769) - Kasimdzhanov,R (2690) [E15]
Chess Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz ESP (2), 03.11.2007
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 Ne4 10.0-0 Nxc3 11.Nxc3 0-0 12.Rc1 Bb4 13.e3 Qe7 14.Re1 f6 15.Nd3 Ba3 16.Rc2 dxc4 17.bxc4 Bxc4 18.Nb1 Bb5 19.Nxa3 Qxa3 20.Nf4 Re8 21.Qh5 Nd7 22.Bxc6 Bxc6 23.Rxc6 Qxa2 24.Rc7 Re7 25.Rec1 e5 26.Qf3 Rd8 27.Nd5 Rf7 28.Nc3 Qb3 29.Rb1 Qe6 30.d5 Qe8 31.Rxa7 f5 32.Kg2 Ra8 33.Rc7 Nc5 34.d6 e4 35.Qd1 Nd3 36.Qb3 Rd8 37.Ra1 Kf8 38.Rxf7+ Qxf7 39.Qxb6 Rc8 40.Ne2 Qh5 41.Nd4 Nxf2 42.d7 1-0. [Click to replay]

The duel between former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and the strongest female player of all time, Judit Polgar, ended in a draw. Although Karpov tried to take Judit by surprise, beginning with an unusual opening for him, Judit knew how to take advantage of having the white pieces to keep the initiative. Karpov was able to maintain the balance in a game that gave neither player serious winning chances.

Polgar,Ju (2708) - Karpov,Ana (2670) [C83]
Chess Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz ESP (2), 03.11.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.c3 0-0 11.Qe2 Nxd2 12.Bxd2 Na5 13.Bc2 Nc4 14.Nd4 Nxd2 15.Qxd2 Qd7 16.f4 c5 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Rad1 Rad8 19.Qd3 g6 20.Qg3 Rf7 21.h4 Rg7 22.Qh3 c4 23.Kh1 a5 24.h5 Bc5 25.Rf3 Qe8 26.Rg3 gxh5 27.f5 Rxg3 28.Qxg3+ Kh8 29.Qh4 Qe7 30.f6 Qf7 31.Rf1 Rg8 32.Bd1 Qg6 33.Qh3 Qd3 34.Qxd3 cxd3 35.f7 Rf8 36.Bxh5 Kg7 37.Rd1 Be3 38.Rxd3 Bf4 39.a4 bxa4 40.Rd4 a3 41.bxa3 Bxe5 42.Rg4+ Kh6 43.Rg8 Bd6 44.Rxf8 Bxf8 45.Bg4 e5 46.a4 Kg6 47.Be6 d4 48.cxd4 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Playing with the white pieces, Ruslan Ponomariov also ended up with a draw against Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. Although he was rushed in as a last-minute participant and had no time to prepare for this tournament, the top Romanian GM proved that he can measure up to such an occasion. He showed flashes of a very high quality in the most delicate moments of the game, achieving the draw calmly whild playing with the black pieces.

Ponomariov,R (2705) - Nisipeanu,LD (2668) [A33]
Chess Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz ESP (2), 03.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.a3 d5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bg5 Bc5 9.e3 0-0 10.Be2 Bxd4 11.exd4 h6 12.Bh4 Qd6 13.Bg3 Qe7 14.Qd3 Re8 15.0-0 Bf5 16.Qd2 Ne4 17.Nxe4 Qxe4 18.Bb5 Qxd4 19.Qxd4 Nxd4 20.Bxe8 Ne2+ 21.Kh1 Rxe8 22.Rad1 d4 23.Rd2 d3 24.Rfd1 Nd4 25.h3 Nb3 26.Rxd3 Bxd3 27.Rxd3 Nc5 28.Rd5 Ne4 29.Rd7 Nxg3+ 30.fxg3 b5 31.Rxa7 Re3 32.Rb7 Rb3 33.a4 b4 34.a5 Rxb2 35.a6 Ra2 36.a7 Kh7 37.Rxf7 b3 38.Rb7 b2 39.Rxb2 Rxa7 40.g4 ½-½. [Click to replay]

Living chess presentation


Some of the Basque sportspeople who are supporting the chess event, and who attended the presentation of a living chess game. Several Olympic medalists and international champions are in the photo...


The living chess match under way


A queen and a king, and their pawns


Spectators, helpers and a bunch of captured pieces


More chess pieces having fun

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