The game Topalov – Anand becomes May's Laureate
When 12 experts summed up the competitive results of May, they could not disregard the fact that 5 encounters of Veselin Topalov were in the top twenty. So far the quantity was matched by the quality; the triumphant of
I should admit a very pleasant fact before presenting the jury: for the first time a representative of the
Thus this time Alexandra Kosteniuk, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Alexei Bezgodov, Sergei Zagrebelny, Alexander Volzhin, Ilya Odessky, Vladimir Barsky, Sergei Soloviov, Sergei Ivanov, Michal Krasenkow, Alexander Rustemov and Peter Heine Nielsen "heard the case".
On the whole they "decreed" the following:
"This set of games is extremely outstanding! Obviously, the Sofia rule that forbade offering a draw turned out to be very useful for the players' creativity. Perhaps, in the near future the percentage of decisive games will increase if not up to the basketball level, than at least up to the handball one. Moreover, the play with material equality will soon become archaism, atavism and crappy phenomenon not worthy the bright future of chess" (Bezgodov)
"This is a marvelously splendid set! I think it is the best for the whole time of this project being. There is no doubt that the main catalyst of it is the outstanding competitive result of the "anti-draw" tournament in
"What a strong set! It could easily suffice for 2-3 months" (Barsky)
The encounter Topalov – Anand becomes the May's Laureate with a huge breakaway: 6 first places (Kosteniuk, Kovalevskaya, Nielsen, Barsky, Soloviov and Ivanov), 3 second and 1 third.
Bezgodov: "I have not (yet) played with Anand myself. Those of my acquaintances who did, complained that it has been hard to defeat him. The great Indian defends well. Therefore, the victory of Topalov especially enraptures me. Do you know what this man invented? He made a positional knight sacrifice, cold-bloodedly completed the development and ... proceeded to the endgame with an extra pawn. Moreover, he even won this endgame."
Ivanov: "I have hesitated for a long time, which game of Topalov should I give the palm of supremacy, and finally I awarded the first place to the victory of Veselin over the Oscar-laureate of recent 2 years that was won in a fabulous for our contemporary supertournaments style. Using Sergei Shipov's term – it was a thermonuclear chess! I should think so, in the Queen Indian, the quiet positional opening, Topalov managed to find an opportunity to sacrifice firstly a pawn, then a knight and after that he put en prise a rook as well. It is noteworthy that White did not hurry to force the game playing without material and made ordinary developing moves as if nothing had happened. And Anand did not stand such pressure: with his king on f6 being in front of his army he hurried up to pass to the endgame without a pawn, which Topalov technically and elegantly brought to the victory. Bravissimo!! This encounter reminded me of the famous victories of Kasparov in the Petrosian version of the Queen's Indian in the first half of the 80s. Could we probably say that Topalov today is Kasparov yesterday?"
Zagrebelny: "I think this month was marked by the tournament in
The victory of Topalov over Ponomariov is located on the second place: 2 first places (Odesskij, Bezgodov), 2 second, 1 third (and also a pair of 4th places).
Bezgodov: "Ruslan played in a logical and solid way, arranged a conflict in the centre. In reply to it Veselin played h2-h4, remained without rook and bishop... However, Black did not invent a way to defend."
Zagrebelny: "The revenge of Topalov for the defeat in the 1st round turned out to be very quick and cruel. Not looking at the losses Veselin opened the enemy's king and drove him along the board."
We should mention with satisfaction that grandmasters, which did not take part in the battle of
Thus, Sutovsky – I. Sokolov (3 third places and places in the top ten in one and all lists).
Zagrebelny: "Our hit parades go rarely without a solo of Sutovsky. I think his ability to reach the opponent's king is unique. Boring slow victories are not for Emil, another matter is when you knock your opponent out! This time solid Ivan Sokolov was unlucky. Somehow White too easily managed to group a heavy pieces' fist in a dangerous proximity to the opponent's king and it ran away... Emil not only regained the sacrificed piece, but also earned very good interest for this operation as well. And the final knight sacrifice followed by the rook sacrifice is totally amazing!"
Bezgodov: "Emil made a series of artful maneuvers, which got crowned with the knight sacrifice (without check!), and so he cast doubt on a very popular branch in the Open Spanish. Neither material advantage, nor powerful passer on d3 rescued inventive Ivan."
Resourceful Ivan with his workmate, who also does not suffer from the lack of fantasy, received 2 first places (Volzhin, Krasenkow) and 2 third places (and also 2 forth places).
Zagrebelny: " Ivan was luckier in the sharp duel on knives. This game could weight for the higher place, however, it ended not quite logical, thereby having degraded the impression: 27...Јb6? – after 27...Јd6 or 27...Јc5, most likely, this scuffle could end peacefully by a strong man handshake. But here... not quite deserved blood was shed. It is a pity."
I would like to deviate from the adopted standards and give an annotator the permission to speak already in this survey. However, annotations of Ilya Odesskij do not require board and pieces; you have only to read it.
Odessky: "Nevertheless, the tendencies of modern chess are better reflected in the game that was not part of my top list. I do not know whether our dear experts have noticed or not, but in the encounter I. Sokolov – Shirov the opponents, having started with 5...dc and up to 32.f3 inclusive were doing only one thing, they were capturing, trying to capture and correspondingly not giving to capture (including checks and retreats of king). There were no moves from the arsenal of the classic position school!
I. Sokolov – A. Shirov
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.¤f3 ¤f6 4.¤c3 e6 5.Ґg5 dc (captures) 6.e4 (attacks) 6...b5 (defends) 7.e5 (attacks the knight) 7...h6 (attacks the bishop) 8.Ґh4 (retreats) 8...g5 (anyway attacks) 9.ef (captures) 9...gh (also captures) 10.¤e5 (short respite of White) 10...Ј:f6 (captures!) 11.a4 (attacks!) 11...Ґb7 (short respite of Black) 12.ab (captures!) 12...cb (captures!) 13.Ґ:c4 (captures!) 13...a6 (seems to have defended) 14.¤:b5 (anyway captures!) 14...ab (also captures) 15.Ґ:b5+ (captures and attacks) 15...ўd8 (retreats) 16.¦:a8 (captures!) 16...Ґ:a8 (analogously) 17.Јa4 (attacks!) 17...Ґd6 (does not retreat and attacks himself) 18.¤c4 (retreats and attacks) 18...Ґc7 (retreats) 19.Ј:a8 (captures!) 19...Јg5 (attacks!) 20.Јb7 (ignores and attackes himself from a distance) 20...Јc1+ (prepares to capture) 21.ўe2 (retreats) 21...Ј:h1 (captures) 22.¤e5 (attacks) 22...Јc1 (attacks) 23.¤:f7+ (captures) 23...ўe7 (retreats) 24.¤:h8 (captures) 24...Ј:b2+ (captures) 25.ўf3 (retreats) 25...Јc3+ (attacks) 26.ўg4 (retreats) 26...Ј:d4+ (captures and attacks) 27.ўh3 (retreats) 27...Јb6 (attacks) 28.Јc8 (retreats) 29...Ј:b5 (captures) 29.Ј:c7+ (captures and attacks) 29...¤d7 (does not allow to capture) 30.¤g6+ (attacks) 30...ўf6 (retreats) 31.¤:h4 (captures) 31...Јd3+ (attacks) 32.f3 (does not allow to capture) 32...¤e5, and in 9 moves the opponents got up from the table.
It was not chess, but a great grub – and all this was executed by the honored grandmasters, which should be examples for the youth. Where are the usual stratagems – for example, "overprotection" or "fight for or against an isolated pawn"? Where are the hesitations, which of the rooks to put on c1? To give luft by the move g3 or h3?
Although these and similar questions remain in the work-books of head coach of children's sport schools, they gradually cease to excite the greatest contemporary grandmasters. Only one question is topical: "Where is my big spoon?"
A game with similar content Anand – Topalov is located on the 5th place with a small breakaway: 2 first places (Rustemov, Zagrebelny), 2 second and 1 first – I admit that it is seems to fit for the third place, but this encounter was not presented in 3 other top tens.
Zagrebelny: "A violent struggle in the variation that is principled for Topalov (11...¤e5) showed the highest level of both opponents. A flame that had burst on board in the very beginning, had not ceased during all the 60 moves – it is a rare case. Usually the conclusion comes sooner: either it happens because of purely objective chess reasons or one of the opponents does not endure the tension... In this encounter we saw fight for the initiative (not counting material), flight of fancy, calculation and performance accuracy were on some exactness unattainable level. No one reigned, and the draw was an appropriate result of the splendid game."
As Sokolov, Shirov managed to "revenge" for a spectacular defeat. His victory over Movsesian is awarded the 6th place (4 forth places).
The game Yudasin – Benjamin of the greatest Open in
The revenge of Ponomariov (of course, Ruslan did not know in the first round that it would be a revenge) took 1 third place. "The stalemated pieces of Topalov are an infrequent show! I advise you to see it" (Zagrebelny)
The 9th place is also awarded to
One of two victories (the one with Black) of Vassily Ivanchuk over Baadur Jobava in the Capablanca Memorial concludes the top ten; it was located on the second spot in 2 lists.
Kacheishvili – Smirin (1 third place) is located on the 11th place. The last in a dozen of the best is the game Topalov – Polgar. The interest to the other encounters is not so great, so it is time to stop.
General survey and annotations to the games Sutovsky – I. Sokolov and Jobava –Ivanchuk are expected as always in the second part of June. We will not return to the beauties of the Sofia tournament: they were enough covered in all popular media – ChessPro, e3e5, "Chess weekly" and also some additions will appear in the "64" magazine... The achievements in Saraevo had also received great publicity. Ilya Odessky prepares to publish a survey of the games from Vanya Somov's Memorial in "64" magazine. Thus we will mainly offer the transoceanic creativity. See you later!