NIGHT WATCH № 6-12
Dear e3e5 readers! With respect to the World championship in San Luis, our translators' crew got hopelessly behind the schedule at some point. You have to agree, there is a noticeable difference between translating two or three articles per week and two extensive columns per day. Therefore, I made an iron-willed decision to put Night Watches aside for a while, and concentrate on Max Notkin's Pearls during the event.
Still, Night Watch is essentially a reporter's work, and I wonder how much value there is in reporting about something already known for a couple of weeks. Thus, we arrived to more or less reasonable conclusion: hereby I present you cut versions of my 6th-12th column, followed by full translation of two concluding columns, which content is hopefully more significant in the long run. After all, I had to praise our predictors! These people were trying hard...
NIGHT WATCH №6
"Yesterday's heroes" with Joel Lautier
"Svidler-Topalov. Of course, it impresses greatly the way Topalov plays – it is aggressive and spectacular chess! It is pleasant that he does not stop on what is already done. And this is right, because the tournament is long, and it is too early to put guns aside. There is a strange impression that he plays as Black with greater ease. One can only admire it. What can I say – Topalov gets interesting positions, plays spectacular as usual and wins every game. He also had to win against Anand. Now Veselin is much more accurate than usually. He used to blunder occasionally for some reasons, and it spoiled many good games. Here the Bulgarian confidently carries all the games to the conclusion.
I am glad that such a player in heading towards the ultimate victory. The success is deserved, when the person seeks the victory permanently and takes risks. This is the only way to achieve good results.
I do not remember the Polgar-Morozevich game at all. Maybe, I have not seen it?..
Anand-Leko. It was a usual opening dispute in the Sveshnikov variation. Anand managed to get some pressure. Leko put very accurate and even acute defense. I did not analyze the game, but I had an impression that we witnessed yet another example of Leko's expert defense. It is hard to break him through; he loses usually only when he wants to win too much. Except for ae very bad game with Svidler, he plays his usual chess.
With such play of Topalov, only Anand can somehow claim the final success, and he has to win against Veselin in their individual game.
Adams-Kasimdzhanov. A rather strange game. It seemed to me by sight that Kasimdzhanov stood nice in the end, and the position was rather interesting. Maybe there were some hidden reasons that made him repeat the moves? Generally Kasimdzhanov plays well. His win against Anand made a strong impression on me. I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by his play – to tell the truth, I was afraid that the Linares story would repeat."
Next round forecast: Nana Dzagnidze, grandmaster
"Polgar-Topalov 0-1. Topalov will win. There will be a struggle of course, but... Topalov is in a good form, and he is lucky, so he will have a success. I root for Veselin in this championship.
Adams-Morozevich 1-0. I like Morozevich's play, but I have a feeling that Adams will win.
Anand-Svidler ½:½. I stake on a draw – despite the fact that Anand is a favorite, I think, Peter will hold the color.
Kasimdzhanov-Leko ½:½. Yesterday Leko had a tense defense, and he will not have enough strength to win today."
NIGHT WATCH №7
"Yesterday's heroes" with Alejandro Ramirez
"Naturally, the main event of the day was another Topalov's victory. It seems to me that Polgar incorrectly interpreted this position and went too far. One cannot even say that Topalov won this game, Judit lost it herself.
Adams-Morozevich game was rather interesting for some time, but ended in a dull draw. Maybe, someone liked the "lively play" in the ending, but the assessment had not been shaken at any stage. The same can be said about the Anand-Svidler encounter – in the beginning the struggle looked promising, but the game quickly ended in a draw.
Kasimdzhanov-Leko game was rather uneventful. Leko's solid style does not bring him victories, which are so essential in such a tournament. If someone hopes to catch up with Topalov, he has to take much more risk.
Topalov made the thing that is considered to be very hard – he won many games as Black. Now he just has to hold the accumulated «plus», but when did it become easier for people to solve simple problems than hard ones? I do not think Veselin has already won the championship; the struggle goes on until there are theoretical chances. Topalov plays fighting chess, does not blunder, but tell me, has he outplayed anybody? Maybe, only Adams. Other games were decided by exploiting opponent's errors.
I root for no one in this tournament. Although Morozevich's games are the most interesting ones, his ultimate victory is unreal. The best game of the event so far is Leko-Polgar, although everything was obvious there. There are too few integral games, everyone makes a lot of mistakes, especially Judit, and nobody expected Morozevich to have stable play...
Unfortunately, I could not come to the championship as a spectator – I am busy at the university and the ticket to San Luis from Costa Rica costs no cheaper than from Europe. But I would be glad to check myself as a helper of some player! Ivan Cheparinov's example inspires greatly!"
Next round forecast: Denis Bilunov, KasparovChess editor-in-chief
"Leko-Adams 1-0. Leko has good chances to win.
Topalov-Kasimdzhanov 1-0. Topalov must continue his streak; I can see no obstacle for him.
Svidler-Polgar ½-½ – I have a presentiment of a draw.
Morozevich-Anand 0-1. I would say that the game will be decisive. If I was made to stake, I would stake on Anand, but the game can well result in an opposite way."
NIGHT WATCH №8
"Yesterday's heroes" with Shakhriyar Mamaedyarov
"Topalov-Leko. It is obvious that Topalov consented to a draw – he did nothing to play for win. Of course, it is normal for a player with +5, although Topalov usually plays till the end.
Kasimdzhanov-Morozevich. Both played for victory. The opening was interesting. Morozevich turned out to be more accurate. I did not analyze the game, but it is seen that he played very good. I like the 16...Bd8 move.
Adams-Svidler. Very captivating game. It seems that no one had serious advantage, both played rather precisely. I liked 22...h6! very much. The idea looks risky, but it turned out to be very strong. Adams in his turn played interestingly. I would like to thank him for avoiding the move repetition. It is curious what the outcome were if White had played 31.Qd4 instead of 31.Kd4. I think Svidler would have found 31...е5 and would have continued the game, because he is a fighting player.
Anand-Polgar. After 14.B:f6 Anand had an advantage all the way. Although Polgar stubbornly resisted, such a position against Anand could not be saved."
Next round forecast: Maia Lomineishvili, grandmaster
"Morozevich-Leko ½-½. There will be a hard struggle. As Morozevich won two last games, he will try his best to achieve success today also, but it seems to me Leko will hold.
Svidler-Kasimdzhanov 1-0. I think Peter will win. He is on the rise now, and Rustam is obviously in a bad form.
Polgar-Adams ½-½. There will be a draw here, it seems to me. Judit has White, and if she does not nerve as in the game with Topalov (g4??), then she will make a draw, but I will refrain from saying about victory.
Anand-Topalov ½-½. This is certainly a central game of the round. If Anand wants to have any claims, he has to use White color, but I have great doubts that Topalov will lose the point. Taking his play into account, and he plays very self-confidently and enjoys a sharp form, I stake on a draw. I am 100 per cent sure that he will become the champion. It seems to me the previous time he was an obvious claimant for the crown, but missed it at the last moment. It should not repeat again now."
NIGHT WATCH №9
"Yesterday's heroes" with Teimour Radjabov
"Anand-Topalov. It is fantastic! I did not expect that he is not going to fight. It seemed to be his last chance, and he did not use it at all. It looks like Anand gave up on this tournament.
It would be funny if Morozevich wins 5 games more in turn. Leko had a good standing almost during all the game, but began making mistakes in time trouble. Generally speaking, Morozevich won in his typical complex style.
Svidler and Kasimdzhanov had a real struggle, a very complicated one. It seemed to me that Qa7 instead of Qc7 would have been interesting ... And Polgar-Adams – Adams knows this variation very well. A typical Marshall draw, that is all. It is of no interest to everybody except for maybe fans of this variation for Black".
Next round forecast: Jolanta Zawadzka, grandmaster
"Adams-Anand 0-1, because Adams plays rather strangely in the WCA, and Vishy is Vishy.
Leko-Svidler ½-½. I think there will be a draw: Svidler plays better now, but Leko cannot lose as White!
Kasimdzhanov-Polgar 1-0. Polgar plays very weak for some reason, and looking at the way she lost to Anand, I believe no more in her Black opening repertoire.
Topalov-Morozevich ½-½. I suppose the game will end in a draw. Though if Morozevich plays like he played three last rounds, it will be far more interesting..."
NIGHT WATCH №10
Next round forecast: Mark Glukhovsky, editor of KasparovChess and WorldChessRating websites
"Everything is rather simple. I think that Polgar and Leko will end the game in a draw. Of course, Leko may suppose that he will have no more chances to improve his score, but both opponents have no more power. If no one blunders, there will be a draw.
Adams-Topalov is an obvious draw. Mickey wants nothing, and Topalov does not have to run into troubles playing Black.
Anand must try to win, and I think he will win.
Svidler-Morozevich. I expect a great fight. No one is interested in the third place, and being the runner-up is rather cool. I even do not know whom to stake on, I stake on the struggle and suppose that it will be a decisive game. And if I have to choose someone then... Svidler is a stronger player".
NIGHT WATCH №11
Next round forecast: Evgeny Atarov, ChessPro editor
"Topalov-Svidler ½-½. If Veselin had not let Morozevich away and had played better with Adams, I admit that he would play for the victory. And now, with three rounds to go, when he rather has to make himself secure against this very Peter, Topalov will try to restrain the opponent. There are two possibilities: 1) a quick draw because of the dried position – and here it depends more on Svidler, or more precisely, on his opening preparation (for some reason I think that Topalov will play 1.d4) 2) long slow play, if White gets opening advantage – whatever the tournament situation is, Veselin would never mind to snatch another point. Moreover, Petya could have got a certain complex after the defeat in the first half (Shipov in his annotations on ChessPro noted: had this game ended with opposite result, Svidler would have been half a point ahead now!).
Leko-Anand ½-½. It will be 99,9 per cent a quick draw. Peter showed that ambitious dreams are postponed till next world championship, and Vishy would scarcely tempt fate as Black. Morozevich waits for him in the next round, and there Anand will try to fulfill his tournament task (catching up with Svidler).
Morozevich-Polgar 1-0. Seas of blood... Sasha has nothing to lose beginning from let's say round four, and Judit has always been his «client». Taking her condition into account, everything can end before the first control. Polgar has done enough mistakes, and she will latently restrain herself not to fall on the very bottom... This can bring extra chances to the Muscovite; the main thing for him is not to begin playing artificially as for example against Topalov or Svidler, because there is no need to conceal anything in the opening!
Kasimdzhanov-Adams 0-1. Something tells me that Mickey cannot turn out to be the only participant who did not feel the sweetness of victory. Rustam is in the storm now obviously – victory follows defeat, and I am afraid yesterday's defeat may cause negative psychological effect (he will start thinking that he acted in a wrong way, that he had to know the Gelfand game etc.), and for the Englishman it is all the same, the difference in moods can help him. Nevertheless there are great chances for a draw – nothing can prevent Kasimdzhanov from drying the game in the opening".
NIGHT WATCH №12
Next round forecast: Ilya Gorodetsky, webmaster of 64.ru website
"The round with all draws happened last time too long ago! Now it is time for it. In three games a draw is highly possible from my point of view. Adams-Leko is totally clear: there is no reason for them to play this game. Kasimdzhanov-Topalov: Topalov does not want to win, and Kasimdzhanov cannot do it, so it is a draw also. Polgar-Svidler. Peter is very tired, and he is a real gentleman also, he would not like to offend a woman, and Polgar does not show her best in the tournament, so I do not believe in her victory. There is the Anand-Morozevich game left. It is not a draw of course; there can be any result, but... I would have believed in Anand, but nowadays my opinion about his play is not that high to claim that he can win three games in turn. So I forecast a draw".