Topalov on Top!!

In the first leg of the FIDE World Chess Championship, we find Bulgarian
Veselin Topalov on top the leader board on 3˝-˝. He has played with tremendous energy as evidenced by wins over Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich and Michael Adams. His draw with Viswanathan Anand was a hard-fought battle and it is a wonder whether he can maintain this pace at such a high level.

Topalov has proved his mettle in different types of positions, but can his nerves hold? The key to his success thus far has been his ability to create imbalances in positions that are uncomfortable for the opponent. However, he has showed some weaknesses. In his game with Leko, he was clearly worse at one point and against Anand, he showed some lapses of attention allowing a draw in a clearly winning position.

Topalov (left) has played with vigor and courage.  (Photo courtesy of WCC official site)

Topalov (left) has played with vigor and courage.
(Photo courtesy of WCC official site)

In other action, Anand was "upset" by defending champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and will try to get back on pace against Leko… a tough assignment. Leko has rebounded from a poor start and is coming off of a win over Judit Polgar who is having a relatively poor time in the opening  phases of the game.

Both Morozevich and
Michael Adams are bringing up the rear as both have not shown the killer instinct needed to win big games. Adams allowed Polgar to slip away with a draw in a much better position. Morozevich saw his advantage fritter away against Peter Svidler and now he has lost with two whites in a row. Svidler is playing very solid chess and his most impressive game has been his win over Leko, but his next opponent is frontrunner, Topalov.

Play resumes today.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 3 October 2005