Round #2 Pairings

Topolov (Bulgaria) - Anand (India)
Leko (Hungary) -  Morozevich (Russia)
Adams (England) - Polgar (Hungary)
Kasimjanov (Uzbekistan) - Svidler (Russia) 


Round #2 Results

Topalov-Anand, ½-½.
This game is NOT for the squeamish. In a game that had more tosses and turns than a roller coaster, the two top seeds had all viewers on the edge of their seats. Anand was winning… then Topalov turned the tables… then Topalov missed a win… then Anand fought to a draw. What a fight! Certainly the game was not perfect and the errors were no doubt brought on by the tremendous pressure. Let's recap the game.

The game started normally with a main line Queen's Indian, but the mood of the game would be set with hostilities begin to unfurl after 13…c5!? The pawn clash resulting in series of tactical exchanges leaving several pieces hanging. "What is going on?" was the cry at the Internet Chess Club (ICC). The game was living up to expectations of a hard-fought battle.

Both of these players (with identical 2788 ratings) knew what was going on. Pieces zipped across the board… more pieces were hanging… mates were threatened…  and a delicate balance lay on the board.  Who would fall first? Topalov threw 20.Qg4!? on the board after which Anand punched out
20…Bg5!  (diagram).

Anand punched out 20…Bg5!  and netted the exchange after 21.Qxc4 Nd3!

Topalov pressed on hoping that his passed-pawn and two bishops would yield enough pressure and keep black's pieces tangled. Anand decided that he had seen enough of his rook being tied up by the white c6-pawn and sought to exchange it for a pawn and bishop. Topalov didn't bite and kept his menacing bishop pair after 38.Bd4. Anand thought he had broken the bishop dominion after 47…Rb6 but ran into 48.Be3 Qa6 49.Bxf7+! The point being that taking the bishop would force Anand to return the exchange, but with a two-pawn deficit.

What a turn of events!!

With Topalov marching toward imminent victory, Anand set up a blockade and relied on his advanced b-pawn and white's exposed king to save him. However, Topalov missed several opportunities. GM Susan Polgar points out that instead of 60.Bd4? white wins with 60. g5! Qe7 61. Qxe7 Bxe7 62. Bd4+ Kh7 63. Bxb2 Bxg5 64. Bg7 +-. The viewers at the ICC also pointed out that Topalov missed a clear win with 85.f5+! Despite allowing Anand to escape, Topalov still had a winning position, but erred once more with
90.h7?  This was the break Anand needed and he began a series of lateral checks that Topalov could not escape and saved the game. (game)

Anand punched out 20…Bg5!  and netted the exchange after 21.Qxc4 Nd3!

Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) battling Viswanathan Anand (India) in their 97-move roller-coaster thriller. Photo by Casto Abundo.

Leko - Morozevich, ½-½. Another interesting battle. Leko was coming off of a heart-wrenching loss to Topalov. He would have the white pieces again and face the Najdorf Sicilian again.  The opening would turn into a typical Sicilian with both sides trying to crash through on opposite wings. Morozevich sacrificed a pawn with 19…d5!? To launch the initiative at white's clumsy pieces and control the board with his two bishops. The Russian's plan seemed to be paying off as the bishops danced about the board and a passed g-pawn was waiting its turn to double-time to the queening square. The problem with this idea was that white could always front the passed g-pawn and mount threats to the exposed king. Seeing this, they agreed to a draw. (Note: This game was first reported as a draw after 30… hxg6. After surprised ICC viewers saw the game was still in progress, the moves were of a different game. Total disaster.) (game)

Adams - Polgar, ½-½. Judit Polgar's intrigue is that she is aggressive and takes chances… tremendous chances. So far, this has not worked to her advantage as she was clearly losing in this match. She was run off the board by Anand and was playing a Taimanov line that Adams had defeated in a previous tournament. Again, she fell into deep trouble with tremendous dark-square weaknesses, but she tried to balance this with a strong knight on the d5-square and active play. She later played 19…Qc4-g4?! a move that left spectators gawking.

One Grandmaster stated, "Can't he just play 20.Qxg4 and win?" However, Adams continued to play his trademark of simple chess and developed an incredible bind. Play shifted to the kingside as Polgar sought counterplay, but Adams eventually closed off the kingside leaving Polgar's rooks misplaced. He then cleared out the queenside and launched a deadly rook invasion after

Polgar under the watchful eye of Kasimdzhanov.  Photo by Casto Abundo.

Polgar under the watchful eye of Kasimjanov.
(Photo by Casto Abundo)

Polgar was forced to play actively and after 46…Rc8 drew down on Adams' overextended and weakened pawns achieving enough counterplay for a draw. After the game was drawn, it was reported that Adams was visibly upset. (game)

Kasimjanov - Svidler,  ½-½. This was a well-played game by the defending FIDE champion, but ended in a disappointing fashion. Svidler got the worst of the opening as he trotted out the Pirc Defense, a system that sees very little action at the top level. Polgar is famous for her brutal handling of such play having vanquished Pirc aficionado Ilya Smirin in 22 moves.  No doubt Svidler knew that game and decided to play more actively with 7…Bb7 and 8…Ng4. Nevertheless, he still came out worse as his underdeveloped pieces were caught flat-footed. Surprisingly Kasimjanov accepted Svidler's draw offer in the final position. Everyone was sure that Svidler would be ground down by the queenside pawn mass. Kasimjanov was critical of his move 23.Kc1 and stated that 23.b3 would have provided him with better chances. Unfortunately, this reticence may be a sign that Kasimjanov does not believe he can win the tournament. (game)


1st-2nd Anand, Topalov, 1½-½
3rd-6th Morozevich, Kasimjanov, Adams, Svidler, 1-1
Polgar, Leko, ½-1½

Posted by The Chess Drum: 29 September 2005