Round #3 Pairings

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


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Round #3 Results

What a day! Four decisive games which all had spectators on the edge of their seats. The following games are in order of completion with Anand's crushing victory over Adams being the first. Polgar was back to her old form showing why she is such a dangerous opponent. Svidler continues to "own" a beleaguered Leko who cannot seem to find his game. Finally, Morozevich showed signs of his combative style but was slowly ground down by the relentless play of Topalov.

Anand-Adams, 1-0. Anand has handled Adams fairly well in their encounters, but Anand had come off of a grueling battle with Topalov so perhaps Adams would have some extra energy. It turns out that Anand had plenty of energy and the game only lasted two hours! The speed at which Anand whipped off moves at critical points led some to believe that he was still in home preparation when playing the final moves. 

This game started with the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez and Anand entered a variation seen as favorable to white. After 17.Ra3, white had scored a 40% kill-rate with 38% draws, so perhaps Adams had an improvement. It turns out that it was Anand who had the improvement with 23.Qd2! Adams spent more than 30 minutes thinking on Anand's apparent novelty before he played 23Bxd5.

Commentator GM Varuzhan Akopian was impressed by the speed in which Anand was playing his moves. The key moves in the sequence were 24.Nxh6+ Bxh6 25.Qxh6 Qxf2+ 26.Kh2 Nxe1
27.Nh4!! (found in 10 minutes)  Adams missed 27Re7 and attempted to block the diagonal with 27Ned3?? He was hit 28.Nxg6! and forced to sacrifice his queen, yet he still could not avoid massive losses after 32.Bh6. Anand used all of his pieces in a textbook attack. Absolutely a thrill! (game)

Anand-Adams in action. Adams seems to be plugging his ears from all the fireworks exploding around his king.

Anand-Adams in action. Adams seems to be plugging his ears from all the fireworks exploding around his king. Photo courtesy of WCC official site.

Svidler-Leko, 1-0. This game was predicted as slow and positional. The problem was that the game did not start slow enough for Leko who entered a short tactical fracas followed by a slow paralyzing death. It was reported on Chess.FM that Svidler had never lost with white against Leko and was looking to notch a sixth win. The opening was similar to the Anand-Adams, but instead of a crushing cobra strike, this was a boa constrictor seizing its prey. The culprit in Leko's collapse were 22Nb7 and 24Red8. Svidler's pieces poured into the black camp and amazingly Leko would be resigning shortly after the stifling 29.Re7! With 30.Qg4 in the air, Leko played 29Be5, but after 30.Nxe5 dxe5 31.Bxe5 he gave up. (game)

Polgar-Kasimjanov, 1-0. While nobody likes to lose, but we feel less disappointment if the opponent plays a brilliant game. Judit Polgar was back to her old self by launching the Perenyi Attack against the Najdorf. This line has been played at top level and popularized by GM Alexij Shirov after he scored a number of convincing wins. Polgar made a contribution of her own when she played the obscure as 13.Bxd4!? exd4 14.Rxd4. Also 16.Qe3! and 17.Qd2! set the tone for her onslaught.

As the FIDE champion tried to scurry out of the line of fire, Polgar launched a thunderbolt
20.Bb5! As is common when conducting an attack, small mistakes allow counterplay. After 20axb5 21.Re1 b4, Polgar played 22.Nb5? with numerous threats. However, Kasimjanov missed his last opportunity to save the game with 22Be5! He instead played 22Bxb2+ and Polgar finished him off with deadly efficiency. The beating she administered to Kasimjanov will make the highlights of every chess site of note. (game)

After 20axb5 21.Re1 b4, Polgar played 22.Nb5? instead of 22.Rxe8+!Commentators seem to believe 22Be5! holds. Kasimjanov played 22Bxb2+ and went down swiftly.

After 20axb5 21.Re1 b4, Polgar played 22.Nb5? instead of 22.Rxe8+!Commentators seem to believe 22Be5! holds. Kasimjanov played 22Bxb2+ and went down swiftly.

Morozevich-Topalov, 0-1. It was expected that this game would bring the same fireworks seen in the other games. Morozevich trotted out the Rossolimo which is a respectable anti-Sicilian measure with a positional reputation. The young Russian has not played according to his imaginative style, but Topalov knew he had to be careful. Symptoms of Morozevich combative nature started to surface after 17.Rh3 with 18.Qh5 in mind. It's a very crude, but effective plan.

Topalov hunkered down and secured his king's flank, so play shifted to the queenside. Morozevich played the strange 26.Qb1 setting up indirect threats to black's king and attempting to nurse his passed pawn up the board. That pawn would be lost and Morozevich would be fighting a downhill battle from then on. The game took another strange turn when Morozevich inexplicably weakened his king's shelter with 37.h4 and
38.f4.  Ten moves later, he finished the self-demolition with 49.g4? and 50.h5 and Topalov punished this with 50Qb8!

Ultimately the king had to run because black's pieces had
encroached white's weakened kingside. Morozevich kept up resistance, but Topalov chased the white king like a predator stalking its prey. It was interesting that in the end, only two black pieces were needed against three white pieces and the exposed king. Impressive display of power by Topalov!  (game)

Topalov (left) awaits Morozevichs reply.  (Photo courtesy of WCC official site)

Topalov (left) awaits Morozevich's reply.
(Photo courtesy of WCC official site)

Standings:

1st-2nd Anand, Topalov, 2-
3rd Svidler, 2-1
4th Polgar, 1-1
5th-7th Morozevich, Kasimjanov, Adams, 1-2
8th
Leko, -2

Posted by The Chess Drum: 30 September 2005