Friday, May 25, 2007

Topalov wins third straight M-Tel masters

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

AFTER being beaten black and blue with two losses and a draw in his first three games, Veselin Topalov dug deep into his bag of tricks to score three wins and four draws in his remaining games, including a last round win over erstwhile leader Krishnan Sasikiran to win the M-Tel masters for the third consecutive time.

Aside from the World Championship and the Olympiad, there are five “major” tournaments in the chess calendar. These are Wijk Aan Zee or Corus in Holland, Morelia/Linares in Mexico/Spain, Dortmund, Germany, Melody Amber in Monaco and the M-tel Masters in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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This tournament was played last May 5 to 20 and is unique in that no agreed draws were allowed. Draw offers can only be allowed through the chief arbiter in three cases: a triple repetition of the position, a perpetual check and a book draw.

The format used was double-round robin, meaning each player played the others twice—once with white and then black.

ROUND 10 RESULTS: Veselin Topalov—Krishnan Sasikiran (1-0, 59 Nimzo Indian); Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu—Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (1/2, 42 Sicilian Classical); Michael Adams—Gata Kamsky (1/2, 78 Ruy Lopez Closed)

FINAL STANDINGS: 1.) Topalov (Bulgaria, 2772, 5.5) 2.) Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2757, 5.0) 3. Nisipeanu (Romania, 2693, 5.0) 4.) Kamsky (US, 2705 5.0) 5.) Sasikiran (India, 2690, 5.0) 6. Adams (England, 2734 4.5).

Topalov was born on March 15, 1975 in Rousse, Bulgaria and is a former world champion. In the latest ratings, he is listed at No. 2 behind Viswanathan Anand of India with an Elo rating 2772.

His father taught him how to play chess at age eight. He won the World Under-14 Championship in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in 1989, and won the silver in the World Under-16 in Singapore and became a grandmaster in 1992

His notable tournament victories are:Madrid 1994, 1996, 1997, Dos Hermanas 1996, Amsterdam 1996, Vienna 1996, Novgorod 1996, Antwerp 1997, Monaco 2001, Dortmund 2001, M-tel Masters 2005 (a point ahead of Anand), Fide World Chess Championship 2005 (a point and a half ahead of Anand and Svidler),Corus 2006 (joint first with Anand), M-tel Masters 2006 (half a point ahead of Gata Kamsky), Corus 2007 (joint first with Aronian and Radjabov). He was also a semifinalist at the Fide World Chess Championship 2004 in Tripoli, Libya and shared first place with Kasparov (Kasparov technically won on tiebreaks though Topalov won their individual game) at Linares 2005

The unification match against classical champion Vladimir Kramnik, which he lost, in Kalmykia, Russia last year was very controversial and is now known as “toilet-gate.” Topalov’s camp accused Kramnik of cheating by going to the bathroom as many as 50 times during a single game and that Kramnik made the most significant decisions in the game while in the bathroom.

After the Appeals Committee decided that they must share a single bathroom, Kramnik refused to play the next game and lost on forfeit.

After the arguments settled down, the Appeals Committee was replaced and Fide President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took over and upheld the forfeit loss,

However the crisis escalated as Topalov‘s manager, Silvio Danailov, implied that Kramnik was receiving computer assistance .

The match was tied after the required 12 games but Kramnik prevailed in the tiebreak games to win the unification match.

In December last year, Topalov accused Kramnik of using computer assistance in their World Championship match and this was followed by Danailov in February this year, showing purported pictures of cables in Kramnik‘s bathroom.

My personal opinion is that there was no cheating on Kramnik’s part.

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