The 6-game rapid match between Francisco Vallejo Pons and former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov finished today in a 3.5-2.5 victory for the Spaniard. Vallejo won game 5 with the white pieces to clinch overall victory. Topalov won the last game after Vallejo blundered at the end of a long defense, but it wasn't enough to save the match. Vallejo certainly isn't a bad player, but whatever Topalov had going for him in the mid-2000s still seems to be gone, long gone. I haven't rooted for Topalov since "Toiletgate", but while I admit to feelings of schadenfreude it's still a pity to see such a great player become a mere shadow of his former self.
Meanwhile, as one match featuring a former world champion (of sorts) finishes, another match with a former world champion begins. The tripartite classical/rapid/blitz match between Anatoly Karpov (he's the former world champion, for the younger internet crowd) and Yasser Seirawan started earlier today in St. Louis, and game 1 was a long and hard-fought draw. Karpov had White in a 4...Bg4 Slav, and for a while had a very slight edge. At a certain point he was a bit careless, however, and then it was Seirawan's turn to torture him for a few hours. Karpov eventually lost a pawn, but defended well despite a permanent time shortage. They'll play a second classical game tomorrow, and the next day things will start speeding up.