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    Entries in Veselin Topalov (45)

    Friday
    Aug242018

    More St. Louis Action Coming Up: Chess960 Matches Starring Kasparov

    Here's the quick summary: five 20-game matches, with six rapid and 14 blitz games taking place from September 11-14 of this year. All the games are Chess960 (aka Fischerrandom), and the positions will be unknown to the players until the start of the round. Here are the pairings:

    • Garry Kasparov - Veselin Topalov
    • Hikaru Nakamura - Peter Svidler
    • Wesley So - Anish Giri
    • Sam Shankland - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
    • Levon Aronian - Leinier Dominguez

    Tuesday
    Aug142018

    Ding Liren Wins Again, Defeats Topalov 3-1

    It was a very good little match for Ding Liren, who defeated an illustrious opponent - former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov - by a convincing 3-1 score. In the process, he has also joined the 2800 club. He is the 14th player to do so, and is currently ranked #4 in the world. Ding's win in the last game was very convincing - a complete positional crush of the sort one would expect from a rating mismatch, but not against a legend like Topalov who has been a top player for more than two decades. Here is the game, which even finishes with a petit combinaison.

    Monday
    Aug132018

    Ding Liren-Topalov, Game 3

    A second straight draw following his victory in game 1 means that Ding Liren only needs a draw with the white pieces in game 4 tomorrow to win his short match with Veselin Topalov. Game 3 is here; note Ding's instructive defense from move 48 on to hold the draw.

    Sunday
    Aug122018

    Ding Liren-Veselin Topalov, Game 2

    This time it's a draw, as you can see for yourself here. Ding Liren leads the four game match 1.5-.5.

    Saturday
    Aug112018

    Ding Liren-Topalov, Game 1

    Don't worry, I'll post about day 1 of the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz next, but in the meantime let's remember the other elite event. Ding Liren and Veselin Topalov are playing a four-game classical match in Wenzhou, China, and Ding has won game 1 with Black. He was worse much of the way, but in the battle of the tacticians he outplayed Topalov in the complications to take an early lead. A further feather in his cap: Ding has become the 14th player to surpass the elite 2800 barrier. Here is game 1, with some comments on the last part of the game.

    Wednesday
    Aug082018

    Coming Soon: St. Louis Rapid & Blitz (and Sinquefield Cup); Ding Liren vs. Topalov

    One last post for the day, announcing the next big thing(s) on the chess calendar. The absolute main event is the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, a Grand Chess Tour event featuring the nine regular members of this year's tour plus a wildcard, which is Leinier Dominguez. This will be followed by the Sinquefield Cup a few days later, but with a different wildcard: Magnus Carlsen. The rapid portion of the first event starts Saturday (August 11) and runs through Monday, and then they'll play blitz on Tuesday and Wednesday. After a couple of days off, the Sinquefield Cup will start on the ensuing Saturday (August 18th).

    Perhaps flying slightly under the radar, there will be a four day, four game match between world #4 Ding Liren and former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov, held in Wenzhou, China. It should provide useful experience for Ding Liren, and if he can gain three rating points for his troubles he'll become the latest member of the 2800 club. It should be interesting for Topalov as well, an opportunity to prove himself again at the highest level. And it should be a lot of fun for us as spectators, as both players have a propensity for tactical hijinks. We'll see, and if it fizzles from an entertainment standpoint St. Louis should more than pick up the slack.

    Tuesday
    Apr242018

    Shamkir, Round 5: Topalov Wins Again; Carlsen Wins Too

    After Veselin Topalov spoiled all the amity of the Gashimov Memorial by winning a game in round 4, Magnus Carlsen decided in round 5 that he too would be a spoilsport.He played a funny anti-Sicilian sideline (2.Nc3 d6 3.d4) against Radoslaw Wojtaszek, and it worked beautifully - at least once Wojtaszek played 11...h4? Carlsen missed various improvements, but still won pretty easily. (As you can see for yourselves; I've annotated the game here.)

    Meanwhile, Veselin Topalov won again, this time defeating David Navara. Topalov sacrificed a pawn in return for the bishop pair, and it paid off in the end. Topalov is at plus-two, but he could have been plus-four. A good finish over the last four rounds could give him one of his best results of the 2010s.

    Now that there have been three decisive games out of 25, the players need a rest, and that's what they'll get on Tuesday. Wednesday the action resumes, with the following pairings for round 6:

    • Radjabov (2.5) - Wojtaszek (2)
    • Karjakin (2.5) - Carlsen (3)
    • Topalov (3.5) - Mamedov (2.5)
    • Giri (2.5) - Navara (2)
    • Ding Liren (2.5) - Mamedyarov (2)

    Sunday
    Apr222018

    Shamkir, Round 4: Topalov Spoils Tournament Perfection By Winning

    Veselin Topalov had a winning position in two of his first three games, but in keeping with the thoroughgoing amiability of the Gashimov Memorial had sportingly allowed his opponents to save the game and make a draw. That same splendid spirit of friendship was on display today, too. Teimour Radjabov and Magnus Carlsen drew their game in 19 moves, while the other games not involving Topalov went a bit longer before the players split their points.

    Ding Liren had plenty of chances to win against Anish Giri, the last one coming on move 64 when either 64...a6 or 64...Ka3 would have eked out a win. Sergey Karjakin and David Navara played an interesting game that never got fully out of either player's grip, and the same could be said of the draw between Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Rauf Mamedov.

    But Topalov, tsk, tsk, tsk. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov outplayed him - with Black - but showed the true spirit of the tournament by letting Topalov off the hook. And then when Mamedyarov makes an error, how does Topalov repay him? By capitalizing on it and winning! Very disappointing. It's not too late to fix things, however. In the next round Mamedyarov plays Giri and Topalov plays Navara, and in the round after that Giri and Navara play. So if Mamedyarov wins and Topalov loses, they get back on track, then Giri just needs to beat Navara in the next round to get everyone back to a comfy 50%.

    Here are the full pairings for round 5:

    • Ding Liren (2) - Radjabov (2)
    • Mamedyarov (1.5) - Giri (2)
    • Navara (2) - Topalov (2.5)
    • Mamedov (2) - Karjakin (2)
    • Carlsen (2) - Wojtaszek (2)

    Monday
    Nov132017

    2017 Champions Showdown, Day 4: Americans Sweep; Carlsen Crushing

    It was a great day for the American players, who rolled on to victory. Hikaru Nakamura was always going to win against Veselin Topalov, entering the final day with a big lead and an overwhelming favorite in the blitz. To no one's surprise - including Topalov's - he finished like a hammer, winning nine games and drawing three. The scoring in the blitz was 2-1-0, so he won the session 21-3 and won overall by a ridiculous 61.5-30.5 margin. All the matches have a $100,000 prize fund split 60-40, so Nakamura won $60,000 to Topalov's $40,000.

    In the other two matches, the Americans continued the comebacks they had started at the end of day 3. Fabiano Caruana had won three games followed by a draw at the end of the previous day to close to within four points, and on day 4 he won, drew, and won again to equalize the scores. Having done so, Grischuk enjoyed his one bright spot when he won the fourth game - and even that took a lot of help: Caruana made a fingerfehler in the opening to lose a pawn, and when Caruana fought back to a drawn position he made two further errors to lose the game. But that was the end of his good news: in the last eight games the pattern kept repeating: a draw followed by a Caruana win. In all, Caruana won six games, lost just one, and drew five. He won the session 17-7 and the match 49-43.

    Wesley So likewise continued his great comeback. He had won the last three games on day 3, and although he was still down seven points he too overcame his deficit. He won his first two games, drew, and won two more games to take the lead. The rest of the way the play was closer, but So never surrendered his lead. Overall he went +7-2=3, winning the section 17-7 and the match 47.5-44.5.

    Finally, the world champion proved his greatness yet again. Magnus Carlsen dominated Ding Liren in the g/20 portion of the match, winning three games and drawing three. As you may recall, Carlsen led 12.5-7.5 after the first day, and with each of the 20-minute games weighted on a 4-2-0 basis he took day 2 18-6 and leads the match 30.5-13.5 going into the 10-minute games, which will start momentarily.

    Congratulations to the Americans...and probably to Carlsen too, barring a quasi-miracle.

    Saturday
    Nov112017

    2017 Champions Showdown, Day 3

    It was a good day for the underdogs/those who were trailing, as none of them lost ground on their opponents - though in every case they started off on the wrong foot.

    Thus Veselin Topalov started off with a loss as Black against Hikaru Nakamura, but struck back in the next game. The same pattern happened in the next two games, with first Nakamura and then Topalov again winning with Black. The last two games were drawn, and so while they split the 10-minute games 4-4 (or rather, 12-12 on the 3-1.5-0 scoring used for the 10-minute portion of the match) Nakamura keeps his hefty overall lead, 40.5-27.5 going into the last day.

    Fabiano Caruana came into the day four points behind Alexander Grischuk - the difference provided by the latter's win in the final game in the g/20 portion of the match. It looked like it was about to become a blowout in the g/10 after Grischuk scored 3.5 points in their first four games, thanks in part to his own successful play but also due to some egregious blunders by Caruana. But Caruana righted the ship, winning three games in a row before drawing the last game, so Grischuk maintains his 4-point lead (36-32) heading into the finale.

    Wesley So came into the day with a significant deficit against Leinier Dominguez, and after four draws and a loss in the game/10 portion it looked like the match was as good as over. But not yet! So won the last three games of the day, and trails 37.5-30.5.

    Sunday's action comprises 12 five-minute games, each worth two points (2-1-0 scoring), so none of the matches have been clinched yet (though Topalov's chances of coming back are extremely low).

    The fourth match started today, and will continue through Tuesday: Magnus Carlsen vs. Ding Liren. They played four 30-minute games, drawing the first three before Carlsen won and took the lead in game four. Carlsen had White in games 1 and 3, but should have lost that first game. He was bailed out, and then Ding was bailed out in game 3 when he too was entirely lost. Carlsen's win in game 4 was impressive, pressuring his opponent in a nominally equal ending until he broke. Following the pattern of the earlier matches, they will play six 20-minute games tomorrow.