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Subject: WCC in Argentina

First round results:

Polgar - Anand: 0 - 1
Morozevich - Kasimdzanow: 1/2 - 1/2
Leko - Topalov: 1/2 - 1/2
Svidler - Adams: 1/2 - 1/2



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Actually, Leko -- Topalov is 0-1, due to Leko's phenomenal blunder which awarded Topalov the full point. Leko's first classical time control loss with the white pieces in god know's how long.



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Round 2 update:

Topalov vs Anand 1/2-1/2
Adams vs Judit Polgar 1/2-1/2
Kasimdzhanov vs Svidler 1/2-1/2
Leko vs Morozevich 1/2-1/2

Thought Anand and Topalov's game was an epic battle that ran nearly 100 moves, Topalov giving every iota of resourcefulness he had to try to win. It epitomizes Lasker's dictum: "Chess, above all, is a struggle."



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Yes, Topalov - Anand was fun to watch: Anand blundering a draw away twice, Topalov blundering a win twice and finally still a perpetual... This game let me stay awake until three in the morning ;o)

So, standings after two rounds:

Anand, Topalov: 1,5
Adams, Kasimdzanov, Morozevich, Svidler: 1
Leko, Polgar: 0,5

Not that this is very telling at this point :o)



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Where and how did you get to watch these games?



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How come Kramnik , Bacrot etc are not participating?



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Games, Kramnik, FIDE

You can watch these games free in real-time on FICS, just download a client, register on their site (it's free), and log on. Type in "observe gmanand" or "observe gmleko", etc.

Kramnik isn't playing out of protest to FIDE because he feels that he shouldn't have to participate in San Luis because he's already World Champion, beating Kaspy in 2000 and defending successfully against Leko in 2004. Kramnik feels that San Luis should be deemed some super-qualifying tourney, like ARVO 1938, to determine who the challenger to the WCC will be, who he'll play in a match. FIDE disagrees. Public opinion is divided. It's hard to call Kramnik the undisputed champ since Kasparov's retirement and the fact Kramnik has held his title without the traditional zonal/interzonal scheme in place and his international tourney record hasn't been as dominating as you'd expect from a world champion (say, Lasker, Alekhine, Karpov, and Kasparov all in their prime).

This tournmanent, San Luis, is billed as sort of modern-day Hague/Moscow 1948 to determine the world champion (then it was to settle the WC vacacy left by Alekhine's death, now it's to sort out the mess created by the collapse of the Prague agreement and Kasparov's retirement). San Luis is a double round-robin, a slightly fairer version from FIDE's candy-a** KO tourney format they've been using the past several years to determine the "World Champion," (something of a paper title no one gives much credence to). The winner of San Luis is the de facto new World Champion, period. Then FIDE is supposed to revert to a system simliar to the old zonal/interzonal format with a challengers' cycle every three years, which has been desperately lacking since Short and Kasparov petulantly broke away in 1993.

Whether or not the winner of San Luis plays Kramnik is their business, however I'll be glad that the question of "Who is World Champion?" will finally be resolved come Halloween. Just in time for this witch, too.



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<velvetvelour> You're right about the division in public opinion over the matter. Perhaps All Hallows Eve/ Halloween is a fitting time for the conclusion (it is for this Pagan anyway).



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four decided games!!!

Anand - Adams: 1 - 0
Polgar - Kasimdzanov: 1 - 0
Svidler - Leko: 1 - 0
Morozevich - Topalov: 0 - 1

Standings after three rounds:

Anand, Topalov: 2,5
Svidler: 2
Polgar: 1,5
Adams, Kasimdzanov, Morozevich: 1
Leko: 0,5



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Topalov - Anand game


As analysed by GM Shipov

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7

7.Bg2. It is interesting to note that Veselin turned off the path of lavish sacrifices: 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 d5 9.Qc2 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bb7 11.Neg5 c5 12.d5 exd5 13.cxd5 h6 14.Nxf7 Kxf7 15.0�0�0 and White prevailed in a very complicated battle (Topalov � Anand, Sofia 2005). Certainly both opponents diligently analyzed this game. If you want to know at what point Black could have played better, ask Vishy.
7...c6 8.Bc3 d5 9.Ne5 Nfd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.Nd2 0�0 12.0�0 Rc8 13.e4 c5 14.exd5 exd5 15.dxc5 dxc4 16.c6 cxb3 17.Re1 b2 18.Bxb2 Nc5 19.Nc4 Bxc4 20.Qg4 Bg5 21.Qxc4 Nd3 22.Ba3 Nxe1 23.Rxe1 Re8. The opponents played a long theoretical line which was regarded OK for Black. White has a good compensation for exchange, the c6-pawn looks strong, but it is really hard to score the victory.

24.Rxe8+. That is a novelty. It is exactly the case when improving a predecessor is not that hard. The game Sammalvuo � Veingold (Finland 2004) saw 24.Be4?! g6 25.h4?! Bf6 26.Re3 Qd4 27.Qc2 b5 28.Bc5 Qc4 29.Qxc4 bxc4 30.Bxa7 c3 31.Bc5 Re6 32.Kf1 Rce8 33.f3? c2 34.Ba3 Rxc6 and Black won easily.
24...Qxe8 25.Bd5 (only at this point the opponents sank into reflections) 25...h5. Here and many moves down the road Anand was trying to do without g7-g6. I am not sure that this is the only correct approach.
26. Kg2 Be7 27.Bb2 Bf6.

28. Bc1! Even disrupting Black�s pawn structure is not a fair price for the bishop exchange. Thank to two bishops White can constantly pester Black�s heavy pieces. It is extremely important!
28...Qe7 29.Be3. The move 29.Bf4 provoking 29...g5 also deserve attention. In this case the white queen has a chance to infiltrate to f5.
29...Rc7 30.h4 Be5 31.Qd3 Bd6 32.Bg5 Qe8 33.Qf3. What to do with the h5-pawn? Black can�t play g7-g6 in view of the white queen�s invasion to f6.

33...b5! (correctly played!) 34.Be3 (if 34.Qxh5 then 34...Rxc6! Black returns exchange with a roughly equal position) 34...Qe5 35.Qd1 Qe8 36.Qxh5! White has turned down a draw which the opponent silently offered � 36.Qf3 Qe5!
36...Rxc6 37.Bxa7. The endgame arising after 37.Bxc6 Qxc6+ 38.Qf3 Qxf3+ 39.Kxf3 looks drawing - 39...a5 40.Ke4 Be7 41.Kd5 b4 42.Bc5 Bd8! and so on.
37...Ra6 38.Bd4 Bf8 39.Be5 b4 40.Qf5. White keeps some initiative going. If he advances his pawn to h5 and sends another one from g3 to g6, Black will be in real trouble. That is why Anand played...

40...g6! 41.Qf4 Qe7! (this way Black transfers his bishop to g7) 42.Bd4 Ra5 43.Qf3 Bg7 44.Bb6 Rb5. That is the first step toward big problems. Better was 44...Ra6!

45...Bc3 (at this point Vishy slacked off. He thought his position was safe but did not realize the shaky position of his rook on b5; 45...Ra5!) 46.Bg5 Qa7? Here came a real mistake! Black could have held his ground with 46...Qf8!
47.Qd3! (a double attack at b5 and g6!) 47...Rb6. Another option 47...Qa6 fails to 48.Bd8. Then White removes his king from the h1-a8 diagonal preparing Bd5-c4; 47...Qb6 is also met with 48.Bd8.

At this point Anand took an interesting decision. I am sure that in this position just a few would make the move 48...Qa6!? It looks like Black can hold the opposite-color bishop endgame that emerges after 48...Qc7 49.Bxb6 Qxb6 � indeed in the kingside only Black�s position is defendable. However, White can play 50.a4! creating a passer at the queenside. This position is much more difficult to hold.

49.Bxf7+! (This elegant blow brings White two extra pawns) 49...Kxf7 50.Qd7+ Kf8 51.Qd8+ Kf7 52.Qc7+ Kg8 53.Qxb6 Qxa2 54.Qxg6+ Kh8.

It looks like Vishy deliberately went for this position. He probably thought that advancing b4-pawn promised a saving counterplay. Speaking objectively, Black�s position is lost. However, he has some practical chances and the Indian GM proved it!
55.Qc6 Qf7 56.g4! Bg7 (otherwise Black can�t get his passer advance) 57.h5. Another winning method is to construct a mate box for the black king � 57.g5 b3 58.g6 Qg8 59.h5 b2 60.Qb7 Qe6 and here for example 61.Bf4 Qf5 62.Be5!! Qg4+ 63.Bg3 Qf5 64.h6 Qxg6 65.hxg7+ Qxg7 66.Qxg7+ Kxg7 67.Be5+ and Black has to lay down arms.
57...b3 58.Qe4 b2 59.h6 Bf6.

I think by this moment Veselin got really tired. In the time trouble mutual mistakes crept in.
60.Bd4. White could have closed the game with 60.g5! Qe7 (60...Bc3 61.g6!) 61.Qxe7 Bxe7 62.Bd4+ Kh7 63.Bxb2 Bxg5 64.Bg7. As Black can�t trade the bishops on h6 White has not problems winning with two extra pawns.
60...Kg8 61.Bxf6 Qxf6
In this position White�s victory is doubt, at least for a human being at the seven hour in the time the second trouble. Queen endings are very difficult to play. There are too many lines, too many positional guidelines.
62.Kg3. Better was 62.f3! For example 62...Qb6 63.g5! Kf7 (63...b1Q 64.Qe8+ Kh7 65.Qf7+ Kh8 66.Qg7#) 64.Qh7+ Ke8 65.Qg8+ Kd7 66.Qg7+ Kc6 67.Qg6+ Kc5 68.Qxb6+ Kxb6 69.h7 b1Q 70.h8Q+�.
62...Qb6! 63.Qc4+ (now 63.g5? fails to 63...Qb8+! and that is Black who wins!) 63...Kh7 64.g5.

64...Qg6! (the only move) 65.Qc7+ Kg8 66.Qb8+ Kf7. Another one! Bad was 66...Kh7? 67.Qb7+ Kg8 68.h7+!
67.Qb7+ Kf8 68.Qb8+ Kf7 69.Qb3+ Kf8 70.Qf3+ Ke7. 70...Kg8? is a red herring - 71.Qa8+ Kf7 72.Qd5+ Ke7 73.h7! b1Q 74.h8Q Qg1+ 75.Kf3

Two black queens can�t deliver a single check!
71.Qe3+ Kd7 72.Qd4+ Ke6. Black had an elegant saving line at his disposal: 72...Qd6+ 73.Qxd6+ Kxd6 74.h7 b1Q 75.h8Q Qg1+ 76.Kf3 Qd1+! (after 76...Qxg5? 77.Qd4+ White trades the queens and transposes into the winning pawn endgame) 77.Kf4 Qc1+ 78.Kf5 Qb1+ 79.Kg4 Qg1+ with perpetual.
73.Qxb2 Qxg5+ 74.Kf3 Qh5+ 75.Ke4

75...Qf5+?! (the easiest way to save the game was 75...Qg6+!) 76.Ke3 Qg5+ This is the decisive mistake. The question mark is inappropriate here because this position is beyond human capacities. The line 76...Qh3+ 77.Kd4 Qg4+ 78.Kc5 Qh5+ 79.Kc4 Qd5+ 80.Kb4 Qb7+�let me stop here. Black escapes by narrow margin with many precise moves.
77.f4 Qg3+ (the h6-pawn is taboo due to the queen loss) 78.Ke4 Qe1+ (78...Qg6+ 79.Kf3 Qh5+ 80.Kg3 Qg6+ 81.Kf2+�) 79.Kf3 Qf1+ 80.Kg3 Qg1+ 81.Qg2 Qb1 82.Qc6+ Kf7 83.Qd7+ Kf6. This position is easily winning for White, providing that he does not blunder perpetual�

84.Qg7+ Ke6 85.Qe5+ (more accurate was 85.Kh2! Qc2+ 86.Kh3 Qd3+ 87.Kh4+�) 85...Kf7 86.Qh5+ Kf6 87.Qg5+ Kf7 88.Qh5+ Kf6 89.Qh4+ Kf7

90.h7? The last mistake! Let�s refrain from criticizing Veselin. Everyone could be in such a situation. Nevertheless, a well-known principle of queen endgames read that the party who has some extra material should keep his queen closer to the center. This approach offers a chance to avoid the perpetual, whereas at the edge of the board the queen can�t help her king. We see it happen in this particular case.
90...Qe1+! 91.Kg4 Qd1+ 92.Kg5 Qd8+ 93.Kh5 Qd5+ 94.Qg5 Qh1+ 95.Qh4 Qd5+ 96.Kg4 Qd1+ 97.Kg3 Qe1+ Draw! Topalov was fortuned in the first round; Anand had his portion of luck today. Both are Fortune�s favorites. One of them should grab the title�



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Sorry Guys ...

... but the world champion is not decided by a double round robin. It might be better than the "candy" tournaments in the past but the world championship is decided by the champ (Kramnik) playing a match with a challenger for the championship. FIDE stripped Fischer because he would not face the challenger ... now FIDE will not provide a challenger! What a shameful turn of events on FIDE's part to continue to play their games.

I can't fault these players for playing in the tournament but what they need to do is agree on the side that the winner takes FIDE's money and title but will face Kramnik for the championship.



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round four:

Again, four decisive games, again three with white, one with black:

Topalov - Adams: 1 - 0
Kasimdzanov - Anand: 1 - 0
Leko - Polgar: 1 - 0
Morozevich - Svidler: 0 - 1

Standings after four rounds:

Topalov: 3,5
Svidler: 3
Anand: 2,5
Kasimdzanov: 2
Polgar, Leko: 1,5
Adams, Morozevich: 1



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Topalov defeated Garry Kasparov in his last official game at Linares, to me it's clear he's the coming man and probably the new world champion within some time...



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Topalov marches on...

Round five:

Svidler - Topalov: 0 - 1
Polgar - Morozevich: 1/2 - 1/2
Adams - Kasimdzanov: 1/2 - 1/2
Anand - Leko: 1/2 - 1/2

Standings after five rounds:

Topalov: 4,5
Svidler, Anand: 3
Kasimdzanov: 2,5
Polgar, Leko: 2
Adams, Morozevich: 2



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Topalov after a mere five rounds being 1.5 ahead of the super-GM field with 4.5/5 is truly awesome to behold. It's like Alekhine reborn to dominate one's peers this much. This bulgarian WILL become the next world champion.



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especially impressive...

if you count the fact that with no time pressure and not six hours already played, he would have won against Anand as well... :o)



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... each one getting his/her share...

Polgar - Topalov: 0 - 1
Anand - Svidler: 1/2 - 1/2
Kasimdzanov - Leko: 1/2 - 1/2
Adams - Morozevich: 1/2 - 1/2

Standings after six rounds:

Topalov: 5,5
Svidler, Anand: 3,5
Kasimdzanov: 3
Leko 2,5
Adams, Polgar, Morozevich: 2



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Topalov is playing some outstanding chess, i follow every evening the games with
I don't know if he can hold on, but its amazing!!



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yes,I'm following the games also every day,really amazing.
He's playing without mistakes(cf. very few mistakes)...



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oh, I just realized...

Topalov has now reached the score of the Adams - Hydra Match :o)



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plays like he is on (or from) a different planet, wonder if he can keep up this pace- amasing..........




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Round Seven in San Luis

In a performance so far that seems only to rival Zukertort in London 1883, Topalov wins *yet again*, this time against FIDE's poster WC child Kasimdzanov in a Ruy Lopez. Kasim, to his credit, played a phenomenal defence, and many of the kibitzers proclaimed "Draw, Draw!" like it was going out of style, but the wily Topalov eventually sealed the Coffin in the endgame via a long king-walk that would have forced mate or pawn-queening. I think the only thing that would throw a wrench in Topalov's momentum by this point is releasing the strain with opiates like Zukertort did 120 years ago...

Svidler pummeled Polgar ruthlessly, returning Polgar's exchange sac for a won endgame, Adams choked again, this time under Leko's bootheel (I think his ELO loss for this tourney is going to be criminal, not to mention self-esteem. Poor bloke), and Morozovich, the "dark horse" of this tournament, destroyed Anand in a brilliant game after Moro played a stunning exchange sac for two connected passers on the K-side in a King/Rook/Bishop vs. King/Rook/Rook endgame. Another round of four decisive games! This is no Linares...this tournament's excitement never ends!

Topalov "Steamroller": 6.5 (!!!)
Svidler: 4.5
Anand: 3.5
Kasimdzanov: 3
Leko 3.5
Morozevich: 3
Adams, Polgar: 2



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Round eight

Topalov - Leko: 1/2 - 1/2
Anand - Polgar: 1 - 0
Adams - Svidler: 1/2 - 1/2
Kasimdzanov - Morozevich: 0 - 1

Standings after eight rounds:

Topalov: 7
Svidler: 5
Anand: 4,5
Leko, Morozevich: 4
Kasimdzanov: 3
Adams: 2,5
Polgar: 2



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Round nine

Anand - Topalov: 1/2 - 1/2
Polgar - Adams: 1/2 - 1/2
Svidler - Kasimdjanov: 1/2 - 1/2
Morozevich - Leko: 1 - 0

Standings after nine rounds:

Topalov: 7,5
Svidler: 5,5
Anand, Morozevich: 5
Leko: 4
Kasimdjanov: 3,5
Adams: 3
Polgar: 2,5



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I kibitzed the games on the ICCserver and although the "action" chessplayers there booed both Anand, claiming he was a wimp, and Leko, really hating him for his "boring games", Svidler's game was infact very educational (although Qa7 with sac on a3 wouldv'e been much more interesting) and so was the Leko game.

There is not much hope for anyone but Topalov winning this and I can't wait untill he faces Kramnik or a Kasparov who, if he's got anything american in him, will be a come back king.



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Round ten

Topalov - Morozevich: 1/2 - 1/2
Adams - Anand: 1/2 - 1/2
Leko - Svidler: 1/2 - 1/2
Kasimdjanov - Polgar: 1 - 0

Standings after ten rounds:

Topalov 8
Svidler 6
Anand, Morozevich: 5,5
Leko, Kasimdjanov: 4,5
Adams: 3,5
Polgar: 2,5



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Round eleven

Adams - Topalov: 1/2 - 1/2
Anand - Kasimdjanov: 1 - 0
Polgar - Leko: 1/2 - 1/2
Svidler - Morozevich: 1 - 0

Standings after eleven rounds:

Topalov: 8,5
Svidler: 7
Anand: 6,5
Morozevich: 5,5
Leko: 5
Kasimdjanov: 4,5
Adams: 4
Polgar: 3

Topalov needs 1,5 point from the last three rounds to become clear winner. If he draws tomorrow with white against Svidler, he must then loose to Polgar and Kasimdjanov in order for Svidler to win clear first with a score of 9,5 to Topalovs 9.
If Topalov gets just one more draw agains either Polgar or Kasimdjanov, and Svidler wins both last rounds, Topalov would still win on tiebreaks.

So, basically, tomorrow is *the* Championship match. :o)



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round 12

Topalov - Svidler: 1/2 - 1/2
Leko - Anand: 0 - 1
Morozevich - Polgar: 1/2 - 1/2
Kasimdjanov - Adams: 1/2 - 1/2

Standings after twelve rounds:

Topalov: 9
Svidler, Anand: 7,5
Morozevich: 6
Leko: 5
Kasimdjanov: 5
Adams: 4,5
Polgar: 3,5

If Topalov manages at least one draw against either Kasimdjanov or Polgar, Svidler is out due to tiebreaks. Were Anand to win his last two games, Topalov wins clear first with draws against Polgar and Kasimdjanov or a win against either.



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Round 13 results

The line-up today, returning after yesterday's rest day:

R. Kasimdzhanov �-� Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams �-� Peter Leko
Vishy Anand �-� A. Morozevich
Judit Polgar �-� Peter Svidler

Polgar-Svidler was your typical theoretical Marshall Gambit extravaganza which nullified into a draw once all the possiblities were exhausted. Adams--Leko was a tight, positional, and rather lusterless draw. Two of the draws (Anand's game & Topalov's) were hard-fought, though Topalov's was a defensive achievement that was really spectacular, Topalov getting the worst of it after a dubious Ruy Lopez treatment, then getting slowly broiled throughout the middle-game as Kasim applied Chinese Water Torture and won a pawn. However, a very daring and gutsy exchange sac worthy of Petrosian allowed Topalov to hold the position so well that Kasim was forced to return it and summarily concede the draw.

So, still 1.5 points ahead of the field with one round to go, it's guarenteed: Topalov is the new World Champion! He is like a Lasker for the 21st century, a very well-rounded and phenomenal player at home in any position, outshining everyone else in this tourney. Tarrasch once said of his rival, "Lasker occassionally loses a game, but never his nerve." I think the exact same sentiment can be applied to Topalov, the indefatigable fighter. Viva la Bulgaria, and well won sir! (Submitted for your appraisal: The current World Chess Champion, Womens' Champion, and "Chessboxing" champion today are all Bulgarian...coincidence, conspiracy, or hidden balkan reserve of talent? *cue twilight zone music*)


Veselin Topalov 9.5/13 (+6 -0 =7)
Viswanathan Anand 8/13 (+5 -2 =6)
Peter Svidler 8/13 (+4 -1 =8)
Alexander Morozevich 6.5/13 (+3 -3 =7)
Rustam Kasimdzhanov 5.5/13 (+2 -4 =7)
Peter Leko 5.5/13 (+2 -4 =7)
Michael Adams 5/13 (+0 -3 =10)
Judit Polgar 4/13 (+1 -6 =6)



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Round 14

Veselin Topalov �-� Judit Polgar
Peter Svidler �-� Vishy Anand
A. Morozevich �-� Michael Adams
Peter Leko 1-0 R. Kasimdzhanov

Entering the denoument of the WCC, round 14 is mostly a formality for Topalov, having snared the title already, and ipso facto is the first to draw his game in a perfunctory Queen's Indian Defence. First a winning streak, then a drawing streak, but by far good enough to bring home the belt. The real battle is for second place, as Svilder had to beat Anand (a draw would have Anand winning on tie-breaks). However, Anand erected the Petrov and there wasn't terribly a lot to be done. Adams ending up outplaying--with black--Morozevich in a Ruy Lopez, and it looked like he might be able to steal his only win with Black. However, Adams was unable to translate his middle-game advantage into a decisive one, and it ended up drawn. Leko had the only decisive result this round, outplaying Kasim in a Sicilian Kan and getting him in an overwhelming king-side bind until Kasim croaked.

Official final rankings:
1 Veselin Topalov 10
2 Vishwanathan Anand 8.5
3 Peter Svidler 8.5
4 Alexander Morozevich 7
5 Peter Leko 6.5
6 Rustam Kasimjanov 5.5
7 Michael Adams 5.5
8 Judit Polgar 4.5

As a sidenote, Topalov is willing to play both Kramnik and Kasparov in match play!! It will be one sweet day for competitive, professional chess if one (or both) rise to the challenge, and in the event of a Topalov--Kramnik roundup, the event will finally silence the detractors who continue to chafe at the idea of San Luis producing a World Champion.



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I have chafed

at all claims FIDE has made regarding their world champion, even when Anand won the KO event. But now, the highest rated active player (if the rating list came out today) won a steller event against his best rivals at classical time controls. I respect Topalov as the first FIDE World Champion deserving of the title since FIDE stripped Kasparov of his title and reinstated Karpov in the early 1990s.



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I still chafe

Topalov is my favorite active player. I can only hope that he gets to play, and beats Kramnik for the title. But with a chance to settle things again once for all, both players will probably just play games with the idea. Topalov is so great now that he will probably play Hydra as the "last hope for mankind". Maybe in 20 years from now there will only be 12 ex-champions active :-)

And we call Fischer crazy?



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Gr8 woman players?

are there any other respected female chess players in the league of the Polgars?



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Other elite female GMs:

(note: all are full-fledged GMs and not "merely" WGMs)

GM Stefanova Antoaneta of Bulgaria (same as Topalov) is the current world womens' champion, a great talent but her title will probably change hands shortly. She's had a rough year and her rating has taken some hits.

GM Alexandria Kosteniuk is the current Russian Womens' Champion and also holds the European Champion title. She was runner-up to the World Womens' Champion in 2001.

GM Zhu Chen of China was World Womens' Champ before Sefanova, beating out Kosteniuk for the title in '01.

Xie Jun is another chinese GM who was World Womens' champion before Susan Pogar in the early 90s. She took a hiatus to raise her child but is making a return to chess.

GM Maia Chiburdanidze of Russia is of a slightly older generation who is still actively competing in womens' chess, and has held the world womens' title herself five times over, gaining the title in '78 and defending it throughout the eighties.

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