May 01, 2013 9:56

Topalov also wins last game in Zug, now 4th (!) in the live ratings

Veselin Topalov finished the Grand Prix in Zug in style, beating Sergey Karjakin with the white pieces in 41 moves. The Bulgarian grandmaster not only won the tournament with a 1.5 point margin, but also went up to number 4 in the live rating list. The other games all ended in draws.

Report & photos by Anastasiya Karlovich

In the 11th round Veselin Topalov needed a draw to secure his sole victory in the tournament. At the same time Sergey Karjakin showed the will to fight and the former FIDE World Champion took the challenge.

Topalov showed a fantastic performance and increased his live Elo to 2793. He is now number 4 in the world and more importantly, the Bulgarian is leading the overall Grand Prix (see below). All other games were drawn. The games Radjabov-Mamedyarov and Ponomariov-Morozevich were finished relatively quickly. Hikaru Nakamura finished in sole second place. Ruslan Ponomariov and Fabiano Caruana shared the third place.

Topalov-Karjakin 1-0
Sergey Karjakin chose a Benoni structure with Black and it became obvious that both players would fight till the end.

It was a brave decision of Sergey to play for a win today despite his result of yesterday,

said Veselin Topalov during the press conference. The Russian player got a comfortable position with Black but went for a dubious plan with Qh8. Later on Karjakin decided to sacrifice a pawn but he didn’t play accurately and failed to get enough counterplay. It was hard to defend the position under time pressure and after the first time control Black’s position was already lost.

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Leko-Kasimdzhanov ½-½
Once again Peter Leko got a very pleasant position out of the opening but his opponent Rustam Kasimdzhanov tried to keep the balance and was defending very well. At one point the former FIDE World Champion started to play quicker than his opponent and managed to get a time advantage. His bishop sacrifice proved to be good enough for a draw.

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Hikaru Nakamura had the white pieces against Fabiano Caruana and was the only one who could try to catch the leader Veselin Topalov. Hovewer, the American player didn’t get much in the Exchange variation of the Slav Defense but tried to keep the pressure. It was hard to break Caruana’s defense and the last game in the tournament finished in a draw.

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Press conference Topalov

In this small interview, Topalov said:

In fact today I was quite relaxed. In my career I've played more important games than today or yesterday so there was no real pressure.


The difference is that normally my strong side was always the opening but in this event I think I was getting absolutely nothing, sometimes I was clearly worse, but I could outplay my opponents in the end.

Honestly I feel happy but of course the result I had I didn't really deserve it because I was quite lucky in several games, so I was not really satisfied with my play. I showed practical resistence, I defended very well but there were moments when I could play much better.


I am not superstitious but twenty years ago I played the worst tournament in my career, the interzonal in Biel, it was really a nightmare. Twenty years later I could emerge as the winner in Switzerland!

The awarding ceremony took place after the last game was finished. It was attended by Alexey Moskov, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Renova Group, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE CEO Geoffrey Borg, President of Swiss Chess Fedration Prof. Dr. Adrian Siegel, other officials, guests and players.

Topalov looking at the remarkable text "Twenty five thousand euros only"

Final standings

Rank SNo.   Name Rtg FED Pts Res. vict SB Koya
1 8 GM Topalov Veselin 2771 BUL 8 0 5 43,00 4
2 9 GM Nakamura Hikaru 2767 USA 0 3 33,00
3 11 GM Ponomariov Ruslan 2733 UKR 6 1 2 33,50
4 3 GM Caruana Fabiano 2772 ITA 6 0 3 30,25 2
5 7 GM Kamsky Gata 2741 USA 1 3 29,50 2
6 1 GM Morozevich Alexander 2758 RUS 0 3 27,25 1
7 4 GM Karjakin Sergey 2786 RUS 5 1 1 26,00 2
8 5 GM Giri Anish 2727 NED 5 1 0 27,75
9 6 GM Leko Peter 2744 HUN 5 1 0 26,50
10 10 GM Radjabov Teimour 2793 AZE 1 1 25,25 2
11 12 GM Kasimdzhanov Rustam 2709 UZB 1 1 24,50 2
12 2 GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar 2766 AZE 1 0 25,00

Grand Prix 2012-2013 | Standings

Name London 2012 Tashkent 2012 Zug 2013 ? 2013 (Berlin 2013) (Paris 2013) Best 3 total
Topalov 140   170 x x   310
Mamedyarov 140 80 20   x   240
Morozevich   140 75 x x   215
Wang Hao 70 140     x x 210
Karjakin   140 50   x x 190
Leko 80 50 50   x   180
Caruana   80 100 x   x 180
Gelfand 140 30     x x 170
Nakamura 15   140 x   x 155
Ponomariov   50 100 x   x 150
Kasimdzhanov 35 80 20 x     135
Grischuk 90     x x x 90
Kamsky   10 75 x x   85
Giri 15   50   x x 65
Ivanchuk 55     x x x 55
Dominguez 35 20   x   x 55
Adams 55           55
Svidler   50   x   x 50
Radjabov     20 x x x 20

These are our own calculations; they're not confirmed by FIDE yet.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Septimus's picture

Topa is on fire! Looks like he has recovered quite well from his wedding!

Brecht's picture


Aditya's picture

Topalov was 2 points ahead of his closest rival when he finished his game. Now that is a victor in a different class. No other boards to look at, no other games to wait on. I guess it is time for him to meet his peers in Stavanger.

Jambow's picture

Well the 5 active players who have ever been over 2800 elo are also 1-5 in rankings and pretty close to the same order in which they peaked. This should be normal when all of them are playing very well too. If they all continue the current trend we will have five players in the 2800 range and one who possibly could break 2900 if his results equal preceding years performance.

Topalov and Kramnik truly look to be advancing their game while Anand looks to be finding his. Great time to be a chess fan from my seat anyway.

I hope Vishy has his full form back when he faces young Magnus as the level of play in the past two world champion matches have been less than impressive to me. While I consider Magnus to be better now than Anand ever was the difference combined with experience makes it any mans to win providing they both play well. Maybe St Louis might be a good location, come on Rex throw a few bucks that direction....

noyb's picture

Vishy is done, stick a fork in him. Carlsen will win by +2, perhaps even +3.

IMHO, WC will still be held in India, despite Carlsen's protests. At best, it will be split b/w Norway, Moscow or U.S. and India.

e4a6's picture

"Topalov and Kramnik truly look to be advancing their game while Anand looks to be finding his."?! What have you been watching...idn't anand well ahead of kramnik at the alekhine right now

Jambow's picture

I was thinking beyond one tournament actually and it was a hint here and a performance there that made me take note. Anand until his last couple of events has not been at all impressive. His brilliant win over Aronian seemed to be a turning point for him and I hope it is. Kramnik has been showing signs for almost a year that something was brewing going over the 2800 mark and hitting a live elo high 2814, this says he was improving.

Topalov is playing more precise chess imho see Thomas Olivers comment as he summed it up well.

I want Anand to be his former self when he faces Carlsen or even better as his last two performances defending his title were pretty low quality. I give Carlsen and Aronian some credit for raising the bar, I give Kramnik credit for meeting the challenge, now perhaps Topalov and Anand too. I say Anand is finding his game because he is starting to win again with dynamic active exciting chess, the chess he was formally known for. I say advancing their games for the other two because they appear to me at least to be changing their games.

Kramnik need not be reckless but he has to know when to put it out there and press for the win with a little more calculated risk. Topalov needs to understand the transition from middle to end game and when you are working towards one as opposed to the other. These are generalizations that need to be understood at the top level because they are all brilliant at virtually every area of the game when compared to the average GM which is in itself a rather strange statement. These the bold observations from a self proclaimed patzer nothing more.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"Topalov and Kramnik truly look to be advancing their game" - I have a funny, maybe controversial suggestion or observation (at least both players might not like it):
Kramnik improved by playing more like Topalov: more dynamic chess, risk-taking, sometimes sacrificing material, ... .
And Topalov improved by playing more like Kramnik: less speculative chess, less risk, more positional play, patient maneouvring, endgame wins. To me it was even more obvious in the previous (London) Grand Prix.
Of course any top player needs to have a universal or flexible style, in Topalov's case I am not sure if it is deliberate, and certainly either player didn't take the other one as a role model :) .

Jambow's picture

Thomas I didn't make the connection between Topalov and Kramnik as you did, but I made the exact same observations of how their play changed regardless. We don't know what Topalov was doing during his hiatus from chess he very well could have been working towards getting a better positional understanding. In the post game interview he seemed to grasp the end game better than Caruana which suprised me.

Kramnik I think perhaps rather than study just accepted he needed a change in philosophy and when he ventured just enough to convert some games it paid didvidends. I feel if Kramnik gets a handle on it he will reach new heights. You can accept losses as long as the net result is even more wins at least in tournament play. Perhaps Kramnik is getting answers from the mens room only he and Danilov know for sure. ;0]

Thomas Oliver's picture

My connection between Kramnik and Topalov was mostly in jest - even if Topalov also "copied" an occasional weakness of Kramnik: missing a tactical win in his game against Kamsky (but he was also a bit "lucky" in some other games, at least in the first half of the event). I had been joking before: when Topalov was struggling for a while after his lost WCh match against Anand, I suggested he might ask his "friend" Kramnik for advice on how to cope with such a situation ... .

In Kramnik's case, maybe he also simply remembered his younger years: Before his match against Kasparov, he also played more dynamic chess. Then a positional approach worked perfectly against Kasparov, and also rather well for a while after that match. But not against Anand, time for a change or, in a way, "back to the roots"?

Jambow's picture

Congrats to Topalov impressive performance.

chesshire cat's picture

Great play and always thirsting to win. Also, not much sign of the speculative stuff (playing a move he knows is bad relying on the clock or that his opponent will err), but rather the great tactical and endgame play he excels at. Hopefully he will be hanging around the top 5 for a long time to come, he is a treat to watch.

Ovidiu's picture

Outstanding Topalov.
A lot of good moves every game, no serious mistakes also, no "opening-prep" great advantages but middle-game/engame quality play...

he has been training with his new wife every night in the past 6 months and the results are showing now

Morley's picture

Radjabov has plummeted 47 rating points, and will be at his lowest rating in nearly 4 years in the next list. Yikes.

Congrats to Topalov on a great tournament. It will be interesting to see him (and Radjabov, I suppose) play Carlsen in Norway soon.

slymnlts's picture

I don't see what there is to cheer up about Radjabov's fall - he recently got married and stayed out of chess for a while, so, as expectedly, he is out of shape as well as having been outprepared in most of his games, but ironicaly that is what happened to Topa. He also got married and stayed out of top competition and when he returned he dropped a lot of rating points. If Radja is serious about being a chess professional, he will be back and we will have another serious top rival in the tournaments, as we are witnessing in the case of Topa.

kuk's picture

As Ivanchuk said (recently quoted by Short): marrying is like taking the b pawn :-)

Ari's picture

Carlsen-Topalov 2015 already looming ahead!
Topalov´s games are always interesting, he plays great fighting chess.

saturnz's picture

well done Topalov

RG13's picture


Manu's picture

congratsTopa 4 a great tournament !

Manu's picture

Topa had 2 knights on the rim on that game ,and won!

PP (nl)'s picture

When was the last time Giri won a game in a serious tournament?

Good to see Topalov back where he should be!

Mike's picture

Maybe he had a chat to Borislav Ivanov...who should soon be with him on the Olympic team :)

Henk de Jager's picture

Ever since Toiletgate and the disgusting behavior of his "manager" Danailov, I find it hard to sympathize with Topalov. Nonetheless, nice win, but I have no desire to see him compete for the world title again.

Anonymous's picture

same feeling

Henk de Jager's picture

...he should also cut off more of his hair by the way.

redivivo's picture

Funny, Moro still seems imply that Topalov is a cheater, there is no other way to interpret his comments in the press conference that better anti-cheating measures are needed in the next GP event, that the players must start to respect each other etc.

TM's picture

Honestly, I think Morozevich lost it. Yes, he is a fun player, but he seems to have some serious mental problems. During the press conference after the Naka game, too, he was completely out of his mind. Very bad loser, indeed...

Anonymous's picture

God Bless Moro ! ( good at the press room as good at the board ... )

kuk's picture

I like Anastasia's amused smile when she listens to Nakamura.

Anonymous's picture

you mean that you like Anastasia. Nakamura has nothing to do with it :)

milan kovacs's picture

met Anastasia at the World Championship Anand vs Topalov and she is a real charmer. always smiling and being kind. and also very pretty :)

djok's picture

how disrespectful of this crowd players cant even analyse in peace kamsky and leko press conferences completely shocking

Theo's picture

Please someone...STOP this man!!
Could Vaselin ever be a threat to Magnus?

Vladi's picture

"Twenty five thousand euros only" . Yes, it is "only" in comparison to the show which Topalov makes!
Браво, Веско!

Niima's picture

Agreed. The discussion is an old one, but it is still shocking to see how little these fighters receive for their performances.

jsy's picture

The overall winner of the Grand Pix series will get an additional 100,000 25,000 Euros for now is not so bad.

Thomas Oliver's picture

The overall winner and the runner-up will also get to play the next candidates event - more guaranteed money. The 7th place in the final standings is worth an additional 25,000 Euros, 12th (last) place in each individual event is still 7,000 Euros.
All not too bad at least in comparison to private events (was first prize in Wijk aan Zee 10,000 Euros?) - but these events also pay appearance fees, the GP Series might not.

Hungry Hippo's picture

Topalov isn't just fourth on the live rating list - he's also fourth on the official rating list released this morning.

Anon's picture

World prodigy Borislav Ivanov will be higher ranked than Veselin Topalov very soon.

Anonymous's picture

Unless he gets caught. Immediately after his next brilliant miniature they should grab him and then force him to strip search and submit to an MRI. If he is clean then the entire chess world should profusely apologize and recognize him as the greatest chess genius since Houdini!

AAR's picture

In sometimes I win against players ranked 400 pts above me and sometimes I loose against players ranked 400 pts below me.

Anonymous's picture

Both Chessbase and Chessvibes are using the same report for this tournament, albeit may be with different translations. But it is funny to note that Chessbase translated Kasimdzhanov's bishop sacrifice against Leko as a 'knight' sacrifice!

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

impressive performance from Topalov.

Cleto's picture

Well... Equal 1st in London, clear 1st in Zug. Seems as Topalov is back after a painful dive.

V. Topalov's picture

Thanks for the support.

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