April 30, 2013 10:40

Topalov wins Zug Grand Prix with round to spare

In the top encounter of the Zug Grand Prix's penultimate round, Veselin Topalov defended his lead in the best way possible: he defeated runner-up Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces. With one round to go the Bulgarian grandmaster is now a full point ahead of Hikaru Nakamura, who beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in just 22 moves. Alexander Morozevich got his mojo back and beat Teimour Radjabov while Gata Kamsky won against Sergey Karjakin.

Report & photo by Anastasiya Karlovich

In the tenth round of the Grand Prix in Zug Veselin Topalov defeated his rival Fabiano Caruana and now is in sole lead with 7 points, one point ahead of Hikaru Nakamura. The American player won against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to take the second place. Alexander Morozevich managed to outplay Teimour Radjabov while Gata Kamsky won against Sergey Karjakin. The games Kasimzdhanov-Ponomariov and Giri-Leko were drawn. Ruslan Ponomariov and Fabiano Caruana share the third place while Kamsky, Morozevich and Karjakin share the fifth place.

The tie-break criteria (for trophies only):

1. Direct encounter
2. Number of wins
3. Sonnenborn-Berger
4. Koya

Veselin Topalov won against Hikaru Nakamura in the fifth round this means that even in the worst scenario for him he will be the winner of the Grand Prix in Zug.

Caruana - Topalov 0-1
Despite the victory in the game and, as a result, the victory in the tournament, Veselin Topalov looked very serious and tired at the press conference. It’s obvious that the tournament is not over for the former FIDE World Champion and he will fight for the sole victory in the tournament in the last round.

Fabiano Caruana got a pleasant position and managed to create threats on the kingside. The players showed many possible variations on the laptop and agreed that White could have played more precisely but at the same time they didn’t find any direct attack. The things went wrong when White lost a few tempos after the dubious Qf2-Qa7manoeuvre, but Caruana was in time trouble and it was not easy for him to find the right plan.

After the first time control the Italian player could have kept the queens on the board to have better chances for a draw because the knight and bishop endgame turned out to be absolutely winning for Black.

PGN string

Mamedyarov - Nakamura 0-1In this Slav Defence Mamedyarov got an unpleasant position out of the opening. White could not prove he has enough compensation for the pawn and after 21...f5 his position became really bad. It was still not necessary to resign after 22…Rxc4, even though the position was still much better for Black but the Azeri player miscalculated the variation and thought he would end up in the position with a rook against 3 pieces. The game could have continued after 23.bxc4 Bxc4 24.Nb4! Bxe2 25.Nxd5 exd5 26.Bxe2 Nd2 27.Rc7. According to Nakamura his position was still winning. However, it looks like White keeps some drawing chances in the endgame.

PGN string

Morozevich - Radjabov 1-0
Teimour Rajabov chose to play Sveshnikov variation [It was actually the Kalashnikov - CV] against Alexander Morozevich and Black was OK until the moment he had to find the very accurate move 21...Qb3!. The difference with the move in the game was that Black had 22…Qd5 after 22.Rc8 and after 23.Qa3 there was an important resource 23...Ra2. After 21…Qa4 White won an exchange and was increasing his advantage. Morozevich could have won easier but Black never got a real chance to fight for a draw. On the 43rd move Black could have tried a stalemate idea by playing 43…Kh6 44. Rg7?? Qg2+!.

PGN string

Karjakin - Kamsky 0-1
Karjakin managed to get slightly better position after the opening. Nevertheless, Kamky was looking for counter play and the position became very sharp. Black could get a huge advantage with 27…Qxd5 but both opponents missed this opportunity. After that the game was dynamically equal but with his 41st move Karjakin made a big mistake. After 41.Qf3 the game would most probably have finished in a draw. Kamsky found the forced winning line and 15 moves later the game was over.

PGN string

PGN string

PGN string

Standings after round 10

1   Topalov 7.0/10
2   Nakamura 6.0/10
3-4   Ponomariov, Caruana 5.5/10
5-7   Kamsky, Karjakin, Morozevich, 5.0/10
8-9   Giri, Leko 4.5/10
10-12  Radjabov, Mamedyarov, Kasimdzhanov 4.0/10




Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


bronkenstein's picture

Topa is really in class of his own here.

Morley's picture

Nakamura is coming back fast (4/5 since losing to Topalov in round 5), but Topalov is just having an awesome tournament. Winning this event would place him in 1st in the Grand Prix standings.

RG13's picture

Can Topalov once again realize the first three letters of his name?

Anonymous's picture

"lol" :)

Jambow's picture

I will admit Topalov's game looks better than ever, he has always been a monster in the tactical game but now he is transitioning better imho.

Jambow's picture

Nakamura making a comeback although he got a pretty big break against Morozevich. His pressure against Mamedyarov was powerful, he started with an early time and space advantage which finally yielded material, what else is there in this universe?

redivivo's picture

I thought Karjakin and Caruana would fight for first place here but both disappointed while Topalov really seems to be on the way back. Undefeated and four wins against top 15 opponents and less than a dozen points left to return to the 2800 club.

Jambow's picture

I especially thought Caruana would be fighting for the top spot Karjakin has looked hit and miss to me. I'm thinking that Topalov might go over the mythical 2800 barrier yet again.

Interesting the guy who was holding the spot closest without getting past the 2800 elo mark was Radjabov who has went into free fall. I know his elo is a picture of actual results and yet some how I was unconvinced he was as strong as his record would indicate?

I feel out of the top players Karjakin, Nakamura and Caruana are the likely candidates to break the mark. This of course means that Grischuk will be next. ;0]

redivivo's picture

"Karjakin has looked hit and miss to me"

Caruana and Moro both missed wins against Karjakin, and also Leko and Nakamura had very promising positions against him that they failed to win. Karjakin defended well in very bad positions but in all he didn't impress and his result could easily have been worse than equal.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"very promising positions that they failed to win" - maybe because, despite an (optically) promising position, there was no win?
Karjakin's result could just as "easily" have been better: he had a certain advantage against Ponomariov, he was at some stage better in a complicated position against Giri, and he (also) missed a win against Caruana ... .

The same goes for other players, including Topalov: He was worse against Leko (but won in the end), he was worse but held against Kasimdzhanov, same story against Ponomariov. He is deservedly in the lead because he used his chances, but my overall impression is: if the tournament was played over again, it might have a rather different result.

redivivo's picture

Topalov was in a class of his own and won with a margin of 1.5 point.

Horace Umbilical Knocking Shop's picture

Norway will pose a bigger test for Topalov than this shower. But I'm delighted to see him back. His rating has been unrealistically low for too long.

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