Reports | October 04, 2009 20:50

Nanjing R6: first win for Topalov as Jakovenko blunders

Nanjing r6A terrible blunder by Dmitry Jakovenko allowed Veselin Topalov to score his first win in round 6 of the Pearl Spring tournament. Magnus Carlsen was under pressure throughout the game with Black against Peter Leko, but held a worse ending to a draw, while Teimour Radjabov and Wang Yue drew quickly.

The 2nd Pearl Spring tournament takes place September 27 - October 9 in Nanjing, China. It's a 6-player, double round-robin with Topalov (2813), Carlsen (2772), Leko (2762), Radjabov (2757), Jakovenko (2742) and Wang Yue (2736) playing for a € 250,000 prize fund. The rate of play is 40 moves in 90 minutes plus 1 hour.

Round 6

After the first rest day the Pearl Spring Grand Slam tournament resumed on Sunday. The batteries recharged, Topalov took some risks today in his Black game against Jakovenko and in the end it paid off. Opting for the Grünfeld, the Bulgarian came up with a sharp novelty on move 14 and soon afterwards it became clear that he fully played for a win. 16...Nxa1 seems like a pretty safe option or Black but instead Topalov decided to sacrifice his knight on h5 in return for a dangerous attack. The White king was lured to f3 but Jakovenko defended strongly. Just when the Russian was about to start consolidating his material plus, he committed a gross blunder while the players weren't even in serious time trouble. A welcome gift for the world's number one, who needed a boost to start, well, yet another comeback perhaps!?

Nanjing r6

No matter how good your form is, a Black game against Leko is never an easy task. Carlsen also went for the Grünfeld against the Hungarian's 1.d4 and a position we've seen four times last week in Valencia quickly appeared on the board. Black's 11...e5 was probably an attempt to keep the game enjoyable, but a few powerful moves by Leko later, Carlsen might have regretted his choice. There was nothing better than sacrificing an exchange for a pawn, but Black's compensation in fact was probably just about enough. After the queens were swapped, Carlsen quite easily held the ending.

Nanjing r6

Radjabov-Wang Yue was a very quick draw and the reasons seems to be that the Azeri grandmaster got confused about the opening. His opponent surprised him with the Queen's Gambit Declined, which the Chinese had only played twice before in 2007, and despite the fact that he had played the position himself several times before, Radjabov apparently mixed up some moves to end up in a theoretical position that's impossible to search for in the database because White is supposed to have the move there. Bailing out with 13.Bxf6 and 14.d5 was a boring but understandable choice.

Nanjing r6

Today we saw what the concept "fighting player" actually means. Carlsen's 11...e5 avoided simplification, and so did Topalov's 16...Nxe3. Both moves were risky, but at the same time kept more practical winning chances. It's nice to see these two fighters currently topping the live rating list.

Games round 6

Game viewer by ChessTempo

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Round 6 Standings
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009 | Schedule & results
2nd Pearl Spring (Nanjing) 2009

Nanjing r6

Magnus Carlsen still leads by a 2-point margin with 4 rounds to go

Nanjing r6

The post-mortem between Radjabov and Wang Yue ('yes, that bishop might better go to e5') with many young spectators - now that the holiday season has started, the tournament is getting more spectators than in the first week


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Jan's picture

Great that Chessvibes is so fast with first analysis.

chris's picture

Computer recommends - 29--Qb2.Seems interesting.

cashparov's picture

"Topalov wins after blunder Jakovenko" - what kind of English is that?

newage's picture

yes, it sounds aweful. XD

unknown's picture

It is Dutch English...

BTW. Today Dutch female volleyball team is playing for gold in European Championships against Italy at 20:00 CET.

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

What a wise decision of Carlsen not to overdrive today with the black pieces against Leko, who had suffered a very painfull defeat against Magnus in the 1st round of the tournament. Tomorrow we are going to see the "highlight" of the Pearl Spring event, when Topalov with white is seeking revenge for his defeat in the 2nd round, I guess!

Hairulov's picture

Veselin Topalov not Veseling

JustBe's picture

What would be better English then? Just curious as I am dutch myself ;-)

Iraqi Master's picture

A huge blunder by Jakovenko, i simply do not know how 2700 player make such mistake.

Thomas's picture

Apparently Carlsen cannot do _anything_ wrong .... : His/their (including Kasparov) opening preparation may have gone wrong, he then had to sacrifice (or "throw") an exchange and defend a (slightly) inferior ending, and this is "a wise decision not to overdrive"?!
Don't get me wrong, but "no need to hype Carlsen" after such a game!?

@JustBe: Have a look at the new title of this article :) - indeed Peter Doggers is not a native speaker, I wonder if cashparov and newage would prefer to have this website (only) in Dutch!?

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

To THOMAS: Sorry, don´t get me (!) wrong: No HYPE to Carlsen, but is is more than noteworthy to mention now, that Bobby Fischer (too often) has "overdriven" some of his games from a psychological point of view - leading to some avoidable defeats! Maybe G.K. is (nearly permanently) in contact to M.C. by IT-means - not surprising -
to avoid just those desasters, which could have happened even today! So "What a progress"!

Thomas's picture

Dr. Berghorn, while you are not the only one comparing Carlsen with Bobby Fischer (also some posters at Dailydirt), this doesn't mean that he would copy "all of Fischer" - certainly not some of Fischer's character traits which were interpreted as signs of mental illness ... . But as far as OTB chess is concerned, maybe Fischer could "afford" some overdriving and avoidable defeats, given that he was so dominant in his time.

Regarding "no overdrive", I do not even think Kasparov's advice and influence is required - but it may be another hype to look for "signs of GK" in everything Carlsen now does or does not ... . It is relatively normal for players to slow down after a commanding early lead. Recent examples:
Topalov at the San Luis WCh (6.5/7 followed by seven draws)
Ivanchuk at MTel 2008 (5/5 followed by 3/5)
Nakamura at San Sebastian 2009 [even losing his early lead, having to rely on his blitz skills to win the tiebreak]

ClammyHamster's picture

According to Carlsen's father, Magnus was worn out at the end of the first half of the tournament. It might have looked like easy wins but it took a lot out of him. IMHO most Super GM's would have lost to Leko today.

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

To say it in German: "Der Verzicht nimmt nicht, der Verzicht gibt" (Martin Heidegger, Philosoph, + 1976)

pat j's picture

who says chess is not popular?! there you have two of the top grandmasters in the world and look how interested those 7 year olds are!
long live the great game of chess.

Janis Nisii's picture

Unknown wrote:
"BTW. Today Dutch female volleyball team is playing for gold in European Championships against Italy at 20:00 CET."

...and BTW Italy won! I'm very proud of you girls!
Sorry, I know I'm off topic, but I can resist anything except temptation!

Arne Moll's picture

Never mind that, Janis. In Holland we're so used to losing finals that this one surely won't change our moods very much :-)

sergio's picture

Arne but it wasn't a host nation we lost from this time ;)

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