M-Tel R7: Carlsen beats Dominguez, leads with Shirov

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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Round 7 in SofiaAfter Topalov and Shirov drew very quickly in a Botvinnik Slav, Carlsen joined Shirov at the top of the standings by beating Dominguez in impressive manner. Wang Yue and Ivanchuk drew their game. Report of the 7th round of the M-Tel Masters in Sofia.

The 5th M-Tel Masters takes place May 12-23 in a glass pavilion on the square in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov in Sofia, Bulgaria. It's a six-player double round-robin with Carlsen, Dominguez, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Topalov and Wang Yue playing. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves and then another hour to finish the game. "Sofia rules" will again be used, so draw offers can be made only through the chief arbiter in the case of a threefold repetition, perpetual check or a theoretically draw position.

Round 7

Before we knew it, Topalov and Shirov had already finished their game today. In no time they had bashed out 30 theoretical moves of the Botvinnik Variation of the Semi-Slav, including a threefold repetition! It's difficult to answer the basic question of why this happened, but in the case of Topalov it might have been bluff poker. Creating the impression that you have prepared something, hoping that the opponent will deviate from the main lines first... something like that. However, Shirov has always been fond of the Botvinnik and studied it over and over - something Topalov knows, of course. Well, at least we learnt one thing after today: the Botvinnik is alive and kicking!

Another strange opening development appeared in Carlsen-Dominguez, where the Cuban went for the line that's been theoretically dubious for a long time. The funny thing was that the Norwegian found yet another way to prove it! The game became a textbook example of prophylaxis: it seemed that White was constantly trying to figure out what the opponent was planning to do, and then prevented it.

Cellar dweller or not, Ivanchuk keeps on playing dynamic openings and against Wang Yue he went for the Benoni. Everything went fine for Black and as he's done before, the Chinese GM started to repeat moves as soon as he couldn't figure out a clear plan.

Carlsen and Shirov are sharing the lead with three more rounds to go. If nothing changes until Saturday, we'll be heading to a grande finale when the two meet for the last round.

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Round 7 in Sofia

Shirov put to the test, but easily passing the exam...



Round 7 in Sofia

...and while he speaks, Topalov seems to wonder what strong novelty... he didn't remember



Round 7 in Sofia

Wang Yue and Ivanchuk, who does look a bit tired we must say



Round 7 in Sofia

But this guy, however, is full of energy and full of great chess



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