Polgar beats Ivanchuk and Topalov to win rapid knockout in Mexico

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Polgar beats Ivanchuk and Topalov to win UNAM festival in MexicoJudit Polgar scored one of her best results in years on Sunday by winning the first UNAM quickplay knockout tournament in Mexico City. She first beat Vassily Ivanchuk in the semi-finals and then also managed to win the final against former world number one Veselin Topalov.

Polgar wins in Mexico | Photo Europe-Echecs

The first UNAM chess festival took place 13-21 November in Mexico City. The longest event was the Ibero-American championship, and when this tournament had almost reached its end, a big number of activities were packed into just four days.

There were simuls by Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov (download a number of their games in the links below), a demonstration of a replica of the chess machine "The Turk", an "Art and Chess" exhibition, lectures, symposia, concerts, films, workshops, multimedia shows and the Ajedrez UNAM Quadrangular tournament, with Veselin Topalov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Judit Polgar and Manuel Leon Hoyos.

The festival was part of the centenary celebrations of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The aim was "to promote the practice of chess through numerous activities, including recreation, competition, debate, culture and artistic creativity, directed not only towards university spectators or chess experts, but also towards the general public", according to the official website.

The festival also aimed to "contribute to the possibility that this discipline will be included as an educational subject in the curriculum from the lowest level, in both public and private schools, as it is an essential tool for improving the cognitive level of attention, concentration and memory among children and young people".

Polgar wins Quadrangular

The main chess event was a four-player knockout with four games of ten minutes and five seconds per move in both the semi-finals and the final. It ended in a marvelous victory for the only female participant: Judit Polgar. The former Hungarian prodigy, who hasn't played much in recent years as she preferred to spend time with her family, this weekend showed how strong her chess still is when she's in top shape.

In the semi-finals Polgar beat Vassily Ivanchuk - arguably the favourite to win this event - after losing the first game in a Caro-Kann. Unfortunately this game was saved incorrectly in the PGN file, and the next one, where she beat Ivanchuk, must be incomplete as well. After a draw in the third, Polgar again managed to beat her opponent with the black pieces in yet another 4...Qb6 Sicilian, mainly because Ivanchuk went too far in trying to win.

In the other semi-final, Veselin Topalov was far too strong for local hero Manuel Leon Hoyos, who is sometimes the second of Ivanchuk. Topalov won the first three games, and then drew the fourth with Black.

In the first game of the final, Polgar used the Dutch Defence to draw an interesting game - unfortunately again not saved correctly and incomplete, as Black misses a mate in one several times. (It's a real shame that time and again, even after about fifteen years of online chess, new tournaments keep on having problems with transmitting the games live and/or correctly saving the moves for later download.)

Then, Polgar duly won three games in a row! First she outplayed Topalov with the white pieces in a Berlin Wall and then she easily defended against the Bulgarian's sharp handling of yet another Dutch Defence (1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4. h4 d6 5.h5 Nxh5 6. Rxh5 gxh5 7.e4). Having won the first prize already, Polgar then played the King's Gambit and won with a proud king on f3.

Game viewer

Game viewer by ChessTempo


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

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