Topalov Leads At Halfway Point In Bilbao

Topalov Leads At Halfway Point In Bilbao

SonofPearl
SonofPearl
Sep 6, 2008, 2:51 PM |
6 | Chess Event Coverage

After another day of tense struggles in Bilbao, all games in round 5 were drawn to leave Veselin Topalov (pictured) top of the standings at the halfway point of this ultra-powerful tournament.

The pick of the day's games again featured young Magnus Carlsen who boldly played the Schilemann (3...f5!?) in response to Vishy Anand's Ruy Lopez.  You gotta love the sheer impertinence of playing such a speculative line against the world champion. 

Both Carlsen and Radjabov have plenty of relatively wild choices in their opening repertoires, and it was in fact Radjabov who originally resurrected the Schliemann from obscurity.  Now Carlsen seems to have taken a shine to the variation as well!

Carlsen tried a new move 14...Qf7 and won the exchange on move 20 with the pretty tactical shot 20...Be3!  However, the position was still unclear and eventually Carlsen settled for a repetition draw.  Silicon analysis suggests that 31...Qg5 may have been worth a try.  Anand will have been happy to escape with a draw today against the new world number one!

Radjabov tried the Scotch for the second time in the tournament, but as in the first round, he could manage no more than a draw - this time against Aronian.

Ivanchuk and Topalov had a rather stodgy encounter in comparison to many of the exciting games we have seen so far.  A tense struggle ended in a draw when the board became almost completely blocked with pawns and no breakthough was possible.

As we have reached the half-way point of the event, tomorrow (Sunday) is a rest day, with round 6 being played on Monday.  Official site here.

The standings after round 5:

1 Topalov, Veselin   BUL   2777 8
2 Carlsen, Magnus  NOR  2775 7
3 Aronian, Levon  ARM  2737 5
4 Radjabov, Teimour  AZE  2744 3
5 Ivanchuk, Vassily  UKR  2781 3
6 Anand, Viswanathan  IND  2798 3

 

Magnus Carlsen deep in thought during the game with Vishy Anand.  Pic from ChessVibes.

 

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