Kramnik wins with short margin

Vladimir Kramnik – Peter Leko 4.5-3.5

Kramnik at Corus

Vladimir Kramnik

Both games on the final day have ended in draw, thus Vladimir Kramnik won the match 4.5-3.5. In the seventh game Leko didn’t want to repeat QID, and offered Kramnik to enter his favorite Catalan opening. Small surprise, but Kramnik went into a rare Semi-Slav line. Obviously both players were familiar with the earlier games as they forced exactly the same draw as in Bacrot-Gurevich and Dautov-Khenkin played on 1999.

8th game saw another Ruy Lopez with early d3, only this time Kramnik opted for more active placement of dark-squared Bishop. 10. d4 was interesting solution by Leko, he basically entered popular Archangelsk variation with tempo down. This tempo meant pawn on h6 instead of h7, which is not really benefiting White, he lost the option of playing Bg5. Anyway, e3 is best place for the Bishop and probably Leko was hoping that Kramnik is not familiar with all the traps in this tricky line. Nevertheless, Kramnik easily equalized with the typical Bg4 and d5. Leko tried last “trick” with Nb5 but Kramnik was cool to give away the exchange and get excellent pieces play. Black was standing better at the moment when draw was agreed.

Games 1-6 report

Play like Topalov

Can anybody beat the record of Alex Brunetti?

Topalov simul Mtel

Mtel Masters website one more time will host the game “Play like Topalov” during the tournament. Last year the tournament was won by Alex Brunetti, who guessed more than 200 moves! It seems difficult that someone can beat his record, but one should give it a shot. There are every day prizes. The winner of “Play like Topalov” will receive the “Play with Topalov” prize. Transportation and accomodation covered by the organizers.

The rules can be found at the Mtel Masters site and the happiness of Alex Brunetti will soon be in chessdom’s video section.

Vladimir Kramnik leading in Miskolc

Leko and Kramnik displaying nice fighting chess in their rapid match

Kramnik in trouble

Vladimir Kramnik

In spite of some cynical comments that all games will end up drawn, Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik are displaying nice fighting chess in Miskolc. After six games, Kramnik is leading 3.5-2.5 with two remaining games to be played on Sunday. We all know how solid is Kramnik, but Leko still has chance to strike back, don’t forget his bounce after being 0-3 down against Michael Adams two years ago.

Already first game caused few giggles and “Didn’t I tell you” grumblings after Kramnik played opening without any ambition, allowing Leko to equalize without problems. Maybe he wanted to surprise the opponent, but few correct moves in right moment 8…Ne4, 14…Rd8 and 16…f5! caused an early 25-moves draw.

In the second game Kramnik was ready to repeat Marshall attack with Black pieces, which already brought him fantastic win against Leko in their Amber blindfold game few months earlier. Leko decided to avoid the possible preparation and headed into quiet Anti-Marshall with d3 and a3. In the following complicated struggle, Leko was trying to open up position for his pair of Bishops. Just when it seemed like Kramnik is getting into the trouble, he gave up his Queen for the Rook and Bishop, building a fortress that secured him draw.

The next day started with 29-move theory in a very popular and well-explored Queen’s Indian defence. 28…g6 allowed tricky 29. h4, setting Leko in the position of unpleasant choice. He immediately mistaken with 29…Rfe8 and it was already hard to defend against tenacious Kramnik.

Fourth game started with Anti-Marshall again and Leko was first to diverge from the 2nd game with 14. c3. Persistent and correct play produced 3rd draw.

Leko at Corus

Peter Leko

Fifth game was particularly interesting because everyone expected to see Leko’s QID improvement. Kramnik didn’t allow it happen and run into English opening that both players were already using with the same colors: Leko against Gelfand and Kramnik vs Polgar, Timman, Navara, Lautier, Hjartarson… Black had some pawn structure defects but White was in problem how to complete the development. Position was considered as dynamically balanced, and then, instead of known 18. Bf3 with idea 19. Kc2, as seen in Ribli-Ponomariov, Kramnik continued with paradoxical 18. Ke1!? This move is delaying connection of Rooks, thus continuing development issue for White, but King is moving away from potential tactics on the d-file and Kramnik is preparing exchange of the Bishops. This original plan shows how deep is Kramnik’s understanding of chess. Already some six-seven moves later, White’s pieces were better placed allowing him to open files around Black King and win a pawn by imposing constant tactical threats. So far, best game of the match.

Sixth game is another Ruy Lopez. Kramnik didn’t have major problems on holding even in the 4th game, therefore Leko opted for quiet but full of poison 6. d3. The pawn structure was similar to the Anti-Marshall, but this time Leko managed to open f-file and start threatening Kramnik’s King. Kramnik was in passive position, but managed to build solid defence, and then suddenly opted for complications with 36…c4. The following tactical skirmish worked better for Leko and he scored his first win in this match.

Last two games are scheduled for Sunday 16:00 and 19:00 CET.

Leko-Kramnik preview

Exciting final round at Sigeman & Co!

Cheparinov first, tripple shared second

Cheparinov Sigeman

Cheparinov on his way to victory

Round 9 results:

GM Emanuel Berg – GM Tiger Hillarp Persson 1/2 – 1/2

GM Jan Timman – GM Ivan Cheparinov 1/2 – 1/2

GM Parimarjan Negi – IM Emil Hermansson 1 – 0

GM Erwin l’Ami – GM Jonny Hector 1 – 0

GM Vassilios Kotronias – IM Pontus Carlsson 0 – 1

Interview with the winner Ivan Cheparinov

An exciting finish of the Sigeman & Co 2007! After the clear leader was known from yesterday, the second place was undecided until the last minute. The winner Cheparinov made a quick draw with one of the aspirants, Jan Timman. The game GM Emanuel Berg – GM Tiger Hillarp Persson was the last one to finish, and it was a draw! A triple shared second for Berg, Hillarp Persson, and Timman!

GM Parimarjan Negi recovered from yesterday’s heavy loss and won against IM Emil Hermansson. Negi finishes in the middle of the table. Hermansson finishes last, together with Jonny Hector, who lost against Erwin l’Ami.

IM Pontus Carlsson was the surprise of the tournament. He finished very high for his rating, got half a point from Cheparinov in round 3, and defeated Vassilios Kotronias in the last round.

Final standings:

1. GM Ivan Cheparinov 7.0
2. GM Tiger Hillarp Persson 5.5
2. GM Emanuel Berg 5.5
2. GM Jan Timman 5.5
5. IM Pontus Carlsson 5.0
6. GM Vassilios Kotronias 4.5
7. GM Erwin l’Ami 4.0
7. GM Parimarjan Negi 4.0
9. GM Jonny Hector 2.0
9. IM Emil Hermansson 2.0

More info on Ivan Cheparinov

Preview of the tournament

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Report round 8

Cheparinov wins Sigeman & Co!!!

a round before the end he is 1,5 points ahead

Cheparinov Danailov

Cheparinov with his manager

Results after round 8:

GM Tiger Hillarp Persson – GM Jan Timman 0 – 1

GM Ivan Cheparinov – GM Parimarjan Negi 1 – 0

IM Emil Hermansson – GM Erwin l’Ami 1 – 0

GM Jonny Hector – GM Vassilios Kotronias 0 – 1

IM Pontus Carlsson – GM Emanuel Berg 1/2 – 1/2

We witness an incredible performance from the young Bulgarian. A round before the end he had secured the title being 1,5 away from the chasing pack.

Ivan won his round 8 game against the youngest GM Parimarjan Negi. Negi went into serious time trouble after move 25 and started playing imprecisely in a position that was already dominated by Cheparinov. On move 32 Negi committed a serious mistake and allowed mate in one, something not seen on grandmaster level since Kramnik’s blunder against Fritz.

Cheparinov’s direct opponent, Tiger Hillarp Persson, was downed by GM Jan Timman. Tiger was also a move away from the mate and resigned, thus levaing the title to Cheparinov. With this victory Jan Timman climber to share second in the table.

GM Emanuel Berg joined the second place group as he finished draw with IM Pontus Carlsson. Jonny Hector did not put up a fight against GM Vassilios Kotronias and the later is just half a point behind the “second shared” group.

IM Emil Hermansson won his first point against GM Erwin l’Ami, but is still bottom of the table.

Interview with the winner Ivan Cheparinov here

The standigs after round 8:

1. GM Ivan Cheparinov 6.5
2. GM Tiger Hillarp Persson 5.0
2. GM Emanuel Berg 5.0
2. GM Jan Timman 5.0
5. GM Vassilios Kotronias 4.5
6. IM Pontus Carlsson 4.0
6. GM Erwin l’Ami 3.0
8. GM Parimarjan Negi 3.0
9. GM Jonny Hector 2.0
9. IM Emil Hermansson 2.0

More info on Ivan Cheparinov

Preview of the tournament

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Report round 7

Sigeman round 7

Cheparinov leading, Hillarp Persson half a point away

Cheparinov Danailov

Cheparinov with his manager

Round 7 results:

GM Parimarjan Negi – GM Tiger Hillarp Persson 1/2 – 1/2

GM Erwin l’Ami – GM Ivan Cheparinov 1/2 – 1/2

GM Vassilios Kotronias – IM Emil Hermansson 1 – 0

GM Jonny Hector – IM Pontus Carlsson 0 – 1

GM Jan Timman – IM Emanuel Berg 1 – 0

An exciting day at Sigeman & Co! The chess fans saw very open games with unpredictable end. It all started with the game between l’Ami and Cheparinov. The young Bulgarian proved that he has collected much experience being second to Veselin Topalov. In a sharp line he chose the disbalanced game. Cheparinov combined two plans against Kings Indian Bayonet attack – a5 and f5. This has either confused l’Ami or he wanted to try novelty 13. Nd2 (13. Bf1 was played before; 13. Ng5 looks more active than Nd2). After strong reply 13…c5, White’s action on the Queenside was stopped. In addition, Black’s King was reaching the dominant square d4, and in the following complications, Cheparinov grabbed the initiative. l’Ami defended well and after several precise moves he held Cheparinov to a draw.

Another sharp game was produced by Hermansson and Kotronias. In the middle of the game most of the heavy pieces were on the board and the kings were wide open for attacks. Hermansson could not hold the pressure and a double check 34. Nf6 brought the game to a quick end with Kotronias winning a queen. This left Hermansson at the bottom of the table, while Kotronias’ situation did not change much and he stays in the middle of the table.

The youngest GM, Parimarjan Negi, tried a nice attack on the queen side against Hillarp Persson. Negi seemed to have chances as at one point of the game he was two pawns up. However, the the position evolved into opposite color bishops endgame and the game ended in a draw.

Jan Timman keeps on using coffee as a weapon and defeated Berg in only 28 moves. Thus, Hillarp Persson and Cheparinov will probably be the only players with chances to grab the title.

Pontus Carlsson sank Jonny Hector with a mating threat in 31 moves. Carlsson gets the only win with black for the day, while Hector obviously cannot adjust to this year’s competition.

The standigs after round 7:

1. GM Ivan Cheparinov 5.5
2. GM Tiger Hillarp Persson 5.0
3. GM Emanuel Berg 4.5
4. GM Jan Timman 4.0
5. GM Vassilios Kotronias 3.5
5. IM Pontus Carlsson 3.5
7. GM Erwin l’Ami 3.0
7. GM Parimarjan Negi 3.0
9. GM Jonny Hector 2.0
10. IM Emil Hermansson 1.0

Preview of the tournament

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First Saturday Budapest

Tournaments for GM and IM norms

The April edition of the First Saturday tournaments was a complete success as five players achieved their norms. In the main GM tournament, Fabiano Caruana of Italy has earned his 2nd GM norm, while Hungarian FM Peter Prohaszka scored an IM norm.

IM Tournament “A” Group saw FM Alexander Khantuev of Russia reaching his final 3rd IM norm, and the Italian Axel Rombaldoni scoring his first IM norm. FM Oliver Mihok from Hungary has earned an IM norm by winning the “B” Group.

The next First Saturday festival will take place on 5th-17th May. International chess organizer Laszlo Nagy is expecting around 40-50 players from 10-15 countries. The main GM group will feature GMs Ilincic, Kosic and Vajda. There are only few spots available, visit official website for more info.

Peter Prohaszka

FM Peter Prohaszka

Alexander Khantuev

FM Alexander Khantuev

Axel Rombaldoni

Axel Rombaldoni

Oliver Mihok

FM Oliver Mihok

Laszlo Nagy

International organizer Laszlo Nagy

Replayable Games

Budapest round 9

Budapest round 8

Budapest round 7

Budapest round 6

Budapest round 5

Budapest round 4

Budapest round 3

Budapest round 2

Budapest round 1