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Subject: Topalov vs Kamsky begins 17 February rss

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The first game of the 2009 Candidates Match will be played between Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and Gata Kamsky (USA) in Sofia, Bulgaria, beginning 17 February at 13:00 UTC. The winner of this match earns the right to face current champ, Viswanathan Anand, in the World Chess Championship later this year.

You can find photos, press releases, results, games, and other goodies here at the official site: http://www.wccc2009.com/
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Game 1

Game 1 ended in a draw after a Grünfeld that found Kamsky (black) up a pawn but facing a fierce attack by Topalov against his exposed king.

You can replay the game here: http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game1.html
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Game 2

I just about freaked when I turned on the live feed this morning at move 15 and saw that Kamsky was down a pawn with only 20 left minutes on the clock ! You just have to figure that things were either awesomely right for Kamsky or horribly wrong. As it turns out it was a little bit of both. Hmmm ... I don't know if this was great chess but it certainly contained at least a spoonful of gunpowder.

Review the fireworks here: http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game2.html
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Since today is a rest day, you might want to check out Nigel Short's commentary and the kibitzing of the previous two games over at chessgames.com:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=67453

I'd like to hear what Kamsky has to say about his crazy clock management in his loss yesterday ... so I'll keep looking for that.

Other commentary, by GM Dimitrov, here:

http://live.chessdom.com/topalov-kamsky-2009-g2.html
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Game 3

Kamsky hangs in there for a 1/2-1/2 with another Grünfeld. Now he's got two big back-to-back games where he plays consecutive times as white. (Note that the official site has the player order wrong on its "results page". The rules clearly state that Kamsky will play white in games 4 and 5.)

[Note: As it turns out, Kamsky will be playing black in game 5. From what I hear, this change in the rules was negotiated shortly before the start of the match, but the rules were not updated on the official website.]


Game 3 Replay (At the moment I type this, the link below takes you to the wrong page. Hopefully, they will correct this soon. If not, click on the Dimitrov link below for another replay.):

http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game3.html

Dimitrov commentary:

http://live.chessdom.com/topalov-kamsky-2009-g3.html
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Game 4

Kamsky wins game 4 to equalize the match at 2-2.

Tomorrow is a rest day.

Replay: http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game4.html

In other news, Aronian beat Anand in round 2 at Linares.
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On this rest day, you might check out Susan Polgar's commentary on the previous games here:

http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/search/label/Gata%20Kamsky

You will have to slide down her blog page to catch all the games.
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Game 5

Kamsky defended with the French ... and Paris was burned ! I haven't looked at the game, but from what I hear there were some inaccuracies on both sides in the endgame, but Kamsky actually stumbled.

Being down a game with only three to go is obviously bad for Gata, but in two of those games he will be playing white ... so that's some consolation.

As to why Kamsky played black today instead of white, Susan Polgar posted this on her website:

Surprises at the start of Round 5, as most of the chess world was expecting Kamsky to have white as per the match regulations:
3.4.1 The draw for colors will be conducted during the opening ceremony. The colors shall be reversed after game 4. (The player getting the white color in game 1 shall play game 5 with the black color).

According to Emil Sutovsky, Kamsky's manager, an amendment to the rules was signed by both players prior to the start of the match, and in fact the decision to simply alternate colors was made during the match negotiations in Dresden, last November.


Susan's website: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com

Replay: http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game5.html

Meanwhile, at Linares ...

The score after the 4th round:

Aronian (ARM) 3
Grischuk (RUS) 3
Anand (IND) 2.5
Carlsen (NOR) 2
Ivanchuk (UKR) 2
Dominguez Perez (CUB) 1.5
Radjabov (AZE) 1
Wang (CHN) 1


For more information on Linares (in Spanish):

www.ajedrez.ciudaddelinares.es

Also big scandal is brewing at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow with accusations of a player being in contact with Rybka. Or did the player just go out to the hallway for a smoke?

In case you don't know Rybka, click here: www.rybkachess.com

Being in contact with Rybka is somewhat akin to Jean-Luc Picard being in contact with the Borg ... a big advantage for Starfleet.
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Game 6

Topalov avoids Ruy Lopez and the Sicilian (sounds like a bad movie) with a Caro-Kann and gets the draw he was probably hoping for.

Topalov now leads 3-1/2 to 2-1/2.

Tomorrow is a rest day. But Topalov can win it all on Thursday.

Replay: http://live.chessdom.com/topalov-kamsky-2009-g6.html
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Late breaking news from Linares: Carlsen just beat Anand.

I think this is a huge victory for the 18-year-old Norwegian. I'm sure he will be World Chess Champion someday.
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Game 7

Topalov wins the match and will now face Anand for the 2009 crown. (Date and location of this event have yet to be determined, as far as I can tell.)

It looks like Kamsky blundered badly with a move at 32 that led to a series of exchanges leaving him a rook down.

Check out the replay here: http://www.wccc2009.com/en/game7.html

Bye for now, but don't forget to check in at Linares occasionally to see how Carlsen is doing !
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