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Chess Champions League

Topalov on the way to victory in Vitoria

The Chess Champions league took a dramatic turn today. Veselin Topalov won against Ruslan Ponomariov and replaced him as the current leader in Vitoria. Topalov proved that he is a strong finisher and all his opponents have to be careful with this peculiarity of his character.
The game between the two ex world champions had a quiet opening. Ponomariov tried to avoid sharp variations and was looking for the draw from the beginning. Until this game Ponomariov had not lost a single game and was obviously trying to keep the trait. However, Topalov started building pressure and the position for theUkranian GM was complicating. In a strong endgame by Topalov, Ponomariov consumed more and more time until his flag fell.

topalov thinking 1 Ponomariov yellow suit

The excitement in the Chess Champions league continued as Judith Polgar secured a draw with black against Nisipeanu. This gives Judith chances for the first place. She is exactly one point behind Topalov and tomorrow they have a direct match. Polgar has white and if she wins they will both have equal points. However, since Judith’s tiebreak will be better (in that case 2.0/2 in direct games) she will be in front of Topalov.

Ruslan Ponomariov still has chances for the title as well. He is half a point behind Topalov and if he and Polgar win their game tomorrow, the Ukranian will be the Vitoria 2007 champion. Ponomariov will play against Kasimdzhanov, who won today his game against Karpov.

Chess Champions League standings:

1. Veselin Topalov 6,0
2. Ruslan Ponomariov 5,5
3. Judith Polgar 5,0
4. Liviu-Dieter Nisipeaun 4,5
5. Rustam Kasimdzhanov 3,5
6. Anatoly Karpov 2,5

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