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Topalov Leads in Morelia Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
February 18, 2008
Topalov in Morelia, 2006. Photo Cathy Rogers.
Veselin Topalov scored a second victory in Morelia-Linares (February 15-March 7) to claim the clear lead after three rounds with 2.5/3. In the only other decisive game of the round, Vishy Anand defeated Magnus Carlsen. Anand is now in clear second. In the third round, Topalov played the only other 1.5/2, Vassily Ivanchuk. They played a theoretical Najdorf. After 23 moves, Topalov reached the following position in which he had to go fast to claim an advantage:

Position after 23...Qc8, White to Play.

Topalov found the unusual bishop maneuver to gain a devastating positional edge. He started with 24.Bb6! Now 24...Rxc3 loses to 25.Ne4 Rc4 26.Rc1!! Of course Ivanchuk played 24...Rb7 instead of Rxc3 but now Topalov played 25.Ba7!  If he had played Ba7 in the original position above, Black can just 0-0 (not Rxc3?? Rb8!)when White doesn't have any clear follow-up. But if 24. Bb6 Rb7 Ba7 0-0, White plays the crushing Rxb7 Qxb7 Qc6! Sensing the danger, Ivanchuk tried a pawn sack, 25...e4 but went down without much of a fight anyway. Here is the full game:


After winning the exchange against Magnus Carlsen, Anand used his perfect technique to glide into plus one.


Read the CLO preview article with predictions and our report on rounds 1 and 2. Watch the games live on ICC at 4:30 EST . Free days are on Feb.19, Feb.21 and Feb 24-27 when the players will travel to Linares, Spain to play the second half (Feb.28-March 7). Check out the official website.

Morelia-Linares, February 18-March 7

Standings after three rounds

1- Veselin Topalov- 2.5/3
2- Vishy Anand- 2/3
3-5- Levon Aronian, Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Leko- 1.5/3
6-9- Teimour Radjabov, Alexei Shirov and Magnus Carlsen- 1/3