Veselin Topalov

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Veselin Topalov
Veselin Topalov en 2005

Veselin Topalov en 2005

Naissance 15 mars 1975 (36 ans)
Roussé, Bulgarie
Nationalité Drapeau : Bulgarie Bulgare
Profession Joueur d’échecs

Veselin Topalov, né le 15 mars 1975 à Roussé (Bulgarie), est un joueur d’échecs bulgare. En 2005, il fut champion du monde de la Fédération internationale des échecs. De janvier 2010 à novembre 2010, il est le numéro deux au classement Elo FIDE, après avoir été au sommet pendant deux ans. Il a depuis reculé au 6e rang, avec un classement Elo de 2 775 points au 1er janvier 2011.

Sommaire

Biographie

Veselin Topalov a appris à jouer aux échecs à 8 ans avec son père. Il est devenu champion du monde des moins de 14 ans en 1989 à Aguadilla, à Porto Rico et deuxième en 1990 du championnat du monde des moins de 16 ans à Singapour. Il est devenu grand maître international (GMI) en 1992.

Il est le capitaine de l’équipe bulgare depuis 1994, année où elle a fini 4e à l’Olympiade d’échecs à Moscou.

En 2005, il est deuxième meilleur joueur mondial derrière Garry Kasparov. Il remporte l’Oscar des échecs pour l’année 2005.

Au printemps 2005, il remporte le tournoi d’échecs de Sofia devant les autres meilleurs grands maîtres internationaux, puis termine premier ex æquo du tournoi de Linares, battu au départage par Kasparov (même s’il l’emporte dans la partie qui les a opposés).

En octobre 2005, il remporte le titre de Champion du monde FIDE, en terminant seul premier du tournoi à 8 tenu à San Luis en Argentine, avec 10 points sur 14 possibles, soit une performance impressionnante de 2 892 points Elo pour ce tournoi.

Au classement Elo de janvier 2006, il devient le troisième joueur de l’histoire à passer la barre des 2 800 points, avec 2801.

Au classement Elo d’ avril 2006, il devient numéro un mondial avec 2 804 à la suite du retrait de Garry Kasparov des listes officielles. En juillet 2006, son Elo atteint 2 813, devenant ainsi le second joueur le plus haut classé de tous les temps, derrière les 2 851 points de Garry Kasparov.

Son entraîneur et manager est Silvio Danailov, maître international d’échecs.

Lors du match de réunification des champions du monde FIDE et classique en 2006, il perd son titre de champion du monde FIDE contre Vladimir Kramnik.

En février 2009, il bat Gata Kamsky en match à Sofia. Il gagne ainsi le droit d’affronter le champion du monde lors du championnat du monde d’échecs 2010, match qu’il perd sur le score de 5,5 à 6,5 (+2 -3 =7).

Lors du tournoi des candidats de 2011, où il est sélectionné avec sept autres joueurs, il est éliminé en quarts de finale le 8 mai par Kamsky sur le score de 1,5 à 2,5 (-1 =3).

Au 1er septembre 2010, il a un classement Elo de 2 803, et est ainsi le 2e joueur mondial.

Au 1er novembre 2010, il a un classement Elo de 2 786, et est alors le 5e joueur mondial.

Victoires en tournois majeurs

  • Madrid 1994, 1996, 1997
  • Dos Hermanas 1996
  • Amsterdam 1996
  • Vienne 1996
  • Novgorod 1996
  • Anvers 1997
  • Monaco 2001
  • Tournoi de Dortmund 2001
  • Championnat du monde 2004 à Tripoli, Libye, il atteint les demi-finales.
  • Tournoi de Linares 2005 (premier ex æquo avec Garry Kasparov)
  • Tournoi d’échecs de Sofia 2005 (un point devant Viswanathan Anand), 2006 et 2007
  • Championnat du monde 2005 à San Luis, Argentine : champion du monde (un point et demi devant Viswanathan Anand et Peter Svidler)
  • Tournoi de Wijk aan Zee 2006, (premier ex æquo avec Anand) et 2007, (premier ex æquo avec Levon Aronian et Teimour Radjabov)
  • Bilbao 2008 – Finale du Grand Chelem d’échecs.
  • Nankin 2008

Style de jeu

Selon Vladimir Kramnik qui étudia son jeu en profondeur en vue du match de réunification des titres de champions du monde ( Elista 2006), le cliché répandu dans l’élite échiquéenne selon lequel Topalov serait un petit frère de Kasparov est assez vrai : « en effet, comme l’ogre de Bakou, le style du grand maître bulgare se caractérise par un jeu très agressif avec une recherche perpétuelle de coups dynamiques complexes souvent au prix de sacrifices. Cette tendance peut le conduire à perdre des parties dans une position égale ».

Comme jadis Kasparov, Topalov est aujourd’hui reconnu comme l’un, sinon le meilleur découvreur (aidé de son secondant, le grand maître bulgare Ivan Chéparinov) de nouveautés dans les ouvertures (par exemple, Topalov – Anand, Mtel Masters Sofia en 2005 ou Topalov – Kramnik au tournoi de Wijk aan Zee en 2008).

Cependant, c’est aussi un joueur qui commet de façon anormalement fréquente — à ce niveau des super grands maîtres — des bourdes. De son propre aveu, il résiste rarement à un coup esthétique (par exemple, à cause de son sacrifice de dame contre Kramnik à Wijk aan Zee en 2008, son adversaire se vit offrir une occasion d’annuler).

Le grand maître français Joël Lautier a écrit à propos de Topalov (Échecs & Mat, no82) :

« Ses parties sont aussi complexes que celles de Shirov ou Morozevich, mais elles produisent une impression plus harmonieuse, sa technique en finale est d’une remarquable limpidité et sa préparation dans les ouvertures est depuis toujours l’une des plus en pointe sur le circuit. Il faut ajouter à cela une combativité hors du commun qui lui fait jouer pour le gain avec les Noirs comme avec les Blancs, ainsi qu’une force de concentration colossale qui ne lui fait jamais quitter sa chaise tant que la partie n’est pas finie, le seul joueur que je connaisse à être capable d’une telle détermination.
En l’absence de Kasparov, Veselin Topalov est à mon sens le joueur qui possède le style de jeu le plus esthétique en ce moment. À tel point que certaines de ses défaites sont aussi spectaculaires que ses victoires, nombre de ses adversaires comptent ainsi leurs victoires contre Topalov comme leurs chefs d’œuvre les plus réussis, telles les parties Topalov-Shirov de Linares 1998 (avec le fameux 47…Fh3 !!) ou encore Kasparov-Topalov, Wijk aan Zee 1999, peut-être la plus belle partie d’échecs de tous les temps. »

Garry Kasparov – Veselin Topalov, Wijk aan Zee, 1999

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Cf6 3.Cc3 g6 4.Fe3 Fg7 5.Dd2 c6 6.f3 b5 7.Cge2 Cbd7 8.Fh6 Fxh6 9.Dxh6 Fb7 10.a3 e5 11.0-0-0 De7 12.Rb1 a6 13.Cc1 0-0-0 14.Cb3 exd4 15.Txd4 c5 16.Td1 Cb6 17.g3 Rb8 18.Ca5 Fa8 19.Fh3 d5 20.Df4+ Ra7 21.The1 d4 22.Cd5 Cxd5 23.exd5 Dd6 24.Txd4 cxd4 25.Te7+ Rb6 26.Dxd4+ Rxa5 27.b4+ Ra4 28.Dc3 Dxd5 29.Ta7 Fb7 30.Txb7 Dc4 31.Dxf6 Rxa3 32.Dxa6+ Rxb4 33.c3+ Rxc3 34.Da1+ Rd2 35.Db2+ Rd1 36.Ff1 Td2 37.Td7 Txd7 38.Fxc4 bxc4 39.Dxh8 Td3 40.Da8 c3 41.Da4+ Re1 42.f4 f5 43.Rc1 Td2 44.Da7 1-0

Une partie

« Topalov nous sort une grosse nouveauté théorique, un sacrifice de pièce, un sacrifice de tour. Anand est obligé de rendre le matériel et en définitive Topalov reste avec un pion de plus et une finale gagnante. Un vrai bijou ! »

1. d4 Cf6 2. c4 e6 3. Cf3 b6 4. g3 Fa6 5. b3 Fb4+ 6. Fd2 Fe7 7. Cc3 c6 8.e4 d5 9. Dc2 dxe4 10. Cxe4 Fb7 11. Ceg5 c5 12. d5 exd5 13. cxd5 h6 14. Cxf7 Rxf7 15. O-O-O Fd6 16. Ch4 Fc8 17. Te1 Ca6

18. Te6 !

Après avoir sacrifié un cavalier, Topalov sacrifie une tour !

À propos de ce coup, Topalov commente dans le magazine Échecs & Mat (no 82):

(…) Mais avec ce coup inattendu 16… Fc8, se termine ma préparation. Les Noirs renoncent à l’idée de prendre en d5, mais se défendent contre Cf5 et Fh3. Ici, j’ai réfléchi longtemps. Je sentais que des coups naturels de développement étaient trop lents. Les Blancs ont une pièce de moins et ils doivent constamment poser des problèmes au roi noir. 17.Fc4 et ensuite Te1–e6 est possible, mais les Noirs peuvent chasser le Fou avec b5. La case clef est e6 et je dois y mettre une pièce à n’importe quel prix, j’aurai alors de nouveau la case f5 pour mon cavalier. Ne me demandez pas comment, mais mon intuition m’indiqua que 17.Te1 était le bon coup.

18. … Cb4 19. Fxb4 cxb4 20.Fc4 b5 21. Fxb5 Fe7 22. Cg6 Cxd5 23. Txe7+ Cxe7 24. Fc4+ Rf6 25. Cxh8 Dd4 26. Td1 Da1+ 27. Rd2 Dd4+ 28. Re1 De5+ 29. De2 Dxe2+ 30. Rxe2 Cf5 31. Cf7 a5 32. g4 Ch4 33. h3 Ta7 34. Td6+ Re7 35. Tb6 Tc7 36. Ce5 Cg2 37. Cg6+ Rd8 38. Rf1 Fb7 39. Txb7 Txb7 40. Rxg2 Td7 41. Cf8 Td2 42. Ce6+ Re7 43. Cxg7 Txa2 44. Cf5+ Rf6 45. Cxh6 Tc2 46. Ff7 Tc3 47. f4 a4 48. bxa4 b3 49. g5+ Rg7 50. f5 b2 51. f6+ Rh7 52. Cf5 1-0

  • C’est la partie que Veselin Topalov proposa au magazine trimestriel Échecs & Mat qui l’avait invité à commenter sa meilleure partie.
  • Cette partie a été élue partie de l’année 2005 par le site e3e5.com. Chessbase en donne une analyse détaillée.

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This article uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.

Veselin Topalov (born 15 March 1975), is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster. He currently has the sixth highest rating in the world, and was the challenger facing world champion Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2010, losing the match 6½-5½.

Topalov became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 match against Vladimir Kramnik.

Topalov won the 2005 Chess Oscar. He was ranked #1 in the world from April 2006 to January 2007, during which his Elo rating was 2813, which had been surpassed only by Garry Kasparov, and subsequently by Magnus Carlsen and Anand. He regained the world #1 ranking again in October 2008, and officially remained #1 until January 2010, when he fell to #2 behind Carlsen.

He has been ranked number one a total of 27 months in his career, fourth all-time since the inception of the FIDE ranking lists in 1971 behind only Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, and Bobby Fischer.

Veselin Topalov
Veselin Topalov Sofia Airport 24.10.2005.pic-01.jpg

Full name Veselin Topalov
Country Bulgaria
Born 15 March 1975 (age 36)
Rousse, Bulgaria
Title Grandmaster
World Champion 2005–2006 (FIDE)
FIDE rating 2775
(No. 7 in the May 2011 FIDE World Rankings)
Peak rating 2813 (October 2006, July 2009)

Contents

Early career (1989-2005)

Topalov was born in Rousse, Bulgaria. His father taught him to play chess at the age of eight. Topalov had a difficult childhood, but he quickly established himself as a chess prodigy. At age 12, Topalov began working with Silvio Danailov, in a training/mentoring relationship that continues today. Danailov himself was a master who nurtured ambitions as a player. Once he saw Topalov, however, he sacrificed his own career. Canadian Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett wrote: « Danailov took Topalov to his apartment and told him ‘From now on, you live here and this will become your new home. I am not just your trainer, but I am also your mother and your father. I am your cook. I am the one who will wash your clothes. I am the one who will pay your bills and expenses to tournaments. All I want from you is to think only about chess! »

In 1989 he won the World Under-14 Championship in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and in 1990 won the silver medal at the World Under-16 Championship in Singapore. He became a Grandmaster in 1992. Topalov has been the leader of the Bulgarian national team since 1994. At the 1994 Chess Olympiad in Moscow he led the Bulgarians to a fourth-place finish.

Over the next ten years Topalov won a number of tournaments, and ascended the world chess rankings. He played in Linares 1994 (6½/13), Linares 1995 (8/13), Amsterdam 1995. In 1996, he won Amsterdam (1st equal with Kasparov), Vienna (ahead of Karpov), Novgorod and Dos Hermanas (1st-2nd with Kramnik, ahead of Anand, Kasparov, Illescas, Kamsky, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Shirov and J. Polgar). As early as 1996, he was being invited to « supergrandmaster » events for the world’s élite such as Las Palmas (5/10), the first category 21 tournament, played in December 1996, with Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik and Karpov participating.

In the knockout tournaments for the FIDE World Chess Championship, he reached the last 16 in 1999, the quarter-finals in 2000, the final 16 in 2001, and the semi-finals in the 2004 tournament. In 2002, he lost the final of the Dortmund Candidates Tournament (for the right to challenge for the rival Classical World Chess Championship) to Péter Lékó.

Topalov scored his first « super-tournament » success at Linares 2005, tying for first place with Garry Kasparov (though losing on tiebreak rules), and defeating Kasparov in the last round, in what was to be Kasparov’s last tournament game before his retirement. He followed this up with a one point victory (+4 =5 -1) at the M-Tel Masters 2005 tournament, ahead of Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Ruslan Ponomariov, Michael Adams, and Judit Polgár. The average rating of the participants was 2744, making this super-GM, double round-robin tournament the strongest in 2005.

FIDE World Chess Champion 2005

On the strength of his rating, Topalov was invited to the eight-player, double round-robin FIDE World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina, in September–October 2005. Scoring 6½/7 in the first cycle, Topalov had virtually clinched the tournament at the halfway mark, before drawing every game in the second cycle to win by 1½ points to become FIDE World Chess Champion. The average rating of the field in the championship was 2739, and Topalov’s performance rating was 2890.

The unification of the FIDE World Title (held by Topalov) and the Classical Chess World Title (held by Vladimir Kramnik) was fervently encouraged by the chess community. On 16 April 2006, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that a reunification match between Kramnik and Topalov would be held in September–October 2006. Kramnik defeated Topalov to become the first undisputed champion in thirteen years.

Kramnik-Topalov match controversy

On 28 September 2006, Topalov’s manager Silvio Danailov published a press release, casting suspicion on Kramnik’s behaviour during the games. The Bulgarian team made a public statement that Kramnik visited his private bathroom (the only place without any audio or video surveillance) unreasonably often, about fifty times per game (a number that FIDE officials later claimed to be exaggerated) and made the most significant decisions in the game in the bathroom.

They also demanded that the organizers of the tournament allow journalists access to the surveillance video from Kramnik’s room for games 1 through 4. The organizers made parts of the video available, explaining that other parts of it were missing due to technical issues. Danailov demanded to stop the use of private restrooms and bathrooms, and threatened to reconsider Topalov’s participation in the match. The Appeals Committee that governed the match agreed, and ruled that the players’ private restrooms should be closed and replaced with a shared one.

Kramnik refused to play game 5 and was forfeited. On 1 October, the restroom issue was resolved in Kramnik’s favour and the Appeals Committee resigned and were replaced. The FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov decided that the current score of 3-2 should be preserved. He also indicated that this was not a compromise decision but his own. The match resumed on 2 October 2006.

On 1 October, the Association of Chess Professionals released a statement denouncing Danailov for publicly accusing his opponent without evidence, and calling for him to be investigated by the FIDE Ethics Committee. Topalov has also been similarly denounced by numerous top players, including former World Champions Anatoly Karpov, Boris Spassky, and Viswanathan Anand, grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi, former US Champions Lev Alburt and Yasser Seirawan, and others.

On 3 October, Topalov said in a press conference, « I believe that his (Kramnik’s) play is fair, and my decision to continue the match proves it ». However the next day the crisis escalated, with Topalov’s manager strongly implying that Kramnik was receiving computer assistance.

On 14 December 2006, Topalov directly accused Kramnik of using computer assistance in their World Championship match. On 14 February 2007, Topalov’s manager released pictures, purporting to show cables in the ceiling of a toilet used by Kramnik during the World Championship match in Elista. They were supposedly reported to the authorities, who Danailov claims suppressed the information. The Topalov team claims they were pressured by officials to keep their allegations quiet. On 29 July 2007, following a complaint by Kramnik’s manager Carsten Hensel, the FIDE Ethics Commission sanctioned Topalov with « a severe reprimand » because of the accusations made in the interview of 14 December. According to the Ethics Commission, « these statements were clearly defamatory and damaged the honour of Mr. Vladimir Kramnik, harming his personal and professional reputation ».

Career after the 2006 match

Soon after losing the world title, Topalov participated in the Essent Chess Tournament. He finished third of four players with only 2½ points from 6 games and a 2645 performance. He lost both games against Judit Polgár and one against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

In May 2006, Topalov defended his M-Tel Masters title, coming first with 6½/10, a half point ahead of Gata Kamsky (who he beat 2-0). Topalov started the tournament somewhat hesitantly to later record four consecutive wins and decisively claim the title.

In January 2007, Topalov finished in joint first place (ahead of Kramnik, who finished 4th) at the Category 19 Corus Chess Tournament along with Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov.

Topalov won the 14th Ciudad Dos Hermanas rapid, 17–21 April 2008, defeating GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain) 2½–1½ in the final match by winning the first game and drawing the rest. The first round matches of the four-player knockout tournament were won by Topalov over GM Judit Polgár (Hungary) 2½–1½ and Vallejo over GM Alexei Shirov (Spain) 3–1.

In September 2008, Topalov won the Bilbao 2008 tournament. He advanced to first in the world in the unofficial live ratings and in the official October 2008 ratings list.

2008-2010 World Championship cycle

By losing the 2006 reunification match, Topalov lost his chance to compete in the 2007 world championship tournament. Danailov expressed a desire for a rematch between Topalov and Kramnik, proposing a match in March 2007, though no such match took place.

The issue was settled in June 2007 when Topalov (as well as Kramnik) was granted special privileges in the 2008-09 championship cycle. Topalov was given direct entry to a « Challenger Match » against the winner of the Chess World Cup 2007.

The 2007 Chess World Cup was won by Gata Kamsky. The Challenger Match between Topalov and Kamsky took place in February 2009 in Hall 6 of NDK Sofia. Topalov won that match 4½-2½ and qualified to play against the current world champion Viswanathan Anand for the World Chess Champion title but Topalov lost the match 6½-5½.

2010

Topalov won the 2010 Linares chess tournament held from February 13 to 24 in Andalusia, Spain, defeating 2009 Chess World Cup champion Boris Gelfand in his final game.

As the runner-up in the World Chess Championship 2010, Topalov automatically qualified for the Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012, where he was the top seed. However, he lost to newly crowned U.S. champion Gata Kamsky in the quarterfinals.

Notable tournament victories

  • Terrassa 1992
  • Budapest zt-B 1993
  • Polanica Zdroj 1995
  • Elenite 1995
  • Madrid 1996
  • Dos Hermanas 1996 (joint first with Kramnik)
  • Amsterdam 1996
  • Vienna 1996
  • Novgorod 1996
  • Leon 1996
  • Antwerp 1997
  • Madrid 1997
  • Monaco 2001
  • Dortmund 2001 (joint first with Kramnik)
  • NAO Chess Masters Cannes 2002 (joint first with Gelfand)
  • Benidorm 2003
  • Linares 2005 (joint first with Kasparov)
  • M-Tel Masters 2005 (a point ahead of Anand)
  • Corus 2006 (joint first with Anand)
  • M-Tel Masters 2006 (half a point ahead of Gata Kamsky)
  • Corus 2007 (joint first with Aronian and Radjabov)
  • M-Tel Masters 2007
  • Champions League Vitoria Gasteiz 2007 (a point and a half a head of Ponomariov)
  • Dos Hermanas 2008 (Rapid)
  • Villarrobledo 2008 (Rapid)
  • Bilbao 2008 (a point and a half ahead of Aronian, Ivanchuk, and Carlsen)
  • Pearl Spring 2008 (a point and a half ahead of Aronian)
  • Linares 2010 (a half point ahead of Grischuk)

World championship matches and qualifiers

  • FIDE World Chess Championship 1998 Second Round, Groningen, Topalov-Piket (½-1½)
  • FIDE WCC Knockout 1999 Fourth Round, Las Vegas, Topalov-Kramnik (1-3)
  • FIDE WCC Knockout 2000 Quarterfinals, New Delhi and Tehran, Topalov-Adams (½-1½)
  • FIDE WCC Knockout 2002 Fourth Round, Moscow, Topalov-Shirov (3-4)
  • Classical WCC Candidates Match 2002, Dortmund, Topalov-Leko (1½-2½)
  • FIDE WCC Knockout 2004 Semifinals, Tripoli, Topalov-Kasimdzhanov (2-4)
  • FIDE World Chess Championship 2005, San Luis, (a point and a half ahead of Anand and Svidler)
  • FIDE World Chess Championship 2006, Elista, Topalov-Kramnik (6-6, 1½-2½ rapid playoff)
  • FIDE WCC Candidates Match 2009, Sofia, Topalov-Kamsky (4½-2½)

Sample game

On the way to winning M-Tel Masters in 2005, Topalov defeated former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov with the white pieces in a Queen’s Indian defense.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Nc3 O-O 8.Rc1 c6 9.e4 d5 10.e5 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 c5 13.dxc5 bxc5 14.h4 h6 15.Bb1 f5? Needlessly weakening the position. Better is 15. … Nd7 16. Bxh6!? f5 (16…gxh6? 17.Qc2 f5 18.exf6 Rxf6 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Ng5! mates in 8 moves) 17. Bf4 Qa5, which may have given black good chances for equality. 16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Qc2! d4 17. … Bxc3? leads to defeat after 18. Qh7+ Kf7 19. Bxc3, with an overwhelming attack: for example, 19…d4 20. Qg6+ Ke7 21. Nxd4!. But Topalov found a way to break black’s defenses in Ponomariov’s chosen line, too. (See diagram) 18.Ng5!! hxg5 19.hxg5 dxc3 20.Bf4 Kf7 21.Qg6+ Ke7 22.gxf6+ Rxf6 23.Qxg7+ Rf7 24.Bg5+ Kd6 25.Qxf7 Qxg5 26.Rh7 Qe5+ 27.Kf1 Kc6 28.Qe8+ Kb6 29.Qd8+ Kc6 30.Be4+! 1-0 Black resigned, because if black took the white bishop with 30 … Qxe4, then white mates with 31. Qc7+.

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