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Topalov is Tops!

Vallejo Pons advanced his kingside pawns precociously against the English, which could be described as provocation or even a sign of disrespect for his opponent!
Topalov doesn't mind a scrap and was the most practical player as chalked up yet another win.
On my calculations, if the tournament stopped here Topalov would be number one in the world again!

The Spaniard's approach against the leader was like waving a red flag at a bull and Topalov reacted by aggressively aiming to eliminate Black's kingside. This he achieved, but only at the cost of ditching the other wing, and meantime Vallejo walked his king out of the danger zone. I have a feeling that Black was doing quite well, but as if history was repeating itself, Vallejo got too short of time just as Topalov yet again cashed on his opponent's disorientation.

Gashimov was willing to go down a long theoretical line of the Petroff which Gelfand has faced before. The consensus view before this game is that White has a nominal advantage but it's nothing against a watchful defence. As one could have predicted Gelfand was able to nullify any White initiative and steer the game into a drawn endgame.

The Vienna System is one of livelier lines of the Queen's Gambit and one that features regularly in Aronian's games with both colours. After being slightly worse Aronian willingly sacrificed the exchange to obtain a fortress on the kingside with every chance of drawing. Grischuk tried of course but Aronian's judgement was vindicated.

Veselin TopalovBUL28051-0Francisco Vallejo PonsESP2705English OpeningA29
Vugar GashimovAZE27590.5-0.5Boris GelfandISR2761Petroff's DefenceC42
Alexander GrischukRUS27360.5-0.5Lev AronianARM2781Queen's Gambit ViennaD39

In the first series of games, these three encounters were drawn, this time we had one decisive result. Topalov has won three of the five decisive games so far in the event.

Topalov's impressive start means that he has won about 9.6 Elo points that takes him to approximately 2814.6 compared to Carlsen's 2812.9. The Bulgarian needs 2.5 out of the remaining four games to ensure that he maintains this lead.

World RankingNameCountryPresent RatingCareer highest ratingPre-Linares virtual ratingPointswins
2Veselin TopalovBUL2805281328054.53
7Vugar GashimovAZE275927592740.231
15Alexander GrischukRUS27362748275631
5Levon AronianARM278127862782.330
6Boris GelfandISR276127612750.42.50
31Francisco Vallejo PonsESP270527112708.220

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