Mtel Masters 2008 participants

Ivanchuk, Topalov, Aronian, Radjabov, Cheparinov, Bu Xiangzhi

Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov born 15 March 1975 is a Bulgarian Grandmaster and 19th World Champion. In the January 2007 FIDE rating list, he is ranked third with an ELO 2780.His current trainer and manager is International Master Silvio Danailov.

Topalov became the World Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He was awarded the 2005 Chess Oscar. In October 2006, Topalov had the second highest Elo rating of all time (2813).

Topalov was born in Rousse, Bulgaria. His father taught him to play chess at the age of eight. 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 he won a number of tournaments, and ascended the world chess rankings. As early as 1996, he was being invited to “supergrandmaster” events for the world’s élite. In the knockout tournaments for the 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.

Topalov scored his first “super-tournament” success at Linares 2005, tying for the 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, ahead of Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Ruslan Ponomariov, Michael Adams, and Judit Polgar. The average rating of the participants was 2744, making this super-GM, double round-robin tournament the strongest in 2005.

On the strength of his rating, Topalov was invited to the eight-player, double round-robin World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina, in September-October 2005. Scoring 6.5/7 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 1.5 points and become World Champion. The average rating of the field in the championship was 2739, and Topalov’s performance rating was 2890!

In May 2006, Topalov defended his M-Tel Masters title in the 2006 edition of the tournament, coming first with 6.5, a half point ahead of Gata Kamsky (whom he beat 2-0).

In September –October 2006 Topalov played Vladimir Kramnik in a twelve-game title unification match. The match was drawn at 6-6, but Topalov lost the tie-break 2.5-1.5.

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

Vassily Ivanchuk

Vassily Ivanchuk, is a Ukrainian Grandmaster. His an ELO of 2787 on the FIDE January 2008 list, making him number 9 in the World and Ukraine’s number one. He played board one on the victorious Ukraine team at the 2004 Calvia Olympiad. As of November 2007 he is the World Blitz Chess champion.

He first achieved international notice by winning the 1988 New York Open with 7.5/9, ahead of a field filled with Grandmasters. He tied for first place in the 1988 World Junior Championship at Adelaide, but lost the title on tiebreak to Joel Lautier. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1988.

Ivanchuk reached chess world fame at the age of 21 when he won the Linares tournament in 1991. Fourteen players participated, eight of them rated top-ten of the world, including World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, while the rest were all among the world’s top 50 players. It was a close call between Ivanchuk and Kasparov, but Ivanchuk won by half a point, and Ivanchuk defeated Kasparov in their individual game.

It was believed that Ivanchuk would become World Champion, but this has not yet happened, although he came close in 2002 when he reached the finals of the FIDE World Championship Knockout. Even though he has been consistently among the top 10 since 1989, ranked as high as number 2 on a few occasions, he has played poorly in matches which require a different approach than tournament play. Most chess fans blame this on his weak nerves and his tendency to blunder in critical positions.

Major tournament wins include New York Open 1988, Corus 1996, Linares 1989, 1991 and 1995, Foros (Aerosvit) 2006 and 2007, Montreal International 2007. Ivanchuk lost to compatriot Ruslan Ponomariov in the final match of the 2002 FIDE World Chess Championship. In 2004 he won the European Championship, and in 2006 he finished second in that Championship. He won the 2005 Canadian Open Championship at Edmonton. In November 2007, Ivanchuk won the World Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow beating classical World Champion Anand in the last decider game.

Ivanchuk has often been at his best in international team competitions. He has played in ten chess Olympiads, twice for the Soviet Union (1988 and 1990), and eight times for Ukraine, after the Soviet Union split up in 1991. He has won a total of ten medals, and has been on three gold-medal winning teams (USSR in 1988 and 1990, Ukraine in 2004). In 122 games, Ivanchuk has scored (+47 =71 -4), for 67.6 per cent.

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian (born October 6, 1982) is an Armenian Grandmaster. On the January 2008 FIDE list, he had an Elo 2739, making him number 10 in the World and Armenia’s number one. He is winner of the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk 2005 and Olympiad Champion from Turin 2006.

An early sign of his ability came when he won the 1994 World Under-12 championship in Szeged with 8/9, ahead of future luminaries including Etienne Bacrot, Ruslan Ponomariov, Francisco Vallejo Pons and Alexander Grischuk.

In 2002 he became World Junior Champion, scoring 10/13 and finishing ahead of Artyom Timofeev, Bu Xiangzhi, Pentala Harikrishna and others.

In 2004 he progressed to the 3rd round of the 2004 World Championship before being knocked out by Pavel Smirnov.

In 2005 he was part of a five-way tie for first place at the GibTelecom Masters in Gibraltar with Zahar Efimenko, Kiril Georgiev, Alexei Shirov and Emil Sutovsky. In December 2005 Levon Aronian beat Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the final round to win the World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. After a draw in two regular games, Aronian won both Rapid games to win the event and emerge undefeated in seven rounds.

In March 2006 he took sole first place at the annual Linares chess tournament, half a point ahead of Teimour Radjabov and 19th World Champion Veselin Topalov.

In January 2007 Aronian shared first place at the 19th category Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee along with Veselin Topalov and Teimour Radjabov.

In May 2007 he defeated Vladimir Kramnik 4-2 in a rapid match.

His 2005 World Cup victory qualified him for the Candidates Tournament of the World Championship 2007, being played in May-June 2007. In this tournament he played GM Magnus Carlsen, and they played 3-3 in the initial six games, then 2-2 in the rapid chess, and finally Levon Aronian won 2-0 in the blitz chess. After this victory he met Alexei Shirov in the finals, who he defeated 3.5-2.5 in 6 games. This qualified him for the final stage of the championship, which was played in Mexico. Aronian scored 6 points out of 14, placing him 7th.

Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov, born March 12, 1987 in Baku, Azerbaijan is a leading chess player from Azerbaijan. On the January 2008 FIDE list, Radjabov had an Elo 2735, ranking 12th in the World and second in his native Azerbaijan. Radjabov earned the title of International Grandmaster in March 2001 at the age of 14, making him the second youngest grandmaster in history. Hi is winner of the World Rapid Cup in Odessa 2008.

Radjabov is the youngest player ever to make the FIDE Top 100 Players list. His rating of 2599 in January 2002 ranked 93rd in the World while he was still 14 years old.
Radjabov reached the semi-finals (earning a bronze medal) at the World Championship 2004.

On February 22, 2006, Teimour defeated FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov with the black pieces and subsequently won the second prize at the Linares Super GM Tournament in Morelia, Mexico.

Radjabov represented his native Azerbaijan at the 37th Chess Olympiad in May and June 2006, playing board one for the Azeri team.
In an interview given on October 2006, Radjabov said that he will challenge the winner of Topalov-Kramnik unification match to a World Championship match under the rules of FIDE.

In November 2006, Radjabov won strong Cap d’Agde tournament, advancing from second place of round robin to the elimination phase. He then went on to win the final against Sergey Karjakin

In January 2007, Radjabov finished in joint first place at the Category 19 Corus Chess Tournament along with Veselin Topalov and Levon Aronian.

Ivan Cheparinov

Ivan Cheparinov (born November 26, 1986 in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria) is a Bulgarian Grandmaster. He is quarter-finalist at the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk 2007.

Coached by his father, Nedelcho Cheparinov, Ivan started playing chess at the age of five. Seven years later, when barely reaching his teen years, he won the junior title of Bulgaria. In 2000 he claimed the third place on Wijk an Zee, working up the IM norm and catching the eye of manager, Silvio Danailov. In 2004 Ivan became national champion of Bulgaria and received his GM status in October the same year.

Until 2007, he was best-known as the second of former FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov. Cheparinov was responsible for many of the opening novelties Topalov played during his 2006 World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik.

In October 2006 Cheparinov won the Essent Open in Hoogeveen with 7/9, and in April 2007 he won the Sigeman & Co tournament in Malmoe with the same score. He also shared first place—with six others—at the 2007 European Individual Chess Championship in Dresden, but Vladislav Tkachiev won the tie-break.

In the January 2008 FIDE rating list, Cheparinov was for the first time rated higher than 2700.

Bu Xiangzhi

Bu Xiangzhi born December 10, 1985 in Qingdao, Shandong is a Chinese Grandmaster. He is winner of the World Cup in blind chess from Bilbao 2007.

Bu was first introduced to chess by a cousin (his grandfather was a strong xiangqi player), and his interest grew with his compatriot Xie Jun’s women’s world championship victory. He learned the chess at the age of six years and received early training. His first chess book was a translation of Bobby Fischer’s famous book My 60 Memorable Games – a player he admires. In 1993, he won the Qingdao Junior Chess Championship.

In 1997 this talent became the Children’s Champion of the National S.T. Lee Cup. In 1998 at the age of 12, he captured the titles of National Pupil Champion and Under-14 World Youth Champion. In 1999 he finished seventh in the prestigious Tan Chin Nam Grandmaster Invitational Tournament.

A sponsor’s contract with a mineral water producer of his home city Qingdao enabled to him in 1999 with his coach Ji Yunqi to travel to Europe to take part there in several international tournaments. In autumn 1999 he achieved within only two months three Grandmaster norms, with tournament wins in Paks and Budapest, and coming joint first in Qingdao. Also in 1999 he won the German Open. He became a Grandmaster in September 1999 at the age of 13 years, 10 months, 13 days, at the time the youngest person to hold the title. He gave up the running status of the world’s youngest Grandmaster to Sergey Karjakin in July 2002.

In 2000 in Germany he won in his first appearance the International Neckar Open in Deizisau, Stuttgart. Also in 2000, Bu defeated the Azerbaijani chess talent Teimour Radjabov 6.5-1.5 in an eight game Future World Champions Match competition in New York

Bu has played regularly since 2001 in the Chinese national team. With the World Team Championship in 2005 in Beersheba and with the Chess Olympiad in 2006 in Turin he achieved on the top board very good results and won silver in each case. He played first board in the 2006 Chess Olympiad, where the Chinese team finished in second place. He won four games and drew eight, including his games against top Grandmasters Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian.

In July 2007, Bu won the Canadian Open Championship in Ottawa, Canada.In October 2007, he won the Blindfold Chess World Cup in Bilbao, defeating strong Grandmasters Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen, Pentala Harikrishna, Judith Polgar and Sergey Karjakin in the process.