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The Year 2005 in Review
International Events

The year had the familiar lineup of international events featuring the world's top grandmasters plus four FIDE Continental Championships to establish qualifiers for the FIDE World Cup.

In January, Leko won the Corus tournament (cat. XIX, 14 player round robin) held in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. His score of +4-0=9 was a half point better than Anand's +4-1=8, whose only loss was to Leko. Topalov finished third.

The 6th Karpov tournament (cat. XVIII, 10 player round robin) was held Februry/March in Poikovsky, Russia. Bacrot (+3-0=6) and Bologan (+4-1=4) tied for first/second, with Bacrot winning their individual game.

One of the strongest tournaments of the year, with an average rating of 2743, was the 22nd Linares Super Grandmaster event (cat. XX, 7 player round robin), also held in February/March. Kasparov and Topalov finished with identical scores (+5-1=6), 1.5 points ahead of Anand. Since both players had the same number of wins, first place was determined by the second method of tiebreak, which was most wins with Black.

After losing to Topalov in the last round, Kasparov announced his retirement from professional chess, saying, 'I hoped I could do better in my last game, but unfortunately the last two games were very difficult for me, to play under such pressure, because I knew it was the end of a career which I could be proud of.'

In March, Anand dominated the 14th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament (cat. XX, 14 players). He scored 8.0 points (+5-0=6) in the Blindfold event and 7.5 points (+5-1=5) in the Rapid event to finish 2.5 points ahead of runner-up Morozevich in the combined event.

The Mtel Masters was a one-off tournament (cat. XX, 6 player double round robin) held in Sofia to mark the 10th anniversary of the Bulgarian mobile phone operator. With an average rating of 2747, it was slightly stronger than the Linares event. The Sofia tournament had the unusual feature that the players were forbidden to offer draws. The point could only be split if the game was a draw according to the laws of chess. Topalov (+4-1=5) won the event 1.0 points ahead of Anand. The difference was due to the his score of 1.5 points in their two game mini-match.

Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany was the surprise winner of the annual Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (cat. XIX, 10 player round robin), held in July. He started the event with the lowest rating, but finished with 5.5 points (+3-1=5), 0.5 points ahead of Topalov, Bacrot, Van Wely, and Svidler.

In July, the ACP announced the results of the first ACP Tour, open only to ACP members. Anand won with 1598 points ahead of Leko (1196) and Gelfand (916). Anand's victory was largely symbolic, because the ACP had failed to find a sponsor for the tour and because several top players -- Topalov and Kasparov -- had declined to join the ACP.

The main event of the Chess Classic Mainz, held in August, was the 8 game rapidplay match between Anand and Alexander Grischuk. The Indian, who built his reputation by being one of the fastest players in the world, won +4-2=2.

The second half of the year was dominated by FIDE title events -- the San Luis World Championship, the Khanty-Mansiysk World Cup, and the Continental Championships -- which we cover elsewhere. Also worth mentioning is the World Team Championship, held at Beer-Sheva, Israel, in November. The nine team event, including a squad of Chinese women players, was won by Russia, 0.5 points ahead of China's men's team. To win the event, Russia needed 3.5 points out of 4.0 in their last round match against the Chinese men, which is exactly the score they achieved. Armenia finished third.

It's also worth noting the relatively poor performance of Vladimir Kramnik in 2005. The other World Champion finished with plus-one (+2-1=10) in Wijk aan Zee, tied for last in Sofia (+2-4=4), and finished with another plus-one (+2-1=5) in Dortmund. He declined to participate in Linares and in San Luis. It was the worst year of his career.

Next : National Championships 2005

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