Anand Moves Back Up, Leko Back Down

3/8/2003 – Just two more rounds to play in Linares and there has been another shake-up in the standings. Co-leader Leko lost to local player Vallejo to drop to +1. Anand beat Radjabov to rejoin Kramnik, who is still sitting on +2 like a mountain. Can anyone topple him? Ponomariov-Kasparov was a steady draw. Report, photos, and analysis here.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Linares Super GM 2003 – Round 12

XX International Chess Tournament
Cuidad de Linares 2003 (Cat. XX)

Round 12 (Friday, March 7, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Vallejo, Francisco
1-0
Leko, Peter
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Kasparov, Garry

The Linares players finally remembered that chess games don't have to end peacefully. The luster returned to the Linares coat of arms as local boy (well, he's Spanish, close enough) Paco Vallejo defeated the world's fifth-ranked player, Peter Leko. As Kasparov found out in the second round, in Linares even the puppies have a nasty bite.

As Leko fell to +1 again, Vishy Anand moved back into a tie for first by beating Teimour Radjabov. With all the coming and going around him, Vladimir Kramnik has been cruising calmly at +2 since the sixth round, keeping his share of first while nobody has been able to surpass that score. The way things are going that number will be enough for a share of the title this year.

Ponomariov wasn't taking any chances with white against Kasparov and their game was an uneventful draw. Kasparov now has just two rounds left to rescue his supertournament winning streak, currently at 10 consecutive titles.

Today Anand looked like just the man to break that streak. He repulsed Radjabov's hyper-aggressive play in a sharp Kalashnikov Sicilian for his third win of the tournament. (Anand spanked Ponomariov in this opening in Corus Wijk aan Zee in January.) Radjabov's usual tactical sharpness has been declining over the course of the tournament and he fell apart completely at the first sign of white's counterattack.


He wouldn't play ..h5, would he?

When Pelikan/Sveshnikov/Kalashnikov players go to Hell, this is the sort of position they have to play for all eternity. The only distinguishing features left are the target on d6 and the white rook controlling the a-file. To make things even worse, Anand found a sweet attacking move to make Radjabov's life even more miserable.

30.Kh2! threatens the winning Bh3 skewer and also creates the possibility of bringing a rook over to h1 where it will combine with white's domination of the dark squares for a powerful attack. Black has to get his queen out of the way, but White will probably play Bh3 anyway to push the rook off the c-file.

Radjabov moved his rook instead with 30...Rc4. This was probably no worse than a waste of time after 31.Bf1 Rc7, but Radjabov grabbed the e-pawn with the courage of the doomed. 31...Rxe4?? 32.f3 Whoops! Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Stunned inertia allowed for two more moves and Radjabov resigned after 32...Nf6 33.Bxf6 Re3 1-0. A knight is a knight, as the saying goes.

[Before we continue on to the other games, there seems to be a lot of confusion going around about when a Pelikan is a Sveshnikov and what Lasker has to do with it all, and why the Kalashnikov is one but not the other, except on months starting with the letter "J". I have prepared a long and fascinating explanation of these popular lines and their evolution that will both entertain and instruct. But this involves real work for the writer and the reader, and we wouldn't want to muck up a perfectly readable round report with such stuff, right? So we're saving it for next week's Black Belt newsletter. A shout-out to the Ninjas! ]

Round 12 also produced the tournament's second man bites dog story. By virtue of their youth and inexperience Vallejo and Radjabov were the clear underdogs at the tournament's start. Radjabov created the biggest news of the event by beating Kasparov in the second round but has lost four games and will finish last. Even so, this has been a valuable experience for him and he might even gain a few rating points in the bargain. Vallejo has played much more solidly, only losing two games but unlikely to win one with such tame play with the white pieces.


The lucky purple jacket didn't work today.

That changed abruptly today when Leko decided to stick his head into the mouth of the Menorcan Lion in a wildly unbalanced line of the English. (I've never heard anyone call Vallejo "the Menorcan Lion" before, but a nickname never hurts, unless it's something like, "the Fragile Porcelain Mouse".) This 'knight's tour' variation of the English has been around for a long time and still makes regular appearances on the GM level. It has always had more popularity with correspondence players than with top Grandmasters. Moving your knight six times in the first eight moves and encouraging white to get a big center is better done from the safety of your own home.

Yes, we are saying that Leko did this on purpose. Despite how he went down in flames, you've got to give credit to Leko for playing to win with black when he was tied for the lead. When Kramnik had black against Vallejo a few rounds ago he shook hands after 13 moves. Of course there are cynics who will point out that Kramnik might have the last laugh, but in these pages we like fighting chess. Leko, we salute you!

The Hungarian has more losses, and more wins, than he used to get in an entire year. Leko 2.0 might still have a few bugs, but overall it is a clearly worth the upgrade price. Today he simply ran too close to the edge against Vallejo, who was looking for just such an opportunity to take down one of the big guys. The big center that Black invited White to create ended up rolling up the board and winning two pieces for a rook. The Spaniard then showed good technique in wrapping up the full point.

Last year in Linares Kasparov said that Vallejo was destined for the top 10. He might have been tossing a bone to the Spanish press, but there is definitely still a lot of potential here. Tomorrow Vallejo has a job that an Iraqi military adviser wouldn't take: the black pieces against a Kasparov in a must-win situation. Vallejo's win also forced me to look around for a decent photograph of the poor guy. With all the attention on the stars even the local press has provided little in the way of good shots of the Vallejo, who is possibly the strongest native-born Spanish player since Ruy Lopez.

As a last resort I pinched a photo from his personal website, which is probably the nicest chessplayer homepage I have seen. Just like all Spanish chess websites it is pretty and slow to load. The Spanish press hailed Vallejo's first win and one report even promoted Leko to the fourth-ranked player in the world. Of course they also talk about the Indian player "Annan". This United Nations thing is getting out of hand!


Next stop, Buenos Aires.

Speaking of Kasparov, he got nothing against Ponomariov with black and neither player seemed to mind the safe draw. I thought Kasparov might play 9..e5 and enter a King's Indian sort of position. After his 9..exd5 the pawns are locked and symmetrical and winning chances were thinner than my hair. Kasparov is gambling on getting the full point against Vallejo tomorrow with white or perhaps he thinks he has a big enough surprise in the Sicilian to play for the win with black against Anand in the final round.

Leko-Anand is the big bout on Saturday. Anand won their first encounter and Leko must win to have a chance at his first Linares title. He has black against Kramnik in the final round and although he is one of the few people to beat Kramnik with the black pieces over the years, you don't plan on seeing Halley's comet twice in your lifetime. Kramnik could practically seal a tournament victory with a win over Radjabov, but he is more likely to save his energy for Leko if he can and Radjabov might want to stop the bleeding with a draw.

Mig Greengard

Standings after round twelve

 

Round 1 (Saturday, February 22, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Radjabov, Teimour
0-1
Leko, Peter
Round 2 (Sunday, February 23, 2003)
Kasparov, Garry
0-1
Radjabov, Teimour
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Kramnik, Vladimir
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Round 3 (Monday, February 24, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Leko, Peter
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Round 4 (Tuesday, February 25, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Leko, Peter
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Round 5 (Thursday, February 27, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Leko, Peter
1-0
Vallejo, Francisco
Kasparov, Garry
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Round 6 (Friday, February 28, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Leko, Peter
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Round 7 (Saturday, March 1, 2003)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Kasparov, Garry
1-0
Anand, Viswanathan
Ponomariov, Ruslan
1-0
Vallejo, Francisco
Round 8 (Sunday, March 2, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Kasparov, Garry
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Leko, Peter
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Round 9 (Monday, March 3, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Round 10 (Wednesday, March 5, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Kasparov, Garry
½-½
Leko, Peter
Round 11 (Thursday, March 6, 2003)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Round 12 (Friday, March 7, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Vallejo, Francisco
1-0
Leko, Peter
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Games – Report
Round 13 (Saturday, March 8, 2003)
Kasparov, Garry
-
Vallejo, Francisco
Leko, Peter
-
Anand, Viswanathan
Radjabov, Teimour
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
Games – Report
Round 14 (Sunday, March 9, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
-
Leko, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
-
Kasparov, Garry
Vallejo, Francisco
-
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Games – Report

Topics Linares 2003
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register