Drawing Sickness Strikes Linares

2/25/2003 – The question of the day among the Playchess.com spectators: "Does Peter Leko get paid by the move?" Poor Peter! Having just escaped his reputation for too many short draws, now he is suffering because of long ones! His game again went the distance and he and Ponomariov were on stage long after Anand-Kramnik and Vallejo-Radjabov were also drawn. More..

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Linares Super GM 2003 – Round 4

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

Round 4 (Tuesday, February 25, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Leko, Peter
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir

The headline match-up Anand-Kramnik only lasted a few moves beyond theory. Kramnik equalized easily against another rather insipid Bb5 Sicilian. After 16 moves the two heavyweights hit the showers without breaking a sweat after 16 moves. Ponomariov also tried the 3.Bb5 Sicilian today and got only losing chances for his efforts. Is everyone so terrified of the Sveshnikov that 3.Bb5 is the best thing out there against the Sicilian? Bah.

(Left: Kramnik versus Anand in a photograph apparently taken from a spy satellite..)

Radjabov played to win with black against Vallejo in the controlled insanity that is the McCutcheon French (4...Bb4). The Baby-Beast from Baku used it to draw against no less a titan than Anand in Wijk aan Zee a month ago and it served him well again today. He pinched a pawn and then held on against Vallejo's pressure. After some complicated simplification, Radjabov offered a draw still with the extra pawn, but with White having enough activity to balance the scales.

So it was again left to Leko to entertain the fans, words that you would not formerly have expected in any but an alternate universe! Leko quickly equalized and soon had the only chances after a well-coordinated queenside pawn push. Ponomariov bailed out into a pawn-down endgame that sent all the commentators to our libraries.

Everything I could dig up said that this endgame (shown after 66.Re3) should end in a draw, as long as that mythical gentleman Mr. Perfect Play was invited to the tea party. More importantly, the position with rooks off should be drawn and the position with minor pieces off should be drawn.

For good measure, if you take all the pieces off the pawn endgame should be drawn unless the black king has already reached a dominating position.

But bore us not with your philosophy, because White has many opportunities to go wrong, especially in mutual time trouble! With the Playchess.com audience counting down to move 113, when Super Mariov could claim a draw under the 50 move rule, Leko tried everything he could to induce a mistake.

When that moment came both players were in too much time trouble to notice. Just a few moves away from the 50 move limit, Leko pushed his f-pawn and the game was soon drawn. Instead of 107...f5, Leko could have pressed on into yet another theoretical swamp with 107...Rg2+ 108.Kf1 Rh2 109.Nxf6 Bg2+. This either wins the h-pawn (110.Kf2 Bc6+ 111.Kg1 Rxh3 winning) or the exchange (110.Kg1 Rh1+ 111.Kxg2 (or 111.Kf2 Rxe1 112.Kxe1 Ke3! winning) 111...Rxe1 winning).

Instead, the game was drawn after 108.Ng7! fxg4 109.Ne6+ Kd5 110.Nxg5 Bf5. At least Leko was on the torturer side today, instead of being the torturee like yesterday. More analysis with key sample lines is on the replay page.

Wednesday is an off day in Linares, but check back for more analysis and news. Perhaps the most exciting chess today was far away in Iceland, where Shirov beat Adams in a spectacular game. Don't miss our "we can't pronounce it but we can write about it" report on the Hrokurinn Chess Festival!

Mig Greengard

Standings after round four

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