Kasparov beats Anand, Kramnik Leads Alone

3/1/2003 – After yet another Linares endgame course, Garry Kasparov defeated Viswanathan Anand in round seven. The current verdict? Anand should have drawn the ending. Kramnik is in clear first at +2 after drawing in 25 moves against Leko in, finally, a Sveshnikov Sicilian. Ponomariov got his first win by beating Vallejo in yet another endgame. Kasparov-Kramnik in round eight! More..

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Linares Super GM 2003 – Round 7

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

Round 7 (Saturday, March 1, 2003)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Kasparov, Garry
1-0
Anand, Viswanathan
Ponomariov, Ruslan
1-0
Vallejo, Francisco

So maybe "report coming soon" was a bit misleading. But how to do a quick report when the games are so dramatic, when the endgames are so difficult, when it's Saturday night and you still have rum left? With a win over co-leader Viswanathan Anand Garry Kasparov took another step out of the early grave many dug for him after his second-round loss. Kasparov, winner of the previous four editions of Linares, beat the man who challenged him for the world championship in 1995 to join him in a tie for second place in Linares.


Secrets of pawn endgames. Garry Kasparov and Vishy Anand analyze the fatal rook finale with
Ljubo Ljubojevic, standing. Kasparov's second, Yuri Dokhoian, is on the far left.

It's hard to talk about that 1995 match, won by Kasparov 10.5-7.5, without looking at how poorly Anand has fared against Kasparov in classical play since then. Having beaten Kasparov twice before their title clash, and once in the match, Anand is now working on eight years without a victory against a half dozen losses, most of them in Linares. Of course you don't need psychological excuses to lose to a 2800+, but the nature of several of Anand's losses does make you wonder.

Today's game immediately brought back memories of Anand-Kasparov, Linares 1999. Back then, after a brilliant game from both players, Anand fell into a study-like checkmate when he was just two moves away from chopping off Black's last pawn and drawing. There was some deja vu when today, after an epic battle led to a tricky rook endgame, Anand played the sort of bizarre move that you only play either when you have seen it clearly through to a draw or when you are sure everything else is losing. But in this case neither of those seems to apply, leaving us with the rarely employed third option: terrible blunder.

Kasparov deserves credit for applying maximum pressure in an endgame that some even thought might be better for Anand. But even Kasparov was expecting a drawn result after 57...Rc5 in the diagrammed position. On Playchess.com we were also expecting 57...Rc5 58.Kxf4 Rxh5 59.Rd6 Rc5 60.Ke4 h5 61.Kd4 Rc1 62.Kd5 h4 63.Re6 Kg7 with a draw, although we were far from being sure about the result of these lines at the time. It's a tribute to the complexity of the royal game that so many Grandmasters and so many computers can be completely baffled by a position with just eight, or even six, pieces on the board!

Anand sent the audience into total confusion with 57...Kh8. Believing himself in zugzwang, Black wants to give up the h-pawn (instead of the f-pawn) in exchange for activating his king against the h-pawn in some lines. If it had worked it was a headline-making brilliancy, but it didn't work. We haven't heard from Vishy himself on what exactly was going through his head during the long think he took before uncorking this move, but we can only imagine that he thought everything else was losing. Meanwhile, he had to resign after the unsurprising sequence 58.Rxh6+ Kg7 59.Rd6 Kh7 60.Kg4 Kg7 61.Rd7+ Kf6 62.c7 1-0.

On the replay page and in the download file you will now find analysis from various Grandmasters watching the game in Linares and some lines from the Kasparov-Anand post-mortem (attended as always by the now-local GM Ljubo Ljubojevic). Their verdict? 57...Rc5 was a draw. This year's Corus Wijk aan Zee champion now faces a tough battle to capture the Linares title he won in 1998.

The loss dropped Anand from the lead after just 24 hours in the top spot and brought Kasparov into a tie for 2-4th with Anand and Leko. Kramnik thusly moved into clear first place after drawing against Leko with black in 25 moves. If neither of them win the trophy in Linares this year they might look back on today's game and wonder why they didn't play on when there was so much life left in the position.

Until today all the 1.e4 players had been avoiding the Sveshnikov like the plague, preferring Bb5 systems that haven't been all that successful so far. Leko and Kramnik are both Sveshnikov experts, and the Hungarian didn't back down from the challenge. While Kasparov and Anand were racing through 20 moves of Caro-Kann theory, Leko and Kramnik did the same in the Sicilian until Leko opted for a relatively obscure sideline with 14.c4. Shirov twice played 14.Qh5 at Corus Wijk aan Zee last January, winning one of those games against Kramnik (and losing the other to Grischuk).

Leko's move was recently played by Kosteniuk in Hastings and the first new move of the game didn't come until Kramnik's 18...Kf8. Some old analysis by Huebner has only 18...Qd7, with White gaining the upper hand. It looked like White still had something to play for after 19.Rab1 Bxb2 20.Nc2 Ng6 21.Nb4 Qf6 22.Nc6 Re8 23.f4 Bd4+ 24.Kh1 Kg7.

Then Leko allowed Kramnik to keep his strong bishop with 25.Bh5 when chopping it off and going pawn hunting with 25.Nxd4 Qxd4 26.Qd7 looked interesting. The game was drawn immediately after 25...Bc5 ½-½

Back to the Bb5 stuff for white or did this give Sveshnikov players something to worry about? I'm sure we'll find out in the second half of Linares! But a 25-move draw against one of the opening's top experts must be counted as a victory for black and for Kramnik's preparation.

The battle between the tail-enders was yet another endgame course. This time Vallejo got a lesson from Ponomariov, who notched his first win. White always had good chances with his protected passed pawn in the center and when Vallejo's king got stuck against the side of the board, Ponomariov converted in excellent fashion.

Several Spanish newspapers were indirectly critical of the young local star, saying that the endgame was drawn. That seems a little ungenerous considering the multitude of weaknesses in the black position by the time Vallejo got his pawn back on move 30.

At the halfway point, Vladimir Kramnik is the only undefeated player. Round 8 brings a stern test, however: a full-speed Kasparov and the black pieces. Will Kramnik dare to repeat the Sveshnikov or will he play more cautiously? Big Vlad has come back to 1.e4 this year, might we expect more surprises? On the other hand, Kasparov switched to 1.d4 in most of their rapid and blitz games in the Botvinnik Memorial a little over a year ago. Or it could be a Berlin Defense flashback...

Radjabov comes back after the bye and will have black against Leko. Anand will try to bounce back with the white pieces against Ponomariov. The Ukrainian FIDE champion can be streaky and might be willing to mix it up after his win today.

Standings after round seven

 

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
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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