Linares 2005 begins: an historical review

2/23/2005 – The 22nd edition of the "Ciudad de Linares", a category 20 double round robin, beings in the Spanish city of Linares today. It includes Garry Kasparov, Vishy anand and Peter Leko. We bring you schedules, links to live coverage and, to get you into the mood, a review of the previous 21 events.

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The XXII Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez "Ciudad de Linares", a category 20 double round robin, beings today. The seven participants are Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Peter Leko, Michael Adams, Francisco Vallejo Pons and Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

The tournament is being held in the Spanish town of Linares and will last from February 23 (first round) until March 10 (14th round) 2005. During each round one player rests, and in addition there are full rest days on March 1st and 7th. The games start at 15:30h local time (CET = GMT 14:30h = 9:30 a.m. NY) in the Hotel Anibal.

Live covereag of the event is expected on the official web site and on Playchess.com. We will be reporting daily on our news page.


The participants at the drawing of lots on Tuesday: Francisco Vallejo Pons, Veselin Topalov, Peter Leko, Garry Kasparov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Viswanathan Anand and Michael Adams.


Group photo with sponsors and organisers [Photos by Jesús J. Boyero]

Round 1 (Wednesday, February 23, 2005)
Veselin Topalov
Michael Adams
Peter Leko
Garry Kasparov
Rustam Kasimdzhanov
Francisco Vallejo
Games – Report

The results, games and report will be posted tonight.

Links to previous Linares reports


History of Linares

In the following we bring you a brief synopsis of all previous 21 Linares tournaments, starting very modestly in 1978 and building up to the high-category double round robins we have seen in the last years. We invite you to study the data provided below – anyone who owns the Big or Mega Database 2005 can also consult the games – and to send us any observations you may have. We are looking for factoids, snippets of information that are interesting. Natural candidates are: who won Linares most often? Who scored the highest performance? Which top player fared worst? Which top player never managed to win? Who won the most and who the fewest games? Et cetera, anything that catches your eye or your imagination. We will publish historical factoids sent in by you, and will award a prize – a ChessBase program signed by participants of Linares 2005 – for the most interesting submissions. Please use our special Linares 2005 feedback form to write to us. Do not change the subject line.

Linares is an Andalusian city, built around metal mining and heavy industry. In 1978 a master chess tournament was held there and labelled Ciudad de Linares. It was a fairly modest eventm won by the Swedish master Jaan Eslon (Elo 2365).

A year later it had mutated to a grandmaster event and hat Viktor Kortchnoi participating and American GM Larry Christiansen winning. We do not have all the games of that tournament.

Linares 2nd 1979
                1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2

1 Christiansen  * 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1  8
2 Kortschnoj    1 * 0 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1  7½
3 Rivas         ½ 1 * 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½  7½
4 Castro        0 0 1 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1  7½
5 Eslon         0 0 1 ½ * ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1  5½
6 Sahovic       ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½  5
7 Marovic       0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ * 0 ½ ½ ½ ½  5
8 Calvo         0 ½ 0 0 1 0 1 * 0 ½ 1 1  5
9 Ermenkov      ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 * ½ 0 ½  4½
10 Knezevic     ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½  4
11 Bellon       0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 1 ½ * ½  3½
12 Visier       0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ *  3

In 1980 the Ciudad de Linares found an active and enthusiastic sponsor, the chain store magnate Luis Rentero Suárez, who revamped the event by raising the category dramatically, inviting Karpov, Christiansen, Larsen, Christiansen, Kavalek, Ljubojevic and Gligoric. A total of twelve grandmasters participated. Karpov and Christiansen came equal first.

The fourth Linares tournament in 1983 was won by Boris Spassky ahead of Karpov and Andersson. Tal was originally invited but was replaced by Geller. The prize for first place was $6000. The weather was cold, the playing hall had no heating system (not normally required in Linares) and many players caught the flu.

In 1985 Karpov could not participate because of his marathon world championship match against Kasparov. Ljubojevic and Hübner tied for first. 59% of the games were drawn, 17 in 22 moves or less, six in under 14 moves. Luis Rentero Suárez was furious and started a crusade against short draws that lasted almost two decades.

There was no Linares tournament in 1986, and in 1987 the city hosted a candidates’ match. The next Ciudad de Linares was held in 1988, for the first time in the luxurious Hotel Anibal, which was later bough by Luis Rentero. For the first time a woman participated, Maia Chiburdanidze, faring disastrously. The event was won convincingly by the Dutch chess wizzard Jan Timman.

Originally Kortchnoi was invited to play in Linares, but he left he found that the infamous Soviet chess functionary Baturinsky chief arbiter. Ivanchuk played for the first time and won the tournament ahead of Karpov.

1990 was the first time that Kasparov, who had won the world championship title five years earlier, participated in Linares. He received a $30,000 appearance fee and won the event. Rentero intensified his campaign against short draws and drove Spassky to the verge of a nervous breakdown with his threats.

In 1991 the event was increased in size to 14 players. Rentero continued to apply pressure against short draws, paying player an extra $2000 if they averaged more than 40 moves over the entire event. This worked wonders. Only 38 of the 91 games were undecided, and none was drawn in less than 22 moves.Vishy Anand played for the first time in Linares, Ivanchuk won the event ahead of Kasparov, Gata Kamsky came last.

In 1992 all players ranked 1-10 in the world appeared in Linares. Kasparov was in great fighting spirit and won the event two points ahead of the field. Equal second was Jan Timman, who played some of the most interesting games.

1993 saw Kramnik participating for the first time, in a field that consisted of eleven players originating from the Russian republics. One of the three "foreigners", Vishy Anand, came equal second. Kasparov won the event for a third time.

The 1994 Linares tournament was extraordinary because of the incredible performance by Anatoly Karpov, who chalked up nine wins and no losses, while Kasparov faltered against Lautier and Kramnik, ending joint second with Shirov. Karpov's 11/13 with an almost 3000 performance was the greatest triumph of his career.

In 1995 Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik did not participate. Karpov and Ivanchuk dominated, with the Ukraine chess genius ending a full point ahead. It was "Chucky's" third win in Linares.

After a one-year pause, in which the women's world championship was held, the Ciudad de Linares continued in 1997 with the top three players, Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik, who had distanced themselves from the rest of the world in the Elo rankings. Kasparov and Kramnik were in superb form and led together with 7.5/10 before the last round. In that round they clashed, and Kasparov won the game, set and match.

In 1998 the format of the Linares tournament was changed. The number of players was drastically reduced, and the event became a double round robin. Anand was in great form and won Linares for the first time, in his sixth appearance. This tournament was to be the qualifier for a new World Championship cycle run by Rentero and others. Anand did not participate and so Shirov played Kramnik for the right to challenge Kasparov. Shirov won, but the organisers were not able to put together a final match against Kasparov.

In 1999 the top eight players in the world were present at the tournament, which was completely dominated by Kasparov. The world champion finished a point and a half ahead of the two crown princes (Anand and Kramnik), with a 2913 performance. It was Kasparov's fifth Linares cap. Luis Rentero was absent, since he had been involved in a very serious car accident which almost cost him his life.

In 2000 for the first time there were two winners, with exactly the same number of board and tiebreak points. They split the prize money, and Kasparov allowed Kramnik to take home the trophy. With Rentero still ailing 77% of the games were drawn.

Linares 2001 took place without Anand or Kramnik, who had beaten Kasparov in their world championship match. Karpov returning after a long pause, caused by a feud with Rentero. Kasparov won with a three point margin, all other players scored 4.5/7.

The newly crown FIDE knockout world champion Ruslan Ponomariov was invited to Linares in 2002. Contrary to the expectation of most experts he played very well, bowing only to Kasparov in the final table. Garry Kasparov won the event for an eighth time, a point and a half ahead of the field.

Peter Leko was on his way to joining the exclusive gang-of-three, and in 2003 he cemented his claim with a joint first ahead of Kasparov and Anand. In fact Leko was declared the winner because he had a greater number of wins than Kramnik – Rentero was recovering from his accident, draws were once again being growled at.

2004 was the most frustrating year for Luis Rentero. 33 out of 42 games (= 78.6%) were drawn, six were won with white and three with black. Vladimir Kramnik remained undefeated and won two games to take first prize. Kasparov failed to win Linare for the fifth time in 13 appearances.

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