Linares R13: Radjabov and Topalov win, Anand leads

3/7/2008 – Nothing changed at the top and at the bottom of the table – the gap was simply enlarged. After equaling with black Alexei Shirov suffered a painful blunder loss against Teimour Radjabov, while Peter Leko was outplayed by Veselin Topalov in a 48-move struggle. Anand remains in the lead, followed by Magnus Carlsen. Full report with pictures of the players in action.

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Morelia-Linares 2008

The Morelia-Linares tournament is taking place from February 15th to 23rd February in Morelia, Mexico, and from 28th February to 7th March in Linares, Spain. The second half of the event runs from February 28th to March 7th, 2008. It is taking place in the Theatro Cervantes in the Centro Histórica de la Cuidad Linares. The rounds start at 16:00 local time (= CET, 20:30h Chennai, 18:00 Moscow, 15:00 GMT/London, 10 a.m. New York). You can find the starting time at your home location here.

Round thirteen report

Round 13: Thursday, March 6th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Teimour Radjabov 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Peter Leko

The leaderboard stayed steady, but that’s not to say there wasn’t any action today.


Round thirteen, with the main tournament in the first row, the secondary GM event in the second

Let’s start with the leaders: Anand played the Najdorf against Ivanchuk and was possibly surprised by his opponent’s choice of 6.Bc4. Anand returned the favor with 6…Nc6, transposing to the Sozin Variation, and Ivanchuk didn’t seem to have anything special prepared against this. Anand equalized without much difficulty, and the game was drawn in just 23 moves.


Ivanchuk vs Anand, and in the background GM Julio Granda Zuniga (2588) playing Eduardo Iturrizaga (2470) in the final phase of the Iberoamericano tournament, which is being held parallel to the main event.

Ivanchuk,V (2751) - Anand,V (2799) [B86]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 06.03.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bb3 Nc6 9.f4 Qc7 10.Kh1 0-0 11.f5 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 b5 13.fxe6 Bxe6 14.Bf4 Qc5 15.Qd3 b4 16.Ne2 d5 17.e5 Ne4 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Nf4 Qxe5 20.Bxd5 Bxd5 21.Nxd5 Rad8 22.Rad1 Bd6 23.Bf4 ½-½.

This gave Carlsen the chance to catch Anand with a win over Aronian, but that was never in the offing. White offered an interesting pawn sac in an old-fashioned line of the Queen’s Indian, but Carlsen’s 9…Bxd5 turned it into an exchange sacrifice for Black. The play from there through move 19 was more or less forced, and the question revolved around Black’s knight on c2. It’s stuck there, but it’s also restraining White’s rook on a2 – is the knight a strength or a weakness. The answer seems to be both, and in roughly equal measure.

Aronian,L (2739) - Carlsen,M (2733) [E17]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 06.03.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nc3 0-0 7.Qc2 c5 8.d5 exd5 9.cxd5 Bxd5 10.Nxd5 Nxd5 11.Nh4 Nb4 12.Qd2 N8c6 13.Nf5 Nd4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Bxa8 Qxa8 16.0-0 Qe4 17.a3 Nc2 18.Ra2 Rc8 19.b3 Rc3 20.Bb2 Rc6 21.Rd1 Bf6 22.Qd3 d5 23.Qf3 h6 24.h4 g5 25.hxg5 hxg5 26.b4 Kg7 27.Qd3 b5 28.Bc1 ½-½.

When the players agreed to a draw White still hadn’t figured out what to do about the knight, but it hadn’t escaped, either. Play could have continued 28…Rc3 (this is forced, as White threatens 29.Bd2 followed by 30.Rc1, sending the steed to the glue factory) 29.Qxe4 (29.Qxb5?! d3!) dxe4 30.Bd2 Rc4 31.Rc1 d3 32.exd3 exd3 33.Rd1 (33.a4 Nd4) a6 (33…Re4? 34.Bc3!) 34.a4 Re4 35.axb5 axb5 36.Ra5 Re2 37.Kh1 Rxf2 38.Rxb5 Re2 39.Bxg5 Bxg5 40.Rg5+ Kf6 with equality, as Black’s d-pawn will let him regain the exchange.

It was a tough day for our cellar-dwellers, Shirov and Leko, who both lost, falling to minus 3.


Alexei Shirov (left) vs Teimour Radjabov

Radjabov,T (2735) - Shirov,A (2755) [B92]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 06.03.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Qd3 Nc6 11.0-0-0 Nd4 12.Nxd4 exd4 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 0-0 15.Qf3 Re8 16.Bd3 Re5 17.Kb1 Qa5 18.g4 Qxd5 19.Qxd5 Rxd5 20.f4

Shirov has completely equalized with black, and if he played 20…g5 (for example), the players could have agreed to a draw at any moment. 20...Bh4?? This leaves the black rook trapped after 21.b4, and the resulting exchange-up ending is easy for White to win. 21...Rc8 22.a4 Rc3 23.Kb2 f5 24.gxf5 Rxd3 25.cxd3 Rxf5 26.Rc1 Rxf4 27.Rhf1 Rxf1 28.Rxf1 Bd8 29.a5 1-0.

Topalov-Leko was a much harder fight, and Leko was outplayed a little at a time.


Veselin Topalov vs Peter Leko in round thirteen

Topalov,V (2780) - Leko,P (2753) [C88]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 06.03.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.c3 Qd7 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Rxe5 Rad8 14.Qg4 f5 15.Qg3 Bf6 16.Re1 Kh8 17.Nd2 b4 18.Nf3 bxc3 19.d4 f4 20.Qg4 Qxg4 21.hxg4

21...g5. One improvement is 21…c5, when 22.bxc3 Nxc3 23.bxc5 Rfe8 24.Bb2 Ne2+ 25.Kf1 Bxb2 26.Rab1 Bxf3 27.gxf3 Bd4 28.Rxe2 Rxe2 29.Kxe2 Bxc5 leads to a drawn Sveshnikov Sicilian-like ending. In the game, White’s pieces are too active, especially once Topalov’s rooks make it to the 7th. 22.Ne5 Kg7 23.bxc3 Nxc3 24.Bb2 Nd5 25.Rac1 Rfe8 26.Ba3 Re6 27.Rc2 Be7 28.Bxd5 Bxd5 29.Rxc7 Re8 30.Rd7 Bxa2

31.Rc1! Much better than 31.Ra1, winning the a-pawn but leaving a very difficult technical task after 31…Bb3 32.Bxe7 R8xe7 33.Rxe7+ Rxe7 34.Rxa6 Bg8. 31...Kg8 32.Rcc7 Bf6 33.Nc6 Re1+ 34.Kh2 Be6 35.Rd6 Bg7 36.Ne7+ Kh8 37.Nf5 Bf8 38.Rxa6 Bxf5 39.Bxf8 Rxf8 40.gxf5 Kg8 41.f6 Re4 42.Rg7+ Kh8 43.Re7 Rxe7 44.fxe7 Re8 45.Ra7 Kg7 46.d5 Kf7 47.d6 Rb8 48.Rc7 1-0. Maybe with perfect play Leko could have held the ending, but as a practical matter it was nearly impossible.

Summary by Dennis Monokroussos of Chess Mind

Current standings


Players in action

During these super-GM events there is almost always a soccer game organised for the players and journalists. Usually it is Peter Leko who initates everything, is the first on the field and one of the most enthusiastic players. Unfortunately the Hungarian GM suffered a very painful ankle injury during one such game in Mexico last September and has been labouring with that infirmity ever since. The other "usual suspects" were all there for the traditional match in Linares.


The players gather on the field for a fast-and-furious game of soccer


The players above are Levon Aronian, Gabriel Sargissian, Edgar Pérez-Vargas,
journalist David Llada and father-trainer Henrik Carlsen


Henrik taking a shot at the goal


Lev Aronian in hot pursuit of Dutch journalist Peter Doggers


Magnus Carlsen, who is easily the strongest soccer player on the field, scores


Levon Aronian and Edgar Pérez-Vargas in one-on-one combat


Father and son, Henrik and Magnus


If the chess thing doesn't work out he always has soccer


Levon Aronian, always game for sporting activities


A great free day in the warm Andalusian sun

All pictures by Nadja Woisin


Video reports by Europe Echecs


Schedule and results

Round 8: Thursday, February 28th

Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

Round 9: Friday, February 29th

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Peter Leko 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov

Round 10: Saturday, March 1st

Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sunday, March 2nd
Free day

Round 11: Monday, March 3rd

Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko 
1-0
 Magnus Carlsen

Round 12: Tuesday, March 4th

Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
Teimour Radjabov 
Wednesday, March 5th
Free day

Round 13: Thursday, March 6th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Teimour Radjabov 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Peter Leko

Round 14: Friday, March 7th

Vishy Anand 
   Veselin Topalov
Peter Leko 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Teimour Radjabov
Alexei Shirov 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport
Saturday, March 8th
Closing ceremony

Links

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