Linares R7: All games drawn, Topalov leads

2/21/2010 – Once again: the result sounds boring, the games on the other hand were electrifying. Not, we hasten to add, due to their flawless perfection – on the contrary, they demonstrate that these are humans playing at the boards. Humans with nerves and frailties. The result left Veselin Topalov still in the lead by a point and a half, and the tail ender Vallejo the tragic hero of the event.

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February 2010
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Ciudad de Linares 2010

The traditional Linares tournament is taking place in Andalucia, Spain, from February 13 to 24, 2010. It has been shrunk down to six players – in 2009 there were eight, and in previous years there have been up to 14 players. The category this time is 21, with an average Elo of 2757 (and no player below 2700). Time controls as two hours for 40 moves, then one hour for 20, then 20 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 second increment (starting from move 61).

Round seven report

Round 7: Saturday , 20 February 2010

Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo

The 7th round of Linares continued its course, in which the three games were drawn, and again the players showed their humanity where nerves clearly had their say.

Gashimov was White against Topalov, and faced the Bulgarian’s pet Berlin Defense in the Ruy Lopez. The Azeri chose a lesser-played line with 9.Qg4, and after 9...h5 went his own way with 10.Qg3, avoiding the usual 10.Qxg7. Play proceeded rather uneventfully, and the game ended in a draw.

Gashimov,V (2759) - Topalov,V (2805) [C65]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (7), 20.02.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.Nxe5 Nxe4 6.Qe2 Nxe5 7.Qxe4 Qe7 8.d4 Nc6 9.Qg4 h5 10.Qg3 Bxd4 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Nd5 Qe4 13.Qg5 Qe5 14.c3 Bb6 15.a4 Re8 16.Qxe5 Rxe5 17.Nxb6 cxb6 18.Bf4 Re4 19.Bd6 a6 20.Bd3 Re6 21.Rfe1 g6 22.Rxe6 dxe6 23.Bc7 e5 24.Bxb6 Be6 25.h4 Rc8 26.a5 Ne7 27.Rd1 f5 28.Re1 Nc6 29.f3 Kf7 30.Kf2 Nb8 31.g3 Nd7 32.Ba7 Bb3 33.Re2 Bc4 34.Ke3 Ke6 35.Re1 Bb3 36.Kd2 Nc5 37.Bb6 Rc6 38.Re3 Nd7 39.Ba7 Rd6 40.Kc1 Rd5 41.c4 Rxa5 42.Bxf5+ gxf5 draw. [Click to replay]

Gelfand versus Grischuk was a very different affair though it too seemed to be following a quiet path. The opening was the Four Knights variation of the English, and no fireworks were forthcoming. The game stayed relatively equal, and pieces were exchanged, until 28...bxa4? when the balance was broken. Suddenly Gelfand’s rooks took on a new life, and Grischuk was in trouble. Boris pressed with excellent technique until he returned the favor, and missed 49.f5!, which might have sealed Grischuk’s fate. Instead, his advantage eroded, and a draw was agreed.

Gelfand,B (2761) - Grischuk,A (2736) [A29]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (7), 20.02.2010
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Nd4 5.Bg2 Nxf3+ 6.Bxf3 Bb4 7.0-0 0-0 8.Bg2 Re8 9.d3 h6 10.Bd2 c6 11.Rc1 Bc5 12.a3 a6 13.Na4 Ba7 14.c5 d5 15.cxd6 Qxd6 16.Bb4 Qc7 17.Bc5 Bxc5 18.Nxc5 Be6 19.b4 Rad8 20.Qc2 Bd5 21.a4 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Rd4 23.Qb3 b6 24.e3 Rd6 25.Ne4 Nxe4 26.dxe4 Qe7 27.Qc4 b5 28.Qc5 bxa4 29.Ra1 Rf6 30.Rxa4 Qxc5 31.bxc5 Rb8 32.Rxa6 Rb5 33.f4 Rxc5 34.Rd1 exf4 35.exf4 Rc2+ 36.Kh3 Re6 37.Rd8+ Kh7 38.e5 Re7 39.Rc8 h5 40.Kh4 Rxh2+ 41.Kg5 f6+ 42.exf6 Rf7 43.Raa8 gxf6+ 44.Kf5 Kh6 45.Rh8+ Rh7 46.Rhf8 Rd7 47.Rh8+ Rh7 48.Kxf6 Rd2 49.Rad8 Rxd8 50.Rxd8 Rg7 51.Rh8+ Rh7 52.Re8 Rg7 53.f5 c5 54.Rh8+ Rh7 55.Rg8 Ra7 56.Rh8+ Rh7 57.Rc8 Rg7 58.Ke6 Rxg3 59.f6 Re3+ 60.Kf7 h4 draw. [Click to replay]


Francisco ("Paco") Vallejo Pons, the "local boy" in this tournament

As to Aronian-Vallejo, one must really feel for Paco Vallejo. The Linares tradition of including the top Spaniard (Spanish-born to be exact – no intended disrespect to Shirov) has always been viewed as a learning experience, the one chance where they could play against the very best. Despite being a top player, sporting a 2700 rating, the hard reality is there is still a healthy Elo leap between him and Aronian or Topalov. However, the games he has been involved in are not at all what one might have expected. Paco has clearly decided to grab the bull by the horns, and three of his games, against Gelfand, Aronian and Topalov, displayed some of the most creative and gutsy chess in the tournament. Not only that, but he built up significant advantages that he had every right to believe would lead to a better result than just half a point in three. It looked very much as if his play in round seven would be vindicated, but the same voodoo that has seen Topalov through more than one hairy situation has also been casting an evil eye on poor Vallejo. At least this time the game ended in a draw and not some form of self-immolation. That said, we will be watching his remaining games with relish, keen to see what havoc he has planned for his opponent.

Aronian,L (2781) - Vallejo Pons,F (2705) [D12]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (7), 20.02.2010
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg4 7.Qb3 Qc7 8.Bd2 Bh5 9.Rc1 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Be7 11.h3 Qb6 12.g3 Nbd7 13.0-0 Nd5 14.Ng2 Bg6 15.f3 0-0 16.Ne2 a5 17.a3 Qa7 18.Nef4 Nxf4 19.Nxf4 e5 20.Nxg6 hxg6 21.dxe5 Nxe5 22.Be2 Rad8 23.Qc3 Rd5 24.f4 Rfd8 25.fxe5 Rxd2 26.Rce1 b5 27.Rf2 Bc5 28.Bf1 b4 29.Rxd2 bxc3 30.Rxd8+ Kh7 31.bxc3 Qe7 32.Rd3 Qxe5 33.Kg2 Bxa3 34.e4 Bd6 35.Rf3 Qc5 36.e5 Bxe5 37.Re4 f5 38.Rc4 Qb6 39.g4 f4 40.h4 Qb2+ 41.Kh3 Bb8 42.h5 gxh5 43.Bd3+ Kg8 44.gxh5 Qc1 45.Be4 c5 46.Kg2 Qd2+ 47.Rf2 Qd7 48.Bf3 Qf5 draw. [Click to replay]

Albert Silver, photos by Nadja Wittmann

Current standings

Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, 13 February 2010

Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov

Round 2: Sunday, 14 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Vugar Gashimov
Alexander Grischuk 
1-0
 Boris Gelfand
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

Round 3: Monday, 15 February 2010

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
Alexander Grischuk

Round 4: Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo

Round 5: Thursday, 18 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Alexander Grischuk
Francisco Vallejo 
0-1
 Vugar Gashimov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand

Round 6: Friday, 19 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Francisco Vallejo
Alexander Grischuk 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Boris Gelfand

Round 7: Saturday , 20 February 2010

Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Francisco Vallejo

Round 8: Sunday, 21 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Levon Aronian
Francisco Vallejo 
   Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk 
   Vugar Gashimov
Games - Report

Round 9: Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Alexander Grischuk 
   Veselin Topalov
Vugar Gashimov 
   Francisco Vallejo
Boris Gelfand 
   Levon Aronian
Games - Report

Round 10: Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian 
   Vugar Gashimov
Francisco Vallejo 
   Alexander Grischuk
Games - Report

Live commentary on Playchess

Naturally the games of the Linares tournament are being broadcast live on Playchess. In addition to the moves (and live chat with thousands of other visitors) we also have special audio commentary by two well-known grandmasters:


Playchess (and ChessBase Magazine) commentator GM Daniel King
who is famous for his Power Play DVDs


Yasser Seirawan, who has an interesting Best Games DVD

Schedule of commentators

13th Feb  

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

14th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

15th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan  

5:00 p.m.

16th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

17th Feb Free day  

18th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

19th Feb  

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

20th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

21st Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

22nd Feb Free day  

23rd Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan  

5:00 p.m.

24th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


Topics Linares 2010
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