Doesn't Anyone Want to Win Linares?

3/7/2003 – With three days to go the standings have remained unchanged for three consecutive rounds. The draw percentage in the tournament has now gone over two-thirds after three more piece treaties were signed today. Kramnik-Anand was the liveliest of the trio. Kramnik and Leko still lead with +2, Kasparov and Anand are right behind at +1. Who has a finishing kick? More..

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Linares Super GM 2003 – Round 11

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

Round 11 (Thursday, March 6, 2003)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan

The games in Linares continue to be as decisive as a UN security council meeting. There was a temptation to just repeat most of yesterday's report and change the names, but of course that would be completely irresponsible. As in rounds three and four, all the games in rounds nine, ten, and eleven split the available points. This brings the draw percentage up to 67% (eight wins for white, three wins for black, 22 draws). That sounds high, and it would be nice to stay under 50%, but the percentage only a little higher than in 2000 and 2001.

Okay, okay, something new then. Kramnik-Anand lived up to its heavyweight billing this time around. One of the reoccuring themes of this year's Linares supertournament has been a very wide and eclectic assortment of openings. Even a few standards have been reinterpreted by the 2700 class in the past few weeks.

No one seems to be interested in the turgid maneuvering synonymous with the Spanish game (aka Ruy Lopez). Kramnik and Anand ripped things open in the center and turned it into a sharp battle. Usually you would expect ..d5 in these positions, but Anand went for ..c5 instead. Black built up some pressure in the center and passed up an interesting try for complications that is worth a look.

Here Anand played 29...Rxb4 and the game was drawn after 30.axb5 axb5 31.Qd2 Ra4 32.Nxb5 Raxe4. White would have had to be careful after 29...Qg6!? because 30.axb5 Rxe4! creates tactical threats against g2 that are very hard to answer. After 30.f3 d5 31.axb5 axb5 32.Nxb5 Rxb4 33.Nc3 dxe4 34.Nxe4 Bxe4 35.fxe4 Rbxe4 36.Rxe4 Rxe4 Black still has something to play for.

That game saw most the round's action. Leko and Ponomariov banged out 20 moves of an old and tepid Sicilian line and reached a dead rook endgame in record time. Notable is that Leko offered Ponomariov the opportunity to play the Sveshnikov and the FIDE champion declined. Steinitz himself played Leko's g3 a few times in this line over 130 years ago and did quite well with it.

Things started out in a more promising fashion in Radjabov-Vallejo. They played a popular and sharp line of the Semi-Slav that has resulted in many spectacular games. White has space with a pawn on e5, but Black gets a rock-solid knight on d5. Radjabov's new 18.Qa4+ basically guaranteed piece exchanges. Then Vallejo found a nice way to give up his queen for rook, knight, and pawn and an impenetrable position.

Vallejo snapped off the e-pawn that Radjabov thought was indirectly protected. 26...Qxe5! 27.Nc5 looks good, but 27...Qxe1+ 28.Bxe1 Bxc5 and there is no way for the white queen to do any damage. The game was drawn four moves later.

Three rounds have gone by without a decisive game in Linares. The patriarch of the Linares supertournaments, Luis Rentero, would be spinning in his grave if he weren't still alive. When he was still active in running the event Rentero was famous for pushing the players to avoid draws, especially short one. His tactics included both monetary rewards and penalties, as well as his regular hot-blooded letters of outrage whenever there were more than a few short draws.

Maybe they need some incentives again this year. I can't afford to offer rewards and I doubt my ability to collect fines, but there must be something... How about this: If there is another day of all draws in Linares I'm going to bring back the Chicken Factor! Don't make me do it!

Anand is sure to take aim at Radjabov's precarious repertoire tomorrow in a bid to join the leaders. Kramnik has the bye and his co-leader, Leko, has black against the unambitious Vallejo. Ponomariov-Kasparov will heat up if Kasparov has half a chance. This is the second game of our FIDE world championship match preview, but right now Kasparov is much more concerned about having his long string of supertournament victories broken.

Mig Greengard

Standings after round eleven

 

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
Round 8 (Sunday, March 2, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Kasparov, Garry
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Leko, Peter
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Round 9 (Monday, March 3, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Round 10 (Wednesday, March 5, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Kasparov, Garry
½-½
Leko, Peter
Round 11 (Thursday, March 6, 2003)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
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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