Kasparov will win Linares!

by ChessBase
2/24/2003 – A week ago we introduced you to the participants at the Linares supertournament and asked you to predict who would win. We got many hundreds of messages from almost every corner of the world. Most visitors believed that Garry Kasparov would completely dominate the opposition. We have put together extensive excerpts from the letters we received. More...

ChessBase 17 - Mega package ChessBase 17 - Mega package

ChessBase is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it.


In our Linares quiz we asked you to answer the following questions:

1. Who will win this tournament? Please supply a reason for your conjecture.

2. How will the top seeds Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov do?

3. How will the local star Paco Vallejo and the kid Teymour do?

4. Any other comments or opinions?

The winner of this contest will be the person with the most interesting or accurate answer. Or we may decide to simply draw a winner from all participants. Naturally this will only happen after the tournament is over – after the 10th of March. (If you are interested in who won the Wijk aan Zee quiz and our Christmas Puzzle Contest, the results will be announced in the first week of March).

The extensive excerpts from the messages we received were generated semi-automatically. The choice of letters was in general not by merit but by random selection. So please do not feel offended if your submission is not quoted. We did, however, manually eliminate messages with excessively adventurous orthography, or ones which were missing proper names (or contained obvious joke names). The winner of the contest will be selected from all the letters we received, not just the ones quoted below.

A selection of the messages we received

All of the following messages were received between February 19 and 23. They are sorted roughly according to the date of submission, in descending order.

Rakesh Rai, Mumbai, India
Who will win this tournament? Of course Anand. Kramnik has forgotten how to play against humans (he only plays against Kasparov and computers these days, anyway), so he is ruled out. Kasparov is past his prime now - other players are no longer threatened by his body language. Ponomoriaov's winning the FIDE title was the biggest fluke in chess history. Vallejo pons is only a tourist here. That leaves Radjabov, Anand and Leko. Anand is the best bet among these three, considering his good form. And he doesn't lose easily these days. He should amass 7.5 easily (1.5 against pono, pons, and radjabov, 1 against the others, possibly)

How will the top seeds do? Kasparov ...struggle and struggle... he might finish on +1 or even Kramnik ... should do better than wijk...possibly +2 Anand ... outright win ... +3 or +4 Ponomariov ...his last big tournament possibly... -3

Dom Young
Kramnik will at least share first place. He has finally shaken his computer opponent preparation from Bahrain. He's steady, and will probably tie with Anand for first. (It will be a close tournament, everyone but one player bunched within 2 points...). Kramnik will have the highest score, with Anand either having the same number of points or at most .5 behind. Kasparov will have either .5 behind the best score or 1.0 behind the best score. Probably the former. Ponomariov may be tied for the second worst score here.

Vallejo will come in last and Teymour will come in at worst tied for 2-3 place, unless Leko finishes in the top three, in that event, Teymour will at worst come in 4th (among the top 4). It looks like Teymour is "pointing" as they say in Canada... If he doesn't outright come in 2nd place, he will probably win a super tournament before 2003 is over. Wow!

I have an IQ of 167+. So what does this have to do with predicting the winners? The winner will be the person with the most interesting or accurate answer. We may also simply draw a winner from all participants. You must send in your reply by Sunday night (23rd February). No attachments please (Word or whatever). Do not send multiple entries. If more than two are received from any single person they will all be ignored. Give your full name and place of residence. Without this your entry cannot be considered. We reserve the right to quote your solution on this web site, in full or abridged, with your name and place of residence given. If you supply information on your professional status that might also be used.

Omar Al-Jabari
I think that kasparov will win this tournament because kasparov is still the best chess player. Also Kasparov is playing in a very high performance (e.g.. chess Olympics ) in tournaments like linares. We can see that kasparov did not lose tournaments like linares in the last 2 years . The time control that is used in this tournament is the best time control kasparov like to play.

Kasparov: I think that kasparov will win the tournament with a very good performance I think he might gain more that 9 points. Kramink: I think that he will try to prove that what happen with him in the last tournament (Wijk aan Zee) was only bad luck , he will try to prove that he still the world champion. I think he will be on the one of first 3 place in tournament. Anand: After the great performance in (Wijk aan Zee) anand will continue his excellent performance and he will compete with kasparov on the title of this tournament and he might win it with kasparov or minimum he will be 2nd or 3rd. Ponomariov: I think after his weak performance in Wijk aan Zee he will do his best to improve that he deserve to be the fide champion, but I think he will not do much in this tournament he also might not score more than 50%, I think he will be between the 5th to 7th place. Taymor: After this great result in Wijk aan Zee and the good games he played I think he will be a very tough opponents for every player and I think he will be between the 4th and 6th place. Paco Vallejo: Paco will fight against a big name in the chess world and it wont be a easy mission but I think he will play a very good games and he will be in 5th to 7th place.

Comments: thank you very much for such this quizzes but I hope that you might raise the prizes as you make it three prizes for the best three not only for one because I am sure that you receive a lot of answers .

Sylvester Shamy, Wellington, New Zealand
Kasparov and Anand will be joint winners of this tournament. Kasparov will be on top, principally because he hates losing, and will be looking to salvage some pride after drawing the match recently with Deep Junior. Anand is in tremendous form, having recently won at Corus, and will be looking to demonstrate a World Champion status, especially since he's been left out of negotiations for the World Championship reunification.

Expect interesting games from Kasparov and Kramnik. Both players have recently come away from exhausting matches with computers and it won't surprise me if they are still in "computer" mode and avoid playing sharp lines. Kramnik has had a quiet lead-up to this tournament. His performance at Corus was solid, but certainly disappointing for someone who can claim World Champion status. He'll be looking to play himself back into contention and secure a few solid draws against Kasparov (this always looks good). This will be another pleasurable outing for Spain's favourite adopted son, Viswanathan Anand. Always hard to beat (unless you're called Ivanchuk), Anand will be even more formidable given home-ground advantage. Vishy has been quiet regarding the hoop-la surrounding the World Championship reunification, choosing to let his moves over the board speak louder, and you can expect more of the same here.

Super Mini-bar Mariov still suffers from "little man's" syndrome. His efforts to include himself amongst the likes of Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand have so far been ignored, and at best, gently disregarded. Expect frustration to have set in, and Ponomariov will be looking for blood. Unfortunately for him though, most of the blood spilled will be his.

Paco Vallejo has had only moderate success against these top players, and will struggle to keep up with them. We can expect him to own the bottom of the table by the end of the tournament. Still, playing at home is always fun, and he'll relish the opportunity to test his 'home' preparation against the big guns.

Teymour Radjabov is a solid and promising young player. His age (he's only 15) will be of a tremendous advantage to him because everyone knows that teenagers are full of swagger and aggression. Deep inside though, he'll be largely insecure, and will be closely monitoring Ponomariov's progress to ensure that he finishes ahead of his peer. Expect a few solid draws against Leko (this always looks good and not always difficult to achieve).

Introducing Peter Leko as Darth Maul. Since teaming up with Arshak Petrosian, the perennial draw master has found another edge to his light-saber. His recent games have shown his willingness to fight and this has resulted in a definite unpredictability to his play. As such you never know if you're going to playing Gentle Snore or Darth Maul on any given day. With his wife and coach urging him on, he will be a genuine contender for top placing.

Ponomariov will try to play aggressively against Kasparov and be quickly slaughtered. Ponomariov will try to play aggressively against Kramnik and be slowly slaughtered. Ponomariov will try to play aggressively against Anand and be politely slaughtered. Ponomariov will try to play aggressively against Leko. Leko will announce "Mate in 30" and get a kiss from his Sofia. Slaughtered.

Ponomariov will no longer play aggressively and resort to dirty tactics such winking at his opponent after every move, wearing mirrored glasses to divert the evil-eye and playing the ukulele very loudly outside his opponent's room the night before a game. Who says studying the games of old masters doesn't pay off? The final straw will be when he turns up for play wearing lip-stick and his hair dyed "dirty pillow-slip". Everyone starts calling him PORNOmariov and even the FIDE officials stalking him don't want to be seen near him anymore. With this new found peace, he'll manage a few draws and even the token win against Vallejo, before finishing in the lower-half of the table.

Kasparov will play Darth Maul, find himself at the receiving end of some ferocious tactics and barely save the game. He'll kick up a huge fuss afterwards and point out how all this is uncharacteristic of Leko, and deduce that IBM officials have been tampering with his favourite source of half-points. He'll demand a print-out of all of Leko's previous games and point out the differences. When told how ridiculous all this is, he'll storm off to the dining room to eat his meal all alone and facing the wall.

Anand, forever the gentleman, offers to split bread with Kasparov only to be told that the great man doesn't like Chapatis. Having genuinely offered bread, Anand is perplexed, deduces that Gazza must finally be losing his mind, and walks off to spend time with this wife and millions of his adoring fans.

Kramnik senses the opportunity to have a bit of fun and tries to placate Kasparov by introducing him to his favourite band, Berlin. Kasparov bolts out of his chair, runs away screaming and slams doors in his wake. Everyone quietly notes how Anand wasn't slamming doors yesterday. Paco Vallejo observes all this and pens into his diary, "Have observed top players at length. They're all very strange. Don't want to be top player anymore. Might offer Leko a draw tomorrow".

Ghayth Ababneh, Irbid-Jordan
Kasparov will win this tournament as his usual; he is the best player now, he knows how the other players think!! Kramnik will play more accurate moves than what he did in wijk aan zee, and Anand will join Ponomariov in the third place. Teymour will be the star for this tournament he will beat one of the three (Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov), in addition to Leko, who will join the kid in the third place. Leko will be more aggressive than his usual, but will not go anywhere, the previous star Vallejo will finish in the last place.

Khachik Sargsyan, Applied Math Ph.D student, University of Michigan
Anand will win, he is in the good form (Weik-an-Zee), and his still style is the most appropriate in this kind of Super Tournaments.Kasparov maybe second (or 1-2 with Anand), since he will play too(non-reasonably) aggressive,after the match w/Junior.

Kasparov will play in a very aggressive manner,and he will have +3 or 4 but he will loose may be even twice. Kramnik ,as usual,2 or 3rd place,strong games,will play much better than in Weik an Zee. Anand ,I think,will win,he will have +4, formula is draw-win-draw (no matter who is the opponent). Ponomaryov, I expect terrible result. Psychology!

Vallejo - 7th place (or even 6th, if Ponomaryov is even worse than I expect), formula draw-loose-draw. Radjabov definitely above Ponomaryov and Vallejo, -1 or 50%. But, only he can loose with Vallejo (again,psychology, he will try to win with Vallejo and play too risky).

Thank you for this quiz,now I will follow this tournament with more interest. I think there will be not that much draws,as one can expect looking at the ratings. In any case,first 3 will be Anand,Kasparov,Kramnik(this order is the most likely one,but definitely they will be in top3)

Dr. A. Ramayya Mulukutla, Hyderabad, India
Viswanathan Anand will win. He is in peak form of all the participants, including Kasparov Anand, Kasparov, Kramnik, and Ponamariov will finish in that order. within half a point of each other or some tied. Paco Vallejo will be an also ran. The kid will be the dark horse. He may finish ahead of Ponamariov This is a great tournament and I look forward to the results round by round every year.

Dr. Raphael Comprone, Lawrenceville, VA, USA
Anand will win this tournament. He played an excellent game in Wijk, and his rating and the publicity he receives do not reflect his real skill. Kasparov will win many games, but he will not be able to defeat either Anand or Kramnik. Instead, he will play conservatively and either lose to these two giants or settle for a draw. Kramnik will do well, but he will have more draws and lack the aggressivity it takes to win. Ponomariov will have close games with Kasparov, Anand, and Kramnik, but he will not be able to overcome his fear of losing. Paco Vallejo will not win many games against Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, or Ponomariov. Radjabov will play an excellent tournament, but he will still be behind Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand.

My last prediction was not right, but this time, I think I will do a bit better! I think Judith Polgar needs to play against Shredder in a woman versus machine tournament for a million dollars. She deserves publicity for the achievement she has made in a male-dominated chess world. There should be a woman versus machine match with the same amount of dollars as the man versus machine. This could also make a lot of positive publicity in the news because many people would be interested in hearing. It would be interesting to give a woman a chance to win against the computer in an important tournament!

Darren Reid, Miramichi, N.B., Canada
As the Lead Instructor for NBCC Miramichi's Electronic Game Design Technology Program, I feel as fully qualified as any other silly patzer to pontificate on this year's showing at Linares. Games are games, right? So what if the players all have ratings twice mine? As an armchair chess enthusiast I have all the prerequisites for world-class analysis: an inflated sense of my understanding of the game, and too much time on my hands.

First of all, Kasparov will win the tournament. Need I go into particulars? He wins a lot, and everyone knows he is likely to win...thus, I too know he is likely to win. Elementary. Kramnik is Russian or something, and has a bug up his arse after Wijk aan Zee (what is with these place names, anyway?). Balanced against that is Anand's brilliance. Ponomariov I haven't heard of, but he sounds Russian too, and we know how good they are at chess. Hmmm. Anand second, Kramnik third, and Ponomariov fourth.

The local talent beats the kid, but that just leaves him second last. Teymour is cool, but the older players are wiley and will know how to handle him. The refs don't always see the shirt-tugging and shin kicks, you know. None of the other players will want to be shown up by him, so they'll probably form a pact on the plane in, and we'll see Kaspy distract Teymour while Leko "stumbles" and steps on his foot or something. I actually think the kid could beat Vallejo, but with that painful limp and a home arbitrator against him it's just too much.

Like I was going to consider the walk-ins over the seeded players... gimme a break. See "why I picked Kasparov" for logical reasoning to validate picking top seeds over lesser players.

This was too easy. Just to show how clever I am, I'll share another flash of my amazing analytical brilliance with your readers: next to each players name is an "Elo" number. The higher the number, the better you are. This makes picking the winner about as difficult as making the observations in a high-school physics lab assignment fit the expected curve. Of course, if I just trotted them out in order everyone would notice, so that's why Anand is coming in second...you must pick ONE underdog to be the underpinning for your Learned Insights (the big LI, as I call it). As underdogs go, a player rated 2753 is pretty safe. I feel my in-depth reasoning for Anand's chances at second to be well founded.

If anyone should challenge my assertations I merely haul out a database of games and load one after another, pointing out the 10th move in them and saying things like "see how he strengthens his position". For the 15th move it's "now we see his plan truly unfold". Marvelous stuff. If they continue to question my abilities as a chess analyst, I accidentally step on their foot.

In closing, I strongly suggest that you get that signed copy of Chessbase over to my house shortly. You wouldn't want me sending Leko around to collect, would you?

Gyorgy Nagy, Budapest, Hungary
The winner will be Kasparov. He may not be a pleasant personality, but he is the best player of all times, and, hey, Linares is not a congeniality contest. Despite his recent stumblings here and there, he is still stronger than the rest of the pack.

To find out how other top seeds will do, I think we can just look at the tendencies. Kramnik is going down, Anand is going up. That leaves us with Anand taking second place and Kramnik taking third or fourth. Ponomariov is not top seed for me. He still has to prove he is world champion. For Kaspy, see above. Vallejo has the advantage of home soil, but I think it is only enough to fight for the last but one place with Teymour -- and win. Last year Leko showed that beside his usual draws he can produce some brilliant victories. Who knows, it might be the victor's recipe in Linares. So the final standings will look something like this:

1. Kasparov
2. Anand
3. Leko
4. Kramnik
5. Ponomariov
6. Vallejo
7. Teymour

Mauricio Takeshi Sakata, Campinas, Brazil
Kasparov will win this tournament because he is still the best player of the universe. The fight will very hard among Kasparov and Anand. Leko will be the 3th and after Kramnik and Ponomariov. Rabjadov and Paco will be mere expectators (6th and 7th). I hope that the coward draws didn´t happens in this tounament.

Oliver Yui, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Kasparov will win, because of pride, fire in his belly, and strength. Kramnik and Anand will score a half point less than Kasparov, if they have different scores, Anand will do better than Kramnik. I think Pono will be a disappointment but just moderately this time out, i.e. 1.5 points behind the top score. P.S. Kasparov may run away with this tournament, so the difference between Kasparov and Ponomariov could be as high as 3 points!

Paco will again avoid last place, but not by much. He'll score 3.0 points. Teymour will be within a point of 50%, probably above it. In the very near future, he will explode, but not here and now.

Lorenzo Ravelli, Milano, Italy
The winner will be Anand because probably is the most motivated player in the tournament: the occasion to beat the two world champions (Kramnik and Ponomariov) and Kasparov is too important for demonstrate to himself that in the next years he will have the possibility to become world champion again.

I think that they will do a good tournament: Anand and Kramnik probably will fight for the victory, Ponomariov for the third-fourth place with Kasparov who could be a little tired after the match against Deep Junior. They will do a good tournament but they are less strong than others, no surprises I think. The big surprise can be Leko: he have nothing to lose...

During the year is so rare to see these players so strong playing in the same tournament, so why not invite more players in Linares? And why not THE girl in this tournament (Judith Polgar obviously)? It would be important for chess movement.

P.S. Sorry for my poor english...

Charles S. Hall, Lockheed Martin, Winter Park, Florida
Anand will win. He is simply playing the best chess. Also, it is very difficult to beat him, meaning that all of his wins add to his plus score rather than recovering from losses. The only wild card is whether Anand can exorcise the Kasparov demon and at least score a draw with Garry. Either or both of the 2 Ks may tie with Vishy for first.

Anand will either win clear or share with one or two Ks. Kramnik shook off some rust at Wijk. If he plays the steady chess he is known for, he can very well finish first. Otherwise, he will take or share one of the top 3 places. Kasparov vs. computers does not count as training. Having been absent from tournament play for quite some time, with the exception of his Rapid Chess loss to Karpov in New York, Garry the Terrible is going to have to work a lot harder to show his best form. However, in a slower time control, even a Kasparov in less-than-perfect form is capable of taking one of the top 3 places. With the exception of last year, young Ruslan has not shown results befitting a World Champion. However, he is young and is capable of working very hard toward stabilizing his place among the elite. This could be the tournament where Super Mariov begins to turn things around. Nonetheless, unless he plays the best chess of his life, he will still have to settle for a place just under Anand and the 2 Ks.

Unfortunately, Paco will probably finish as expected. Hopefully, the local superstar will at least have the pleasure of watching one of his adversaries turn over the King. Every time Teimour enters a tournament of high category, the masses predict that he will be taught a lesson. Perhaps so, but since when is learning mutually exclusive from good results? Young Radjabov will finish at or near the 50% mark.

"What reunification match?" In combination with his win at Wijk, if Anand wins Linares (especially clear first), then the reunification match can be considered moot without his participation. All of the reunification participants are playing in Linares, but Pono has the most to gain here. A good result, and/or a victory over Kasparov, will give Ruslan a tremendous emotional push for his upcoming training and preparation for his match with Garry. Likewise, Kasparov has the most to lose. A poor result, heaped on top of his recent loss with Karpov (don't you believe that just because it was Rapid, Garry didn't despise the fact that he lost), will put a great deal of additional pressure on Garry in the upcoming match.

Luciano Fier, Curitiba, Brazil
Kesparov will win because he still have the willpower to overcome his opponents. They will draw a lot. Ponomariov will score less than the others, Anand will score best except by Kasparov. Anand will be the 2nd 3rd with Leko. Vallejo and Radjabov will be the punching bag of the tournment.

Steven Nevers, Salt Lake City, Utah, US
Vladimir Kramnik will win. I think he will win because he is a Positional Player and has all-around skill. I think Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov will all win the majority of there games, but they will lose one or two games each. I think that paco Vallejo will move forward a few ranking spots and kid Teymour will win about have his games, draw one-fourth of them and lose one-forth. I think that kid Teymour will continue to get better and might even get up with some of the better player like Garry Kasparov.

Ron Scott, Sydney, Australia
Kasparov will win this tournament because he is a class above the rest at tournament all-play-all events at a classical time control. Not only is his preparation for these events superb, but his killer instinct to remain #1 in chess is very much amplified when he can take on all of his nearest rivals in the same event. He is by no means getting too old for chess, and this event is the most important event in a while because of the quality of the players involved. He will not like to make concessions to anyone during it.

The top seeds should display a top quality of chess, perhaps with the exception of Ponomariov mentioned. He is still young and yet to really challenge players rated higher than him. In this tournament there will be less wins by playing consistent chess, one has to do special things consistently! I think Kramnik will make up for his disapointing run at the Corus event earlier in the year. Anand will be typically strong, confident and play nice chess.

I think the local star Paco Vallejo will find this tournament extremely tough, perhaps even more so than in previous years. He will know what to expect though but just not have the time to improve for this sort of challenge. He will learn a lot of things from being involved, some things that he will not forget during his lifetime because these players are fantastically gifted humans, with different styles and talents covering a wide spectrum.

The kid Teymour Radjabov will also learn a lot, he is very much still learning even though he has reached the dizzy heights of the 2600+ class. But he, perhaps through his youthfulness has a more enthusiastic approach to his game, which facilitates faster learning. He will relish the challenge of playing this top opposition and perform to his expected score or perhaps a half point more.

When I mention the list of entrants to my friends, nobody seems to mention much about Peter Leko. It is almost like he is a dark horse in this event. His chess has been very good lately, and it would not be surprising if we find him to be the factor that decides who will win the tournament. Also I would like to add that it is good to see some Human vs Human games after the major computer matches recently. This is because humans are far less inhibited chessplayers and can take chances, create art on the board, and thrill the crowd with body language :) I'm sure this is the style of chess that Senor Luis Rentero Suarez is aiming to promote.

Omar Selmi, Informatics student and chessplayer, Tunesia
The winner will be Garri kasparov because he's best player in the world and always wins in Linares. He wants to proove he's always on top. Second Anand, Kramnik, fourth Leko, fifth Ponomariov, sixth Radjabov, seventh Vallejo Pons. Linares is fantastic, it's the Wiembledon of chess!!

Frederick Antonio C. Martinez, Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines
On the basis of heart (see item no. 4 for a discussion of heart), Viswanathan “The Tiger” Anand will win Linares. He was sidelined to make way for the Unification, when he should be a force fighting for the unified crown. His blood must be boiling, but he won’t create a ruckus. That’s not his style. He will make his presence felt by winning. Don’t think he was satiated by taking Wijk, that’s just the beginning. Don’t be deceived by his subdued appearance. Tigers are like that, but they can pounce on a prey in a flash. Anand has fury contained within himself waiting to be released, and when unleashed, it will be with all the sound and all the power of a storm.

What fuels Anand’s fury will hinder Kramnik, Kasparov, Ponomariov, and Leko. Concern over the Unification will divert the attention of these players. It is likely that these players are reluctant to whip out their full arsenal of new weapons and maneuvers, and instead opt to win with conventional, tried, and tested ideas. Expect few novelties from them. Of course they would deny this if confronted with such a question, for confirming such an attitude would be damaging to their reputation.

While Kasparov and Kramnik are the “Fire” and “Ice” of chess, Kasparov looked exhausted and doused after his match with Junior, and Kramnik seemed out of focus in Wijk, and these things may carry over to Linares. Peter “The Rock” Leko would of course play solidly, but would ultimately only try to match the intensity of Kasparov, Kramnik, and Ponomariov. He would be loathe to use his special weapons. Not just yet. And what of the last natural force Ponomariov “The Wind”? Well, he has been air for quite some time demanding this and that, but he clearly needs results for credibility, and his recent results were not credible enough. While the natural forces of earth, wind, water, and fire are at an impasse, Anand’s force looms over them, which is, in terms of nature and magnitude, cosmic.

Teimour Radjabov has nothing to prove. If he loses, he’s young. If he wins, he’s a prodigy, which is what he really is in the first place. He seems to be enjoying his prodigy status, just taking things slowly, watching some movies, eating burgers, pizzas, and hotdogs, playing some chess. He isn’t really high speed, low drag, and hardcore enough to win Linares yet. And no one should blame him. Youth is too precious to waste. Expect him to change drastically when he starts to lose his prodigy status in his early twenties, and when he needs to prove he’s truly a cut above the rest.

Paco Vallejo is the host player whose only task is to try not to finish last. He was able to stand up against super-grandmasters before and may be getting the hang of the task, but he hasn’t really achieved groundbreaking results. Vallejo winning Linares would be seismic, but it’s a shot at the moon.

1. Anand
2-5. Kramnik, Kasparov, Leko, Ponomariov
6-7. Radjabov, Vallejo

What is heart? When the Lakers dropped a string of games at the opening of the season they all said: “This is just temporary. Wait for the big guy.” When Shaq returned from toe surgery, the team was still fumbling its way through the first half of the regular season. Oh it was clear, right from the start, that the Lakers were playing without heart. But the question remains unanswered.

So what is heart? It is something Kobe Bryant has that the rest of the team doesn’t. Or something Kobe has more of, which allowed him to run up a series of thirty, forty, fifty point performances to take the Lakers back in playoff contention. When the Lakers opened the season with a whimper, every Laker was complacent except for Kobe who understood the dangers of bad attitudes developing into bad habits. Kobe took the extra step, the extra dive, raised his hands on defense, and slammed the ball down the hoop with extra force to keep the worth of Laker basketball from depreciating. Heart gives you more zeal, more energy, and more concentration. It makes you more dedicated, more focused, and more dangerous. You have more heart when you are on a mission, believe you can make a difference, want something “more”, and all these tempered by skill and prudence. Heart gives you substance and an edge, which separates you from talented, but hollow men. As you might have guessed, heart cannot be measured. But like ghost visits, it can be felt. It is Lennox Lewis winning against Mike Tyson. It is Pete Sampras winning the US Open. It is South Korea winning against super power China in the Asian Games Men’s Basketball. A lot of unexplainable feats are attributed to luck and heart. Luck is winning the Superlotto. All the rest is heart.

Dr. Bahram Shahi, General Surgeon, Ontario, Canada
Kasparov will win because he is the strongest, he has the most experience, and most "home laboratory" work done. It will be like: 1. Kasparov, 2. Anand, 3. Ponomariov, 4. Kramnik. Vallejo will become 5th. He'll show some impressive chess, may be even scoring against the tiger (Kasparov); Rajabov still needs more experience. He'llm have lots of oppertunities only to see them lost due to his lack of experience or time trouble.

This is a great tournament. Spain is a GRRRREAT country: I was there in 1988 for about 10 days; it was one of the happiest periods in my life! I love Spain and the Spaniards!

Vittal R. Srinivas, Troy, New York
There will be one winner, namely kasparov, G, playing at near 2875 level. Garry will certainly beat Teymour, and Peter Leko, atleast once(2,0) or (1.5, 0.5). Garry might end up beating Vishy just once(1.5, 0.5). If he manages to beat Vishy, once, Garry will manage to beat Paco(1.5,0.5). Garry will not be able to beat vishy or paco twice.

Garry will then on a minimum need to draw his other games, resulting in minimum score of 7.0 and a max score of 8(if he beats vishy/paco just once). If Garry ends up beating Ponomariov or kramnik, with white, he will win this tournament very easily!

If Teymour plays e4, and garry responds with c5, and goes on either in najdorf or any of the grand sicillian lines, it will be hard for 15yr old to analyze all combinations on the board. Any slip, and the game will end. On the other hand, with white, if Garry plays e4, and teymour plays c5, and goes on a sicillian defence, garry will definitely outplay teymour. If teymour and garry end up with any of the classical lines, or if teymour chooses a rare gambit, then the score will be 1,1/2 in favor of Garry.

Garry will most likely draw with Ponomariov/Kramnik(1,1). Indeed it might be interesting to see, if these games are hotly contested, especially Kasparov vs Ponomariov. This might be a good precursor of what is to come in the upcoming world championship tournament.

Anand and Ponomariov might tie the tournament in the 2nd/3rd place. Kramnik, will tie with Peter. Vishy, will beat teymour(1.5,0.5) or even (2,0), while some slow thinkers of the game will surprisingly just manage (1,1) with Teymour.

Vishy, inturn will beat paco, and will earn a min score of 7.0. Ponomariov will beat Teymour, and will probably lose/win a game with Kramnik/Leko and will earn a score of atleast 7.0. The chances of vishy losing to ponomariov is high, while the chances of Leko winning against vishy is low. Yet, the chances of Vishy earning a score equal of Kasparov is also high, since if Vishy beats Teymour twice!

Paco, having co worked with Vishy, will most likely draw the games(1, 1) with Vishy. Paco might beat Peter Leko(1.5,0.5). Paco will earn atleast 6.0.

Here is how it will be:
Teymour vs garry: 0.5,1.5
Teymour vs anand:0.5,1.5 or even 0,2
Teymour vs leko: 1,1(two draws, or a win for each).
Teymour vs kramnik 1,1
Teymour vs Ponomariov 1,1 or even 0.5,1.5
Net score for teymour: 4 (max), 3 (min)

Jim Kulbacki, Wyoming, USA
Here is what I predict the final scores will be at Linares:

1-2 Kasparov, Anand, 7.5/12
3 Kramnik 7.0/12
4 Leko 6.0/12
5 Ponomariov 5.5/12
6 Radjabov 4.5/12
7 Vallejo 4.0/12

Kasparov, just a few weeks short of his 40th birthday, will maintain his presence at the top of the ratings lists. Anand, at age 33, is at the top of his form, and he will stay neck-and-neck with Kasparov. He has momentum from Wijk aan Zee and Corsica. Kramnik will put in a good solid performance. Leko will have more draws than anyone else. Ponomariov will be out-prepared by the top three. Radjabov's lack of experience will show, and the same with Vallejo.

Ted Taylor, Oregon, USA
I predict that Kasparov will win this tournament. He will show some surprise preparation in the opening in some games to win, and in others he will hack through with superhuman tactics. He will draw in his game to Teymour Radjabov, however, because he won't have been able to prepare to refuse the young man's style, since it is still evolving and harder to pin down.

With Kasparov coming first, Anand and Kramnik will battle it out for a close second, with Kramnik prevailing. Kramnik was not in top form at his last tournament, and will prepare intensely for this tournament. In his work preparing "surprises" for Fritz, he probably developed some surprises that are better suited for human opponents, and we will see some of those. In contrast, Ponomariov will not do as well, partly because he is younger and not as developed as the others, and partly because he has lost his long-term coach/trainer, and he won't yet have a system in place to bring out his best. Watch for him in future years, however, as he tries to regain his World Championship after he loses it later this year.

Teymour Radjabov will have a good tournament that will increase his rating, athough he won't beat Kasparov, Kramnik or Anand. Paco Vallejo will put up a good fight, but his performance will not increase his rating.

Although Radjabov will not win the tournament, he will pull off one or two wins that will be voted as "best games" for the tournament. He is a brilliant player who is developing new surprises and deep tactical play. Those hints of brilliance will allude to things to come in the future.

Adelana Omodara
Garry Kimovitch Kasparov will win this tounament. The reason being that Kasparov is the strongest player alive and also in the history of the game. I believe all others are still unlookers for now except maybe Anand who is always unprdictable. Kramnik to me has been avoiding to play G.K by all means so that at least he can hold the title for some times before Kasparov takes it back from him.

Kasparov will lead the pack as usual followed by Vishy Anand(who by nature is an intuitive player), then kramnik will be third while young Ponomariov will follow the elders of chess.

Teymour will prove tough and difficult to beat as usual but he will succumb under the superior firepower of Kasparov(as usual a strong opening repertoire from him and virtuosity in the endgame). Also local star Paco Vallejo will prove a little level, but he knows his level.

I don't know what FIDE is up to, but kasparov's rating should now be around 3000+ elo point. I can't wait for him to take back the world championship. Even though it was Kramnik that carried the day in London 2000, while he himself succumbed to Alexi Shirov.

Eric Neff, Collegeville, PA, USA
Kasparov will win. He's on a mission to be World Champ and needs to prove to himself he's capable. He's shown again and again that he can almost will himself to win the big ones and I think he will rise to the occasion. Kramnik will take 2d. Anand 4th. Pono, 5th. Vallejo 6th, Radjabov 7th (not ready for prime time). Leko's performance is the most interesting question of the tournament. No one doubts that the players see this as the prelude to the World Championship. Performance at this tournament will have a significant psychological impact on the 4 candidates. I believe Leko will show that Dortmund was no fluke and outplay Pono and Anand to take 3d.

Jose Alberto Solís Gómez, Costa Rica
El torneo lo ganará de nuevo Garry Kasparov. Sigue demostrando que es el mejor, aunque su nivel no es el mismo de otrora. Parece que de alguna manera embruja a sus contrincantes con su presencia.

Con los favoritos se puede esperar cualquier cosa. Kramnik es una caja de pandora, sus últimas actuaciones no corresponden con su título de campeón, pero puede estar escondiendo las "uñas". Anand es siempre un favorito, pero no creo que pueda superar a Kasparov en este Linares. Creo será un torneo muy disputado.

Apuesto más a Paco Vallejo. Es indudable su talento y creo que hará un buen papel. No creo lo mismo de Teymour. Veremos.

Espero ver a un Leko más agresivo y decidido a ganar. Hasta ahora me parece que se conforma con estar a mitad de la tabla, a pesar de su capacidad.

Ole Friis Kristensen, Brønshøj, Denmark
Kramnik will win. He is strong, and after a bad period, I am soure that he will be the best again. Kramnik, Kasparov, Anand and Ponomariov: 1, 2, 3, 4 and Leko as no. 5. Vallejo will be at the bottom and the kid Teymour just before. Linnares chesstour is the best, and every year I am very glad to follow the games on internet.

Alvaro Ernesto Muñoz, Gallego, Colombia
Ganador Kasparov, porque es el mejor y porque pone ganas, (corazòn y mente), a cada partida. Kasparov ya lo dije. Kramnik, despues de lo de Wijk aan Zee va a jugar a tablas, sòlo si toma ventaja en la apertura apretarà. A Ponomariov es al que le toca màs duro, porque tiene que reponerse de su reciente mal torneo, (por ser el actual campeòn mundial) y ademàs su preparaciòn para enfrentarse a Kasparov lo obliga a guardarse las mejoras de laboratorio que tiene que estar preparando. y Anand que viene con la moral alta, despues de ganar invicto Wijk aan Zee y con deseos de demostrar sobre el tablero que no debiò ser excluido de la opciòn de disputar la corona mundial, va a jugar un torneo formidable que le va a obligar a Kasparov exigirse al màximo si quiere ganar el torneo.

Paco Vallejo, le fue bien en el anterior y en este le auguro un mejor desempeño porque aunque le falta experiencia es un jugador consagrado, muy profesional,tiene talento y va a llegar muy lejos. Teymour es muy joven pero tiene un juego muy maduro, absolutamente todos tienen que jugarle con mucha precausion porque a cualquiera puede ganarle. No tiene nada que perder y sì mucho que ganar. De pronto sea el que màs ceros acumule, pero serà el de menos tablas y muchos puntos enteros.

Sin lugar a dudas Linares es el mejor torneo del mundo. Pienso que no hay aficionado al ajedrez que no estè pendiente cada año la fecha de iniciaciòn y ahora con esa maravilla de poder seguir las partidas con Fritz7 u 8 directo desde la comodidad del hogar, ni hablar. Sinceramente felicitaciones a los organizadores de este torneo de Linares y pasaran a la historia como lo mejor del mundo.

Martin Robert Dienstmann, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil
Kasparov and Anand (tie). Kasparov will try again to show he's still THE Bad Guy (after DeepJunior, he better show something), at expenses of his victims, er, adversaries. Anand is in top form, won Wijk and usually plays well in Linares. Kasparov 7/12 Kramnik 6.5/12 Anand 7/12 Ponomariov 6/12. Vallejo 4/12 Radjabov 5.5/12. This tournament should be a real showcase of its competitors. Everybody has a reason to draw their guns. Kasparov didn't won over DeepJunior. Kramnik almost didn't play in 2002. Anand are winning again (towards #2, maybe?). Pono needs to display more than his excuses to FIDE. Leko wants to demonstrate why he's Kramnik's challenger. Radjabov set great expectations. And Vallejo certainly desire to make clear the performance in Linares 2002 wasn't a real surprise.

Aleksandrs Saveljevs, Riga, Latvia
Winner: Kasparov. Why? You've already said that - "strongest player of all times". In fact, despite Vishy being in good form now, I just think it is going to be like this. I expect them to finish in such order: Kasparov, Anand (0.5 behind), Kramnik (0.5 behind Anand), Ponomariov (1.0 behind Kramnik). Vallejo and Radjabov will finish with the same score, but Radjabov will take 6th place (Vallejo consequently 7th).

Jonas Bylund, Denmark
Anand will win. Kasparov in light of his recent encounter with Deep Junior 7, will in my opinion not fare well by regular "Kasparov" standards and will finish 3rd Kramnik after his relatively "poor" display at Wijk Ann Zee will end up on a joint 3rd place along with Kasparov. Anand will win by a full point, he seems determined and hungry to win. Leko will take second place. Ponomariov will disappoint and finish with -1 3. How will the local star Paco Vallejo and the kid Teymour do? Vallejo will finish in the middle of the field, just above Ponomariov. Teymour will finish last. 4. Any other comments or opinions? Kasparov with his match against Ponomariov later this year will hold back on his opening novelties and draw more games than usual, also when perparing for playing a computer, seems to have a negative influence on human v human play, this of course remains to be seen. The same can be said about Kramnik, with his upcoming match against Leko and his preparation against Fritz last year might still be hard to "shake" off. Anand is anand and will win anything if he plays his best, the opposite can also be true, but i think he will play his best, since he is the top player with the least pressure and least amount of politics involved around him! Teymour is now up against the "big boys" and his opening play seems too weak for this league, especially his kings indian will see him lose big against these players, so unless he goes for more "proven" openings, i don't see him stand a chance. Leko has what it takes to go all the way, but his upcoming match against Kramnik will inhibit him from letting go of all the pressure asociated with such an event and therefore not win, but come second. Ponomariov will dissapoint, his recent negotiations with FIDE regarding his match against Kasparov has taken it's toll and that will reflect on his performance. The local hero Vallejo, will put up a good performance, home advantage has always proven to gain a few rating points, also he seemed to have a good grip on Kasparov last time they met and that is always a good thing in these tournaments. I hope that Kasparov wins, he is my favorite player in general (right after Deep Junior:) but i don't think that will happen.

Richard Hackworth, Greensboro, NC, USA
Pomomariov will prevail. Kramnik was in poor form in Holland. Of course, Gary is always the guerilla on the back, but his shocking error in the Deep Junior tussle, as well as his "draw don't lose" approach at the end soured me a bit. Anand and Leko look impressive right now, but I just feel that Ruslan is very confident now, very aggressive, in great form, and has this wonderful opportunity against the best to make a statement. I think he will.

Of the 4 top seeds, Ruslan will show brightest (see #1 above). Toss up for Gary and Anand..but my bet is Gary makes a point here after letting Deep Junior off. Right now, Vladmir struggling...will be interesting to see how he does. My bet..4th in the top 4. Francisco is going to get a lesson, and will finish last, unfortunately for the local crowd! Teymor will be tough..and I predict he will end up 5th out of 7- he is just so difficult to pin to the mat. He will draw his way to 5th, and collect some additional respect.

Predictions and comments: Biggest surprise: Ponomariov flexes muscle and sends message to Gary for meeting later this year!! Biggest disappoint: Kramnik continues "funk", and we begin to wonder, what is wrong!!!

Ednor Betita, Pasig City, Philippines
Anand will win this tournament after winning at Wijk Ann See. He is on a roll good luck to him! Kasparov is second place. Kramnik third place. Ponomariov fourth place. Paco Vallejo is last place and Teymour second to the last place. their time will come. but not yet this time. they still need experience.

Joeffrey Betita, Pasig City, Philippines
Gary Kasparov will win. He wants to prove to Vladimir Kramnik and Ruslan Ponomariov that even do they are World Champion under their belt. they cannot win a tournament. whenever or wherever kasparov competes with them. Second place goes to Anand. After winning at Wijk Ann See. Kramnik and Ponomariov tied at third place. Paco Vallejo and Teymour will be fighting for last place.

Eric Bacelar, Oakland, California, USA
I believe Vishy will win it. The natural favorite is Gary, of course, but Vishy has been playing humans more often and had a great show in Netherlands last month. Kramnik showed he was a little rusty for not playing tournaments in awhile. The reason why I think Vishy will win it is that he will be the outside runner. He is just the type of player who can benefit from the top FIDE finalist trying to prove a point too hard. I've been very impressed with his ability to change plans during a game to adapt to the reality of a position. He will take a draw if a hard win is too risky and rather than accumulate 1/2 losing points, he will use good criteria to just score a half point when he couldn't score a full one.

Kasparov is extremely resourceful and can sweep the table at any time -I just don't think he will do it. Kramnik is still rusty and may save a few novelties for later. His eyes are in maintaining the crown first. Ponomariov is an enigma. I don't think he is playing at the same level of his FIDE match with Ivanchuck. The painful loss of his life time coach may have something to do with. It certainly affected his preparation in intangible ways. When we consider the highly psychological nature of chess, it is only reasonable to expect him to play below his abilities. I predict a good show on his part though since he showed glimpses of greatness in Holland.

Rajabov is one of my favorite players. He is a solid d4 player with an outstanding positional knowledge of the game. At times, he reminds me of Karpov at his best. He displays the great qualities of the top masters with the addition of a deceiving fighting spirit not always visible in his choice of variants. His play seems to come alive in the transition from the middle to the end game in a surprising manner. A drawish position for Black or White out of the KID, all of a sudden is winning for 'Raja'!

Vallejo Ponns is a future promise and did ok at the last Linares. However, right now, I don't think he is at the same level of the other players in this tournament. I would not enjoy to see his confidence shaken, but it is likely he will come last.

Peter Leko! Why is his name not even in the questionnaire? It is unfair not to bring his name up with Kramnik, Kasparov, Vishy and Ponomariov -really. I think his 'professional/no frills' style of play is viewed with disfavor but his results are always impressive. He is extremely hard to beat. He is the type of player who lacks Vaganian's natural talent but has ten times the desire. Very tough mentally and extremely pragmatic, Leko is a force. In fact, I truly believe that it won't be long before he becomes World Champion. I am looking forward to the Linares tournament and plan on watching as many games as can on line. It is a great experience to see the game taking shape on my computer screen simultaneously with the action. Please please please, that The Powers That Be NEVER reduce the time limits to destroy the majesty of the royal game.

Vishwa Krishnamurthy, Worcester, MA, USA
Kasparov will win - I think he is still very strong, and has always performed much better than the rest of the field. With Kramnik a little out of form, Anand still a little unpredictable, Ponomariov still inexperienced, I do not think anyone can upstage Kasparov. His good show against Deep Junior shows that he comes well prepared for his opponents. He has always been merciless on the lesser experienced people, which would give him a higher + score than the other contenders.

Among the list, Peter Leko has been left out. According to me, Kasparov would finish a point ahead of Kramnik and Anand, while Leko and Ponomariov would finish below them. My guess is that Leko would finish ahead of Ponomariov. There would not be any major upsets in standings, and the top guns would finish on top.

Paco Vallejo has no chance against the world's top players. He would be finishing last. Teymour on the other hand, had a good outing at Wijk ann Zee, and he is now a little more experienced. He would finish ahead of Vallejo. Though Teymour would have a couple of creditable draws, he would still finish with a - score, as also Vallejo.

On the whole, the tournament would go on expected lines. Kasparov, as usual, would be merciless against lower rated players, and hold well against the closest rivals, Anand and Kramnik. There would be highly competitive games, though we would miss the "go-for-the-kill" approach of Shirov and Topalov. The games would be highly entertaining, yet cautious games, as none of Kasparov, Kramnik, Ponomariov, or Leko would like to go into the re-union matches with a psychological disadvantage.

My prediction
Kasparov: +4
Kramnik: +2
Anand: +2
Leko: +1
Ponomariov: -1
Radjabov: -3
Vallejo: -5

Ivica Mihoci, Gorièn, Croatia
Kasparov will certainly win this tournament because he had good preparations for the match versus Deep Junior. He is ahead from Kramnik and others because he has shown his normal human style against Deep Junior. Kramnik has exchanged queens versus Deep Fritz and played simple endgames not allowing Deep Fritz to outplay him with tactics. Kasparov plays in the same way against computers and humans. He will bring some novelties like versus Deep Junior and he will sacrifice also giving exchange for good position like he did in last game versus Deep Junior. He showed great confidence and knowledge in Sicilian defence playing lately Taimanov variation and not his favourite Najdorf. But in this tournament he will play Najdorf in new light. He will also play without pressure because he has good score against chess program and most importantly his biggest stimulation is title of absolute world champion which he will take in future matches.

Kramnik will take second place. He is exhausted with chess policy and with being an chess politician. Lately his occupation is everything else but not chess. His preparations are low and he has proved that in Wijk aan Zee where he has blundered like an amateur. But now things will change. He now realizes that Kasparov was right when he said to him that he must more play chess and less deal with chess policy (Prague agreement etc.) and commercial moves. Wijk aan Zee wake him up and made him thinking about his chess career. Now hw will play certainly stronger but in such short time he can't beat Kasparov and follow him all the time. For other players he will be still superior and certainly will play his strong systems without many risky variations.

Anand will take third place and he will continue with his strong performance from Wijk aan Zee this year. With Kasparov who is in the top form and Kramnik who has wake up Anand won't be able to break them because he will now have strong opponents and a double round robin. That will make things harder for him. With other players he will not have great problems.

Ponomariov will be fourth. He has good opening preparation but that is all. He is under great pressure which is in connection with FIDE (unity plan) and his match against Kasparov is coming soon. Despite his title FIDE world champion he won't make any progress with first three guys. Wijk aan Zee 2003 has shown who is who in top class chess. Super Mario has much to learn and Kasparov will give him so needed lesson.

Vallejo will be fighting with Teymour for the sixth place. He has high rating but against top class players he is helpless. Anand has been working with him during last year but that won't be beneficial for him. He also do not participate in top tournament so I presume that he will be very disappointed.

Teymour kid will take place six. He is all the time in top level chess tournaments and has more practice and knowledge than Vallejo. But that is all folks. Only the sixth place. Further learning is inevitable.

Harish Kini, Mumbai, India
Let me use the ‘elimination method’ for my prediction. Can’t imagine Vallejo or Radjabov winning Linares. Also, Ruslan loses too many games. That means Gary, Vlady, Vishy and Leko. Can’t expect Vlady to recover his form so quickly after Corus. I think the player who loses fewer numbers of games will be the victor. Gary plays great chess despite turning 40. But mistakes and blunders have begun to creep into his game. Also his match with DJ will not help him much in preparing for Linares. That means Anand and Leko at the top. Leko might be a bit rusty for not having played after the Olympiad. Also, he is in a ‘hide opening prep’ mode. Anand is the only top player left out of Unified WC cycle, and will have every intention to play this as the World Chp. tmt. If Anand wins this outright, wouldn’t the unification lose credibility for keeping him out? So…ANAND. Anand: +2; Vlady and Leko: +1; Gary, Ruslan: =; Radjabov: -2; Vallejo: -3. This tournament might signal the beginning of the end of Gary Kasparov’s illustrious career.

Mihaly Berkics, Budapest, Hungary
Kasparov. Reason: do we need any? He has won everything since 1999. Maybe Kramnik or Anand will be able to share 1st place with him, but if Kasparov is not 1st or at least equal 1st, that will be a huge upset.

Kramnik will finish between 2nd and 4th place. Kasparov is better than him (at least in tournament chess), Anand is in top form, so I don't think he will win, but he will be no worse than 4th because he is better than Ponomariov, Vallejo or Radjabov. Anand has refuted my Wijk aan Zee predictions (see Wijk aan Zee quiz), so this time I guess he will finish in the top 3. Ponomariov: I just can't believe he is already on par with the top 3, and there is Leko, too, so I think he will come in 5th. Leko: you didn't ask about him in your quiz, but his ranking is higher than Ponomariov's, and since I'm Hungarian I can't help having a word about him as well. I think he will finish behind the top trio (or maybe overtake one of them), but I hope he will be not below the 4th place in the final standings. A 4th place is a realistic expectation, but of course I'm rooting for a better one, which might also be possible.

Paco Vallejo may be a good player of his class, but he will be no match for these guys. This time he will come in dead last, I'm afraid. Radjabov will beat Vallejo in the race to avoid last place, but anything better than 6th place will be a surprise.

Joshua Blanchfield, Boston, MA, USA
Kasparov will win. He's just terribly strong right now. No one in the history of the game can stand up to him. I could see him putting up something historic like a +7. Anand will finish in clear second. I liked his play in Wijk aan Zee. Very steady. I can see him at +3 or +4. Kramnik is a wild card. I see him finishing fourth, behind the two giants and Leko. Although Radjabov burned me in the Wijk aan Zee contest, I am still dumping him in sixth. You know what that means for Vallejo...sorry kid. They will both be around -4 or -5. Peter Leko is the man to watch. His revitalized style could make things very interesting at the top, especially if Kasparov slips up. I say +3 and third place, though a higher result would not surprise me. Kramnik must be crapping his pants for their upcoming match.

Alex Shaffer, Ennis, Texas, USA
Gary will win with a +4 score with only one loss. No bold predictions to be found here. Kramnick: + 2, content to collect an appearance fee and go home without any losses. Anand: + 3, doesn't mind placing second after Gary. Ponomariov: -2, not on par with the elite quite yet. Vallejo -5, disculpame Paco. Te deseo una mejor suerte. Radjabov -3, This is a grown-up tournament. Leko +1, may perhaps squeeze out a +2 score.

Matt Rose, Oxford, England
Kasparov will win of course. He is the King of Linares and still the best at tournament chess. Added to this three of his main rivals Kramnik, Ponomariov and Leko are not believable winners on recent form and Vishy has been here before in great form and failed to win (except in '98). I predict a return to form for Ponomariov though not a dramtic turn around. His confidence may well be low after Wijk aan Zee. Anand could well be Kasparov'es main challenger here and will be full of confidence. Kramnik and Leko will both settle for a hat full of draws because they hate to lose too much. Kasparov hates it too of course but loves to win more so takes more risks. Vallejo and Radjabov will be the kicking boys. Radjabov will fail against Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov but split the points with Leko and beat Vallejo.

So my prediction is: Kasparov first, half a point clear of Anand and Kramnik with Ponomariov and Peter Leko a further point down and Radjabov and poor Vallejo propping up the table. Kasparov will only lose one game -to Kramnik.

Jim Dwulit, Centereach, NY, USA
Kaspy will win or tie. He has the most motivation and he desires the world title so he wil want to prove something to the others and the world. Kasparov +3 He will beat the two chum players(Vallejo and Teymour) and either Ponomariov or Leko. Kramnik +1. He is on the Fritz. Anand +2. He doesn't lose and sometimes wins. Ponomariov -2. Not really in these guys league although he does surprise often. Vallejo, Rodjabovguys: these guys are the shark's chum. They will both go -4. This will be a great prelude to the championship since all the players are here and Anand is too. This is his opportunity to show that he belongs in the 4 also.

José Fonte Santa, Portugal
Kasparov- n.º 1 Mundial, está a jugar muito forte. Vão ficar classificados nos 5 primeiros lugares. Vão ficar classificados nos 2 últimos lugares. Linares é o Torneio n.º 1 a nível Mundial, com jugadores de primeirissimo plano.

Vikrant Varma, Haryana, India
Gary Kasparov will win, no doubt, win this tournament. He is easily the best player and far ahead of all the others. Also, Kramnik is not playing to full potential (as seen in Wijk Aan Zee) and my (close)friend Vishy Anand, even at his best, cannot match Kasparov on current form.

Kasparov will win the tournament and the others will all be definitely placed in the Top 5 (along with Leko). The local star Paco Vallejo and the kid Teymour will have to be content with the Last 2 places. Last and Next-to-Last are the 2 places I forsee them getting in the end in Linares - others will be too good for them.

The winner of Linares can justifiably call himself the strongest player in the world. The Strongest players are participating and being a double-round robin, everyone gets an ample opportunity to show the world who is the VERY BEST. In my opinion, Kasparov will be undisputable Champion but the fight for Places 2 to 5 will be very fierce and it is this fierce tussle for 2nd to 5 place (b/w Kramnik, Anand, Ponomariov, & Leko) that lends Linares 2003 its charm and makes Linares 2003 the chess tournament of 2003.

On March 10, There will be crowned two champions: Kasparov - Chess Champion of all Chess Players in the World; Linares - Tournament Champion of all Tournaments in the world

Dr. Zakir F. Seidov, Ariel, Israel
Kasparov'll win, he is the strongest and he is from Baku, both reasons being equally imporant! The others will take 1st, 3rd, 2nd and 5th places respectively, Leko is likely will be 4th (he's stronger than Pono). Paco will be at 7th - a very good result for him in such a company. Teymur will be at least +1 - he is from Baku and he is a future word champ both reasons being equally imporant!

Shirov should be in his right place in this tournament. Though I'm pesonally from Baku I'm trying to be objective - one from two "bakinzev" (= guys from Baku) should be the first in this and all other chess events.

Eric Berthelot, Guidel, France
Kasparov will win. For me he is still the world champion,he has a great ELO and he maked a wonderful match against Deep Junior. He seemed to be in great form. I think the rank: 1 Kasparov, 2 Anand 3 Kramnik 4 Ponomariov. Why? Kasparov the best. Anand in great form ( he won Wijk aan Zee ) . Kramnik and Ponomariov are not in great form (they don't believe in their victory). But all their games will be very interessants!

Vallejo and Radjanov will finish in the last position because Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov has a lot of things to prove so they will had a lot of chance to lose their games against them.

Oliver Yue, Ontario, Canada
Kasparov and Kramnik still haven't fully recovered from computeritis, therefore, if Anand is healthy, he will at least tie for first place. Anand will win sole first place, Kasparov and Kramnik will be a half point behind. Ponomariov will be at least a point behind Anand and not necessarily finish in 4th-xth place. Paco will score less than 23% whereas Teymour will score between 41 and 55%, i.e., his breakthrough is still a few tournaments away. The youngsters (in Question 3) do not have quite the fire that Kasparov has, Teymour will become a top 5 player in the next 5 years, but he will not win the championship until Kasparov stops playing top 20 events.

Frank Brokes, Prague, Czech Republic
Winner will be Garry Kasparov. He is able to prepare for revery this kind of "big" tournaments very well . Nobody else is at this time better. But there is some possibility, that his self-confidence and psyche not need been in good condition after games with Deep Junior. Kramnik has been recently is chess crisis so his result would be around 3-4 place. Anand will play his "standard" and will take second place Ponomariov will be fighted for first place with Anand and Kasparov. Paco Vallejo will not be able to compete with "famous" players and will take bottom of the list of winners Teymour I think will be the same case but due to he has been still improving maybe he could be surprised.

I am really looking forward to this tournament especially after not good result after match DeepJunior-Kasparov (not good result for me and maybe for Kasporov too, because he wanted to revenge to chess-machine loss from DeepBlue). But except for this everything I hope we everybody will be able to see very exciting and dramatic games.

Firas al-Hadidi, Jordan
The winner of this tournament will be the world champion. Vladimir Kramnik, he is the favourite to win this tournament for many reasons: his is very strong positional player and he is familiar with the tactics prefered by Kasparov and Anand, in wijk ann zee 2003 he moved the e4 pawn, which means he is aware of tactics generated by the sicilian defence and the petrov defence, these openings are prefered by kasparov and anand. and kasparov showed poor type of playing sicilian in world team vs russia and he was defeated by akopian and ivanschuk and almost he accepted the draw in game six between him and deep junior in position he absouletly he has the advantage. also, he showed a new tactics in Defeating bareev in car-kan defence which is the Favourite by anand.

The performance of the players will be high a little bit, espeically two of the them, kramnik and anand, but not kasparov, who has been defeated so many times in the last year and showed miss evaluation of positions in game 4 and 6 in his match against deep junior, ponomariv is still not aggressive his style of play is still as it,(wait the openent until the chance comes up) this system will not work espeically against kasparov ,krmnik and anand. For kramnik i think we will see a new style i think it is the e4 openings which he will surely play against kasparov and anand in order to fight them in their favourite openings i think he will introduce an new novelties in the sicilian( i hope so). Kasparov has to change his strategy he must go to the french defence in the e4 openings, he must renew his weapons in chess, his style now is understandable and his moves are predicted and , even the french is not according to his style he must re-arm himself with new tactics, sicilian is his favourite but he has to find new system of play espeically against kramniks ee4 move which i expect it to be the first move in their match.

Radjabov and pons are still not up to this type of tournament they need more and more expeience espeically against the top giants the 2k's and anand.but radjabov might revenge to his loss in moscow 2002 greand prix agianst kasparov, i think he will defeat kasparov . You might ask which openinig and i think it is the french defence which i predict to be the style of the tournament

Pedro Miguel Duro de Deus, Barreiro, Portugal
I think Kasparov is going to win and without losing a single game. He played a great match against Deep Junior, showing that he's on great shape, not many players in the world would manage to draw against Deep Junior, if there's any doubt about the strength of the program just check out game 5 of the match (brilliant sacrifice!). He's the most well prepared player in the world (he has a team of GMs just working on his opening repertoire), for him chess is like school, and he always do is homework, no wonder he's the N: 1 of the ranking. I think we can expect an excellent performance by Kasparov.

Kramnik: Don't let his last performance fool you, Kramnik is always a player to take into account, he just needs some self-confidance. It all depends on how well he will do in the first game.

Anand: Here's a player that's in top form, winning the Wijk Ann Zee tournament without knowing the taste of defeat. Anand will be, in my opinion, the only one who can truly worry Kasparov in Linares. He probably will finish the tournament in a close 2nd.

Ponomariov: The clash with FIDE seems to be wearing him out, just take a look at his performance in Wijk Ann Zee, only Timman and Krasenkow finished behind him. Maybe after his recent agreement with FIDE he can concentrate on doing what he does best, play chess. Still, the competition is tough, I don't think he will be on the top 3.

Paco Vallejo: He's been preparing for Linares for quite some time now, this is a big event for him, it will be a great chance for him to find out how strong he really his. His last games were on the French league and the Bundesliga, he made 4.5 points out of 5 against an average of 2518, a really good result indeed. But you are talking about Linares, some of the greatest players in the world will be there, so I think Paco will finish in the bottom section of the tournament.

Teymour Radjabov: After his bad start in Wijk Ann Zee, everyone expected the worse, but young Teymour, with his incredibly fighting spirit, managed to climb back up finishing the tournament in 10th place, ahead of Karpov and Topalov. Make no mistake, this boy is a genius, but he has a long road ahead of him, he needs to refine is opening repertoire and gain some high-class tournament experience. I think he will finish in the bottom section of the tournament.

Given the conjectures above, heres how I think the final standings will be:
1st place: G. Kasparov
2nd place: V. Anand
3rd place: V. Kramnik
4th place: P. Leko
5th place: R. Ponomariov
6th place: T. Radjabov
7th place: F. Vallejo

Deepak Warad, Pune, India
Anand will win the tournament. He has to prove to the Chess world that he is in the class of champions and is unjustly being sidelined in the unification plan. He is in good form and has the ability to win big events. Anand will be first, followed by Kasparov, Kramnik and Ponamariov. Vallejo will be the last on the points table. It would be difficult for him to win a single game. Teymour is still a kid and does not belong to such exalted company. He may win the game against Vallejo. That is all. The tournament will be another feather in Anand's already studded cap.

Felipe Moreira Guilhon, Sao Luis, Brazil
Kasparov will win, because history repeat itself... and Kasparov is the strongest! 1. Kasparov 8.0, 2. Kramnik 7.5, 3. Anand 6.0, 4. Ponomariov 6.0, Teymour comes in 5th with 5.5... good fighter! Vallejo comes in last with 4.5... maybe next year!

Brian Hacker
Anand and Kasparov will tie for first. Kaspy will have a slow start on the heels on the man/machine contest but will finish strong. Kaspy and Anand will have great tournaments. Kramnik will finish behind Leko in 5th leading to questions about his form. Pono will rebound to a 3rd place finish and will both win a game he shouldn't win and lose one he shouldn't either. They will look solid but have a lower score than his play seems to indicate. Paco will get wiped, with the old veterans ready for him this time around - he is no longer a surprise. After the tournament, questions will abound about whether Anand should have found a way to get into the WC, after showing very strong recent play.

Alfonso pérez López, Roses, Girona
Creo que ganará Garry Kasparov. Es el jugador que más fuerte se ha mostrado ultimamente, además de haber ganado las últimas ediciones de este torneo. Pienso que que todos saldrán bien parados y quedarán de los primeros clasificados. Quizá Anand sea el que peor parado salga en un torneo de este nivel. En principio, y teniendo en cuenta el altisimo nivel de este torneo, bien. Aunque lo más probable es que debido a su falta de experiencia y menor nivel que los demás queden de la mitad hacia abajo de la clasificación final. No obstante, alguno de ellos, podría dar una agradable sorpresa y ganar a alguno de los favoritos.

Solamente decir que es fabuloso poder ver jugar en un mismo torneo a tantas estrellas juntas. Si la cobertura informativa es la adecuada puede llegar a ser un exito total. Felicitar a la persona/s que hacem posible que un evento como este pueda celebrarse, y además en ESPAÑA. Seguro que muchos otros paises se mueren de envidia¡¡

Duncan Vella, St. Paul's Bay, Malta
Kasparov will win. Who else? In his last games against humans he had some awesome results in the Olympiad. Against the computer he showed that he did not fear the beast and played against it using tactics. Now at Linares he wants to show Ponomariov what he's up against in the coming match.

Kramnik will have a bad tournament. He will keep on playing 1.e4 to try and mix up Leko's preparation against him in the match. And he will offer more draws to escape unpleasant losses. Anand will have a good tournament. Probably finishing 2nd or 3rd, he has no pressure to hide his preparation. His morale is high and will play very solidly. Ponomariov will be a disaster. He will be more concentrated to play unusual openings than to try and play normally. With Kasparov also present, he wants to give a false impression and sacrifice this tournament for the forthcoming match.

It will be a very difficult tournament for Vallejo. The top players will try and get a full point with both black and white against him so he will have to play a real and difficult game every round. Teymour will have more respect although these two will probably finish in the last 3 positions.

You left out Leko in your 3 questions above. Leko will have a great tournament probably finishing 2nd or 3rd. He will not fear showing Kramnik what he normally plays.

Damien André, Namur, Belgium
The winner will be Gary Kasparov. His preparation and desire to show he is still the best should allow him to have an edge on the other participants. The only danger for him is if he has not recovered of his Deep Junior match.

Kasparov should win the tournament with +4. His greatest opponent should be Anand. He has just won in Wijk Aan Zee, has nothing else to do this year and is very motivated to prove that he has been forgotten in the unification plan: +3. Kramnik has made a bad tournament in Wijk Aan Zee but has not yet decided to show all the weapons he has prepared for Leko: +1. Ponomariov has no more surprise effect and will be a target for every player: -2.

Vallejo will have a difficult tournament. He will need all his preparation against these top killers but, after his good result last year, they will be ready. I don't see any win for him: -5. Radjabov will also suffer but his style will allow him to clinch wins: -2. You just forgot Leko. His solid style will resist the big guns even if he will play some surprise openings, and he will finish with Kramnik at +1.

Jim Mongiardo, Howard, OH, USA
Garry Kasparov has won every super-tournament in which he has participated in recent memory. Since he missed Wijk and wants to show he is still the number one player, I anticipate a strong performance. If he had played in and won Wijk an Zee, I would have picked Leko to win. I like Vellejo, but I still think he finishes last. I think Teymour will have a fine tournament and will place 4th.

While I think Ponomariov's troubles with FIDE affected his play somewhat, I think he is overrated slightly, particularly at traditional time controls. I think he has another bad performance. I like Radjabov and I think some Super GM's and regular GM's underestimate him. He's my dark horse candidate to place in the top three. I'm intrigued by Leko. He won Dortmund with his newly aggressive style and played well for the Hungarian team in the Bled Olympiad. He's my dark horse candidate to win the whole tournament. My predicitons for the whole tournament are as follows:

1st Place: Kasparov
2nd Place: Leko
3rd Place: Kramnik, Anand
5th Place: Radjabov
6th Place: Ponomoriov
7th Place: Vallejo

Hugo Rojas Chacón, Lima, Peru
Garry Kasparov will win, he is still the best. Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov they all are going to do it good enough to get the 2nd, 3th an 4th place, in such order. Paco Vallejo will do a great start, however he'll lack the energy and experience to get the 5th place. Best wishes for him anyway. Teymour Radjabov is here to learn, not chess but how to get the best in top tournaments like this.

Good times for our favourite sport are coming. After the title unification and with the use of internet that sites like chessbase.com (... and Mig) and other sites are making, chess will reach unprecedented levels of popularity for the benefit of the next generations.

Coleman King, Georgia, USA
Anand will win - he is playing his best chess now and has something to prove since he is excluded from the current world title matches. Kasporov will not do worse than second. Kramnick and Pono may tie for second or place 3rd. Vellejo and Radjabov will place last - no descredit but the field is too strong for them to finish close to the top.

Joel Pineda, Olongapo City, Philippines
Kasparov will win. Kasparov will show them he still the king of Chess. Paco Vallejo will perform may be a little better this time and as for Teimour so,so I think.simply because the top guns are all there. It's all Kasparov all the way.

Bjarne Andersen, Assens, Denmark
Anand will win the tournament. He is very strong and ready for the tournament. Nr 2-3 Kasparov and Kramnik. Nr 4-? ponomariov. Last Vallejo and Teymour. And they will play some good matches Anand is my favourit, and he will win. But it will be a close tournament i think. I look forward to follow the tournament.

Gilbert Davila
Anand and Leko will share 1st place at Linares 2003. After taking first at the World Cup in October 2002 and clear first last month at the Corus tournament, I believe Anand has renewed confidence in his abilities and will be nearly unstopable. Leko has not played classical chess since he won the Dortmund Candidates tournament last year. He has to prove to the chess community that qualification into the World Championship cycle is justified and I believe he will do succeed at this tournament.

I believe that Kasparov will be half a point behind the leaders and Kramnik a full point behind Anand and Leko. Radjabov, in my opinion, has a very good chance at becoming a future world champion. I believe this tournament will show that he can truly play classical chess with the world's best. Radjabov and Ponomariov will finish a full point behind Kramnik with Vallejo finishing a point and a half behind them.

Kent Gilmour, St Petersburg, FL, USA
Kasparov will win he is the best player of all time and he wins these tournaments all the time. His only weakness at this time is match play and it is a minor weakness. He will be the world champion again. The order of finish will be Kasparov, Anand, Leko, Kramnik, Ponomariov, Teymour, Vallejo. Kasparov will be the world champion again. All the other players are afraid of him and do not have the confidence to beat him. Even Kramnik will not beat him again in a match. Leko has an outside chance. He is coming on strong now. Ponomariov needs a few years to be competitive at this level.

Engr. Dennis Cesar Caluban, Salmiyah, Kuwait
No surprise it will be Garry Kasparov who wins. He has long been absent from the chess throne so his win will give a temporary seat for him, as well as assurance to everybody that he is still the king. I'm wondering why the queen of chess (Judit Polgar) was not invited in this super tournament. The super grandmasters will try to cash out from the rest of the field but it will not be easy for them to do so over the board. Some of their games will be lost because of trying to press too hard to get full point. Paco Vallejo and Teymour Radjabov's ratings tell they are the "weakest" players in the tournament. By normal means they will find themselves equivalently on the bottom of the tournament standings.

It is hard to assess Peter Leko's strength at this time because he has been absent from the tournament circuit lately. I should say he is a wildcard in this tournament. Either with excellent performance (First or near first place) or just at the middle of the final standings.

Thank you very much for providing an excellent chess website. Long Live Chessbase!

Helmer Siim, Århus, Denmark
This is what I saw in the crystal ball: I think Kasparav will win the tournament. He is after all the strongest player of all times and he is determined to put things right and especially to teach the youngsters a lesson. He must be in great shape after playing the monster-machine! I think Anand will come a close second. I feel he is on a winning streak and he may be a notch stronger than Kramnik at the moment. Pono, I think, will face a hard time in Linares and he will have to fight hard to finish in the first half.

I suspect Paco will finish last and that Teymour will finish just ahead of him. As for Leko I would put him in the 4th position after Garry, Anand and Kramnik. He may even finish 2nd, but I would not bet on it!

Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa, Harare, Zimbabwe
Garry Kasparov will win the tournament if he can forget Deep Junior, Blue. He needs to remember that he is now playing real people after a year of dilly-dallying over the match with Deep Junior. His fierce grimace should be enough to scare of Anand. Vishy can never seem to beat Gazza. Kramnik and Leko will be draws at least. Gazza also has the most powerful natural chess processor amongst the humans.

Garry Kasparov should come tops. Kramnik should be second, Anand third and Ponomariov forth. However, the dark horse Peter Leko could throw a spanner into the works with his new aggressive style. Kramnik needs to watch out for former drawer Leko. Kramnik has been experimenting with e4 a lot...I think it is time to go back to his trusted 1.d4 or 1. Nf3

Paco Vallejo is well known for upsetting top players. He could pull it off again this year as he did last year with Alexei Shirov. I can assure you that Paco Vallejo will not take the wooden spoon in this tourney. Ponomariov with his very tenacious play and at times reckless play makes a very juicy target for Paco. If Pono overdoes it he could find himself in first place, but from the other end. Teymour is dynamite, can blow up in your face anytime...I predict a mid table finish for him. He could hit Kramnik should he get him out of positional lines. As Black Teymour has to stop playing King's Indian otherwise he'll be blown off the board.

This is very good stuff for chess to have Anand, Kramnik and Kasparov playing in the same tournament. The sponsors and organisers must have worked around the clock to make this dream a reality. It is a pity that Judit Polgar isn't there because she has been in terrific form over the past year and would have claimed her own scalps. I bet you Gazza will be huffing and puffing all the way and looking up at the ceiling for inspiration in tight positions.

Mark Schreiber, New York City, USA
Of course Garry Kasparov will win, he is the greatest player of all time. After Kasparov would be Kramnik. He has prepared a lot for this tournament. Anand will be 3rd. He will do well in his own backyard. Ponomariov will be 5th. He will not do well. He is preparing for his match with Kasparov. Kid Teymour will try hard. He will have only 1 brilliant game. The other games will show he has much to learn. Paco Vallejo will learn the hard way how the elite play chess. He will be last.

Additional comments: Why no computer? A computer would shake things up and make the tournament more interesting. Seeing how computers did against the world top players this year, I think Fritz or Junior on a multiprocessor computer would come in 1st or 2nd. There would be surprisingly great positional play. A computer would have no mercy and destroy the lower end players. Maybe next year before a computer becomes unbeatable.

Kannan Ramanathan, India
Kasparov will win this tournament, but in a *very* narrow margin. Kasparov, though not in great form, has played superbly lately. His crushing victory over DJ 7 in the first match is the proof. If he plays at even 80% of that form against fellow humans, I am sure he'd beat anyone. I guess, Kasparov will be having a tough time against Ponomariov (who should have studied Kasparov's games more deeply than Kasparov himself). He will mainly look for draws from Kramnik/Anand/Ponomariov.

Kramnik doesn't seem to be in his normal form, so, though he might beat Kasparov (which is very unlikely) he will not win this tournament, may be a tie for second. I am sure he will beat Ponomariov, though. Anand is having a great run lately and I guess he will look for draws from other heavy weights and go on at full charge against Vallejo and Radjabov. Ponomariov, no way to predict this fellow, he could be an unbeatable machine sometimes and a mere GM other times. I guess he will look for atleast a tie for the second place. One thing is sure, either Kasparov/Pono match in this tournament is going to be a dead draw or Pono is going to topple Kasparov.

Radjabov has prior experience with Kasparov and likes, so will try for a draw and not to be the last guy in the results list. Vallejo, I am not sure if this fellow can stand against Kasparov & Kramnik. Anand is a different story because of his constant practice with him. Everyone else is going to try to take points from this fellow. So, he must play really well to be not the last.

Jeff Ledford, Arlington, VA , USA
Nobody else would actually ask for my advice, but it's a freeroll so... Kasparov, of course, will finish first. The battle will be hard-fought, but he will pull away in the end. The only real uncertainty is how much more important his preparation for Deep Junior will take away from his work for Linares. The former event was more marketable and therefore more important, though admittedly I speak from an American viewpoint. The gap between Kasparov and the field will narrow over time, but he is still the most consistent.

Who will win, though? Well, several have a chance to shine here, whether they finish ahead of Kasparov or not. For example, if Leko finishes a half point behind Kasparov but in clear second, he can be fairly said to have won. It will remind sponsors that he is the real deal, ratings be damned. Even after Dortmund that will be valuable.

Kasparov in first, Kramnik and Anand not far behind. Ponomariov not far behind them. Anything else will be surprising, as Mig will no doubt tell us when the tournament is done. There are still relevant questions: Will Kramnik reestablish himself as a legitimate contender for first place? How about Anand? Sorry, but Ponomariov certainly deserves to be there and may overtake Kramnik or Anand in the final standings, but he hasn't been consistent enough to make that a solid bet. And if he autographs my winning copy, he'll be entitled to gloat in that autograph ...

Vallejo will score several draws and may even win a game against an overeager opponent even in this field. But let's face it, a draw is a victory since every top player will be disappointed with less than a full point. Radjabov isn't experienced enough yet to be a contender, though he'll get his points. Lots of draws, a few losses, maybe a win. Against Vallejo. Maybe. He can draw an Anand or Kramnik, but does he know how to win against those guys? That's what it takes to reach the top. In any event both of them will get most of their wins against Mig playing speed chess on their off days.

The really interesting question is Leko. This is the time to demonstrate that he is a legitimate contender for a place at the very top. So will he? Can he in fact get the needed wins over Kramnik, Anand or Kasparov?

Poolat Mohd. Sadique, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Kasparov will be the winner of this tournament. He can always keep his performance well and will not make error like others participating this tournament. Kasparov will show the magic chess. Kramnik will be best opponent to Kasparov. Anand also will show his magic, but some time his error will be disappointed the viewers. Ponomariov cannot perform very well in this tournament. Paco Vallejo will play very well against the top 4 players. Kid Teymour will play as a participant not more. This tournament will be very good for the world chess players. The viewers can learn more about chess. Please arrange this type of tournament every year.

Ken Benton, Albany, Georgia, USA
Kasparov will win the tournament; the reason is that he is still the best player who has ever lived and, as you put it, has something to prove. He loves situations like this, and will play very strongly. The top seeds will finish in this order: Kasparov, Kramnik, Ponomariov, and Anand. I have no doubt Radjabov and Vallejo are very talented, but they are going against the world's best here. They will be the two bottom finishers. As I said before, Garry Kasparov will win this tournament. I believe that after the world championship is reunited he will stand alone at the top; he is simply the best player in the world. Kramnik is awesome, but will have to wait for Garry to fade before he really shines.

Christopher Paul Baker, Christchurch, New Zealand
I think Kasparov has much the best chance of winning. Linares is a special tournament for him and he has made it virtually his own; it brings out the best in him. While Kasparov has had some dubious results in the last year, these have only been in rapid chess or against a computer (for which match he had a bad preparatory lead-up). He has not lost a single classical time-limit game to a human since he lost his title in 2000 (!) and had a very good result in the Olympiad. None of the other participants has shown enough consistency in the last two years to match Kasparov's all round strength.

This question is not quite accurate. Leko has a higher rating than Ponomariov, so must surely also be considered a top seed! I think he will score a solid, though not overwhelming, plus score to finish probably about second or third. Kramnik has not really performed ever since taking Kasparov's title in 2000 and I do not expect him to do so here either. I expect a result similar to Corus, a small or minimal plus score based on beating the bottom two ranked players, for about fourth or fifth place. Anand looks to have recovered to his usual solid self. Corus was a good result though not a high scoring one. I consider he will have a result similar to Leko as described above for about second or third. Ponomariov did not really have to do so much to win the rather hollow FIDE title; this title gives him an inflated importance, more than his actual strength warrants. He performed well at Linares last year, but has not been convincing since. He would have been underestimated at Linares last year, but will be concentrated on seriously this time. I expect a small or minimal plus score for about fouth or fifth place.

Paco Vallejo surprised last year. This year the others will take him seriously. I predict many losses and last place by a considerable margin. Teymour has done incredibly well so far for his age. In this company however he will be outclassed (but not disgraced). The top five will be looking for points against him. I predict sixth place ahead of Paco Vallejo; just possibly fifth if one of the top five has a bad tournament.

An incredibly strong tournament! To have all four players from the Prague agreement plus Anand is a huge achievement, and all credit to the organisers. It is however a great pity that Topalov, a possible tournament winner, is not in it. He should be there instead of Teymour. It is also a shame to have to include a weaker local participant; this spoils the tournament somewhat. Also very strange, incomprehensible really, to have seven participants, which means a bye, meaning it is difficult to judge how the tournament is progressing. Why not have eight players? Ivanchuk and Bareev should really be in this tournament too. If the tournament was of eight players with Topalov, Ivanchuk and Bareev there instead of Paco Vallejo and Teymour, would'nt this be fantastic? I do appreciate the need for local organisers to have a local participant however. Would it be possible for FIDE to organise such a tournament?

Ioannis Giakoumis, Thessaloniki, Greece
The tournament winner is going to be ...GARRY! He didn't manage to massacre Deep Junior in New York so he's more like a volcano now.We've seen the smoke coming out but the real explosion is going to happen in Spain!! Nevertheless he is still the boss and he wants everybody to know it. The WC match against Pono is coming ,so he'll try to scare him to death. Kramnik is going to have a Wijk like performance ,though he doesn't want to be like Wijk. Anand will have a great tournament ,going for second.He will not lose any game (well maybe only one). Pono is more experienced than last year ,so there is no reason not to play a good tournament, but for the first time the games against Kasparov will affect him psychologically. Teymour will be the "surprise" of the youngsters.He is going to win a World Champion.I expect him to have a balanced tournament ,better than Vallejo who will gain some draws. Leko is also fighting for second.He'll be a "big bang" and have a great, surpisingly fighting tournament

Kailash Bhojwani, Hong Kong
I think it will be a 2-way tie for top place. Kasparov should be there or thereabouts but I also expect a strong showing from Anand and Kramnik. The top seeds will do well, however, I think Super Mariov is still on a learning curve and it will be a few tournaments yet before he really starts threatening the top 3, if at all.

The local star Paco and Teymour will do well, but I'm afraid they still need to learn the hard way before they can dream of any progress. Alas, I do not foresee a top 5 finish for either of them.

I would think to thank all at Chessbase for their services to the world of chess. Your programs, news, humour, efforts, comments, etc really only add to the wonder that is "CHESS" - and that can only be great news for chess enthusiasts like myself! Keep it up. Good luck.

Krishnaswamy Varadadesikan, Wichita, Kansas, USA
Anand will win this tournament like Wijk Ann Zee. First of all, Anand does not play computer chess and plays only human chess. Adaptability problems do not arise for him while playing humans like Kramnik had in Corus. Secondly, Spain is second India for him. Moreover, his most feared opponents like Topalov, Morovezich are not there who are generally too good in double round-robin tournaments. Thirdly, he does not have any pressure as he is not in contention for world championship title (Kramnik, Kaspy, Leko and Pono have this problem as one of the four is the Unified Champion). Finally, Spain is his home for a long time now. Besides, he is fresh from Wijk with an unbeaten streak. For others, except Leko the other guys are fresh from some problem or the other. They will encounter some problems. Leko would be solid too.

Anand and Kramnik would perform well. Kasparov might end up with too many draws while finishing with a plus score. Anand would gain some ELO, while Kasparov would drop some and Kramnik would play at around 2790-2800. Pono would have one more horrible tournament. His Corus performance and FIDE problems would only make his performance worse. The problem for Kaspy is, he is going to miss some players like Shirov, Karpov and Judit against whom he makes good scores. But for Kramnik, he is comfortable because Topolov, Shirov, Karpov, Judith, Moro, Adams, Ivanchuk etc are not there. But only Leko would trouble him with solid preparations.

Vallejo and Teimour would end as the last 2 guys. They are strong but have a long way to go. They will try hard though. Leko would beat at least Kramnik or Kaspy. He would also beat Pono atleast once. Anand would manage to beat Garry or Kramnik like Leko.

Julie & Paul Bain, Monmouth, Oregon, USA
The Linares tournament will be won by Anand. He played strong chess in Wijk ann Zee and is on a roll with great momentum. Mentally he is in the most favorable place. Kasparov may tie, but mentally he is tired. Kramnick is unsure of his play due to lack of tournament play. Kasparov will place second or possibly tie for first, Kramnick will place second or tie for second, Ponomariov will place third. Vallejo will play well, but place fourth. Teymour will finish last. At this level of super tournament mental state of mind, physical fitness and psychology plays a more important role than opening preparation.

Zia Mahmud, Portland, OR, USA
Kramnik will win. After all Kasparov is aging. With age thinking capabilities slow down. But He is a great King. My fav is Anand. But Kramanik's positional play probably gonna beat all others. So 1. Karmnik 2. Kasparov 3-5 Anand & Pono. Paco->Last position, Teymour->2nd last.

Manuel Felipe Rodríguez
Garry Kasparov will win, because actually is the player that is performing the best. 1. Kasparov, 2. Anand, 3. Kramnik, 4. Ponomariov, 5. Leko, 6. Vallejo and 7. Teymour. This year the Linares Chess Tournament did get the very best of the top players in the world, which will create a very big expectation and a good promotion to the game. The FIDE must take advantage of this special occasion to spread the chess and promote new good Chess Tournaments.

Manel García
Sin duda alguna Garry Kasparov, esta clarísimo que hoy por hoy cuando El Jefe se pone, no hay quien lo pare. De Kasparov ya he dicho el que, no es que yo sea un fanático suyo, pero va a ganar. De Kramnik decir que en el último Corus Wij Aan Zee, no lo ha hecho muy bien, francamente nada bien, para el ranking que tiene actual, o sea que de ganar el torneo nada de nada. Anand esta en buena racha, flamante vencedor del Corus de este año, es posible que alcance el segundo o tercer lugar. Y de Ponomariov, creo que el león no es tan fiero como lo pintan, el ser campeón del mundo ¿?, no es significativo, dadas las reglas con que se disputan los actuales campeonatos del mundo que rige la FIDE, aunque ojo porque los jóvenes son imprevisibles, de todas formas no ganara.

Paco Vallejo tiene futuro, pero es un futuro inmediato, me explicaré. Vallejo es joven pero ya no tanto y en este tren del ajedrez todo marcha muy rápido, creo que Vallejo debería dar ese salto a la fama ya, porque sino perderá el tren y luego subirse en marcha cuesta mucho, máxime cuando afloran por el planeta jovencísimas promesas, Paco no lo hará mal en este XX Linares '2003. Teymour Radbajov es muy joven y esta en clara ascensión, aunque a veces la falta de experiencia del cuál el no posee la suficiente le impedirá alcanzar los puestos de vanguardia, si bien su papel será más que discreto.

En cuanto a Linares, ni que decir tiene que los últimos once, doce años, viene siendo la cita internacional más importante de todos los tiempos, juegan los mejores y año tras año pasan las figuras más significativas o casi del ajedrez mundial. Animo a la organización y a seguir adelante.

Jean-Michel Lamarre, Montréal, Canada
Well, it will be Kasparov without any doubts... Simply put, he is THE greatest player ever. Incredible showing in rounds robin tournament. First : Kasparov, second: Leko, progressing really fast. I've been impressed by his truly incredible showing in Dortmund. Third: Anand, really reliable to finnish high... almost no losses and great experience on top of that. Fourth: Kramnik, he is dispointing. In fact, almost boring to watch playing... (grab a pawn then trade queens). Still, in best shape, he can win this tournament. Sixth: Ponomariov Fifth: Radjabov, Soon to be a 2700's. Play really aggressively and don't mess up often. Seventh: Pons, Will finnish clearly last. At least 1 full point behind the sixth position. Keep on the good work chessbase's team.

Michael JFitch, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Kasparov will win. He showed the world what he could do in game 1 of the Man vs Computer match, but after game 1 he toned it down, because he knew the whole world was watching, and he didn't want to give away any secret preparation's he might have for this tournament. Give the boy's in this tournament something to think about. 1. Kasparov 2. Anand 3. Leko 4-5. Kramnik, Ponomariov. Both Vallejo and Radjabov are very talented players, and this will be a extremely tough tournament, but as aways with young talented players, a very valuable learning experience, also. I will say they will score -3 Teymour, -5 Vallejo.

Great site,thanks for keeping this woodpusher up to date on chess news from around the world, and for all the contest with chances to win valuable prizes/programs.

Gareth Evans, Sydney, Australia
Kasparov, all the way. Look at his record... maybe he's just too sexy for linares. Picture Kasparov, in swim gear singing: I'm too sexy for linares, too sexy for linares, so sexy it hurts. Actually don't, that might give you nightmares. Kasparov, will do well conceding only a few draws, maybe a suprise loss though highly unlikely. Kramnik, will unfortunately lose a game and not win the tournament. Anand, will do well until he loses. Ponomariov, after a night partying during one of the rest day's (maybe even earlier) will realise why he shouldn't do so in the future. Vallejo might be able to pull out some suprises this year but poor teymour won't fair so well.

Chessbase products are the best ;-) and the Chessbase site is great ;-) Gimme Gimme Gimme... *Voice of a brainwashed chessbase product user* Chessbase is really good. Buy...it...for...your friends. Great for any occasion. Save poor chessplayers and programmers from hunger and starvation... Buy chessbase products today. Thanx for the "quiz".

Tony Engels, Epicor Software, USA
Kasparov will win Linares because of his fearless, attacking style. Positional players like Kramnik, Anand and Leko do not manufacture enough wins to overcome Kasparov. Kasparov +3, he scares even the top players with his attacks, Kramnik and Anand at +1 because of too many draws, Ponomariov at -1 because he's not in top mental form due to the aggravations of the Championship semi-final, plus, he's on the bottom half here.

Vallejo will trail the whole tournament, and will end up with no wins and a -4 finish, too many big dogs. Radjabov will fair slightly better at -2, he has shown he can play with the top players. I hope Leko continues his aggressive play like at Dortmund, otherwise this tourney could be a real sleeper, because the middle of the field will draw all the games.

Craig Stephens, Ashland, OR, USA
I believe Peter Leko will win Linares this year. Although most consider it unlikely for such a "draw master" to win or share 1st, I believe Leko will do just that for 3 reasons. First of all, Leko is an extremely difficult player to beat (I doubt he will lose a single game). Secondly, while tradionally Leko seems to PLAY for a draw, lately he has been playing like Fischer did, very solid positional chess, but merciless in playing for a win from even the slightest positional advantage.

I believe Kasparov and Kramnik will not do as well as people think this year, although I believe Kramnik has better chances for a higher finish. This is due to the fact that the two of them recently have been preparing for playing computers, and it is likely to effect their assessment of positions against top HUMAN GM's. Ponomariov will have an impressive result, and continue to show the top 10 that he deserves respect. Anand will probably play very well in the first half, but I predict that he will be lucky to finish at +1.

Radjabov and Vallejo will play exciting chess, but will probably end at about -2. Vallejo is likely to finish higher than Radjabov.

Aaron Jagt
Garry Kasparov, Because he is great at tournaments and one of the best players of all time! His last experience with Deep Junior showes that his attacking abilities have not fallen off, and since this is a tournament against other people, he won't be intimadated by the fact that if he makes even a mediocre error he will have no hope. I think Kasparov will take 1st, Anand 2nd, Kramnick 3rd, and Leko 4th. It may seem surprising that I put Anand 2nd, but I believe that now he has gotten out of his slump he will play very well in this tournament. Francisco Vallejo and Teymour Radjabov will finish last in the tournament, though fighting hard. There games against eachother will probably be a lot of fun.

Paulo Sunao Shintate Jr, Brasil
These are my 5 cents: Kasparov will win, as he has won the last Tournaments in which he has played, the logic says so ... ;-) Kasparov : +4 (He is playing at his best); Kramnik := (The draw master); Anand : +3 (Great Chess Player in a great year); Ponomariov : +1 (A misterious person : the last excuse was his problems with FIDE) Paco Vallejo : - 4 (in spite of playing strategically well, his adversaries are World Chess Champions); Teymour : +2

Linares will be like AVRO, a fantastic chess Tournaments. Kasparov will do everything to prove that he is the best even though a lot older. Anand wants to prove to the World that he deserves a chance to be recognized as the best. Kramnik is in poor form, so he will try to draw a lot of games and only risk if possible. He has lost some games in the Chorus Tournament, showing that he is not invencible... Ponomariov is not playing very well, may be hiding his opening repertoire to his future match. Teymour has nothing to fear: he is young and it does not matter if he looses or not, so his games will be full of sacrifices. Paco Vallejo will try to draw all his games, but IMHO, some improvements over last year must have be found and he will be caught in many opening s novelties :-)

Russell Greenlee, Louisiana, USA
This tournament belongs to Anand. He will only draw against the top two, and win against all others. His excellent showing at Wijk is a reminder that Anand wins top tournaments. Either GK will blow everyone away or get blown away. But I also think that his match preps for Deep Joke will have him out of form. Anand? He'll win.(unless GK actually shows up on fire) RP? He will buckle because he knows he does not deserve to be the FIDE champion. Kramnik? Please, his tame drawish behavior won't get him any better than third.

Two more things: 1. We need a Linares photoshop contest. J rollin' GK is the coolest! 2.I hope that Fritz 8 kicks as much butt as your site. Chessbase is the absolute best. Post more articles and pictures of pretty women! (Anna Hahn is especially beautiful)

Patrick Williams, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA
I believe Kasparov will share first with Leko. My reasons are: a) Kasparov will surely be driven as ever to claim first prize, having missed his other traditional favorite supertournament this year at Wijk aan Zee - and who can stop a driven Garry Kasparov?? The world is not enough for this man! b) Competition is obviously quite close but I'll bet Leko has some dynamite ready for this tournament - his aggression of late combined with an infallible drawing talent will rival Garry's performance. Kasparov will not lose a game. Anand in clear 2nd place, Ponomariov and Kramnik share middle spots with 50% scores. Anand needs to get his act together and prove he's at least number three!

I think Vallejo will finish clear last unfortunately, though I believe he will continue to improve as a player. I predict Radjabov will finish in lower half scorewise, but with each passing year he is proving to be the One to Watch.

Robert Hall, Alaska, USA
A relaxed and focused Anand will fully utilize the chess worlds most gifted brain as he takes clear first a point ahead of Kasparov and a surprising Radjabov. The amazing Indians intellect has always been self-evident. However stress, nerves, uncomfortable surroundings and a lack of a thirst for blood has often lead to subdued results. Without the distractions and stress of preparing for the World Championship, Vishy is finally able to focus his amazing talent on the game. Anand is in a comfortable place with limited expectations. Vishy has been playing well and under these ideal conditions the most talented player in the world will overpower the field.

The distraction of; preparing and not defeating a machine and/or preparing for the upcoming World Championship matches leaves Kasparov, Kramnik and Ponomariov at a distinct disadvantage. Ponomariov will play uncompromising chess finishing at -2. Kramnik will play few decisive games and end at +1. Kasparov will recover from spectacular loses to Anand and Teymour to tie for second with Teymour at plus 3.

Teymour will play aggressively and benefit from a couple of lucky points from slightly inferior positions. Teymour result, at the age of 15, will be the most memorable and his spring board to the World's elite. Paco Vallejo will simply be outclassed. He will finish the first lap only -2 but will collapse for final result of -6. His talent will be obvious but his
preparation and ability to hold slightly inferior postions will be tested.

Chris Miller, Elora, Ontario, Canada
Who can say who will win? I can say that the tournament will be rife with draws, particularly as the winners settle in. Eventually the person with the best computer support will probable edge out by half a point or so, ie. Kasparov. On what basis do we consider him the best of all time however? Did I miss that tourney?

I used to love chess but now find the game over analyzed, artificial and clunky. For centuries we have been trying to render the game playable with artifical rules and extensions. Personally I think Capablanca's Chancellor piece on the 9x9 board is the way to go for another century or so perhaps. On the other hand, we could just switch to Go, a simple (ruleswise), natural, very rich and infinitely more strategic, tactical and addictive game, and one which computers have no idea how to play (yet). And there are no draws in Go.

Eric, Irvine, CA, USA
I think Kasparov absolutely has to be the favorite to win this tournament, even given his shaky performance against DJ. I think he'll win: history is on his side and he'll look to make a strong impression on Ponomariov, Leko, and Kramnik prior to the reunification matches.

I think Kasparov will win, Anand will come in second bolstered by wins against Vallejo (since they've been working together) and scoring strongly against an out of form Kramnik. It's likely that Ponomariov will finish out of the top three, especially if he tries to hard to press Kasparov. Kramnik may finish even lower than Ponomariov.

I hope Vallejo does well, but I think it more feasible for him to come in as the tail ender. The burden of being the "local favorite" may cause him to try for an advantage where theree is none. Radjabov may finish alright, depending on the condition of Peter Leko; if Leko is in good form, I look for Radjabov to finish sixth, if Leko isn't, a fifth place finish is possible.

Chomba Chongo, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Kasparov wins it all. Reason: He is Kasparov, period. There might be a three way tie between Anand, Kramnik and Ponomariov for second place. Kasparov has a fair chance of finishing on top or tying that with Anand. Kid Teymour stands very little chance to beat any of the four world champions, maybe Ponomariov, but he can defeat Paco Vallejo in one of the two games, so he will finish second last and of course Paco does not have to worry about last place because it's his.

Leko is in contention, but because of the Garry factor, he will have to forget the draws and play to win to finish among the top three, but he obviously has a good chance of coming in at 5th. If Kramnik plays as in Corus, he will be in trouble because it looks like Anand wants to get back the rating points he lost. Hopefully, Kasparov did not tire too much from the junior match because he comes up against a well rested field of players, all trying to prove something.

Marc-André Paiement, Montréal, Canada
Kasparov will win. He will finish at +5, that's why. Kramnik, Anand and Ponomariov will all finish around +2 or +3, losing maybe one game (to each other) and getting their wins from the boy and the local boy. Of the three, Anand should come on top, followed by Kramnik. Oh wait, Ponomariov can't do better than + 1. Paco Vallejo and the kid Teymour will do very well in 2007. Leko will lose one or two games (to Kasparov and Anand and / or Ponomariov), get (number of losses + 1) wins from the boys and draw the rest. Therefore, he will finish at + 1. Here's the table:

Kasparov + 5 (8.5)
Anand + 3 (7.5)
Kramnik + 2 (7)
Ponomariov + 1 (6.5)
Leko + 1 (6.5)
Radjabov - 5 (3.5)
Vallejo - 7 (2.5)

Rafael Llanos, Peru
Hi folks, I'm from PERU, I am in Texas USA studying thanks to a student visa. I am happy that our countryman GM Julio Granda is doing good in Moscow. Good for the peruvian chess !!

Ok my answers are: The winner will be GM. Anand and GM. Kasparov, but the tie break will be for the GM from Madras. He is doing very good lately and this time is the favorite of the Spanish fans (for me too). Kasparov & Anand will do very good but Kramnik will find dificulty to recover a long period without playing humans players. Ponomariov is solid but he is not going to be able to do what hi did in Linares 2002. Vallejo and Teymour will fight to see who arrive last, and I think Teymour will beat Vallejo.

I love no more than five tournaments around the world during the year, but if you want to see real champion challengers you need to follow LINARES !! Kasparov is the king and Anand will be able to say the world : "I am the second".

Simon J Rubinstein-Salzedo, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Anand will win Linares 2003. He is in great form, whereas Kasparov and Kramnik are not in their best forms. The rest of the players are not in the same class as these three players. Kasparov will probably finish in 2nd place, behind Anand, since he will probably try to prove to the world that he is still a great player despite drawing the computer. Kramnik will not do so well, since he is still focused on playing against computers. Anand will win the tournament. Ponomariov may pull off some upset wins, as he did in Wijk Aan Zee, but he should finish somewhere in the middle of the tournament.

Paco Vallejo will probably finish last because he is playing at a lower level than the rest of the players. Teimour Radjabov will finish ahead of him and possibly around the middle of the tournament because he is still improving very rapidly, and his rating doesn't reflect his progress very well.

Mathieu Cloutier, Montreal, Qc, Canada
Kasparov will win. He always does anyway. Why should we even bother to ask? The only way to get a win from him could be to disguise as a computer! I would like to see Anand dressed like that! Why don't we give first place to Kasparov already and organize a tournament to decide who will finish second?

Kasparov : As said before, if he doesn't get traumatized by a freaking Anand, he should score good. Nevertheless, he will not dominate outrageously beacause he has to keep opening preparation sercrets for future matches (with Pono and Kramnik or Leko). Kaspy is like good wine. Older means better.

Kramnik : He will probably crumble to the fourth place. He's just not into the action. He should get back to his old "windshield" glasses. It worked very well against Kasparov in 2000. Since he has changed them : crap, crap and crap! Honestly, i think it is THE problem with Kramnik. His glasses.

Anand : I would give him third place (close to second!). He's steady and ready for some action. He will probably be giving some problems to Kasparov, too. This one belive in his glasses! Same model since 1972 (or something like that) and the same good chess.

Leko : I give him in second place, but by a narrow margin. Surprising? Hey, Leko IS surprising! Remember Dortmund candidate? It is time for Leko to sprout and give to the chess world a lesson. Leko 2.0, here he comes!

How will the local star and kid do? One thing is clear to me, they will both want to be called Junior! Teimour is the one that fits better with the name, but Paco just have to call his friends to intimidate Teimour. This could be : "If you don't let me use the name Junior, we will bash your pokemons" (or something like that). So, Paco in fifth and Teimour in sixth. But next year, Teimour will come back with russian mafia friends and it will be a whole new story!

Wei Koong Chai, Guildford, Surrey, UK
At the end of the tournament, I would think Kasparov to emerge as the clear champion. Kramnik is really not performing well enough recently to topple him. Anand may be his greatest threat in my opinion but still Kasparov performance against Junior gives some indication that he's still in some good shape.

Anand would also gives a fine performance. But I doubt Kramnik and Ponomariov can perform to expectation. It is quite hard for me to see Kramnik performing in a level that reflects his current high rating. As for Ponomariov, he's kinda unstable (at least I have such feeling whenever I think of him.) But probability wise, I would still vote for him not performing up to expectation... I know it's not really appropriate to use "probability" but...

Vallejo might spring some surprises but I think he might play conservatively to get a decent end result in the end. As for Teymour, his very talented and has a bright future. If he has more experience in this level of chess, he'll perform very well. I have some faith in him to perform up to expectation and even manage to get some upsets.

I am wondering how would the "revived" Karpov perform in this tournament. And, also wondering about the effect of computer chess to both Kasparov and Kramnik. If according to both who claimed never use/prepare any special anti-computer strategies before and during the matches against computers, then the matches should not affect their playing strength at all. So, please, if any one of them not playing well, don't blame on the human-computer matches.

Michalis Kaloumenos, Kallithea, Greece
It is so difficult to predict the result of a supertournament. All calculations based on pure mathematics and statistics can easily turn inaccurate as the result of many games depends on blunders, early draw agreements so that the players are better prepared for the next game. However, if anyone wants to use mathematics and predict the results, he must take into account at least some of the following variables. A) Recent results among the participants B) Recent overall performance. C) Psychology of each player during the Linares tournament. I have made an effort myself using the chessbase online database, but the results show nothing more than my ignorance.

Recent results among the participants are so difficult to evaluate, for the following reasons: 1) Time control should be taken into account. 2) The result of a single game between two players in 2001 or 2002 (for some pairs I found 1 game only), is insufficient information to work with. 3) Players like Radjabov have little progress every day and are usually underrated, so that last year's performance has nothing to do with their present capability.

Recent overall performance and tendency for a player to go higher or lower is somehow valuable, but the players of the highest rank do not play more than 3 or 4 tournaments per year. On the other hand a player with a poor performance in tournament A may come back one month later with extraordinary results. I am not sure if ELO ranking provide any "a priori" information at all about the performance of a player. It is quite simple to rank the participants according to their ELO in three groups. Even so, I am not sure if Anand belongs to the KK group, since his current ELO takes him closer to the Leko-Ponomariov group. It is rare to see results according to the ELO ranking even if there is a gap of 223 points between top player and last.

Psychology is an aspect that nobody knows for sure. The news provide limitless information about the way that Chess politics influence each player especially in the highest level and we do not know if the players' performance is really affected next week because of the reunification plan (all 4 are in Linares). We do not even know if there are personal reasons that may affect their play.

Actually, I have used some stupid mathematics to provide a possible result of the tournament and the results are presented below, but I support Michael Schumacher in F1 racing, I prefer Liverpool in Premiere League, my favourite team here in Greece is Panionios. It would be unfair to my little world of chess, if my prediction for Linares would be other than Kasparov. As for the rest, my table includes results like Kramnik-Kasparov 1-0, Leko-Kramnik 0-1, Leko-Anand 0-1, I also suggest that Vallejo with Black looses to Kasparov and Ponomariov so that he needs to win a game to reach 4,5. My stupid mathematics give Radjabov 6,5, suggesting a win over 11 draws (or maybe odd number of wins, odd number of draws, even number of 0). Actually, I considered Ponomariov-Radjabov 0-1.

I think that the above thoughts are adequate enough to explain the answers mentioned below. I spent a happy hour over the Internet and for this I thank you all.

Who will win this tournament? Garry Kasparov 7,5, Kramnik 7 (Please, someone beat Kramnik so that the above results will not give him an 8 points win), Radjabov 6,5 (All my bets to the young man), Anand 6 (Average) Ponomariov 5,5 (Below average), Leko 5 (And I am supposed to prefer Leko for the world title match) Vallejo 4,5 (Someone has to close the door behind him).

Athanasios Tsiouras, Thessaloniki, Greece
The tournament will be won by Anand. Since Kasparov and Ponomariov, on the one hand, and Kramnik and Leko, on the other, are playing each other later this year, they will definitely not use the opening preparation they've got in store for their opponents.

Anand will win, probably with +4. Kasparov will be on +2 or +3, undefeated - I expect him not to come close to losing even one game, but he will not be pressing too hard either. At least twice he'll give away a draw in an advantageous position, due to time trouble. Kramnik will have between +1 and +3. I expect him to play a couple of 1.e4's, and he will be more aggressive than usual. I think he will be defeated once or twice, not by Kasparov, but probably by Anand and/ or Radjabov. As for Ponomariov, he will make either 5-% or +1 and will have the most decisive games among the top four.

Radjabov will be between -1 and +1. 50% is the most probable score. He will score at least one win against Vallejo Pons, probably lose a game to Kasparov, win and lose one against Ponomariov. He will definitely play the Kings Indian Defense against 1.d4. Vallejo Pons will be between -2 and -4. If he manages to win a game, in all probability that will be against Ponomariov. He should lose at least one game to Radjabov and Leko and will hold either Anand or Kramnik to two draws. He will definitely play the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez at least once, but not against Kasparov.

Anand will be the only one playing in his usual style - maybe Leko will also play as he did before Dortmund. Kasparov will be a little reserved, I expect him to have time trouble in at least half of his games, and Kramnik will be more aggressive than usual. The best games will be between Anand and Radjabov. There will be at least one decisive game between Kramnik and Leko (probably to be won by the black side).

Michael Jones, Long Sutton, UK
Kasparov will win. His poor performance for Russia vs. Rest of the World at rapid was a blip, he hasn't lost a classical tournament for ages. Kramnik is out of form, will probably lose to Kasparov and maybe to one or more of Anand/Leko/Ponomariov as well. He might even end up with a negative score. Anand will probably come second. Ponomariov is too erratic to do well. He also risks a negative score and I think he will finish fifth, below everyone except Vallejo and Radjabov.

I think Radjabov will finish above Vallejo and maybe beat him. Vallejo might pick up one or two wins if one of the top players is off form but will probably finish last. Watch out for Leko. On his day he can beat anyone, including Kasparov. I back him to finish above Kramnik and Ponomariov. So my predicted final order is: Kasparov, Anand, Leko, Kramnik, Ponomariov, Radjabov, Vallejo.

Otto Buchholz Espinosa, Habana, Cuba
The winner of Linares 2003 will be Garry Kasparov (once again). He still shows his usual strenght (check the recent Olimpiad performance ). In this moment, he is the only player in this tournament able to get positive scores against any other player, while he can also achive the best results against the bottom side of the group. My prediction is between 8.5 and 9 out of 12 points for him.

My opinnion about the rest of the top seeds is: I expect the second place with an approx. 7 or 7.5 out of 12 for Anand. He has shown recently not only a good shape but also a steady form. I don't really think Kramnik is already back to his previous form, so he must be third in this tournament with a positive score near 6.5 or 7 out of 12. Ponomariov will have to work hard for an even score in this tournament, mainly against the three "monsters" who will try to show he is not a World Champion. I expected more from him in Wijk aan Zee.

Related to the younger players, Vallejo and Radjabov, I think they will do their best efforts and will perform some interesting games ( and maybe surprises ) against the favorites, but it is really difficult for them to achieve a positive score in such a strong tournament. I also believe Radjabov will get better result than Vallejo.

I could have many others comments or opinions but I only want to focus in one of them... Nowadays the chess world is full of talent young players which is a wonderful thing. It guarantees not only the renovation of former generations but also the improvement of chess. But we must not forget most of them are still KIDS and that we have to be carefull with their development. By inserting such young players in a tournament like this it might happen a disastrous performance which would be worse for them. I suggest to set a limit of minimal age, 16 or 18, whatever, but I don't think Karjakin must be invited to Linares 2004 !!!....

Nadeem Aziz, Karachi, Pakistan
My Money is on Anand . Kasparov is playing risky chess .Ponomariov little weak against this opposition Kramnik will try to secure some pride lost in Wijk instead going for wins outright.So Anand must win due to his excellant form and convincing style. Kasparov 8/12, Kramnik 8/12, Anand 9/12, Ponomariov 7/12. Dont take me wrong. Kasparov must defend his pride by having lesse losses . Especially he will be carefull against Kramnik and Anand .Kramnik isnt in right frame of mind to win this tournament but he will do good enough to be in top 3.Ponomariov isnt the mould that makes true champ. Some kind of Doctor Euwe i would say.

Vellejo would not be able to make his presence felt. some 40% around score for him. Teymour is very good and will impress Vellejos, Lekos and Ponos. But not others .Somebody insisting on King Indian these days as black need serious councelling by coaches. You cannot win with 1..e6 and 1..Nf6 2..g6 3..d6 against world champion opposition.

The format is excellant. But tournaments with long cross tables and world top player competing (e.g. Interzonals of the past) have disappeared. Organiser at Wijk and Linares must strive for brining the chess fans such great battles.

Since chess is played out till move 20 or so, we dont see great theriotical battles.Games do end in quick draws . I dont know what is the solution but i would suggest organiser to find some way of forcing these giants of chess to play lesser draws.And some preset opening positions with reverse colors. We can remember KK matches that produced games with reversed colors in QGD and what a fascinating chess was produced.

Darko Spelec, Maribor, Slovenija
This tournament will win... Vladimir Kramnik - I think it's time for his comeback, don't You?! Show them who is the world champion, Vladimir! Kasparov and Anand wil tie for second place, Ponomariov and Leko will be close to them on fourth and fifth place. And the tale? Sixth place for kid Teymour and very solid seventh place for Paco... Four giants, one semigiant and two blind passengers - an interesting choice!?

Pankkonen Sakari, Helsinki, Finland
The winner will be Kasparov, not to loose a single game. He is the most consistent and persistent player of all the other participants, a true 'primus inter pares'. Kramnik and especially Ponomariov will have some difficulties adjusting their tournament play against the other top GM's; their result will be around 50%. Anand will do better, he'll be the 3rd in this tournament after an astonishing start. Sad to say, Vallejo will have absolutely no chance against these tough costumers. Radjabov will produce a one or two delightful surprises but not much more. Competitive chess will outplay quick GM draws in this tournament. The 2nd after Kaparov will be Leko, who has a capability of super-solid play; nowadays he dares to challenge the other top GM's in attacking play, and with fine results.

Antonio Pacheco Leal
¿Quien va a ganar?, Kasparov, aunque creo que lo hará por la mínima esta vez. Porque ninguno tiene las cualidades de este gran jugador, es el más completo de todos a pesar de sus cuarenta años y a pesar de sus discretos resultados en sus últimas actuaciones su juego volverá a brillar en Linares como de costumbre.

Kramnik parece en baja forma y no sólamente desde su match contra Fritz sino desde que ganó a Kasparov, no se le ve todavía recuperado de su fracaso ante Fritz (porque el resultado fué un fiasco para él a pesar del resultado). Dudo mucho que resurja en este torneo contra rivales tan duros, seguramente todavía necesita más tiempo.

Anand ganó el torneo de Wijk aan Zee de forma convincente ... pero el nivel de sus rivales en Linares es superior y no confío en su espíritu de lucha, le veo tan capaz de ganar el torneo como de quedar mal, creo que estará al final entre los tres primeros pero veo con más posibilidades a Kasparov.

Espíritu de lucha es algo que le sobra a Ponomariov y apostaría a que es la amenaza más seria para Kasparov en este torneo, debe de arder en deseos de revancha desde la pasada edición, además ha sido recientemente poco menos que forzado por la FIDE a aceptar su match contra Kasparov, de modo que se puede tomar este torneo como un anticipo de su enfrentamiento contra el jugador ruso, pero creo que le sigue faltando experiencia a pesar de todo, sinceramente le sigo viendo un poco verde contra rivales de este nivel, si el torneo fuese a un ritmo más rápido entonces le vería más posibilidades.

Kasparov según mi previsión Kasparov volverá a ganar aunque sus rivales se lo van a poner muy dificil, una victoria por la mínima es mi pronóstico, todos sus rivales más directos son más jóvenes, es algo que de una forma u otra se hará notar, pero en Linares al ritmo clásico todavía le veo capacidad más que suficiente como para ganar.

El papel de Peter Leko es una incógnita, podría animar el torneo y dar la sorpesa, pero dudo que se arriesgue a jugar al ataque contra rivales de este calibre, eso sí, sus partidas contra Kramnik van a ser muy interesantes deportivamente, aunque un par de tablas será lo más probable ya que ambos estarán reservando lo mejor de su preparación para su match.

Para Vallejo y para Radjabov será un éxito si consiguen siquiera el 50% de los puntos, no creo que Vallejo haya progresado demasiado en este año en su preparación de las aperturas, es un jugador muy sólido, pero para obtener buenos resultados hay que ganar partidas, no solo jugar al empate, ojalá me equivoque pero podría salir peor parado que el año pasado en el que sus rivales dudo mucho que se preparasen bien contra él, Radjabov podría en cambio dar la sorpresa, no me extrañaría verle superar a alguno de sus colegas teoricamente mucho más fuerte que él, tiene un gran futuro y creo sinceramente que va a hacer un muy buen torneo, este torneo es su gran oportunidad y no me cabe duda de que va a ir muy preparado.

Steven Kallstrom, Bloomington, IL, USA
I think that Anand will win and continue the success that we saw at Wijk. I think that he is in top form and that the others will continue to struggle. Kasparov, of course, poses the biggest threat.

I think that Kasparov will show some weakness just coming off the computer match. He will match Kramnik's showing at Wijk, and continue the trend of poor tournament play after preparing for a tough match vs. computer opponents. I think that Kasparov will show a quicker recovery time than Kramnik though and capture second place. Ponomariov will simply continue his embarrassing champion play that we saw at Wijk, horrible. He will place in the middle of the pack. Kramnik, is not yet back up to his old form, and will challenge Anand but will be unsuccessful, placing behind his nemesis Kasparov.

The kids will have a tough time here. Paco will sit at the bottom of the stack. Radjabov will show some promise and may head up towards the middle, possibly sticking it to Ponomariov. Teymour will be fun to watch with two super tournaments in a row, he sould be getting a bit more comfortable with top play.

We need Polgar... I have come so accustomed to hearing about the great beautiful women of chess that a tournament without is simply less of a tournament. I think that there needs to always be at least one women, not cimply for our eyes, but to advance the womens games, and show that they can compete with the brutish, piggish, unrefined men.

Paul M Jaqua, Portage, MI, USA
Kasparov will win, because he's just so strong and darn near unstoppable. Unless his opponent is a computer. Kramnik will disappoint us by finishing in the middle of the field. Anand will also finish in the middle of the pack. Pono will try his best to win a game against Kasparov. In the end Pono will have to settle for second or lower. Hopefully he won't bomb like he did at Wijk aan Zee. Paco is going to have to work hard not to finish dead last. Still he held his own very well last year and has probably prepared mightily for his return performance. I'd like to see the young man do well. Teymour had a bad time at Wiik so he had better be prepared now. Frankly I don't think he'll do very well here. He's very good but just doesn't have the experience yet to handle these big boys.

Final placement prediction: Kasparov, Leko, Kramnik, Anand, Pono, Teymour, Paco. Honestly though other than Kaspy taking first and Teymour and Paco vying for last place almost anything could happen amongst the remaining four. One thing I'd love to see is an upset win by Leko. I also hope Leko beats Kramnik. Why? I think I just like Hungarian players.

Hahnemann Ortiz, Minnesota, USA
Kasparov will win. He lost to Karpov in NY recently and was unable to materialize a win against Deep Junior. These events will force him to make a comeback and win. Kasparov will take 1st place, followed by Anand. Ponomariov and Kramnik will take 3rd and 4th places respectively. Vallejo will perform well since he is playing in Spain. However, he does not have the experience and will not place in the top 3 spots.

Ramesh Chandra Thounaojam, New Delhi, India
The winner will either be Kasparov or Anand,but Kasparov has the better chances among the two. Kasparov`s play against Deep Junior was amazing and with the kind of advantages he had in three of the four games, he would have won against a human opponent. And Anand is also in terrific form coming into this tournament.

Kasparov and Anand will do well. Kramnik might come in third. Ponomariov might struggle. Vallejo did well last time but this time he might not do so well.Radjabov will do better than him. It will turn out to be hard tournament for the young stars Vallejo and Radjabov,they have good chances of coming in last!

Kai Schröder, Hamburg, Germany
I think Kasparov is still on top. His match vs. Deep Junior went quite well for him although he didn't manage to win at the end. It looks as if the KasparovChess problems don't bother him too much. So from the psychological point of view he should be in good shape. I don't see any reason for Kasparov not to show the usual top performance like in so many super tournaments before.

I think Kramnik still lacks tournament experience since his preparation for the Deep Fritz match. So he might be the "old" Kramnik after this tournament again. Anand clearly showed in Wijk aan Zee that his crisis is forgotten. But I think he won't be able to overcome Kasparov. It's good for Ponomariov that he finally accepted to play the match vs. Kasparov under conditions most people like in my opinion (long time control, no draw odds). But after all that hard times due to this subject, I don't expect him to go "over the top".

Paco Vallejo and Teymour won't do bad at the tournament but first of all I expect them to avoid losses instead of going for the tournament win. By the way -- after Paco Vallejo's fine debut in Linares last year, I heard that Anand wanted to work together with him. Did that happen?

The main question for me is if Kramnik, Ponomariov and Leko will really try to win this tournament. I could imagine that they don't want to show all their "secret weapons" now before it's about the chess crown of the reunified chess world.

IM Petronijevic Zoran
The tournament will win Garry Kasparov, becouse he is the best tournament player today. Anand will be secound, becouse he is secound tournament player today. Kramnik will be 3-th, becouse he is werry strong player, but not agressive. Ponomariov played well, but his place on this tournament is obaut 5-th-6-th/ Teimur played well - obaut 50%. Paco will be last on the tournament. In my opinion, werry interesting will be obaut Leko. I think, his place 4-5.

Mikael Nalsund, Stockholm, Sweden
Kasparov will win easily. He'll take this opportunity to scare his coming opponents in the World Championship rounds. +6=6-0. Kapsarov 9p #1, Anand #2 with 7½p (tied with Leko), Kramnik #4 at 7p and Ponomariov 4p, tied 5 with Radjabov. Paco will end last at 2p. The competition is going to be too tough. After all they are the worlds best. Radjabov will tie 5-6 at 4p with Ponomariov.

Suparman Hassanuddin, Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia
I think Anand Viswanathan of India will win this tournament because he has more energetic preparation and a reflection triumph from Wijk An Zee last month. Kasparov will playing a strong game but could not come up the the end and achieve more drawish position and result, as a result become third position. Kramnik will do the same but prove more better result than Kasparov as I personally predicted that he will be the runners up. Anand will playing tremendous game and give a flying colours result and set him a gold credit in his life as he will manage to be the champion. Ponomariov personally will play a good game but cannot define a final blow at the end position even mange to achive a chances to win in every game, probably in fifth position behind Leko.

Francisco Vallejo Pons will playing a good game but still has to improve in his preparation at a high level and I predicted him will the last position behind Radjabov. As predicted he (Radjabov) will playing spectacular game but he only manage to sit at the second last of the tourney.

I think this year the participation were not many maybe the big name have been played at Wijk An Zee (some). So, my suggestion are give a time to a high level players to take a rest before they can take part to another tourney and secondly to improve the category level of this tournament and attract many chess enthausiast around the world is try to call all Elo 2700 to take part.

Arash Salarian, Lausanne, Switzerland
Kasparov will win. He's in his best moral state. A few weeks after Man vs. Machine match of trying to play "super-precise" games, where smallest mistake was equal to a certain loss, he'd find playing against "mortals" much more convenient. I doubt that he'll make any tactical error and will be sharper than ever before.

Kasparov will be winner. He'll defeat Ponomariov, tie with Anand and beat Kramnik. Anand will appear very aggressive and eventually end up second. He'll however tie with Kramnik but beat Ponomariov. Kraminik and Ponomariov will reach a draw yet overall Kramink will be the third. He'll need it bad to be in the top-three group after Wijk-aan-Zee. Ponomariov will not be in his best shape and would end up 4th.

Teymour would have draw against Kasparov and defeat Leko. He'll be there to make it clear that nobody should no longer call him 'kid'. Chances are high that his final score be equal to Leko's. Paco will have not much chance this time against this though group. Lots of draws and few losses, but no wins. He'll end up last.

Match between Ponomariov and Kasparov will be very interesting. Before their soon to come FIDE reunification, this will be a test bed for their opening preparations. Bet they'll draw lines of the openings of those games, here at Linares. Karamnik-Kaspavrov match will be interesting too, especially that they're both 'hot' after M. vs. M. matches.

Teymour will enjoy and increase in his rating and also his fame. We'll hear more and more of him after this match. Leko will be the man of the peace, giving everyone his broad smile...

Rene Davidsen
Kasparov will win the tournament (of course!) There is no doubt in my mind that he still is the undisputed #1 in the world, now and since the beginning of recorded chess history. He has shown very good form lately, despite his recent draw against Deep junior . I definetly see his point in not repeting his 1997 loss to Deep blue this time around, and still beleive hecould've won the game, if it was not for his 2nd game loss, which he was very unlucky, in my opinion. I doubt he'll have the same respect for any human player ;-)

As for Kramnik, he has been a bit more unstable lately, which the tournament in Wijk an Zee showed.This is close to a disaster for a player of his caliber. I think he will be dead set on avenging poor result, and will still be a force to be reckoned with for any of the top places. My guess is 2nd, under doubt.

Much of the same goes for FIDE champion Ponomariov, who disopointed in Wijk, although thereare many speculations around the reason for this poor acheivement from the champ. His arguements with FIDE has now been settled, (under pressure or not) and he's able to put hisenergy where it should be, over the board! It's still hard to predict what this adds up to inrankings, but my guess he will not be able to fight for a win in this extremely strong tourney. 5th place is my uneducated guess here.

Nevertheless this will be a good chance for Ponomariov to get a feel for facing Kasparov at the other end of the board, making even more extensive opening preperations than usual. defenetely the sveshnikov sicilian and the berlin defense ;-)

Anand seems to be a guy who can adapt his form to whatever is demanded over the board at any giventime. Although i haven't watched many tournaments with this super GM lately, he has a specialway of catching up with the leaders of the pack at the finish line if that's what it takes.He's a fast player, seemingly unaffected by stress or strain, and in this long tournament,i think he will be up there fighting for 1st place! He is one of my personal favourites, and i will be disopointed if he ends up at any place below 3rd place.

I must admit, i'm not very familiar with Vallejo Pons game. Although i've noticed he has beatenalot of big names, and is considered spains new rising star (Chessbase article feb18th)i don't feel i have enough information about this young talent to make even an uneducated guess.

Radjabov is quite a sensation, and his result in the Wijk an Zee tournament must've come like a big surprise to most people, who had predicted him at the very bottom of the list. It would really be fun if this young chess prodigy could repeat this success. Guess: 8th place.

George Mavridis, Thessaloniki, Greece
Kasparov will be the winner. I think he'll get from 8.0 to 8.5 points. He is in good form. He will sure try to scare everybody for the up coming World Championship games. Final standing: Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Ponamariov. Vallejo will be sixth (4.5/12.0) and Radjabov will finish seventh (4.0/12.0). I would very much like to see live the games in this years Linares, and I'd love to be comented as Kasparov vs Deep Junior was.

Bolivar Gonzalez, Curitiba PR, Brazil
In this leaning tournament that three exist favorite: Kramnik, Kasparov and Anand. I will indicate Kasparov to win Linares 2003! With certainty they will be good games among those players, a beautiful show for the public, each one twisting for favorite player, in hard games. I believe that the classification order would be: 1st Kasparov, 2nd Anand, 3rd Kramnik, 4th Leko and 5th Ponomariov. Vallejo and Radjabov has a great work for the front with so many "wild animal" participating, we will twist that they get good tournament level and results. I think will be 7th and 6th, respectively.

Congratulations to the team of ChessBase for bringing the main news of the chess in the world in your web and also for the quiz series!

Mike Magnan, North York Ontario, Canada
Kasparov will win by 2. I think they'll place this way:

1- Kasparov
3-4 Kramnik- Anand-Leko

Kasparov is clearly the strongest still, But Ponomariov has something to prove. Ponomariov MIGHT even surprise and win the whole thing but I doubt it. Kasparov is hungry! And that's never a good thing. (Well maybe it is for us ) Still, its possible for him to have a bad tourney..(really?!) Pono seems like a young Karpov to me and now that all the FIDE stuff is over with, I think he's going to want to assert himself. And I think he can! (Sometimes, winning the championship is what a player like him needs to get to the next level) Hear that Kramnik? Kramnik may have won the classical championship but I think his performances since then simply speak for themselves and prove that he's not the real Champ. Just got a good result in that particular match! That was his peak. Someone should tell him that to be the Champ, you have to KEEP winning. Shades of Petrosian. Anand just does not have the mettle to be the best either, I think everyone knows that. Great player but a little incontinent. Leko will be Leko. Steady and safe. But look for a great result against Kramnik/ (Actually I think he might even take 3rd all by himself) But no better than that I think.

Teymor and Vallejo are simply out of their league here. But I guess it's good experience for them. (Call me soft, but I would have liked to have seen the old man (Karpov) play one last time.) Biggest novelty will probably come from Teymour. The top 4 are saving their guns for the matches this year.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register