Linares 12: Leaders draw, Radjabov scores first win

3/4/2004 – Wins at Linares 2004 have been very hard to come by and now Paco Vallejo is the only player without one. He lost to Radjabov and fell into last place. Kramnik-Kasparov lasted 17 moves, Topalov-Leko four more. Even if the games don't excite we'll have fun with our live trivia competition during our Radio ChessBase broadcast during tomorrow's games. Don't miss it! Report and analysis

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21st International Chess Tournament
Linares Feb. 19 – March 5, 2004

Linares Round 12

Round 12 (Wednesday, March 3, 2004)
Francisco Vallejo
0-1
Teimour Radjabov
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Round 13 (Thursday, March 4, 2004)
Garry Kasparov
Veselin Topalov
Peter Leko
Francisco Vallejo
Teimour Radjabov
Alexei Shirov
Games – Report

Standings: Kramnik +2, Kasparov and Leko +1, Topalov =, Shirov and Radjabov -1, Vallejo -2 (Kramnik will be off in round 13, Radjabov in round 14.)

Join Mig and the Radio ChessBase crew and fans for live commentary, Q&A and analysis during the Linares games. The round 13 broadcast starts at 10am EST, 1500 GMT, 1600 CET. We'll have a trivia contest during the final two rounds with winners gaining fame, glory, and a chance to win ChessBase software and ChessNinja.com newsletters! Log in to Playchess.com (if it's your first time you can open a free trial account), go to the Broadcasts room (bottom-right pane), click the Games tab (top-left pane) and click the LIVE LINARES AUDIO game to join the fun.


Radjabov's fast hands scored their first win in Linares 2004, beating Vallejo.

The only change in the seating arrangements today took place over at the kid's table. Teimour Radjabov, a week shy of his 17th birthday, defeated 21-year-old Paco Vallejo. In the day of the prepubescent Grandmaster these two can hardly be considered youngsters anymore. Former fetal champion Peter Leko is also in Linares, now a wizened veteran at 24.

He played like an old man today, and had for compatriots in enfeeblement the rest of the big guns in action on Wednesday. Kramnik and Kasparov swapped queens, spent some time trying to remember their analysis, and then drew on move 17. Kramnik leads the tournament and wasn't going to risk anything; Kasparov wasn't about to tempt the fates by trying to force something against Big Vlad with black.

Topalov and Leko did a little better. They played another of the stodgy closed anti-Sveshnikov Sicilians with Bc4 we've seen so many of lately. This is the fourth in Linares, and it's no surprise that three have come against Sveshnikov maestro Leko. It's more of a surprise that two have come with Kasparov on the white side. He's usually not one to back down from a theoretical fight. His playing these tepid lines we take as a tacit endorsement of the Sveshnikov, much as how Kasparov's avoiding the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy Lopez is seen by many to mean it must be okay.

Topalov-Leko livened up briefly when the Hungarian introduced a new move in a well-known position. 11...h6 led to exchanges and a draw on move 21.

Topalov-Leko after 11...h6

12.Nf3 [12.Nxf7? Rxf7 13.Bxf7+ Kxf7 14.h3 Bh5 15.Nd5 Kg8 –+] 12...Nxf3+ 13.gxf3 Be6 14.Rae1 Kh7 15.Kh1 Nh5 16.Bg3 Bh4 17.Rg1 Nxg3+ 18.hxg3 Bf6 19.Kg2 Qa5 20.Re2 Bxc3 21.Qxc3 Qxc3 ½-½

These two short draws left Kramnik in clear first place with two wins and no draws, although he has played one game more than his pursuers, Leko and Kasparov. They will both have white while Kramnik has the bye.

When every sporting consideration points toward a short draw it is perfectly clear that some legislative solution is required to stop the players from destroying the game with short draws. The ability to draw like this needs to be taken out of their hands. "I had black and my position was worse and when he offered a draw on move 12, of course I accepted." True, but take the excuses away! They complain about a lack of serious sponsorship, but who would want to pay to see something like this? Without interested spectators, where will sponsors come from?

Most online chess fans wouldn't mind paying a quarter-dollar a day for quality live transmission (webcams, audio analysis, no web server problems, etc.) or the equivalent of that amount by way of their annual membership to the various online playing sites like Playchess.com. Put some advertising into the mix and you've got a very nice pot of money to organize events, especially if combined with local sponsors. But you'd better believe fans and advertisers won't put up good money to watch short draws. Next time a GM complains about the lack of good events, look up how many draws of under 30 moves he has in the MegaBase and tell him to get to work!

Speaking of the Sveshnikov, Topalov and Leko didn't mind playing it against Radjabov in Linares. Today marked the third time in ten days he's had the position after move 17 on the board!

Vallejo-Radjabov after 17..Rb8

Vallejo went with the "Topalov rook" and played 18.Rfd1 like the Bulgarian did in round four instead of playing the usual 18.Rad1 like Leko did in round eight.

With 18...Qd7 Radjabov kept his queen back for defense instead of launching the wild counterattack he tried against Topalov. Vallejo got interesting attacking chances in exchange for losing his d-pawn, but Raja held on and battled back.
 

Vallejo-Radjabov after 46.b4

The Spanish hope has just blundered with the plausible b-pawn push. This allowed the alert Azerbaijani to pounce with 46...f5! This creates a protected passer because the pawn can't be captured. If 47.exf5? Bd5 pins and wins the exchange.

Vallejo went down surprisingly quickly after that, a victim as much of collapse after his blunder as his position.

47.Rh3 [ 47.Rxf5 Bxf5; 47.exf5 Bd5] 47...f4 48.Rh7+ Bf7 49.Be2 Rd2 50.Kf1 Kf6 51.h4 Bg6 52.Ra7 Bxe4 53.Bg4? [53.Rxa6+ Kf5 54.Bxb5-+] 53...f3 54.Rxa6+ Kg7 55.Ra7+ Kf8 56.Rd7 Bd3+! 57.Ke1 [57.Rxd3 Rxd3 58.Kf2-+] 57...f2+ 58.Kxd2 f1Q 59.Rd8+ Ke7 60.Rd7+ Ke8 61.Rxd3 Qf4+ 62.Re3 Qd4+ 0-1 [63.Ke2 Qxg4+ 64.Kd3 Qd4+ 65.Ke2 Ke7-+]

We should note that Black played on with little more than the weak h2 pawn to play against and was rewarded with a win. Kudos to TIMMAAY! for fighting!

All results

Round 1 (Thursday, February 19, 2004)
Francisco Vallejo
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Alexei Shirov
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Teimour Radjabov
0-1
Peter Leko
Round 2 (Friday, February 20, 2004)
Kasparov, Garry
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Alexei Shirov
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Round 3 (Saturday, February 21, 2004)
Alexei Shirov
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Peter Leko
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Round 4 (Sunday, February 22, 2004)
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Peter Leko
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Francisco Vallejo
½-½
Alexei Shirov
Round 5 (Monday, February 23, 2004)
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Peter Leko
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Garry Kasparov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Round 6 (Wednesday, February 25, 2004)
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Francisco Vallejo
½-½
Peter Leko
Alexei Shirov
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Round 7 (Thursday, February 26, 2004)
Peter Leko
1-0
Alexei Shirov
Garry Kasparov
1-0 Francisco Vallejo
Vladimir Kramnik
1-0 Veselin Topalov
Round 8 (Friday, February 27, 2004)
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Garry Kasparov
½-½
Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Round 9 (Saturday, February 28, 2004)
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Alexei Shirov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik
Francisco Vallejo
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Round 10 (Sunday, February 29, 2004)
Veselin Topalov
1-0
Alexei Shirov
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Teimour Radjabov
Garry Kasparov
½-½
Peter Leko
Round 11 (Tuesday, March 2, 2004)
Peter Leko
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik
Teimour Radjabov
½-½
Veselin Topalov
Alexei Shirov
½-½
Francisco Vallejo
Games – Report
Round 12 (Wednesday, March 3, 2004)
Francisco Vallejo
0-1
Teimour Radjabov
Veselin Topalov
½-½
Peter Leko
Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Garry Kasparov
Games – Report
Round 13 (Thursday, March 4, 2004)
Garry Kasparov
Veselin Topalov
Peter Leko
Francisco Vallejo
Teimour Radjabov
Alexei Shirov
Games – Report
Round 14 (Friday, March 5, 2004)
Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko
Francisco Vallejo
Garry Kasparov
Veselin Topalov
Vladimir Kramnik
Games – Report

Topics Linares
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