Linares R1: Anand defeats Radjabov in 61-move struggle

2/19/2009 – The World Champion, fresh from a long stay in India, went after top Azerbaijani grandmaster and world number six Teimour Radjabov in a Sicilian Sveshnikov. After 61 moves Vishy Anand was able to convert the queen ending into a full point. The other games were more-or-less hard-fought draws. We bring you pictures from the opening and commentary by GM Dorian Rogozenco.

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XXVI Linares 2009

This year the Linares 2009 tournament is being staged only in Spain – in the previous three years the first half was in Morelia, Mexico, and next year the first half will probably be in the Arab Emirates. The 2009 event goes from February 1th to March 7th, with three rest days. The prize fund is 314,000 Euros, with the winner getting 100,000 Euros, followed by 75,000 and 50,000 Euros for second and third place. There are no appearance fees for the players, so the motivation to fight for points may be unusually high. The venue is el Teatro Cervantes de Linares, the starting time of the games is 16:00h (4 p.m.) Spanish/European time. The participants are:

Player
Nation
rating
w-rank
Viswanathan Anand
India
2791
2
Vassily Ivanchuk
Ukraine
2779
3
Magnus Carlsen
Norway
2776
4
Teimour Radjabov
Azerbaijan
2761
6
Levon Aronian
Armenia
2750
11
Wang Yue
China
2739
13
Alexander Grischuk
Russia
2733
14
Leinier Dominguez
Cuba
2717
23
     Average rating: 2755 – Category 21

Round one report

Round 1: Thursday, 19 February 2009

Vishy Anand
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Lenier Domínguez
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Wang Yue
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk


The setup on the stage of the el Teatro Cervantes de Linares, at the start of round one

Wang Yue-Ivanchuk was an uneventful draw.

Aronian versus Carlsen chose a rare move in the main line of the Catalan. It seemed soon that White got some advantage, but Carlsen kept his cool and showed that Black’s position is very solid. The Norwegian sacrificed the exchange and achieved full positional compensation for it. A soon draw was a logical outcome.

Dominguez and Grischuk repeated a sharp variation from the French Defence, which they played few months ago at the World Blitz Championship in Kazakhstan and which was won by Dominguez, who later became the Blitz World Champion. However, in that game Grischuk had a nice position out of the opening, and in Linares the Cuban GM deviated on move 14. Grischuk was well prepared and achieved comfortable play again. Soon White was on the defending side, and after Grischuk missed some chances to increase his advantage in endgame, Dominguez didn’t have much problems to achieve a draw.

The longest game of the round was Anand-Radjabov. The Azerbaijani tried to rehabilitate a somewhat doubtful opening variation for Black, but the World Champion skillfully used Radjabov’s mistake on move 30, showing a computer-like precision in converting his positional advantage into a full point.

Anand,V (2791) - Radjabov,T (2761) [B33]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (1), 19.02.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7 11.Bd3 Ne7 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.0-0 0-0 14.c4 f5 15.Qf3 d5








In this complicated theoretical variation both players are the best specialists in the world – Anand for White, Radjabov for Black. The evaluation of this sharp position changed several times in the past 5-6 years. From big advantage for White to equality. In spite of its apparent aggressivity, Black is basically fighting only for a draw. 16.cxd5 fxe4 17.Bxe4 Rb8 18.Rfd1 f5. A surprise from Radjabov. Already five years ago in Linares Teimour was defending Black's side here. Against Topalov he played 18...Qh4, but didn't solve the problems. Then he found an improvement, 18...Qd7. His game against Vallejo went 18...Qd7 19.d6 Rb6 20.Qd3 Rd8 21.Rac1 Bf8 22.Qg3+ Bg7 23.Qd3 Bf8 24.Qg3+ Bg7 25.Qh4 Rxd6 26.Bxh7+ Kf8 and Black achieved sufficient compensation for the pawn, Vallejo-Radjabov, Linares 2004. After that the move 18...Qd7 became the main one for Black. However, White still keeps possibilities to improve and fight for advantage, for instance with 22.Rc7 instead of 22.Qg3+. In any case in the present game Radjabov didn't want to see the World Champion's preparation and decided to be the first one to deviate. 19.d6 Qf6 20.Bc6 Be6 21.Bd5 Rbd8 22.Qb3 Bf7. 22...Bxd5 23.Rxd5 Kh8 24.Rad1 secured White a large advantage in Vehi Bach,V (2385)-Kosintseva,T (2479)/Kusadasi 2006. 23.Nc2 Rxd6 24.Bxf7+ Rxf7 25.Rxd6 Qxd6 26.Ne3 f4 27.Rd1 Qg6 28.Nd5








28...Bf8. Only this move is a new one. In the game Bobras,P (2535)-Yakovich,Y (2583)/Port Erin 2006 Black won after having been lost on the way: 28...Kh8 29.Nc3 f3 30.g3 Qf5 31.Rd8+ Bf8 32.Nd1 Kg7 33.Ne3 Qg6 34.Qc3 White has a clear advantage. 34...Qb1+ 35.Rd1 Qe4 36.Rd5 Be7 37.h4 Bf6 38.Kh2 h5 39.Qc8 Be7 40.Qxa6 Bxh4 41.gxh4?? (41.Qe6 Bf6 42.Nf5+ Kg6 43.Nd6 wins for White) 41...Qxh4+ 42.Kg1 Kh7 43.Nf5 Rg7+ 44.Nxg7 Qg5+ and White got mated. 29.f3 Kh8. Radjabov intends to use the g-file, but this brings Black nowhere. 29...Bc5+ 30.Kf1 Kg7 was more precise, with good chances to equalize. For instance: 31.Nc3 Bd4 32.Ne4 Rc7 and Black is okay. 30.Nc3 Rg7? Following the initial plan. In fact Black just loses precious time: it will soon turn out that the white rook is better off on d2 than on d1. 30...Bc5+ 31.Kf1 Bd4 was called for, and if 32.Ne4 then 32...Rc7. 31.Rd2 Bc5+ 32.Kf1 Bd4 33.Ne4 Rc7 34.Rc2. This is the price for wasting time with the move 30...Rg7. The rooks exchange favours White. 34...Rc6 35.Qd3 Kg7 36.b3 h6 37.g4! Black's position is more difficult than it appears. After the inevitable exchange of rooks White will slowly prepare the attack. 37...fxg3 38.hxg3 Qe6 39.Kg2 Qc8 40.Rxc6 Qxc6








A typical case when the Q+N dominates a Q+B. White has a clear plan to attack the opponent's king: g4 followed by Ng3. The next part of the game is very instructive. 41.Qd2 Qe6. After 41...h5 42.Qg5+ Qg6 43.Qe7+ Qf7 44.Qd6 Qg6 45.Qd7+ Qf7 46.Qc6 Qg6 47.Nd6 White wins material. 42.g4 Qc6. Black has nothing better than wait for his destiny. The centralized bishop on d4 is completely out of play. 43.Ng3 Kh7 44.Nf5 Bb6 45.Qd3 Kh8 46.Qe2 Bc7 47.Qd2 Kh7. 47...e4 runs into mate after 48.Qd4+. 48.Ne7 Qc5. After 48...Qd6 49.Qc2+ Kh8 50.Nf5 Qb6 White must be careful to avoid 51.Nxh6? Qxh6 52.Qxc7 Qd2+ with a draw, but 51.Qe4 instead keeps the position winning. 49.Qd3+ Kh8 50.Qd7. Finally White penetrates with both pieces, creating decisive threats. 50...e4 51.Qe8+ Kg7 52.Nf5+ Kf6 53.Qxe4 Bb6 54.Kh3 h5








55.g5+! Kxg5 56.Ne7 Kf6 57.Nd5+ Kg7 58.Qe5+ Kh6 59.Qf6+ Kh7 60.Qf7+ Kh6 61.Ne7. A very strong game by Anand. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Aronian,L (2750) - Carlsen,M (2776) [E06]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (1), 19.02.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Bb7








12.a3. A rare continuation in a well-known theoretical position. Aronian, who by the way played this variation before with both colours, is preparing b2-b4, which fights against Black's main idea in this system: the advance c7-c5. The most frequent continuation here is 12.Bf4 a move played in the past also by Kasparov, or... Aronian himself. 12...Qc8 13.b4 Nbd7 14.Bc3. A new move. 14.Bf4. 14...Ne4 15.Nbd2 Bd5 16.Qc2 Nxd2 17.Bxd2 Qb7 18.Rac1 Rac8








White achieved his goal, but Carlsen reasonably considers that one single weakness (pawn c7) in his camp is easy to protect and therefore doesn't represent a real problem. 19.e4. After 19.Rfe1 Black can prevent e2-e4 with the radical 19...f5 (or 19...Nf6, but not 19...Be4? in view of 20.Ng5 Bxc2 21.Bxb7 and in opposite to the game White has kept the e-pawn.) 19...Bxe4 20.Ng5 Bxc2 21.Bxb7 Bd3 22.Rfe1. Aronian offers his opponent the possibility to change his mind and instead of giving up the exchange to return the extra pawn. 22.Bxc8 Rxc8 23.Rfe1 Bc4 leads to the position from the game. 22...Bc4! Carlsen follows his initial plan. Weaker is 22...Rb8 23.Rxc7 with advantage for White. 23.Bxc8 Bxg5! Just like on move 16, for Black is important to exchange enemy's knights. 24.Bxg5 Rxc8








White has won an exchange, but Black has a pawn for it and a very good control over light squares. In fact from the practical point of view the position is even easier to play with Black, since White doesn't even have targets for attack. After several more moves the players repeated the position and agreed to a draw: 25.f3 f6 26.Bf4 Nb6 27.h4 Kf7 28.Kf2 c6 29.Bd6 Bd5 30.Bc5 Na4 31.g4 Ra8 32.Re2 a5 33.Bd6 axb4 34.Bxb4 Nb6 35.Bc5 Na4 36.Bb4 Nb6 37.Bc5 draw. [Click to replay]


Dominguez Perez,L (2717) - Grischuk,A (2733) [C19]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (1), 19.02.2009
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 Qc7 10.Ne2 Nbc6 11.f4 Bd7 12.Qd3 dxc3 13.Rb1 d4 14.Rg1. In November 2008 at the blitz World Championship Black achieved a nice position after 14.g3 0-0-0 15.Bg2 Na5 16.0-0 Bc6 17.Bxc6 Naxc6 although the Cuban Grandmaster won the game. 14...0-0-0








15.g4. This move started to gain popularity after a game by Svidler in 2007. The idea behind 15.g4 is obvious: White takes away square f5 from opponent's knight. On the other hand such moves always produce weaknesses in one's own camp as well. After 15.Nxd4 Nxd4 16.Qxd4 Bb5 17.Qxa7 Bxf1 18.Kxf1 Qc6 the variations are analyzed until a forced draw! 15...Nd5. In most games Black used to protect pawn d4 with 15...Be8 but Grischuk reasonably considers that Black is happy to open the position and therefore leaves the pawn on d4 unprotected. Indeed, if Black was ready to sacrifice it before, then why not do it again? 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Qxd4 Kb8 18.Rg3 Bc6 19.Qc5 f6 20.exf6. More interesting was 20.Be3 which would have kept chances for both sides. The idea is to answer 20...b6 with 21.Bd4! 20...Nxf6 21.Qe5 Nxg4 22.Qxc7+ Kxc7. Due to reduced material the draw is the most likely outcome in this slightly better endgame for Black. 23.f5 exf5 24.Bf4+ Kc8 25.Rxc3 Nf6 26.Rc4








26...Nd5 [Here Grischuk missed some winning chances: 26...Rde8+! 27.Kd2 Ne4+ 28.Kc1 Rg4 (28...Rg1 brings nothing in view of 29.Kb2) 29.Be3 (29.Bd2? loses due to 29...Rg1; 29.Bg3 Nxg3 30.hxg3 Rxg3 is a big advantage for Black) 29...Ng3! 30.hxg3 Rxe3 and White must looking for escape in different kind of endgames with a pawn down.; Not 26...Rge8+ 27.Be2=] 27.Rd1 Nxf4 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Rxf4 Be4 30.Bd3 draw. [Click to replay]


Wang Yue (2739) - Ivanchuk,V (2779) [E11]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (1), 19.02.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 c5 5.Bxb4 cxb4 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.g3 d6 8.Bg2 Nc6 9.0-0 e5 10.d5 Nb8 11.a3 Na6 12.Ne1 Qb6 13.Nd3 Bf5 14.e4 Bg4 15.Bf3 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Nd7 17.Qe3 Ndc5 18.Nxc5 Nxc5 19.Nb3 Rfc8 20.Nxc5 Qxc5 21.Qxc5 Rxc5 22.b3 bxa3 23.Rxa3 a5 24.Rfa1 b6 25.b4 Rxc4 26.bxa5 Rxa5 27.Rxa5 bxa5 28.Rxa5 Kf8 29.f3 h5 30.Ra8+ Ke7 31.Ra7+ draw. [Click to replay]


About the author

Dorian Rogozenco was born on 18.08.1973 in Kishinev, Moldova. He has been a grandmaster since 1995 and played several Olympiads for Moldova, and then for Romania.

Rogozenko has produced several training CDs and DVDs for ChessBase, and two chess books. He is the editor-in-chief of the Romanian chess magazine Gambit (since 2002).


Picture Gallery


The Andalusia landscape in the early evening sun


Mountains and century-old olive trees – this is the place to be as winter slowly ends


The players arrive at the Teatro Cervantes – Magnus Carlsen and dad Henrik


All of them, in the first row: Anand, Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Radjabov, Levon, Wang Yue,
Grischuk, Dominguez – all neatly sorted according to Elo ratings


The legendary originator of the Linares tournament, Luis Rentero (right)


The Mayor (Alcalde) of Linares, Juan Fernández, announces that next year the first
half of the event will most likely be staged in the United Arab Emirates


Our colleague, Leontxo Garcia, translates the remarks to Sulaiman Al-Fahim

You may have heard of Dr. Sulaiman Abul Kareem Mohammad Al-Fahim, a billionaire philanthropist and, to be precise, a Goodwill Ambassador of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition, IIMSAM. The aim of the organisation is to free the world of malnutrition and hunger. He is currently in the spotlight after taking over the Premier League football team Manchester City last September and financing the purchase of Robinho for a record of £32.5 million. Sulaiman Al-Fahim is a keen chess player who represented his country as a youth and claims to have been ranked fifth in the world at the age of nine. He is president of the UAE Chess Federation for the period 2008–2012.


The drawing of colours: each player got to pick a silver olive tree ornament with a number
attached to its base. It started alphabetically with Anand (above), who drew the one


Second (according to the latin alphabet) was Aronian, who drew the two


Third was Carlsen, wo to the relief of the organisers drew a seven (proving the system was not fixed!)


All the players on the stage (unsorted), with the pairings being generated in the background


The pairings displayed on the official screen (use to check our tables!)

All pictures by Nadja Woisin in Linares


Schedule and results

Round 1: Thursday, 19 February 2009

Vishy Anand
1-0
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
½-½
Magnus Carlsen
Lenier Domínguez
½-½
Alexander Grischuk
Wang Yue 
½-½
Vassily Ivanchuk

Round 2: Friday, 20 February 2009

Teimour Radjavov
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Alexander Grischuk
  Wang Yue
Magnus Carlsen
  Lenier Domínguez
Vishy Anand
  Levon Aronian
Games - Report

Round 3: Saturday, 21 February 2009

Levon Aronian
  Teimour Radjabov
Lenier Domínguez
  Vishy Anand
Wang Yue
  Magnus Carlsen
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Alexander Grischuk
Games - Report

Round 4: Sunday, 22 February 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Alexander Grischuk
Magnus Carlsen
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Vishy Anand
  Wang Yue
Levon Aronian
  Lenier Domínguez
Games - Report

Round 5: Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Lenier Domínguez
  Teimour Radjabov
Wang Yue
  Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Vishy Anand
Alexander Grischuk
  Magnus Carlsen
Games - Report

Round 6: Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wang Yue
  Teimour Radjabov
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Lenier Domínguez
Alexander Grischuk
  Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen
  Vishy Anand
Games - Report

Round 7:Thursday , 26 February 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand
  Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Lenier Domínguez
  Wang Yue
Games - Report

Round 8: Saturday, 28 February 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Vishy Anand
Magnus Carlsen
  Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk
  Lenier Domínguez
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Wang Yue
Games - Report

Round 9: Sunday, 1 March 2009

Vassily Ivanchuk
  Teimour Radjabov
Wang Yue
  Alexander Grischuk
Lenier Domínguez
  Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian
  Vishy Anand
Games - Report

Round 10: Monday, 2 March 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Levon Aronian
Vishy Anand
  Lenier Domínguez
Magnus Carlsen
  Wang Yue
Alexander Grischuk
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Games - Report

Round 11: Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Alexander Grischuk
  Teimour Radjabov
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Magnus Carlsen
Wang Yue
  Vishy Anand
Lenier Domínguez
  Levon Aronian
Games - Report

Round 12: Thursday, 5 March 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Lenier Domínguez
Levon Aronian
  Wang Yue
Vishy Anand
  Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen
  Alexander Grischuk
Games - Report

Round 13: Friday, 6 March 2009

Magnus Carlsen
  Teimour Radjabov
Alexander Grischuk
  Vishy Anand
Vassily Ivanchuk
  Levon Aronian
Wang Yue 
  Lenier Domínguez
Games - Report

Round 14: Saturday, 7 March 2009

Teimour Radjabov
  Wang Yue
Lenier Domínguez
  Ivanchuk Vassily
Levon Aronian
  Grischuk Alexander
Vishy Anand
  Carlsen Magnus
Games - Report

Links

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

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Topics: Linares 2009
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