Linares R10: All games drawn, Ivanchuk near collapse vs Topalov

3/1/2008 – Anand vs Carlsen and Radjabov vs Aronian were relatively peaceful draws; Shirov pressured Leko with an extra pawn. But the greatest tension was to be seen in the game Vassily Ivanchuk vs Veselin Topalov. The latter got into trouble after sacrificing a pawn, Ivanchuk had a virtually winning position, blew it in tactical complications and almost lost. Express report.

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Morelia-Linares 2008

The Morelia-Linares tournament is taking place from February 15th to 23rd February in Morelia, Mexico, and from 28th February to 7th March in Linares, Spain. The second half of the event runs from February 28th to March 7th, 2008. It is taking place in the Theatro Cervantes in the Centro Histórica de la Cuidad Linares. The rounds start at 16:00 local time (= CET, 20:30h Chennai, 18:00 Moscow, 15:00 GMT/London, 10 a.m. New York). You can find the starting time at your home location here.

Round ten report

Round 10: Saturday, March 1st

Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

After all the excitement so far in this tournament, a round like today’s was bound to happen – and even so it wasn’t really that bad. The first game to finish was unfortunately the round’s most attractive pairing: leader and World Champion Viswanathan Anand enjoyed the white pieces against his closest competitor, “Wonderboy” Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen employed a slight sideline of the Sveshnikov Sicilian, and drew with consummate ease.


Magnus Carlsen arrives and greets his round ten opponent Vishy Anand


The arbiter and dignitaries vie for the privilege of starting the clock

Anand,V (2799) - Carlsen,M (2733) [B33]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (10), 01.03.2008
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.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 Ne7 13.a4 bxa4 14.Ncb4 0-0 15.Qxa4 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Bd7 17.Qa2 a5 18.Bd3 Bc6 19.0-0 Qb8 20.Bc4 Kh8 21.b3 f5 22.exf5 ½-½

One possible continuation from the final position shows the active resources latent in Black’s play: 22…Rxf5 23.Qe2 Qb7 24.Qg4 g6 25.Rfd1 Raf8! 26.Rxa5 Bxd5 27.Raxd5 Qa7, when White’s best is probably 28.Kh1 Qxf2 29.Qe2, after which 29…Qxe2 30.Bxe2 leads to a stale equality.


Levon Aronian could have caught Carlsen in a tie for second, had he defeated Teimour Radjabov with the black pieces. But that was never really in the offing. The game saw the popular and sharp Anti-Moscow gambit, and Radjabov introduced a novelty with 16.Qc1. Black responded reasonably, and White’s activity always looked like approximately enough for the pawn, but not more.

Radjabov,T (2735) - Aronian,L (2739) [D43]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (10), 01.03.2008
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Ne5 h5 10.h4 g4 11.Be2 Bb7 12.0-0 Nbd7 13.Qc2 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Bg7 15.Rad1 0-0 16.Qc1 Nh7 17.g3 f6 18.Bf4 a6 19.Rfe1 Rf7 20.Qc2 Rd7 21.b3 cxb3 22.Qxb3 Nf8 23.Be3 Qe7 24.a4 Qf7 25.d5 exd5 26.exd5 f5 27.Bf1 Ng6 28.Bg2 Ne7 29.axb5 axb5 30.Bd4 Bxd4 31.Rxd4 Rc8 ½-½.

A possible continuation: 32.Qb1 cxd5 33.Qxb5 Bc6 34.Qb2, when White needs to keep the d-pawn blockaded and Black can’t do anything to get it moving.


Shirov-Leko was a typical Marshall Gambit draw. Shirov tried almost to the first time control to make something happen, but despite retaining the extra pawn and trading off lots of pieces he was unsuccessful. Black’s bishop pair, and the light-squared bishop in particular, serve to give the second player both counterplay and excellent blockading possibilities, and Leko drew with ease.

Shirov,A (2755) - Leko,P (2753) [C89]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (10), 01.03.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d3 Bd6 13.Re1 Bf5 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Bxd5 cxd5 17.Qxd5 Rad8 18.Qg2 Qxg2+ 19.Kxg2 Bxd3 20.Be3 Rfe8 21.Nd2 b4 22.Bb6 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Rb8 24.Ba5 bxc3 25.Bxc3 f6 26.Ne4 Bf8 27.f3 Bc4 28.b3 Bb5 29.Ba5 Rc8 30.Nc3 Bc6 31.Rd1 Kf7 32.Ne2 h5 33.Rc1 Bd7 34.Rxc8 Bxc8 35.Bc3 Bd6 36.Kf2 g5 37.Ke3 h4 38.gxh4 Bxh2 ½-½


Finally, Ivanchuk-Topalov was a tense game that seemed for a while to be headed for a decisive result when White came out of the opening with a nagging edge

Ivanchuk,V (2751) - Topalov,V (2780) [B87]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (10), 01.03.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qf3 Qb6 10.Be3 Qb7 11.Qg3 b4 12.Na4 Nbd7 13.f3 0-0 14.Rfd1 Kh8 15.Kh1 Ne5 16.a3 bxa3 17.Rxa3 Rb8 18.Nc3 Ned7 19.Ra2 Nc5 20.Bc4 Qc7 21.b3 Bd7 22.Qe1 Rfc8 23.Rda1 Ne8 24.Nde2 Bf6

Now with 25.Ra5 Ivanchuk's opening advantage might have been even greater. After 25.Bd4 it was minimal. 25...Bxd4 26.Nxd4 Qb6 27.Qe3 Nc7 28.h3 h6 29.Ra5 Kg8 30.R1a2 Qb4 31.Nce2 Qb6 32.Nc3 Qb4 33.Nce2 Qb6 34.Ng3

34...d5?! Shocking – White wins a clean pawn. 35.exd5 exd5 36.Ndf5 Re8 37.Qxc5. Ivanchuk probably should have remained in the middlegame with 37.Qc3. 37...dxc4 38.bxc4 Bxf5 39.Nxf5 Re2 40.Qxb6 Rxb6

This endgame is very difficult to win – Black’s fantastic knight blockades the passed c-pawns while protecting the weakness on a6. Ivanchuk thought for a long time on moves 41 and 42, but failed to find a convincing plan; in fact, after his sloppy 45th and 48th moves, he actually needed to save the draw a pawn down – which he did (fortunately). 41.Kh2 Rd2 42.h4 Kh7 43.h5 Rf6 44.Re5 Ne6 45.Rxa6 Nd4 46.Rxf6 Nxf3+ 47.Kh3 Nxe5 48.Rd6 Rxc2 49.Rd5 Nxc4 50.Rc5 Ne3 51.Rxc2 Nxc2 52.g4 Ne1 53.Kg3 Nd3 54.Kf3 Kg8 55.Ke4 Nc5+ 56.Kd5 Nd7 57.Ke4 Kf8 58.Kf4 Nc5 59.Ke5 Ne6 60.Kd5 Ke8 61.Ke5 Kf8 62.Ke4 ½-½.


Vassily Ivanchuk – when he blew his advantage against Veselin Topalov in round ten
some wag on Playchess suggested he be put on suicide watch.


Former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov fourth with 50% in Linares 2008

Summary by Dennis Monokroussos of Chess Mind, pictures by Nadja Woisin

Current standings


Video reports by Europe Echecs


Schedule and results

Round 8: Thursday, February 28th

Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov
Vassily Ivanchuk 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Levon Aronian 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

Round 9: Friday, February 29th

Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
½-½
 Teimour Radjabov
Peter Leko 
0-1
 Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Alexei Shirov

Round 10: Saturday, March 1st

Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Teimour Radjabov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Sunday, March 2nd
Free day

Round 11: Monday, March 3rd

Teimour Radjabov 
   Vishy Anand
Levon Aronian 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
Veselin Topalov 
   Alexei Shirov
Peter Leko 
   Magnus Carlsen
GamesReport

Round 12: Tuesday, March 4th

Vishy Anand 
   Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
   Veselin Topalov
Alexei Shirov 
   Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
  Teimour Radjabov 
GamesReport
Wednesday, March 5th
Free day

Round 13: Friday, March 7th

Vassily Ivanchuk 
   Vishy Anand
Teimour Radjabov 
   Alexei Shirov
Levon Aronian 
   Magnus Carlsen
Veselin Topalov 
   Peter Leko
GamesReport

Round 14: Friday, March 7th

Vishy Anand 
   Veselin Topalov
Peter Leko 
   Levon Aronian
Magnus Carlsen 
   Teimour Radjabov
Alexei Shirov 
   Vassily Ivanchuk
GamesReport
Sunday, February 25th
Transfer to Linares, Spain

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