Linares R11: Topalov and Leko win, Anand leads

3/3/2008 – Veselin Topalov beat Alexei Shirov in an Exchange Grunfeld that lasted just 34 moves. Peter Leko got an extra pawn and ground down Magnus Carlsen in a 62-move effort. The other two games were drawn, which left Anand with a one-point lead over Aronian, Carlsen and Topalov, with three rounds to go. We bring you a full report with pictures and video interviews by Europe Echecs.

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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 eleven report

Round 11: Monday, March 3rd

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


The playing hall in Linares, with round eleven of the A and B tournaments under way

World Champion Viswanathan Anand is now the prohibitive favorite to win this year’s edition of the Morelia/Linares tournament, enjoying a full point lead with just three rounds to go. He took a short, easy draw against Teimour Radjabov; a fairly easy task against Radjabov’s Anti-Caro-Kann sideline. White’s 6.Nh3+ and 7.Nf4 garners the bishop pair, but the resulting position is so balanced that they offer no meaningful chances.


Azerbaijani star Teimour Radjabov


World Champion Vishy Anand from India

Radjabov,T (2735) - Anand,V (2799) [B18]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (11), 03.03.2008
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nh3 Nf6 7.Nf4 e5 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.dxe5 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qxe5+ 11.Qe2 Qxe2+ 12.Bxe2 Nbd7 13.0-0 0-0-0 14.Rad1 Nb6 15.Bc1 Bd6 16.Rfe1 Kc7 17.h3 Rhe8 18.Bd3 ½-½

Meanwhile, it looked like Magnus Carlsen, Anand's closest pursuer, would stay within half a point of the lead. When the queens came off against Leko on move 26 it looked like a typical drawish Sveshnikov ending with opposite-colored bishops. It turned out that White enjoyed a nagging edge, however, thanks to his passed b-pawn, and Leko did a great job of nursing the position for all it was worth. Utilizing the principle of two weaknesses, he turned to the kingside, first trying to loosen up Black’s pawns with 45.h5, then trying to create a cage for Black’s king by 47.h6. The position was still probably objectively drawn through White’s 52nd move, but after Carlsen’s decision to bring his king to the center with 52…Kg8 (maybe Black can hold with 52…Be3), 53…Kf8 and 54…Ke7, it was clearly over.


Cutting him down to size: a former prodigy faces the currently hottest prodigy


Peter Leko scored his second win in this tournament in round eleven

Leko,P (2753) - Carlsen,M (2733) [B33]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (11), 03.03.2008
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.h4 Bh6 14.a4 bxa4 15.Ncb4 0-0 16.Qxa4 Nxd5 17.Nxd5 a5 18.Bb5 Be6 19.Bc6 Rb8 20.b4 Bxd5 21.Bxd5 axb4 22.cxb4 Qb6 23.Rb1 Kh8 24.0-0 f5 25.Qa5 fxe4 26.Qxb6 Rxb6 27.Rb3 Rc8 28.Ra1 g6 29.Ra8 Rxa8 30.Bxa8 Bf8 31.b5 Be7 32.g3 Bd8 33.Bxe4 d5 34.Bxd5 Rd6 35.Bc6 Bb6 36.Rb2 Rd3 37.Kg2 Kg7 38.Be4 Ra3 39.g4 Bd4 40.Rc2 Rb3 41.Rc7+ Kh8 42.Rc8+ Kg7 43.Rc7+ Kh8 44.Rb7 Rb2 45.h5 Rxf2+ 46.Kg3 Rf4 47.h6 Rf8 48.Rc7 Bf2+ 49.Kg2 Be3 50.g5 Rb8 51.Rc3 Bd4 52.Rc6 Kg8 53.Bd5+ Kf8 54.Bc4 Ke7 55.Rc7+ Kd6 56.Rxh7 e4 57.Rg7 Kc5 58.Rc7+ Kd6 59.Rc6+ Ke5 60.Rxg6 Kf5 61.Rd6 Be3 62.h7 1-0.

Topalov-Shirov saw the old exchange sac line against the Gruenfeld made famous by the late David Bronstein, and Topalov brought something new to the table. His 16.Qd4 was relatively rare, and 20.Bd3 was a novelty. Shirov’s reacted well, but it took him a lot of time on the clock, and this may have cost him. On move 26, 26…Qxd5 would have given him a playable position. Instead, Shirov played 26…Qb6+?, and after 27.Kh1 Qe3 28.Qh4 made an even more serious error, 28…Re5? Perhaps this was Shirov’s idea on move 26, thinking he would regain the d-pawn in a more active setting, but after 29.Qf6, threatening both d6-d7 and Bxg6, he was completely lost.


The former FIDE world champion Topalov faces Latvian-Spanish GM Shirov


Successful: Veselin Topalov


Another painful loss for Alexei Shirov

Topalov,V (2780) - Shirov,A (2755) [D89]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (11), 03.03.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Ne2 c5 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Be3 Bg4 11.f3 Na5 12.Bd3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Be6 14.d5 Bxa1 15.Qxa1 f6 16.Qd4 Bf7 17.Bh6 Re8 18.Bb5 e5 19.Qf2 Re7 20.Bd3 Rc8 21.f4 Nc4 22.fxe5 Nxe5 23.Qxf6 Bxd5 24.exd5 Ng4 25.Qf4 Nxh6 26.Qxh6 Qb6+ 27.Kh1 Qe3 28.Qh4 Re5 29.Qf6 Ree8 30.Bxg6 hxg6 31.Qxg6+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kh7 33.Qf7+ Kh8 34.Nf4 1-0

Finally, Aronian-Ivanchuk saw almost surreal play from the opening, and the game was lively from the start until it’s sadly premature finish. It seemed that Black still had chances for the initiative in the final position (e.g. with 22…Qa8), and before that he may have missed the nice shot 18…b4 (19.Qxb4 Nc6 and all Black’s pieces are on their way to terrific squares).


Armenia's top GM Levon Aronian


Vassily Ivanchuk, perennial from Ukraine

Aronian,L (2739) - Ivanchuk,V (2751) [D37]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (11), 03.03.2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qc2 dxc4 8.Ne4 b5 9.a4 Bb7 10.axb5 a6 11.Nxf6+ Qxf6 12.Qxc4 0-0 13.Qxc7 axb5 14.Rxa8 Bxa8 15.e3 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Qxf3 17.Rg1 Qf5 18.Qc3 Qb1+ 19.Kd2 Nd7 20.Qc2 Qa2 21.Bd3 e5 22.b3 ½-½


Aruna Anand, wife of World Champion Viswanathan Anand


Sofi Leko, the better half of Peter Leko

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

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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