Linares R12: Carlsen mates Topalov, closes gap to Anand

3/4/2008 – The 17-year-old wonderboy from Norway has done it again. Magnus Carlsen got himself into a somewhat precarious situation, two pawns down, against the former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, but fought back to equalise. Just when everyone was expecting a draw disaster struck and Topalov blundered. Full report with games, commentary and video.

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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 twelve report

Round 12: Tuesday, March 4th

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


The start of round twelve in Linares

World champion Viswanathan Anand continues to lead, but Magnus Carlsen has closed back to within half a point of first as we head for the last two rounds after tomorrow’s rest day.

Anand drew comfortably with Peter Leko, enjoying a slight, safe edge throughout on the white side of an Anti-Marshall. After his 20.Qxg5N hxg5 21.c4!, it looked like that advantage might become serious, thanks to Black’s weak pawns on g5 and c5, but Leko’s ingenious defense enabled him to hold the position. He had no choice but to give up a pawn, but he did so in a way that allowed his pieces to coordinate while Anand’s lost their harmony; the result was a draw.

Anand,V (2799) - Leko,P (2753) [C88]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 04.03.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 Re8 10.Nc3 h6 11.a3 Bc5 12.Nd5 Nd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4 14.c3 Bc5 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Be3 d6 17.Bxc5 dxc5 18.Re3 Re7 19.Qh5 Qg5 20.Qxg5 hxg5 21.c4

21...c6 22.Rg3 Rd8 23.Rc1 b4 24.axb4 cxb4 25.c5 a5 26.Ra1 Ba6 27.Rxa5 Bxd3 28.Rxg5 Kh7 29.Rg4 Be2 30.Rg3 Rd2 31.Ba4 Rc7 32.Rb3 Rd1+ 33.Kh2 Rd4 34.Re3 Rd2 35.b3 Ra2 36.Ra8 Bb5 37.Rb8 ½-½.


Levon Aronian, Armenia's top GM

If Aronian had won his game, he would have pulled within half a point of the leader, but he was rather fortunate to draw. Shirov found a tremendous improvement over his game with Leko from two rounds ago – not a new move (Aronian was the first to deviate from the earlier game, with 27…Rc8 instead of Leko’s 27…Bc4) but a new plan. Instead of meeting …Bc4 with b3, he put the pawn on a3, played 30.g4 to cement his knight on e4, and then prepared and executed the h4-h5-h6 advance. The result was that Black now had to worry about passed (or potentially passed) pawns on both sides of the board, and Shirov gradually achieved a winning position.

Shirov,A (2755) - Aronian,L (2739) [C89]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 04.03.2008
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 Rc8 28.Rd1 Bc4

29.a3 Bb5 30.g4 Bc6 31.Rd3 Re8 32.Rd4 Rb8 33.h4 Be7 34.h5 Rd8 35.Rc4 Bb5 36.Rc7 Rd7 37.Rxd7 Bxd7 38.h6 gxh6 39.Bxf6 Bf8 40.Bd4 Kf7 41.Kf2 Be7 42.Ke3 Bg5+ 43.f4 Bd8 44.Nd6+ Ke6 45.Nb7 Be7 46.f5+ Kf7 47.Kf4

I thought during the live commentary on Playchess that Black could force a draw with 47…Bc6, taking for granted that 48.Nc5 Bxc5+ (or 48…Bd6+ 49.Ke3 Bxc5) would lead to a draw. Not so: as GM Mikhail Golubev pointed out, White puts his bishop on h4, the pawn on f6, and then brings the king to the queenside, winning. 47...Bg5+ 48.Ke5 Ba4 49.Nd6+ Ke7 50.Ne4 Bd1 51.Bc5+ Kf7 52.b4 Bc1 53.Nd6+ Kg7 54.f6+ Kg6 55.f7 Bb2+ 56.Ke6 Bxg4+ 57.Ke7 Bf6+ 58.Ke8 Bf3

59.f8N+! Not 59.f8Q?? Bc6 mate! By now Shirov was winning, but Aronian’s tenacious defense and White inaccuracies on moves 61, 67 and 73 led to a draw. 59...Kh5 60.Kf7 Bb2 61.Nxh7 Bxa3 62.Nf6+ Kh4 63.Ke6 h5 64.Ke5 Be2 65.Nde4 Bc1 66.Nd5 Kg4 67.Ne3+ Kf3 68.Ng5+ Kg3 69.Ke4 Bb5 70.Bd6+ Kf2 71.Nh3+ Ke2 72.Nf4+ Kd2 73.Nxh5 Bd3+ 74.Kd5 Kc3 75.Nd1+ Kb3 76.Nf6 Bd2 77.Ne4 ½-½.


Alexei Shirov

Ivanchuk-Radjabov was a typical Sveshnikov Sicilian draw, where the opposite-colored bishops were more significant than Ivanchuk’s extra pawn.


Vassily Ivanchuk in round twelve


His opponent from Baku: Teimour Radjabov

Magnus Carlsen vs Veselin Topalov

The game of the day way 17-year-old Magnus Carlsen vs former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, both sharing 6.0/11 and a point behind the leader Vishy Anand. In the first half Magnus had defeated Topalov with the black pieces (in an Alekhine Defence), and the Bulgarian GM was itching for revenge.


Itching for revenge: Veselin Topalov

Carlsen achieved nothing from the opening, a reverse Sicilian, and his attacking plan with 19.Bg5, 20.Be3 and 21.f4 left him insufficient compensation for the sacrificed pawn.


Luck with an aggressive, enterprising playing style: Magnus Carlsen

Carlsen,M (2733) - Topalov,V (2780) [A28]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 04.03.2008
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 Be6 10.Be3 Nd7 11.d4 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 c6 14.a5 Nc5 15.Qe5 Nb3 16.Ra4 Bd6 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qh6 Be5 19.Bg5 Qc7 20.Be3 Nxa5 21.f4 Bg7 22.Qh4 Bb3

23.Rd4!? This second sacrifice probably could have been accepted, but Topalov’s safe 23...Rad8 sufficed for an advantage as well. 24.e5 Rxd4 25.Bxd4 c5 26.Be3 f6 27.Nb5 Qd8 28.f5. 28.e6 would have been interesting (28…Qe7 29.f5 gxf5 30.Rf3 is one possible continuation), but Carlsen’s move leads to complex play as well, again sacrificing material for activity and headhunting prospects. 28...fxe5 29.Bg5 Qb6

White is two pawns down and struggling to show what he has for them. Magnus Carlsen goes on the attack: 30.f6 c4+ 31.Kh1 Qxb5 32.fxg7 Rxf1+ 33.Bxf1

Topalov could have avoided perpetual check with 33…Qd7, though after 34.Bh6 Nc6 35.Bxc4+ Bxc4 36.Qxc4+ Qf7 37.Qc1 Black will have a hard time creating real winning possibilities. His move 33…Kxg7?! was safer – or should have been. 34.Bd8 Nc6?? Incredible: this allows a forced mate. 34…Qd5 more or less forces White to take a perpetual check: 35.Bxa5 Qxa5 36.Qe7+ etc. 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.Bg5 threatening 38.Bh6#, so 37...Kg7 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Bh6 followed by 40.Qg7 mate. 1-0.

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 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov
Alexei Shirov 
½-½
 Levon Aronian
Vassily Ivanchuk 
½-½
Teimour Radjabov 
Wednesday, March 5th
Free day

Round 13: Thursday, March 6th

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
Saturday, March 8th
Closing ceremony

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