Linares R2: Topalov and Grischuk score first wins

2/15/2010 – Bulgarian GM and World Championship challenger Veselin Topalov scored a fine positional win over Azeri GM Vugar Gashimov. Alexander Grischuk of Russia dismantled Israeli GM Boris Gelfand, while Levon Aronian of Armenia used the Berlin Defence to get a somewhat shaky draw against Francisco Vallejo. Games with commentary by GM Anish Giri.

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February 2010
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Ciudad de Linares 2010

The traditional Linares tournament is taking place in Andalucia, Spain, from February 13 to 24, 2010. It has been shrunk down to six players – in 2009 there were eight, and in previous years there have been up to 14 players. The category this time is 21, with an average Elo of 2757 (and no player below 2700). Time controls as two hours for 40 moves, then one hour for 20, then 20 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 second increment (starting from move 61).

Round two report

By GM Anish Giri

Round 2: Sunday, 14 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Vugar Gashimov
Alexander Grischuk 
1-0
 Boris Gelfand
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

In today's rounds there were two wins by Topalov and Grischuk against Gashimov and Gelfand respectively, and a draw by Aronian, who however tried to win, by employing his "opening for a win" as he calls it, Berlin Wall. After Vallejo's relatively rare 10.Ne2, Aronian employed a new move 10...b6!? Vallejo played a bit risky with 14.g4 and had Aronian played 16...c5!? Paco could have ended up worse. After 16...Nd5 however, the game was going into the direction of a draw, when Aronian all of a sudden missed an easy trick.

Vallejo Pons,F (2705) - Aronian,L (2781) [C67]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (2), 14.02.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Ke8 10.Ne2 b6 11.Nf4 Bb7 12.Rd1 Rd8 13.Rxd8+ Kxd8 14.g4 Ne7 15.Be3 Ke8 16.Rd1 Nd5 17.Nh5 h6 18.c4 g6 19.Nf6+ Nxf6 20.exf6 c5 21.Ne5 Bd6 22.Re1 Bc8

23.Bxc5! A shock – 23...Bxc5 or 23...bxc5 allows 24.Nxg6+ and 25.Nxh8. 23...Bxe5 24.Rxe5+ Be6. White is a pawn up, however opposite coloured bishops allowed Black to save the game easily anyway. 25.Be3 Kd8 26.b3 h5 27.gxh5 Rxh5 28.Bg5 Rh8 29.h4 Re8 30.f3 Bd7 31.Re7 Rxe7 32.fxe7+ Ke8 33.Kf2 Bc6 34.b4 a6 35.f4 Bd7 36.Ke3 c5 37.a3 f5 38.Kd3 Kf7 39.Kc3 Be8 40.Kb3 Ke6 41.Kc3 ½-½. [Click to replay]


Topalov,V (2805) - Gashimov,V (2759) [D11]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (2), 14.02.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6. This time Vugar chooses the Slav instead of Benoni. 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3. A solid positional line, that brought Topalov some successes in his World Championship match against Kramnik in 2007. 4...a6. A solid Chebanenko Variation. 5.Qc2 g6 6.Bd3. To prevent Bf5 for the time being. 6...Bg7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Nbd2. It seems more logical to develop the knight to c3, and then after 8...Bg4 9.Ne5 Be6 we get one of the tabias of the Chebanenko Variation. 8...Nbd7. Here Bg4 makes less sense due to for example simply h3. 9.cxd5. When the knight has gone to d7 this exchange makes a lot of sense. 9...cxd5 10.b3








10...Nb8! Regrouping the knight, which now goes to c6. 11.Ba3 Nc6 12.Rac1 Be6 13.Qb2 Re8 14.h3 Rc8 15.Rc2. So far the players were just making some moves. Now Gashimov decides to exchange his bad bishop. But it also has some drawbacks, as we will see. 15...Bf5 16.Bxf5 gxf5 17.Ne1 Ne4. Instead of this move the sharper and trickier f4 deserved attention, using currently bad position of knight on e1. 18.Nd3 e5!? Gashimov decides to open the centre, but b6 the with idea to place the queen on d7 and then some slow plan with e6 was possible too. 19.Nxe4 dxe4 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.dxe5








21...Rxc2. I expected 21...Bxe5 and then after the clever intermezzo 22.Rxc8 Qxc8 23.Qe2 White is again slightly better, due to the weak pawn on f5. Still it would have been better than what Vugar got in the game. 22.Qxc2 Qa5 23.Bd6 Bxe5. Now we see Gashimov's idea – he wanted to exchange the bishops. It is logical to exchange some pieces, but now he has not only a weak f5 pawn but also a bad king. 24.b4 Qd8 25.Bxe5 Rxe5 26.Rc1 Rd5 27.a4 b5 28.axb5 Rxb5 29.Qa4 Qd6








30.Qa1! Beautiful geometry. Topalov occupies the long diagonal, but I don't know how he could use it after Black would play Qe6. But of course, there is no doubt that he would remain better. 30...Qe5 31.Qxa6. An important choice. Topalov decides to exchange the remaining queenside pawns. It is a good decision, since now he is not bound to the b4 pawn. That is why 30...Qe6 was probably better. 31...Rxb4 32.Qh6 Rb8 33.g3 Qe6 34.Qf4 Rc8 35.Rd1 Rc6 36.Rd8+ Kg7 37.Kg2. These moves underline White's advantage, and they are especially unpleasant in the time trouble that Vugar had. 37...h6 38.Qb8! now white is winning. 38...Qf6








39.Rd5. 39.Rh8! was the winning move. The idea was that after 39...Kg6 White goes 40.h4 with the threat of h5+ Kxh5 Rg8! cutting the black king off the board and mating him with some Qb1-h1 manoeuvre. 39...Re6 40.h4 h5? Black could still survive with 40...f4 but I am afraid that the rook endgame after 41.Qxf4 Qxf4 42.gxf4 would be lost anyway. In any case black should have tried that. 41.Rd8. Now Rd8-g8-g5 is a threat and White is completely winning. 41...Kh7 42.Rg8 f4 43.gxf4 Qxh4 44.Rh8+ Kg6 45.Qg8+ Kf6 46.Qd8+ Re7 47.Rh6+ Kf5 48.Qd5+. Great positional win by Topalov. He convincingly underlined the weakness of Black's doubled f-pawns. Gashimov should have possibly tried 17...f4, after which the game would not have been so one sided. 1-0. [Click to replay]


Grischuk,A (2736) - Gelfand,B (2761) [E55]
XXVII SuperGM Linares ESP (2), 14.02.2010 [Giri,Anish]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3. Again Nimzo-Indian, but this time Grischuk is on the white side. 3...Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0-0. One of the "mainest" positions in chess theory – some thousands of games were played from this position! 7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nbd7 9.Qe2 a6. A little bit side-line – just some 200 games were played with this move! 10.a4 Obviously preventing b5, but now the b4 square is weak forever. 10...cxd4 11.exd4 Nb6 12.Bd3 Nbd5 13.Nxd5!?








Interesting move that forces Black to choose between two almost equally good captures. The other move here was a logical Bg5. 13...Nxd5. The first new move. In the game Ivanchuk-Speelman 1991, exd5 was played. Gelfand chose to play against the isolated pawn without having one himself. 14.Qe4 g6. Now the dark squares around the king are a bit weakened, but Nf6 is too dangerous because of Qh4, while f5 weakens the e5 square too much. 15.Bh6 Re8 16.Ne5 Bd7 17.Qf3 Qe7 18.Be4. Threatening Bg5, which doesn't bring much now due to simple f6. 18...Bc6








Now the knight on d5 has a very good support, but... 19.Bxd5!? A very surprisingly decision, but now there is no one left to cover the f6 square. 19...Bxd5 20.Qf4 f5. Otherwise Bg5 and Ng4 are coming. 21.h4 Rac8 22.Rac1 Bd6 23.Rfe1. The position doesn't look so bad for Black, with the bishop on d5. But somehow it is difficult to find a move for him. Maybe b5 here is an idea. 23...Qf6








24.Rc3! With the idea to transfer White's other rook to g3 via e3. 24...Rxc3 25.bxc3 Rc8 26.Qg3 Be4 27.h5 Bxe5 28.dxe5 Qf7 29.Re3. The opposite coloured bishops clearly favour White, since White's bishop is very powerful and can be transfered to f6, while the Black one is just shooting into nowhere, even though it has a good looking outpost on d5. 29...Kh8 30.Qh4 gxh5 31.Rg3 Bd5








32.a5! Demonstrating that Black has no move at all. 32...f4 33.Rg7 Qf5 34.Qe7 Qe4 35.Qf6. Nice black-squared win by Grischuk, which makes me wonder – what did Gelfand do wrong? 1-0. [Click to replay]

Current standings

Schedule and results

Round 1: Saturday, 13 February 2010

Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Levon Aronian 
½-½
 Alexander Grischuk
Boris Gelfand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov

Round 2: Sunday, 14 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Vugar Gashimov
Alexander Grischuk 
1-0
 Boris Gelfand
Francisco Vallejo 
½-½
 Levon Aronian

Round 3: Monday, 15 February 2010

Levon Aronian 
   Veselin Topalov
Boris Gelfand 
   Francisco Vallejo
Vugar Gashimov 
  Alexander Grischuk
Games - Report

Round 4: Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Alexander Grischuk
Francisco Vallejo 
   Vugar Gashimov
Levon Aronian 
   Boris Gelfand
Games - Report

Round 5: Thursday, 18 February 2010

Boris Gelfand 
   Veselin Topalov
Vugar Gashimov 
   Levon Aronian
Alexander Grischuk 
   Francisco Vallejo
Games - Report

Round 6: Friday, 19 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Francisco Vallejo
Alexander Grischuk 
   Levon Aronian
Vugar Gashimov 
   Boris Gelfand
Games - Report

Round 7: Saturday , 20 February 2010

Vugar Gashimov 
   Veselin Topalov
Boris Gelfand 
   Alexander Grischuk
Levon Aronian 
   Francisco Vallejo
Games - Report

Round 8: Sunday, 21 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Levon Aronian
Francisco Vallejo 
   Boris Gelfand
Alexander Grischuk 
   Vugar Gashimov
Games - Report

Round 9: Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Alexander Grischuk 
   Veselin Topalov
Vugar Gashimov 
   Francisco Vallejo
Boris Gelfand 
   Levon Aronian
Games - Report

Round 10: Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Veselin Topalov 
   Boris Gelfand
Levon Aronian 
   Vugar Gashimov
Francisco Vallejo 
   Alexander Grischuk
Games - Report

Live commentary on Playchess

Naturally the games of the Linares tournament are being broadcast live on Playchess. In addition to the moves (and live chat with thousands of other visitors) we also have special audio commentary by two well-known grandmasters:


Playchess (and ChessBase Magazine) commentator GM Daniel King
who is famous for his Power Play DVDs


Yasser Seirawan, who has an interesting Best Games DVD

Schedule of commentators

13th Feb  

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

14th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

15th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan  

5:00 p.m.

16th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

17th Feb Free day  

18th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

19th Feb  

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

20th Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

21st Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan

5:00 p.m.

22nd Feb Free day  

23rd Feb

GM Yasser Seirawan  

5:00 p.m.

24th Feb

GM Daniel King

6:00 p.m.

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and 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 PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!


Topics Linares 2010
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