The Giants Awaken, Kramnik and Anand Take the Lead

3/1/2003 – After six rounds the heavyweights have taken their rightful places at the head of the crosstable. Vishy Anand defeated Peter Leko and Vlady Kramnik demolished Radjabov to claim his share of first place. Vallejo-Kasparov was a draw with a few twists. The stage is set for two big clashes tomorrow: Kasparov-Anand and Leko-Kramnik. Come watch live at Playchess.com! More..

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Linares Super GM 2003 – Round 6

XX International Chess Tournament
Cuidad de Linares 2003 (Cat. XX)

Round 6 (Friday, February 28, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Leko, Peter
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour

The giants have awoken! Long-time rivals Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik moved into the lead in Linares today. The 2000 FIDE world champion Anand swapped places in the standings with Peter Leko by defeating him in a wonderful game. Classical champion Vladimir Kramnik sent Teimour Radjabov to bed without dessert with a crushing kingside attack. Kasparov swapped queens early against Vallejo and seemed content with the draw.

Leko came into the round in clear first place and left it in clear third. Anand had done some homework and he played an extraordinary gambito grande in the same 3.Bb5 Sicilian he used against Kramnik in the fourth round. It was about time somebody got something other than a losing position from these anti-Sveshnikov lines. After disasters like Ponomariov-Kramnik and Ponomariov-Leko, you begin to wonder just how much better for black the Sveshnikov could be.

Accepting the pawn sacrifices left Leko scrambling to develop his pieces. In the diagram Anand played 15.d6! to open diagonals for his bishop and queen.

15...Qxd6 16.Rfe1 a5 17.Qxc2 Bg7 18.Bxa5 and Leko had given back both pawns but still had a very difficult position. 10 moves later and White's advantage had crystalized into a winning endgame with a two vs one pawn majority on the queenside.

To beat Leko you need to put a stake through his heart (not a steak, he's a vegetarian), chop his head off, burn the body, and dump the ashes into a deep pit. (That's a metaphor. No real Peter Lekos were harmed in the writing of that sentence.) Although he has sharpened his play in the past year his tremendous preparation and formidable technique make him very hard to beat.

He was putting up stiff resistance until Anand brought out the garlic and holy water with 44.Rxd8!, winning two pawns for the exchange and creating two deadly connected passers on the kingside. Somehow you just knew Leko would end up in another marathon endgame!

44...Rxd8 45.Rc7+ Ke6 46.Rxb7 Red5 47.Rxh7 Rb5 48.Bc5 and it was only a matter of time. Did someone say time? Anand was his usual speedy self and, also thanks to the opening minefield Leko had to step though, was soon an hour ahead on the clock. But more time probably wouldn't have helped Leko, and Anand moved into first place in Linares.

Shared first place, that is. Long before Leko resigned Vladimir Kramnik had taken his slice of first place. He crushed Teimour Radjabov in the youth's seemingly inevitable French Defense with a steamroller of a kingside attack that came right out of the opening. Radjabov's dependence on the French hasn't really hurt him, but he's had several dubious positions and today's game was a disaster for his preparation.

Kramnik came out with a strong knight versus the usual miserable French bishop and then smashed through on the kingside with both pawns and heavy pieces. Radjabov inexplicably sidelined his queen with 19...Qc4 and Kramnik used that time to mobilize his pieces.

In the diagram, Kramnik played a classic breakthrough with 22.f5! and Black was quickly blown away. 22...Qb6? (22...Qf7 survived longer) 23.Rh3! fxe5 24.Rxh6 Rf6 25.Qe8+ Rf8 26.Rh8+ and only Kramnik's time trouble gave Radjabov any reason to play on. Your copy of Fritz or Junior might argue about which checkmate is the fastest, but Kramnik wasn't going to worry about such things and he closed the door efficiently. It was like Kramnik was telling Kasparov, "Garry, don't try to finesse these kids, pick them up and give them a good hard shake!"

Kasparov decided not to try and test Vallejo and played a queen exchange that didn't leave many hopes for winning chances for either side. It should be noted that the game turned into an interesting one nonetheless, and even the opposite-colored bishops endgame was surprisingly lively and sharp.

Yet another big day of showdowns tomorrow as Kasparov takes the white pieces into action against Anand. A win for Kasparov would break the tournament wide open. Of equal interest is the world championship preview pairing Leko-Kramnik. More Bb5, anyone?

Mig Greengard

Standings after round six

 

Round 1 (Saturday, February 22, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Radjabov, Teimour
0-1
Leko, Peter
Round 2 (Sunday, February 23, 2003)
Kasparov, Garry
0-1
Radjabov, Teimour
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Kramnik, Vladimir
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Round 3 (Monday, February 24, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Vallejo, Francisco
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Leko, Peter
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Round 4 (Tuesday, February 25, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Leko, Peter
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Round 5 (Thursday, February 27, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Leko, Peter
1-0
Vallejo, Francisco
Kasparov, Garry
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Round 6 (Friday, February 28, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
½-½
Kasparov, Garry
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Leko, Peter
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Games – Report
Round 7 (Saturday, March 1, 2003)
Leko, Peter
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
Kasparov, Garry
-
Anand, Viswanathan
Ponomariov, Ruslan
-
Vallejo, Francisco
Games – Report
Round 8 (Sunday, March 2, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
-
Anand, Viswanathan
Kasparov, Garry
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
Leko, Peter
-
Radjabov, Teimour
Games – Report
Round 9 (Monday, March 3, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
-
Kasparov, Garry
Kramnik, Vladimir
-
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Anand, Viswanathan
-
Vallejo, Francisco
Games – Report
Round 10 (Wednesday, March 5, 2003)
Vallejo, Francisco
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
Ponomariov, Ruslan
-
Radjabov, Teimour
Kasparov, Garry
-
Leko, Peter
Games – Report
Round 11 (Thursday, March 6, 2003)
Leko, Peter
-
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Radjabov, Teimour
-
Vallejo, Francisco
Kramnik, Vladimir
-
Anand, Viswanathan
Games – Report
Round 12 (Friday, March 7, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
-
Radjabov, Teimour
Vallejo, Francisco
-
Leko, Peter
Ponomariov, Ruslan
-
Kasparov, Garry
Games – Report
Round 13 (Saturday, March 8, 2003)
Kasparov, Garry
-
Vallejo, Francisco
Leko, Peter
-
Anand, Viswanathan
Radjabov, Teimour
-
Kramnik, Vladimir
Games – Report
Round 14 (Sunday, March 9, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
-
Leko, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
-
Kasparov, Garry
Vallejo, Francisco
-
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Games – Report

Topics Linares 2003
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