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The annual Spanish supertournament in Linares has concreted Vladimir Kramnik's participation for 2003. The announced field is now Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Leko [not Adams], Ponomariov, Vallejo, and Radjabov! It will assuredly follow its usual double round-robin (all-play-all twice) and should start in mid to late February. (Yes, that does leave someone free each round, which is completely idiotic. Why 7 and not 6 or 8? Seven was necessary when there was a last-minute dropout a few years ago, but now?)

Kasparov has dominated "his" tournament, winning convincingly in 99, 01, and 02, and tying for first with Kramnik in 2000. (When, in a charitable move, he gave the trophy to Kramnik saying, "I have quite a few of them already and this will be his first." We all wondered if Garry regretted his largesse when Kramnik beat him in their world championship match later that year.

Vallejo is the local star who stunned everyone by not finishing last in 2002 (Shirov did). Radjabov will be outranked by an average of over 100 points so this is a bit of a shock. The 15-year-old certainly has star power, but he could have waited a year so Topalov could play. He's in Wijk aan Zee earlier so we can see if he can live up to his rapid chess performance in Moscow last year. That reminds me, where is Topalov?! The Battling Bulgarian has practically disappeared since losing the Dortmund final to Leko way back in July. He is playing in Wijk aan Zee in a few days.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 5, 2003 10:46 AM.

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