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Linares 2005

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The field for Linares 2005 is complete. It's Kasparov, Anand, Leko, Topalov, Adams, Kasimdzhanov, and Vallejo. Kramnik was on the first and second lists of participants I saw, but won't be playing. I don't know at what stage negotiations broke down. He has been replaced by the FIDE champion, a comic twist. Linares continues with the bizarre seven-player field for no apparent reason.


Kasimdzhanov! LOL, good! He needs more invitations to top flight tournaments. Also it will add a needed new flavor to Linares. Hope the tournament turns out better than last year.

Nice with Kasim. He's capable of doing well I'm sure, but he needs to be at his best. The thing is that he almost never performs at his rating, but always much lower or much higher. So looking at his actual rating might be even more misleading than ratings usually are.

I have never had a problem with Linares inviting one or two non-top 10 players to add variety to the field. It gives an added spark to what is otherwise quite often a dull tournament (witness Rajbadov's victory over Kasparov last year). Ponomariov got invited to a few of these things when he was FIDE champion and they always seem to invite at least one Spanish player (other that Shirov, that is), so there is a precedent of sorts.

It will be interesting to watch the Anand vs Kasparov games. Anand has been doing the "hot knife through butter" trick at recent tournaments. I'm not sure who I want to see win between these two. Then there will be Adams and Kasim. Will Adams get his "revenge"? And of course Kasim and Kasparov games will be fascinating. Too bad Kramnik isn't in. I'm sure there are at least a couple of players (i.e. Leko, Kasparov) who would want his scalp.

Quite bizarre that the FIDE champion should get an invite to replace Kramnik. Shouldn't Kasim have been at the top of the list in the first place??

I think with so many of my favourite players in this tournament that no matter who wins I'll be cheering them on (although I must admit I want to see the "old" guys teach the "youngsters" a lesson or two :-) Here's looking forward to some good chess.

It is strange that Kramnik is not playing. Anyway, as far as people at eachothers throats what about Leko after Kasparov! Kasparov really threw Leko some digs. I would hope we don't see early draws when they play. That will be a fun matchup to watch.

I'm really disappointed by Kramnik's absence. I rooted for him to beat Kasparov in 2000, and have tried to be a fan for a long time, but I must finally throw in the towel. He's either making a huge mistake or getting terrible advice from his agent. Now officially a chicken/weenie/drawnik to me.

Hmmm so Kramnik dropped out of Russian Superfinal where he knew GK was going to play, agreed to play WAZ where he knew GK was not going to play and is not playing at Linares.... where GK will play.

Of course there are almost certainly lots of more rational reasons for this chain of events and it is a bit early for conspiracy theories, but still....!

I'm not surpised that Kramnik isnt playing, he's obviously not going to play Kasparov again and is waiting till he retires, but WHY OH WHY hasnt Morozevich gotten an invite??? :-(( WIth KAsp, Anand, Topalov, Leko, Adams and Moro the field would have been MOUNTHWATERING!!! Oh well..

How far off is Hikaru? He's just now getting his first significant results, I know, so it was too late for this Linares. But where is he in terms of desirability for tournament organizers? Is he in the top 10, top 20, or top 50 right now? What would he need to do to get invited, for example, to Linares or Corus A in 2006?

Nakamura is nowhere near Linares calibre, especially not the way he has been playing lately. Give him a year more or two. Corus could work. The safest way is of course to win the B-group. :-)

Yes, two 2750 performances in a row, terrible!

Nakamura's not ready for Linares, but I doubt anyone would pick him for last place if he were dropped into the Corus A group next year. But the B group certainly mamkes more sense right now. He certainly fits in with their youth movement. He's playing at the end of January though, so maybe there was some conflict.

In general I agree with Kasparov that it's best for younger players to play in events where they can play to win without getting hammered. This is as true with 1600s as with 2600s.

Moro had a conflict with the Linares organizers in the past and may be non grata. He declined to play in 2000 and has never played there. But I don't know whether they're not inviting or he's not accepting.

Interestingly, Lineares now looks pretty much like the tournament proposed by Kramnik ("for the sake of discussion") to find his challenger in a unification match:

Kasparov, Anand and Kasimdzhanov are all playing, only Ponomariov is missing, but Leko is included and also Adams as FIDE finalist.

Vallejo is there as a strong "tourist", but in Dortmund 2003 they had Lutz playing, too.

The only difference is that Kramnik spoke of a "match tournament", whatever that means, but I hope that he sees the unique chance that Linares 2005 now represents to find a worthy challenger and that he goes for it.

Martin: match tournament probably means people play more than 2 games against each of the opponents.

I doubt very much that Kramnik is looking for a challenger now. Even if unification fails, Kramnik has just defended his title and it doesn't make sense to organize a new candidates tourney right away.

It wouldn't indeed make any sense if we had a normal candidates cycle going, but we haven't. I think that Kramnik is really interested in unification, he just wants to make the process more inclusive, because the Tripoli tournament was so obviously flawed.
And finding a challenger now doesn't mean that he has to play a new world championship match immediately. It has to be organized, sponsors have to be found and, what is certainly most important, the rules of a new championship cycle have to be established. This will take some time.

Kramnik could prove that he is still in favor of unification by seizing this opportunity. The only problem I can see is the status of the match Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov. As Kramnik himself said, Kasimdzhanov certainly "has earned the match against the great player Kasparov". But what status should it be given and how to integrate it in the unification process (sanctioning en passant the scandalous Tripoli event)?

What is wrong if Linares be considered as the qualification tournament. It is double round robin and almost all the top players are there. The winner of Linares will certainly have lot more credibility than:
- Kasparov hand-picking a challenger
- FIDE picking Kaspy to play Pono/Kasim
- loser Kasparov playing a rematch

Also, Kasparov, FIDE, or anyone else haven't yet proposed a better alternative.

Maybe that's why Kramnik is not playing as he doesn't want to get in the way of his challengers :)

Kapalik, "just kidding"

They would sure try much harder to win against each other!

Kramnik should get real and start playing chess again. He has been playing terrible chess lately, not even able to remain undefeated these days (he never tried to win before as well, but drew at least). Linares as a quals for his nonsense title? Are you kidding me? That's an insult to 4 players above him in the current effective rating list. Right now, this is how the chess world looks like, no matter who you support.
Kasparov, Anand, Leko, Topalov, Kramnik

So, Kramnik isn't better than 4 players above him.

Now, we have another farce on Women's side. They are organising World Women chess championship between 2 players (Krush and Chen)who are not even the national champion of their own country? Give me a break... these things just add to the confusion that most of the world is in about chess. How can you justify calling it as women world CC???

Just to tell Lin/Ken that Krush vs. Chen isnt the Women World Chess Championship, just the Accoona Women´s Championship...

Then why do they, and Chessbase, call it the Accoona Women’s World Chess Championship? Easy to get fooled.

Joyoyo: You better go and check out their website(and chessbase) now. They are calling it as Acooona world woemn chess chamionship. Easy to fool NY mayor and all. But, who endorsed it? Krush should know better!
Things start out this way only. Tomorrow, I can organise something and call it a WC??

The post starting with "Kramnik should get real and start playing chess again..." was not posted by me. There could be another Ken but I doubt Ken has the same email address as me.

Mig, could you remove the post unless the person responsible wants to grow a backbone and admits they wrote it. Thanks.

...should be "admit" not "admits".

"Admits" does work in the sentence. But it might be better to replace "they" with "he".

Yes, you are right Greg. Of course, it could be "she" too but odds are fairly high it is a "he". Regardless, third-person singular personal pronoun needed (yep, I'm just way too geeky :-)

Ken: you first hijack the whole post of mine. And, then tell Mig to remove it? what'sup with that? I am a 'she' and not happy about the way they are calling this women's world chess championship. Didn't know people care more about your grammar than this mistake. FIDE should take action on this and restrict Krush and Zhen to play in this one!!

Mig...Please let us know what has happened here and correct it if possible. Thanks.

Lin...I have no idea how my name and my email address ended up on your post. I would not hijack your post (even if I knew how). You certainly have a right to be upset...but not with me. My apologies to you though if I have inadvertently offended you and taken attention away from your valid points. Peace between us Lin.

Euro champion and Olympic gold medalist Chuky-star, one of just three guys outside The Big Liar to win Linares the past 15 years, is once again absent. Rentero's freakless sideshow is a Cirque du Blasee, a spice-free vindaloo. And someone should tell him that seven entrants was never cool in the first place. Toss in Chuky, Moro and Tkachiev and he'd be compelled to levy fines for quick wins instead.

Fact check. Leko, Anand, Kramnik, Karpov, Ivanchuk, and Kasparov have all won Linares in the past 15 years.

Ken/Lin: The duplicate "Kramnik should get real" post with your name and email was created by Lin 90 seconds after her original. Same IP number. Probably an accident. Perhaps a bug, although I've never seen it before.

Don't you know, everything is a world championship these days. Just put the name of your company or organization in front of it and technically it can't be argued with. At least they stopped calling them the champions of their respective countries, although that could start up again at any moment. It usually does.

Linares has always been about rating. Chukky doesn't have it these days. Moro once pissed off the Linares organizers with a late withdrawal. Plus, after his Corus performance he (and Tkachiev) would be on the wrong side of those quick wins.

What happened to Tkachiev? Funny to see him mentioned alongwith Moro cause he eliminated Sasha in the quarter-finals in one of FIDE's KOs.

Thank you Mig.

Quite right, my apologies for missing Kramnik and Anand as Linares champs. I was thinking of Leko, Karpov, The Big Liar and Ivanchuk.

And hey Mig, Linares can't be just about rating, since they began to give uber-props to FIDE with Khalifman, Pono and now Kasim in there, along with the perennial local whipping boy Vallejo providing their annual grace note. But if they did it like the Masters, where past champions get an auto-invitation, Linares would be showing the running-of-the-bulls kinda balls they lost a while back and bragging rights would be re-claimed.

Meanwhile I've been trying to determine how far Linares is from El Bulli, the world's #1-ranked restaurant with about an 18-month waiting list. If correctly timed, a trip to attend Linares with dinner at El Bulli would be a mondo money shot. But I chess-digress...

It's hard to count when you are so busy trolling.

Pono was there on rating by that point. Khalifman and Kasimdzhanov were both late replacements, although noteworthy because they didn't just take the next guy on the rating list. Call it props-but-second-best.

They gave up on having a Spaniard for a while when they cut the field, but now that Vallejo is top-20 he's acceptable. Polgar is the clearer exception. In fact, the 2001 event was an anomaly in several cases. Karpov for nostalgia, plus the then-lower-rated Grischuk and Polgar. Kasparov won three full points ahead of the field in the most bizarre final crosstable ever, so they ended that experiment.

Linares is on the other side of the country from El Bulli's location north of Barcelona.

Yeah, like a troll under a bridge. Many thanks for the location info, Mig! It sounds like a lengthy World Cup-style road trip, but I bet nothing refreshes a weary chessalytical mind like an 23-course Adria tasting menu.

I pick Leko to repeat his Corus trick, but he'll drop a game to Anand along the way. Kasim will be -1 and whatever the position, Adams will finish behind Topalov.

While it's a pity Kramnik didn't feel like playing Kasparov, he wasn't afraid of an on-form Anand, Leko, and Topalov in WAZ, so I can't imagine he has too many form worries. It's just been a long time since we saw KKA at a tourney.

Kasparov usually does well at Linares, the Anand-less field being an exception last year. With Kramnik gone and two serious tail enders, we should see some scores from Anand and Kasparov this year I'd think.

The question is whether Topalov can manage to put together a whole tournament like the first half of WAZ, or whether the top three will be Leko, Kasparov, Anand for a while.


Kramnik's no doubt putting the time to good use. Let's hope he's working on the new cycle.


Topalov's loss to Polgar in Corus 2005 was an accident (the blunder and the start of the idea were interesting). Had he won he would have tied for first with Leko. A draw would have tied him with Anand. Topalov was the only one to beat Kramnik, though Leko beat Anand (Top drew him). I also think Topalov played the most enterprising chess of the top 5 finishers (4 wins vs 2 losses and remember that study-like miracle draw that Grischuk pulled on him?). He still finished clear third inspite of the accident.

I have a feeling this is a breakout year for Topalov. He will be the most dangerous player in Linares, IMO. Look for him to exact revenge against Kasimdzhanov, and a startling win over Kasparov! My bold prediction: Topalov wins Linares 2005.

As a Topalov fan (based on his style and fighting spirit) I am rooting for him to win, but I think Leko is more solid and pure and simply a better player.

If Kasparov returns to form he is the favorite. But age has gotten the better of him and he can no longer convert winning positions.

As for Anand...too bad there are no real underdogs in Linares for him to beat so he will be happy to draw all his games.

Kazim...no Rapid playoffs buddy sorry. I would be really interested in seeing a 3-way match between Kasparov, Anand and Kazim for the Rapid World Chess championship.

I agree Topalov (as much as or more than Kasparov) is the player to watch in Linares; that was sort of what I meant above. But his difficulty has never been brilliance, but rather maintenance of composure. And Kramnik isn't at Linares for him to beat up on. Now that Shirov has lost form he's sort fo taken over the Spaniard's spot in the Kramnik beats Kasparov beats Shirov beats Kramnik cycle.

I wouldn't discount Anand. He'll get three points from the tail enders and probably nick Adams or Topalov for something to go with his traditional loss to Kasparov.

If you want a prediction:
Kasparov +3 (No losses, wins over Anand, Kasim x2)
Leko, Anand +2-+1 (beating up on the little guys)
Topalov, Adams +1 or even
Kasim, Vallejo -3.

Kramnik isn't in Linares for whom to beat up on? Kramnik beat Topalov last year.

Topalov's loss against Polgar was described as an "accident" above. Yeah, sort of. Although it's not like Kramnik's 20-move loss against Topalov as White is something we ought to start expect to happen regularly either.

I consider Leko the favourite in Linares. I'd be surprised if Anand won, frankly. He has had problems against both Leko and Kasparov lately and as Murali said there aren't enough weakies for him to beat up on. But of course, anything can happen when it might only take +2 to at least tie for first.

My Linares predictions, for what they are worth:

- Leko and Kasparov will fight for first place.

- Kasim will finish with a plus score, and may also contend for 1st.

- Vallejo will have his best Linares yet.

- Adams, Anand and Topalov will all have mediocre tournaments.

I have no real rational basis for the above predictions, with the exception that I think Leko is one of the strongest players in the world right now, and Kasim is underrated and hungry. So my predictions are based mostly on my gut feelings.

When does Linares start?


You should use your journalist powers to ask Linares organisers why they get 7 players. The standings are always weird with an odd number of players. Maybe they argue that they can have less free days since one of the players is resting anyway each day!

I'm looking forward to this tournament. I hope that Anand keeps his form. Kasparov hasn't been around for some time and thus the rest have shown their strengths. However with his presence, his opponents may feel his energy and play worse.

With everyone playing at full power, this should be a great tournament.

My predictions:
1-2: Leko, Anand +2
3-5: Adams, Topalov, Kasparov even
6: Kasim -2
7: Vallejo -3

Linares pairings are on Tue 22nd while play starts on Wed 23rd.

I can't see Topalov finishing at or near the top spot in this tournament. As much as I hope he defeats Kasparov as BoredOfYou predicts, it won't happen. Last year, Kasparov built an overwhelming attack against Topalov in the Ruy Lopez. And last time Topa beat #1 was in the mid 90s in Amsterdam with that crazy 6 Bc4 Najdorf and pawn sacrifice on e4: and I'm not exactly sure that was a standard control game. And all Topa fans have been, are, and will be reminded of Wijk an zee 1999's Pirc experiment. Who was it that said Topalov was the Kissereitzky (no way I'm spelling that right) of the modern era - he finds himself on the wrong side of a brilliancy.....?

In the head-to-head matchups, I don't see Topalov winning any mini-match. Leko has been in his head ever since the Dortmund Candidates. Even in Corus a month ago, Topalov put together a nice position apparently from home preparation, and Leko stuffed it with a knight sacrifice. Kasparov and Anand have good scores against Topa. Adams gave Topa his first loss at Wijk this year. If this is going to be a breakout year that starts in Linares, I'll be shocked and happy.

I agree with the comment by Vlagos about maintenance of composure, and I would add that it's an issue when he has a nice position. He doesn't seem to convert against the best opposition (ie the way Leko, Kramnik, or Kasparov (Linares 2004 notwithstanding) can). Plus, it's not like he's a fighter every game. He took some pretty boring draws with white in Corus this year and Linares last year. It didn't seem like he was pushing in his games against van Wely, Morozevich, and Anand.

Anyway, I like to criticize my favorite players in any sport/game: helps dealing with the disappointment forthcoming (Michigan Wolverine football team, Portland TrailBlazers, National Democratic Party, etc.)

The math probably doesn't work here....

1: Kasparov
2-3: Anand, Leko
4: Adams
5-6: Topalov, Vallejo
7: Kasimdzhanov

I would squarely disagree with all the people putting off Kazimdzhanov. In past years Leko, Ponomariov and Khalifman came to the field discredited only to find themselves ahead of a lot of other opposition. Remember that Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Topalov and Adams and Topalov could not beat him (the latter after 4 and 6-game matches, respectively). Don't think it will be easy for Kasparov, Anand or Leko (Leko IMO is the one most likely to beat Kazim).

Kasimdzhanov can do well for sure. He can also do extremely badly. Everything we have seen from him the latest years illustrates that. He either performs well above his rating or well below. His first tournament after winning in Tripoli was pretty much a disaster with 4.0/7 against a 2426 average. Also, Linares uses classical time controls as opposed to 90 30 and such, where he has done very well a couple of times lately.

Previous tail enders have found themselves ahead of what? Vallejo and Shirov. Shirov goes 0-2 to Kasparov and Vallejo, until recently, was just a favorite son who played for draws.

Kasim just isn't in the same class with this year's field. It is inconceivable that he will win a game against anyone but Vallejo except due to a lightning strike blunder (I note both Topalov and Kasparov are capable).

Even Vallejo has better prospects. Really, I think the variation is due to Kasparov and Topalov (either of whom could go +4) and Kasim (Who could easily go -6 rather than an expected -3).


Vlagos, you really have a weak memory if you think Kasim can't win anyone but Vallejo, as a look at Tripoli might show that he beat Adams 3 times, but suppose you just consider it a matter of chance. And the same of his good results in Pune or in the Olympiad (wins against Shirov, Sadvakasov and Van Wely) or even previous results. Of course his experience against the very top players is somewhat limited and his result is more or less unpredictable, and the above mentioned facts don't remove the possibility of a very bad result as some others have mentioned.
For the rest of the field I see Kasparov and Leko, probably in that order as the main contenders for the first place, but obviously Anand is also in contention even though his result in WAZ was a little dissapointing in my view. I also think Topalov has some chances to end near them if he keeps his good form from WAZ and avoids some blunders as against Judit, for me, he played the best chess there, along with LEko. Finally I'd put Adams around the equal score, without much variations and VAllejo is the clear favourite for last place, even though he has improved quite a lot lately.
Finally, I would like to know if any of you has heard about the amazing Fide announcement of Kasim-Kasparov match for April-May in Turkey with a 1.65 million dollar prize. If you can read Spanish, I found the news in http://www.marca.com/edicion/noticia/0,2458,594813,00.html and http://sportsya.com/welcome/noticias.php?id_not=38286&id_estruc=10, but no confirmation in fide's site nor in chessbase.com or any other chess site

Kasim beat Adams three times, effectively in rapid games, at the end of a KO. And Shirov, Van Wely, and Sadvakasov are not really the same as Leko, Topalov, and Adams, let alone Kasparov/Anand.

I expect him to fare poorly. While I give him credit for winning Tripoli, the KO's have only once (Anand) produced a reasonable champion; Khalifman, Ponomariov, and Kasim are all strong players who do well at shorter time controls, but no one can consider them serious candidates to be the strongest player in the world.


What do you mean Kasim beat Adams three times "effectively in rapid games"? One of the wins was in rapid. The two in the ordinary 6 games were definitely not. I don't like the time controls they used but they were far from rapid.

Also, he held his own against such a good player as Topalov, playing 2-2 in 4 games. Being capable to avoid losses is also important in a tournament like this.

The announcement about a Kasim v Kasparov FIDE match in Turkey has the ring of truth to it. In January, the Turkish government had apparently given in principle support for an April match, with a guarantee of around a million dollars. While that guarantee was not enough to keep Kasparov involved in negotiations with FIDE that seemed too vague to him, maybe the Turkish government offer has firmed up and Kasparov can be presented with a proposal which he can take or leave. (Presumably a Spanish journalist will ask him about this next week in Linares.)

The problem is that FIDE has no credibility in terms of financing, after its troubles getting money for anything lately, not to mention the bouncing checks in Vegas. Kasparov isn't going to play unless he sees a guarantee in writing from someone credible, like a bank.

Until then, he has no reason to play; he doesn't want to be involved in another fiasco that everyone will blame on him. I suspect that if he saw a bank guarantee, rather than an ultimatum without any offer, he'd sit down and play. Kasim is in the class of GM's that Kasparov plays SIMULS against. It's a great deal for Kasparov to get back in the challenger pool just by picking up a few rating points against someone like Kasim.


Here is my take on Linares 2005:

Kasim- are you serious? Had good nerves in Libya, too bad he didn't have quality opponents ; Topalov- has this guy won anything lately? More likely to be on the wrong end of another brilliancy than to win ; Anand - looked shaky at times in Corus and G.K. was not even there ; Leko- should enjoy win at Corus, more than likely his only of the year ; Vallejo - who?? ; Adams - strong contender.....10 years ago ; Kasparov- still the man, I bet favorites at Saratoga and will here, are you watching Vlady?

Any idea at what time the pairings are out and where will they be published??

Marca now has the pairings, at least for the first round: http://www.marca.com/ajedrez/linares05/calendario.html


Does anyone know if any website is webcasting the games live (apart from Chess21 where one has to pay a fee)?

linares good link for broadcast at top rigth online


Well here we go again. Big tournament, big names, big dodge by Kramnik. I wonder how Vlad fans are going to justify this latest side-step by the not so artful dodger?

What would have to be "justified"? His choice.

Fortunately we are still going to see Kramnik vs Kasparov in May, unless Kasparov dodges.

Does anyone know of a web site in English that covers the Linares 2005 tournament?

I would expect Anand to win Linares 05. He has been doing consistently well. If he wins this comp in which Kasparov is also playing it will be a true verdict of his world # 1 talent, and pave the way to becoming world #1. Although, I like Kasparov, his not playing many tournies to retain hin #1 FIDE rank is very unpleasing. Anand has won all major tournaments in the last two years 03 & 04, or at least a runner up in those he didn't win. So he deserves to be #1.

I'm new here but I'm thinking
Leko/Kaspy fight for first with Anand and Kasimdzhanov following. I think Topalov is gonna sink from here on out. Adams is playing a little loose based off the games. I do hope Leko takes the bank tho. He's the man ... Projections are low for Pons, but maybe he'll cause and upset, who knows.
That my 2 cents..

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 16, 2004 9:09 AM.

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