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Linares 2006 r2

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A second straight round of ferocious chess in Morelia. Three decisive games again, though with some uneven play. Leko and Svidler lead with 2/2.

Vallejo Pons-Svidler 0-1, Topalov-Bacrot 1/2, Ivanchuk-Aronian 1-0, Leko-Radjabov 1-0

I had the luxury of watching while on the phone with Kasparov, who is staying up way past his bedtime to watch the games. I'll include some of his comments in the next ChessBase report. He has been impressed with Leko, who outplayed Radjabov in a line they both specialize in today. The game finished explosively as Radjabov tried to find a tactical way out. 36.Qc4 was a star move.

The relentless Topalov was held by Bacrot, although it looked a lot harder than it seemed it would be. With just four pieces on the board Topalov played on and made it interesting. Bacrot collapsed against Topalov in an equal endgame at Corus and came close to a repeat performance. Vallejo Pons won the draw to start out with two whites and has been blown out of the water right out of the opening in both games. His new try and follow-up against Svidler's Grunfeld was, in Kasparov's succinct summation: "pathetic." It's in the same country, but Cuernavaca it ain't. Ivanchuk bamboozled Aronian in trademark fashion. The knight trek Nb4-Na6 is a classic.

Some player comments translated from the local paper:

Topalov: "I felt good about my chances during the game, but I think I let a few chances to win escape, not just one. My technique wasn't very good and sometimes you make mistakes in long games."

Vallejo Pons: "It's a shame because I've been getting bad openings and I haven't been able to come back. I'm not happy but I'm not playing badly. We didn't prepare for Svidler's ..Bf5."

That last is curious. I imagine the only reason you wouldn't expect 9...Bf5 is because of 10.g4. But Vallejo didn't play it until the next move, when it was too late. During the game Kasparov wondered "why play h4 if you aren't going to play g4?" Bad preparation and worse reaction.


I'm Ultimate Fighter on playchess.

Can someone explain to me the point of the Nb4-a6 manouver please. It's not that often that I have absolutely no idea what's going on even with people chatting about it on the server.

Mig I have to say that I liked your comments this evening. Be good to see more of you on the server.

It really seems that the top players are on a par with each other. Maybe Svidler is the one to watch, as he got both a Monster rating and some good performances of late. He's my tip for a supertournament title soon, if not here. And I think he can rise in the rankings too.

Anyway, illuminate this dark mind if you will.

I hope next year they list Shirov intead of this overrated boy Vallejo

Radjabov gets demolished--I am impressed with this game by Leko as well.

It's just a tactical manoeuver which capitalizes on White's pressure on the center and queenside, the main point being the following line:

21.Na6 Rb7 22.c5 Ra7 23.Qb3 bc5 (threatening Qc8 winning the a6 knight) 24.Nxc5, taking advantage of the pin on the e file.

It's easy to work out all the variants with the aid of an engine. Aronian prefered to play 21..Rc8 sacrificing the d6 pawn and trying to exploit the stranded knight, but it never really got into trouble because the b6 pawn was weak. So Ivanchuk won a pawn while keeping the superior position.

Agree about Svidler. His win over Topalov wasn't just an Anand-style blackout or anything, it was tough chess if time-affected. I still don't trust Leko, though he could prove a lot by beating Svidler today. Knocking Vallejo and Radjabov out in preparation isn't supposed to be a big deal for Leko if he thinks he's a WC contender.

Linares this year is really showing why you need Anand and Kramnik and Morozevich (Shirov??? Speaking of overrated...) rather than the young bucks. Of course, maybe it's on purpose. Invite patsies to get decisive games.

Still, I don't think decisive games are a measure of good chess. Although I realize I'm in the minority on that one.

It's not as if the lowest-rated players always finish last. It's easy to call them names when they are 0/2, but Radjabov made an equal score in Linares in the past. We've also had Bologan and Naiditsch winning Dortmund in the past few years. Inviting outside the top ten is essential or it just becomes an incestuous draw-fest. You need some players with something to prove and some unpredictability.

The Hungarian Peter will be very, very lucky to escape from the Russian Peter with a draw today and he knows it.

Mig, Off topic: First you bring up "Brokeback Mountain," and now "incestuous draw fest?" Is there something you've been meaning to tell us or is Freudian just a thing of the past?

We must remember Svidler´s positive record vs. Leko (+5 in classical chess I think, maybe Mig can correct me) and that today he´s playing White. An interesting game for sure, it may prove if Leko is consistent enough to win this tournament (maybe same for Svidler)

sure, some lower rated players should figure in a Linares line up, but it seems to me that the lower rated outnumber the higher rated in this version.. Nothing against Vallejo Pons, Radjabov and Bacrot, but I would much rather have more guys the list of Anand, Morozevich, Shirov, Adams and Ponomariov..

Bacrot is actually higher-rated than Shirov.
Shirov ain't what he used to be, unfortunately.

I wonder why there is so little interest in this year's Linares from chess commentators. Neither Yasser on PlayChess, nor Shipov on ChessPro.ru, nor Sakaev on e3e5 are providing live Internet commentary like they did during Corus. Round-by-round reports on various sites are also much more sparse then they were last year and they are posted very late (as of now, only Sakaev has some brief comments on round 2). Is it the result of a weaker lineup, time difference with Mexico (although it's should be fine for folks in the US) or something else?

most probably the time difference. I bet they will be back on track for the Spanish leg of the tournament.

Topalov's rectal Fritz chip broke right before the tournament, so he bought off all the commentators. :)

Or maybe really the time difference.

I don't know about Yasser and K.Sakaev, but I heard that Shipov was fired by the chesspro.ru administration and will never again appear there.

Does anyone know what happened to Shipov at chesspro? Here is his resignation/dismissal announcement (not too informative, unfortunately): http://kasparovchess.crestbook.com/viewtopic.php?id=98

Let me clarify a little the situation at ChessPro. Last week a popular KasparovChess guestbook became a more modern message board (its new address: http://kasparovchess.crestbook.com/ - anyone who can read and write in Russian is welcome!). KasparovChess is to a large extent a personal project by Sergey Shipov. However, ChessPro's CEO believed that there was a kind of a conflict of interests along with disloyalty on Shipov's part. As a result, Shipov has left the site he has been very much associated with. That's why there is no Linares coverage by Shipov at the moment. However, after public uproar both sides managed (just a hour ago) to find a compromise and hopefully Shipov is to continue his work as ChessPro's chief expert in which capacity he enjoys a well-deserved cult status.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 19, 2006 8:37 PM.

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