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Linares 2006 r5

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I was halfway through this item yesterday and forgot about it, closing the browser. Oops. Take 2. I'd have these notes up a lot quicker here and at ChessBase if the players would stop playing these tough endgames. Another couple of games like this and I'll be desperate for a few 20-move draws. Nah. Leko leads alone after a short draw with Bacrot. (28 moves but only seven of them new.)

This time it was Aronian-Svidler and Radjabov-Vallejo causing trouble. Svidler has been playing very well, but he imploded in this endgame. It was tough already, but 30..f5 turned it into a forced loss. Quite the hallucination. 37..Be8 lost instantly, but it was already doomed. I posted some raw analysis in the round 4 item Lots of pretty stuff. Radjabov's game with the Spaniard was a wild one. White had a good attack going, then black had a good attack going, then it was an endgame draw. Fun tactic with 29..Ne3+ if 30.Kxh3 Rh6 mate!

The Evil Ivanchuk showed up in round five. He was completely overrun with white by Topalov, who is now one win away from an even score. Really a pathetic game. Kasparov and I talked about the games and he was beyond disgusted. Even worse, Ivanchuk got into serious time trouble and had to make seven moves in seven seconds. Not a recipe for success. Garry pointed out this cool line: 29.Qh1!? with the idea of Qh6 if Black playes the natural 29..Nd2. After that White can force an amazing draw. Or win after 30.Qh6 Rxc1? 31.Ndf4!! If I have time I'll put an item with more analysis and Kasparov comments up at ChessBase today. Lots of action in the message boards today for a weekend.


Hi, Mig

I guess you were the author of the Aronian - Svidler analysis (as of the other games in round 5).
One thing is to be a chess journalist.
But to be able to produce an analysis like that
is deadly impressive. So instructive, so interesting. As all the comments to the other games. It must have taken lots of time and energy. Your work serving as the role model of the year for everybody who dare to call themselves a chess journalist.

Agreed, the analysis/comments have been highly impressive, and rewarding for the reader. Not only, but maybe particularly, that game. I don't know who does them, but if it's you Mig, keep it up.

In a very popular chess cafe of Athens we analyzed the move 35..Bd5 instead of 35..Bd7 in the game Aronian-Svidler. Is there any way for white to win after 35...Bd5 or are we so patzers that we couldn't find it? :-)


I'm fairly new to your chess blog, and I noticed that you and Kasparov talk quite often. Are you two good personal friends, or do you just collaborate with him on a regular basis? Or both?

Just curious.


Hello Michael. Both. I've known him since 98 and worked with him pretty much constantly since 99. Usually on things like speeches and books that aren't as much fun as watching live chess with him.

I believe you folks are talking about the ChessBase.com analysis of round five, which was, I believe, done by GM Mihail Marin, not me. (I believe it was done by Marin. I'm sure it wasn't done by me.) He's a professional writer and annotator and has done some of the best ChessBase training cd-roms. I'd like to think my stuff is entertaining, but that was some serious pro work that took three or four hours at least, great stuff. I did the lighter reviews of some of the early rounds, and most of Corus.


Ah Marin. He's good at such stuff. Real good. Thanks.

Ivanchuk's time trouble was not quite as broadcast. He had to make 11 moves in 13 seconds but then sped up and had four seconds left for move 40. He used 2 of them on move 40, which seemed quite slow given that he had twice made two moves in a second. A great exhibition of fast play - shame about the position.
After the game, Aronian and Svidler's post-mortme analysis indicated that Black could have drawn without the ...Be8 blunder. Their lines seemed quite convincing at the time but no doubt Marin spent a lot more time looking at it.

Marin also wrote probably the best chess book of the year: 'Learn From the Legends - Chess Champions at their Best' for Quality Chess. I e-mailed Aagaard the other day and he said something about a second edition.

Topalov implodes for a second time! The highest rated player resigned one move before being mated by the lowest rated player in round 6.

Fighting spirit is a good thing for anyone but as Shipov put it World champion MUST NOT be reduced to the 'glory' of mate-in-one...true, a patzer 1500 may not have seen that mating attack but you'd expect a mid-level GM to know what's he doing...

Any thoughts?...

The best book of last year that is.

Silman had very good things to say about the book:
"I can’t recall having seen a better book in the last two decades, and if the voting for “Book of the Year” were held now, it would be a slam-dunk to win this honor."

Aagaard said the new 'Learn from the Legends' would be out at the end of the month. They're also working on a lot of other interesting books at Quality Chess from what he says.

that was an exciting game Topalov - Vallejo Pons. it was a nice win for Vallejo and I hope it give him more confidence. this is the great thing about being given the opportunity to play strong players eventually you get stronger also.

I am sure there are many in Mexico that will celebrate his wonderful win. it was good for chess in Mexico, good for chess in Spain, and it was good for chess everywhere.

Congratulations Paco. You played well and deserved to win. this is a little reward for all the hard work you have done.

I am sure Topalov will return to his winning ways very shortly. but maybe not until after Linares. He might need some time off. rest and relaxation.

Anand is looking smart to have passed up Linares this year.


As you may know Svidler lost another Grunfeld today. What does Garry think about this? I have started to think that in a few years people will come up with its refutation. What is Garry's view about Grunfeld in general?

That's a good question, but a long answer would probably be kept for his New In Chess column. The best answer is probably how he stopped playing it. His description of why the Grufeld was a poor choice for London 2000 probably sums it up. Basically he said that it was just too fragile, too broad. Without flawless preparation you get killed, even get into serious trouble against players not in the top 10. They can find one nice idea somewhere and you're near death.

Of course it's playable, but for someone with the sick dedication to preparation he has, it was too much work for too few benefits. So he switched to 1..d5 and a little Nimzo/QI, saying it was solid and he could still get winning chances.


Thanks for the response. Among the players who quit playing Grunfeld you can also name Leko. Another question which volume of NIC will this article of Kasparov on Grunfeld appear?

It was just a thought. He does some very nice stuff on the Scheveningen in the next issue, as a long aside to the Adams-Topalov game. I'll see what he thinks. The next one will be on Linares, much about his first full year away from chess.

I've read many of Marin's articles in the Swedish magazine Schacknytt. Interesting and instructive is the least you can say. There's simply no doubt that "Learning from the legends" is worth buying.

Playing a little Grunfeld myself I would say that Svidler has been outplayed in these two games not out-theorized. The Bh4 stuff is not really one of the critical lines. Svidler's Grunfeld score still must be massively in the plus.

I think Topalov has lost his radio transmitter :)

"I think Topalov has lost his radio transmitter "

Or Cheparinov isn't getting the chances to get the hand signals through.

Have you guys noticed that there have been no press conferences after the games? Linares tournament with no press conference? That's weird.

Is Anand already the new (activ) nummber one?
Has anbody calculated how many points Topalov has lost during the first leg of Linares?

It was bad enough going from two rating lists to four each year, but this up-to-the-minute stuff is ridiculous! I'm actually in favor of the lists being updated nearly in real time, but the various references to records and bests are for the published lists. Let's wait until April. Plus, by then Kasparov will be off the lists so we can drop the "active" parentheticals.

Tournament is only half over. Topalov can still recover, although catching Leko is probably out.

Well, I made the 4 hours trip to Morelia from Mexico City this saturday to watch the games.
I was quietly entering the venue when people with cameras and brandishing vynil chessboards started running in my direction. It was Topalovīs entrance, who at a very fast pace, almost running, passed next to me.
There are to possible exits from the playing hall and spectators were standing guard for Vallejo and Topalov to walk out. At some point somebody shouted that Topalov was taking one of the exits and people ran to that one. Maybe it was a trick, because a minute later Topalov emerged from the relatively desserted exit. He was not in the mood for autographing.
With Topalov gone, people concentrated on Vallejo. The little crowd started shouting: "Vallejo, Vallejo", he went out and took pictures with schoolchildren who were there, despite the relatively late hour.

I was very surprised. Please, readers from other countries: is this treating of the chess elite normal? This is really the first top tournament I witness personally.

Normal isn't the word I would use, but you see such fanatical behavior in two types of places. First, in places with well-developed chess cultures with many chess fans. Big events in Russia draw big crowds and autograph seekers. Second, you see this in relatively provincial places that rarely receive global attention of any sort. I'd wager that most of the crowd that went to the opening ceremony in Morelia didn't know how to play chess.

And by relatively provincial I include even large cities in the developing world. They are usually delighted to be visited by anyone of international status, taking as a feather in the cap instead of the "ho-hum, another star" attitude you'd get in most major capitals. Just about any big name in any discipline that came to Argentina hit the front page of all the major papers and Buenos Aires is hardly a backwater.

The players were accorded major celebrity status in Morelia for the week. Interviews and photos every day in the local papers. There is no doubt they will leave behind a considerable chess boom.

I think Mig is being unduly dismissive of the Morelia crowds. The autograph hunters were everywhere; at the playing hall (probably 90% chessplayers on the first four days when the Mexican Open events were on) and in the streets (who knows if they were chessplayers but they certainly recognised the players out of context).
The enthusiasm shown was far greater than that at tournaments in, say, Russia or Indonesia, and comparable in fanatacism only to the crowds at the 1990 Manila Interzonal.

I wasn't trying to insult them, but I lived in Mexico for several years and have played chess in Morelia and just about every other Mexican city. DF has a tremendous series of outdoor chess clubs, but other than that there was a very low percentage of players. I'd forgotten about the Open and the crowds of players that would bring into town.

But expertise and previous interest has little to do with the tremendous enthusiasm for celebrities of all kinds in off the beaten track places. The breathless coverage in the Morelia newspapers was typical of the breed. It just confuses how much the attention has to do with chess. It's partially a semantic argument I suppose, although when it comes to issues of sponsorship and such it might have some value. But it's picking nits; sounds like it was good fun. I'm sure the players really enjoyed the attention and playing in front of a house full of people. I don't doubt it contributed to the fighting chess.

You should sign your name. We don't bite too much and people would know you're a trusted source!

The other strange thing about the Mexican crowds was how unexpected the large numbers and their enthusiasm were to the organisers. The organisers were very pleased, of course - they had players coming from all over Mexico (700+ non-Morelians in the Open events) which stretched their facilities to the limit. It seems that there may be a chess boom (internet fuelled?) on in Mexico which the regular chess club people are only just beginning to realise is happening.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 25, 2006 11:17 AM.

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