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Linares 2010: r1-2

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The less said about the first round, the better. Not all draws are boring, but this was some high class swapitude. Unfortunately all three games went this way and it wasn't until the second round that Linares 2010 heated up. Grischuk beat Gelfand and Topalov took out Gashimov while Vallejo got nothing against Aronian's Berlin Defense. Both decisive games took a similar course, with a nagging advantage for white not looking like enough to win until time trouble had its wicked, ticky way with the defenders.

Gelfand was under pressure on the kingside and the right defensive setup is hard to find. 29..Rc7 looks like a good start, allowing the black pieces to defend along the 7th rank. After Grischuk's excellent 30.Qh4, threatening both Bg5-f6 and also to blast through on the h-file with Rh3, there's no defense. Gelfand could have dragged things out with 30..Kg8 31.hxg6 hxg6 32.Rh3! with the clever plan of rerouting the bishop again with g5-f6 and mating on h8. Grischuk's patience is also notable. The obvious 32.Rg7 immediately isn't at all easy to win after the queen gives itself up for the rook and bishop. But after 32.a5!, which threatens c4, Black has to weaken his position on the kingside and that same endgame is an easy win. If 32.c4 directly, 32..Bxc4 33.Rc3 b5 is possible. Subtle full-board play in support of a direct-looking kingside attack.

Topalov flexed his muscles by putting the squeeze on Linares virgin Gashimov. Black defended well for a long time, reaching Q+R vs Q+R with 4 vs 4 on the kingside. But Black had doubled pawns and very little time on the clock. Topalov is the best in the world at creating complicated dishes (some bob chorba, anyone?) from a few simple ingredients and he pushed until Gashimov cracked. Kasparov criticized 40..h5?? saying that he didn't think White could win if Black just held tight without giving up the key g5 square. Both sides slipped earlier, however. 37..Rb6 was better than giving up squares with 37..h6. Topalov could have ended things quickly with 39.Rh8! bringing the queen to f8 and then, in an amusing piece of computer geometry, the queen comes back across the board to attack the trapped black king from e2. Hard to blame Topalov for missing that one. He got it all back after 40..h5?? though, when just about any other move is better. Black can stay passive or go active with the pretty sac 40..f4!? and the rook endgame should be drawn.

A classic Topalov win, with relentless pressure leading to "luck" and making the most of his opportunities. I'm already getting excited about seeing whether or not Anand can defuse Topalov's dynamic power. Provoking him into going too far has worked in the past, but he's so good in complications it's a very dangerous game to play.

Round 3: Aronian-Topalov, Gelfand-Vallejo, Gashimov-Grischuk. I'm back on the air with ICC Chess.FM with the ever-exciting LarryC himself, Larry Christiansen. Gametime is 10am ET, 1600 local.


Mig obviously very excited whether Topalov will beat Anand and be so "lucky" like in past. I will cry from emotion. Let Topa solve the equation "Anand". I expect his "luck" help him again. :))

I think three players are capable of winning Linares 2010: Aronian, Grishuk and Topalov. It still remains to see how the upcoming WC will influence the play of Topalov. Winning with white against Gashimov is not the most difficult task I suppose. Though, I do expect fighting games from Topalov. It's just his style, and, I guess he's quite eager to regain the #1 position. Today he's facing Aronian. Looking forward to that one!

And yes, thanks for great blogging Mig!

All or nothing for Gashimov today. Some crazy stuff in what looks like some weird version of the poisoned-pawn Najdorf.

And a Benoni by Topalov against Aronian!

Gashimov and Grischuk followed their memorable game from the World Team Championship (Jan 8 2010) until move 15, Grischuk was the first one to deviate: 15.- 0-0 instead of the (too!?) creative 15.-Rh7.

Gashimov-Grischuk, Gashimov has just recaptured on g4 with the Queen. I think the black king is a bit short of defenders and will soon be nakedized.

Ah, thanks Thomas!

My crystal ball is a cloudy one. The fireworks in Gashimov-Grischuk has petered out. I thought Grischuk was snookered then.

Me too, I thought that it would be a result, not necessarily that Grischuk would lose through. However I didn't know that it was some deeply analysed variation! Ah the theory... one reason I never played the Sicilian as Black and always played some Mickey Mouse gambit like the Morra or the Wing gambit against it as White.

In the end Gashimov just got what looks like a better ending (to my amateur crystal ball) - apparently there was something he didn't like about winning the exchange with 25.Be3!?

The line seems to be an Azeri specialty: In his analyses of the earlier game Dennis Monokroussos mentions another game between Gashimov and Grischuk (Elista 2008, 1-0 64) as well as games by Radjabov and Mamedov:

It was already a very crazy position and now Topa plays g5 ...
Which part of playing safe as black is so hard to understand for this guy , anyway , i assume that all the babbling about lack of fighting spirit was a little premature.

The key to success in top flight chess is black wins. Topalov is great with the black pieces, which is why I admire him and wanted him to beat Kramnik - before he went nuts. Way back, Larsen always routed for black. Also note the Anand-Kramnik match. Black should not play to equalize but go for the jugular. There are many White specialists but not a whole lot black ones.

Also note Carlsen at Corus 2008. Lost two - only to bounce back next round with black wins (v.Wely, then Kramnik). This is what makes a champion.

Closing in on the 40th in Aronian-Topalov. its as crazy as it gets with this material.

or is black just losing? time for another pint ..

It looks bad for black indeed , but it was a thrill to watch .

Could end up as R+B vs R. Rxc4 Be7 Re7 Rxh4 d6.

And its a draw , gg.

3 draws. I hope to see a win in Round 4. Looking forward to Topalov/Aronian again on the 21rst.

I have it on good authority that Mickey MNouse NEVER played the Wing Gambit. Not sure about the Morra, however (!).


I think Top was completely lost at this point.....but Levon was too cautious and the bullet was dodged

I'd certainly like to hear more details on GM Mouse's repertoire, CO, if you could oblige.
NICE defence Toppy! I want to see this man's engines rev like in his best performances.

He should be happy about this result , tomorrow he has black again against Gelfand , i feel very optimistic about that .

The annotator Giri, the 15y.o. on Chessbase, is a very good one. He's even better than Marin.

I was more worried about Anand "defusing" Kramnik's solid play. With Topalov, I'm only worried about the opening preparation.

If Anand can side step Topalov's opening preparation, I think Anand should be fine. Anand can handle Topalov's over-the-board "dynamism." On the other hand, Anand will have a hard time handling any "dynamism" Topalov cooks up at home.

Well, I can only speak from my own observations. If anyone can come up with a gamescore involving Mickey Mouse, I'd be happy to alter my viewpoint!


I have the original score sheet of a Mickey Mouse - Donald Duck game somewhere in my house. As soon as I dig it up, I'll post it here.

I agree wholeheartedly. The minimization of chess into a color issue is outdated. A player should not have the idea that it's OK to draw with Black. You're giving up a half point from the outset. Makes no sense at all.

Of course the concept "win with white, draw with black" can still make sense in matches or team competitions - IF things go according to plan. In a team match on eight boards, there is often no need to score 100% or even 75%; 56.25% (4.5/8) does the job. And then the team gains, rather than loses half a point for each draw with black.
If things don't go as planned - see Anand-Kramnik.

In the given situation, maybe some people interpret too much into Aronian-Topalov?
- Topalov played an opening with black that suits his style (and that probably isn't part of his match preparation - but if I were Anand, I wouldn't be 120% sure about it!?)
- 30.-g5 may simply be the best move in the position, to avoid being squeezed to death. Not sure if it was a winning attempt, even less sure if black ever had winning chances in the game.
- Later 38.-Nd6!! was a brilliant move, and at the same time probably the only move.

¨ Later 38.-Nd6!! was a brilliant move, and at the same time probably the only move.¨

It was not , apparently ,according to Giri´s comments at chessbase:

¨ 38...Nd6! Brilliant resource that saves the game! However, there was also another very nice way to escape. [38...a3! 39.Nxa3 Nd6! Again this move! 40.Nc3 Bxe5 41.Rxb5 And here the surprise: 41...Ra8! 42.Rb3 c4 and however unbelievable it may seem, Black is making an easy draw.] ¨

Houses and cars are expensive and not every person can buy it. But, home loans are created to support people in such situations.

Thank you very much. I play 1 e4. I accept you resignn. Better luck next time ok. Very poop out now from hard game.

Thanks for the tips, I will return soon for more. This game is killing me.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 15, 2010 12:06 AM.

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