Anand takes early lead in Linares

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World Champion Viswanathan Anand showed the way in the first round of Linares. Using his good old 1.e4, he beat Radjabov in a highly theoretical Sveshnikov, while all other games ended in a draw.

From February 18 till March 8 the 26th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de Linares takes place. It's the first tournament of Viswanathan Anand after he retained his world title in October last year, when he beat Vladimir Kramnik in a match for the world title. Corus participants Carlsen, Radjabov, Aronian, Ivanchuk, Wang Yue and Dominguez are there as well and the last name is Grischuk, who replaced Topalov, who is currently playing the Challenger's Match against Kamsky.

[TABLE=610] *Before the start of the tournament

There is no starting fee for the players this time but instead the prize fund is quite high: € 314,000. The first prize is € 100,000, the second € 75,000 and the third € 50,000.

Round 1 Linares 2009World Champion Anand took a few months off from work - well, tournaments that is. Today he showed that during the last few months he did more than just relaxing: in one of the most theoretical opening lines that currently exist, the 9.Bxf6 Sveshnikov, he reached a slightly better position and then demonstrated why queen and knight are supposed to be better than queen and bishop. Great manoeuvering, and a nice finish too.

With his win Anand immediately took sole lead, because all other games ended in a draw. Aronian-Carlsen had one great move, 19.e4, but with a positional exchange sacrifice Carlsen quickly showed that Black had not much to fear there.

Dominguez-Grischuk was also quite interesting from a theoretical point of view. For thirteen moves the two repeated their game of last year at the World Blitz Championship (we're talking about the sharp French Winawer where Black sacrifices his g- and h-pawn) and this time Dominguez went for 14.Rg1, but Grischuk only needed to play the standard stuff (sacrife the d-pawn, improve the position of the bishop and play ...f6 somewhere) to equalize - in fact he got a promising position, but couldn't find a way to make us of it.

As so often, Ivanchuk tried a relatively rare opening and today it was the Bogo-Indian. Wang Yue couldn't prove an advantage and instead allowed almost the whole board to be exchanged. All in all, this first round was not a bad start at all!



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