Grischuk wins Linares 2009 on tiebreak

PeterDoggers
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Linares R14Especially after such a wonderful penultimate round it was a bit of an anticlimax: all games in round 14 of Linares ended in a draw, and so Grischuk and Ivanchuk finished shared first. The Ukrainian's SB was higher and he left the tournament undefeated, but Grischuk was declared winner due to having more wins.

Photo: Macauley Peterson

From February 18 till March 8 the 26th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de Linares took place. There was no appearance fee for the players this time; the prize fund was 314,000 EUR. Grischuk and Ivanchuk shared the first and second prizes of 100,000 EUR + 75,000 EUR / 2 = 87,500 EUR. Carlsen earned 50,000 EUR.
Round 14 There's not much to say about the last round. All eight players played quite cautiously and this resulted in four games with lots of manoeuvering, but nothing spectacular came on the boards. Both leaders Grischuk and Ivanchuk came under pressure with the black pieces, but both held their own.

Linares R14And so Grischuk, who had been in the lead for more than half of the tournament, was declared winner on the number of wins (three, against two for Ivanchuk), since the first tiebreak rule (head-to-head) didn't work, with two draws between the two. After the game Grischuk said that he considered his game with White against Ivanchuk his best effort, despite the fact that it ended in a draw.

After a bad tournament in Wijk aan Zee, where he had other things to worry about (the drug test story), Vassily Ivanchuk showed his form of 2008 again, and didn't lose a single game (two wins and twelve draws - a 2802 perfomance). His comment on that: "I was lucky." Grischuk scored the highest performance: 2808. Carlsen, who finished clear third with a plus one score, was brilliant in a few games, but also had problems with his concentration in others, which kept him from playing for first place ("that's why I didn't win the tournament this year", he said himself).

World champion Anand started with a beautiful win against Radjabov, but after that he couldn't continue on the same level. He scored 50% which was a performance 40 points below his rating. Wang Yue and Dominguez scored almost exactly their expected results, while Aronian and Radjabov disappointed slightly, finishing on minus one.

And so the first three participants of the Bilbao Grand Slam Final, which will be held later this year, are known: Veselin Topalov (Nanjing), Sergey Karjakin (Wijk aan Zee) and Alexander Grischuk (Linares).

After Corus, Topalov-Kamsky and Linares, a busy period full of top-level chess has come to an end. But already in one week the world's best players meet again, at their traditional gig in March: the Amber tournament. With Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Karjakin, Kramnik, Leko, Morozevich, Radjabov, Topalov and Wang Yue it will be the strongest edition ever. More info here.



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