Linares R13: Ivanchuk joins Grischuk in the lead

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Linares R13In arguably the most spectacular round of Linares so far, Ivanchuk defeated Aronian to join Grischuk in the top of the standings. Carlsen missed a win against Radjabov and is in third place, half a point behind the leaders. Saturday is the last round.

From February 18 till March 8 the 26th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de Linares takes place. There is no appearance fee for the players this time; the prize fund is € 314,000. The winner takes € 100,000, the second place is € 75,000 and the third player earns € 50,000.
Round 13 An amazing round with four great fights, that's what Linares had to offer today. The funny thing is that in a way, the only decisive game of the day was also the least interesting. Aronian had an off-day and blundered a full pawn already at move 19, just after Ivanchuk had repeated moves. The 39-year-old Ukrainian, who will turn 40 during the Amber tournament later this month, made no mistakes, though there was a quicker win with the tactical shot 25.Nf5! that wins big material instantly.

Grischuk-Anand followed the main line of the Najdorf Poisened Pawn, and so the game was destined to end in a quick draw, not interesting at all, except for people who don't know games like Vallejo-Kasparov and Topalov-Gelfand and see it all for the first time. But...

But suddenly Anand started thinking in a position that was still theory. He spent about 17 minutes for 20...f5 and another 21 for 21...Kh8, which was a new, and very risky move. Especially when Black seems to be (theoretically) fine after 21...Rf7. Rybka suggests 26.Rg3 as a (perhaps winning) improvement for Grischuk. Anand offered a draw as soon as the position had become more or less balanced, perhaps still shaking a little about the tense moments that were behind him!

Against Dominguez' Gr?ºnfeld, Wang Yue tried the 4.Bg5 line and seemed to be getting a big advantage right out of the opening, but as so often it was easy to overestimate the power of White's d-pawn. A cunning defence by the Cuban kept everything together - OK, Black had to give an exchange but with such a queenside majority that's not a problem of course.

The round saw another tragedy for Carlsen, who had played a great game against Radjabov, but then blew a totally winning ending, falling for the last trick Black had in the position. He could (should?) have joined Ivanchuk and Grischuk in the lead, but instead he's on half a point behind them, going into the last round.

15.h4!? was a very interesting pawn sacrifice: for the material, Black had to bury his knight on h8 and his queen and rook were a long way from home. White built up the pressure and eventually emerged an exchange up, but Black had two connected passed pawns on the queenside.

After the time control it turnd out that White was still winning because he could use a mating threat to activate his rook. Playing quickly, confident that he was winning, Carlsen had Radjabov on the ropes, until 47.Kf3?? which allowed the study-like 47...Nb5! after which it was suddely a draw. A huge disappointment for the 18-year-old Norwegian, who has been giving away so many winning or drawn positions already in 2009.

The last round has Radjabov-Wang Yue, Dominguez-Ivanchuk, Aronian-Grischuk and Anand-Carlsen, so all contenders playing with the black pieces. If we had to, we'd put our money on Ivanchuk (who also won the event in 1989, 1991 and 1995!).

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