Linares R9: Grischuk beats Topalov

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Alexander Grischuk defeated Veselin Topalov in round 9 of the Linares super-tournament. The two are leading with just one round to go. Gashimov-Vallejo and Gelfand-Aronian were both drawn. Big pictorial report.

The 27th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez “Ciudad de Linares” takes place February 12-25 in Linares, Andalucia, Spain.

A six players, double round-robin, with Veselin Topalov (2805), Levon Aronian (2781), Boris Gelfand (2761), Vugar Gashimov (2759), Alexander Grischuk (2736) and Francisco Vallejo Pons (2705).

Rounds start at 16:00 CET, with rest days on the 17th and the 22nd. The rate of play is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for 20, then 20 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment starting from move 61. The Sofia rules for offering a draw apply in Linares for the first time.

Round 9

Just two rounds ago Veselin Topalov seemed sure of his first tournament victory in Linares, but two days later this picture has changed dramatically. Alexander Grischuk defeated the tournament leader with the white pieces in round 9 and should now be considered favourite for victory, since this year the first tiebreak rule is the individual enounters. Update: Here I forgot that Grischuk lost to Topalov in the first stage. The tiebreak rules are:

1. Individual result. 2. Highest number of victories. 3. Highest sum of points against players who scored 50% or more. 4. Remove the points scored against the player/group of players at the bottom of the standings. If still equal, do the same for the player/group of players above. 5. If still equal, blitz games will be played (but only to decide the 1st place).

Grischuk was 'pretty much happy' with his play, as he said after the game. And he had all the reason, since he had simply played a good game, and certainly better than Topalov. Slightly under pressure, the Bulgarian continued to play quickly, to try to create complications; a strategy we also saw for example during his match against Kamsky a year ago. This time his opponent kept his calm and didn't give away the advantage. During the last phase Topalov didn't defend optimally and so Grischuk won the ending with RBN vs Q easily, where it should have been more difficult.

Gashimov-Vallejo was drawn, and way before move 40, before which officially one is not allowed to agree to a draw. However, an exception is made in clearly drawn positions, and this was one of them.

Later Gelfand and Aronian also split the point and for the Armenian this was the 9th consecutive draw. His comment after the game: "A personal record! I once had eight, but never nine!"

Tomorrow we'll have a video with Grischuk's reaction after the game as well as a video on 'the draw', with comments by Gashimov, Vallejo, Aronian and Gelfand. Unfortunately the Hotel Anibal's internet speed is too slow to upload.

Games round 9

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Linares 2010 | Pairings and results

Linares 2010 | Round 9 Standings

Calle Cervantes (Cervantes Street)...

...where Teatro Cervantes, the venue, is located

Only three boards fill the stage this year...

...and just 10-20 spectators showed up on Tuesday

But the press room is crowded as always...

...with, amongst others, Ljubojevic and Topalov's two Dutch seconds, Erwin l'Ami and Jan Smeets

As always, the games shop across the street of Hotel Anibal is dedicated to chess again...

...with the flags of all the participants...

...and all kinds of chess sets....

...creating a beautiful picture

The January issue of the Spanish chess magazine Jaque

Does that cover photo look familiar? Sharp vision! It's by yours truly, also published over here; the report on the London Chess Classic for Jaque was done by me. :-)


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