Morelia/Linares: player profiles

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Who's playing in Morelia/Linares 2008? What are their strong and weak points? Who won the tournament three times? Player profiles.

Morelia/Linares is an eight-player, double round-robin and is held from February 14 till March 8. Participants are Anand, Aronian, Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Leko, Radjabov, Shirov and Topalov.

The first part takes place 14-23 February in the Mexican city of Morelia, after which the players fly to Spain for the second part of the tournament: February 28 - March 8 in Linares.



Name: Viswanathan Anand Country: India Born: 11 December 1969 FIDE-rating: 2799 Ranking: shared 1st Strong point: Status as world champion. Double winner (1998 and 2007). He's the best. Weak point: Being the best, he'll either win or disappoint. Forgot for a while that he was the world champ, after Mexico, until halfway Corus. Has to remove the match against Kramnik from his thoughts for a few more weeks.
Name: Veselin Topalov Country: Bulgaria Born: 15 March 1975 FIDE-rating: 2780 Ranking: 3rd Strong point: Fighter. Will to win. Doesn't fear hard core theory. Personally responsible for the end of Kasparov's career, three years ago. (Won, together with The Boss, in 2005). Weak point: Aftermath-gate (perhaps not a weak point anymore). And: slow-starter; it always takes some time before he realizes he's a terribly strong tournament player.
Name: Alexei Shirov Country: Spain Born: 4 July 1972 FIDE-rating: 2755 Ranking: 7th Strong point: Incredible talent for the adventurous. According to the experts, he played the prettiest move ever. Might have started a second youth, if we take Khanty-Mansyisk into account. Weak point: Finished (shared) last no less than four times in Linares. Has a tendency for pyromania every now and then.
Name: Peter Leko Country: Hungary Born: 8 September 1979 FIDE-rating: 2753 Ranking: 8th Strong point: Solid fellow. Loses very rarely. Nice bloke. Weak point: Too much of a nice bloke. Likes to win, prefers not to lose. Has his own father-in-law as a second, isn't that asking for trouble?
Name: Vassily Ivanchuk Country: Ukraine Born: 18 March 1969 FIDE-rating: 2751 Ranking: 9th Strong point: Experienced and unpredictable. Had won this tournament already before one of the participants was born. (Three times actually: 1989, 1991 and 1995). Weak point: Oldest participant. Hasn't won a super tournament for a while. Said to have difficulties with pressure, despite torso.
Name: Levon Aronian Country: Armenia Born: 6 October 1982 FIDE-rating: 2739 Ranking: 10th Strong point: Huge talent. Coming up with the toughest moves is like brushing his teeth. Won Corus. Weak point: Tends to forget to think at critical moments. Loves bughouse, which might lead to reckless sacrifices.
Name: Teimour Radjabov Country: Azerbaidzhan Born: 12 March 1987 FIDE-rating: 2735 Ranking: 12th Strong point: Young, energetic, fighter, will to win. Is playing the King's Indian almost as successfully as Kasparov. Speaks (and thinks!?) quicker than his shadow. Weak point: Tends to not keep an eye on his laptop. Doesn't like the Armenian snack semushka.
Name: Magnus Carlsen Country: Norway Born: 30 November 1990 FIDE-rating: 2733 Ranking: 13th Strong point: Biggest talent in the world. Said to rarely analyse his own games, and spending more time on tennis courts, and yet wins Corus shared, at 17 years old. Will be more successful than Michael Chang. Weak point: his backhand.

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