Three draws in 7th round Linares

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Three draws in 7th round LinaresWith three more draws in round 7, the drawing percentage Saturday rose to 77% in Linares. Veselin Topalov kept his 1.5 point lead, with three more rounds to go.

The 27th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez “Ciudad de Linares" takes place February 12-25 in Linares, Andalucia, Spain. As a result of the financial crisis, the event went back to the (nowadays almost universal) formula of six players, double round-robin.

This year Veselin Topalov (2805), Levon Aronian (2781), Boris Gelfand (2761), Vugar Gashimov (2759), Alexander Grischuk (2736) and Francisco Vallejo Pons (2705) play. The rounds start at 16:00 CET; rest days are 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, wit 30 seconds increment starting from move 61. The Sofia rules for offering a draw apply in Linares for the first time.

Round 7 report by Rick Goetzee

Five centuries ago Before telling you about the happenings in today's 7th round, we're going back 500 years. Because that's when the chess tradition in Linares was anticipated. Juan Huarte de San Juan (1530-1592) is the patron of Spanish psychology. He was a writer, philosopher and professor at the university of Baeza. One of his publications was Examen de ingenios in which he defined profiles of people who excelled at different professions. One of the profiles was that of a chess player, as Huarte was very fond of the game.

San Juan

The Huarte de San Juan street in Linares

According to Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Huarte described personal and psychological attributes which match Kasparov's characteristics more than 400 years later. As he was a high-profile and controversial figure the Spanish inquisition brought him to court and he was convicted. Then he promised that he would give the heritage of all of his work to the church and not to his nine children. This saved his life. His wish was to be buried in the Santa Maria church in the heart of Linares. With a twinkle in his eye Ljubo said: "It's clear that the spirit of Huarte is still present in Linares and that's why we have this great chess tradition."


The Santa Maria church in the heart of Linares

I also had a word with one of the organisers, Señor Paco Albalate. After reading all the comments from people expressing their disappointment with this year's tournament, I had to ask him a few questions. Q: Last year the announcement was made that Dubai would organise the first half this year. What happened? A: They made a lot of promises, also about prize money. But in the end nothing materialised and we don't really know why. But we are working with a number of candidates for next year's tournament. Also, next year a number of changes will be introduced but it's too early to give any details about that. Q: With the economic recession how difficult was it to put the tournament together this year? A: Very easy. We cut the budget by 30%. We cut the prize money, brought the number of players down and we cut hotel costs. And what helped was that the players generously accepted the changed conditions. Q: What about the rule of not allowing draw offers before move 40? A: Yes we introduced a version of the Sofia rules. We wrote to all players beforehand because it was important for us that they understood why we were doing this instead of just enforcing the rule. Q: How does it feel that people are saying that Linares is no longer the Wimbledon or the Tour de France of chess? A: It's clear that there are tournaments that are stronger. It's clear that Corus is a very important tournament with a different format than we have here. It's true that the Tal Memorial is a great tournament. But we have organised a first class tournament for 27 years. This year it may be a bit less than we are used to, but in 2011, if our projects work out, we will surprise the chess world. There were three more draws in Linares today. Grischuk took nine minutes for his response to Gelfand's 1.c4; eventually the Russian decided to go for 1...Nf6. The players ended up in a complicated rook ending which was drawn after 60 moves.


Alexander Grischuk pondering over his first move

Gashimov-Topalov was a Nf6/Bc5 Ruy Lopez in which Gashimov sacrificed a pawn. The game went along like Kamsky-Topalov 2009 till move 7 when Kamsky played 7.d4 followed by 7...Qe7 8.dxc5 Nxc5 9.Nc3. Svidler-Ivanchuk 2009 was followed a while longer which deviated with 10.Qxg7 Bxd4 11.Qg3 a6. At the right moment Topalov gave back the pawn and had the better chances, but a draw was agreed on move 42.


Aronian-Vallejo was the most interesting game of the round. In a Slav defence Vallejo came up with the mysterious 7...Qc7 and then 11...Qb6. It looked like a loss of tempo but eventually he reached a promising position with two rooks against the queen. Then the Spaniard won a pawn and then another, but suddenly the screen showed ½-½. What had happened? Nobody knew. Ljubo: "He is two pawns up and has good winning chances. He must have been very tired."

Games round 7 with brief annotations

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Linares 2010 | Pairings and results

Linares 2010 | Round 7 Standings


The chess hotel: Anibal

Photos © Rick Goetzee


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