Three draws in round 3 Linares

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Three draws in third round LinaresAlexander Grischuk and Veselin Topalov maintained their shared lead in Linares after all round 3 games ended in a draw today. Don't judge this round by the results, though, as all three games were highly interesting fights.

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 3 report by Rick Goetzee



Snow in Linares There are reports that because of Global Warming the south of Spain will have a desert climate in thirty years from now. But the people from Linares are not too worried, as thirty years ago the same prediction was made and did not come true. And last night it was snowing!

Today there was heavy rainfall before the start of the round and it was a damp affair when the players took their places at the board. As usual there were not many spectators in the auditorium. But with the move from the Anibal Hotel to Teatro Cervantes there are more non-chess players in the audience, probably people taking a break from shopping. Today there was a young woman with her 3 year old daughter. The little girl was impressed by the typical atmosphere of a chess tournament and sat quietly in her seat staring at the stage. Later she was spotted in the press room eating cakes and cookies. When they left, she said to her mother: 'I like it here, I want to come to your work more often.'

Another nice quote came from a visitor who said after the games had started: 'Those pieces are really beautiful, I liked it when they were lined up. Now they are scattered all over the place; it looks very messy.' Sometimes it's nice to look at our game through the eyes of an outsider.

Gashimov-Grischuk was a repeat from the exciting game they played at the World Team Championships only a few weeks ago. In the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Sicilian Najdorf, Grischuk was the first to deviate, probably because his slightly artificial 15...Rh7 from that game can probably be answered by 16.g5. Today Gashimov proved to be well prepared but couldn't claim an advantage; soon the game fizzled out into a draw.

gashimov-grischuk

Just when we wrote that the Benoni is a rare opening at this level, Veselin Topalov plays it. In the big encounter against Aronian the Bulgarian sacrificed a pawn with 22...b5 today. It looked pretty, but a few accurate moves later Aronian was clearly on top. White should probably have gone for e5-e6 somewhere; in the game Topalov got away with a draw by defending brilliantly. Just look at this one:

aronian-topalov

38...Nd6!! amazingly held the game.

aronian-topalov

In a Slav, Vallejo's set-up against could have backfired at an early stage, but Gelfand didn't see it. With 17.Bxd7+! Kxd7 18.Rd1! White suddenly threatens to win the black queen with Rd1-d4, to which there doesn't really seem to be an adequate defence. In the game Gelfand got a probably winning advantage anyway, but like Topalov, Vallejo managed to defend the game to a draw by using all the tactics available. Both Aronian and Gelfand will be disappointed after today's round...

gelfand-vallejo

Photos © María José Sánchez Rivera



Games round 3 with brief annotations



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Linares 2010 | Pairings and results




Linares 2010 | Round 3 Standings




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