Topalov beats Grischuk, leads by a point

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Topalov beats Grischuk, leads by a pointVeselin Topalov defeated co-leader Alexander Grischuk in round 5 of the Linares super-tournament. The Bulgarian now leads by a full point at half time. Vugar Gashimov beat Francisco Vallejo with Black, and while being a pawn up, Levon Aronian had to be satisfied with a draw against Boris Gelfand.

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 5 report

Some of you have already discussed the tournament website, and the fact that the contents is only in Spanish. That's disappointing indeed, but even worse was the 'Fotogaleria' page which contained only a Marca announcement video for the first few days. However, today we suddenly noticed two video playlists with some videos, not of the highest quality yet, but it's better than nothing. Below that, indeed a photo gallery has now been added. Just to let you know.

The game of the day was of course the encounter between the two tournament leaders, Topalov and Grischuk. It certainly provided excellent entertainment for the chess fans, but the number of mistakes was above average, at this level of play. Again it seemed that Topalov was avoiding the most theoretical lines, this time against Grischuk's Najdorf Sicilian. Just when his opponent was about to consolidate a slight positional advantage, the Bulgarian came up with a dangerous but highly creative concept: avoiding the exchange of queens with 20.Qb2 and sacrificing a knight (21.Nf5) to bring Bg2 to life.

Grischuk replied with a strong defensive set-up (...a5 + ...Ra6) and was suddenly winning after the slow (or 'lazy', as The Doctor used to call it) 26.Kb1. 27...Kh7, avoiding the Ne5 pin, would have won material. Topalov then missed the winning 29.Qc1 but it must be said that the ideas behind that one are very computeresque. It was Grischuk's turn to miss the very promising 31...Qg3 after which an equal (but slightly more comfortable for White) ending was reached. Around move 52 Grischuk suddenly collapsed.


Against Vallejo, Gashimov was confident enough to go for the Benoni again, and it's really amazing how the grandmaster from Azerbaijan keeps on surviving, and even winning these positions that are actually just better for White. He just knows them very well and has a great sense of timing and counterchances, like his compatriot Radjabov in the King's Indian. Moves like 19.Nb6 or 20.Ncd2 should be better for White, and 26.Qxc8 was a clear misjudgement of Black's play on the queenside.


Less entertaining was Aronian-Gelfand, except for the fact that White's novelty was deviating from a 1929 game. In a middlegame with opposite-coloured bishops Gelfand sacrificed a pawn and confidently held it to a draw, helped by the unsafe white king.


Photos © María José Sánchez Rivera

Games round 5 with brief annotations

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Linares 2010 | Pairings and results

Linares 2010 | Round 5 Standings


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