Topalov beats Vallejo, increases lead in Linares

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Topalov beats Grischuk, leads by a pointIn the 6th round of the Linares super-tournament, Veselin Topalov was in trouble against Francisco Vallejo until the Spaniard suddenly blundered a full rook. By then Gashimov and Gelfand had already drawn in a very theoretical Petroff. The last game to finish was Grischuk-Aronian, which also ended in a draw. Thanks to his win, Topalov is the world's number one player in the live ratings again.

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 6 report by Rick Goetzee


Ljubomir Ljubojevic

The main aspect that makes the pressroom in Linares a nice place to be is the presence of GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic, the 1985 winner. He lives in Linares and is present every day. Always standing in the same place, close to the monitors, he gives his opinion on the games in Spanish, English, Russian and a handful of other languages. Ljubojevic met his wife-to-be at the 1981 tournament. He then decided to settle in Linares, also because there was quite a bit of chess activity in the region, apart from the yearly grandmaster tournament. In those years there were plans to bring chess to schools, but unfortunately they didn't materialise. According to Ljubojevic this is a great pity, as he was often approached by parents telling him that their children would love to learn chess and he visited schools to talk about the game.


The press room, at the first floor of the Teatro Cervantes

Recently a second attempt has been launched. Only two cities in Andalusia have plans to integrate chess in the school curriculum: Sevilla and Linares. Ljubojevic says that it is a pity that it took almost thirty years before a second attempt was made but 'better late than never'.

Ljubo doesn't like the Sofia rules: 'they are funny'. In his view top chess players are artists and artists have good days and bad days and this should be accepted as part of the game. Also he thinks it's hard to enforce the rule, because if strong players want to make a draw they will find a way through a perpetual check or move repetition. "It is done because organisers think it will favour chess. What they should do is invite the right people, then they won't have to worry about short draws."

There was some confusion at the start of today's round at the board of Topalov-Vallejo. A guest made the first move and started the clock but Vallejo's clock started to run. The arbiter had to intervene to reset the clock.


Topalov and Vallejo pointing out the error to arbiter Faik Gasanov

Then Vallejo took three minutes to reply to Topalov's 1.c4. After an English opening the game became very sharp as Vallejo setup an attack against Topalov's king. It was hard, even for Ljubo, to give a correct evaluation of the position although it seemed that Vallejo was better. His main problem was the clock, having only one minute left for the last twelve moves. He played well for a long time till he hung a full rook on the 38th move and overstepped the time limit on move 40. According to GM Larry Christiansen on ICC's Chess.FM, Gashimov proved to have done a lot of good homework against Gelfand's Petroff. He achieved a promising position from the opening without counterplay for Black. However, Gelfand defended accurately and a draw was agreed in a knight endgame.

gashimov-gelfand Grischuk decided to burn the midnight oil against Aronian, trying to win a rook vs knight endgame with an extra pawn for Black. In an empty pressroom there was still the voice of Leontxo Garcia continuing his commentary for the tournament website. Finally, at move 101, the players decided to call it a day.


Before we'll leave you, we'd like to point out that GM Anish Giri, reigning Dutch champion and winner of the Corus B group this year, is doing wonderful commentary for Chessbase each round. This round he did Topalov-Vallejo, over here.

Games round 6 with brief annotations

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Linares 2010 | Pairings and results

Linares 2010 | Round 6 Standings


The town hall of Linares which proudly shows...


...the tournament poster - something the Spanish are really good at


Andalusian palm trees in sunny Linares


The entrance of the venue; the Teatro Cervantes

Photos © Rick Goetzee


More from PeterDoggers
Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Honorary Grandmaster Title Posthumously Awarded To Sultan Khan

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak

Wei Yi Wins 2024 Tata Steel Chess Masters In Thrilling Tiebreak