Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Linares: Round 1 Recap

The yearly tournament in Linares, Spain (also the home of the late, great Andres Segovia) - the "world championship of tournaments," as Kasparov once put it - is underway. Round 1 is in the books, and while there will be more thorough commentary available on the web soon, here are at least some first comments to tide you over until then.

Round 1:

Kasimdzhanov-Vallejo Pons, 1/2-1/2, 26 moves
Topalov-Adams, 1-0, 41 moves
Leko-Kasparov, 1/2-1/2, 26 moves
Anand - bye

Kasimdzhanov (the current FIDE knockout champion) - Vallejo Pons never got too interesting to start with, and when the players started repeating the position that was excuse enough to call it a day. The moves:

Kasimdzhanov(GM) (2678) - VallejoPons(GM) (2686) [E52]
Linares Linares, Spain, 23.02.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 b6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.cxd5 exd5 9.a3 Bd6 10.b4 Nbd7 11.Qb3 a6 12.a4 Qe7 13.Rb1 Rfd8N 14.b5 Nf8 15.Bb2 Ne6 16.Rbc1 axb5 17.axb5 Ne4 18.Qc2 N6g5 19.Nxg5 Nxg5 20.Rfe1 h5 21.f4 Ne4 22.Nxe4 dxe4 23.Bc4 Ra5 24.Bc3 Ra3 25.Bb2 Ra5 26.Bc3 Ra3 1/2-1/2

Topalov-Adams was a wholly different affair.

Topalov(GM) (2757) - Adams(GM) (2741) [E37]
Linares Linares, Spain, 23.02.2005

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2

7...e5 8.e3 [8.dxe5 Nc6 9.Nf3 Bf5=/+] 8...exd4 9.cxd5 Qxd5 10.Nf3 Nd6 11.Nxd4 Bd7 12.f3 Nc6 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.a4 [14.Be2 was seen in an earlier game and looks like a healthier choice in light of the game continuation.] 14...Qh5 15.Be2 Qh4+-/+ 16.g3 Qh3 17.Kf2 0-0-0 [17...0-0 is safer and also good, but White's king will be less vulnerable in this case too.] 18.Ra3 Rhe8

19.Bf1 Qe6 [19...Qh5 is what came to mind while watching this, with good prospects after 20.Bg2 Re6 (or 20...g5 ) ] 20.Be2 g5 Threatening ...g4, puncturing White's light square defenses. 21.Rf1 g4 22.fxg4 Qh6 [22...Qd5 23.Ke1 (23.Rg1 Ne4+-+ 24.Kg2 (24.Kf1 Qd6 with the threat of ...Qf6+ 25.Rg2 Nd2+-+) 24...Ng5+ 25.Kf1 Nh3 26.Qf5+ Qxf5+ 27.gxf5 Re5 is completely winning) 23...Qg2 leaves Black with a big advantage; 22...h5 is also quite strong] 23.Kg1 Qh3 24.Bd3 Black is still better, but White has consolidated quite a bit and covered most of the open lines. 24...Ne4 25.Rf4 Nxg3

Looks impressive, but the bad news is that White doesn't have to take the knight. 26.Rc3! [26.hxg3?? Rxd3 wins 27.Rxd3 (27.Qxd3 Qg2#) 27...Qh1+ 28.Kf2 Qg2+ 29.Ke1 Qxc2] 26...Re6?? [26...Rxd3 was forced 27.Rxd3 Rg8 28.e4 Bxe4 29.Rxg3 Qxg3+ 30.hxg3 Bxc2 31.Rxf7 Bg6 32.Re7 Re8 else White plays Bf4 and is at least equal (32...Kd8 doesn't help, due to 33.Bg5) 33.Rxe8+ Bxe8 34.a5 and White draws.] 27.e4 Suddenly, White is winning! 27...Nh5 28.Bc4 Qh4 29.Bxe6+ fxe6 30.gxh5 Qxh5 31.Rd3 Rg8+ 32.Rg3 Rd8 33.Be3 e5 34.Rf1 h6 35.b4 a6 36.b5 axb5 37.axb5 Bxb5 38.Rg7 c6 39.Qa2 Ba6 40.Qe6+ Kb8 41.Qd6+!


A tragedy for Adams, but it shows the level of resistance one must expect at the super-GM level.

Finally, we turn to the marquee matchup of the day, Leko-Kasparov:

Leko(GM) (2749) - Kasparov(GM) (2804) [B90]
Linares Linares, Spain, 23.02.2005

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.g4 Nb6 10.a4 Nc4 11.Bxc4 bxc4 12.a5 Bb7 13.Na4N Rc8 14.Qc3 Nd7 15.0-0-0 Be7 16.h4 Bxh4

[17.Qb4 Rb8 18.Qxd6 Be7 19.Nc6 (19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Qxe6 Qc7 21.Nb6 Nxb6 22.axb6 Qc6 23.Qe5 Kf7 24.Bd4 Rbg8 25.Qf5+ Ke8 and White certainly has good compensation here.) 19...Bxd6 20.Nxd8 Be7 21.Nxb7 Rxb7 22.Nb6 c3+/=; 17.Nb6 Nxb6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Qxg7 a) 19.Bxb6 Bg5+-+; b) 19.Rxh4 0-0-+ (but 19...Qxh4 20.Qxg7 keeps things fun.) ; 19...Bf6 20.Qxb7 was a fun idea I was looking at during the game, but Black has one (more than) sufficient resource: 20...Na4 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Qxc8+ Ke7 23.Qb7+ Qd7 24.Qb4+ Kf7-+] 17...Bf6 18.Bd4 [18.Qb4] 18...e5 19.Be3 Be7 20.Kb1 [20.Ng3 g6] 20...Qc7 21.Nb6 Nxb6 22.axb6 Qd7 White's fine here, but his next few moves seem to just waste time and, if anything, leave the queenside more vulnerable. 23.Rh5 f6 24.Ng3 g6 25.Rh2 0-0 26.Rhd2

[26.Rhd2 Qb5 seems to leave White in big trouble! 27.f4 d5 28.Rxd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 Bb4 The point. 30.Rxb5 Bxc3 31.Rd5 Be1

seems to be winning for Black - the only question is if White's b-pawn can bother Black enough to create some drawing chances.] 1/2-1/2

Pairings for round 2:

Vallejo Pons - bye


  • At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for the quick update! (didn't had time myself to watch the games).

    Btw, can you, with a few back spaces, clean up the pgn of the first game? It's a bit messy to look at it at the moment. :)

    Thanks again,


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