Sunday, February 17, 2008


I seems like only last week that Wijk aan Zee finished but another one has already arrived. Like buses these super tournaments.

Yes Linares has started ... well Morelia-Linares as I should get used to calling as the split venue format seems to have become a regular feature now. Either way, the tournament has a got a fairly tasty line up and with three decisive results out of four games in round one (including Anand winning with Black against Shirov) there was no shortage of action to kick things off.

I'm sure we'll be giving it a mention or two while it's on. You can also follow it on the official site or perhaps you prefer my new favourite chess site Chess Vibes and no doubt a gazillion other places too.

By the way, the Vibers have put a poll on their homepage asking who people want to win the tournament. When I last visited Magnus Carlsen was way out in front snaffling 35% of over 1,200 votes cast. Very popular this Norwegian lad.

UPDATE: 2nd round news ... Aronian beats Anand with the Marshall Gambit, Ivanchuk beats Leko. Details at ChessBase or Chess Vibes.

The Linares tournament has been right at the top of the chess world for a couple of decades now. Years before the Sofia rules were dreamed up, tournament director Luis Rentero tried to make sure the players fought every game. In 1992, for example, he decided to include clauses in seven(*) of the players' contracts that they would not agree draws before move 40. It seems that the eighth round contained several draws that displeased Senor Rentero. Even though neither Salov nor Anand could have avoided their repetition without losing, and even though Gelfand-Yusupov was considered to "one of the most spectacular games" (New In Chess, 1992/3) the tournament had yet seen, they both had ended prior to move 40 and thus were prohibido.

Back to the New in Chess for the outcome of this tale...

"... the next morning seven players received a letter in which they were informed that one hundred thousand pesetas (one thousand dollars) would be deducted from their bonus.

The players' reactions varied ... The most impressive answer was given by Yusupov who went up to Mr Rentero and handed him an envelope with words to the following effect:

'This envelope not only contains the one hundred thousand pesetas you want to deduct, but my complete bonus. If you think that I do not deserve this money I beg you to keep it. Tomorrow I will continue to fight as I have done in all previous rounds. At the end of the tournament I will come back to you and then you may decide whether I deserved this money or not.'

Speechless, Rentero tried to put the letter back into Yusupov's pocket and almost on the brink of tears he stammered:

'You are the most honest man I know. As long as I live you will play in Linares.'"

(*) Why just seven and not them all? I've no idea.


ejh said...

I like the final standings.

Anonymous said...

Can't think why! Seriously though, when you score -5 in a tournament -any tournament, you really shouldn't be thinking 'I could become World Champion next year.'

Anonymous said...

To clarify I was attempting to say 'minus five.'