Garry Kasparov is the clear leader. He is alone at the
top with a +4 score. He has a one-point lead over Anand. It could be
very risky for Garry to sit on this lead. Boxing great, Oscar De La Hoya made
mistake in his 1999 bout against Felix Trinidad. De La
Hoya was leading in points, however he decided to dance the last few
rounds instead of fighting. This strategy cost Oscar the match and he
wound up losing the fight and title on points. Kasparov has only one white left.
It's against Anand. It could be the most
decisive match of the whole tournament. Garry can seal a first
place finish, if he defeats Anand in round 13. A Kasparov victory over
Anand would quiet the pundits who proclaim Anand as the new
king of chess.
Vishy Anand is sitting at +2. He will have white against Vallejo
Pons and Adams. IF he takes both of these games, he could win this tournament.
Anand should be looking to build on his 11-round win over Kasimdzhanov.
Anand will have another showdown with Kasparov in round 13. If
Anand wins this match up, he will tie for first. However, this will be a
tough task with the black pieces. No doubt, Anand will have his hands full
with a rampaging Kasparov.
Peter Leko is sitting at +0. He is probably tired from his October
world championship match and his brilliant performance in Corus this past
January. He has not won or lost a game yet. He is sitting tied for
third place with 10 draws. He has a bye in round 12. With two games left,
he will have a good shot at taking 3rd place. He has a black against a
battered Kasimdzhanov and a white against a shaky Vallejo Pons. Leko could
save this tournament with two last rounds wins.
Vaseline Topalov is sitting at +1. He played the most exciting chess
for the first half of Linares. He has two wins and a loss. He is currently
tied for third with Peter Leko. Topalov has two whites left. The first
white is against a beat up Kasimdzhanov in round 12. The 2nd white is
14th round against Garry Kasparov. In the 13th round Topalov, with black,
takes on Vallejo Pons. Topalov has a good shot of taking 2.5 out of 3.
This would allow the number 3 rated player in the world to finish third.
Michael Adams is sitting at -1 with two losses and one win. He has a
tough draw with his white against Garry Kasparov in round 12. Adams will
have a rest day in round13, and he will need it. He closes out with black against
Anand. Adams will have his hands full with the number one and two players,
however he should hold on to the 5th spot.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov is sitting at -3. He has no wins and three losses.
He currently sits in 6th place. Only a half a point separates him from
last place. He only has two rounds left. He could use a day off, but his
bye is in the 14th and last round. He has black in round 12 against
Topalov and a white in round 13 against Peter Leko. Rustam has to find a
way to pick himself off the canvas after three knockdowns in 4 rounds. I
hope GM Robert Hubner, Rustam's second, is a good cut man and can stop
Rustam bleeding. If Rustam doesn't want to finish last, he will have to
find a way to hold off the 3rd and 4th ranked players in the world.
Francisco Vallejo Pons is sitting at -3. He has 1 win and 4 losses. He is in last place, trailing Rustam Kasimdzhanov by a half point. He has two blacks left, one in the 12th round against Anand, the other in the 14th round against Peter Leko. Vallejo Pons will have his best shot at a win in round 13. He will have the white pieces against the very tough Topalov. Vallejo Pons has a very good chance to climb out of the cellar by passing the fading Kasimdzhanov. However it will not be easy.
Base Round 11