Hangin's take on Linares 2005

2/21/2005-

      Round one of Linares starts on Wednesday 2/23/2005. This should prove to be an interesting tournament. Seven of the world's top chess players will be competing. A lot of questions might be answered. Garry Kasparov, the 2005 Russian Champion, will take on Vishy Anand. This will be only the 4th time the number one and number two rated players have met since 2003. Kasparov holds a  2-1 lead since 2003. It will be interesting to see Kasparov take a ride on the Indian Express. This match up might help decide who the best player in the world is. Kasparov has much to prove, mainly that he deserves the number one rating spot. Also can Kasparov hold his 2800+ rating, where he stands alone? Back in late 2002, this reporter asked Kasparov how much longer he could stay at the top. Kasparov said, its getting harder all the time, maybe a few more years. Well Kasparov will be tested in this tournament. 

        Anand returns to Linares after bypassing this tournament last year. Anand was stunned early by Peter Leko at Corus last month. However, Anand made a great comeback and finished 2nd. Anand will be looking to take revenge on Leko.   Anand also has much to prove. Will he continue his chess dominance? Does Kasparov still have Anand's number?  When Kramnik defeated Kasparov in the 2000 world championship, there was only a partial changing of the guard. Kramnik has not dominated like past champions such as Karpov and Kasparov. Kasparov still holds the number one rating spot. Anand has a great opportunity to finish the changing of the guard, by knocking Kasparov out of the number one rating spot.  Will Anand reach his goal and go above the 2800 plateau?
  
    Peter Leko also has much to prove. Last October Peter Leko came with in one game of being the 15th world champion. Leko proved that he was the 14th world champion's equal, when Leko drew his match with Vladimir Kramnik. At Corus Peter Leko ratcheted his game up a notch by shocking Anand and taking first prize from a very tough field, consisting of all the top 10 players with the exception of Kasparov. Peter Leko is a man on a mission. His world championship experience has reenergized his play. Leko hadn't won a tournament in all of 2004. Last year, he played 2nd fiddle to Kramnik and Anand. Leko has an opportunity to establish himself as the best in the world by adding to his victory at Corus with a victory at Linares. Will Leko's momentum continue?

     Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the 2004 FIDE KO Champion, has much to prove as well. Last August, Kasimdzhanov showed he could handle the bottom half of the top 10 in the world, when he defeated all the top seeds in the FIDE KO. Kasimdzhanov has been gaining momentum since then by jumping 22 rating spots and is currently ranked 25th in the world. Kasimdzhanov can help his stalled match with Kasparov by winning Linares or finishing in the top 3 spots. Can Kasimdzhanov  handle the top half of the top 10? Can he handle Kasparov?  Can Kasimdzhanov elevate his play further to entice sponsorship for his match with Kasparov?

    Michael Adams also has much to prove. He lost to Kasimdzhanov in the 2004 FIDE KO Final in Libya. Has Adams gotten over the agony of defeat, after all he came with in one move of winning the 2004 FIDE KO. Will Adams seek his revenge on Kasimdzhanov?   Will Adams, the 6th rated player in the world, Jump into the top half of the top 10?   Veselin Topalov, rated number 3 in the world, has a great opportunity to seek revenge against Kasimdzhanov. It was Kasimdzhanov who knocked Topalov out of the Fide KO in the semi final match. Topalov would have won Corus had he not suffered defeats to Judith Polgar and Michael Addams. However Topalov's third place finish, behind Leko and Anand isn't bad. Does Topalov belong in the top half of the top 10?  Francisco Vallejo Pons, rated 18th in the world, will play in front of his home town crowd.  That can be a blessing  or a curse. Vallejo has the chance to show the world and his home town fans that he is a contender.
   

Corus 2005 tournament
latest on the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match
Kasparov says NO Mas, NO Mas
2004 International White Knight True Grit Award 
Radjabov Lashes out at Kasparov.
Kramnik vs. Leko - Chess World Championship 
Kasimdzhanov jumps 22 rating spots
Kasimdzhanov's road to the FIDE KO title
History of Linares - By ChessBase