Hangin's Final Linares Report

 3/12/2005 -

   Well Linares 2005 ended in an exciting fashion, both on and off the board. Few would have guessed how this tournament would end. If Martians had landed on earth during the 14th round, it would not have surprised me one bit. The 2nd half of this tournament was even more exciting than the first. 
 Hangin has come up with a new award. Hangin just finished the annual White Knight Awards and he looking to dish out some new honors. So Linares is the best place to start. Lets call this new award the ATABOY. When you get an ATABOY, it's kind of like getting a pat on the backside with a accompanying "ATABOY". It's for a job well done. ATABOYS have more to do with hustle then just winning. I am thinking that maybe the ATABOY ought to be used to decide tiebreakers, provided that blitz play off is not used.

      Garry Kasparov has 4 ATABOYS from the Mid Linares Report. He will finish with 8 ATABOYS. Garry won his 2nd tournament in a row.  He did not finish strong, but he had something on his mind. He lost his last round game to Topalov. He finished +4 with 5 wins, one loss, and 6 draws. He would tie for first with the hard charging Topalov. Kasparov would get first spot due to tiebreakers. He had more wins with black. Soon after the tournament ended, Garry Kasparov announced his retirement from professional chess. He will play in some rapid events, but just for fun. Garry met his expectations.  After all he is the number one rated player in the world. 
   5) He gets his fifth for his exciting win over Rustam Kasimdzhanov in round 9. 
 Early on Rustam seem to get the better of Garry. Rustam won the exchange. However this did not faze Garry one bit.  With his queen-bishop battery and a rook on the half open f-file, Garry build up pressure on the f2-square.   After move 21, both sides had central passed pawns. However it was Kasparov's passer that would get shoved down Kasimdzhanov's throat. Kasparov would grab the f2 pawn with his bishop on move 22. Garry's passer would follow right behind the bishop and would anchor the bishop securely with move 24 .. e3. As for Kasimdzhanov's d-passer, it would not get very far, even with the pressure of Kasimdzhanov's rook on e1. 

   A central pass pawn can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be shoved down an opponent's throat, causing a disruption of mobility and development. However it can be used by your opponent as central, safe haven to launch an attack. Garry took advantage of this opposing passer by playing his queen on d6, where it was poised to launch an attack. By move 28 all of Garry's pieces were poised for an attack. His sheltered queen controlled the b8-h2 diagonal. His rook controlled the open f-file. Anchored by the e3-pawn,  his bishop was deep inside Kasimdzhanov's territory. His knight on h5 was poised for an attack on Kasimdzhanov's g3-pawn. Meanwhile all of Kasimdzhanov's pieces were on the back 1st and 2nd ranks. They were providing little help for the protection of their king. It was a typical Kasparov offensive, all his pieces taking part in the attack.  Kasimdzhanov tried to defend with his queen with 29 Qg4, however the queen was hopelessly out numbered.

   General Kasparov initiated the final offensive by sacrificing the bishop with 29 Bxg3. Kasparov knight would grab the last of the pawns. This would strip the Kasimdzhanov's king of its guards. Kasparov's rook would take his bishops place on f2. Kasimdzhanov's king would get chased up the h-file. Mass piece exchanges occurred. When the smoke cleared Kasparov was two pawns up with a deadly passer on e3.

   6) He gets his sixth for his nice win, with white, over hometown boy Francisco Vallejo's Pons in round 10. This game evolved into a queen and minor piece middle game. It was Kasparov's queen and bishop and 4 connected kingside pawns and a lone queenside pawn vs. Vallejo Pon's queen and knight and 4 connected kingside pawns and a lone queenside pawn. Usually the queen-knight combo is stronger than the queen-bishop, however this was not the case today. Kasparov's queen-bishop battery would bare down on the h2-g8 diagonal. Vallejo Pons was all tied up, he further weakened his position by pushing his e-pawn with move 34...e4. Kasparov would quickly gobble up this pawn. By move 39, the minor pieces were off the board. Kasparov queen gave check and grabbed Vallejo Pons' offside pawn. Down by two pawns, Vallejo Pons resigned on move 54.

   7) He gets his 7th for a nice win with black against Michael Adams in round 12. This was an exciting game. It was an opposite castle Sicilian. Adams castle queenside and Kasparov castled kingside.  Both sides launched their pawn storm. By move 19 both sides had dangerous attacks.  Kasparov had a rook bearing down the open b-file. He had two dangerously posted knights on b4 and c5. Adams had both rooks on g1 and h1. He had a pawn wedge on g6 and h5 knocking on Kasparov's castled king's door. He had a queen-bishop battery on the h6-c1 diagonal.  This game would be over in just 7 moves. On move 22,  Kasparov would launch a vicious attack by sacrificing his knight for the c2 pawn. Another typical 4 piece Kasparov attack. Kasparov's rook, queen, bishop and knight all bearing down on a slightly defended Adams' king. Adams down a pawn, with his pawn structure in taters resigned on move 28.
   8) He gets a final one for finishing tied for first with Topalov. Garry won the tournament on tiebreakers. He won more games with black. Garry lost his final game against Topalov and soon after announced his retirement from professional chess.  He will still play in some rapid events, but just for fun.


 Veselin Topalov had 4 ATABOYS  from the Mid Linares report. He finished with 8 ATABOYS. The number 3 rated player in the world exceeded expectations. His hard changing finish was capped off by defeating Garry Kasparov in round 14, thus tying the match. Topalov had 5 wins, 1 loss, and 6 draws. He tied for first but lost on tiebreakers.
     5) He gets his 5th for his nice win, with white, over Kasimdzhanov in round 12. This is the start of Topalov's three game winning streak. Things appeared to be going well for Kasimdzhanov, by move 19 white was saddled with three isolated pawns. However Topalov had compensation in the form of the bishop pair, half open b-file and f-file. Isolated pawns can be a weakness; they need to be protected by a piece. But with isolated pawns, come half open files, which allow the rooks to enter the game. The key to chess is to make the best of your advantages. Topalov did just that. By move 22, both Topalov rooks came changing off the back rank. The 1st rook was posed on b5 pinning an opponent's knight to his queen. The 2nd rook was on f4 ready to come over to h4 attacking his opponent's queen. By move 28 Topalov had a 4 - 2 piece advantage in the center. Topalov sacrificed the exchange for an aggressive attack. He would get the exchange back a few moves later. The game ended with Topalov's queen firmly in control of his opponent's 7th rank. The queen also had a double attack on Kasimdzhanov's knight and f6-pawn. With his opponent threatening to bring another heavy piece on the 7th and  threatening to post a bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal, Kasimdzhanov was forced to resign. He could not starve off mate and the loss of material.

     6) He gets his 6th for his nice win, with black, over Vallejo Pons in round 13. It was in this round, where Topalov would continue  his charge for first place. By move 13 the queens had left the board. This game became a battle of development, with Vallejo Pons leading. He would seize the open d-file and double his rooks on it.  He would have space in the center, but it was the space on the queenside that would rule the day. Topalov got his dual queenside pawns moving. With his centralized knight on d4, Topalov would break thru on the queenside. The queenside pawns would evaporate, but Topalov's pieces had aggressively surrounded Vallejo Pons' king. With his bishop and knight under attack by Topalov rooks, Vallejo Pon's had to resign on move 39. 
     7) He gets his 7th for his nice win, with white, over Garry Kasparov in round 14. The game was not great; it was uneventful until the final moments. But the win capped off a 3 game winning streak. Kasparov missed a few chances to secure the draw. Despite being down a pawn, he allowed Topalov to exchange the heave pieces along the f-file. It turned into a King and pawn endgame. It was Topalov's king and 7 pawns, spaced out in three connected pawn islands vs. Kasparov's king and 6 pawns, spaced out in three connected pawn islands. Topalov held a three to two pawn advantage in the center. Kasparov had drawing chances here as well, but missed played the ending and had to resign. Soon after this game ended, Kasparov announced his retirement. 
     8) He gets hit 8th for finishing tied for first with Kasparov, as stated above, Kasparov won the tournament on tiebreakers. |

 Vishy Anand had 2 ATABOYS from the Mid Linares Report. He finished with 3 ATABOYS. Not a great tournament for Anand. He finished +1 with 2 wins, 1 loss, and 9 draws. He finished third. At the start of this tournament, the number two rated player in the world had a chance to finish ahead of Kasparov and win the tournament. Had Anand won this tournament, then maybe he could rightfully claim to be the best player in the world.  However this didn't happen. Plus, the final round loss to Adams had to have hurt. The 2005 season has not started out well for Anand, but a 2nd place finish at Corus is not bad for most players. 
 3) He gets his third for a nice win with black over Rustam Kasimdzhanov in round 11. This was a battle of  development. It was Anand superior development that would rule the day. Kasimdzhanov played the entire game without much help from his queen's rook and queen's bishop. They would remain on their original squares all game long. Anand got the maximum out of his pieces. He took advantage of this half open f-file and this kingside pawn majority.  He created a dangerous f-passer and shoved it down Kasimdzhanov's throat with move 33 .. f3. Anand doubled the pressure on the f-file with his queen-rook battery. He then used the superior mobility of his queen to create double mating threats. Kasimdzhanov countered with  his only defensive piece, his queen. But this piece was over worked  and could not defend against all possible threats. With his rook and bishop helplessly watching, Kasimdzhanov had to resign.

 Peter Leko had 1 ATABOY from the mid Linares Report. He finished with 1 ATABOYS. This had to be a disappointing tournament for Peter. He finished +0 in 4th place with 12 draws. However you should view this result with Peter successful world championship match against Kramnik in October. Lets not forget Peter's great results in Corus in January. He took both Kasimdzhanov and Vallejo Pons into deep endgames, but both games were drawn. Hopefully Peter was just tired from his very strenuous efforts these past 5 months.

 Michael Adams had 1 ATABOY from the mid Linares report. He finished with 2 ATABOYS. He finished in 5th place with a -1 score. He had 2 wins, 3 losses and 7 draws. The 7th rated player finished were I thought he would. He didn't distinguish himself for the first 13 rounds. However in the last round, he came up big, with a huge victory over Anand. This saved Adams' tournament. A win over Anand could build confidence. 
  2) He gets his 2nd for his last round win, with black, against the mighty Anand. This was a great victory. By move 30 Adams had won a pawn. It turned into a heavy piece middle game. It was Anand with his queen, two rooks, three kingside pawns, and an a-file passer vs. Adams' queen, two rook, three kingside pawns, and two central passers. Adams backed his passers with rooks on the c and d files. By move 45, a set of passed pawns and rooks left the board. Adams positioned his queen and rook such that they had several plans of attack. Adams pieces were poised for a mating attack as well as a threat to queen his c-pawn passer, which was twp squares from queening. Face with these multiple threats, Anand resigned. 



 Francisco Vallejo Pons has 1 ATABOYS from the Mid Linares report. He finished with 2 ATABOYS.  He finished with tied for last with Kasimdzhanov. Vallejo Pons had 1 win, 5 losses and 6 draws. Hey it was a tough tournament, he played the top players in the world. He defeated the player he should have been, namely Rustam Kasimdzhanov. It is hard to play in front of the hometown fans. Vallejo Pons missed a win against Vishy Anand in round 12.  Well there is always next year. 

 2) He gets his 2nd for his nice win, with white, over the 2004 Libya KO champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov in round 8. By move 15 the queens had come off the board. Vallejo Pons was up a pawn. However he had some pawn structure weaknesses. Vallejo grabbed the open d-file by doubling his rooks on it. Vallejo Pons made the best use of his queenside majority wing and created a passed c-pawn. The game evolved into a rook and minor piece endgame.

    It was Vallejo Pons with a rook, bishop, 3 queenside pawns, a c-pawn passer, and two split kingside pawns versus Kasimdzhanov's rook, knight, 1 queenside pawn, and three connected kingside pawns. It became a battle of passed pawns. Vallejo Pons grabbed Kasimdzhanov's only queenside pawn.  Kasimdzhanov had to sacrifice his rook and knight to stop two of Vallejo Pons' three queenside passers. With hopes of creating a perpetual check draw, Kasimdzhanov created his own passer on the g file. Both sides would queen pawns. However Vallejo would queen a pawn first. With his king out in the open and facing a queen and rook mating web, Kasimdzhanov's hopes faded. He resigned on move 60.


Rustam Kasimdzhanov had 1 ATABOY from the mid Linares Report. He finished with 1 ATABOYS. He finished tied for last with a -4 score with 4 losses, 8 draws. Rustam started out strong, holding his own against the best in the world.  However, the KO champion would never recover from his loss to Vallejo Pons in round 8. This was his first of many losses in the 2nd half. He dropped four out of 5 games. He dropped games to Vallejo Pons, Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, and Veselin Topalov. He didn't help his case for cancelled match with Kasparov. 

most exciting  games from the last half of Linares
  1) Kasimdzhanov vs. Kasparov in round 9  
  2) Vallejo Pons vs. Kasimdzhanov in round 8 
  3) Kasimdzhanov vs. Anand in round 11
  4) Topalov vs. Kasimdzhanov in round 12
  5) Adams vs. Kasparov in round 12    
  6) Anand vs. Adams round 14 

 Chessbase final report
Linares Championship rounds
 Mid Linares Report 
Topalov tops Kasparov 
Adams summits Mount Anand
Down goes Kasimdzhanov, down goes Kasimdzhanov, down goes Kasimdzhanov
 Leko's goal line stand 
 Kasparov's nerves of steel
 Kasparov's retirement - Chessbase