Linares 2008 is the second event of the Chess Grand Slam
The 25th Morelia – Linares chess tournament is going to take place this spring in Mexico and Spain. It is going to be a double round robin tournament with 8 participants. The first part of the round robin event will be February 15 – 23 in Morelia, Mexico. The second part will take place at Linares, Spain, 28th of February to 7th of March.
The eight players have confirmed their participation. These are the current World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand, the Ukranian top GM Vassily Ivanchuk, the ex World Champion GM Veselin Topalov, the Norwegian prodigy GM Magnus Carlsen, the Hungarian top star GM Peter Leko, the Azeibardjan young talent GM Teimour Radjabov, the Armenian number 1 GM Levon Aronian, and the World Cup finalist GM Alexei Shirov.
It is an interesting field, as only two players are different from last year’s edition. Morozevich and Svidler are substituted by Radjabov and Shirov.
Anand has won the traditional Linares tournament in 1998. Vishy is the current World Champion after he won the title in Mexico last October. In the very same country the first part of Linares Morelia 2008 will take place.
Ivanchuk has a large list of championships won. Among them, he has won three times Linares – 1989, 1991 and 1995. He is also the player from the field with most games played at Linares (163) and the player with the best percentage of wins/losses (54,6%)
Veselin Topalov seems to have a subscription for Mtel Masters titles, but things are different in the Linares chess tournament. He has many participations with a total of 115 games played. However, only one time he has had the same points as the winner. This happened in 2005 when he had the same points as Garry Kasparov, but less wins with black gave the Bulgarian GM the second place. In any case Topalov shows strong performance in round robin events, so we should not discard him as a possible title winner.
Peter Leko became GM at age of 14 and since then has always been present at top chess events. In Linares he has 98 games played with 9 wins, 9 losses, and 80 draws. This stats are clear enough, to get a victory against Leko in Linares is very difficult.
One more GM that got his title at 14. He became famous in 2003 after winning against Garry Kasparov at Linares. The same year he won against Anand and Ponomariov, which makes 3 World Champions in one year. In 2005 he was sub European Champion, and in 2007 he won the Corus Wajk aan Zee tournament together with Topalov and Aronian.
Levon Aronian was the winner of Morelia Linares in 2006. The victory was a continuation of the good performance started with the World Cup title in 2005 and later on continued with Linares and Corus 2007 titles. Since then, Aronian’s chess does not convince that much and Linares – Morelia 2008 may be the perfect place to get back on track.
Shirov showed very solid play at the World Cup. He lost only one game (to the future champion, Gata Kamsky) and practically destroyed all other players on his way. Shirov is top form and surely hungry for a title.
Magnus Carlsen is a step away from entering the top 10 for the first time. He got his GM title at age of 13 and is well know as “the Mozart of chess”. In the previuos edition of Morelia – Linares he conquered the second place. In 2008 he is coming back for something more and he proves it with nice victories at the World Cup, the title from Biel 2007 and his higher rating.
The history of Linares
The Linares chess tournament is often referred as the Wimbledon of chess. It has been around since 1978 and always thanks to the same sponsor – Don Luis Rentero. Being a financially attractive event and a traditionally top chess competition, the tournament has always been a magnet for the top chess players. In 1994 it became the first Category XVIII tournament ever held, and Linares 1998 was category XXI. Here is a list of all the winners through the years:
* 1978 Jaan Eslon
* 1979 Larry Christiansen
* 1981 Anatoly Karpov / Larry Christiansen
* 1983 Boris Spassky
* 1985 Ljubomir Ljubojevic / Robert Hübner
* 1988 Jan Timman
* 1989 Vassily Ivanchuk
* 1990 Garry Kasparov
* 1991 Vassily Ivanchuk
* 1992 Garry Kasparov
* 1993 Garry Kasparov
* 1994 Anatoly Karpov
* 1995 Vassily Ivanchuk
* 1997 Garry Kasparov
* 1998 Viswanathan Anand
* 1999 Garry Kasparov
* 2000 Vladimir Kramnik / Garry Kasparov
* 2001 Garry Kasparov
* 2002 Garry Kasparov
* 2003 Péter Lékó / Vladimir Kramnik
* 2004 Vladimir Kramnik
* 2005 Garry Kasparov / Veselin Topalov
* 2006 Levon Aronian
* 2007 Viswanathan Anand
II Campeonato Iberoamericano Morelia/Linares 2008
At the same time we will be able to see the second part of the Iberoamerican Chess Championship. It will take place in two parts, the first one in Morelia February 13th till February 20th and the second will coincide with Linares 2008 at the same place – 29th February till the 7th of March 2008. The current champion GM Lazaro Bruzon (Cuba) is invited and all 23 Iberoamerican Chess Federations are entitled to send an invited player to the championship.