Linares, Aeroflot, Capelle LaGrande!!

The title is not some catchy phrase, but it does describe the names of three top tournaments in progress in Mexico, Moscow and France. Lots of heated chess action!

Viswanathan Anand vs. Magnus Carlsen... Morelia (Linares SuperGM XXV)

Viswanathan Anand enroute to defeating Magnus Carlsen
Moreilia, Mexico (Linares SuperGM XXV)

Linares SuperGM XXV (Morelia, Mexico & Linares, Spain)

The top venue would be Morelia, Mexico where chess’ top brass are facing off in the Linares SuperGM XXV. World Champion Viswanathan Anand is battling with the likes of Veselin Topalov in what is essentially a Corus “A” field. Corus winners Levon Aronian and Magnus Carlsen will also do battle. So far the tournament is exciting as decisive games are on the regular. The second half of the tournament will be held in Linares, Spain. (Spanish) (English)

Aeroflot Open (Moscow, Russia)

Aeroflot is one the strongest open tournaments in the world and features some of games rising talents such as Artyom Timofeev, Maxim Rodshtein, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Andrei Volokitin and Alexander Motylev. Veterans in the field include Vladimir Akopian, Viktor Bologan, Alexander Khalifman and Artur Jussupow. A couple of teen wonders are China’s WGM Hou Yifan and GM Nguyen Ngoc Troungson of Vietnam. Hou has had a steady diet of strong showing and will most doubtedly drop the “W” from her title in short time.

Cappelle La Grande (Cappelle LaGrande, France)

GM-elect Amon Simutowe

Capelle La Grande is a huge open tournament featuring more than 600 players from 62 federations and 106 Grandmasters (11 WGMs). This tournament is not particularly strong but it showcases some of the talent that we don’t often hear of.

You do have some seasoned players such as Alexander Moissenko and young Azeri star Vugar Gashimov. Zambian IM Amon Simutowe is playing as well as American star IM Robert Hess. Simutowe is attempting to gain ELO points in order to close out the last requirement for his GM title. (French)


  1. With Topalov’s loss yesterday everyone has lost a game in the Linares tournament. This will be a close tournament, but maybe +3 will be asking for too much??? Anand’s win over Leko was very impressive today.

    Check it out!

    One day I will have to play in the Cappelle La Grande. Gilles Suez-Panama of Martinique had encouraged this but I heard it was an interesting tournament. Those of us in the U.S. need to see the difference in tournaments in Europe. The Middle East has great tournaments I hear. Would like to play in UAE!! Simutowe has played there before. I hope to talk to him soon.

  2. Look through some very interesting games.

    First, I’ll present the crushing loss of Vassily Ivanchuk to Levon Aronian in Linares. Having outplayed his opponent the entire game, Ivanchuk lapses into time pressure. See Video by Macauley Peterson “When Blunder Strikes – Ivanchuk’s second, Hoyos, and Vassily’s time pressure melt down” @ Chess.FM.

    Those of us in Chicago will remember Kamran Shirazi. He plays with a insane tactical style. The Iranian-born IM now lives in France and is playing in the Cappelle LaGrande. He outplays and is one move from winning against Albanian Grandmaster Ervald Dervishi. Apparently he gets into time pressure and blunders. As in Ivanchuk-Aronian, chess is so unforgiving! (See game)

    Morocco’s Mohammed Tissir beats Canada’s Kevin Spraggett. The Canadian Grandmaster has been playing a lot in Europe these days. He set up a hedgehog, but plays the weakening 18…a5 and excutes a flawed plan which results in him losing a piece. He played on but ended up under heavy fire and a mating attack. (See game)

    At Aeroflot, I looked at two games from 14-year old GM, Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son of Vietnam. Both were more than 100 moves, but the endgames were very interesting. Russia’s Alexander Motylev shows some good technique after a stubborn defense by the Vietamese master. (See game) The second game is an irregular ending. (See game)

  3. Simutowe wins with black against Cyborowski and is on 6-2. The game was a type of Dragon with colours reversed and white played poorly and handed black the two bishops and space. Under immense pressure he sacked his queen, but offered little resistance after that. Simutowe will play Vladimir Burmakin tomorrow.

    Cyborowski,L – Simutowe,A
    24e Open de Cappelle la Grande Cappelle la Grande, France (8), 2008

    1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.a3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.d3 Be7 7.g3 Be6 8.Bg2 Nb6 9.0-0 0-0 10.b4 f6 11.Be3 a5 12.Bxb6 axb4 13.axb4 Rxa1 14.Qxa1 cxb6 15.b5 Na5 16.Qb2 Qd6 17.Ne4 Qd7 18.Nc3 Rc8 19.Ne4 h6 20.Ned2 Rc5 21.Rb1 Qc7 22.Ne1 Rc3 23.Nc4 Rb3 24.Qxb3 Nxb3 25.Rxb3 Bc5 26.Rb1 Qd7 27.Kf1 f5 28.Nf3 e4 29.Nfe5 Qd4 30.e3 Qc3 31.Rd1 Qc2 32.Rd2 exd3! 0-1 (see game)

  4. 17-year old GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russia

    Russia’s 17-year old Ian Nepomniachtchi wins Aerflot! Photo by Özgür Akman.

    IM Amon Simutowe vs.FM Andy Marechal

    IM Amon Simutowe vs. FM Andy Marechal
    Photo by WIM Anna Rudolf.

    Eight-way tie in the Cappelle La Grande but Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan wins on tiebreaks (7-2). Amon Simutowe scored 6½-2½ placing 9th-31st! Yes… there were 23 others with the same score. Simutowe told me he missed another GM norm by ½-point. (see final table) He is headed to Iceland via Spain, but it is unclear if he will stop in Spain to compete. Emory Tate had mentioned a tournament in Spain and stated that Pontus Carlsson would be playing as well. It would be interesting if all three were in the same tournament. (Note: Yes… the tournament is the Malaga Open and the listing is here.)

    GM Viswanathan Anand

    The Linares tournament will resume tomorrow in Linares, Spain with Viswanathan Anand leading the field on 4½-2½. Photo by Frederic Friedel.

    Linares/Morelia after seven rounds.

  5. Daaim – Do you know how many ELO points Amon picked up? The Cappelle site listed his performance rating as 2565. Nice!

  6. He picked up about 9-10 points. I believe he needs about 35 more points to hit 2500. With him, Tate and Carlsson in the same tournament, that may motivate him a bit. That is a great thing to see. I wish I were there to see that!

  7. I am surprised by Carlsen’s progress as a Grandmaster ,I did not really think he would be a serious contender for tournaments like Linares at this age .This most likely shows how influential computers are becoming ,beating Ivanchuk in that style yesterday was unbelievable .Seems this boy only fears Anand since he has beaten everybody who matters now (Kramnik had a bad cold on d day Magnus won :D).The boy calculates variations fast and accurately .

    Daaim please I have struggling to get hold of pgn files of a blitz tournament in Reykjavik called Reykjavik Rapid in April 2004 where Magnus had Kasparov on the brink .Karpov also played .The tournament was won by Aronian .pliz can you help??

  8. There is no such thing as “luck in chess, but Ivanchuk gave Carlsen a free game. I’m not sure what his problem is with the time pressure. He had something like 18 moves to make in less than five minutes. You cannot get in that type of pressure at this level. We saw what happened against Aronian! (see video above) I’ll check on that Rapid, but I’m leaving for China in a few hours so someone else may be able to do it before me.

  9. Something has gone wrong in World Chess,our masters are losing to kids.Shirov fell victim yesterday yet again.

    Its time for Leko to play straight for a draw ,I have neva seen him lose so effortlessly ,shocking!!Sometimes everything just goes wrong .
    Anang equalized effortlessly against Aronian ,I like the way Anand keeps it gangsta simple .I regard him as one of the most logical players I have ever seen,there is clarity when he plays black ,never anything fancy like King’s Indian or Benoni ,simple Nimzo all d time in serious matches.

    So we wait and see

  10. GM Viswanathan Anand, winner of 2008 Morelia-Linares.
    GM Viswanathan Anand, winner of 2008 Morelia-Linares.
    Photo by

    Viswanathan Anand wins again! Amazing. Amazing. The “Tiger from Chennai” will go down as one of chess’ greatest players. His consistency and simplicity in which he plays is inspiring. I was watching the videos from and his understanding of chess is certainly amazing. Also look at his post-mortems with Peter Leko and Teimour Radjabov. He finished with +3 losing only to Levon Aronian.

    Magnus Carlsen took second in his second impressive outing at the elite level. Of course he had a bit more fortune in his games and benefited from gross blunders from Veselin Topalov and Vassily Ivanchuk. Nevertheless… there is no such thing as luck in chess, so his result is well-deserved.

  11. An OK tournament though the games are not as half inspiring as when Garri Kimovich was still playing. Hope we do not wait long though I wonder whats next. Dortmund? Sofia? Connoisseurs of the Marshall gambit, delayed and proper must have been pleased though just like in Wijk. We have seen all sorts of Marshalls including a somewhat shocking one by Leko against Topalov i think. When we were young I remember my Chess teachers did not advise the Marshall after an h3 or d3 by white but seems these dayz d5 gets in anyway.

  12. The game I meant above is this encounter,I was suprized d5 got in anyway after h3 and d3 ,strange to me indeed from a super GM like Leko

    (4) Topalov,V (2780) – Leko,P (2753) [C88]
    XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (13), 06.03.2008

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.c3 Qd7 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Rxe5 Rad8 14.Qg4 f5 15.Qg3 Bf6 16.Re1 Kh8 17.Nd2 b4 18.Nf3 bxc3 19.d4 f4 20.Qg4 Qxg4 21.hxg4 g5 22.Ne5 Kg7 23.bxc3 Nxc3 24.Bb2 Nd5 25.Rac1 Rfe8 26.Ba3 Re6 27.Rc2 Be7 28.Bxd5 Bxd5 29.Rxc7 Re8 30.Rd7 Bxa2 31.Rc1 Kg8 32.Rcc7 Bf6 33.Nc6 Re1+ 34.Kh2 Be6 35.Rd6 Bg7 36.Ne7+ Kh8 37.Nf5 Bf8 38.Rxa6 Bxf5 39.Bxf8 Rxf8 40.gxf5 Kg8 41.f6 Re4 42.Rg7+ Kh8 43.Re7 Rxe7 44.fxe7 Re8 45.Ra7 Kg7 46.d5 Kf7 47.d6 Rb8 48.Rc7 1-0

  13. What suprizes me is that Topalov does not grab the pawn immeadiately playing c3 but i see no reason the pawn cannot be taken. My small database shows insufficient compensation if white just grabs the pawn by Ne5 wins by Zagrebelny, Suetin, Gross, Golubev have sort of cemented my belief that the pawn can be taken ,im yet to check Fritz suggestion but i suspect this is possible.

  14. I wasn’t excited by this tournament. I believe it was tainted by all the time-pressure induced losses. Carlsen got two wins as a result of opponents time. Topalov was inconsistent and Shirov played well below his level in some games. It appears that the games (while decisive) lacked some of the fire as in Corus.

    I do like the debate in the above game you mention. I have long lost track of theory in Marshall-inspired lines, but I do like black’s activity. On what move are you suggesting white capture on c3? After 25. Rac1, I believe white has a nice positional advantage.

  15. My question is why does Toplalov not play Nxe5 on move 11 ??? why 11. c3??? 9…d5 by Leko looks dubious

  16. I would encourage you to search the database and see who has been succesful getting compensation after Bf6 .Any Clue what the top computers recommend ??I mean Junior and Fritz.

  17. Darren,

    Actually I Googled the line and found a couple of games citing 12…Qd7 and 12…Nd4 when white got no significant advantage. Perhaps if white wants to play for an advantage, 11…c3 is an attempt to free the underdeveloped queenside. Fritz seems to believe that 12…Bf6 also gives black adequate play.

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