2009 Linares SuperGM (Linares, Spain)

Viswanathan Anand preparing to take on Teimour Radjabov in round #1 in Linares.

Viswanathan Anand preparing to take on Teimour Radjabov
in round #1 in Linares. Photo by Nadja Woisin.

The 26th Linares tournament is taking place in Linares, Spain. This tournament is one of the premier tournaments in professional chess and attracts the world’s top players. In past years, they have split the tournament between two venues, but this year the entire tournament will be played in Spain. There is a rumour that 2010 will host one half of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dr. Sulaiman Abul Kareem Mohammad Al-Fahim, a billionaire philanthropist from the Emirates was attending the event and perhaps is negotiating these arrangements.

Viswanathan Anand
Vassily Ivanchuk
Magnus Carlsen
Teimour Radjabov
Levon Aronian
Wang Yue
Alexander Grischuk
Leinier Dominguez

Official Site: https://www.ajedrez.ciudaddelinares.es/index.htm (Spanish)


  1. Round #1
    (Thursday, 19 February 2009)

    Viswanathan Anand 1-0 Teimour Radjabov
    Levon Aronian ½-½ Magnus Carlsen
    Lenier Domínguez ½-½ Alexander Grischuk
    Wang Yue ½-½ Vassily Ivanchuk

  2. Round #2
    (Friday, 20 February 2009)

    Teimour Radjavov ½-½ Vassily Ivanchuk
    Alexander Grischuk 1-0 Wang Yue
    Magnus Carlsen ½-½ Lenier Domínguez
    Viswanathan Anand 0-1 Levon Aronian

    Anand and Aronian played a theoretical battle featuring a positional pawn sacrifice. Anand appeared to be OK and was close to solving his problems when he blundered and ending up losing his pawn center. Aronian is very tricky and is very tenacious. He swindled Vassily Ivanchuk famously last year in Linares.

    Dominguez and Carlsen were the first to finish and entered a wild opening line that amounted to a short three-fold repetition (to the disapproval of fans). Grischuk beat Wang Yue in a repeat of a game from their Grand Prix encounter. Wang Yue was coming off of a 82-game unbeaten streak. He has lost a few since and he was outplayed in this opposite-colored bishop ending. The Radjabov-Ivanchuk was the only game that didn’t test the limits… draw.

    With wins today, Aronian and Grischuk hold any early lead.

  3. Round #3
    Saturday, 21 February 2009

    Levon Aronian ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Leinier Domínguez ½-½ Viswanathan Anand
    Wang Yue ½-½ Magnus Carlsen
    Vassily Ivanchuk ½-½ Alexander Grischuk

    All hard-fought games!

  4. Round #4
    Sunday, 22 February 2009
    Viswanathan Anand 1-0 Wang Yue
    Levon Aronian 1-0 Leinier Dominguez Perez
    Magnus Carlsen ½-½ Vassily Ivanchuk
    Teimour Radjabov 0-1 Alexander Grischuk

    Linares banners. Photo by Nadja Woisin.

    Linares banners. Photo by Nadja Woisin.

    There were three decisive games in round four. Viswanathan Anand toppled Wang Yue after the Chinese GM failed to hold a tough ending. After compiling an 82-game unbeaten streak, Wang has lost a half dozen games in the past few months. Perhaps he will have to make some minor adjustments in his preparation. In an instructive game, white traded a wrecked pawn structure for space and queenside pressure.

    Teimour Radjabov continues to slide with another loss against Grischuk. He decided to play the popular pawn sacrifice a move early against the Queen’s Indian and castled queenside! Grischuk took the pawn and was able to solidify into a very solid position that he converted. Aronian took 92 moves to get the point from the Cuban champion. Carlsen and Ivanchuk played a relatively quiet draw.

    Main Street in Linares. Photo by Nadja Woisin.

    Main Street in Linares. Photo by Nadja Woisin


    1. Grischuk, Aronian 3; 2nd-3rd. Anand, 2½; 4th-6th. Carlsen, Ivanchuk, 2; Dominguez, 1½; 7th-8th. Wang, Radjabov, 1.

  5. Round #5

    Tuesday, 24 February 2009

    Leinier Domínguez ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Wang Yue ½-½ Levon Aronian
    Vassily Ivanchuk ½-½ Viswanthan Anand
    Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Magnus Carlsen

    Video by Vijay Kumar for Europe Echecs.

  6. Glenn,

    Interesting Dragon battle! First 15 or so moves are theory. I remember studying these lines for hours as a junior. The exchange sack is standard and I liked the play Radjabov got with black. Dominguez was fortunate to survive this. Did you see Anand’s save! Really difficult endgame and he came up with that stalemating trick.

    Video by Vijay Kumar for Europe Echecs.

  7. Round #6
    Wednesday, 25 February 2009

    Wang Yue ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Vassily Ivanchuk ½-½ Leinier Domínguez
    Alexander Grischuk 1-0 Levon Aronian
    Magnus Carlsen 1-0 Viswanthan Anand

    Video by Vijay Kumar for Europe Echecs.

  8. yes, I saw Anand great escape; Although, against Carlsen he was unable to escape and went down in flames. Anand is having a difficult tournament. It happens to everyone. Concerning the Dragon: I was a Dragon lover in my scholastic years. Its a strong opening and White can be punish early on if he enters into the main lines and don’t know theory. Even today, with the hole on d5 (there are many variations where White’s knight jump to this square) White is unable to find a way punish Black for this hole in his position. Dominguez was indeed lucky to survive. The Dragon lives on.

  9. Round 6 was interesting. Anand couldn’t hold the position against Carlsen in that crazy Shirov Variation. I’m not sure why Anand would go into this type of ending… seems bad all-around for him. The move 59.h7! sacking the bishop was a nice trick.

    Here’s an interesting snippet from The Daily Dirt blog…

    Ivanchuk tried to squeeze Dominguez in a Catalan position. The Cuban doesn’t enjoy slow defense and if you didn’t know that you could have guessed by moves like his wild 17..g5!? The game really would have heated up had he played to win the bishop after 18.Be5 f6 and the cleric has no safe parish. White has considerable compensation after 19.Rab1 Qxc7 20.Nxe6. But Dominguez decided against it and soon it looked like Ivanchuk and his two bishops would clean up against Black’s many weak pawns. Ivanchuk began to dither in his usual time trouble but didn’t lose his considerable advantage. The bizarre draw, with White still clearly winning, could only have come due to extreme time trouble for Ivanchuk unless many moves are missing or Ivanchuk received an invitation to go out on a hot date with a nice Cuban lady Dominguez happened to know. The obvious 48.e4 in the final position is quickly crushing. The answer to the riddle comes from a Spanish paper on the scene:

    “The sporting gesture of the round was the draw Ivanchuk gave to Dominguez. Both players were very short on time and Ivanchuk on several occasions knocked the pieces over accidentally. Dominguez, displaying a sportsmanlike attitude, put the pieces back on his own time despite risking a loss. The Ukrainian, in the end, rewarded his opponent with a draw despite having a decisive advantage.”

    If this story is true, that was very classy sportsmanship on the part of Ivanchuk.

  10. This story sound very true. I always like Ivanchuk attitude toward chess and competition in general. I have seen a number of interviews of him and he seems like a very likable person. Not to mention super strong. Ivanchuk for world champion.

  11. Round #7
    Thursday , 26 February 2009
    Teimour Radjabov ½-½ Magnus Carlsen
    Viswanathan Anand ½-½ Alexander Grischuk
    Levon Aronian 0-1 Vassily Ivanchuk
    Leinier Domínguez ½-½ Wang Yue

    Video by Vijay Kumar for Europe Echecs.

  12. Interesting article on the 9.O-O-O Dragon line with 9…d5!? I suppose the Yugoslav Attack is out of vogue. I used to play both 9.O-O-O, 9.Bc4 and 9.g4 lines. The problem with the first is the 9…d5!? line which gives black adequate play. The Yugoslav was so well-analyzed that I couldn’t keep up with the nuances, but the …h5 idea was most popular. When I was studying Karpov intensely, I saw him play 9.g4 before castling and won a nice game against Korchnoi. Black seems to have adequate resources and I believe players such and Radjabov and Carlsen have resurrected the debate.

    ChessBase: https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5248

  13. Round #8
    Saturday, 28 February 2009

    Teimour Radjabov (2760) ½-½ Viswanathan Anand (2791) Semi-Slav (47)
    Magnus Carlsen (2776) 0-1 Levon Aronian (2750) Semi-Slav (93)
    Alexander Grischuk (2733) ½-½ Lenier Dominguez (2717) Grunfeld (47)
    Vassily Ivanchuk (2779) ½-½ Wang Yue (2739) Petrov (66)

    Video by Vijay Kumar for Europe Echecs.

  14. Chessbase did a brief history of Linares and mentioned the great general Hannibal: “The city of Linares, where the Super-GM tournament is being held, is located in the Andalusian province of Jaén, Spain, and has a long history, dating back into antiquity. It was at Linares that Carthaginian general Hannibal married the local Iberian princess Himilce on the eve of the Second Punic War.”

  15. Round #9
    Sunday, 1 March 2009

    Vassily Ivanchuk ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Wang Yue ½-½ Alexander Grischuk
    Leinier Domínguez 0-1 Magnus Carlsen
    Levon Aronian ½-½ Viswanathan Anand

    Carlsen unleashes the Dragon, an opening seen earlier in Dominguez-Radjabov. In that game, white played 9. 0-0-0 instead of 9.Bc4. the Cuban didn’t want to test any improvements. Carlsen used the “Chinese Variation” with 10…Rb8!? instead of the well-known 10…Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 lines. Of these lines have been analyzed thoroughly. This was a quality win for the Norwegian.

  16. Round #10
    Monday, 2 March 2009

    Teimour Radjabov 1-0 Levon Aronian
    Viswanathan Anand ½-½ Leinier Domínguez
    Magnus Carlsen 0-1 Wang Yue
    Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Vassily Ivanchuk

    Some exciting chess this round highlighted by Wang Yue win over Magnus Carlsen. Wang played very actively and seem to win the initiative in the opening. Black’s pieces took up menacing positions and Wang uncorked the devastating 24…Rxb6! to begin an attack on the king. The white king was flushed out in the open and the white rooks appeared helpless to prevent the onslaught. Carlsen had to donate his queen, the the fleet-footed black queen gobbled up pawns in the process.

    Wang’s steamrolling pawns on the kingside were too much and Carlsen had to resign. Not sure why chess media continue to use phrases like “wins with black” or shockingly “lost with white”. Perhaps one day black will simply catch up in the analysis as white had a decades where little analysis was done from the black side. Black is now finding tremendous resources and play will continue to level out over time.

    Radjabov played the cute 21.Bxh6! to net a pawn and grind out a nice R+P ending. The two other games were drawn, but were perhaps more exciting than the wins. Anand-Dominguez was one of the games where a spectator would have problems figuring out what is going on. The game was full of tactic blows and counterblows, but petered out into a drawn R+P ending. Grischuk-Ivanchuk was a wild affairs with material imbalance, heavy pieces on the board, open king and lots of tricks. The game ended in three-fold repetition.


    1st. Grischuk, 6½; 2nd. Ivanchuk, 5½; 3rd-5th. Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, 5; 6th-7th. Wang, Radjabov, 4½; 8th. Dominguez, 4.

  17. Round #11
    Tuesday, 3 March 2009

    Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Vassily Ivanchuk ½-½ Magnus Carlsen
    Wang Yue ½-½ Viswanathan Anand
    Leinier Domínguez ½-½ Levon Aronian

    GM Wang Yue

    GM Wang Yue of China. Photo by Frederic Friedel.


    1st. Grischuk, 7; 2nd. Ivanchuk, 6; 3rd-5th. Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, 5½; 6th-7th. Wang, Radjabov, 5; 8th. Dominguez, 4½.

  18. I’m not sure Kramnik, Shirov or Leko would add any intrigue to the field. They’ve played in this event many times as well as all the other top events with the same players (Corus, Linares and the defunct Dortmund). Their time has passed. I like adding some new players into the mix and Aronian, Radjabov, Wang and Dominguez bring some interesting stories and good chess.

  19. Round #12
    Thursday, 5 March 2009

    Carlsen, Magnus 1-0 Grischuk, Alexander
    Aronian, Levon ½-½ Wang Yue
    Anand, Viswanathan ½-½ Ivanchuk, Vassily
    Radjabov, Teimour ½-½ Dominguez Perez, Leinier

    1st. Grischuk, 7; 2nd-3rd. Ivanchuk, Carlsen 6½; 4th-5th. Anand, Aronian, 6; 6th-7th. Wang, Radjabov, 5½; 8th. Dominguez, 5.

  20. Round #13
    Friday, 6 March 2009

    Magnus Carlsen ½-½ Teimour Radjabov
    Alexander Grischuk ½-½ Viswanathan Anand
    Vassily Ivanchuk 1-0 Levon Aronian
    Wang Yue ½-½ Leinier Domínguez

    1st-2nd. Grischuk, Ivanchuk, 7½; 3rd. Carlsen, 7; 4th. Anand, 6½; 5th-7th. Aronian, Wang, Radjabov, 6; 8th. Dominguez, 5½.

  21. Round #14
    Saturday, 7 March 2009

    Teimour Radjabov ½-½ Wang Yue
    Leinier Domínguez ½-½ Ivanchuk Vassily
    Levon Aronian ½-½ Grischuk Alexander
    Viswanathan Anand ½-½ Carlsen Magnus


    Levon Aronian vs. Alexander Grischuk in the final round. The game was drawn allowing the Russian to win on tiebreaks over Vassily Ivanchuk.

    Final Standings
    1st-2nd. Grischuk, Ivanchuk, 8; 3rd. Carlsen, 7½; 4th. Anand, 7; 5th-7th. Aronian, Wang, Radjabov, 6½; 8th. Dominguez, 6.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button