International 2010

World Chess Championship Match 21st April - 13th May 2010

Photo World Chess Championship Match in Sofia, Bulgaria - Viswanathan Anand vs Veselin Topalov.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand
was born 11th December 1969 in India. "Vishy" as he is known to his fans, became in 1984 the youngest Indian to earn the title of International Master at the age of 15. At the age of 16 he became the Indian Champion. In 1987 he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Championship. At the age of 18 he became India's first grandmaster. His prowess at quick-play chess earned him the nickname "The Lightning Kid." Anand contested a match with Garry Kasparov for the PCA World Chess Championship in 1995, but lost. Three years later he won a knockout tournament in Groningen to qualify to play for the FIDE title against Anatoli Karpov, but was beaten in the rapid tie-breaks.

In 1998 he won the strongest Linares tournament ever, with an average rating of 2752, making it a category 21 event. In 2000 he beat Alexey Shirov to become the FIDE World Chess Champion. He is a four-time winner of the Chess Oscar award and the 2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion. In spring of 2006, following a record-extending fifth victory at Corus Wijk aan Zee, Anand became only the fourth player ever to crack the 2800-Elo mark in FIDE ratings, following Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Veselin Topalov.

2007 was a year of two memorable milestones for Anand. First, he finally achieved his longtime goal of becoming world number one in the ratings. After winning the Linares tournament - Linares-Morelia, he overtook Topalov to claim first place on FIDE's April list. His second great success came at the FIDE World Championship Tournament. Leading throughout the event, Anand captured the unified World Chess Champion title with an undefeated +4 score. A few months later, he again won the Morelia-Linares in 2008 outright for the third time in his career.

In October 2008 Anand successfully retained his World Champion crown by beating challenger Vladimir Kramnik in a twelve-game match by 6.5-4.5, winning three, losing one and drawing seven. His next scheduled title defence will be against Veselin Topalov in April 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Anand's profile has been copied from

Veselin Topalov

Veselin Topalov is a Bulgarian Grandmaster and the 19th World Champion. In the January 2009 FIDE rating list, he is ranked first with an ELO 2780. His current trainer and manager is International Master Silvio Danailov.

Topalov became the World Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He was awarded the 2005 Chess Oscar. In October 2006, Topalov had the second highest Elo rating of all time (2813).

Veselin Topalov was born 15th March 1975 in Rousse, Bulgaria. His father taught him to play chess at the age of eight. In 1989 he won the World Under 14 Championship in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and in 1990 won the silver medal at the World Under 16 Championship in Singapore. He became a Grandmaster in 1992.

Topalov has been the leader of the Bulgarian national team since 1994. At the 1994 Chess Olympiad in Moscow he led the Bulgarians to a fourth-place finish.

Over the next ten years he won a number of tournaments, and ascended the world chess rankings. As early as 1996, he was being invited to "supergrandmaster" events for the world's élite. In the knockout tournaments for the World Chess Championship, he reached the last 16 in 1999, the quarter-finals in 2000, the final 16 in 2001, and the semi-finals in the 2004.

Topalov scored his first "super-tournament" success at Linares 2005, tying for the first place with Garry Kasparov (though losing on tiebreak rules), and defeating Kasparov in the last round, in what was to be Kasparov's last tournament game before his retirement. He followed this up with a one point victory (+4 =5 -1) at the M-Tel Masters 2005, ahead of Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Ruslan Ponomariov, Michael Adams, and Judit Polgar. The average rating of the participants was 2744, making this super-GM, double round-robin tournament the strongest in 2005.

On the strength of his rating, Topalov was invited to the eight-player, double round-robin World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina, in September-October 2005. Scoring 6.5/7 in the first cycle, Topalov had virtually clinched the tournament at the halfway mark, before drawing every game in the second cycle to win by 1.5 points and become World Champion. The average rating of the field in the championship was 2739, and Topalov's performance rating was 2890!

In May 2006, Topalov defended his M-Tel Masters title in the 2006 edition of the tournament, coming first with 6.5, a half point ahead of Gata Kamsky (whom he beat 2-0).

In September – October 2006 Topalov played Vladimir Kramnik in a twelve-game title unification match. The match was drawn at 6-6, but Topalov lost the tie-break 2.5-1.5.

In January 2007, Topalov finished in joint first place (ahead of Kramnik, who finished 4th) at the Category 19 Corus Tournament along with Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov.

During the same year the Grand Slam was founded. The top level tournaments were united by the idea to give opportunity to world's strongest players to determine who is the best. The winners took place in the final event - the Grand Slam Masters in Bilbao, Spain in September 2008. Vesko convincingly won the trophy! In November he was the leader of the Bulgarian team at the Chess Olympics in Dresden, his performance - 6.5 out of 8 - being excellent. Those high scores got him the top ranking in FIDE's January Rating List.

In December China organised its first top level chess tournament - an event of the extra strong 21st category took place in Nanjing. Once again Vesko was more than convincing - he finished first with 1.5 points lead.

Topalov was the winner of the World Chess Championship semi-final against Gata Kamsky in Sofia, Bulgaria. The final score was Topalov 4.5 - Kamsky 2.5 in a best of eight games match. Topalov won in Game 7, on 26th February 2009 (Central Europe Summer Time).

Topalov becomes the challenger for the World Chess Championship against the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand in April 2010. Will Topalov be the second ex-FIDE World Champion, after Anand, to ascend to the Classical World Champion throne?

Topalov's profile has been copied from, the official challengers website.

April 21 - 17:00 CET - Official opening
April 24 - 14:00 CET - Game 1
April 25 - 14:00 CET - Game 2
April 26 - Rest Day
April 27 - 14:00 CET - Game 3
April 28 - 14:00 CET - Game 4
April 29 - Rest Day

April 30 - 14:00 CET - Game 5 Another Slav, another draw. So, after the loss in Game 1 Vishy has played two Catalans as White and won both, and two Slavs as Black and drew both. This reminds me of Vladimir Kramnik's strategy. I think Vishy will try for Catalans in Games 6 and 7 as well. Topa will be forced to play the sharper Kingside openings very soon, with 1.e4 in Game 8.

May 1 - 14:00 CET - Game 6 Well, as expected, another Catalan by Vishy. I think Vishy must have been smacked on the hand by his second after playing a Grunfeld in Game 1, and is now following a strategy devised by his second. Topa is being ground down psychologically, unable to score the full point against the Catalan. I think Vishy will rub salt into the wound with another Catalan next round.

May 2 - Rest Day

May 3 - 14:00 CET - Game 7 Another attempt at a Catalan, but it ended up as a Bogo-Indian Defence. A draw was the desired result for Vishy. I think Topa is getting sick of this positional play, and wants a tactical fight. So he will open with 1.e4 in the next game. A Sicilian?

May 4 - 14:00 CET - Game 8 Another Slav, but Topa was ready this time, and wins. Scores are now tied at 4 each.

May 5 - Rest Day

May 6 - 14:00 CET - Game 9 A Nimzo-Indian, and an expected draw.

May 7 - 14:00 CET - Game 10 Another Grunfeld, as in Game 1, and a draw. Amazing how Vishy can easily get a draw against the Bishop pair in an open position. This requires very accurate play. We may be headed for a tie-break, so I have added the tie-break rules below.

May 8 - Rest Day

May 9 - 14:00 CET - Game 11 The first English, but the White fianchetto was not a surprise given Vishy's preference for Catalan type openings. Another draw. Will Topa will risk his reputation on the last game by playing into a Sicilian Najdorf?. These two are probably the world's experts on the Najdorf.

May 10 - Rest Day

May 11 - 14:00 CET - Game 12 The first Lasker, with Vishy wanting a draw, as he is arguably the better player in the rapid. Topa was also not wanting to risk the sharper 1.e4 with the possibility of a Sicilian. So all the games were Queenside openings, with all but one game opening with 1.d4. Congratulations to Vishy Anand, still the World Chess Champion. This is his first successful title defence, after winning the crown from Vladimir Kramnik in 2007. I think the reduction of total games from 24 to 12 is not satisfactory, and if this match had gone to a tie-break it would have reduced the quality of chess that the longer game provides. One game a day with no rest days, and the first to 12.5 is in my opinion much the preferable choice, with the champion retaining the title in the event of a 12-12 tie. Then we would have probably seen some Kingside openings, and the overall ability of the players. Then the winner can say he is the champion of the whole game, not just champion of the Queenside openings.

May 12 - Rest Day

May 13 - Tie breaks


3.7.1.a If the scores are level after the regular twelve (12) games, after a new drawing of colors, four (4) tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be played using the electronic clock starting with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.

3.7.1.b All tie-break games shall be played according to the following: 1. Play is governed by the World Championship Technical Regulations (annex 1), which apply with the exceptions mentioned below in (2), (3) and (4). 2. The players do not need to record the moves. An arbiter shall record the moves. 3. The player who has the move may stop the clocks and consult the Arbiter’s score sheet and if his next move will produce a threefold repetition of position (according to Article 9.2a of the Technical Regulations), or the 50 moves rule (according to Article 9.3a of the Technical Regulations), he himself must write the intended move on the score sheet and claim the draw if he wants. A player can also claim a draw according to Articles 9.2b and 9.3b of theTechnical Regulations. If the claim is found to be correct, the game is immediately ended as a draw. If the claim is found to be incorrect, the Arbiter shall add three (3) minutes to the opponent’s remaining time and the game continues with the intended move in accordance with Article 4 of the Technical Regulations. A maximum of two (2) incorrect claims for a draw can be made by each player. If a player makes a third (3rd ) incorrect claim, the arbiter shall declare the game lost for this player. 4. If a game has ended by resignation, checkmate, time loss, stalemate, triple repetition or any other of the ways described in Article 5 of the Technical Regulations, no claim for irregularities shall be accepted (irregularities include clock settings and all other described in Article 7 of the Technical Regulations).

3.7.2 If the scores are level after the games in Article 3.7.1a, then, after a new drawing ofcolors, a match of 2 games shall be played with a time control of 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move. In case of a level score, another 2-game match will be played to determine a winner. If still there is no winner after 5 such matches (total 10 games), one sudden-death game will be played as described below in Article 3.7.3.

3.7.3 If the score is still level after five matches as described in Article 3.7.2, the players shall play a one sudden death game. The player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the colour. The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.

3.7.4 There shall be a pause of 10 minutes between all tie-break games, unless the Chief Arbiter decides otherwise.

24/04/10 Game 1 V Topalov vs V Anand 1-0 Score Anand 0.0 Topalov 1.0
D87 Grunfeld Defence, Exchange Variation

25/04/10 Game 2 V Anand vs V Topalov 1-0 Score Anand 1.0 Topalov 1.0
E04 Catalan Opening

27/04/10 Game 3 V Topalov vs V Anand 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 1.5 Topalov 1.5
D17 Slav Defence, Krause Attack

28/04/10 Game 4 V Anand vs V Topalov 1-0 Score Anand 2.5 Topalov 1.5
E04 Catalan Opening

30/04/10 Game 5 V Topalov vs V Anand 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 3.0 Topalov 2.0
D17 Slav Defence, Krause Attack

01/05/10 Game 6 V Anand vs V Topalov 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 3.5 Topalov 2.5
E04 Catalan Opening

03/05/10 Game 7 V Anand vs V Topalov 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 4.0 Topalov 3.0
E11 Bogo-Indian Defence

04/05/10 Game 8 V Topalov vs V Anand 1-0 Score Anand 4.0 Topalov 4.0
D17 Slav Defence, Krause Attack

06/05/10 Game 9 V Anand vs V Topalov 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 4.5 Topalov 4.5
E54 Nimzo-Indian Defence, Gligoric Variation

07/05/10 Game 10 V Topalov vs V Anand 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 5.0 Topalov 5.0
D87 Grunfeld Defence, Exchange Variation

09/05/10 Game 11 V Anand vs V Topalov 1/2-1/2 Score Anand 5.5 Topalov 5.5
A29 English Opening, Four Knights Variation

11/05/10 Game 12 V Topalov vs V Anand 0-1 Score Anand 6.5 Topalov 5.5
D56 Queens Gambit Declined, Lasker Defence

Game 01 (pgn file) Game 02 (pgn file) Game 03 (pgn file) Game 04 (pgn file) Game 05 (pgn file) Game 06 (pgn file) Game 07 (pgn file) Game 08 (pgn file) Game 09 (pgn file) Game 10 (pgn file) Game 11 (pgn file) Game 12 (pgn file)

World Chess Champions

Classical World Chess Champions
1 Wilhelm Steinitz (1886-1894) Austria/USA
2 Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921) Germany
3 Jose Raul Capablanca (1921-1927) Cuba
4 Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935, 1937-1946) Russia/France
5 Max Euwe (1935-1937) Netherlands
6 Mikhail Botvinnik (1948-1957, 1958-1960, 1961-1963) Soviet Union (Russia)
7 Vasily Smyslov (1957-1958) Soviet Union (Russia)
8 Mikhail Tal (1960-1961) Soviet Union (Latvia)
9 Tigran Petrosian (1963-1969) Soviet Union (Armenia)
10 Boris Spassky (1969-1972) Soviet Union (Russia)
11 Robert James Fischer (1972-1975) United States
12 Anatoly Karpov (1975-1985) Soviet Union (Russia)
13 Garry Kasparov (1985-2000) Soviet Union (Russia)

In 1993 Garry Kasparov split with FIDE and organised his World Championship match with Nigel Short.

FIDE World Chess Champions
1 Anatoly Karpov (1993-1999) Russia
2 Alexander Khalifman (1999-2000) Russia
3 Viswanathan Anand (2000-2002) India
4 Ruslan Ponomariov (2002-2004) Ukraine
5 Rustam Kasimdzhanov (2004-2005) Uzbekistan
6 Veselin Topalov (2005-2006) Bulgaria

In 2006 the two titles were united when Classical World Champion Vladimir Kramnik beat FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a reunification match.

Classical World Chess Champions
14 Vladimir Kramnik (2000-2007) Russia (PCA)
15 Viswanathan Anand (2007-current) India

19th Melody Amber Blindfold & Rapid Tournament 13th March - 25th March 2010

 Five-star luxury Hotel Palais de la Mediterranée, Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. The Melody Amber tournament, organised by the Association Max Euwe in Monaco, is one of the most prestigious chess events in the world. It is the only one in which half of the games are played blindfold, i.e. without the players seeing board and pieces. Instead, they each look at a laptop with a chess board and no pieces, and are allowed to move the mouse around on the empty board! Twelve top grandmasters from ten countries are taking part.

The tradition started in 1992 when Dutch software billionaire Joop van Oosterom decided to dedicate a chess tournament, organised by his Monaco-based Association Max Euwe, to his newborn daughter of the same name. Joop van Oosterom is no ordinary chess patron, because he's the world's No.1 ranked correspondence player and former world champion!

With no ratings at stake and a hefty €216,000 (NZD421,000) prize fund on offer at the Melody Amber tournament, we've seen some sensational sacrificial chess from the players.

Every day four sessions will be played, two blindfold sessions and two rapid sessions. The first session starts at 14.30 hrs. The fourth session finishes around 20.00 hrs (Note: the final round on 25th March starts at 12.30 hrs. 17th March and 22nd March are rest days).

14/03/10 Round 1: Old hand Ivanchuk beats top seed 19 years old Carlsen 2-0. Ivanchuk will turn 41 during this tournament, on 18th March. Young gun 26 years old Ponomariov beats old hand World Cup Champion Gelfand 2-0. Gelfand is 41.

15/03/10 Round 2: Carlsen beats defending Amber champion Aronian 2-0. Gelfand beats Gashimov 2-0.

16/03/10 Round 3: Carlsen beats Svidler 2-0. Aronian beats Smeets 2-0. Ivanchuk leads on 4.5.

17/03/10 Round 4: Carlsen beats Smeets 2-0 and joins Ivanchuk in the lead on 6. Gelfand beats Kramnik 2-0. Grischuk beats Dominguez 2-0.

18/03/10 The 17th March 2010 was a rest day in Nice, France.

19/03/10 Round 5: Gelfand beats Dominguez 2-0. Kramnik beats Ponomariov 2-0. This is the Kramnik of old, fighting back strongly, and keeping in touch with the leaders. Svidler beats Aronian 2-0. Aronian will find it very difficult to retain the title now. Ivanchuk leads on 7.5, 2nd= Carlsen and Gelfand on 7, 4th Kramnik on 6.

20/03/10 Round 6: Carlsen beats Gelfand 2-0, and takes the sole lead in the tournament on 9. Ivanchuk is still unbeaten, on 8.5. Karjakin beats Dominguez 2-0.

21/03/10 Round 7: Ivanchuk hits the sole lead again, on 10. Karjakin beats Ponomariov 2-0.

22/03/10 Round 8: Ivanchuk stretches ahead on 11. Carlsen follows on 10, after dropping 0.5-1.5 to Kramnik who is now up his bumper on 9.5 in 3rd= place, together with Gelfand.

23/03/10 The 22nd March 2010 was a rest day in Nice, France.

24/03/10 Round 9: Grischuk beats Smeets 2-0. Ivanchuk 12, Carlsen 11.5, Kramnik 11, Grischuk 11.

25/03/10 Round 10: Carlsen beats Ponomariov 2-0 and takes the lead again, on 13.5. Ivanchuk 13, Kramnik 12, Grischuk 11.5. In the last round Carlsen meets Grischuk, so that will be very tough, maybe draws? Ivanchuk meets Gelfand, and Ivanchuk may take this encounter and possibly tie for first place, as Gelfand's form has fluctuated. Don't count out Kramnik, as he has a mathematical chance, and meets Karjakin, who has done very well for his debut, but the experience of Kramnik should show.

26/03/10 Round 11: The result was as predicted above, with Carlsen and Ivanchuk tied for first place on 14.5, but with a win to Grischuk in the blindfold, then a win to Carlsen in the rapid. Ivanchuk beat Gelfand 1.5-0.5 as expected. Kramnik tried, and took the blindfold, but couldn't take the rapid against Karjakin. 3rd Kramnik 13, 4th Grischuk 12.5, 5th Karjakin 12, 6th= Gashimov, Gelfand, Svidler 11.5, 9th Aronian 11, 10th Ponomariov 9, 11th Smeets 6, 12th Dominguez 5.
Cross Table
No Name                   Feder  Rtg  Total  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11

1  Magnus Carlsen         NOR    2813 6.5    2:L  3:W  4:L  5:W  6:W  7:L  8:L  9:W 10:W 11:D 12:W   Bld 
                                      8.0    2:D  3:W  4:W  5:W  6:W  7:L  8:D  9:W 10:L 11:W 12:W   Rpd 
2  Vladimir Kramnik       RUS    2790 6.5    1:W  3:W  4:L  5:D  6:L  7:D  8:D  9:W 10:W 11:W 12:L   Bld
                                      6.5    1:D  3:L  4:W  5:W  6:L  7:D  8:W  9:W 10:L 11:D 12:W   Rpd
3  Levon Aronian          ARM    2782 5.0    1:L  2:L  4:W  5:L  6:D  7:D  8:W  9:L 10:L 11:W 12:W   Bld
                                      6.0    1:L  2:W  4:D  5:L  6:D  7:L  8:D  9:W 10:W 11:- 12:W   Rpd
4  Alexander Grischuk     RUS    2756 8.0    1:W  2:W  3:L  5:W  6:D  7:D  8:D  9:D 10:W 11:W 12:W   Bld
                                      4.5    1:L  2:L  3:D  5:D  6:D  7:L  8:L  9:D 10:D 11:W 12:W   Rpd
5  Peter Svidler          RUS    2750 5.5    1:L  2:D  3:W  4:L  6:D  7:D  8:D  9:W 10:L 11:D 12:W   Bld
                                      6.0    1:L  2:L  3:W  4:D  6:W  7:D  8:D  9:L 10:W 11:W 12:D   Rpd
6  Boris Gelfand          ISR    2750 6.0    1:L  2:W  3:D  4:D  5:D  7:D  8:W  9:L 10:D 11:W 12:D   Bld
                                      5.5    1:L  2:W  3:D  4:D  5:L  7:L  8:W  9:L 10:D 11:W 12:W   Rpd
7  Vasily Ivanchuk        UKR    2748 6.5    1:W  2:D  3:D  4:D  5:D  6:D  8:D  9:D 10:W 11:D 12:D   Bld 
                                      8.0    1:W  2:D  3:W  4:W  5:D  6:W  8:D  9:D 10:D 11:D 12:W   Rpd
8  Vugar Gashimov         AZE    2740 5.5    1:W  2:D  3:L  4:D  5:D  6:L  7:D  9:D 10:D 11:W 12:D   Bld
                                      6.0    1:D  2:L  3:D  4:W  5:D  6:L  7:D  9:W 10:D 11:D 12:W   Rpd
9  Ruslan Ponomariov      UKR    2737 4.5    1:L  2:L  3:W  4:D  5:L  6:W  7:D  8:D 10:L 11:D 12:D   Bld
                                      4.5    1:L  2:L  3:L  4:D  5:W  6:W  7:D  8:L 10:L 11:D 12:W   Rpd
10 Sergey Karjakin        RUS    2725 5.5    1:L  2:L  3:W  4:L  5:W  6:D  7:L  8:D  9:W 11:W 12:D   Bld
                                      6.5    1:W  2:W  3:L  4:D  5:L  6:D  7:D  8:D  9:W 11:W 12:D   Rpd
11 Leinier Dominguez      CUB    2713 2.5    1:D  2:L  3:L  4:L  5:D  6:L  7:D  8:L  9:D 10:L 12:D   Bld
                                      2.5    1:L  2:D  3:D  4:L  5:L  6:L  7:D  8:D  9:D 10:L 12:L   Rpd
12 Jan Smeets             NED    2651 4.0    1:L  2:W  3:L  4:L  5:L  6:D  7:D  8:D  9:D 10:D 11:D   Bld
                                      2.0    1:L  2:L  3:L  4:L  5:D  6:L  7:L  8:L  9:L 10:D 11:W   Rpd

Medium Elo: 2746 <=> or equivalent to Cat: XX with no ratings at stake
Round 01 (pgn file) Round 02 (pgn file) Round 03 (pgn file) Round 04 (pgn file) Round 05 (pgn file)
Round 06 (pgn file) Round 07 (pgn file) Round 08 (pgn file) Round 09 (pgn file) Round 10 (pgn file)
Round 11 (pgn file)

To play through the Blindfold games by opening

To play through the Rapid games by opening

27th Linares Tournament 13th - 25th February 2010

                                   Image Can't read Spanish? You don't need to. Just click onto the link to the official website. Google Translation will automatically translate the Spanish to English.

Former UAE prodigy rides to the rescue of 'chess Wimbledon'
The architect of the UAE bid, Sulaiman Al-Fahim, was a chess prodigy 'ranked fifth in the world at age nine', on an under-10 list. His playing career ceased early but now he is now president of the UAE chess association. The elite tournament at Linares, Spain, known as the 'chess Wimbledon' has had budgetary problems in recent years, which were temporarily solved by playing the first half of the tournament in Morelia, Mexico.

In 2009 the Mexicans pulled out and it seemed that Linares's future was again uncertain. Then came an announcement during the 2009 event that from 2010 onwards the tournament would be shared between Spain and the UAE. Al-Fahim commented that "We will pay the expenses of the players and the prizes, I think around two million euros." So, the world's top GMs will be clamouring for one of the eight invitations to Linares-Dubai or Abu Dhabi 2010. Extract from

The 2010 Linares chess tournament, part of the Grand Slam circuit and one of the top chess events in the world, is starting today. The field has been reduced to six players who will compete in a double round robin event. Tournament director Juan Fernandez underlined at the opening ceremony that he is happy the tournament has a category XXI despite the economic crisis and expressed the desire for the competition to share venues with Morelia, UAE, or another city in 2011.

Last year's champion Alexander Grischuk and FIDE Grand Prix winner Levon Aronian are making another consecutive appearance. Former World Champion Veselin Topalov, who skipped the last year's event because of the FIDE Challengers match against Gata Kamsky, is back to play in one of his favourite tournaments. He noted, "It will be very important to enter the World Chess Championship match against Anand with a victory in Linares. However, it will not be easy, as the competition is very strong."

Boris Gelfand was invited after his win at the prestigious FIDE World Cup, while Vugar Gashimov of Azerbaijan is making a debut at the super-tournament. Francisco Vallejo Pons was happy returning to Linares five years after his last participation and said, "It is an honour for a Spanish player to participate in the most prestigious tournament in the world." Extract from

18/02/10 Last night was a rest day in Linares, Spain. Spain is in Central European Time (CET), exactly 12 hours behind New Zealand. Here is an interesting geography lesson. The antipodes or "opposed" of any place on Earth is the point on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite to it. Two points that are antipodal to one another are connected by a straight line running through the centre of the Earth, and forms a true diameter. Parts of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco are antipodal to New Zealand, and the antipodes of New Zealand's lower North Island lies in Spain. Approximate pairs of antipodal cities are La Coruna, Spain and Christchurch; Leon, Spain and Wellington; and Seville, Spain and Auckland. After four rounds Topalov and Grischuk share the lead on 2.5.

19/02/10 Round 5. Topalov wins against Grischuk, and takes the outright lead. Gashimov beats Vallejo-Pons.

20/02/10 Round 6. Topalov wins against Vallejo-Pons, in a surprise English Opening, and streaks ahead.

21/02/10 Round 7. All draws. Topalov pulls out Kramnik's favourite drawing weapon, the Berlin Defence, to draw with Gashimov and preserve his lead.

22/02/10 Round 8. Grischuk wins against Gashimov.

23/02/10 Last night was a rest day in Linares, Spain.

24/02/10 Round 9. Grischuk wins against Topalov. I'm not surprised, given his tournament success at Linares last year. Topalov is the Challenger, and deserves to be ranked number one in this tournament. Topalov defeated Gata Kamsky to become the Challenger for the World Chess Championship against the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand in April 2010. Aronian was the winner of the FIDE Grand Prix last year, and Gelfand was the winner of the World Cup last year. So Aronian will play Gelfand in an eight game match in the third quarter of 2010 to find the new Challenger to the new World Champion. Topalov and Grischuk now share the lead on 5.5 points each.

25/02/10 Round 10. Topalov beats Gelfand, and wins the tournament. Grischuk is second. Aronian beats Gashimov, and is third.

No Name			1	2	3	4	5	6	Pts 

1  Veselin Topalov   	x	0.5 	0.5 	1.0 	1.0 	0.5 	
   Rating 2805 Fed BUL	x	0.5	1.0	0.5	0.0	1.0	6.5
2  Levon Aronian    	0.5 	x	0.5 	0.5 	0.5 	0.5 	 	  
   Rating 2781 Fed ARM	0.5	x      	0.5	1.0	0.5	0.5	5.5
3  Boris Gelfand      	0.5 	0.5 	x 	0.5 	0.0 	0.5 	 	 
   Rating 2761 Fed ISR	0.0	0.5	x	0.5	0.5	0.5	4.0
4  Vugar Gashimov    	0.0 	0.5 	0.5 	x 	0.5 	1.0 	 	 
   Rating 2759 Fed AZE	0.5	0.0	0.5	x	0.0	0.5	4.0
5  Alexander Grischuk      	0.0 	0.5 	1.0 	0.5 	x 	0.5 	 	
   Rating 2736 Fed RUS	1.0	0.5	0.5	1.0	x	0.5	6.0
6  Francisco Vallejo-Pons	0.5 	0.5 	0.5 	0.0 	0.5 	x 	 	 
   Rating 2705 Fed ESP	0.0	0.5	0.5	0.5	0.5	x	4.0
Medium Elo: 2757 <=> Cat: XXI  
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