Reports | February 16, 2009 22:18

Linares starts in three days

Linares 2009After only two weeks of relative silence since Wijk aan Zee, the chess fans will be treated with lots of new excitement in February. Besides the Kamsky-Topalov match there is, of course, also Linares - that grand old tournament holding the title "Wimbledon of chess". The first round of this year's second Grand Slam tournament is next Thursday.

The first edition of the tournament was in 1978. It was held since then without interruption in the odd-numbered years until 1987, the year that Linares hosted the Candidates Final match between Anatoly Karpov and Andrei Sokolov. Since 1988, the tournament was held every year (except 1996, when the city hosted the Women World Championship).

Starting in 2006, the tournament was played in two locations: the first seven rounds were held in Morelia (Mexico) and then the final rounds in Linares (Spain). From that moment the tournament changed its name to Intercontinental Chess Tournament Linares - Morelia.

However, this year the full tournament takes place in the Spanish town of Linares again: from February 18 till March 8 it's the 26th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de Linares. It's the first tournament of Viswanathan Anand after he retained his world title in October last year, when he beat Vladimir Kramnik in a match for the world title. Carlsen, Radjabov, Aronian and Ivanchuk, but also Wang Yue and Dominguez, are part of the current "world elite" - they all played in Wijk aan Zee last month too. The most surprising name in the field is Alexander Grischuk. We haven't seen him in super tournaments for a while, but he did play in all three Grand Prix tournaments last year (4-5th place in Baku, 10th in Sochi and shared 1st in Elista).




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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Amit's picture

1.3 billion Chinese people and still Wang Yue gets just 12 votes

Manu in Mar del Plata's picture

I will cheer again for Dominguez , like i did in Corus.

Thomas's picture

Yep, Vallejo now has other commitments ... . But just as Topalov he didn't know when invitations were sent out - and only concerning Topalov it is known that he was invited but had to cancel his participation.
Maybe the organizers considered the ratings of both Vallejo and Illescas too low when they decided on the field (Vallejo only recently crossed 2700 again). Another Spanish player is Shirov [well, as Spanish as Tiviakov and Sokolov are Dutch ,:)]. Was he invited and declined? Or did the organizers want some changes? Maybe they think that Spanish(-speaking) Dominguez is a fine alternative [apart from other reasons why he deserves an invitation].

And does anyone know which player was the (relatively) short-notic replacement for Topalov?

Manu in Mar del Plata's picture

Anand , :)

Thomas's picture

Manu, are you joking or do you know for sure? Not ruling out either possibility .... .

Manu in Mar del Plata's picture

Joking of course , the sun fried my head ,im on the beach.

Dirk-WIllem Swart's picture

thanks guys for the replies!
Vallejo Pons indeed is part of the Topalov team.

Dirk-WIllem Swart's picture

Do you know why no Spanish GM take part in Linares this year (2009) (Vallejo Pons / Illescas) ??

ChessGirl's picture

Illescas doesn´t take part because he´s an awful player xDDD

SvenBakker's picture

I think Vallejo is helping Topalov the coming weeks.

Ricardo's picture

Just guessing here but since Vallejo is in Topalov's team he's probably going to be busy. Or I'm wrong and you can just ignore my comment hehe :-D

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