The super-Grandmaster tournament of Linares has drawn to a close with a familiar face at the top. Viswanathan Anand, the 38 year old World Champion from India, dominated a field of seven opponents, ranging from the Ukrainian veteran Vassily Ivanchuk (same age) to the Norwegian teenager Magnus Carlsen (just 17 years old). Anand finished in first with a solid result of 4 wins, 1 loss and 9 draws for 8.5 out of 14. The youngster Carlsen took second place honors at half a point behind while the Armenian Levon Aronian and the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov shared third place with 7.5 each.
- 8.5 Anand
- 8.0 Carlsen
- 7.5 Aronian and Topalov
- 7.0 Radjabov
- 6.5 Ivanchuk
- 5.5 Leko and Shirov
Here are my favorite games from the tournament. Serious chess students, especially those rated above 1800, should get in the habit of playing through Grandmaster games on a regular basis. By studying these top level contests, you improve your intuition in many different kinds of positions, which will hopefully open your eyes to new strategies in your own games. You may also download a PGN file of these 13 games to use in Fritz or ChessBase. On ICC, type "liblist Linares08" to see all of the games or check out the ChessFM website for daily video reports.
- Shirov 0-1 Anand (1) -- Shirov's king perishes by move 30 after a Rxc3 sacrifice
- Anand 0-1 Aronian (2) -- Anand gets checkmated facing the Marshall attack
- Carlsen 0-1 Anand (3) -- This technical battle in the Semi-Slav decides first place
- Shirov 1-0 Topalov (4) -- Shirov makes excellent use of king to fight in the endgame
- Leko 0-1 Anand (5) -- Anand's technique prevails in a wild opposite wing pawn race
- Topalov 0-1 Carlsen (5) -- Carlsen essays the Alekhine's defense to stun Topalov
- Carlsen 1-0 Aronian (7) -- Ruy Lopez becomes a wild battle with both kings in danger
- Ivanchuk 0-1 Carlsen (8) -- Counterplay overcomes opening disaster in time pressure
- Anand 1-0 Shirov (8) -- In a Sveshnikov, Anand's endgame skills win once again
- Topalov 1-0 Shirov (11) -- Topalov brilliantly smashes the Gruenfeld
- Shirov 1/2 Aronian (12) -- Bishop pair survives underpromotion to N in Marshall attack
- Carlen 1-0 Topalov (12) -- Carlsen checkmates Topalov with an unsound attack
- Topalov 1-0 Leko (13) -- Topalov scores one for white against the Marshall attack
Of course, the big winner is the reigning World Champion Anand. He once again proved that, in the absence of former #1 Garry Kasparov, he's the man to beat. The other big news is the continued success of Carlsen (see photo at the right), coming on the heels of his first place finish in Corus at Wijk aan Zee earlier this year. Various websites report that Magnus will be ranked in the Top 5 of the World on the April FIDE rating list! At this rate, he will soon pass Kramnik and Anand to take over the #1 ranking! Will the best chess player on the planet soon be a teenager?