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Anand Leads Action packed Morelia-Linares Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
February 25, 2008
The Mexican half of Morelia-Linares (February 15-March 7) ended with Vishy Anand leading by half a point with 4.5/7. Close behind are Veselin Topalov and Alexei Shirov with 4/7 each. Look for an on the scene report by ICC correspondent Macauley Peterson tomorrow from Mexico. Next week,  GM Ian Rogers will be reporting for CLO live from Linares. 

Greg Shahade used harsh words against Peter Leko in the Morelia-Linares prediction article 
but was impressed by the fighting chess from the first half of the event. Greg checks back in at the halfway mark:

Well I must admit I feel shamed. Ok on one hand, Leko, who I scathed unmercifully is sitting in dead last place. However my criticism of how he draws and plays a boring style of chess has been totally unfounded in this event. His draws and his losses have been quite action packed for the most part.

 In fact I have to applaud all of the players for playing lots of exciting chess. There are very few lifeless draws. Every single player in the event has at least 3 decisive results out of 7 games, which is quite good in such a high class event.

  I still think that Leko no longer has it in him to win these kinds of events, and that it would make sense to invite some newer blood, but he has definitely been making things interesting.

 Lastly, I would like the following proposal to gain steam, as I think it would go a great deal towards helping to get newer players involved in these major round robins. The idea is as follows:

 Whenever a major annual tournament is held, the players who finish in the top half of the scoreboard are automatically invited back the following year. The players who finish in the bottom half are automatically NOT invited back the following year. This would require organizers to ensure that half of the tournament field is different in the following year, and would create a lot of drama later in the event as people jockey for their place in the top half.

 The possible downside may be that some players could play it safe at the end in order to secure qualification for the following year, however I think that at least one or two of the major tournaments should give it a shot. Please note that this year 6/8 of the Linares participants played in the previous year. The newcomers this year are Shirov and Radjabov. I believe there needs to be more new names to keep chess fresh and exciting and the previous suggestion would do a great job of ensuring this.

Round seven was the most action packed of the event so far, with three decisive results.


Standings after 7 Rounds

1. GM Vishy Anand IND 2799- 4.5/7
2-3. GM Veselin Topalov BUL 2780 and GM Alexei Shirov ESP 2755- 4/7
4-5  3.5  GM Magnus Carlsen NOR 2733 and GM Levon Aronian ARM 2739
6-7  3.0  GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2751, GM Teimour Radjabov AZE 2735 and GM Peter Leko HUN 2753