Decisive Start in Morelia
By Jennifer Shahade   
February 17, 2008
Morelia,Mexico Photo Cathy Rogers, 2007
The Morelia-Linares eight player round robin (Feb.15-March 7) started out with a surprising number of decisive games. Veselin Topalov and Vassily Ivanchuk lead with 1.5/2. Top seed Vishy Anand was involved in two hyper-sharp games, first a win against Alexei Shirov on the Black side of a Sicilian and then a loss to Levon Aronian on the white side of the Marshall. 



Peter Leko--who prognosticator Greg Shahade gave a 50% chance to lead the tournament in draws -- is also off to a decisive start although his games were not quite as exciting as Anand's. In round one, he scored a positional win over Radjabov on the White side of the Sveshnikov.


In round two, Leko lost to Ivanchuk's Ruy Lopez. The game was distinguished by an unusual middlegame material imbalance- two rooks for a queen. However, the most relevant factor in Ivanchuk's win turned out to be Leko's traditionally weak Ruy Lopez pawns.


In a Nimzo-Indian endgame, Aronian's rook was snagged by Topalov's two powerful bishops.


Morelia-Linares (February 15-March 7)

Standings after two rounds

1-2- Vassily Ivanchuk and Veselin Topalov -1.5
3-6- Levon Aronian, Vishy Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Peter Leko- 1
7-8- Alexei Shirov and Teimour Radjabov-.5

You can watch the games 1-7 live on the Internet Chess Club at 4:30 EST. Also check out the official website and CLO's Morelia-Linares Predictions.