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Grischuk makes a splash in Linares

Alexander Grischuk lands a neat combination to dismantle Gashimov's Modern Benoni and is now the only player with any realistic chances to challenge Topalov for the top honours.

Grischuk tried the fianchetto variation against Gashimov's pet opening system. The position seemed to be normal enough until Grischuk surprisingly captured on d6, with the point that his e-pawn is ready to advance and ensnare Gashimov's light-squared bishop. In the ensuing play White's central pawn couplet played a big part in yielding victory for the Russian.

Topalov kept some pressure in the Moscow variation, but Aronian managed to get some counterplay by advancing his central pawns. Topalov won a pawn but the rook ending was drawn.

Vallejo Pons tried a sideline against the Petroff but Gelfand was never really troubled. When Black equalizes easily (as here) the Petroff can be rather dull.

Veselin TopalovBUL28050.5-0.5Lev AronianARM2781Semi-Slav MoscowD43
Francisco Vallejo PonsESP27050.5-0.5Boris GelfandISR2761Petroff's DefenceC42
Alexander GrischukRUS27361-0Vugar GashimovAZE2759Modern BenoniA62

Grischuk's second win takes him up to lone second place, but still a clear point behind Topalov.

However tomorrow he has the White pieces against the Bulgarian and could catch him, if all goes well...

World RankingNameCountryPresent RatingCareer highest ratingPre-Linares virtual ratingPointswins
2Veselin TopalovBUL2805281328055.53
15Alexander GrischukRUS2736274827564.52
5Levon AronianARM278127862782.340
7Vugar GashimovAZ E275927592740.23.51
6Boris GelfandISR276127612750.43.50
31Francisco Vallejo PonsESP270527112708.230

Aronian has managed to draw all eight games!

In terms of rating, Topalov doesn't lose very much by drawing with Aronian so he is still about one rating point ahead of Carlsen (in the world rankings), but will need more than one point from the last two games to be certain to become World number one officially.

The official site will give additional information:

Linares official site


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