This year all the games will take place in Linares (a few years ago the event was split between Linares and Moralia in Mexico) in southern Spain. There are only six players but they will play each other twice making ten rounds in total.
The first round saw three draws.
|Lev Aronian||ARM||2781||0.5-0.5||Alexander Grischuk||RUS||2736||Nimzo-Indian Sämisch||E25|
|Boris Gelfand||ISR||2761||0.5-0.5||Vugar Gashimov||AZE||2759||Modern Benoni||A61|
|Francisco Vallejo Pons||ESP||2705||0.5-0.5||Veselin Topalov||BUL||2805||Spanish Breyer||C95|
Grischuk seemed to equalize quite easily against Aronian's surprising opening choice, and Vallejo Pons-Topalov didn't yield anything new, with Black nullifying White's opening advantage without any problems.
The most interesting game was Gelfand against Gashimov. The Azeri playing a somewhat risky pawn sacrifice but held his own in the complications that followed.
All the players have more than 2700 Elo points. It will be interesting to see how well the local player 'Paco' Vallejo Pons (rated a lowly 2705!) will fare in this company. If Topalov has an excellent tournament he could conceivably overtake Carlsen in the virtual World rankings (he needs to gain 8.5 rating points).
Grischuk is fifth seed, but his recent performances have been better than Gelfand and Gashimov and so his unofficial rating places him above them in third place.
|World Ranking||Name||Country||Rating||Virtual Rating||Points|
|31||Francisco Vallejo Pons||ESP||2705||2708.2||0.5|
Magnus Carlsen is World number one with a rating of 2810 (virtual rating of 2812.9).
The official site will give additional information: