SIMPLECHESS

Topalov and Grischuk draw blood.

The favourite Veselin Topalov and in-form Alexander Grischuk both won with direct kingside action.
World Cup winner Boris Gelfand is in Linares as a late substitute, but since his success in Khanty Mansiysk his results haven't been as good.
The other loser Vugar Gashimov is also going through a rough patch.

Topalov managed to win a simplified game with queen, rook and four pawns each on the same side. This may seem drawish, but Black's king was slightly exposed and Gashimov was unable to hold his kingside together.

As a rule of thumb, when the only pieces on the board are 'queen and rook' each, the player with the most vulnerable king is generally in danger.

Grischuk won as White in an 'Isolated Queen's Pawn' middlegame. Gelfand had dark-squared weaknesses on the kingside and he was unable to parry the pressure.

Vallejo Pons against Aronian was one of those Berlin Defence queenless middlegames that are tough to judge. The Spaniard managed to find a sequence that won a pawn, but only at the cost of allowing opposite bishops. Aronian held the endgame without too much fuss.

Alexander GrischukRUS27361-0Boris GelfandISR2761Nimzoindian DefenceE55
Veselin TopalovBUL28051-0Vugar GashimovAZE2759Slav DefenceD12
Francisco Vallejo PonsESP27050.5-0.5Lev AronianARM2781Spanish BerlinC67

After round two the standings are as follows:

I estimate that Topalov requires 5.8 points out of 10 to maintain his rating. If he scores 7/10 then he would gain sufficient points to become world number one.

It's perhaps rather early to make such calculations but he has started well enough!

World RankingNameCountryRatingExpected ScorePoints
2Veselin TopalovBUL28055.81.5
15Alexander GrischukRUS27364.61.5
5Levon AronianARM27815.41
31Francisco Vallejo PonsESP27054.11
6Boris GelfandISR276150.5
7Vugar GashimovAZE275950.5

The official site will give additional information:

Linares official site


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