Topalov breaks free

At the half-way stage Topalov's victory over Grischuk enables him to be one whole point ahead of the pack.
The other winner of the day was Vugar Gashimov who has every reason to be happy with his first win in Linares. The first black win in Linares 2010 and with his trademark Modern Benoni.

Both victories in round five can be blamed on time trouble problems for the vanquished.

Grischuk had a decent, if not better position from a complicated, and fashionable, line of the Najdorf, before getting confused in a rapidly changing position. The opening involved some 'cat-and-mouse' play: White played 6.Be3 (intending an English Attack with f3, Qd2 etc) and Black avoided this possibility with 6...Ng4. After the jockeying in the opening the Russian went on to obtain a fine position despite White's thematic piece sacrifice. Topalov's win shouldn't however be simply put down to his opponent's misfortune, the Bulgarian demonstrated exemplary technique to finish the job.

Another early B-f4 against the Modern Benoni, but fearing preparation Gashimov immediately deviated (as early as move seven) from his game against Gelfand. A complicated position was rather spoiled by Vallejo's time trouble, but Gashimov has again demonstrated that his tricky opening can generate difficult practical problems for White, even at the 2700-level.

In Aronian-Gelfand White's answer to the Semi-Slav took the opening away from well-trodden paths. Later Gelfand was somewhat outplayed and had to bail out in a Queen-and-opposite-bishop 'pseudo-ending' which however he was able to hold.

Francisco Vallejo PonsESP27050-1Vugar GashimovAZE2759Modern BenoniA61
Lev AronianARM27810.5-0.5Boris GelfandISR2761Semi-Slav MeranD48
Veselin TopalovBUL28051-0Alexander GrischukRUS2736Sicilian NajdorfB90

Topalov now has good chances to win this tournament, and now if he manages another 3.5/5 he will overtake Carlsen in the world rankings!

World RankingNameCountryPresent RatingCareer highest ratingPre-Linares virtual ratingPointswins
2Veselin TopalovBUL2805281328053.52
7Vugar GashimovAZE275927592740.22.51
15Alexander GrischukRUS2736274827562.51
5Levon AronianARM278127862782.32.50
6Boris GelfandISR276127612750.420
31Francisco Vallejo PonsESP270527112708.220

The other five players are all within half-a-point of each other.

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Linares official site

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