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Linares Tournament

Anatoly Karpov11/13(+9 -0 =4)[games]
Garry Kasparov8.5/13(+6 -2 =5)[games]
Alexey Shirov8.5/13(+6 -2 =5)[games]
Evgeny Bareev7.5/13(+5 -3 =5)[games]
Joel Lautier7/13(+5 -4 =4)[games]
Vladimir Kramnik7/13(+4 -3 =6)[games]
Veselin Topalov6.5/13(+5 -5 =3)[games]
Viswanathan Anand6.5/13(+4 -4 =5)[games]
Gata Kamsky6.5/13(+3 -3 =7)[games]
Vasyl Ivanchuk6/13(+4 -5 =4)[games]
Boris Gelfand5.5/13(+1 -3 =9)[games]
Miguel Illescas Cordoba4.5/13(+4 -8 =1)[games]
Judit Polgar4/13(+2 -7 =4)[games]
Alexander G Beliavsky2/13(+0 -9 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Linares (1994)

The XII Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez "Ciudad de Linares" was held in Linares, Spain from February 23rd to March 14th. It was sponsored by Match and Philips. Fourteen of the world's best players competed in a round robin format. They were: PCA World Champion Garry Kasparov (Elo rated #1 in the world), FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov (#2), Viswanathan Anand (#3), Alexey Shirov (#4), Vassily Ivanchuk (#5), Vladimir Kramnik (#6), Gata Kamsky (#7), Evgeny Bareev (#8), Boris Gelfand (#9), Alexander Beliavsky (#16), Veselin Topalov (#20) from Bulgaria, the best female player Judit Polgar (#22) from Hungary, Joel Lautier (#26) from France, and Miguel Illescas Cordoba (#68) from Spain. Of the the top 10 players, only Valery Salov (#10) was missing. When asked in advance about the strength of the tournament, Kasparov stated that the winner could consider himself the world champion of tournament chess. Ironically, it was to be Karpov, his longtime rival, who would be the man of destiny. There were no less than seven rest days between the rounds, which started in Hotel Anibal at 3 pm.

Karpov won with 11/13, probably the greatest single tournament performance of all time (but see e. g. Sinquefield Cup (2014)). Bareev made a historical blunder against him in Round 2 (35...Ba7??). Round 4 saw Karpov vs Topalov, 1994 which was later dubbed "Karpov's Immortal", and in Round 7, after six straight wins, Karpov held Kasparov to a draw with Black. Kasparov placed behind Karpov in a tournament for the first time since Moscow (1981). Of the teenagers, two were Linares debutants: Polgar and Topalov. In Judit Polgar vs Kasparov, 1994 (Round 5), Kasparov apparently let go of his knight when playing 36...Nc5 and then retracted the move. But Polgar did not protest, and the arbiter did not either. Kasparov went on to play 36...Nf8 and win the game. The tournament director Luis Rentero Suarez was later accused of having the video removed from the public. There are some letters and pictures addressing the matter in Ocho x Ocho 146 (pp. 28, 32-33). Lautier beat Kasparov with the black pieces in the last round. "Possibly the worst defeat that Kasparov has ever suffered", according to Raymond Keene. Bareev won the brilliancy prize for Topalov vs Bareev, 1994.

Hotel Anibal, Linares, Spain, 23 February - 14 March 1994

Age Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 1 Karpov 42 2740 * = = 1 1 1 1 = = 1 1 1 1 1 11.0 2 Kasparov 30 2815 = * = 1 0 0 = 1 1 1 = 1 1 = 8.5 3 Shirov 21 2715 = = * 0 0 1 1 = 1 1 = 1 1 = 8.5 4 Bareev 27 2685 0 0 1 * = = 1 = = 1 0 1 = 1 7.5 5 Lautier 20 2625 0 1 1 = * = 1 1 0 0 = 0 1 = 7.0 6 Kramnik 18 2710 0 1 0 = = * 0 = = = = 1 1 1 7.0 7 Topalov 18 2640 0 = 0 0 0 1 * 1 = 1 1 = 0 1 6.5 8 Anand 24 2715 = 0 = = 0 = 0 * 1 0 = 1 1 1 6.5 9 Kamsky 19 2695 = 0 0 = 1 = = 0 * = = 1 = 1 6.5 10 Ivanchuk 24 2710 0 0 0 0 1 = 0 1 = * = 1 = 1 6.0 11 Gelfand 25 2685 0 = = 1 = = 0 = = = * 0 = = 5.5 12 Illescas 28 2590 0 0 0 0 1 0 = 0 0 0 1 * 1 1 4.5 13 Polgar 17 2630 0 0 0 = 0 0 1 0 = = = 0 * 1 4.0 14 Beliavsky 40 2650 0 = = 0 = 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 * 2.0

Category: XVIII (2686). Chief arbiter: Carlos Falcon Martin.

Video (Round 4):


FIDE rating list January 1994 (
Ocho x Ocho 145 (April 1994), pp. 4-19 (
Ocho x Ocho 146 (May 1994), pp. 4-33 (
El Mundo Deportivo, 4 March 1994, p. 40 (
Tidskrift för Schack, March 1994, pp. 114-118 (
Tidskrift för Schack, April 1994, pp. 194-203 (
Raymond Keene in The Spectator, 19 March 1994, p. 52 (

Original collection: Game Collection: Linares 1994, by User: suenteus po 147. Round dates: February 23, 24, 26, 27, March 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, matching those in El Mundo Deportivo.

Previous: Linares (1993). Next: Linares (1995)

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 91  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bareev vs Kasparov 0-1311994LinaresA58 Benko Gambit
2. Anand vs Kamsky 1-0391994LinaresB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Illescas Cordoba vs Polgar 1-0401994LinaresB40 Sicilian
4. Lautier vs Karpov 0-1491994LinaresA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
5. Beliavsky vs Shirov  ½-½561994LinaresB33 Sicilian
6. Kramnik vs Gelfand  ½-½411994LinaresE92 King's Indian
7. Topalov vs Ivanchuk 1-0541994LinaresB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
8. Kamsky vs Beliavsky 1-0311994LinaresE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
9. Shirov vs Lautier 0-1601994LinaresD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Kasparov vs Illescas Cordoba 1-0431994LinaresD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
11. Karpov vs Bareev 1-0361994LinaresC07 French, Tarrasch
12. Gelfand vs Ivanchuk  ½-½201994LinaresE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
13. Polgar vs Topalov 1-0481994LinaresA46 Queen's Pawn Game
14. Kramnik vs Anand ½-½171994LinaresA14 English
15. Ivanchuk vs Polgar  ½-½241994LinaresE97 King's Indian
16. Bareev vs Shirov 1-0401994LinaresD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
17. Lautier vs Kamsky 0-1461994LinaresD85 Grunfeld
18. Anand vs Gelfand ½-½441994LinaresB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
19. Beliavsky vs Kramnik 0-1311994LinaresB65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
20. Topalov vs Kasparov ½-½441994LinaresE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
21. Illescas Cordoba vs Karpov 0-1631994LinaresA13 English
22. Kasparov vs Ivanchuk 1-0391994LinaresD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. Karpov vs Topalov 1-0391994LinaresA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
24. Kamsky vs Bareev  ½-½431994LinaresD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
25. Anand vs Beliavsky 1-0391994LinaresB65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 91  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-09-14  Samuel David: karpov a truly brilliant chess player and one of the most misunderstood world champions.It is an honour to be able to play through your games.
Sep-07-14  AngeLa: kudos' to GM Karpov, boa constrictor :P

ahihihi cheers guys :P

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Karpov started out the tournament 6/6. His streak was snapped when he drew Kasparov with black, who was champion at the time. Fast forward 20 years to Sinquefield Cup (2014), Caruana started out 7/7 before he drew Carlsen, the current world champion with white to snap the streak. Anyone predicting something like this to happen in 2034?

Anyway, it's amazing how many players in this tournament are still active, including Topalov who participated in both tournaments.

Sep-29-14  SpiritedReposte: What a score and against that field...Maybe the best tournament performance ever?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Samuel David> <one of the most misunderstood world champions> Hmm... why this statement?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: It is mind boggling to see what Karpov did in the tournament. Shirov was the only player with Black able to hold Karpov to a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Another tournament with past, present and future World Champions with Kramnik, Anand and Topalov having only middling results and Karpov showing what he could do when he put his mind to it. Kasparov might have regretted his earlier comment about the winner being regarded as the World tournament champion.


Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Penguincw: Karpov started out the tournament 6/6. His streak was snapped when he drew Kasparov with black, who was champion at the time. Fast forward 20 years to Sinquefield Cup (2014), Caruana started out 7/7 before he drew Carlsen, the current world champion with white to snap the streak. Anyone predicting something like this to happen in 2034? >

The Karpov / Linares - Caruana / Sinquefield comparison is interesting, and in the Singuefield post game commentary and closing ceremony there was the same discussion.

I do not wish to detract from either player, as the performance of both was superb, providing some wonderful games for chess fans! And overall the win/draw ratio is as equal as possible given the 10 to 13 game ratio.

There are however some distinct differences. Sinq.. was a small field double round robin, so everyone played everyone once with each color. Linares was a larger field with everyone playing once. The bottom ranked players (Bareev, Polgar and Cordoba) all lost to both current champ Kaspy and Karpov, and frankly, Polgar was an easy win. Tho a creative and aggressive player, Judit was never in the same class as the KK's. Whereas the low man out at Sinque.. (MVL) actually managed to draw champ Magnus! This suggests a slightly stronger field. And lastly, there were some errors at Sinque, but NOBODY blew a drawn game, or even a lost game with a gross blunder like Bareev's ..Ba7?? That was an amazing blunder gift game that should have drawn. These factors seem to tip the vote in Caruana's favor, especially from a non-WCC champ or challenger, tho I must say I have enjoyed Karpov's games immensely over the decades, and see him still as beyond what Fab has yet to demonstrate. Karpov was for a long time the leader of the pack in every rite. The clash of the titans raged from 1978 to 1998. During the KK battles those two were a whole other level above the rest. But Fab will get his fair shot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: This is the second best tournament performance of all time. Caru in 2014 Sinquefield Cup was the best. The field was stronger, and THERE WAS ONLY ONE REST DAY FOR 10 GAMES. I am therefore not surprised he didn't beat naka in a winning position. 9/10 would have been too much. Also, Caru got 85% of possible points, Karpov about 84.6%.
Jul-07-15  nok: But sustained over more games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Re <PawnSac>'s post: Eric Schiller went so far as to write that Karpov's sterling achievement was possible due, in large part, to the fact that most players had to face Karpov, then Kasparov in successive rounds; believe the phrase used by Schiller was 'softened up'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: <perfidious> I have seen that theory put forward also. It is a difficult claim to verify - one might also say that the players had instead been "toughened up" to play better.

The Bareev game has one of the worst blunders in modern top level chess (although of course it decided ½ point, not from 1 to 0). Also Ivanchuk played quite bad vs Karpov and resigned prematurely. On the other hand, in 3 out of Karpov's 4 draws he was actually pushing for the win with an extra pawn, but his opponents (Kasparov, Shirov and Kamsky) defended stubbornly. So his 11 pts seem well deserved and not the result of opponents blundering away their games.

Nov-06-15  Mr. V: <perfidious>

And also on that subject, it's a pretty empty claim because Karpov even performed quite well against the players who were not "softened up" by Kasparov - those who beat Kasparov or managed a draw.

Karpov beat the two players in the tournament who beat Kasparov: Kramnik and Lautier.

Karpov had a good score against the players who drew Kasparov: Beliavsky, Gelfand, Topalov. He only managed to draw against Shirov. None of those players can be said to be "softened up" by Kasparov, especially not the two who beat him.

Jan-12-16  Mr 1100: BTW, wondering if anyone's got any newspaper reports on this tournament?

Most online newspaper archives don't seem to go that far back...

There was no back then... nor even a, if I'm not mistaken...

Just curious to look back and see how it was reported back then...

Aug-07-16  tonim: Great performance by Karpov is certanly main feature of this tournament, but there are 2 other amazing facts: - very low percentage of draws (33/91), cca 36%
- worst tournament for Beliavsky ever, only 2/13(+0 -9 =4)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Enormous win by Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Having read the text describing this tournament, I can honestly say that the description makes it sound like the greatest chess event in the history of this universe.

And all other universes.

And... That MUST be true! Here's why:

1. Karpov did astounding things that only Paul Morphy is permitted to imagine.

2. Topping Karpov in astoundingness, the amazing GM Ivanchuk (who is considered both a prodigy and an idiot savant by those who know nothing about chess) managed to <not> amaze anyone commenting on this thread.

3. This tournament contained no fewer than four - THAT'S RIGHT I SAID FOUR!!! - World Champions. Maybe 5 if Judit Polgar was women's world champion at some point (I don't see it in her bio).

4. Like Karpov in this tourny, Kasparov also did astounding things (that he wishes to stop imagining). He lost to Lautier, who was a super strong GM yet still a patzer compared to the WC GK

5. GK managed to cheat and not cheat at the same time, against the world's first <hot chick + super GM>, who was playing in the tournament and still in her teens. (She's not hot anymore, but that happens to everyone.)

6. One must consider the fact that some of these folks may have won some FIDE stupid WC tournament at some point, like when Alexander Khalifman became "WC" (quote/unquote) by winning some Las Vegas absurdity.

It was called the <FIDE Is Run By Idiots World Knockout Tournament and Rum Jumbee Drink Fest>, or something like that.

And if IIRC, both Gelfand and Topalov played for the WC, making them WC challengers. Combined with the number of quote/unquote <Amazing Champions and Challengers> plus weird events (like the aforementioned Lautier win over GK), this is no doubt the most strange bizarre and amazing tournament ever.

Feb-10-21  JPLL: karpov was the best player in 1994, 2980 performance greatest ever? did magnus have better? Linares (1994)
Feb-10-21  fabelhaft: <karpov was the best player in 1994, 2980 performance greatest ever? did magnus have better?>

Karpov played five tournaments as clear rating favourite in 1994 and didn’t win any of them. Then he did slightly better in this sixth event :-) But him being better than Kasparov in 1994 is debatable.

Carlsen had a 3002 performance in Nanjing 2009, but if the achievement in itself was better than Karpov’s is an entirely different matter:

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: While Karpov's performance was outstanding, I would not agree that he was, overall, the greatest player of 1994; hard to see anyone making a serious case on Karpov's behalf when he was the favourite in five other events and did not manage to win even one of them.
Feb-11-21  fabelhaft: I suppose Linares was (deservedly) a bit more memorable than

Dortmund Sparkassen (1994)

or events like

Game Collection: 99_Lev Polugajevky Tourn. Buenos Aires 1994


But Kasparov being the better player of the two in 1994 is something I guess most would agree with

Feb-11-21  fisayo123: <Perfidious>

Let's remember Karpov was already 43 years old in 1994. At a similar age, Kasparov had already retired from the game (age 41) when it was clear others were catching up to him.

And yet, even at 43 he produced the greatest single performance of any closed , privately organized supertournament in history.

<Fabelhaft> In some other events like Dortmund that year, he was unlucky since he had a bad leg injury during the tournament and the Polugaevsky event in Buenos Aires 1994 was a theme event in which all the players had to play a Sicilian. Karpov was long retired from playing 1. e4 and obviously the Sicilian defense with black was never to his taste.

That being said, I think its clear at least for me his Linares 1994 display is clearly better than Carlsen display in Nanjing despite that one having a better Tournament performance rating (TPR) which in this case is skewered by rating inflation over the years.

Just look at the field of Pearl Spring Chess Tournament (2009) and compare it to Linares (1994). Its clear which is better.

The only performance worth comparing it to is Caruana's Sinquefield Cup (2014) , but that was done over less rounds and he won less games. Karpov even at 43 still had the stamina to win 9 games (the most Kasparov ever won at Linares was 7) and destroy a field with almost all players a decade younger than him and that included multiple future World Champions.

Feb-11-21  fabelhaft: <In some other events like Dortmund that year, he was unlucky since he had a bad leg injury during the tournament and the Polugaevsky event in Buenos Aires 1994 was a theme event in which all the players had to play a Sicilian>

Those were just a couple of examples questioning the statement about Karpov being the best player in 1994. He also played Dos Hermanas won by Gelfand, Tilburg won by Salov, and Las Palmas won by Kamsky.

Feb-11-21  fisayo123: <Fabelhaft> He was 2nd in all those events except Tilburg (which was a weird knockout format he had previously won the year before). The only top tournament he played badly in was the Buenos Aires one which was Sicilian themed.

It happens. When you have a career spanning 25 years at the top, you're going to have the odd year. Especially when that odd year is in the 23rd year at the top, basically the tail end of Karpov as a top 2 player. Besides, his insane perfomance in Linares compensates for his 1994.

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