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The Year 2006 in Review
International Events

The year 2006 was the best year for strong tournaments in the history of chess. On our register of Famous Chess Tournaments, we added a dozen events that were category 17 or higher.

Just as in recent years, the first strong tournament of the New Year was the Corus tournament (cat. XIX, 14 player round robin) held at Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, in January. Anand and Topalov tied for 1st/2nd with identical +6-1=6 scores, 1.5 points ahead of the rest of the field.

In February/March, the first Morelia/Linares Super Grandmaster event was held (cat. XX, 7 player round robin). As the 2006 version of the traditional Linares tournament, it was numbered 23rd in the series. After the first half of the event was played in Morelia, Mexico, the second half returned to its traditional venue in Linares, Spain. Aronian confirmed his new status as one of the best players in the world by finishing +5-2=7, a half point in front of Radjabov and Topalov.

March also saw the 7th Karpov tournament (cat. XVIII, 10 player round robin) held in Poikovsky, Russia. Scoring +3-0=6, Shirov finished a full point ahead of four other strong players.

The 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament (cat. XIX, 12 players), held at Monte Carlo (Monaco), was won by Anand and Morozevich, the winner and runnerup in the 2005 edition of the event. Morozevich won the Blindfold event with +8-0=3, Anand the Rapid event with +5-0=6.

Last year we reported that the 2005 Mtel Masters in Sofia, Bulgaria, was a one-off tournament, but the event was back in 2006 (cat. XX, 6 player double round robin) as the strongest tournament of the year. Topalov finished first with +5-2=3, a half point ahead of Kamsky, whom he beat in both of their individual games. The rule preventing draws by agreement again meant plenty of fighting chess.

The biggest tournament of the year was the 37th Chess Olympiad, held in May-June at Turin, Italy. Armenia, China, and the USA were the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners in the men's event, while the Ukraine, Russia, China were the medal winners in the women's event.

In June, Rublevsky won the Aerosvit GM event (cat. XVIII, 12 player round robin), Foros, Ukraine. His score of +5-1=5 left him a half-point ahead of Ivanchuk.

In August, Kramnik and Svidler tied for 1st/2nd with +2-0=5 in the Dortmund (Germany) Sparkassen Chess Meeting (cat. XIX, 8 player round robin). It was a good result for Kramnik, who had had a poor year in 2005 and would be facing Topalov the following month in the unification match.

A week after losing the title match to Kramnik, Topalov played in the 10th Essent tournament (cat. XX, 4 player double round robin), held at Hoogeveen, Netherlands. Mamedyarov and J.Polgar finished 1st/2nd (+4-1=1), two points ahead of Topalov, who lost both games to the youngest of the Polgar sisters.

The last super-strong event of the year, the Tal Memorial (cat. XX, 10 player round robin) was played in November at Moscow. Leko, Ponomariov, and Aronian tied for 1st-3rd with 5.5 points. Anand, who did not compete in the main event, won a strong 18-player double round robin blitz tournament that followed the main event.

Chess became a medal event at the 15th Asian Games, Doha, Qatar, in December. Murtas Kazhgaleyev (KAZ) won the men's rapid, Humpy Koneru (IND) the women's rapid, and India the mixed team event (two men and one woman).

Next : National Championships 2006

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