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Corus 2005

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With a brief moment of net time before heading back to New York (whence daily posts will resume), how about we get the Corus Wijk aan Zee hubbub bubbling? It starts Saturday, Jan. 15. The official site has much useful information in English thanks to the excellent Aviv Friedman. ChessBase.com will have daily reports.

Group A: Anand, Topalov, Kramnik, Leko, Morozevich, Adams, Svidler, Polgar, Grischuk, Ponomariov, Sokolov, van Wely, Short, Bruzon.

Group B: Nikolic, Mamedyarov, Onischuk, Nielsen, Karjakin, Cheparinov, Carlsen, Nijboer, Stellwagen, Ernst, Ramirez, Stefanova, Kosteniuk, Smeets. So many youngsters that anything can happen here.

Anand is the big favorite. He has won two Corus tournaments in a row and has played the best chess in the world for the past two years. If he wins he will tie Kasparov's record for three Wijk aan Zee wins in a row. Polgar finished second last time she played there (two years ago) and is an x-factor after a year away from the board.

Leko and Adams tied for second behind Anand in 2004. Kramnik had a miserable time with his opening experiments and had an even score. It would be nice to see him come out hard to ratify the title he barely kept against Leko, but Big Vlad doesn't play for anyone but himself, so we'll see. If he tries to keep up with Anand we could have a totally different event than if he plays for his +2.

Chess fans around the world are still waiting for Morozevich to have a big supertournament showing. Grischuk, Svidler, Topalov, and Ponomariov are all capable of winning this event outright if Anand falls into the sea. Another great Corus tournament, let the handicapping begin!


What about Topalov? You didn't mention him, even though he is #3 in the world right now. He has been just on the edge of superstardom for a while now and this could be his year. He was second in Dortmund 2002 and he did very well in the Tripoli tournament, if I remember correctly.

I am really looking forward to this tournament. We haven't had this many of the top 10 together in a while.

Looks like we will see numbers 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, and 9 all together at once. Maybe we can guess the next challenger for Kasparov's title (world's best chess player).

A note on Topalov: I still don't understand why Topalov didn't take the easy draw in that mating net game at the end of Dortmund 2002. Even a fish like me could see the forced repetitions (once I had them demonstrated for me). I think Topalov should have been the challenger and his supposed "blunder" at that moment makes me suspicious about the honesty of the whole process (Was he exhausted? Sick? Bribed? Who can tell for sure but he wasn't playing good chess.)

Presumably because he had lost the first game and felt the time right to gamble. Anyway, it's always nice to see Topalov play. It happens too rarely. Going to be really tough to prove worthy of his astronomical rating, but he could do it.

Mig: Any chance that you could get Kasparov to respond to the amazing interview from Day.Az by Radjabov. Them's fightin' words. Wow!

I don't think Kasparov needs to respond at all. I don't know what Radjabov said is true, but assuming it to be true how that prevent him from improving? There are many other tournaments where he could play and get his rating above 2700. And if he achieves super GM status (Elo of 2700 and up) then organizers will be hard pressed to overlook him. He is still young and a lot of time ahead of him, which gives him a lot of time to prove his point. A perfect example of what I stated is the French GM who is in the top ten. Let us see how Radjabov performs in the next couple of years.

my 2 cents

I think Mig got it right.
It's possible he didn't mention Topalov because he hasn't won many supertournaments, maybe a few in the mid 90's. Awesome player, my favorite, but not consistent enough. He seems to roll the "positional dice" a little more often than his peers (Morozevich & Shirov do so, but in different fashion), like the game against Kramnik in Linares 2004.
Regarding the second game against Leko in Dortmund, I can understand him pushing like that. And he was tired. Topalov had a semifinal against Bareev that went the distance - a match that had some serious swings - along with a playoff against Shirov to determine seeds prior to the knock-out phase. But he lost to the better player in that tournament - Leko was the right challenger.
Yes, Anand should be favored. But I hope that Kramnik plays like he did last year. He got ridiculed for his opening experiments in Wijk 2004 as well as his average score but he had decisive results, and a very attractive draw against Anand. Then he wins Linares 2004 with +2, and gets ridiculed for playing lackluster. I'm not exactly what you would call a Kramnik apologist, but it seemed like the guy simply couldn't win with the public. I just hope he doesn't rev up until after he plays Topalov (Topa's score against Kramnik is disconcerting).

Guys, Kramnik could care less what others think of his playing. When asked how he felt about being nicknamed "Drawnik", he responded that he plays for himself, and no one else.

It would be great to see Anand continue his string of great results and take over the World's #1 spot. Then HE could take on Kasim in the reunification bout.

I simply forgot Topalov, but that's because there's really no angle with him to point out. He's a consistent high performer, but only one of many who hasn't been able to finish ahead of Kasparov and/or Anand. He should have a plus score, but lose a game or two. If he can beat Anand, well...

Kramnik does well when +2 no losses can win a tight event. (E.g. Linares) Because of his obvious great talent it has become common to say he can win any event he plays in, but when was the last time he put up the +4 or +5 needed to win a large, unbalanced event like Corus? He had three +3 scores in 2001 and hasn't reached it since. Not that he was ever a huge scorer in round robins. I hope he does play risky chess again.

Leko has changed his style enough to be able to win an event like Wijk if he's in good form. Considering a "post WC match bounce" from all the preparation he did for Brissago, I'd even consider him the favorite if Anand were hit by a bus.

I am DEFINITELY going to translate the Russian-language coverage on this one - should be one for the ages! Anand going for 3-in-a-row, Kramnik justifying his retained title, Leko trying to finish ahead of him, Polgar whupping the usual assortment of boys' behinds, Moro and Topo [Gigio?!] trying to prove themselves Once And For All - it's almost TOO good.

If I ever score that Lucky Lotto ticket, I'm gonna blow it all on a Corus-clone event, I swear, and invite the exact same field!

Ten years ago I read an article in New in Chess that quoted Ivanchuk, "Topolav is just a vampire!"

I didn't understand that quote until recently when I saw a color picture of Topolav. He does look like Dracula!

I say Topolav is a favorite if the lights go out.

I’m rooting for Judit Polgar. I think she’s the salvation of chess. The only time that the "out side world" is going to care about chess again is when a woman plays for the world championship. That will get the media’s attention! So Go Judit!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 7, 2005 3:16 PM.

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