Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Corus 09 r1: Top Seeds Planted

| Permalink | 12 comments

Did someone say "favorites"? Two of the three highest-rated players in the Corus A group lost in the first round. It's no coincidence that they are the two least consistent players in the elite, Ivanchuk and Morozevich. They both showed their dark sides today, at least as dark as things get for 2770+ players. Ivanchuk went from a position my compadre on Chess.FM's live coverage, super GM Peter Svidler, called close to winning to equal and worse before losing on time on move 40. We're used to this sort of thing from Ivanchuk, who comes close to losing at least a dozen games per year on time, though he doesn't often actually flag. He does turn many wins into draws and many draws into losses in made time scrambles, although we don't have stats on this because chess ignorantly discards the time per move info.

How hard would it be for the organizers to include the time per move in the official PGN files? All relay software maintains the times. Then we need to make sure TWIC and ChessBase keep it too. This can't be hard. Imagine how much entertaining and insightful data we could cull if the databases had the time for each move as well as the time control of each game/event. FIDE should get on this instead of collecting piss cups. Who needs to take the first step? The elite organizers, I suppose. Perhaps they could work together with DGT and/or ChessBase on this. The Grand Slam folks could strike a blow for professionalism by implementing a standard others could easily follow.

Oh yeah, Corus. So Ivanchuk, the top seed, lost on time with white to Jan Smeets, the lowest-rated player in the field. The final position doesn't look that hard for White to defend. Earlier Ivanchuk could have put Smeets on the ropes with 23.a6! b6 24.Bxb6. After the game, GM Jan Gustafsson, kibitzing on the ICC from Wijk aan Zee where he is seconding Smeets, joked that "all the bullet games we played in training paid off!" Behold, the Smeets tag!

That game ended well after the only other decisive game of the day. Morozevich achieved the positionally desirable ..d5 break in a Paulsen against Karjakin only to overlook that he was also achieving the tactically undesirable getting his butt kicked. Apparently Moro didn't see a nice queen sac combo until it was too late to defend and he resigned on move 26. Svidler was positive about Black's position after the opening, believing in Black's defense on the kingside. Moro likely missed the spectacular 26..g6 27.Bxg6 hxg6 28.Qxg6+ Kg8 29.Qg7+!!. Ouch. Just a few weeks ago we saw Bacrot-Leko end with a similar queen sac for double check.

It looked like it was going to a banner day for the home team, which is composed of the three lowest-rated players in the event. Smeets won and Stellwagen was on his way to a win in what Svidler called "a technical position" against Movsesian. But time trouble worked against the Dutch this time and he let things slip before accepting a well-timed draw offer with seconds on his clock. Van Wely had a tricky exchange-up position against Dominguez but the last game to finish also ended in a disappointing draw for the Dutch. Grunfeld virtuoso Svidler had much to say on the opening and van Wely's new 17.h3. Black seemed well-equipped to hold after his forced exchange sac.

The headline game of the round was Carlsen-Radjabov and it was a little surprising to see Carlsen avoid main lines with 3.g3 against Radjabov's Sicilian. It was likely a quick decision to avoid surprises when Radjabov played 2..e6 instead of the 2..Nc6 he is practically married to. Once again the young stars, who are my favorites for the top spots, showed that it's not the fight in the opening that matters, but the fight in the players. Carlsen dropped 14.Bh6 on the board and the boring opening suddenly got very interesting. The players navigated some remarkable complications to reach a heavy-piece endgame. Carlsen seemed content to head into the second time control instead of looking for chances against the open black king. The Norwegian tried every trick to squeeze the four-rook endgame with 3 vs 2 on the kingside, but Radjabov never looked in trouble. The pretty find 53..Rg6! proved Black had things in hand.

Aronian misplayed a slight edge against Wang Yue and had the worse of the draw. 30.Be5 was criticized by Svidler. Kamsky-Adams was the fizzle of the day despite an interesting novelty by Kamsky and was drawn after 23 cautious moves. Down in the B group, favorites Efimenko, Vallejo, and Kasimdjanov all scored. Navara, who has fallen a ways after nearly hitting the top 10 a few years ago, beat Motylev with black in 30 moves. In the C, the ever-dangerous IM Manuel Bosboom (claim to fame, beating Kasparov in the 1999 Wijk aan Zee off-day blitz event, may it some day return) beat favorite Howell with black using the 3..Qd6 Scandinavian. Top seed Wesley So of the Philippines passed his Nijboer test with a black win. The reigning world junior and women's world junior champs, both from India, had an awkward first-round pairing. The WWJCh beat the WJCh as Gupta had plenty of comp for the exchange but lost track of the Dronavalli's b-pawn near the the time control and apparently lost on time in what looks like a balanced position.

Coincidentally, the two leaders meet in the second round. Round 2: Movsesian-Adams, Dominguez-Kamsky, Morozevich-van Wely, Smeets-Karjakin, Wang Yue-Ivanchuk, Radjabov-Aronian, Stellwagen-Carlsen. I'm back on ICC Chess.FM with Joel Benjamin. ICC members can Skype to 'iccchessfm' (or call +1 (321) 422-3283) and leave a voicemail comment, question or anything else to participate in our call of he day contest. A winner per day gets a copy of Kasparov's latest Modern Chess book on his first matches against Karpov, signed by Garry.


Hi Mig,

I was at the first round of the Corus tournament, and it was interesting to see that Ivanchuk didn't start playing until all the photographers had been shepherded out of the playing area. Instead, he walked around looking at the other games and only sat down after his clock had been running for 11 minutes. Does he do this on a regular basis?

Fré Hoogendoorn

From Chessvibes.com:
"Some journos were of the opinion that Chuky’s (standard) behaviour at the start had cost him the game: present at 13.30 sharp (as is prescribed in the players’ contracts as from this year), he simply let his clock running for ten minutes, walking around and avoiding photographers. And bringing a first smile on his opponent’s face."

And in the end he lost on time ... . I wonder whether Chucky will now continue his 'standard' behaviour throughout the tournament !?
Does anyone know how Ivanchuk reacted after the game? Are there doping tests at the Corus tournament ?

Sorry for double-posting (sort of), I had not refreshed the page before typing ... . But at least this seems to answer Fre's question.

Other stuff: Kamsky and Adams spent lots of time already on some of the first ten moves (!!?), so time trouble was already imminent when they drew on move 23. It was a short draw, but not a quick one ,:) which IMHO is some kind of excuse for both players.

And did anyone notice that "Black was very OK"? All three GM groups combined had eight wins for black vs. three for white. In some cases, black was the clear rating favorite; in other cases he was quite lucky. Bosboom-Howell was a convincing black win for the outside, maybe "objectively" more of a sensation than Ivanchuk-Smeets ,:). I recently lost a blitz game against Bosboom in the variation 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Qe7 ... . This was probably mostly due to the rating difference of ~500 points, but Bosboom later told me "the move isn't as bad as it may look, I have also beaten Nigel Short in the same variation".

Ivanchuk may have been properly doped up today.

I guess the only thing worse than being a chuky or moro fan is being a fan of both

Ivanchuk in an interview with an Ukrainian newspaper (translated for ChessToday, reposted at Susan Polgar's site) when asked what he expects from Corus:

"I anticipate tough competition – the opposition is strong and you seldom play 13 rounds without losing a game. One should be ready to receive a blow and not to give up after it."

At the time he didn't know just how prophetic these words may have been ... . Elsewhere in the interview, he did not want to comment on "that unpleasant story"(doping issues).

As a fan (of that type of player), you also have to deal with blows once in a while ... the same applied even to Topalov fans at some occasions.

BTW, Morozevich may also have his comeback today against Van Wely - as far as I can tell, he is presently better but not (yet) winning.

Yue Wang vs Ivanchuk today was fun! Maybe errors, but wow, what an example of attack and counterattack, with very sharp swords!

i thought wang yue hung a piece on move 9 and did a desperation attack.

Mig has expressed frustration that China's young female phenom Hou Yifan may be stunting her chess growth by playing in women-only events. Then here is some good news:

Wijk aan Zee
Group B: Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 17th
** Hou Yifan - Rustam Kasimdzhanov 0-1

Hou good news from round 2:
Hou Yifan 1-0 Sasikiran

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 17, 2009 8:32 PM.

    Corus 2009: Who Are the Favorites? was the previous entry in this blog.

    Corus 09 r2: Favorites Bounce Back is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.