Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Corus 09 r11: Everybody Leads Again, Again

| Permalink | 20 comments

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Is this the World Open or the Corus A group? Are we going to have five winners on +1? Yesterday I wrote: "Especially considering that Aronian is destined to lose now that he's the clear leader. It just seems to happen every time." I was kidding, Levon, kidding! You didn't have to go and throw away sacrifice a piece with black against Dominguez and lose without much of a fight just to prove me right. Yes, we're back to a logjam at the top, made even more complicated by Kamsky's bamboozling win against Karjakin, who was in clear second.

Radjabov pulled off another great reversal out of his King's Indian, this time taking out Wang Yue in an endgame. I don't know how Radjabov does it but it's not anything you can teach or explain. Keep these games away from your students, they're bad examples unless you come in near the end. Movsesian bounced back to beat van Wely, also with black, to retake a piece of the lead on +2 with Aronian, Dominguez, and Radjabov. It was a fascinating and difficult game. The potentially saving idea van Wely missed to keep the vital h2 pawn, as would any human in time trouble, is great: 39.Ba3! Rf7 40.Bd6! Cool. Movsesian finished spectacularly.

Kamsky played one of his patented offbeat passive openings with white against Karjakin. These get him into trouble sometimes but it also gives his opponents the chance to make mistakes early. Experienced players like Leko and Gelfand are happy to take the extra time without trying to do anything fancy. Others, like Karjakin here, get tempted into looking for a refutation and are ensnared in Kamsky's web. The impressive black pawn center and space advantage look very scary, but Kamsky showed that pawns, too, have value. 19.c4! shatters Black's illusions of central dominance. Within a few moves it was a dream position for White. A positional master class from Kamsky, who moved up to a reasonable even score.

During the round Macauley Peterson spoke with Aronian's second, Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein (I think I met him in Israel when he was 10...) Aronian came in expecting an anti-Marshall and apparently wasn't inclined to play the Marshall anyway, had Dominguez played 8.c3. (More on the ICC Blog.) We were surprised in round five when Carlsen had the opportunity to play the Marshall against Ivanchuk and declined. It's conventional wisdom these days that they play it when they can. But Dominguez played d4, heading for a novelty he'd prepared to improve on Adams-Aronian, Corus 2008. 13.Bd5 was his new idea, playing to win the exchange immediately. Black gets plenty of play, but Dominguez had seen it wouldn't quite be enough. Going from an exchange down to a piece down looked desperate, but it may have been the only hope. Aronian began to play at breakneck speed, a decision that confounded GM Kaidanov on Chess.FM, who thought Black had practical drawing chances with careful play thanks to White's open king and underdeveloped pieces. But after missing the most active try with 25..Re5 Black went down slow but sure.

Smeets pushed hard against Stellwagen and it looked like he was making good progress for a while. He could never find a way to break through despite his central control and after he exchanged a pair of rooks there was little hope. Morozevich doesn't seem to have much fight left in him and the draw against Carlsen contained little action, although they gave it a good go. Several cute tactics put a few racing stripes on the minivan. Ivanchuk's Caro-Kann equalized without somersaults against Adams.

With two rounds to play, four players are on +2, two on +1, two on even. Crazy. In 2007, +2 after 11 rounds meant a tie for fifth place. Two of the leaders face off on Saturday. Round 12: Movsesian-Radjabov, Stellwagen-Wang Yue, Carlsen-Smeets, Aronian-Morozevich, Ivanchuk-Dominguez, Karjakin-Adams, van Wely-Kamsky.

Nigel Short won yet again, over a blundering Navara, to keep the clear lead in the B. Kasimjanov beat Mecking and Caruana defeated Sasikiran to keep up the pace a half-point back of the Englishman. So is in clear first in the C after leader Hillarp Persson was upset by Bitalzadeh, turning a win into a loss in an incredibly complicated game.


I chuckled at Steve Giddins' description of Kamsky-Karjakin, at Chessbase:

With the Slav proving so solid for Black at the moment, I guess it was only a matter of time before somebody tried playing it as White, and that somebody was Gata Kamsky. It proved a shrewd choice, since his young opponent reacted somewhat impulsively, allowed White to grab the c5-pawn, and was soundly clobbered.

Does this mean we'll see 1. c3 and call it the white Caro-Kann?

1. c3? f5! - and Black is heading to a Dutch where a White pawn is on c3 instead of c4.

Just my two ce... errr, my ~1950 ELOs, I mean.

1.c3 is the inimitable Sargasso Opening, named for the quiet but dangerous sea. It was championed by, I believe, Tartakower.

Ha! What a wonderful final round we have in store. What a funny tournament, very enjoyable. Parity has come to chess.

Anyone seen the official website?

Six players are leading with +2. (Aronian, Carlsen, Dominguez, Karjakin, Movsesian & Radjabov.)

Somebody will win Corus with +3. Sofia rules, please!

Sofia rules would clearly help. Clearly.

I am really happy , Dominguez is going to play Linares AND Sofia.
Great , great news.

Yep , BTW who is still against the Sofia rules?
I mean between top players.

I guess this shows that Anand, Kramnik and Topalov are still the dominant force(s). The rest of the pack is close but there is still a gap.

Just another view on Group-2 game Mecking -Kasimdzhanov. The ending is exactly the same ending as in Radjabov - Van Wely from Wijk's round 3 a year ago, which was deeply analysed at

Van Wely could not get the full point, while this time Kasim succeeded.



Good job spelling the guy's name right. We're expecting great things from you.

Another example of what I'm getting at: it is commonly remarked that the English 1. c4 is the reverse-Sicilian, or the 'Sicilian for White'.

And from way back in chess history, the paradox has been noted that even though you might think that 1. c4 MUST be better than 1... c5 by a whole step of initiative, the English for white has no better and maybe worse results than the Sicilian for black. How can that be? How does what appears to be a whole tempo get lost?

So the relevance to yesterday's Kamsky-Karjakin is this: Kamsky's 1. d4 ... 2. c3, which SG jokingly called 'the Slav for White' MUST BE a whole tempo better than the real Slav, 1. ... d5 2. ... c6 - Isn't that an extra tempo better? Yet Mig labels it a 'patented offbeat passive opening' (POPO?) and SG makes jokes about "The Slav for White" ...

Makes me wonder if computers are making some changes around the top of the chess world, even in the openings.



According to chessgames.com's Opening Explorer, Black wins 30.8% after 1.e4 c5, but White wins 36.2% after 1.c4 e5.
Seems like your assumption is false, and the tempo gives White an advantage.

c7-c6 is good enough for Black, because Black just wants equal play.
c2-c3 is a solid option for White, but usually White wants more than equal play.
c7-c6 and c2-c3 are mostly defensive moves. But White has to play offensive moves to gain an advantage.

that's interesting, and is in line with what I had expected, but not found. Commentary I'd seen was the opposite, that the effect of reversing the position from Sicilian to English was negligible, or worse. I'm not unhappy to be wrong about that one (if I am wrong).


Surely I can't be the only average player who feels comfortable in the Sicilian but lost in the English? That should be a ridiculous and illogical feeling, if the English is just the Sicilian plus the initiative in hand, and scores 6% better. Wow I gotta change my openings!

Again on Kamsky-Karjakin, think of this as a radio commercial or late night tv info-mercial:

... Have you ever sat at the chessboard playing the Slav as black, waiting for your opponent to move, and thought to yourself, "I wish it were MY move..." -- Well now you can! Just play the Kamsky POPO Slav for White! You'll have the solidity of the Slav, and a half-move in hand!

Yeah, we all noticed Anand's, Kramnik's and Topalov's dominance in Corus A in 2008. The two winners of 2008 are in the Corus 2009 field.

I don't understand why anyone thinks there is a gap between Kramnik and e.g. Aronian/Carlsen in terms of Grand Slam capacity/results.

Yah, what else can this year be called but a remarkable fluke? Six players tied at +2?! Crazy. But it has been a very conservative event, game by game, round by round. There were some spicier rounds, for sure, but if there were an amount of risk per game calculator, this event would score low even if the banal metrics we do have (draw percentage, length of drawn games) aren't out of the ordinary. Moro and Ivanchuk being in bad form from the start took much of the life out of the field, I think. Lots of blunders, some really one-sided games you don't expect in the A group. And not just from the lower-rated guys, who were holding up okay, if unambitious in so doing. Strange event all the way around.

Last year +3 was good enough for Aronian and Carlsen. Nunn was clear first with +3 in 1990. And who can forget 1989 when Anand, Nikolic, Ribli, and Sax won with +2?

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 30, 2009 5:26 PM.

    Corus 09 r10: Aronian Leads Alone was the previous entry in this blog.

    Corus 09 r12: Traffic Jam Crosstable is the next entry in this blog.

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