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Corus 09 r2: Favorites Bounce Back

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One great thing about Corus is that even if there are a few lame draws you always have more than enough great chess to around. Radjabov indulged his penchant for occasionally taking a pass with white and made a 15-move draw with Aronian. Morozevich and Ivanchuk rebounded with wins, co-leaders Smeets and Karjakin drew their game, and Movsesian joined the lead with a win over Adams.

The game of the day looked like it was going to be nothing more than a brief blooper when Wang Yue hung a piece against Ivanchuk on move nine. The Chinese missed 9..Rb4!, pulling the rook up short of the expected destination on b2. The knight on a7 was stuck for good and it was only a question of whether or not Wang Yue could find enough play to avoid resigning on the spot. If this is all sounding eerily familiar, congratulations, your memory goes back to May 10, 2008. That was round three of last year's M-Tel Masters, in which Wang Yue's countryman Bu Xiangzhi was on the border of resignation after nine moves against the same Ivanchuk. There was also a sac on b5 in that one, though colors were reversed.

This case of déjà Bu doesn't end there. Wang Yue also played on instead of adding his name to a list of humiliating miniatures. But he did a far better job of conjuring up counterplay as Ivanchuk collected the material. With a great bishop sac and a little help from Ivanchuk, Wang Yue even came very close to a miraculous recovery. But the time he spent kicking himself after his blunder had left him with very little clock and he missed 20.Qg4+! (20.Qf7 is also difficult to meet) and allowed the black king to find cover on e8. But who can resist castling with check in the middlegame? After that the white king was in more danger than Black's and the game was safely back in Ivanchuk's hands. He even finished with a nice rook sac and Wang Yue, who was literally unbeatable for most of 2008, resigned on move 25. A bizarre game.

Morozevich decided to take it slow against van Wely's Grunfeld, likely both to calm his nerves after his disastrous r1 loss and because van Wely is no fan of maneuvering games. The Dutchman is trying to recover from a miserable 2008 and comes into this Corus rated 56 points lower than last year's. He looked determined to prove Morozevich correct in this one though, and some ill-advised pawn pushing on the kingside allowed White's central control to become decisive with surprising speed. 22..g5 is a case study for bad pawn pushing. van Wely still came close to holding things together with tape and wire partly thanks to sloppy finishing play by Morozevich. 39..Ng7 would have made things harder for White. The win brought Morozevich back up to an even score, along with Ivanchuk.

The third decisive game came out of an enterprising old Giuoco Piano gambit that goes back to Lange and Anderssen. Movsesian is one of several players near the elite who uses Bc4 instead of Bb5. It seemed apt against Adams, one of the best Lopez players of this generation. White built up fearsome pressure on the f-file and basically kept it up until Black cracked. The try 23..b5!? 24.Bb3 Na6 25.Bc2 Nc5 might have been the last best chance. The knight looks impressive on e5 but couldn't hold back the tide.

For the second day in a row Stellwagen had his chances. Carlsen's unorthodox handling of the Berlin, allowing a quick e6, gave White a strong initiative. He added to it with the sac of the b-pawn and GM Benjamin spent a while showing various lines that could lead to serious danger for Black after the natural 24.Nh4+ Kf7 23.Rd7+ Ke8 24.Rad1. Black has to play accurately to hold the balance, although analysis shows a draw. Then Carlsen avoided the quick repetion and the game continued until swaps led to a draw. Interesting stuff, though it's hard to imagine anyone repeating 11..Bb7.

Smeets played one of the fashionable quiet lines against the Najdorf with kingside castling against Karjakin and didn't get much. Kamsky's Caro-Kann held comfortably against Dominguez. Nobody with two wins, nobody with two losses. Tea and cookies for everyone. Movsesian gets a stern test of his share of the lead with black against Carlsen, who probably won't play g3 against a Sicilian again. Round 3: Carlsen-Movsesian, Aronian-Stellwagen, Ivanchuk-Radjabov, Karjakin-Wang Yue, van Wely-Smeets, Kamsky-Morozevich, Adams-Dominguez.

No one could win for the second day in a row in the B group either. Hou Yifan beat top seed Sasikiran to move back to an even score. Short beat yesterday's winner Vallejo with some entertaining knight maneuvers. Brazilian veteran Mecking, a prodigy and WCh candidate in the 70's who left the game for a dozen years due to severe illness before returning in 1991, lost for the second time. David Howell lost his second as well. The clear leader in the C group is Dutch veteran IM Manuel Bosboom, who bamboozled (bosboozled?) his countryman Nijboer after barely surviving for a long time.


"The clear leader in the C group is Dutch veteran IM Manuel Bosboom, who bamboozled (bosboozled?) his countryman Nijboer after barely surviving for a long time."

Bosboozled!? MIG's comments witty as ever. Googling it returns to this page.

THe move Na7 looks as if Wang didn't even think before moving.

I wonder if jet lag has anything to do with Wang Yue and Bu's early-round collapses, in the same way US players do in Europe.

But jet lag doesn't explain Ivanchuk.

Either way, I agree the moves are very odd, since they're immediately seeable by an average tournament player. Rb4 in that type of black c4 pawn position is thematic, not at all difficult to see.

I also enjoyed Mig's "case of déjà Bu..."!

As Mig and Glaukon were saying "Bu" ... : It's funny to revisit comments on the MTel masters (link given by Mig above). In May 2008, several people commented that Bu could forget about further supertournament invitations after his poor Sofia performance [not only the drastic loss against Ivanchuk], that he probably wouldn't make further progress after the age of 22, .... .

Six or seven months later he was invited to the Nanjing tournament - admittedly as a local hero, and Wang Yue having other (GrandPrix) commitments. And, to say the least, this time he didn't deceive ... .

Today, again, Ivanchuk lost a a game during time scrambling while he had the advantage. After all these years of being among world's top elite, it's incredible that he still has not learned to manage his time.


Short's game was great

Who are you? Short? :)

Many fine games as usual in Wijk, Movsesian played good aganist Adams.

Baku, Sochi, Elista, Yerevan, maybe Kiev...

The Grand Prix turns out to be a regional tournament series.

Have to agree with Bob, Short's quick win yesterday was very entertaining. I should declare an interest as an Englishman of roughly the same age as 'Nige'.

Mig - I used to be able to view your headline entries as a tab in my iGoogle page but this stopped working a while back. Anything you can do to fix it? It was quite nice.

Regional you say? With more than half of the world's elite being from that region - makes at least some sense to me. You would rather have them held in Yorkshire, right?

Last I heard Kalmykia has only one Grand Master. Ok, Armenia/Azerbaijan/Georgia have some more, and there is a very strong Russian from Sochi. But I doubt half of the world's elite comes from the Caucasus region.

How many of world's elite do you know from Karlovy Vary? Doha? Linares? Wijk ? Dortmund?

What you say does not make sense at all.

Bartleby (and Thomas) are writing from a Western European perspective, granted ... . Initially the Grand Prix tournaments were spread over a relatively wide geographic range of locations, now they are concentrated in a quite limited area - all ex-Soviet countries [which may be an undue generalization], all but Kiev in the Caucasus region.

According to initial plans, Karlovy Vary and Montreux were within easier travelling distance for Western European journalists and 'ordinary' chess fans, and Doha was "an exotic place of a different kind". I didn't count how many events were already held in Elista, and how many journalists actually used the opportunity to visit ... .

Maybe Bartleby would indeed like to have _one_ event in Yorkshire, which IMHO would be fair enough. And noone suggested to have the six events in England, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark and Norway ,:) . @Playjunior: Your comment about where most top players are coming from is a fair point, but maybe not the only relevant one.

Thomas, what ordinary chess fans are you talking about? Now there is a packed hall in the Central Chess Club in Yerevan, observing the national championship; the highest-rated player is 2620. When there is an event with top players playing, move it to the State Opera Building. I hope you would agree that Karlovy Vary or Yorkshire would attract much, much less fans. Even if you argue that it is easier to travel to Yorkshire than to Yerevan, which I kind of doubt.

About journalists-that is somewhat different. There are only a few dedicated (quality) chess sites which provide in-place commentary and pictures. Chessbase comes in mind. These guys travel to Morelia to cover a six-round half of an elite event; I cannot see why they shouldn't be able to travel to Yerevan, Baku, Sochi or Kiev. (They do, when there is an event). For the others, well, I kind of don't care if there is a folk in Karlovy Vary or somewhere near Doha who writes chess column once in a month for a local newspaper, and now he is deprived of the opportunity to cover the event. Instead you have a full-packed Opera hall in Yerevan; I think fans benefit from that much more.

Indeed, this logic (maximum number of fans attending => best place) should exclude Elista from holding a chess event when there is an alternative elsewhere in the world. Remember Kramnik-Topalov match with a completely empty hall?

As I said, I was writing from a Western European perspective, and "ordinary" [in quotation marks] was meant to distinguish these fans from chess journalists (chess fans who turned their hobby into a profession). And my argument about easier travelling also referred to Western Europeans.

Let me rephrase my earlier comment: As many chess fans as possible, from as many different countries as possible, should have an easy opportunity to attend one event (out of six). As this is an American site: Americans would most probably still be left out - but based on what other people wrote, it seems to be near-to-impossible (or at least even harder than in other countries) to find major chess sponsors in the US.

I cannot comment on Karlovy Vary or Yorkshire, nor can I give absolute numbers of visitors, but from my own experience I know that the tournament hall in Wijk aan Zee is also packed. It may not be widely known outside the Netherlands, but Corus is not only one (or three) grandmaster events, but also hundreds of amateurs of all levels playing in the same hall (there are a few photos on the Internet on this). So there is chess enthusiasm outside of Armenia and other ex-Soviet countries ,:).

And I also wouldn't take chess coverage in national (or even local) media aimed at the general public too lightly. Sponsors appreciate it, many chess players appreciate it - I think there are still lots of them who do not regularly browse the Internet or buy, for example, New in Chess.
Now speaking from a Dutch perspective: There is regular coverage of Corus in daily newspapers, at least the one I am subscribing to (de Volkskrant) - not only results, but full articles with stories and diagrams. They have similar coverage of world championships and Olympiads (at least if the Dutch team is doing well), but not about Linares, Dortmund, .... . And maybe it even helps to make new people become interested in chess.
Of course, a weekly or monthly chess column is something else. And I guess in many cases these part-time journalists just get their material from the Internet and do not visit the event in person.

> What you say does not make sense at all.

Happens quite often. I'll try to repeat with more words:

Two observations regarding the pattern of cancelled Grand Prix events:

1. The three Grand Prix tournaments that took place were are all in former Soviet Union countries. The two Grand Prix tournaments that are to take place are also in former Soviet Union countries. The three events which where to be held elsewhere were all cancelled.

2. Inside the area of the former Soviet Union the tournament sites are not distributed equally, but four out of five are in the Caucasus region or nearby. The sole exception is Kiev, and it is doubtful if this tournament will take place.

Regarding where top players come from:
From the current Top 20, up to 8 come from the Caucasus region or nearby, if interpreted generously. So while it is not more than half, you have a valid point there.

...and I'm not from Yorkshire.

And another observation: While FIDE can't find sites for the Grand Prix, Nanjing choose to join the Grand Slam series.

¨And another observation: While FIDE can't find sites for the Grand Prix, Nanjing choose to join the Grand Slam series. ¨
Of course they will join the Grand Slam , very few are willing to admit the huge succes the grand slam represents, but the GS keeps growing every year.
Bilbao was one of the biggest tournaments ever held and just because Topalov won it some media chosed to ignore it .
Everything FIDE intended to achieve with the Prix , the Grand Slam made it real .Specially in terms of sponsorship and prestige.
The chess comunity wanted to kill Danailov because of Elista , but the guy is behind some of the most succesfull and progressive innovations in the last decades.
That only shows that serious sponsors can be found when there is a high quality product, another fine example is Vishy with AMD.
Remove the pseudo-russian dictator from the presidency of FIDE and chess will reach new horizons, with more tournaments all over the world and more money for GMs.

Here I have to defend FIDE, at least to some extent: Comparing or contrasting Grand Prix and Grand Slam is a bit unfair. For the Grand Slam, two supertournaments with long-standing tradition and (relatively) secure sponsorship (Corus and Morelia-Linares) joined forces with a relative newcomer (MTel, here Danailov deserves and gets credits for making it happen), then Bilbao came in to host another super-supertournament. And with this foundation it is easier to keep growing with other organizers (Nanjing) joining in. By comparison, the Grand Prix started from zero with respect to both tradition and sponsorship.

Two BTW's: Directly @Manu - I don't know which media "chose to ignore" the Bilbao tournament, in any case they couldn't know (for sure) that Topalov would be winning before and during the tournament ... .

Quote from http://grandslam.chessdom.com/grand-slam-chronology :
"The Chess Grand Slam first edition (2008) is now completed, with five tournaments: Corus Wijk aan Zee (The Nederlands, January 11-27th), Linares (Spain, February 15th – March 9th), M-Tel Masters Sofia (Bulgaria, May 6-18th), Mexico City (June 21st – July 6th) and the Final Masters in Bilbao (Spain, September 15-27th)."
What happened to the tournament in Mexico City? While this doesn't diminish the value of the entire ides, it may indicate that also for the Grand Slam not everything went 120% smoothly.

Yes it was , Mexico was brought into the table by Danailov before the WCH tournament (played without Topalov ).And you have to consider that Mexico is a 3rd world country that has hosted a WCH tournament few years ago.
IMO Something must have happened after Morelia Linares (now Linares only).
Not 120 smoothly?
I wouldnt put it in numbers , but NO OTHER tournaments or chess events has grown so fast and innovate in so many ways the chess scene and are so profitable like the ones that Danailov is behind or related.
So if i have to follow your logic Topalov is not doing so well?
This is what i meant by ignoring , one thing is to publish articles about something and other is what you say about that something.
On one side we have a corrupt FIDE acting as a scarecrow for sponsors and on the other you have the Danailov´s Grand Slam .
And yet is not so smothly for u ?, Mmmm you have to put aside your feelings about Danailov for a moment my friend.

Manu, maybe emotions were spilling over from your ongoing "discussion" with Clubfoot in the other thread, and/or you didn't get the slight irony about "120% smoothly". 120% smoothly would be too good to be true, 100% smoothly is still more than fine - that's what I wanted to say.

It doesn't really matter because the rest of the Grand Slam was a success, but what is the actual difference between a tournament being announced, including precise dates, and then cancelled (the Mexico City Grand Slam event) and a tournament being announced, scheduled and then cancelled (any of the Grand Prix tournaments)? For the Grand Prix it concerns several events, so - without giving precise numbers - it is going <100% smoothly.

About Morelia-Linares turning into "100% Linares" again, I also don't know what exactly happened. But as far as I remember ... while it was an interesting experiment, some of the participating grandmasters never really liked intercontinental travel and jetlag in the middle of a major event. I also remember reading that the Linares organizers still would like to share the event with a second location, but are now trying to find another European city.

"So if i have to follow your logic Topalov is not doing so well?"
I really don't have the slightest clue which sentence (or single word) in my previous post you are referring to .... .

About some media [which?] "ignoring Bilbao" - to me this would mean 'not covering the event at all' (or maybe just posting results, but no games, reports, photos, ...). But apparently you meant "I didn't like the coverage, it didn't give enough praise to Topalov and/or Danailov". The first can be verified (or indeed falsified), the second is a matter of personal taste.

And finally, calling the WHOLE event "Danailov's Grand Slam" still is a bit of an exaggeration. MTel is his creation, no doubt about it. He may well also be the driving force behind the 'final showdown' in Bilbao. But the two other events were already healthy and strong before Danailov appeared on the chess scene, and what was his role (if any) concerning Nanjing?

I dont have any idea if Danailov had something to do directly this time , but Nanjing will make the GS even more impressive this year.
About the rest of your post : agreed , everything.Every f´ word.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 18, 2009 10:34 PM.

    Corus 09 r1: Top Seeds Planted was the previous entry in this blog.

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