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Corus 09 r5-6: Karjakin Leads

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Much like the 2008 Tal Memorial, it seems like nobody wants to win this thing. Two members of the modest leading pack in the Corus A group lost in the fifth round, threatening to make the crosstable into the first winter traffic jam ever seen in Wijk aan Zee. Coming to our rescue was Sergey Karjakin, who scored a very nice win over Stellwagen to become the first player to reach +2 and become the clear leader. Not to be outdone, Morozevich also stretched the field by losing twice more, to a nice effort by Dominguez and then an efficient mop-up by Movsesian. Both the Cuban and the Slovakian representative are aggressively good calculators and not the kind who bluff easily. And in bad form, bluff is what Morozevich's wild game turns into. He's now on -3 with four losses. Colonel Moró?

Van Wely bludgeoned Radjabov's King's Indian for the second time in a row. He also got the better of his nemesis at the Dresden Olympiad two months ago. The Dutchman considers it a matter of honor at this point, after criticizing the soundness of the KID, if not the kid. He lost a few against Radjabov but the ball is clearly now in the Azerbaijani's theoretical court. It was a pretty one-sided affair after Black missed the best defensive attempt 23..Nh7, which GM Larry Christiansen discussed on ICC Chess.FM. Even after that Black is in trouble, which doesn't bode well for the line since they were only three moves out of theory by that point. Afterward, according to Macauley Peterson, there for Chess.FM and producing videos and blog entries as well, Radjabov said "I just forgot everything, as usual." You can't forget things in the KID and expect to live long. Radja has a good score with it and we love him for playing it, but his was getting cleaned up by Ivanchuk the other day and here he just got stomped. Van Wely analysis video at ChessVibes (h/t Manu in the comments).

Radjabov got back to an even score today with a win over Kamsky. Black looked like he was doing well but missed a couple of nasty little moves on the queenside (23.Bc3!) and was suddenly down a pawn and in trouble. The computer offers 25..g5!? as an attempt to avoid the bad endgame Kamsky ended up with and couldn't hold. That dropped the American (who I hear is spending more time in Russia than Brooklyn these days) down to an even score. Movsesian was ground down by Aronian's Catalan in the 5th but took his turn bashing the Morozevich piñata in the sixth to move back to +1. Moro played the currently chic Caro-Kann and got squashed. It looked like an opposite-side castling Sicilian with White two or three tempi ahead. Black sacrificed a bishop for a desperation assault that just wasn't there.

Adams got his first win of the event by outplaying Wang Yue in the Chinese player's own specialty, a dynamic endgame. Black plucked a pawn and won confidently when it appeared it would be much more difficult. Stellwagen got an impressive push going against van Wely's Najdorf but couldn't seal the deal. 32.Qe3! planning a Qa7 invasion would likely have been decisive. Another disappointing outing from Stellwagen, who so far hasn't missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Aronian-Ivanchuk looked like a clean no hits, no runs, no errors game out of an offbeat opening sequence. A subtle struggle but I admit we didn't give it much attention with so much action on the other boards in round six.

Much of that action was in Carlsen-Karjakin. It looked at first like Carlsen, playing yet another offbeat line (eschewing b3), had overreached in his attack and that Karjakin had chances to move to +3 in a hurry. But the tremendous knight on e5 compensated for the ugly kingside pawn structure, and even the doubled h-pawns turned out to be quite helpful. Karjakin set up a solid defensive position but then went about blundering elsewhere, allowing Carlsen's knight to invade to squares they could scarcely dream of when they were ponies. Soon we were waiting for Carlsen to deliver the knock-out blow and score his first win of the event with 29.Nxf8 Qxf8 30.Nd7 Nf6 31.Qxf5 is over. (29..Kxf8 30.Qxg7+ Ke8 31.Bxh6 is curtains.) Much to our surprise he missed it after a considerable think. But White kept the pressure on and soon Carlsen had another chance to put the game away. He even had more time than Karjakin. But 35.d5? let the win slip away when the natural 35.Qxg6 ends things quickly. It did take some startling moves for Karjakin to save himself, admittedly, but it was still poor finishing from Carlsen after a very impressive attacking game. He showed his moxie by playing on in the rook endgame for another hour or two before settling for his sixth draw in a row. A lucky escape for Karjakin, and don't they say the tournament winner is always lucky?

Smeets and Dominguez drew so quickly that the Dutch champ had plenty of time to come on to the ICC and kibitz with us, admitting his game hadn't been particularly entertaining. They made all of four moves out of theory (Stellwagen-L'Ami, 2008) before splitting the point and preserving their +1 scores. Caution and time are not on your sides, my friends... Round 7: Ivanchuk-Movsesian, Karjakin-Aronian, van Wely-Carlsen, Kamsky-Stellwagen, Adams -Radjabov, Dominguez-Wang, Morozevich-Smeets.

Navara, Kasimjanov, and Short lead the B group with 4/6 scores. Nigel is the sort of player who would particularly savor the rare act of checkmating his opponent, as he did today against Reinderman. Reinderman! It would be great to see The Nige back in the A group next year, though he might not enjoy it so much. As far back as 2000 he was waxing rhapsodic to me about the joys of playing in weaker events in sunny, friendly locales instead of having his brains bashed in by top-10 heavies. He last played in the A group in 2005 and scored -2. (Btw, Moro went -4 that year.) Top seed Wesley So, all 15 years of him, has moved to the top of the C group with two consecutive wins. The 2010 B group beckons.


Hi Mig - Have you had a chance yet to ask Garry Kimovich what he thinks of "Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess"?


Haven't had a chance to read it myself yet, I think it's not due for American publication until Feb., but it seems interesting. I know, I know, I could easily pony up the gilders and order it from NIC...

Damn Carlsen, was given a piece by Aronian and could not win, was given the game by Karjakin and could not win. Has failed in any comp and tourney since he reached virtual top1 for one day.

Dear geersabarc: Whoever you are (your rating and even identity is unknown to me), in Carlsen's place certainly YOU would have easily won against Aronian?
Maybe a computer would win, not sure about it - and giving an evaluation of, say +2.05 is not the same as finding the winning moves and plan. Clearly, Aronian had compensation for the piece (a few pawns and piece activity), maybe we will never know if it was objectively enough, over the board it was.

I am strongly rooting for a Karjakin win in this tournament. It could be the start of a new East-West rivalry that could add a political dimension to professional chess. That could attract more sponsors.

Carlsen thought he was winning against Aronian during the game, but afterwards started to doubt it was ever objectively winning at all.

I am also rooting for Karjakin to win but "East-West rivalry" with a "political dimension"? Luckily that is not what we are going to get, the players are much too mature to play that kind of game...

Off-topic but has anyone seen the logo for the Topalov-Kamsky match? Definitely will capture the Nazi/Goth crowd.


Nosher again! Nice endgame, don't often see N winning against B in such an open looking position.

Finally Moro wins again.

And Mecking scored too, yipee, hurray for the old heroes. Kamsky must also surely be winning. Ivanchuck wants to go home I should think. Can it be that the excess water he is holding is affecting his play?

hey mig, no more cracks about movsesian's spiffy high rating? :)

I was watching live on site, here is my report:
While Movsesian played a nice game, Ivanchuk's handling of the clock was ridiculous once again. He already spent 45 minutes on the first 9 moves, all known theory (though a less common Sicilian line). At least today Chucky didn't let his clock run for 10 minutes before making the first move - well, he is no longer one of the tournament favorites so he doesn't have to be afraid of photographers.

As far as Moro's win is concerned, well, have a look at the game. BEFORE the tournament, Smeets clearly would have been happy to score 50% against the two Elo favorites, but how he did it ... : Winning on time against Ivanchuk after being worse to lost throughout most of the game, then losing against Moro from an even position with a single blunder on move 48.

And about time trouble, Iturrizaga - Hillarp Persson from group C beat everything: White spent 1:56 on his first 14 moves (26 moves to go, 4 minutes left), and had maybe 5 seconds left for his last ten moves. Somehow he managed to reach the time control with 1 second left on the clock !!? He was lost anyway after move 30, this did not change, but the sheer speed was really amazing.

Ivanchuk, Moro and invincible Yue at the bottom of the table, the three Dutch amigos in the middle and Movsesian on top! Who would have thought it?

"he reached virtual top1 for one day."

Correction: Carlsen was leading the live ratings for several days, actually. :o)

"Finally Moro wins again."

Or, to put it differently, eventually Smeets blundered.

maybe i'm missing something, but couldn't Moro win immediatly with 40.c6 followed by 41.Ba6?

sorry, just saw now 40.c6 Bg3! :)

"The only separation between the players and the audience will be a rope."


Acirce, what/whom are you quoting? Just curious ...

Oh, sorry! "jaideepblue" posted http://tournaments.chessdom.com/sofia/topalov-kamsky-press-conference

In my mind, there were not as many posts in between his and mine :)

(Fixing display.)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 23, 2009 8:57 PM.

    FIDE Nixes Ivanchuk Drug Testing Penalty was the previous entry in this blog.

    Corus 09 r7: Movsesian the Real Deal in Wijk aan Zee is the next entry in this blog.

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