Anand to win Wijk aan Zee!

1/14/2003 – That, in any case, is what most of our readers seem to believe. In reply to our Wijk aan Zee quiz we received many hundreds of emails from all corners of the world. Fortuna favet fortibus said one, which supplied Latin phrases for each of the participants. Prepare for a long and interesting read.

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In our special Wijk aan Zee Quiz we asked you to answer the following questions:

  1. Who will win this tournament? Please supply a reason for your conjecture.
  2. Will Karpov score more than 50%? Why do or don't you think so?
  3. How will the kid Teymour do? What is his future in chess?
  4. Any other comments or opinions?

 

In the following we present a selection of answers we received. Do not be upset if yours is not among them. The selection and formatting was done semi-automatically and without great thought put into quality. Also most messages without a full name, town and country were ignored.

The winner of the prize – a copy of Fritz signed by the winner of Wijk aan Zee – will be selected after the tournament is over.


Jamshid Begmatov, Interpreter, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

1. Kramnik will win the tournament. When no Kasparov, he is obviously best. And I believe he is in good shape these days. Kramnik will not lose a single game and will take clear first place with at least 9 points.

2. To my opinion, this tournament is a bit too strong for Karpov. Although he recently defeated Kasparov, that was rapid chess in which quite often 2200 players beat 2500 grandmasters. Karpov should not be able to get more than 6 points. It's hard to believe he is seriously back in chess.

3. I'm afraid, this tournament will be a little disappointment for young Teimour. While he is very strong, his play still lacks stability and he himself lacks some confidence. They say he has a very strong willpower, so a bad or relatively bad result in such a strong tournament should not discourage him. I am very optimistic about his future in chess. As he grows up, he will find himself in at least top five.

4. I always wander on what basis the participants are selected for Wijk aan Zee tournament. There always are one or two players in it who are, to be frank, much weaker than the others.


Don Aldrich, Attorney, Minneapolis, USA

1. Anand, because he has been very solid lately, and Kramnik has not shown the ability to win this type of event.

2. Karpov will score more than 50%, because he is still one of the best players who ever lived, and seems to have recommitted himself to chess. If he wants to play at the top again, he certainly has the ability to do so.

3. Teymour will go close to 50%. He will win at least three games, but a loss or two will keep him from the top. He may indeed become world champion in the next 10-15 years.

Saif Murad, Durham, North Carolina, USA

1. Personally, I think Viswanathan Anand will win this tournament. Though most likely a populous response, Anand has showed that he plays consistently well when participating in tournaments and his recent results have been amazing. He is a very confident player who seems not to give in under pressure. Recently, Anand (along with Kosteniuk) won the Mainz Chess Classic in fine fashion, beating out the young Grandmaster, Ruslan Ponomariov. Even more recent, Viswanathan Anand won the FIDE World Cup in Hyderabad, India, his home country. He clearly showed that even though he started off slow, his confidence and determination shined through when it was most needed. His clutch was put to the test, and he clearly succeeded. Consequently, this kind of performance may help him in Wijk aan Zee, in which if he does have a few upsets in the beginning, it will only add to the more brilliant play in the end. Viswanathan Anand has a will to win like no other. Settling for draws is basically foreign to him. He is contempted with a draw only when the game is fully played out and chances for a win are low. With this in mind, his points will certainly rack up compared to others in the tournament. His classic style, both phenomenally impressive positionally and tactically, gives him a flexible advantage over his opponents. Hence, these characteristics will most definitely contribute to Viswanathan Anand winning the tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

2. Don't get me wrong, I think Karpov is a fabulous Chess player. His feel for the game and his accumulation of small advantages add to his rock-hard positional playing style. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most experienced Chess player in the tournament. He has faced the top rated player in the world probably more times than any other Chess player and, not to mention, scored fairly well against him. Though his championships with Kasparov were more than a decade ago, his strength has not tapered off considerably. The 51-year-old Anatoly Karpov showed he was still legit by beating Garry Kasparov in a four-game rapid Chess match on December 20, 2002. Both his physical and mental health seems to be in good shape, and he is actively participating in matches and tournaments, thereby keeping his strength of play consistent and good. However, I feel that Anatoly Karpov is just simply outdistanced by other Chess players in the tournament. Their ratings soar heavily above, with only 4 player's ratings lower than his. Now, Chess players are just too strong for Karpov. His world championship years have long been worn out, and Anatoly just lacks the proper will to win games. He consistently blunders in games where, most of the time, he has the advantage. He certainly cannot surpass 50% with this sort of play. His style of play was good long ago, but now it is just too simple. Grandmasters nowadays can complicate the position by tactical means, and Karpov's tactical calculations are faulty. Karpov simply has a hard time winning games because of his simple positional play. This often leads to draws or even losses to lower-rated players by easily overlooking a positional mistake. I do not believe Anatoly Karpov will score more than 50% in the tournament.

3. Personally, I think Radjabov will fair well in the tournament. I never said good, and I never said bad- I said well! In the Moscow World Chess Grand Prix of 2002, Teymour Radjabov did surprisingly well. The young 15-year-old shocked the world by making it to the finals to play Garry Kasparov. Though he did lose, he managed to draw against the world's number one player. He proved that he is a more-than-worthy competitor in professional Chess. His unique playing style of direct and aggressive attack is a fear to most Grandmasters over the Chess board. Even so, I believe that his elo is not steady and his true strength has yet to be discovered. He is still young and competing against good and experienced players will be a challenge for him. His rating ranks very low compared to the other Grandmasters, only topping Jan Timman's by 30 points. In the Chess world, just as important as one's elo is a person's experience. This is one key factor that, right now,Teymour Radjabov lacks. This will play a vital role in the tournament and may as well take it's toll.

I think Radjabov's future in Chess will be a success. Already a child prodigy, he is consistently competing with the strongest Chess players in the world. Even at a young age, he is a threat to other Chess players. Radjabov has the sort of playing style that most Grandmasters dread: precise, direct, and aggressive. If he consistently competes as he is doing now, he will more than likely improve. Teymour still has plenty of time to sharpen his Chess skills and with him actively competing in tournaments, he may as well become the future World Champion.

Thank you for your time and I appreciate the Chessbase team giving Chess players around the world their chance to voice their opinions. Quickly, a little about me: I am 15 years of age and I love to play Chess. I keep up with Chess events on a daily basis and the Chessbase site is such a gift to the Chess community. I thank you for your products and daily news coverage & articles.

Aybar Karagay, Ankara, Turkey

1) fortuna favet fortibus. Anand will win, he is solid but not drawish; Kramnik: wasn't playing for a while plus he is drawish; Topalov: extremely dangerous but sometimes makes so many mistakes during play; Ponomariov: maybe champion but not that class; Bareev: simply impossible; Shirov: another dangerous figure but I bet for Anand; Grishuk: good but not enough; Polgar: so tough tourney to win for her; Ivanchuk: really great player but has poor nerves; Karpov: I wish, but just considering his age; van Wely: simply impossible; Krasenkow: simply impossible; Radjabov: who knows, but seems not yet; Timman: simply impossible considering his age.

2) ars est celare artem. What a style!! Sure he will, at least %50 in the worst case. Karpov has still so much things to do in chess world. Once I had chance to watch him playing blitz... Unexampled!! He feels almost everything over the board. In near future he may even be world champion and senior champion as well at the same time!! I hope he will be ready and familiar with computer aided tournament preparation this time.

3) ars longa, vita brevis. Majority may count Radjabov as the "future champion". It's too early to make any prediction but I wish he can succeed. So many parameters influence but nerves, psychology, chess appetite etc. may be more important than talent, education, experience etc. So far he proved his strenght in every aspect.

4) ex uno disce omnes. Karpov: in statu quo? Maybe greatest player not only amongst them but through history. Cool, confident, impressive, unexplainable. Toplalov: sui generis. A real gentlemen: so humble in social relations, on the contrary bright shining over the board. (reminding Tal?). Kramnik: in posse. Able to play both very well: positionally and tactically. If he is in mood makes no mistakes. Anand: nunc aut nunquam: Overaging? Of course not yet. In the past he suffered poor nerves, but once he got the title "world champion" he must have comfort. Nothing to lose for him... Ponomariov: hominis est errare. Let's see if he has the strenght, nerves and class to hold the title. Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov surely did it while carrying the title, we can count Anand as well though shortness of his period. Shirov: rara avis. I just look his game first. What about you? Polgar: tempus fugit. Did she lost her ambition? If the answer is "YES", temporarily I hope. Ivanchuk: noli me tangere. Amazing player, lives in another world. When he get up and walks around during his play, you may think that he is smiling at you. Probably you are wrong: he was just calculating some variants blindfoldly and smiled by himself when he found a good move. You just thougt that you had an eye contact with him and smiled back but at the time he was in his own world actually, wasn't seeing you at all. He is a real gentlemen when he rarely visits our world. Friendly, humble, gives no importance on money. Poor nerves... ah poor nerves over the board :( Krasenkow: carpe diem. Humorous GM proving that seriousness and strenght are not directly proportional amongst GMs. Radjabov: finis coronat opus. Timman: experto crede. vae victis :)) verba volant, scripta manent.

Robbie Huijsmans, Netherlands

1. Kramnik, he wins because he will loose at the most one game. He will perform very constantly and beats enough players to get the number one rank!

2. Yes, I think so because the man really can play.

3. He will do fine, to be exact he will hold the 8th spot in the end. His future in chess will be a lot brighter then my own...... I wish him good luck, strength and nerves.

4. Keep up this good tourney whatever happens!

Yoko Sakata, São João da Boa Vista, Brazil

I think the winner will be Ponomariov, starting a new cycle with the young talents. Teymour will do a good tounament too (for your age and rating) which some (one or two good victories), but should be finish among the lasts (10th - 14th. Karpov will do about 50% (I believe between 50% -60%) because your strenght still is high, but your age too! At last, I expect and hope which Shirov do a very good tournament because he is the last romantic of chess.

Neil Owen, West Midlands, England

1. Vladimir Kramnik. Hes not the world champion for nothing! Kramnik holds good records against all that are competing, and is always a sound choice to win a high ranking tournament. His games with Fritz has given him a stronger attacking edge, and if he has recovered from playing Fritz, then he will be in strong form.

2. Karpov will score more than 50%. He is currently in great form, but the pressures of a long tournament will see him fatigue around the 6th round. However, his recent win in rapidplay against Kasparov may give him a boost of energy, making him feel as young as Radjabov. Soviet mind controllers wouldnt hurt either, as the title match vs Victor Korchnoi in 1972 showed !

3. Teymour Radjabov will get around 50% He is still a kid, and it will be interesting to see how his young nerves and concentration will be able to hold out under the constant pounding from the likes of Anand and Topalov. Still, if he can manage to put up a fight throughout the whole tournament, then he is in good sted to get a good score. The tournament will be good expirence for him, and he can undoubtedly only get better. If he continues to improve he will quickly be a contender for the world champion, and surely will challenge Kasparov's, (or Ponomariov's) record for being a world champion. One thing is certain, he leads the way of the next generation talent, such as Gadir Guseinov and Sergey Karjakin.

4. Without Garry Kasparov competing, we are once again able to see a well fought tournament between the other strong players, namely Kramnik, Topalov and Anand. Wijk aan Zee 2003 will be interesting. Kramnik has just come from playing Fritz, and the computers effects will not be known on his play until later in the tournament. Fritz may of helped him to become even stronger and sounder than before, we shall see! Anand hasnt had the best of form over the past couple of years, but is still able to produce magic, and this may be the tournament to get him back into the fray for contending the new champ in the next cycle after re-unification. Topalov always has good chances, but I believe it will be the order in which these three have opponents that will effect the outcome. Radjabov, Karpov and Ivanchuk are all wildcards, and it will be interesting to see how the preform. For example, Kramnik could find himself against a worn out Karpov or Radjabov in the last rounds, and breeze to victory more easily than if he faced Karpov in the opening rounds. Karpov and Shirov are outside bets to win. Shirov is capable of working some real magic, and if he can do so during the next two weeks then he too has a good chance of winning. If Karpov can hold his game together later on then he definatly has a chance. As for the others, they can expect to pick up the latter prizes, and interesting battles for 4th and 5th may emerge. This will also be a good tournament for Karjakin in the GM "Bs", as during this tournament he will become a man! (Sunday 12th)

Omar Al-Jabari

1. Kramink. He is always preparing for like this events and he is a tough player. Also Kramink is more prepared after his game with Fritz and I think he learned from his mistakes .

2. Karpov will score more than 50%. He is still a good player and his experience will help him in this tournament. We saw that karpov is still in good shape after beating kasparov in their last match .

3. I think tymor is a very great player and he we learn a lot in this tournament . but he will not score more than 50% but in another hand he will do some surprising result against the other players. about his future I think he will hold the world title in the future and in the near future he will be between the top 5 players in the world.

Daniel Pi, Edina, USA

1) Karpov will win. He's been playing great for the past year or so, and though it's still rather unlikely, he's +1 in the first round, and I guess I just hope the old man can give us one more great tournament before they string him up and float him through NYC in the next Macy's Day Parade. I could see him managing draws against the top 10's, and winning against the lower ranked players to rack up a respectable score for a shared win.

2) Well- to win, I should hope he'd score more than 50%. Although, it is my most ardent wish that everyone doing better than him be disqualified for using pocket Fritz, and Karpov win with a negative score.

3) Radjabov will probably finish close to last. I'll err on the side of safety and say he'll probably be a major figure for the next thirty of forty years, but I rather doubt he'll be champion, although I have nothing to go on but the trend of early blooming and early declining of child prodigies. Or is that just envious spite?

4) Ummm... it is MY humble opinion that if Karpov should win, my uncanny foresight should be rewarded with that tempting Fritz 8. But, should Karpov not win, I think that a copy signed by someone else would be a brilliant stroke of irony. In short, whatever happens, give me Fritz.

David Granik, Milwaukee, USA

There are several players who I think have a good chance to win (aside from the obvious choices: Kramnik and Anand). Vassily Ivanchuk is always capable of pulling off a great result, and Veselin Topalov's current form has to be considered at a par with the best. However, the Chess Player that I predict will win Wijk aan Zee, 2003 is Alexander Grischuk. Grischuk has demonstrated that he can more than hold his own at High Category Super-GM events. His rating has been steadily going up, indicating that he is still continuing to gain strength. It's been a while since he has been tested at a tournament of this level, and I think that he will surprise. He presses for advantage as Black, and this will give him extra opportunity for a plus score. Grischuk will have an Extra White, which always helps (unless one speaks of Morozevich).I think that he will score well against the bottom half, and that he has good prospects versus Bareev and Ponomariov. Grischuk should be able to reach "+4", which ought to be sufficient for 1st Place. Figure on a score of +5-1=7, good for 8.5/ 13

2. Will Karpov score more than 50%? Yes, I believe that Karpov will score more than 50%. I predict that he will finish at "+1", with a score of +3-2=8, or 7.0/13 Why do I think so? Well, for one, he started off the event with a win over Michel Krasenkow. I'm sure that his confidence is bolsteed by his win over Kasparov in the Rapid Mini-Match in NY. He is still very tough to beat, and I have a feeling that the big guns won't be pressing much against him. I have a feeling that Judit Polgar will defeat him, accounting for one of his losses.

3. Teymour Radjabov will exceed his expected score, as predicted by his rating. He will have a creditable result. He is already quite difficult to defeat. I predict that he will finish at "-1", with 2 wins, and just 3 losses [+2-3=8], for a score of 6.0/13

What is his future in chess? He won't become World Champion (unless FIDE really does funny stuff with its Championship Cycle!), but he should be able to break into the top 10, and be able to stay at that level for a decade or so. He has yet to demonstrate that he has that ability that gain many wins at the highest level. In that regard, he may end up as a "Leko Jr". At this point, he shows much fighting spirit, so maybe he can be more dynamic. It may actually be a bit of a disadvantage to become a Grandmaster in pre-adolescence, since creativity may ultimately be hindered. Kramnik and Karpov notwithstanding, great technique probably won't be sufficient to become the World's best player....

It looks to be an excellent tournament, although Kasparov, Adams, and Leko will be missed. I expect for Judit Polgar to have a good tournament, given her recent form. She has a real chance to break into the Top 10 ranked players, if she gets a good result. She has White against Kramnik and Anand, so I am optimistic that she will gain draws in those games. I think that she might be able to beat Karpov in Round #4 , even as Black.

One can only hope that the Caissa inspires Shirov. He needs to get a win against Anand--he hasn't quite been the same since he got crushed in the "World Championship" Final by Anand.

Ponomariov is going to have a tough tourrnament, and will probably finish minus. He seems very distracted by the status of the match negotiations. A real pity.

Krasenkow has to be the odds on favorite to wear the "Red Lantern" as the cellar dweller. It's tough to lose like that in the 1st round.

Timman will probably come up with at least one very pretty win. He is starting to look more towards artistic satisfaction, rather than just results.

 

Maurício Takeshi Sakata, Campinas, Brazil.

1. Anand will win because your strenght, great experience and because Kramnik doesn't playing very well ultimately. The other competitor are not threats for both.

2. Karpov will make 50% of the points, atlhough his age worries a little. He is playing very well lately as it demonstrates his last victory in the match against Kasparov.

3. Teymor is still very young and it is getting better. This tournament it will be to win a lot of experience so that one day, who knows, he turns world champion (he is one of the strong candidates for the future).

4. I think Judit and Shirov can surprender in this tournament and I hope there is not many drawns without fight (this kills the chess!).

Carolina Raizer, Campinas, Brazil

Kramnik will win this tournament because he is the number two and the number one (Kasparov) don't is participing! Kramnik is the best tornament player after Kasparov.

Yes, Karpov will do more than 50% because he is like a wine! But he have to do this early because your strenght will decrease after the firsts rounds because your advanced age (at least for this tournament level).

He should be between the tenth to thenrh-four place. Rabjadov should be in the future among the top-ten, but he won't be world champion.

Judith will be among the better five (at least I hope for that!).

Bolívar Ribeiro Gonzalez, Teacher of Physical Education, Brazil

1. It is really very difficult to affirm who will win a tournament as strong as this, and with some favorite clearings, but my vote will be for Vassily Ivanchuk. I believe that a rhythm of slower game and such a spectacular tournament are stimulating for Ivanchuk, to demonstrate talent.

2. I don't have any doubt that Karpov will do more than 50% of the points in this tournament. Only the time reveals the authenticity of the players force, and Karpov besides being world record holder in winning elite tournaments, it is also one of the largest players of all of the times. I believe that the recent victory in games fast front to Kasparov, gave a soft blow to the spirit of that kind player to face the rivals of this tournament.

3. I expect a very good participation of the youth Teymur, with important results for his career. However, I believe that he needs of more some time to firm his style and results. If it will be or no world champion is very early, but he has good credentials for that road. He is already inside of a group of good players, in the middle of the development due to the little age and experience in the great tournaments as that.

4. I accompany the work ChessBase there are many years. I am always happy in could participate in their interactive promotions as a great fan that I am of all team and spectacular work on behalf of the world chess. It would be a great satisfaction to collaborate with translations of the menus of Fritz and ChessBase (Interface) for the language in Portuguese. I have been owing knowledge for this work. I await contact for larger qualification details and interest on the part of this great team.

Dr. Raphael Comprone, Assistant Professor of English, Lawrenceville, Virginia, USA.

1. Vladimir Kramnik will win because he was able to tie against Fritz 8. He will also win because he is not being advertised as the player with the highest rating. Even though his rating is lower than Kasparov's, Kramnik is nearly unbeatable. Playing against Deep Fritz may have turned Kramnik into a chess computer!

2. Karpov will score more than 50% because he was able to beat Kasparov recently in New York City.

3. Teymour will win several games, and he will have an exciting future in chess. However, he will have to build his expertise from experience.

4. Ever since Bobby Fischer resigned from the chess world, many of grandmasters will need to think about taking English classes as well, with the exception of Anand. If any of them need any assistance, they can contact me, and I will gladly exchange my knowledge for chess lessons (so I can beat the latest version of Fritz on my computer). Junior and Fritz should play against each other in a formal tournament again in order to assess the strengths of both of these programs. Everyone at chessbase should decide which program is superior instead of claiming that one of them is superior whenever Garry Kasparov or Vladimir Kramnik is playing. Shredder should also play in a tournament against Fritz and the latest version of Junior. Although computer tournaments have happened in the past, there needs to be a new one for 2003! Another point-- who is going to play against Shredder 7? That chess engine is very powerful. Judit Polgar will win many games in this tournament. When she defeated Ponomariov, she showed that she has considerable expertise and is continuing to develop her skills.

Kasparov will have a difficult time playing against Junior unless he gets over his anxiety about previous defeats against Deep Blue.

Michael J Fitch, Las Vegas, USA

Veselin Topalov will win. 2003 will be the year of Topalov. I just have this feeling that he will out-pace the others.He's back in form, and can beat anyone at anytime.

Karpov will score over 50%. He is still a very strong player,he will probably have a couple of losses from the elites, but he will also have a couple of wins from the lower rated to offset. Karpov is the Rodney Dangerfield of Chess "He doesn't get any respect"

Teymour will score -3 or -4 This will be a very tough tournament for the youngster,but a BIG-TIME learning experience. He has a very bright future, if he stays healthy physically as well as mentally,in 10 years he will be the strongest player on the planet. That's if we crazy humans don't blow the planet up before then.

I don't know what your religious persuasions are or your religious denominations are, but lets collectively pray that rational people will step forward/up and save the day. Fanatical elements on all sides have taken the bull by the horns and is steering this world towards total annihilation. Hopefully it's not to late.

Edwin, Ottawa, Canada

Just a friendly reminder to you guys that your "darling" Kosteniuk IS playing at the B section at the Wijk aan Zee tournament. At the time I'm writing this, "vice-champion" (as your sight reverently insists) Kosteniuk has just been demolished by a mere FM by the name of Stellwagen.

Care to venture any predictions on how well the "darling" of women's chess will do in this tournament? ;-) It seems convenient that your site would now "forget" the name of Kosteniuk at this time. Understandably, as it is never wise for a business to associate its name with a loser.

Rafael Llanos, Peru

I am here in Texas attending college, my friend the G.M Julio Granda told me to send you big greetings, he is the only one who play twice the Corus tournament.

1. Anand will win the tournament

2. Mr. Karpov will make more than 50%. He is doing much better lately.

3. Mr. Radjabov will make just the 50%. He is like any other top GM he is not for chess champion.

4. Congratulations for the succeess of the tournament and please you my friens need to claim to the corus tournament as "The real Wimblendom of chess"

Dietrich Rebmann, Karlsruhe, Germany

Hello great chessbase team! My expectations for the tournament are as following:

1.With the WM-title in his back Kramnik will do the job.

2.Karpov will receive 50% but not more. Nothing against his great experience, but he is a little bit too old to counter against all these young fighting players.

3.For Teymour this tournament is a great event especially to gain experience but he has to fight very hard against not to get the last place. 4.I think Ponomariov will be the hardest contrahent to Kramnik and Anand.

Charles S. Hall

Kramnik is the favorite by rating. However, one must take into account that he has not been as active as many of the other players, and that will take its toll. This is a chance for Anand and Ivanchuk to make their statement to FIDE with a first place finish. Ivanchuk will have to control his nerves and play both with his exceptional brilliance and solidity to claim the prize, while Anand’s general easy-going nature and practical, but exciting play should ensure at least a top 3 finish. Ponomariov has not impressed since winning the FIDE World Championship and would really like to rebuff his detractors with a win here. Unfortunately, young Ruslan no longer has “nothing to lose” and will be playing with a lot of pressure, which will make a 1st place finish difficult. Nostalgists would greatly enjoy a Karpov victory, which is not out of the question. Anand should either take first clear by no more than ½ point or share first with Kramnik.

Karpov has started enjoying chess again. He has never lost his natural ability; he simply pursued other interests and did not work on his game as hard as he did when he dominated the chess world for approximately 10 years. Karpov’s recent results have demonstrated that he is already playing consistently at top 10 level and thus is a real threat to win Wijk aan Zee. Karpov will finish in the top third, and will get 50% at minimum.

Teymour has proven not only that he can win, but that he can avoid loss. His results only continue to improve, and his worst results generally place him somewhere in the middle of the pack. Certainly the scales are heavily balanced against him here, but he will continue to maintain at least an even score and will hang at least one another strong GM head on his mantle.

Because of the participation of so many of the top 10, many emotionally driven chess fans will view this a true World Championship – especially if either Kramnik or Ponomariov win, and the other finishes poorly. If either Anand or Ivanchuk win, this will present a strong argument for inclusion in the World Championship Unification matches, although it is very unlikely the organizers will change the plans this late in the game.

Alla Shundrovsky, USA

1. Bareev, it would be nice if somebody besides Kasparov will win two Wijk aan Zee tournaments in a row.

2. Definitely, Karpov is in good form recently.

3. Radjabov will probably be around 50%, but the future is very bright for him, top 10 in the next 2 years, maybe even world champion (if he does not get married)

4. More interesting question, who will take the last place?

Javier Ródenas, business executive, Madrid, Spain

1. Recent past victories, top playing form and his usual chess style makes Vishy Anand the probable winner for this year Chorus Tournament. The ausence of Kasparov, Kramnik’s not-so-good playing form against humans are important factors that will likely benefit Anand the most. He has had more time to prepare for this tournament and for Linares that the others Super-GM´s. As mentioned above, his recent performance at the World Cup and rapid games tournaments make Anand a strong likely winner.

2. Yes, he will. Is he really older than 50? Sometimes his recent performances at different tournaments and his uncontested chess knowledge and playing style makes me doubt. He is a formidable opponent. Karpov is undoubtedly a player to be reckoned with still for long. Considering the fact that every opponent he face will bet at the board that Karpov will fexperience time problems, rtc, if he does better than 50% it will be, by itself, an outstanding achievement that his present day rivals will find very difficult to match when they hit his age. Another record for Karpov!!!!!

3. I expect Teymour to do quite well at this tournament. There is very little doubt about his talent. A talent that he will very much need to use to overcome his lack of experience ( in comparision to the rest of players ). I expect him to play solidly. The truth is that for his age almost any result is good for him at this levels. His future?. Bright if non chess related factors like… life, teenagehood, etc come across. No question he has the potential of being in the elite groups of players of the future. And I to see it!!!!

4. Does Garry Kasparov love to do this? For a second year in a row he will leave a doubt about who would of be the winner has he played. Is this an elaborate strategy to always be the shadow winner or money smells stronger than…? Thanks Garry!!!, we are in for a row of articles speculating what would of…, would had this other have won?... Let´s give him the title “The Shadow Winner”

Mihaly Berkics, Budapest, Hungary

1. I think only the top 3 have a chance to win this tournament. Ponomariov is too young and may also be nervous and distracted because of his negotiations with FIDE and Kasparov about the title match. Draw odds will cost him a few wins in Wijk aan Zee. Bareev won last year but the field is much stronger this time. Shirov's flames will be put out by the "Fire Guard on Board" (altough the firefighting unit will miss its commander Col. G.K. this time). The others are either too young (Grischuk, Radjabov), too old (Karpov, Timman), or too moody (Ivanchuk), and/or just simply not on par with Kramnik, Anand, and Topalov.

Let's look at the top 3 then. Kramnik now seems to have been involved in playing against computers since the time of Kempelen's Turk. Alas, this time he will not have "Topalov 7.0" or "Deep Anand" handed to him on a CD to practice against before the tournament commences. Besides, he has a "security first" style -and scoring two pluses and drawing all the other games may indeed win you the Title but not a first place in Wijk aan Zee! Anand is not as good as he used to be. He seems to be too much satisfied by having secured his place in chess history as "Winner of the FIDE KO 2000". I hope I'm wrong but I wouldn't predict his victory this time.

So my guess for the winner of Wijk aan Zee 2003: TOPALOV. He played some excellent chess last year, and barely missed qualifying for a title match against Kramnik. He will be eager to get some compensation, and his fighting style will bring him more pluses in the crosstable than his two main rivals will collect. His motto will be "+5 -2 =6 is more than +2 -0 =11"!

2. Karpov will collect some nice spankings from the top players, but he will get even against those that are weaker or more inexperienced, or simply underestimate him. If I were a chess journalist I would predict "a score around 50%", but since I am not and it is a quiz game anyway let me take a chance and predict that he will finish exactly on 50%.

3. "Teymour the Kid" will manage to "rob" some pluses, especially against the bottom half of the field. However, he will gain more experience than points to take home with him. He's yet too young to finish in the top half of the crosstable in such a field. He will reach the top 10 in 5-6 years, but then who knows.

4. It's a pity that Kasparov, Leko and Adams are not playing. With them we would have the top 10 playing in Wijk aan Zee. It would be nice to see more tournament chess, and in a more organized way. E.g. to see the World Cup revived, or a Tournament World Championship with an 8-player double round robin final and some preliminary qualifying phases.

Ken Klinkner

1. Veselin Topalov will win the tournament. Not only does he have the chess acumen, virtuosity and flair, but he also will have the fire due to his near miss in the Moscow qualifier round. Krammik's game has stalled while Anand's game peaked three years ago. This time Veselin will beat Shirov decisively.

2. Karpov will be over 50%. He will play to place in the upper half of the tournament but not to win it. As a consequence some of his opponents will overshoot in games that Karpov would be happy to draw in, thus leading to a few windfall wins for him.

3. Teymour will be in the top third on the leader board. Teymour will challenge for the chess crown(s) in five years.

4. Judit Polgar will do well (4-6th place), Ivanchuk will disappoint--thus putting in question the wisdom of having him replace Ponomariov in the chess crown unification series. Look forward to Zhang Zhong placing in the top 3 of the B group.

Final remark: Why is this called a quiz? It is not a test of knowledge but of inference and feel for the upcoming tournament.

Mehul Gohil, Nairobi,Kenya

Vishwanathan Anand will win this tournament. He has "rediscovered" his "joy" for chess, and he is simply a bomb waiting to explode. No nice results to his name in recent times, a drop in the elo rating, but I believe he was only sleeping and dreaming his 1001 knights. This man has a stable family and the whole of indian chess is sitting on his shoulders. The times are even jinxed in his favour. Indian sports is having a resurgence (recent remarkable results in cricket and atheletics) and Anand should ride on this superstitious wave. Critics are overlooking him...he is just going to blow in their faces.

Karpov will score more than 50%. We all saw how deadly he is when he crippled Kasparov in New York. Give him one chance and he'll finish you off. Plus, it isn't good for a legend like him to play like a duffer against this super grandmasters who have been weaned on his games. He is responsible for proving something.

Teymour will get killed. He is in for a spanking. But this is a blessing in disguise since it is the only way for him to learn. As for his future, he is obviously going to hit the top five in the chess charts sooner or later. Big favourite to becoming the 15th or 16th world champion

Why isn't a computer playing with these fellas? It is descrimination not to include them, and comps are now some of the best players in the world.

Nadeem Aziz, professional control engineer, Karachi, Pakistan

1. Kramnik: Why not?.He is very solid & most difficult to beat.He will snatch points from lower half and may be few from the top half.But wont give away any.

2. Yes, we have about 98% occasions from Karpov's career where he has done it or better .

3. Teymour will score 45% or so.He is a great addition to chess elite and may become world champ one day if Karjakin spares him!.

4. Why the strongest machines are missing from the list?

Dennis Cesar Caluban, Chess Amateur, Salmiyah, Kuwait

Viswanathan Anand will win the tournament. He has lots of reason to prove to the real world that he is still a very strong player who can still claim for the World Crown in the future. Besides all these, he is also one of the rating favorites.

Karpov will score slightly more than 50% if he manages to draw against the strongests - Kramnik, Anand, etc. His ELO Rating is also somewhat near the average rating of the tournament so this is his real chance to prove to the tournament world that he can still delivery heavy punches using his old arm.

Teimour will be below 50% of the rankings. He has still lots of things to learn. Definitely Teimour's future in chess is very bright especially that he is also from Baku - same origin of GM Kasparov.

Jan Timman will show his might in the first half of the tournament but will eventually lose his games in the remaining half.

Ludovic Thély, Limeil Brévannes, France

1. If he's in great form, Anand may win the tournament. With Kramnik, he's the better chess player present there. But, it will be hard. What's more, he never succed this tournament.

2. Karpov has schowed he's in great form. He won against Kasparov and did two finales of very important tournament. I'm sure he will do more than 50%.

3. I'm not sure that teymour will be the futur player that everybody expect. Bacrot was certainly better at the same age. But we may suppose he'll be in the top ten later. Kariakine is clairly the better young player.

4.We can regret that Kasparov doesn't play. He's yet the better player on the earth. I hope we'll have a great tournament this year. Timan can do some surprises.

Hakki Sayin, Engineer, Istanbul, Turkey

1. Ivanchuk. He will take revenge on Pono and the other guys. It seems that he is too angry.

2. No, Karpov will not score over 50%. Very tough guys around.

3. Radjabov will score less than 50%.

4. Bareev will also achiev a good standing.

FM Yakup Bayram, Kucukesat-Ankara, Turkey

1. Karpov will win.

2. see 1.

3. Radjabov will make about 50%. So far so good but we have to wait a few years for his greater successes.

4.) Ponomariov: "Easy come easy go" World Champion".
Shirov: The biter is sometimes bit.
Kramnik: Nothing venture nothing have.
Topalov: Grasp all, lose all.
Timman: Other times, other ways.
Polgar: One swallow does not make a summer.
Grischuk: Strike while the iron is hot.
Krasenkow: When in Rome do as the Romans do.
van Wely: Cut your coat according to your cloth.
Bareev: You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
Ivanchuk: Good wine needs no bush.
Radjabov: Better late than never.
Anand: Make hay while the sun shines.
Karpov: Still waters run deep. Terrific Champion!

Gaby Aßmann, Harpstedt, Germany

1. Vishy Anand

2. I think karpov will score more than 50%. He is in good form after his match against Kasparov

3. If he continues as he is doing he will be among the top 30 by the middle of the year.

4. Would be great if your puzzles and quizzes would also appear in German.

 

Shevtsov Konstantin, Russia

1. Vassily Ivanchuk. He is the genius!

2. Yes he will. Very and very gifted and talanted!

3. 50% +1.5, -1.5. Very good future. Will grow.

4. If chess belonged to the arts rather than to sports, Ivanchuk would have topped the FIDE ratings ever since he won the New York Open as an unknown Soviet teenager in 1988. His skill and playing style are a measure of his unparalleled artistry and joy in the beauty of chess. In the course of his career, Ivanchuk has produced countless brilliancies that have done the rounds of chess columns the world over. His victory with white against Alexei Shirov in Wijk aan Zee 1996, with its astounding queen sacrifice on the 21st move, is just one instance of these true gems. Career highlights: European Junior Champion 1987. World Junior Champion 1988. Winner at Linares 1989 and 1991 (ahead of Kasdarov and Karpov). First place in Biel 1989 and Tilburg 1990. Finalist in the FIDE World Championships 2002.

Expectations CCT 2003: If Ivanchuk is on form, he may easily finish first in this year's Corus overall standings. Unfortunately - for "Chuky, that is -chess is not an art but a sport, and a nerve-racking one at that, and the grandmaster artist from Lvov is often too emotional to stand the strain. He has reputedly tried everything to overcome the problem, from softly humming Ukrainian folks songs to intently staring at the ceiling during his games, but to no avail. Chess fans in Wijk aan Zee sincerely hope he has meanwhile found a better remedy.

Deniz Karacay, Rolla, MO, USA

[1] Shirov will win. He plays to win not to make draws. Maybe a few loss but minimum draws, maximum win...

[2] What kind of a question this is? Of course he will. Are we talking about "world champion" Anatoly Karpov? Playing chess is like swimming or bicycling for such players, they never forget how to do.

[3] Too young for great success in this tournament. But in a few years...? You will hardly continue as you come closer to the peak. However I believe that one day this young man from Baku will be at the top of the chess world. Remember that the first serious support behind young Kasparov was Haydar Aliyev. Today Aliyev is supporting every artistic, cultural and sport event especially for youth. Good policy: he may have opponents but young generation adore him. Azerbaijan has approximately 8 million population and got 3 gold medals (if I'm not wrong) in world championship under 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 as Russia did. Radjabov should be swift to take the title "world champion", otherwise another young Azerbaijani may not wait for him :)

[4] My prediction is Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Ivanchuk and Karpov will follow Shirov in the final standing. I don't know why but for me Wijk aan Zee and Linares are more exciting than any other event including FIDE championships lately. Let the show begin :)

Leo Kang, Kellyville, New South Wales, Austalia

1. I think Kramnik would win. Firstly, he has the highest rating in the tounament and he's the only one who is a world champion.

2. I think Karpov would score more than fifty per cent because he showed his great talent in the blitz matches against Kasparov recently.

3. I think Radjabov will do reasonably well scoring at least twenty-five per cent. I also think he will be the future world champion.

4. I think it will be a great tournament and it would be very interesting to observe the games. I also think it's very interesting to do these sort of quizzes because they are fun and makes me to get anticipated!

Robert Cea, Needham, Massachussetts, USA

1) Anand will win. Eventually he will be the #1 ranked player. This tournament is all about pressure. He will hold up.

2) Again, it's all about pressure, but the top ranks will wear themselves out, and Karpov will do well across the field. He's been there - Done that. ( Excuse the worn expression, but it applies here ).

3) The kid will do OK too. I'm looking for the biggest suprises from him. I'm sure he will take the top ranks off guard. Look for the closest games here.

4) Pressure, pressure, pressure. Everyone ranked 10 and under will be playing to show they could have beat Kasparov too, if he were there. To that end, each of the 7 top 10 players, will be out to win the tournament decisively. That just can't happen.

Joshua Blanchfield, Boston, MA, USA

1) I have to go with Topalov, followed by Ponomariov and Bareev. Kramnik and Anand have not impressed of late, and I don't think they'll have the energy to fight from beginning to end. Karpov can probably be eliminated for the same reason - I don't think he has the strength to play 13 solid rounds. Ivanchuk is guaranteed to lose to Pono, and he uses one of his whites in that game, so I throw him out. Grischuk isn't ready to step up and win a tournament of this calibre, and his schedule is brutal. No one else will have the firepower to contend seriously. Topalov will beat Radjabov, Van Wely, Karpov, Krasenkow, and Shirov and not lose a game, to finish at +5.

2) No way. In the last four rounds, when he will be at his worst, he has Bareev, Ivanchuk, Pono, and Kramnik. I think he's looking at -2 or worse over that streak. He also has black against Topalov, who I think is going to win this tournament. I think Karpov could be looking at a disaster.

3) Radjabov is in huge trouble. I think he is likely a future world champion (should be fun to watch him and Pono duel it out 10-15 years from now) but he's just too green. He starts the tournament with blacks versus Anand and Bareev and then white against Topalov. Sounds like 0 points after three rounds to me. I just hope he doesn't get too discouraged by what could be a -4 or -5.

4) Apparently Grischuk and Krasenkow rubbed somebody the wrong way, because they both have to play black against Kramnik, Anand, and Topalov. Harsh.

Vicente F. Herrasti, editor, Mexico

1. I think Topalov will win. He nearly did it at Dortmund, and after that he has played very little. I think he has been prepairing for Wijk Ann Zee. Furthermore, since his spectacular return to the top ten, his chess and stamina have been outstanding.

2. No. I think he will be below 50% because his recent good tournaments (Grand Prix, etc) have been played on an active-blitz basis. The standard tournament games will be tyring for him.

3.I think the kid will be at plus one. He is rather young, but he sounds cold and self assured in interviews. He will be in the top ten at 18.

4. Ivanchuk... Ivanchuk. I have been his admirer since the Intel tournaments and I have been equally overjoyed or sad when this kind of mistic of the chessboard shows genious or unexplainable ineficacy. He is the true enigma. I hope he gets a +2.

Nathaniel Fast, Jefferson City, MO, USA.

Kramnik is going to blow out the competition. This is the perfect tournament for him to show the world exactly how good he is and that tying with Fritz was a fluke.

2. Why do or don't you think so? I think if Wijk aan Zee were a speed chess tournament Karpov would be a tough character to compete with. Karpov will not get to do what he's best at nowadays (speed chess) and is on his way out. I predict many zeros in the Karpov column. Besides, Kasparov is not going to be there, who else is he going to beat?.

3. What is his future in chess? Frankly, I know very little about Teymour. His better days are still ahead of him. He will score in the middle of the pack.

Honestly, I'd rather see some younger players go against the best. They should take a couple of the winners of the World Junior Championships and put them in the tournament. Maybe they would get beat every single game but they could go home and say "Yeah I've played him before," or however you say that in Russian.

Paolo Casaschi, London, United Kingdom

1. Who will win this tournament. Please supply a reason for your conjecture. Topalov will win. Everybody will play very carefully against top seeds Kramnik and Anand and they will slow down. Topalov in good form can beat anyone.

2. Will Karpov score more than 50%? Why do or don't you think so? Unfortunately not. Too long tournament, too slow rate of play. If the play was rapidchess, he would fight for the first place.

3. How will the kid Teymour do? What is his future in chess? He'll score 50% or slightly less, but with very few draws and a with win against Kramnik or Anand. Too early to say about his future in chess, he has the potential to become worldchampion but there are few other kids with similar potential. Also, the question is: is there going to be a worldchampion title when he's going to be ready for it?

4. Any other comments or opinions? Many thanks to Corus for sponsoring this event.

Antonio Torrecillas, Spain

1. Topalov will win. He is a great figther and Kasparov will not play.

2. No, Karpov will score 50% or less. This is not a rapid tournament and old players (Korchnoi is like a baby) can not play long games as well as young people.

3. Teymour will play a good tournament with a plus score (more than 50%) maybe next time He will win the tournament.

I predict 4 draws in less than 25 moves from Kramnik and Anand but none from Shirov and Grischuk

Jarmel J Kennedy, Gilbert, Az., USA

I think that Annand will win this tournament because he is very tactical and attacks very strongly. Karpov will in fact win about 55% or more of his games because of the fact that he is still the more technical player in the world, just that he will take too many draws because of his energies not being what they were. Timman will do likewise. Treymour will win the least of all because he is too inexperienced , but this will be a lesson for him and then he will pick up and begin to win more regularly in future tournaments of this nature. Kramnik will take too many draws and end up in second place which will be too bad because he is still super strong. This is the way that I see things here for the reasons that I have stated, Please share with me your opinions on the same.

Laurent Selvi, Paris, France

1) Topalov - wide field where his aggressive style and energy should appear at their best. Kramnik is too drawish.

2) Under 50% (maybe 50%) - just too old and the category of the tournament is too high - some people will take his scalp (or what's left of it - sorry - please don't publish this ;-)

3) I bet on +1 or +2 for Teymour. He is very talented, but has he enough "killer instinct" to get to the very top ? Besides, his name doesn't begin with a "K". However, Anand proves you can both be nice and a respected fighter.

4) Well, not now, thanks :-) Oh yes : the pictures on your site are very nice indeed. I look a bit like Kramnik, Grishuk is fierce like a young Lion, Krasenkow looks like he knows he will be the next Pope, and Teymour...well, maybe he has some killer instinct after all ;-)

 

Luis Smith, Levelland, Texas, USA

1. Ruslan Ponomariov will win, with Kasparov absent he will be the #1 player there.

2. I think a more reasonable estimate for Karpov in such a strong tournament will be 35-46%. Indeed he was good in his day and even had some good tournament results recently, but age is catching up to him.

3. Teymour, will come in 3rd or 4th I think. Coming just behind Anand and/or Kramnik, of course with Ponomariov winning the tournament.

4. Simply glad Kasparov is not in this tournament...

Kent A Gilmour

1. Anand. He is the best player besides Kramnik who is very rusty and hasn't played that much.

2. Why do or don't you think so? Yes. He will be bolstered by his win over Kasparov in NY.

3. He will score 55%. He has a great future and will be world champion in 7 years.

4. I believe Panomariov is very afraid to play Kasparov as he should be. He might even forfiet his match to determine the challenger to the winner of the Kramnik/Leko match. Where has Michael Adams been lately? He is one of the 10 best players in the world and he hasn't palyed very much lately.

Duncan Vella, St. Paul's Bay, Malta

1. It has to be either Kramnik or Ponomariov. But I'll go for Kramnik. Why? Well Kramnik has a point to prove. That of still being the best although being a year since playing a human. He will go to "non-lose" mode and finish with +5 beating Bareev, Shirov, Van Wely, Krasenkow and Timman. Ponomariov who has trouble with FIDE but it the FIDE WC will also play very well and will finish on +4. Anand and Shirov will suffer while Topalov will start great but tire out at the end.

2. Yes Karpov will definitely score more than 50%. His morale is sky high after beating Kasparov lately and he wants to show that it was no fluke. He will probably draw many games too.

3. Radjabov is great. It will be his greatest experience yet and this tournament will work wonders for his future. He will finish in the bottom half of the table but will win a couple of great games. In the future Taymmour will go up to the top 10 by the end of the year and challenge for the best place until Karjakin comes along!

4. I wonder what happened to Mickey Adams? He hasn't been playing much tournaments excluding Bled. He is my favourite player and I wonder whether you have any news of him.

Paulo Sunao Shintate Jr, Brazil

1. Judith Polgar : she is playing at her best, winning her latest 2 Tournaments :-)

2. More than 50%, because he is being successfull in his latest Tournaments. 2002 was his great come back :-o

3. Teymour will be in the first half of the Table. He lacks experience in very strong Tournaments, but he is a very good fighter.

4. I read your Chessbase articles everyday :-)

Aaron Anderson, Environmental Technician, USA

1) I have a feeling Grischuk will win the tournament outright, because of his confidence and youth. Kramnik is still getting over his hangover caused by Fritz, Pono and Anand won't have enough decisive results. Topalov is the dark horse. (yes, I realize by rating Grishuk is actually more of a long shot but that's why they play the games!)

2) Karpov will score under 50%, he has been playing well lately, but this is not blitz.

3) Teymour will do relatively well, to his rating, probably just under 50%, if he keeps improving he is very capable of challenging for the world title in the future.

4) Ivanchuk won't finish in the top five but will win the brilliancy prize in a win over his nemesis and countrymen Super Mario.

Russell Greenlee, Natchitoches, Louisiana, US

1. After snagging the top performance in the Russia vs. World match, Shirov is at the top of his form. Because many do not see that Shirov as a title contender, he has something to prove to the chess world. I feel as though Shirov will be in top form, especially without having to face Garry Kasparov.

2. Karpov will score more than 50% because of the rekindled fighting spirit we saw against Kasparov in New york.

3. Remember Gata Kamsky? There is no telling.

4. Aside from my personal distaste for Shirov, I look forward to seeing a few beautiful wins from him.

Ted Taylor, Eugene, OR, USA

1. Predicted winner: Teymour Radjabov. Teymour is a fierce tactical player, and other players are not yet used to his style or weaknesses, whereas he can carefully study the games of his opponents. His youth will help him surge at the end as other players start to feel the exhaustion of a long tournament and make small but fatal mistakes against him.

2. Karpov will score above 50%. Karpov has more history and memory of games to draw from than any of his younger opponents. This will actually help him as the tournament goes on. He is in strong form recently, and he will be there to give everything to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with.

3. Teymour will have the fewest draws of anyone, playing every time for the kill. This will result in him winning the tournament even though he takes several losses along the way. Teymour will be in the finals for the World Championship by the time he is 21, and World Champion by 23. He will have trouble defending it, however, as Sergei Karjakin and other still younger players rise quickly to challenge him.

Sergio Savoia, Fiumicello, Italy

1. Karpov Anatoly (reason: he has demonstrated to be the man with more victories in tournaments of all chess history; additionally he found again a second youth for chess and has recovered all of his chess killing instinct).

2. Of course more than 50% as he will win the tournament !

3. Teymour will do quiet good, and get a score closed to 50%. He is undoubtedly a great player, and a possible future champion of the world.

4. The idea of this quiz was a great finding, continue with that in the future! My best wishes for the New Year 2003.

Jeffrey S. Hall, North Kingstown, Rhode Island, USA

1. Kramnik will win because he is the best player in the world.

2. Karpov will score less than 50%. He is good at the fast time controls but will tire in the 7-hour games.

3. Radjabov is a rising star and great fun to watch on the Internet Chess Club. He will finish at OVER 50%!

4. I can't wait for Linares to start!

Arlen. P. Walker

1. Alas, I tried very hard to find some sort of surprising prediction to dazzle you with, but I just don't think anyone in the field is going to unhorse Kramnik. Anand has something to prove, but he's been lazy and I don't think will be up for a finish higher than fourth. Shirov, if he suddenly gets hot, could probably score well here, but I'm afraid I don't see that happening. Both Topalov and Ponomariov will be close, but I just don't see them able to push past Vlad the Impaler. If I had to pick a likely winner who was not Kramnik, it'd be Bareev, but I expect Kramnik to score a solid +2 in the event and take home the top prize.

2. No, but probably no worse than -2. He'll finish higher than his starting position in the tournament rating list because of his fine feel for the game. He will probably even start out well (depending upon the draw, of course; I don't see him faring very well against the top four in the event, so if he faces many of them early, he won't start well) not very far from the leaders, only fading toward the end as age catches up to him.

3. Radjubov has a bright long-term future, but I'm afraid the near future is pretty bleak. He'll be hard pressed to stay out of last place, and will manage to win 1-2 games at most. Probable score:4/13. He's just outgunned at the moment; within ten years he'll be one of the favorites in this event.

4. Corus/Wijk aan Zee is the model of events I'd like to see here in the US. I hope the Dutch appreciate how lucky they are to have events like this at their doorstep. It's the premiere chess event in the world; in many ways better than any World Championship, certainly better than any championship event in the last 10-15 years.

Brad Jackson, Everett, Washington, USA

1. I believe Anand will triumph. He should be well rested after the FIDE KO tournament and highly motivated to reassert his position in the chess hierarchy at a time when the Ponomariov-Kasparov FIDE match is in doubt. I believe Anand will win several games as White against the bottom end of the tournament and this will provide his winning margin.

2. I believe that Karpov will not score more than 50%. Although his play has been sterling in 2002, most of his successes were in rapid events. I believe that the longer time controls of Wijk aan Zee will both wear him down and allow his opponents to better capitalize on his presently limited opening repertoire.

3. I believe he will finish with about a 40% score in this tournament. This is not an indication of poor form on his part though, rather it is an indication of the depth of this tournament's field. I think he is a future top 3 player and very strong contender to be a world champion in 10-15 years. Contributing to this belief is that Kasparov obviously favors him and as their styles are similar Teymour should learn much from the Beast of Baku.

4. This is an exciting tournament. Many of the lower rated players are tactically gifted and may cause some upsets among the ratings leaders. Or they may overreach at times and be crushed. As for the Chessbase site, I can honestly say that it and The Week in Chess are the standard bearers for timely and accurate chess information. Plus, I love Mig on Chess.

Carlos B Cardenal, Madrid, Spain

1. Alexey Shirov, because is the best player in imagination and fightin and this qualities deserve the win of such a great tournament.

2. Yes, Karpov will score more than 50%, because he is in good form (after beating Kasparov) and when he is ok, he is a great champion.

3. Teymour will score 50% because he haven't experience in such a great tournament.

4. In my opinion Wijk aan Zee is the best tournament in the world this year because: Have 14 players, Linares could ve more category but ve less players. Have a lot of spectacular players who always fight for a win.

 

Koray Citak, Turkey/Ýstanbul

1. Anand will win the Tourney.

2. He is going to score more than %50. He is very exprienced.

3. Teymour will finish at the bottom half.He will be in the top 10 in a near future.

4. Krasenkow will finish 14th.

Robin Lindsay, Halifax, Canada

1. My pick for the winner of the Tournament is Anand. If we take into account only the top 4 players by rating participating in Wijk aan Zee, then Anand seems to be the only player who can afford to fully excert himself, that is not to hold anything back, when it comes to openning preperation. Kramnik, Topolov, and Ponomariov, are all to be engaged in serious matches in the relatively near future, and will want to save their best work for these contests. I believe for this reason a score of +1 or +2 should be satisfactory for the three of them.

2. Karpov is ranked 10th in a 14 player field, so if we go by rating alone it would seem that Karpov should be favoured not to score above %50. Karpov did score well in a recent rapid match with Kasparov, and this boasts well for his form, but it was only rapid chess, and we have to be careful about drawing conclusions based on it. Becuase of his age, Karpov, like Radjabov on the opposite extreme, are wild cards. All things being equal, I guess that Karpov will score < %50.

3. I think this question is the most difficlut to answer. Radjabov being so young could well be vastly underrated, as with each tournament he plays he gains proportionatley more experience than the other contestants. Still, he is very green when contrasted with the rest of the field, and he is no Ponomariov. I predict a score of - 1 (though a score of even +1 wouldn't be shocking). His future? Who knows, there have been a lot of young talents billed as future world champions who have never managed to break into the top 10. (Bacrot for example). His future is a mystery, and there is little point in speculating.

4. Krasenkow and Timman are going to get murdered. van Wely will score -2. Ivanchuck could win the tournament. He could also finish near the bottem. Polgar, Shirov, Bareev, and Grishuck, should all score in the +1 to +2 range. Bareev's win last year can't be taken all that seriously, as the field was much weaker by comparison. +3 might be good to tie for first, and +4 should almost definitely win the tournament outright.

Narayan Subramanian, St. Louis, MO, USA

Thank You for an opportunity to express my opinion.

1. The top position is most likely to be a tie between Topolov and Anand. Since Kramnik has not played a serious tournament game in a long time, he is likely to be rusty, therefore he will have a slow start. Topolov has shown great form, and it is time for Anand to redeem himself after not performing below 50% in the last super tourney. Regular time controls is not so good for the younger players like Pono and Rajbadov, since their advantage is minimized. My top 5 predictions: 1-2 Topolov, Anand; 3-5 Kramnik, Shirov, and Ponomariov.

2. Karpov is well Karpov!! Very unpredictable at this stage in his career. But after beating Kasparov in NY his confidence is likely very high. We will have to see if he is able to maintain his concentration for long periods. Surely will finish more than 50%, no doubt about that.

3. There are lots of young GM's nowadays, and it is scary. Probably in another 10 yrs, people will start studying chess when they are in the womb!! GM's at 12 is ridiculous. I think this Kid has a great future, Kasparov can probably tell Teymour.. "You are good kid... but as long as I am here you will be only the second best (from Baku)" . It is a pity that he (Kasparov) chooses to play a machine rather than people! His presence will be missed.

4. Even though these tourney's are very interesting...there is too much theory nowadays. Most of these games are so complex because of the theory refinements that (for an amateur) they have become uninteresting to follow. Compare these with the tournaments in 19th and 20th centuries, chess was fun then! But now it is a drab. As Lasker once predicted chess is becoming a drawish game, a sport rather than art.

John Nolan, researcher in mathematics, Oxford, UK

1. Anand - I believe Kramnik and Anand are the definite favourites but Kramnik may score too many draws to win.

2. Yes - Karpov will be uplifted after his recent victory against Kasparov and this will make the difference. Maybe a couple of surprise wins will see him rise well above his rating.

3. I feel that this won't be Teymour's tournament - the vast amount of experience in opposition will leave him lagging in the bottom half. However, the future is rosy for this outstanding talent - I have no doubt...

4. Some brilliant play from Shirov and Anand, and Polgar to prove her position among the best. Mistakes from Ivanchuk and maybe a surprise top player (is Kramnik ready for humans again?) leading to poorer than expected scores. Once again, opening preparation will prove to be of huge importance.

Pedro Llovera Guzman, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

1. Sure Vladimir Kramnik. Because he need it to confirm him as World Champion. He's playing very strong, as in Baharein againts super Computer Deep Fritz. I think only him, Anand and Kasparov can play agaist that computer.

2. No. It´s not easy to Karpov play against young players in 13 rounds.Specially in the second half of the tournament he might failed.

3. About 50%. He is very solid. He maybe draw many games, win 1 or 2, and lost 2 or 3. But in 2 or 3 yeras he will be in the top 5 of the World. In 4 or 5 years he will be a World Champion.

4. We will se very interesting chess. With Shirov fighting agaist Kramnik, Anand. I hope for a game like Kasparov-Topalov. Last places will be Timman and Van Wely. Second and third Anand, Ponomariov.

David Bland, marketing executive, London,United Kingdom

1. Well it's a funny old game, as one famous English football player said (Jimmy Greaves). On the board the winner will be Anand, mainly due to Kramnik trying to play everyone else as if it were Fritz and maybe being a bit too solid. The real winner will be Kasparov of course. Gazza would claim that he would have won if he had entered, but he is dealing with another silicon beastie Stateside....he is just loaning the tournament for someone for a while. So Anand and Kasparov.

2. Karpov will score 50%. Too much experience for some to get the full point against him, and enough to bamboozle the younger players. But not as serious a threat to some of the 'elite' players such as Kramnik, Anand and Topalov.

3. He'll be just fine. In between rounds will hang out with Ponomariov, discussing kids TV and reminiscing about the 'good old days' back in 1995. As for the chess, I think he will get 7/13. He is simply too good to drop many losses, and will surely edge out one of the likes of Timman, Van Wely or Krasenkow.

4. Why could we not have Peter Leko playing, and then ask how he would perform? That way surely you could only split all of our answers only by our originality in phrasing 'hmm, 50%'. Plus, when will you be able to get one of the ChessBase programs in one of these tournaments? Maybe then you could ask us how Fritzy would fair. Now that WOULD be interesting :)

Erik Allebest, USA

1. Anand will win this close contest. His quick thinking and brilliant style will give him the edge.

2. Karpov will win a lot more than 50% of his games. He will be in the top 6 places due to his experience and ability to cope with the pressure.

3. Teymour will do well in the beginning but will trail off in the end because of his lack of experience.

4. Ponomariov will have a poor performance, not even in the top 6.

Howard Goldowsky, Boston, MA, USA

1. The winner of Wijk aan Zee will be an underdog fighter, a man truly unafraid of the superpowers of the chess world, a real Saddam Hussain wanna-be lashing out from the safety of his his home country, the commander of pieces of mass destruction, Loek (I Shall Get Lucky) van Wely.

2. Karpov will definitely score less than 50%. Just because he beat Garry Kasparov in a 4-game "blitz" match while Garry was teetering on the edge of financial stress, means nothing. He and Timman should go sit back down on their rockers, because in this tournament they're going to get rocked. This tournament will be won by the bold and ambitious. Karpov has neither of these qualities anymore (although he has still managed to mantain the voice of a mouse all these years).

3. Teymour is a smart kid. Although he's a self-proclaimed chess nerd, this is really just a facade. His real motivation for accepting Wijk aan Zee is so that he and Kramnik can take a car ride over to the red light district and go window shopping. Of course he's not old enough to buy anything yet, but he's at just the vulnerable age to succum to these contaminations of the mind, and because of this he'll be playing with more than just his chess pieces come 26 January. Because of these distractions expect Teymour to come in third to last, right ahead of the two geezers mentioned above.

Kramnik wins it all. His new book will be titled, "I Play Against People (not computers)". Above forementioned car ride provides all the motivation he needs away from Paris.

Luciano dos Santos Fier, Brazil

1. Who will win this tournament. Please supply a reason for your conjecture. Vassili Ivanchuck. Because I think Caissa will smile to the genius this time.

2. Will Karpov score more than 50%? Why do or don't you think so? I think yes because of his experience and his last result against Kasparov.

3. How will the kid Teymour do? What is his future in chess? He will stay in the middlefield consistent with his last performances.

4. Any other comments or opinions? I think Shirov will be the 2nd. And Polgar the 3rd.

Paul V. Allen, Software Developer, Cambridge, MA, USA

1) Kramnik. He will be motivated to prove himself after a relative absence over the last year.

2) Karpov may reach but not exceed 50%. A long tournament against this level of opposition is just too much for him at his age. Also, he is not competitive in the openings at this top level of play, as he never has gained the computer preparation expertise of his younger rivals.

3) Teymour will to substantially better than his rating suggests, possibly even reaching 50%, though more likely, not quite this good.

4) If Kramnik isn't in top form, and Anand is, Anand will win.

Costantino Molteni, Bergamo, Italy

1. Kramnik: after the incredible match against Deep Fritz, playing again against humans will seem a send of god, and will offer a lot of occasion to show brilliant play against players who actually make tactical mistakes... besides he is the n°1 seed of the tournament.

2. I think less: after he gave up the idea to be able to compete at world championship level, his star is a little bit fading. May be the old fighter's pride is stimulated by the strenght of the tournament, but it is a long tournament, and the fatigue, in the long run, will show up.

3. It depends: if he choose to fight for real, probably he will be crushed in some (may be many) games, but he will learn a lot and this attitude will ensure quick and effective improvement. Otherwise, he may well score 50%, but we will have just another Leko, no offense intended.

4. I simply hope to see many memorable games, and no 18 moves draw! I'm also very courious to see how will Ponomariov do, he still have everything to demonstrate!

Mike Jaqua, Research Immunologist, Portage, MI, USA

1. Veselin Topalov first, Ruslan Ponomariov second, Vladimir Kramnik third and Viswanathan Anand forth. Vladimir Kramnik has s been inconsistent in his performanceover the last year or so. Maybe due to the man vs machine stuff. Now that is over he may pull himself together and stomp on some humans but I expect he'll make a couple flubs that will cost him the top spot. If Anand whips Pono then I expect he'll finish higher than 4th. Veselin Topalov barely lost to Leko at Dortmund. He won't fail again. He's got champion written all over him. Ruslan Ponomariov could finish much lower if he isn't well prepared. He flubbed a few last year. Still he proved himself capable of handling just about anyone at Linares. He's growing stronger. In a couple of years he may be unstoppable.

2. Karpov will score more than 50%. As I said he's as strong as ever. So long as he can hold up to the long time controls for at least half the games he'll rack up wins. Unless he gets overly fatigued I'll predict a 60-65% performance. If he doesn't get tired at all, I'd predict 80% or a little more.

3. See what I said and predicted above. Teymour is championship material if he keeps going like he is now. Of course he's got a tough field in any case. Leko and Pono ahead of him. Karjakin chasing him. He'll be a top 20 player in about 3 or 4 years.

4. If Kasparov were in the tournament, he'd win. Chessbase.com rocks.

Johan Ostergaard, Denmark

1. The obvious choice: Kramnik will win the tournament. He is the most likely winner for two reasons: 1) He is the strongest 2) He needs to win tournaments like this one to uphold the claim of being world champion, and the only serious contender to Garry Kasparov as strongest player in the world. Anand is a bit of a dark horse now, as it's been a while since he's last impressed. However, the motivation that this will provide will not be enough to win a tournament of this caliber, in my view. Ponomariov is a strong player, but just not in the same league as Kramnik. The same goes for Topalov. Ivanchuk is always an outsider - perhaps the second best bid for a winner, but I doubt that he can compete with Kramnik in the end. The rest of the players, I think, will not be going for the first place.

2. Karpov is unlikely to score more than 50%. He has proven to be a strong rapid chess player in recent years - especially when the circumstances have been special, but let's face it: His future is behind him when it comes to classical chess, and quite frankly I think he lacks the energy and motivation to put more than half of this very strong field behind him.

3. Teymour Radjabov will probably exceed our expectations once more - except perhaps that our expectations already take this into account :) This field will be very tough for him but I'm sure he will cope and reach an acceptable score. No more than 50% though, and this could prove to be the first real setback in his short career because this time he will be taken very seriously.

4. Will John Henderson be covering the tournament? I hope so :)

Eivind Salen, Bergen, Norway

1. I think Topalov will win. He has the most to prove. Kramnik is self confident being world champion, and has not achieved much since then. Spending a whole year preparing for a game against a machine is not healthy for tournement play. Also Anand is to relaxed nowadays, he to easely accept draws against players he should win. But Topalov, a great player who defenitly will show the world he should be among the semifinalists in the world championship. "I'm still here," is his message.

As for the others, they can show good games and suprising results, but it will not last for the whole tournement.

2. Karpov will surprise again. His results in rapid chess doesn't come from nothing, he is motivated again and will show his skill is still there even though he has passed the 50 mark. My guess is he will fight for first price, but he will have to give in for even more toroughly fighting Topalov.

3. Radjabov will get many fine draws, and some wins, but in the long run he will get into the lower part of the result table. Lucky for him van Wely is in, the king happily offers himself as smashing target, like always aan zee. Teymur ends with a -1,5. Far beyond Loek.

4. Even though he ends at a fifth or something: This will be Ivanchuck's tournement. He will show up with some marvellous games, the only one to beat Topalov, crushing Kramnik (but lose in the end due to a blunder in slight time pressure), outplay Shirov in a tactical battle, but then again give away a full point to the king of lost games: van Wely. Hard to imagine Vassily only gets +1, due to all his brilliancies. But that's the fact, Topalovs strict collection of points is what sets the top table. Supermoves don't. And the Ukrainian rivalery? Ivanchuk vs. Ponomariov = Draw.

My profession in life is teacher, and my goal in chess is to become the greatest hobby player in Bergen - ever. Thanks for your pages!

Peter Hulshof, Groningen, The Netherlands

1. Of course you can't say who will win a tournament, but you can say who has the best chance and that in my opinion must be Ponomariov. He is the rising star and has shown to be top class already. With his insight and fighting spirit he must be able to score more efficiously than for example Kramnik and Anand, who will be satisfied much sooner.

2. Of course he will score more than 50%. His insight is still one of the best and I'm sure he will survive with this.

3. I think he will score -2 or -3. He has shown that he can become a strong grandmaster but he misses the greatness of the real top players.

4. Tournaments like Wijk aan Zee and Linares are a real treasure for the chess world and should be protected by the fide instead of attacked.

Femi Adebajo, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.

1. The winner will be Viswanathan Anand. He remains very strong, has something to prove(excluded from current world championship arrangements) and has had a lot of time to prepare. He will score well against the younger participants-Grishuk, Radjabov as well as Timman, Karpov and Krasenkow.

2. Karpov will score less than 50%. He is not as strong as he used to be and his main strenths ( positional virtuosity, endgame technique, near invincibility with the Caro-Kahn) will be overcome by the extensive opening preparation and tactical control of the new generation of super grandmasters.

3. GM Radjabov will be in the top half of the final score table. He will be a leading world championship candidate in the next decade, perhaps world champion in about 10 years. I look forward to the interesting battles between him, Karjakin and Ponomariov. The future is mouth-wateringly good.

4. Other comments or opinions? Yes sir. Quite a few.

a. Garry Kasparov will have won the tournament if he was able to take part. He is still the preeminent tournament player of the past 2 decades and probably the next decade.

b. Vassily Ivanchuk will be the most enigmatic of the lot. He might just as well come last as first or take any position in between. At his peak one of the very best but you never know which Ivanchuk will turn up. No other grandmaster resigns games as early as Ivanchuk.

c. GM Shirov will lead the early rounds and then fall away and end up in the middle.

d. Where is Valery Salov? he would have tested the understanding of the sicilian defence of some of these GMs.

e. Mikhail Krasenkow will be last.

Teo Kok Cheng

1. Veselin Topalov. He had been playing very consistently at this level. He will walop Anand as he had beaten him several times. He can beat any one except Shirov. I think Anand will be close but not enough.

2. I would think he will be below to 50% but near. The players are too strong. Probably he can beat the Dutch players and Ponomariov easily.

3. At this level, I would say he will be below Karpov one position. Giving him another three years, he should be in the status like Kramnik.

4. Actually I would like to see all the top 14 players play against each other to see who is the strongers. But because of the sponsorship, the Dutch players like Ian Timman (I think he shall be in the bottom) allowed to play.

Yves Surmont, Roeselare, Belgium

1.Kramnik will win the tournament - he might lose against Shirov, who will be pressing him hard for first place, as Alexei is sure not to lose a point against a certain Garry for once.

2.Karpov is still Karpov - he will be very hard to beat, but he will also have a hard time to gain full points against the weaker players. Maybe 2/2 against the Dutch players. OK, his recent result against Kasparov in the rapid match and the absence of the n° 1 will inspire him once more and he'll score more than 50%

3. Radjabov will end in the bottom half of the field. This is a tournament to learn from the big guns and he'll surprise one or two of them (Ivanchuk, and one of the Russians). Unfortunately he won't become world champion, because, unlike Kariakin, his name does not start with a K...

4.Topalov will once again show his great fighting spirit. All will be eager to attack the position of Vladimir Kramnik, who will score heavily against the lower placed players. Ponomariov will have to prove that he is still far ahead of Radjabov, if he wants to be considered as a possible successor of Kramnik. Ivanchuk will again play one or two "incredible" games, but does not find the right mood to fight for first place.

Krishnaswamy Varadadesikan

1. Anand will win. Reason: 7 whites, 6 blacks. Whites against Karpov, Grischuk, Bareev, Teimour means good no. of wins. Black against Topo, Shirov, Kramnik, Polgar makes no difference for Anand would make only a draw against these guys with white.

2. Yes! Karpov would make more than 50% for he can beat guys like Topo, Kramnik and Polgar easily, unlike others.

3. Teimour would end up in between 7 and 10 positions. He should play positional chess instead of exciting chess. He would squeeze into the top 50 in the next 6 months.

4. Shirov would produce good matches in the last second half and so would Kramnik do. Topo and Pono might fumble going up and down in the tournament.


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