Cap D'Agde Rapid
By Vishal Sareen
The Cap d' Agde Rapid is into its seventh edition. The biennial event generates a lot of interest generally and this time is no exception. So far the preliminaries are over and there has been just one major upset. The permanent guest Anatoly Karpov is out. Is it about age, Agde or faster time control?
This year the organizers stuck to the basics. In these toiletgate times, nothing generates more (genuine) interest then the young stars of the world. And add to that a top gun like Anatoly Karpov, a few of the top ladies and you have a perfect mix for a fine event.
Teimour Radjabov started off as the top seed and quite matter-of-factly announced in the drawing of lots that being the favourite its not easy "but I will do my best." Andrei Volokitin went a step further and said he just wants to win it.
India's chess prodigy Parimarjan Negi
Veteran boy wonder Magnus Carlsen
Parimarjan Negi agreed this was the strongest event of his life and that he was the underdog. Karpov said his plan about the tournament was as always. Most of the rest just wanted to qualify to the knockout stage where the prize money (not so startling 1000 Euros for the prelims losers) would keep doubling!
There were 16 players to start with in a fine mixture. Two groups of eight each, to play the rapid in a round robin. The top four from each group qualify to the knockout, anyone out can have a long party every night. Music, blitz, food and tennis. Wine for the not-so-young and not-so-ignorant.
As many had expected, there were not too many surprises in the prelims even though the ouster of Karpov left many surprised.
12th world champion Anatoly Karpov
Andrei Volokitin made sure he would take everything on offer and went about winning effectively in the first few rounds.
Andrei Volokitin, Ukraine
Bacrot,E (2705) - Volokitin,And (2645) [E61]
GpB Cap d'Agde FRA (1), 27.10.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 g6 4.Nc3 Bf5 5.g3 Ne4 6.Nxe4 Bxe4 7.Bh3 d5 8.0-0 Bxf3 9.exf3 dxc4 10.Re1 Nd7 11.Qa4 c6 12.Qxc4 Nb6 13.Qe2 Bg7 14.Bg5 Nd5 15.Rad1 Qd6 16.f4
With things looking okay for White Bacrot went for the dubious f4, and after 16...h6 found a piece trapped: 17.Bh4 g5 18.fxg5 hxg5 19.Qg4 Qh6 20.Qd7+ Kf8 21.Qxb7 Re8 22.Bd7 gxh4 23.g4 Rd8 24.Bxc6 Qg5 25.Bxd5 Qxd5 26.Qxe7+ Kg8 27.h3 Rh6 28.Re4 Bf6 0-1.
Internal Indian affair: Parimarjan Negi vs Pentala Harikrishna
Carlsen was a bit subdued, doing just the needful to finish second and for the remaining two places. There was a tiebreaker between Bacrot, Zhao Xue, Koneru Humpy and Karpov. Bacrot and Xue qualified after an interesting foursome. Humpy and Xue gave alarming signals, right from the start – both of them beat Karpov. In fact Humpy beat him twice, so did Xue.
Beat Karpov three times: Zhao Xue
Koneru,H (2545) - Karpov,Ana (2668) [D48]
GpB Tiebreak Cap d'Agde FRA (5), 29.10.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.0-0 a6 10.e4 c5 11.d5 Qc7 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.Bc2 c4 14.Ng5
14...Qc6 15.Qf3 h6 16.Qh3 Nc5 17.Be3 Bc8 18.e5 hxg5 19.Qxh8 Bb7 20.f3 Nfd7 21.Bxg5 Nxe5 22.Rad1 Nf7 23.Bg6 Nd3 24.Qh5 Nde5 25.Be4 Qc5+ 26.Kh1 g6 27.Qh4 Bc6 28.Bxc6+ Qxc6 29.Ne4 Bg7 30.Bf6 Kf8 31.Bxg7+ Kxg7 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Rd4 Rf8 34.Rfd1 Kh7 35.Ng5+ Kg8 36.Nxe6 1-0.
The A group was more predictable despite Karjakin's striking form in crunch encounters against Harikrishna and Radjabov. He beat them both!
Karjakin,Sergey (2672) - Radjabov,T (2729) [C78]
GpA Cap d'Agde FRA (3), 27.10.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.d4 Bb6 10.axb5 axb5 11.Na3 0-0 12.Nxb5 Bg4 13.d5 Ne7 14.Bc2 Qd7 15.c4 Ng6 16.h3 Bxh3 17.gxh3 Qxh3 18.Ng5 Qg3+ 19.Kh1 Qh4+ 20.Kg2 h6 21.Nh3 Nxe4 22.Qe2 f5 23.Ra3 Rf6 24.Rh1 Rbf8 25.b4 Ne7 26.Rf3 Rg6+ 27.Kf1 Rg4 28.Rg1 Rf6 29.Be3 Rfg6 30.Rh1 Bxe3 31.Rxe3 Ng5 32.Ke1
Here Radjabov played 32...f4? Instead Rxc4 might have changed the course of the game, which concluded 33.Ra3 Rf6 34.Ra8+ Kf7 35.Nxg5+ Qxg5 36.Nxc7 f3 37.Ne6 Qc1+ 38.Qd1 Qxd1+ 39.Kxd1 Rxe6 40.dxe6+ Kxe6 41.b5 Rd4+ 42.Ke1 d5 43.b6 Rxc4 44.b7 Nc6 45.Ra6 1-0.
Of the top four seeds only Harikrishna survived a few anxious moments after he lost to Antoaneta Stefanova.
Former women's world champion Antoaneta Stefanova
Stefanova,A (2489) - Harikrishna,P (2674) [D02]
GpA Cap d'Agde FRA (4), 28.10.2006
1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Bd3 Bxd3 5.Qxd3 Nf6 6.Nf3 e6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.c4 0-0 10.Nc3 Nbd7 11.Rad1 Rfe8 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Nf6 15.Qc2 Rad8 16.Rfe1 h6 17.Ne5 c5 18.dxc5 Qxc5 19.h3 Rxd1 20.Qxd1 Qa5 21.a3 Rd8 22.Qc1 Rd4 23.c5 Qb5 24.b4 Nd5 25.Qb2 Rf4 26.g3 Rf5 27.Qc2 Ne7 28.Qe4 Nc6 29.Nc4 Qa4 30.Rb1 Rd5 31.Nd6 Qxa3 32.Nxb7 a6 33.Nd6 Qc3 34.Kg2 Qd4 35.Qxd4 Rxd4 36.b5 axb5 37.Rxb5 Rd5 38.Ne4 Rd4 39.Rb6 Ne5 40.Nd6 Nd7 41.Rc6 Nxc5 42.Rc8+ Kh7 43.Nxf7 Nd3 44.h4 Rd7 45.Nd8 e5 46.Ne6
Almost anything should draw here but Harikrishna played 46...Rf7?? and it is all over after 47.Nf8+ Rxf8 48.Rxf8 Kg6 49.Kf3 Nc5 50.Rc8 Nb7 51.Rc6+ 1-0.
However, in the last round after he drew with Fressinet, Harikrishna was saved when Stefanova was unable to win a R+B vs R endgame against Sebag and thus failed to qualify for the tiebreak against Hari.
The quarterfinal lineup is interesting. Radjabov is to meet Bacrot and just while I am finishing writing this, I hear Karjakin has beaten Xue for his berth in the semis. The other two tiebreaker will be played Tuesday. Stay tuned for more.
Results Preliminary rounds
Group A Final Standings
Group B Final Standings
Group B Tie-Break