Corsican rules

11/2/2004 – India's Viswanathan Anand has won yet anoth.. oh, wait, the event's not over yet, sorry. The 8th Corsica Masters rapid tournament has reached the semifinals and Anand is positioned to renew his title yet again. He'll face Bacrot in the semis while Rublevsky and Motylev duel for the other finals spot. Report, games, and analysis.

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Anand favorite at 8th Corsica Masters

The birthplace of Napoleon is again host to a powerful rapid event. The French island of Corsica has attracted a host of the world's top players with an open tournament that warms up to a very tough knock-out. India's Vishy Anand is the hot favorite to repeat his win of last year (and the year before that, and the year before that, and.. well, you get the point).

This is especially true now that the man Anand beat in the final last year, second seed Veselin Topalov, was unceremoniously knocked out in the quarterfinals by qualifier Sergei Rublevsky.

Right: Topalov's "V for victory" was off the mark.
Photo from the official website.

The tournament is being played under what the organizers are calling "Corsican rules." We thought that might mean something to do with dueling pistols for tiebreaks, but it's almost as good. Wins the Swiss section of the event were worth three points and draws one point. Draws by mutual agreement are entirely forbidden. Allow us to say "yay!"

We're not sure if this is being enforced in the KO final section. There are only four draws in the gamescores we have. Two are perpetual check repetitions after hard fights, one is a trivially drawn pawn and minor piece endgame a few moves away from naked kings. Then there is the first game between Sulava and Anand, which was drawn with many pieces on the board on move 19. Wassup? From a look at the few Swiss scores we have, the few draws are also close to just kings or are forced repetitions. Corsican rules rule!

To start off there was a series of qualifying matches among the top Swiss event finishers to find the 12 players who would join the seeded heavyweights Anand, Topalov, Shirov, and Bacrot in the 16-player KO field. The 1/8 and 1/4 finals were played today, so the field is already down to four players. The semifinals will be played tomorrow; here are the pairings:

Corsica Masters Semifinals – Nov. 3

Bacrot, Etienne - Anand, Viswanathan
Rublevsky, Sergei - Motylev, Alexander

8th Corsica Masters Rapid Tournament - Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2004

Qualifying matches
1/8 Finals
Quarterfinals
Cebalo - Jussupow 0.5-1.5
Greenfeld - Shchekachev 2-0
Krivoshey - Milov 0-2
Zhang - Rustemov 2.5-1.5
Drazic - Rublevsky 0-2
Medvegy - Gurevich 0.5-1.5
Strikovich - Bagheri 2-4
Ivanisevic - Bauer 1.5-3.5
Kazhgaleyev - Sulava 0.5-1.5
Bokros - Balogh 0-2
Glek - Motylev 0.5-1.5
Malakhatko - Naiditsch 0-2
Anand - Sulava 1.5-0.5
Bauer - Gurevich 0-2
Milov - Greenfeld 0.5-1.5
Balogh - Bacrot 0-2
Shirov - Zhang 2.5-1.5
Jussupow - Motylev 0.5-1.5
Rublevsky - Naiditsch 2-0
Bagheri - Topalov 0-2
Gurevich - Anand 0-2
Greenfeld - Bacrot 0.5.1.5
Motylev - Shirov 2.5-1.5
Rublevsky - Topalov 2-0
Replay and download PGN of 36 available games
Official sites: www.echecs.asso.frwww.opencorsica.com

Two Russians who didn't make the Olympiad team are making their mark in Corsica. Former Russian champ Motylev knocked out Shirov in the quarterfinals while Rublevsky did the same to Topalov. The failure of the Russian team has led some to suggest that Rublevsky should have been on the team instead of Zvjaginsev.

One of them will face Anand in the final match unless local hero Etienne Bacrot can stop the Indian juggernaut. Bacrot, who skipped the Olympiad, recently became the highest-rated French player ever, or at least since Philidor. This is unlikely to impress Anand, who has been the best player in the world for over a year and an absolute buzz-saw in rapid chess. Bacrot will need to summon the help of any Corsican ancestors he may have to stand a chance.

Anand – Sulava after 12...Bxc5

Anand wasn't in a merciful mood when he had white against Croatian veteran Sulava. Black blundered by allowing White to open the d-file a move earlier.

You probably could have learned some Serbo-Croat profanity after Anand played 13.Rd8+! Kxd8 14.Nxf7+ Ke7 15.Nxh8.

Black played on for two more moves before resigning down a pawn and position.
 

Anand – Gurevich after 16...Rd5

Anand had already won the first game with black, but there was no need to settle for a draw here. Not when there was another tidy combination afoot to win a pawn. You beginners out there who noted the fork above can now learn the power of the pin. Chess tactics 101.

17.Qxd5! exd5 18.Rxe7 Bxe7 19.Nf5 Bd8 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Rxd5 and Gurevich resigned on move 24.

 


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