Corus Round 2: The favorites strike back

1/11/2004 – One day after the top rated player lost to an outsider, the top tenners took revenge. Vladimir Akopian's run of glory lasted just one day. Kramnik bounced back by beating van Wely. Vishy Anand took a share of the lead with a win over Akopian and was joined by Peter Leko, who beat Timman. Full report and analysis here.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee 2004 – Round 2

66th Wijk aan Zee Tournament – Jan. 10-25
Category 19 (avg. Elo 2702)

Round 2 (Sunday, January 11, 2004)
Adams, Michael
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Zhang Zhong
½-½
Svidler, Peter
Bareev, Evgeny
½-½
Bologan, Viktor
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Van Wely, Loek
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Akopian, Vladimir
Timman, Jan
0-1
Leko, Peter
Topalov, Veselin
½-½
Sokolov, Ivan

After the first round the air in Wijk aan Zee was hot with cries for democracy and the downfall of the rating-list elitists. Akopian had just defeated 14th world champion Vladimir Kramnik, recalling his role in the Great Tourist Insurgency of 1999 when he knocked out Bareev and Adams on his way to the FIDE KO final. It also marked an interesting trifecta for the Armenian. He beat FIDE champion Ponomariov in the 2002 Olympiad and then beat world #1 Kasparov (in rapid chess). Now he's added the last classical champion to his hit list.

What a difference a day makes. That sound you heard was Akopian, and the revolution, crashing to Earth today in Wijk aan Zee. Vishy Anand beat the early leader in a powerful display of precision calculation after a risky pawn grab in the opening. The Indian again showed why he is one of the great defenders. His risk management instincts are phenomenal. Whenever it looked like Black's attack was about to crash through, Anand would be one move ahead. In the post-game press conference Anand pointed out several places where he thought Akopian could have held the draw. (See replay page.)

Kramnik showed the the best way to forget falling for a rook sacrifice is to play one yourself the next day. van Wely sacrificed a knight for counterplay and a few pawns, but was outdone when Kramnik played a passive rook decoy sacrifice very similar to the one Akopian used to beat him in round one. That left the Dutchman with several losing endgames to choose from. With this win Kramnik got back to an even score and avenged his loss to van Wely here last year.

The third game to see blood saw an all too familiar sight in Wijk aan Zee in recent years. Jan Timman got a strong position against a top player only to slip and then fall to a loss. This time he was pressuring Leko for most of the way. Slowly but surely Leko showed that the white pawns were overextended. The Hungarian won a pawn and ground out the win with his typically sure hand.

This left the crosstable with an uncomfortably nostalgic look for Dutch chess fans, with the local heroes already lined up at the bottom. Dutch-Bosnian Sokolov was also in trouble against Topalov but managed to avoid a Dutch massacre with fine tactical defense.

Monday is an rest day at Corus. The games so far have been hard-fought for the most part, but with over half the field yet to play a decisive game a day of rest can't hurt. Sadly, there hasn't been an off-day blitz tournament since Kasparov dominated the last one in 1999. Since they are both in town maybe Leko and Kramnik could play their much-belated world championship match blitz style on the off day!

Anand-Akopian after 41...axb3

Black is threatening to win instantly with ..bxa2+ or ..Rb8. Anand had seen well in advance that he could defend and attack with 42.Qc4! (Qd5 also works.)

Now a2 is defended twice and White sets up the crushing discovery e7+. Black is helpless. The game ended 42...Qa5 [42...bxa2+ 43.Rxa2 Qxa2+ 44.Qxa2 Rxa2 45.Kxa2] 43.e7+ Kh8 44.Re1 Be5 45.Qc6 1-0

Kramnik-van Wely after 36...Re4

Let's see. A rook with access to the black king, another rook ready to take its place on the file, and a queen ready to join in. If these ingredients sound familiar it's because they led to a loss for Kramnik in round one when Akopian nailed him with a spectacular passive rook sac decoy. Kramnik now does the same to van Wely.

37.Rh8! f6 [37...Re3+ 38.Qxe3 Qxe3+ 39.Nxe3 Kxh8 40.Kxh4 There are too many pawns for Black to have any realistic chance of reaching a draw.; 37...Kxh8? 38.Qh6+ Kg8 39.Ra8+ Rb8 40.Rxb8+ Qc8+ 41.Rxc8#]

38.Rxh4 Kramnik, unlike Fritz, sees no reason to play for a complicated tactical win in the last few moves of the time control. In the long run Black has no chance to survive and it's much safer.

[38.Qh6+ Kf7 39.Rh7+ Ke6 ( 39...Ke8 40.Qxg6+ Kd7 41.Qxe4) 40.Qxg6 Threatening Qxe4 and Rxe7+. There is no defense. 40...Kxd5 ( 40...Re5 41.Qg8+! Kd7 42.Nxf6+) 41.Rd1+ Kc6 42.Qxe4+]

38...Rxh4+ 39.Kxh4 e6 40.Nb4 Rb8 41.Kg3 d5 42.Kg2 Rh8 43.Nd3 Qb6 44.Nf4 g5 45.Qd4! [45.Qd4 Qxd4 46.Nxe6+ Kg6 47.Nxd4] 1-0

Adams-Shirov after 52.Bf4

Shirov demonstrated his endgame virtuosity to hold the draw with what was coming close to a knight's tour by this point. Now he forced the draw with 52..Ne5+ [52...Kf5?! 53.Kc3 Ke4 54.b4 Nd8 55.bxc5 Nc6] 53.Bxe5

[53.Kc3 Nf3 54.Kb3 Nxh2 55.Ka4 Nf3 56.Ka5 Kd7 57.Kb6 Nd4 58.Kxa6 Kc6]

53...Kxe5 54.b3 a5 55.Ke3 Kf5 56.Kd3 Ke5 57.Ke3 Kf5 58.Kd3 ½-½

Mig Greengard

Standings after round two

All the games in PGN (no notes) GM group AGM group BGM group C

Schedule – (Rest days 12, 16, 21)
Round 1 (Saturday, January 11, 2004)
Topalov, Veselin
½-½
Adams, Michael
Sokolov, Ivan
½-½
Timman, Jan
Leko, Peter
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Akopian, Vladimir
1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Bareev, Evgeny
Bologan, Viktor
½-½
Zhang Zhong
Svidler, Peter
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Round 2 (Sunday, January 11, 2004)
Adams, Michael
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Zhang Zhong
½-½
Svidler, Peter
Bareev, Evgeny
½-½
Bologan, Viktor
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Van Wely, Loek
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Akopian, Vladimir
Timman, Jan
0-1
Leko, Peter
Topalov, Veselin
½-½
Sokolov, Ivan
Games – Report
Round 3 (Tuesday, January 13, 2004)
Sokolov, Ivan
  Adams, Michael
Leko, Peter
  Topalov, Veselin
Akopian, Vladimir
  Timman, Jan
Van Wely, Loek
  Anand, Viswanathan
Bologan, Viktor
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Svidler, Peter
  Bareev, Evgeny
Shirov, Alexei
  Zhang Zhong
Games – Report
Round 4 (Wednesday, January 1, 2004)
Adams, Michael
  Zhang Zhong
Bareev, Evgeny
  Shirov, Alexei
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Svidler, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
  Bologan, Viktor
Timman, Jan
  Van Wely, Loek
Topalov, Veselin
  Akopian, Vladimir
Sokolov, Ivan
  Leko, Peter
Games – Report
Round 5 (Thursday, January 15, 2004)
Leko, Peter
  Adams, Michael
Akopian, Vladimir
  Sokolov, Ivan
Van Wely, Loek
  Topalov, Veselin
Bologan, Viktor
  Timman, Jan
Svidler, Peter
  Anand, Viswanathan
Shirov, Alexei
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Zhang Zhong
  Bareev, Evgeny
Games – Report
Round 6 (Saturday, January 17, 2004)
Adams, Michael
  Bareev, Evgeny
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Zhang Zhong
Anand, Viswanathan
  Shirov, Alexei
Timman, Jan
  Svidler, Peter
Topalov, Veselin
  Bologan, Viktor
Sokolov, Ivan
  Van Wely, Loek
Leko, Peter
  Akopian, Vladimir
Games – Report
Round 7 (Sunday, January 18, 2004)
Akopian, Vladimir
  Adams, Michael
Van Wely, Loek
  Leko, Peter
Bologan, Viktor
  Sokolov, Ivan
Svidler, Peter
  Topalov, Veselin
Shirov, Alexei
  Timman, Jan
Zhang Zhong
  Anand, Viswanathan
Bareev, Evgeny
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Games – Report
Round 8 (Monday, January 19, 2004)
Adams, Michael
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Anand, Viswanathan
  Bareev, Evgeny
Timman, Jan
  Zhang Zhong
Topalov, Veselin
  Shirov, Alexei
Sokolov, Ivan
  Svidler, Peter
Leko, Peter
  Bologan, Viktor
Akopian, Vladimir
  Van Wely, Loek
Games – Report
Round 9 (Tuesday, January 20, 2004)
Van Wely, Loek
  Adams, Michael
Bologan, Viktor
  Akopian, Vladimir
Svidler, Peter
  Leko, Peter
Shirov, Alexei
  Sokolov, Ivan
Zhang Zhong
  Topalov, Veselin
Bareev, Evgeny
  Timman, Jan
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Anand, Viswanathan
Games – Report
Round 10 (Thursday, January 22, 2004)
Adams, Michael
  Anand, Viswanathan
Timman, Jan
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Topalov, Veselin
  Bareev, Evgeny
Sokolov, Ivan
  Zhang Zhong
Leko, Peter
  Shirov, Alexei
Akopian, Vladimir
  Svidler, Peter
Van Wely, Loek
  Bologan, Viktor
Games – Report
Round 11 (Friday, January 23, 2004)
Bologan, Viktor
  Adams, Michael
Svidler, Peter
  Van Wely, Loek
Shirov, Alexei
  Akopian, Vladimir
Zhang Zhong
  Leko, Peter
Bareev, Evgeny
  Sokolov, Ivan
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Topalov, Veselin
Anand, Viswanathan
  Timman, Jan
Games – Report
Round 12 (Saturday, January 24, 2004)
Adams, Michael
  Timman, Jan
Topalov, Veselin
  Anand, Viswanathan
Sokolov, Ivan
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Leko, Peter
  Bareev, Evgeny
Akopian, Vladimir
  Zhang Zhong
Van Wely, Loek
  Shirov, Alexei
Bologan, Viktor
  Svidler, Peter
Games – Report
Round 13 (Sunday, January 25, 2004)
Svidler, Peter
  Adams, Michael
Shirov, Alexei
  Bologan, Viktor
Zhang Zhong
  Van Wely, Loek
Bareev, Evgeny
  Akopian, Vladimir
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Leko, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
  Sokolov, Ivan
Timman, Jan
  Topalov, Veselin
Games – Report
 

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