Corus Round 4: Action in Wijk aan Zee

1/14/2004 – All of the pent-up energy in Wijk aan Zee finally burst free today. There were as many wins as we'd seen in the first three rounds combined. No one managed to break out of the leading pack, which grew to five players on +1. van Wely beat Timman in the Battle of Holland and Kramnik put the brakes on Svidler. Full report with photos and analysis here now.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee 2004 – Round 4

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

Round 4 (Wednesday, January 14, 2004)
Adams, Michael
1-0
Zhang Zhong
Bareev, Evgeny
1-0
Shirov, Alexei
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Svidler, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Bologan, Viktor
Timman, Jan
0-1
Van Wely, Loek
Topalov, Veselin
1-0
Akopian, Vladimir
Sokolov, Ivan
½-½
Leko, Peter

After taking a few days to warm up the players in Wijk aan Zee showed real signs of life today. Four players scored their first wins. The only game shorter than 42 moves was the sharp drawn between Anand and Bologan in which the Indian missed a clear win! The only other draw was Sokolov-Leko, a very hard-fought game in which all of Leko's defensive aplomb was required.


Vladimir Kramnik at work on a plus score.

As the length of the games would indicate, it was the day of the squeeze. Topalov steadily converted a classic 3 vs 2 on the queenside against Akopian. Bareev corralled Shirov's pieces in impressive fashion for his first win. Adams outplayed Zhang in a see-saw Najdorf.

Loek van Wely (left, going over today's game for the audience) won the super-classico against Timman when the veteran lost control of yet another superior position. Kramnik joined the leaders when a long torture ended abruptly with Svidler resigning what some reports said was a drawn position (now contradicted but not yet exhaustively proven, see below).

There are now five players on top with +1. In a shout-out to Professor Arpad Elo, they just happen to be five of the seven top-rated players in the event. Kramnik is leading the event by my personal tie-break system, most wins! Two of the leaders meet in round five, Adams and Leko. Kramnik has noir against his bete noir, Shirov. Svidler has a chance for immediate spiritual revival with white against Anand.

A few years ago when he was an up-and-coming star, Peter Svidler said that he couldn't be considered one of the top players yet because he hadn't beaten Anand or Kramnik. (He beat Kasparov in their first meeting in Tilburg, 1997.) Now he's a four-time Russian champion and the new fourth-ranked player in the world. In an interview he credited his infant twins for his recent rise.

With all that going for him you have to wonder if there is some sort of internal sabotage going on, at least where Kramnik and Anand are concerned. In 1999 in Dos Hermanas Svidler was on the verge of beating Anand in one the most spectacular games of the year. Suddenly he offered a draw with a forced endgame win on the board! (Anand selfishly accepted!) To somewhat assuage this pain, Svidler has notched several rapid-chess wins over Anand since.

Right: Svidler may have resigned in his sleep today.

Today in Wijk aan Zee it was Kramnik's turn to benefit from Svidler's charitable spirit. After an epic squeeze in the finest Kramnik style, it looked as if Black had finally reached a drawn endgame with bishops of opposite colors. Black was down a pawn but he could blockade White's passer and maintain a positional draw. Suddenly he confounded all analysis by resigning! Analysis is still coming in, but the latest verdict is that you trust the 2700+ guys! (That is, apparently, you can trust them the next day. The latest from Wijk is that Kramnik, Anand, and, sadly, Svidler, all agree it was drawn. More soon.)

Kramnik-Svidler, final position after 49.Bb7 1-0

Here's the position that may torment Peter Svidler's nights for a while, depending of course on how he does for the rest of the event and how the analysis comes out. Kramnik just played 49.Bb7 and Black resigned.

The question is how White can make progress after 49...Kc7. In typical opposite-colored bishop endgame fashion Black will blockade the c-pawn, protect a5, and run out to shield off our shadow the enemy king if he makes a run for the kingside. Since Black can cover c7 with bishop or king, it's hard to see how White will make progress.

49...Kc7 A creative and brilliant player like Svidler is capable of coming up with an equally creative and brilliant way for White to win, but I couldn't find it. Early reports are coming in that Grischuk thought it was a draw while endgame maven Speelman found a forced win! We'll keep you posted with the latest developments and analysis. Thanks to Fernandez, Poeck, and others who have sent in analysis so far.

49.Bb7 Kc7

(49...Be3 Grischuk 50.Kxa5 (50.Ba6 Bd2 (50...Bf2 51.Kxa5 Kc5 52.Bb5 Be1+ 53.Ka6 Bd2 54.Kb7 Bb4 (54...Ba5 55.Kb8 Bb6 56.Kc8 Kd6 57.Kb7 (57.Bd7 Kc5 58.Kb7 Ba5 59.Be6 Bc3 60.Bf7 Bd2 61.Kc7 Bf4+ 62.Kd8 Kb4 63.Ke7 Kxa4 64.Kf6 Kb4 65.Kg6 Bd6 66.Kxh6 Be7) 57...Ba5 58.Bc6 Kc5 59.Bd5 Be1 60.Kc7 Kb4 61.Kd6 Kxa4 62.c5 Bg3+ 63.Kd7 Kb5 64.c6 Kb6 65.Bf3 Bf4 66.Ke6 Kc5 67.Kf7 Kd4; 55.Kc7 Kd4 56.Kd7 Ke5 57.a5 Bxa5 58.c5 Kf4 59.c6 Kg3 60.Be2 Kxh3 61.c7 Bxc7 62.Kxc7 Kg3 63.Kd6 Kf2; 51.c5+ (51.Kb6 Bb4 52.Bb5) 50...Kc5 51.Bd5 Bd2+ 52.Ka6 Be1 53.a5 (53.Kb7 Ba5 54.Kc8 Kd6 55.Bb7 Bb6 56.Ba6 Ba5 57.Bb5 Bb6) 53...Bc3 54.Be4 Be1

50.Ba6 Speelman 50...Be1 51.c5 Bd2 52.c6 Be1 53.Bb7 Bd2 54.Kc5 Bf4 55.Kd5 Kb6 56.Ke6 Kc5 (56...Kc7 Passive defense appears to lose. 57.Kf6 Kb6 58.Kg6 Kc7 59.Kxh6 Kb6 60.Kg6 Kc7 61.Kf6 Kd6 62.Kf5 Bd2 63.Ke4) 57.Kf6 Kb4 58.Kg6 Kxa4 59.Kxh6 Kb5 60.c7 Bxc7 61.Kxg5 Kc5 62.Be4 a4 63.Bb1 Kd6]
 

Topalov-Akopian after 47...fxg4

Black is hanging on, trying to delay the advance of the c-pawn until his g-pawn forces White to play some defense. But the c-pawn can't be stopped.

48.c5+! Ke6 [48...Nxc5? Deflection from b6 49.Rb6+] 49.c6 Nf6 50.c7 Rc8 51.Nxa6 g3 52.Rb3 [52.Ke3 Nxh5 53.Rb6+ Kd7 54.Rb4±]

52...Nxh5 53.Kc5 g2 54.Rb1 Nf4 55.Kc6 h5 [55...Ke5] 56.Kb7+- Rg8 57.Nc5+ Kd5 [57...Kd6 58.a6 Nd5 59.Ne4+ Ke5 60.c8Q Rxc8 61.Kxc8+-]

58.Nd7 Ke6 [58...Kd6 59.c8Q Rxc8 60.Kxc8 Nd5+-] 59.c8Q [59.c8Q Rxc8 60.Kxc8+-] 1-0
 

Bareev-Shirov after 37...Ra8

There's not much to suggest here, but this position is too curious to pass up. Black has contorted his pieces into the distant corner and played ..Ra8 to avoid losing to Ra7.

Bareev played 38.Bg4 for the straightforward win with the e-pawn, but it would have been amusing to go for the complete straight-jacket with 38.Bd1 threatening 39.Rc1. Black is forced to play the humiliating 38...b3 if he doesn't just resign in frustration.

Anand-Bologan after 17...h6

Anand had reached this position in his preparation but apparently didn't spend enough time looking at the consequences of 18.b4! If he had, he would be leading the tournament alone right now. Instead he played 18.Bd2 and Bologan escaped with phenomenal defense.

[18.b4! Played by X3D Fritz in less than a second with an evaluation of +2. Time for an upgrade, Vishy! 18...dxc3 (18...Rc8 19.bxa5 Rxc3 20.Bh7+ Kh8 21.Qe4+-; 18...Nc6? 19.Bxc6 bxc6 20.Nxc6) 19.bxa5 Qd4+ 20.Kh1 Qxe5

21.Ba3!! A textbook clearance sacrifice. This is the shot Anand missed in his preparation. It clears the back rank for the a1 rook to protect against the mate that occurs if 21.Bh7+ Kh8 Rxe5 Rf1#. Now the bishop on e7 is in the crossfire.

(21.Bh7+ Kh8 22.Rxe5?? Rf1#) 21...Kh8 (21...Bxa3 22.Bh7+ Kh8 23.Rxe5) 22.Bxb7 Qd4 23.Bxe7]

18...Bh4 19.Rf1 Bf6 20.Rae1 Bxe5 21.Bh7+ Kh8 22.Rxf8+ [22.Rxe5 Rxf1+ 23.Kxf1 Qf6+ 24.Qf5 Qa6+ 25.Ke1 Nc6] 22...Qxf8 23.Rxe5 Nc4! The saving fork.

24.Rxh5 [24.cxd4 Nxe5 25.dxe5 Rc8-+] 24...Nxd2 25.Qxd2 dxc3 26.Qxc3 ½-½ White can't hold the piece. A pretty piece of defense by Bologan.

[26.Qc2 Qe8 27.Rf5 Kxh7! 28.Rf8+? (28.Rf1+ Qg6 29.Qxc3=) 28...Qg6 29.Qxg6+ Kxg6 30.Rxa8?? (30.Rf2) 30...cxb2-+]
 

Mig Greengard

Standings after round four

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
Round 3 (Tuesday, January 13, 2004)
Sokolov, Ivan
½-½
Adams, Michael
Leko, Peter
½-½
Topalov, Veselin
Akopian, Vladimir
½-½
Timman, Jan
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Bologan, Viktor
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Svidler, Peter
1-0
Bareev, Evgeny
Shirov, Alexei
½-½
Zhang Zhong
Round 4 (Wednesday, January 14, 2004)
Adams, Michael
1-0
Zhang Zhong
Bareev, Evgeny
1-0
Shirov, Alexei
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Svidler, Peter
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Bologan, Viktor
Timman, Jan
0-1
Van Wely, Loek
Topalov, Veselin
1-0
Akopian, Vladimir
Sokolov, Ivan
½-½
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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