Dear Judit, I hope you win this tournament!

1/16/2003 – A fantastic black win against Anatoly Karpov put Judit Polgar into the sole lead in the Wijk aan Zee tournament. With clever tactics and continues hammer blows the world's strongest woman trounced the former world champion in 33 moves. We would like to join a fan from France in fervently wishing Judit full victory in this tournament. Read his letter and Mig Greengard's round four report here.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee

Round 4 (Wednesday, January 15, 2003)

Round 4 (Wednesday, January 15, 2003)
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Timman, Jan H
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Bareev, Evgeny
½-½
Topalov, Veselin
Ivanchuk, Vassily
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander
Karpov, Anatoly
0-1
Polgar, Judit
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Shirov, Alexei
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Krasenkow, Michal

ROUND 3: The lady takes the lead! Judit Polgar moved into clear first place in Corus 2003 with 3/4. She defeated Karpov with the black pieces in just 33 moves. Polgar found a nice tactical shot (diagram: 16...Bb4+) that unbalanced the position and kept Karpov's king in the middle of the board. Karpov missed his best chance to hang on with 23.dxe6 and his position collapsed under continued hammer blows. Polgar was in great form in the Bled Olympiad a few months ago. She will need her best shape to hold off Kramnik, who has a devastating career score against her. It will be fun to see how long this fox and hounds situation lasts!

Speaking of tall, dark, and 2800, Kramnik is warming up and reaching a nice cruising speed. He outclassed Krasenkow, winning a pawn and converting the endgame. A quick look was not enough to find the winning plan for Kramnik if Black doesn't commit suicide with 78...Rb6 and instead keeps checking with the rook. The win put the champ into the pack chasing Polgar, along with Bareev, Anand, and now, Shirov.

If you were startled by Ponomariov's spectacular 21st move against Shirov will be disappointed to find that it was played five years ago in the same place against the same person! The stunning queen sac in one of the sharpest and most analyzed of all opening lines, the Botvinnik Semi-Slav, was Ivanchuk's creation. With it he defeated Shirov in Wijk aan Zee, 1998. (I don't have the book here with me in Seattle, where I'm covering the US Championship, but in Shirov's brilliant game collection, "Fire on Board" he expressed some doubt about Ivanchuk's claim of having come up with the move over the board and not at home.)

Several others have followed this line, but it was a little surprising to see Ponomariov try it against Shirov, who would obviously be prepared to the gills. Super Mariov played 24.Nxd7 instead of 24.Bh3, which had been played before (Lindstrom-Hjelm, correspondence 96-98) and even given a "!" by a ChessBase analyst! It definitely seems stronger than Pono's move. The FIDE champion ended up in a tough endgame that was converted with Shirov's usual perfection.

Van Wely-Radjabov brought together two uncompromising fighters and a wild battle was the result. Radjabov refuses to be intimidated by the surroundings and although he's taken some lumps, he will come out much the better for it than if he meekly tried to draw and maintain his rating points. Here the Azerbaijani wunderkind somehow managed to come out of a messy Stonewall Dutch with an advantage. But what really separates the elite players is the incredible tenacity they show in defense. Van Wely survived into a N vs B endgame that Radjabov failed to convert.

Anand and van Wely are the unlikely drawing masters so far. This time Vishy had black against Timman and the draw was agreed before a single original move was played. I don't think it will surprise anyone to learn to that Timman is quite happy with a draw with white against Anand. Ivanchuk-Grischuk was an even tamer draw agreed as soon as Ivanchuk decided he wasn't better at move 18.

Several classic matchups coming up in round five. Anand-Karpov with Vishy needing a win and Karpov reeling from a loss is the next installment of this old rivalry. Shirov-Kramnik is another pairing with history and might also have a big impact on the standings. Grischuk-Ponomariov pits players of almost exactly the same age (Pono is 10 days older) who faced each other for the first time over eight years ago in an under-12 tournament!

Mig Greengard

Standing after round 4

More information: Corus web site


To Judit Polgar

A letter from an admirer, received by ChessBase

Dear whoever-you-are, receiving this letter!

Just a few days ago I discovered your site, as I am in my "chess mood" period right now. I love the Art of Chess, even though it is called a game.The great Michael Tal belongs (he is still very much alive) to the outstanding artists and he is a very strong reason for my great interest. BUT today we have this wonderful artist, Judit Polgar, who plays so masterfully. It's probably more a dream of mine that Judit Polgar will be the winner of this tournament. All players are interesting in their different ways, but Judit Polgar has something very special.

I do not belong to the people who like to be called "fans". I cannot worship another human being. BUT for sure I can appreciate and admire them. I want to say that I appreciate this chess artist Judit Polgar very much! She and her sisters are a credit to all women all over the world. One day we might see Judit Polgar as world champion. As a man I would be enormously happy. I know, all too well, the intelligence and psychological strenght that women possess. In general more than we as men are ready to recognize. I am longing for the days when it will not be necessary to mention this anymore. I remember as young man when I entered a chess club, and there wasn't a single woman to be seen. I spent my time only once there. How boring!

Do me a favor and let Judit Polgar know that I hope that she will win this tournament. Send also my regards to the organizers of this tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Holland and its people do mean a lot to me, and I am happy to see that they are organizing this so well! And I am very happy to have found your site.

Let the best artist win this tournament. I hope it will be Judit Polgar.

Sincerely yours
Ariel Lindgren, temporary resident in Strasbourg, France.


Previous rounds

Round 3 (Tuesday, January 14, 2003)
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Van Wely, Loek
Shirov, Alexei
½-½
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Polgar, Judit
1-0
Timman, Jan H
Grischuk, Alexander
½-½
Karpov, Anatoly
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Bareev, Evgeny
Krasenkow, Michal
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Radjabov, Teimour
0-1
Topalov, Veselin

Round 2 (Sunday, January 12, 2003)
Bareev, Evgeny
1-0
Radjabov, Teimour
Topalov, Veselin
0-1
Anand, Viswanathan
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Polgar, Judit
Timman, Jan H
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander
Karpov, Anatoly
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Ivanchuk, Vassily
½-½
Krasenkow, Michal
Ponomariov, Ruslan
1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir

Round 1 (Saturday, January 11, 2003)
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Bareev, Evgeny
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Krasenkow, Michal
0-1
Karpov, Anatoly
Shirov, Alexei
½-½
Timman, Jan H
Grischuk, Alexander
½-½
Van Wely, Loek
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Topalov, Veselin

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