Wijk aan Zee 2007 – final impressions

1/29/2007 – Wijk aan Zee is over, with an exciting finish that saw three players tie for first. Radjabov and Topalov were able to maintain their top positions with a draw in the final round. Aronian was able to join them with a victory over Tiviakov, and world champion Vladimir Kramnik improved his position with a win over Loek van Wely. Commentary and pictures.

Round 13 – Pictorial report


Before the start of the round the photographers have five minutes to do their thing


This is the shot everyone needed: the leaders Radjabov and Topalov in the final round


Grim determination to win the event: Veselin Topalov


An interested passer by taking stock of what is happening in this critical game


Friends since early childhood: Peter from St. Petersburg and Vlady from Tuapse


Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Svidler in Wijk aan Zee


Magnus Carlsen, at 16 the youngest GM in the A Group


Sergei Tiviakov before his disappointing last round game against Aronian.
In the background: Alexei Shirov vs Magnus Carlsen

Aronian,L (2744) - Tiviakov,S (2667) [E06]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (13), 28.01.2007
Radjabov chose a Catalan, and play followed game 11 from the Elista match, until Topalov deviated with 19…Nxe5. This forced a repetition of moves almost immediately and the game was drawn on move 26. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 c6 7.Nc3 d5 8.Nd2 0-0 9.e4 dxc4 10.Nxc4 Ba6 11.b3 b5 12.Ne3 b4 13.Ne2 Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Qxd4 15.Bb2 Qb6 16.Nc4 Qb5 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.e5 Be7 19.Rad1. The first new move, 19 Rfd1 having been preferred in earlier games. 19...a5 20.Be4 Ra7 21.h4 Nd7 22.h5 Nxe5 23.Qe3.

23…Ng4? This just appears unsound. Black seems to stand well after 23…Bc5 24 Bxh7+ Kxh7 25 Qe4+ Kg8 26 Nxe5 a4. 24.Qxa7 Qxh5 25.Kg2 Bc5 26.Qxa5 Qh2+ 27.Kf3 Bxf2 28.Rd8. Fritz prefers 28 Bxh7+, but Aronian’s move is also adequate. Black garners four pawns for the rook, but it is never enough, especially as his queenside pawns are weak and consequently, most endings are lost for him. 28...Qxg3+ 29.Ke2 Bc5 30.Rxf8+ Bxf8 31.Qa7 Qh2+ 32.Kd1 f6 33.Qd7 Nf2+ 34.Ke1 Nxe4 35.Qxe6+ Kh8 36.Qxe4 Qxa2 37.Qe8 Kg8 38.Rf3 Qb1+ 39.Kf2 c5 40.Qe6+ Kh8 41.Ne5 h6 42.Nd7 Qc2+ 43.Qe2 1-0.


Anand and Navara, both a very typical pose

Vishy Anand vs David Navara: ½-½
In yet another Anti-Marshall, Navara activated his pieces at the cost of a pawn sacrifice. At first sight it looked as though White could consolidate, but once Black produced 26…Rd3! It was clear that he had enough play, and Anand offered the draw with his next move.


Vladimir Kramnik before the start of his final game in Wijk aan Zee 2007


Dutch GM Loek van Wely has to face the reigning world champion

Kramnik,V (2766) - Van Wely,L (2683) [D46]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (13), 28.01.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bd3 Nbd7 6.b3 b6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.Bb2 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Qc2 Rc8 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.Ne5 h6 13.Qe2 Rfd8. Technically a novelty. 13 ..Nxe5 14.dxe5 Nd7 15.f4 was Farago-Dumitrache, Hungary 1999. 14.f4 c5 15.cxd5 Nxd5. 15…exd5!? 16.Nb5 Qb8 17.Nxd7 Rxd7 18.f5 Bg5 19.fxe6 fxe6 20.Qg4 Re7? 20…Re8 was a better try. 21.Qe4 Nf6 22.Qg6 Kh8 23.dxc5 Rxc5.

24.Rxf6! gxf6 25.Bxf6+ Bxf6 26.Qxf6+ Rg7 27.Qxh6+ Kg8 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Qh6+ Kg8 30.e4. There is no defence. 30...a6 31.Nd6 b5 32.Qe6+ Kh8 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Ng5+ Kh8 35.Qh6+ Kg8 36.Qe6+ Kh8 37.Qh6+ Kg8 38.Ne6 Rh7 39.Qg6+ Kh8 40.e5 1-0.


Another traumatic game for the Saint Petersburg grandmaster Peter Svidler

Svidler,P (2728) - Karjakin,Sergey (2678) [B90]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (13), 28.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.f3 b5 11.g4 b4 12.Nd5. Deviating from his successful 12.Ne2 a5 13.Kb1 h6 14.Ng3 a4 15.Nc1 Svidler-Sutovsky, Mallorca 2004. 12...Bxd5 13.exd5 Nb6 14.Na5 Nbxd5. Kariakin also has prior experience of this line, also on the White side: 14...Nfxd5 15.Nc6 Qc7 16.Nxb4 Nxb4 17.Qxb4 Rc8 18.Bd3 Nc4 19.Qa4+ Qc6 20.Qxc6+ Rxc6 21.Bf2 lead to an eventual draw Kariakin-Ponomariov, Tomsk 2006. 15.Nc6 Qc7 16.Nxb4. A novelty. 16 Nxe7 Nxe3 17.Qxe3 Kxe7 led to nothing for White in Van der Weide-Borovikov, Senden 2006. 16...Nxb4 17.Qxb4 0-0 18.g5 Rfc8 19.Qa4 Rab8 20.Bd3. 20 gxf6? Rb4–+. 20...Nd7 21.Qe4 g6.

It is already clear that things have gone badly wrong for White. Black has open lines and a free attack, whilst White has no threats on the other flank. 22.Bxa6 Rb4 23.Qd3 Rcb8 24.b3 Nc5 25.Bxc5 Qxc5 26.Qd5 Qa7 27.Bc4 Bxg5+ 28.Kb2 Ra4 29.a3 Ra5 30.Qe4 Be3.

31.c3? A blunder in a very grim position. 31...Rxa3 32.Ra1 Ra8 0-1.

Final standings

Statistics

The biggest performers in Wijk aan Zee 2007 were, naturally, the winners Teimour Radjabov (performance 2827), Levon Aronian (2826) and Veselin Topalov (2823). Vladimir Kramnik played 29 points above his nominal rating of 2766 for a performance of 2795. Anand will lose a few Elo points by performing at 2768, and Peter Svidler will gain some with his 2743 performance.

The draw statistics were normal in Group A (61%) but positively low in the B and especially the C group, where people were at each others throats. In Group C there were more black wins (30) then victories with the white pieces (28).

 
Group A
Group B
Group C
White wins
24%
37%
31%
Draws
61%
44%
36%
Black wins
15%
19%
33%

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