Anand all alone at the top

1/20/2003 – After three wins in a row Loek van Wely went down fighting against veteran Anatoly Karpov, Alexei Shirov found himself a piece down after tactical complications against Alexander Grischuk. Ruslan Ponomariov had an even more traumatic encounter with the youngest player, 15-year-old Teimour Radjabov. Which left Anand to tenaciously hold a draw against the other world champion Vladimir Kramnik and take the sole lead in Wijk. Full report.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee

Round 8 (Monday, January 20, 2003)

Round 8 (Monday, January 20, 2003)
Shirov, Alexei
0-1
Grischuk, Alexander
Bareev, Evgeny
1-0
Timman, Jan H
Ponomariov, Ruslan
0-1
Radjabov, Teimour
Ivanchuk, Vassily
½-½
Topalov, Veselin
Karpov, Anatoly
1-0
Van Wely, Loek
Krasenkow, Michal
½-½
Polgar, Judit
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan

ROUND 8: Anand survives Kramnik, van Wely falls to Karpov. A draw with Kramnik was enough for Vishy Anand to take over clear first place in Corus Wijk aan Zee. His co-leader van Wely lost to Karpov by out-tricking himself in a complex position. The Dutchman was coming off three consecutive wins.

World champion Vladimir Kramnik keeps reaching but he just can't grasp the full point. Polgar escaped him brilliantly in round seven and today Anand's defensive wizardry was just enough to gain the half point. I bet Kramnik would have won either of these positions against Deep Fritz! But these tough GMs understand practical chances and create maximum problems with every move. Kramnik will also have Linares next month to play himself back into shape for his classical world championship match against Leko. He played 1.e4 against Anand just as he has with all five of his whites, so it wasn't just an experiment or a fingerfehler. He has black against Radjabov in round nine, their first-ever meeting.

Shirov's games often cause heart palpitations but now it's his score that is starting to look like a cardiogram. Up and down he goes, winning two, losing, winning, now losing again. This time he tried to improve on the opening of his game against Kramnik from round five, but Grischuk was not impressed. (Do we need to even mention that it was yet another Sveshnikov Sicilian? These guys are such slaves to fashion!) Grischuk notched his second win in a row and after a slow start is now in the hunt for a prize. He is tied for 2-4 with van Wely and Polgar.

Shirov resigned after 32...Rb8 0-1 (diagram) since the poor knight on b1 has no place to go. White must give up material immediately or allow Black to dominate the 7th rank. 33.Qg2 ( 33.Nd2 Qd4+ 34.Rf2 Rb2 35.Qe2 Rxa2) 33...Qxb1! 34.f5 ( 34.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 35.Kf2 Rb2+ 36.Kg3 Rxg2+ 37.Kxg2 Nxf4+) 34...Rb2 35.Qg3 Qc2 36.fxg6 fxg6.

Shirov dropped back to +1 and will have black against an in-form Polgar next round. Their games are almost always exciting Sicilians and Polgar could rejoin the lead with a win. In today's round she played a short, sharp draw against Krasenkow to stay a half-point behind Anand.

Memo to FIDE champion Ruslan Ponomariov: When Teimour (or TIM-MAY! as South Park fan GM Joel Benjamin calls him) Radjabov has trouble in the King's Indian it's usually not in tactical, counterattacking positions! Ponomariov went for the attack armed to the teeth and finished up with this teeth knocked out. If this sort of thing keeps happening the kid is never going to learn that he can't play the King's Indian against top-ten players. (Unless he's right and they are wrong...) Think of the children!

Corus is turning into a nightmare for Ponomariov. This was his fourth loss and he is being saved from last place only by the fact that Jan Timman is also playing and is dropping pawns and pieces like they were poison toads. This time Bareev was the beneficiary of Timman's generosity. The Dutch legend has lost four in a row, not exactly the best warm-up for a meeting with his old nemesis Karpov in round nine.

Ivanchuk made it past 25 moves today, most likely because Topalov doesn't like to play for less than three hours. The Battlin' Bulgarian was pushing with black for most of the game but Ivanchuk managed to wriggle out. For those of you keeping score at home, that's eight consecutive draws for the Ukrainian.

Mig Greengard

Standing after round 8

Previous rounds

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
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 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 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 5 (Thursday, January 16, 2003)
Grischuk, Alexander
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Topalov, Veselin
0-1
Van Wely, Loek
Shirov, Alexei
1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir
Radjabov, Teimour
1-0
Timman, Jan H
Krasenkow, Michal
½-½
Bareev, Evgeny
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Karpov, Anatoly
Round 6 (Saturday, January 18, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander
Ivanchuk, Vassily
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Ponomariov, Ruslan
½-½
Polgar, Judit
Bareev, Evgeny
0-1
Van Wely, Loek
Krasenkow, Michal
1-0
Shirov, Alexei
Timman, Jan H
0-1
Topalov, Veselin
Karpov, Anatoly
½-½
Radjabov, Teimour
Round 7 (Sunday, January 19, 2003)
Shirov, Alexei
1-0
Bareev, Evgeny
Grischuk, Alexander
1-0
Krasenkow, Michal
Anand, Viswanathan
1-0
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Van Wely, Loek
1-0
Timman, Jan H
Topalov, Veselin
½-½
Karpov, Anatoly
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
 

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