Corus Round 5: Jan Can!

1/16/2004 – Things quieted down on the scoreboard but not on the chess board. Marathon games of 80, 101, and 182 moves gave endgame fans more than their money's worth in round five. The only wins in the A group were by Akopian and Dutch legend Jan Timman, who got his first WAZ win in two years. The leading pack of five remained unchanged. Report, photos, and analysis here.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee 2004 – Round 5

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

Round 5 (Thursday, January 15, 2004)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Adams, Michael
Akopian, Vladimir
1-0
Sokolov, Ivan
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Topalov, Veselin
Bologan, Viktor
0-1
Timman, Jan
Svidler, Peter
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Shirov, Alexei
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Zhang Zhong
½-½
Bareev, Evgeny


80 moves later a draw between the world's #4 and #3 players.

The results column looked calm today but results can be misleading. Svidler-Anand went 80 moves and Leko-Adams a cool 101 before the points were split. Those games combined didn't match what was going on over in the B group, where American teen star Hikaru Nakamura cast chivalry to the wind and played 182 (!) moves against Zhu Chen, 100 of which were dead drawn.

Much like the last great hope of American chess, Gata Kamsky, Nakamura always plays on to the bitter end, something that can occasionally gain points, almost never loses points, but doesn't win popularity contests with other players. I say, tough. Apart from the occasional half-point gained and the amount you learn, having a reputation as a Sitzfleischmeister can create psychological pressure on your opponents. (And it doesn't hurt for tournament organizers to know that you always give 100%.)

The standings at the top of in the A group were unchanged. The two decisive games shuffled the middle of the deck a bit and tightened the field again to a remarkable single point after five rounds. This was due to draws at the top and the fine win by Jan Timman over 2003 Dortmund winner Viktor Bologan of Moldova. The other win was notched by Vladimir "Wild Man" Akopian over Ivan Sokolov. The Armenian #1 has participated in one third of the decisive games so far.

Svidler kept Anand's sacrificed pawn into a queen endgame with little hope for conversion. Leko and Adams preferred a rook ending. We're all too tired of looking at the Kramnik-Svidler endgame from yesterday to look at these too deeply, I'm afraid! There is never a final word in chess, but the latest on that one is that it was indeed a draw, and not nearly as complicated a draw as we thought.

The latest word, if not the last, is quite convincing. Here is the final position Svidler resigned. But if Black just ignores the a5-pawn, keeps his bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal forever and shuttles his king back and forth between c7 and d6 to shield off the white king when necessary, White can't make any progress.

Kramnik can't complain about a lack of luck after that one. You don't get many free half-points from 2700+ players not named Ivanchuk. Today Kramnik calmly fought off Shirov's initiative to reach one of the day's two short draws.

The other was Topalov's opening surprise against van Wely. The Bulgarian accepted a miserable pawn structure in exchange for development and equalized easily.

Today was all about Jan Timman getting up off of the canvas to score his first Wijk aan Zee win in years. How good do the Dutch feel about this? Put it this way, and not to be morbid, but when Timman's time on this Earth comes to an end Wijk aan Zee will be named the Timman Memorial faster than you can say "a glass of red, please."

Timman repulsed Bologan's hasty attack, nabbed a pawn, and outplayed his opponent in a bishop endgame. Even better, it's a ready-made endgame for his New In Chess column! After Friday's rest day the veteran will have the white pieces against Svidler.


 

Bologan-Timman, final position after 59...Bg6

According to my battered old copy of Keres' endgame tome, Bologan had defensive chances had he placed his king on the other side of his pawn earlier. Now it's all over.

White can't maintain the blockade as 60.Bg4 Ke2 is zugzwang. After the white bishop moves 61...Bh5 and 62...g4 wins quickly.
 

Mig Greengard

Standings after round five

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
Round 5 (Thursday, January 15, 2004)
Leko, Peter
½-½
Adams, Michael
Akopian, Vladimir
1-0
Sokolov, Ivan
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Topalov, Veselin
Bologan, Viktor
0-1
Timman, Jan
Svidler, Peter
½-½
Anand, Viswanathan
Shirov, Alexei
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Zhang Zhong
½-½
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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