Judit Polgar in the lead in Wijk

1/14/2003 – Okay, she's sharing it with Karpov, Anand and Bareev, but the world's strongest female player did play a very nice game against Holland's Jan Timman in round three of the Wijk aan Zee tournament. Judit successfully navigated a very complicated middlegame, and then Timman's misplaced pieces were easy pickings for Polgar's tactical eye. Here are the games, results, tables and a report by Mig Greengard.

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Corus Wijk aan Zee

Round 3 (Tuesday, January 14, 2003)

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

Standing after round 3

Back in action after a year off, after just three games world champion Vladimir Kramnik has re-familiarized himself with just about every emotion in big chess. He started with a draw, then added a loss, and in round three got a win, against no less than the leader of the tournament, Evgeny Bareev. This caused a logjam on the crosstable with four players tied for first.

Kramnik bounced back from his painful loss to Ponomariov with a move that went straight from the board into anthologies for the rest of chess history. In the diagrammed position he unleashed 46.Bf6!!, which seems to force a winning endgame.

Bareev decided not to take the bishop and resigned two moves later anyway. 46...g6 [A sample line: 46...gxf6 47.exf6 Rc8 48.Rxc8 Kxc8 49.Kg5 Nd4 50.h6 Nf3+ 51.Kh5 Ne5 52.h7 Ng6 53.Kh6 Kd7 54.Kg7 Ke8 55.h8Q+ Nxh8 56.Kxh8 e5 57.Kg8 a3 58.f3 Kd8 59.Kxf7] 47.hxg6 fxg6 48.Kg5 1-0

After successfully navigating a very complicated tactical middlegame, Timman's misplaced pieces were easy pickings for Polgar's tactical eye and the veteran lost a piece and the game. Topalov sacrificed the exchange again, this time against Radjabov. It worked out much better for the Bulgarian this time. Despite Radjabov's resourceful defense Topalov advanced slowly but surely down the board, eventually cashing in a passed pawn for checkmate.

The rest of the tournament is going to be a stern test of the 15-year-old Radjabov's spirit. Although Radjabov has far more experience at this level than did Nigel Short in 1980, this could turn into something similar to Short's 2/13 in the 1980 Phillips&Drew tournament, where the English prodigy was tossed into a shark tank of tough GMs.

The Sveshnikov and related ..e5 Sicilians have remained very popular since Leko rehabilitated one of main lines in Dortmund last year. Van Wely got a solid draw against Anand and Ivanchuk did the same against Shirov in round three in only 20 moves. Krasenkow-Ponomariov evolved into a fascinating four-bishop endgame that deserves analysis. Karpov was unimpressed with Grischuk's handling of a Petroff line in which Anand beat Karpov last year and drew steadily.

There have been surprisingly few decisive games so far, despite a high level of combativeness over the board. 62% of the games have been drawn, and almost half the decisive games involved one player: Bareev (3/8).

Mig Greengard

More information: Corus web site


Previous rounds

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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