Loek on the rise

1/25/2003 – During his last three visits to Wijk aan Zee Vladimir Kramnik lost a total of one game. Today he lost his third of Corus 2003. Showing a toughness previously absent from his game, Loek van Wely bounced back from tough losses to beat the classical chess champion in excellent style. This is a long way from his seven losses a year ago! Anand and Polgar drew their games to set up the clash of leaders tomorrow in round 12. More...

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Corus Wijk aan Zee

Round 11 (Friday, January 24, 2003)

Round 11 (Friday, January 24, 2003)
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Topalov, Veselin
1-0
Krasenkow, Michal
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Grischuk, Alexander
Timman, Jan H
0-1
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Bareev, Evgeny
Karpov, Anatoly
0-1
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir

ROUND 10: Van Wely's comet. Loek van Wely confirmed to all remaining doubters that this year is different for him in Wijk aan Zee. At the start of 2002 he had raised his rating to nearly 2700 and was threatening to enter the top ten for the first time. A few weeks later he had lost seven games at Corus without a single win. And that tournament didn't have Anand or Kramnik. A year later and van Wely is in clear third place with two rounds to go. He's a point behind Anand and a half-point back of Judit Polgar. To make things even sweeter, his Dutch rival Jan Timman is on course to lose even more games than Loek did last year!

Just in case that wasn't enough, the 30-year-old van Wely beat world champion Vladimir Kramnik today in a positional game that is usually Kramnik's cup of tea. Van Wely planted his queen on h6 and eventually engineered a pawn break and queen swap that left his queenside majority the only important thing on the board. (Left: final position 1-0) Kramnik soon ran out of moves and fell back to an even score. This isn't completely unprecedented. Van Wely beat Kramnik in Wijk aan Zee back in 1998, although Kramnik finished tied for first and van Wely next to last. In his last three visits to Wijk aan Zee Kramnik lost just one game, this year he has already lost three!

The other two decisive games were business as usual. Topalov outplayed Krasenkow in a Berlin Defense with some interesting flourishes and is now back to an even score. Timman blundered the exchange against Ponomariov to a knight fork so simple that it could be a Republican presidential candidate. Usually Timman does this once or twice in a tournament and contributes a few attractive efforts to compensate. This time it's all bad news all the time, like a chess blunder CNN. He has now lost games of 24, 21, and 22 moves. Ponomariov's second straight win brought him close to an even score.

Radjabov-Shirov was a lot more exciting if you didn't know that the first 20 moves had taken place in Piket-Shirov in Monaco last year. That game also ended in a draw after a some winning attempts by white in an opposite-colored bishops ending.

Krasenkow's -4 and Timman's -7 contribute to a bizarre crosstable with only three players under 50%. It's reminds me of Garrison Keillor's 'Lake Wobegon' where "all the children are above average." Saturday all eyes will be on Polgar-Anand. The last three times they met in classical chess were all in Wijk aan Zee. Polgar won in 98 and 99 and they drew in 2000. Both players are in excellent form this year so this will be an excellent show if they decide to go for the gusto. Van Wely is the only threat to them so we'll have to watch how he does with black against Krasenkow.

Mig Greengard

Standing after round 11

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
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 9 (Tuesday, January 21, 2003)
Timman, Jan H
½-½
Karpov, Anatoly
Van Wely, Loek
½-½
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Grischuk, Alexander
0-1
Bareev, Evgeny
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Shirov, Alexei
Radjabov, Teimour
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Anand, Viswanathan
½-½
Krasenkow, Michal
Topalov, Veselin
½-½
Ponomariov, Ruslan
Round 10 (Thursday, January 23, 2003)
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Topalov, Veselin
Grischuk, Alexander
0-1
Polgar, Judit
Ponomariov, Ruslan
1-0
Van Wely, Loek
Krasenkow, Michal
0-1
Radjabov, Teimour
Ivanchuk, Vassily
1-0
Timman, Jan H
Shirov, Alexei
0-1
Anand, Viswanathan
Bareev, Evgeny
½-½
Karpov, Anatoly

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