Napoleonic battles in Corsica

by ChessBase
11/2/2003 – The 7th International Open of Corsica is taking place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, 2003, in Bastia, with 350 players from 40 countries competing. The Masters section has stars like Anand, Topalov, Shirov, Gelfand, Karpov and Radjabov. We bring you all the action from the quarter finals.

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In the Corsica Masters section (October 31 to November 3) we have GMs Vishy Anand, Vesselin Topalov, Anatoly Karpov, Alexei Shirov, Teimour Radjabov, Boris Gelfand, Loek Van Wely and others competing.

The rate of play is 20 minutes per player for the game + 5 seconds increment per move. Each minimatch consists of two games, if the result is a draw tie-break games are played at the accelerated rate of 10 minutes + 5 seconds, and if a result is still not forthcoming a decision is produced by blitz games at a rate of five minutes + 5 seconds.

The prize fund for both tournaments is €100,000. The Masters gets €70,000 of that sum. Previous winners were:

1997 Pavel Tregubov (Russia)
1998 Alexander Chernin (Hungary)
1999 Vladimir Akopian (Armenia)
2000 Vishy Anand (India)
2001 Vishy Anand (India)
2002 Vishy Anand (India)

Corsica Masters Quarter Finals

The quarter final round of the Masters ended on November 1st with the following results:

Grischuk, Alexander - Radjabov, Teimour 4.0-2.0
Van Wely, Loek - Karpov, Anatoly 0.5-1.5
Gurevich, Mikhail - Sasikiran, Krishnan 1.5-0.5
Topalov, Veselin - Motylev, Alexander 2.0-0.0
Aronian, Levon - Gelfand, Boris 1.5-2.5
Tkachiev, Vladislav - Shirov, Alexei 2.0-4.0
Lautier, Joel - Epishin, Vladimir 2.0-0.0
Cebalo, Miso - Anand, Viswanathan 0.5-1.5

Here are two memorable moments from the quarter finals:

Cebalo,M (2486) - Anand,V (2766) [E12]
Corsica Masters KO Bastia FRA (1), 01.11.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.a3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bd2 Nd7 8.Nxd5 Bxd5 9.Qc2 Rc8 10.e4 Bb7 11.0-0-0 Be7 12.Kb1 0-0 13.Bc3 c5 14.d5 exd5 15.exd5 c4 16.h4 Re8 17.Be2 Rc5 18.Ng5 Nf8 19.Bf3 Bxg5 20.hxg5 Qxg5 21.Bb4 Rxd5 22.Rxd5 Bxd5.

Here Croatian GM Miso Cebalo, who was already in considerable trouble with white, played 23.Rh5?? That allowed Anand to settle everything in one swift blow. Think about your reply before you look at the solution below.

Flamboyant Vlad Tkachiev drew both his rapid games against Alexei Shirov, then the two drew both accelerated tiebreak games. The first blitz game was won by Shirov, and in the second, with the black pieces, Tkachiev fought bravely back. After 47 moves he had the following position:

Shirov,A (2737) - Tkachiev,V (2645) [B07]
Corsica Masters KO Bastia FRA (1.6), 01.11.2003

Black is clearly winning, Shirov has just played 47.Ne4-d6+. Unfortunately Vladislav Tkachiev ignored the check and played an illegal move. In blitz that means you forfeit the game: 1-0 for Shirov.

Vladislav Tkachiev, the unfortunate loser


A view of the playing hall where the International Open of Corsica is held

The Masters with the projection screens showing positions and players

A tough fight: Alexander Grischuk vs Teimour Radjabov. Each won their rapid games, both the accelerated tiebreaks were drawn, and then 20-year-old Grischuk beat his 16-year-old opponent from Baku 2-0.

Solution to the first position given above: Anand played 23...Qxh5 to instantly decide his game against Miso Cebalo. If White recaptures there is the deadly skewer 24.Bxh5 Be4 and Black will be an exchange and two pawns up.

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