Vishy Anand takes Corsica

by ChessBase
11/4/2003 – The International Open of Corsica ended on Monday with another win for rapid chess king Vishy Anand. After four hard-fought draws the Indian superstar overcame Veselin Topalov in the blitz tiebreak games of the final to win this prestigious event for the fourth year in succession! We bring you pictures, results and all the games.

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The 7th International Open of Corsica took place from October 29 to November 3, 2003, in Bastia, with 350 players from 40 countries competing. The Masters section consisted of stars like Anand, Topalov, Shirov, Gelfand, Karpov and Radjabov. Top Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov progressed to the final by beating Motylev, Gurevich and Shirov; Anand did it by overcoming Cebalo, Lautier and Grischuk.

In the final between Anand and Topalov the two rapid games, and then the two accellerated tiebreak games 10 minutes + 5 seconds) were all drawn, so it was down to blitz. Anand took both the 5 minute + 5 second games to clinch the title.

This is the fourth year in succession that Anand has won Corsica, making him a candidate for the second-most famous son of the French island. Well, sort of. Maybe we are just inspired by the picture some Photoshop freak made to celebrate Anand's victory.

Vishy Anand stood to win €20,000 for his first place, Topalov €12,000 for coming second. Places 3 and 4 got €7,000 each, 5 thru 8 €2,500 each, and 9 thru 16 €1,500 each. That comes to a cool €70,000 prize fund.

Here are all the winners of the International Open of Corsica:

1997 Pavel Tregubov (Russia)
1998 Alexander Chernin (Hungary)
1999 Vladimir Akopian (Armenia)
2000 Vishy Anand (India)
2001 Vishy Anand (India)
2002 Vishy Anand (India)
2003 Vishy Anand (India)


Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) enjoying some blitz after being knocked out in the first round of the tournament.

Radjabov taking a stroll along the harbour front of Bastia

A "match with personnalities" was played between two comic artists from Corsica, Pido and Tzek, assisted by Mikhail Gurevitch and Vladislav Tkatchiev

Anatoly Karpov (right) with an old friend: Michel Noir, the former Mayor of Lyon, who organised the Wold Championship match Kasparov-Karpov in 1990

Alexei Shirov and Vladislav Tkachiev battled it out for six nerve-racking games. In the last one Tkachiev needed a win to stay in the race. In fact he reached a winning position (see our previous report)

Then the shock: Shirov, who had two seconds on his clock, gives a desperate check with his knight. Instead of moving his king out of check, Tkachiev moves his rook, which is illegal. In the picture arbiters
Eric Mouret and Stephane Escaffre discuss the matter with the horrified Tkachiev, who then gracefully accepts the loss and congratulates his opponent.

In the semifinal Shirov went down in a blaze to Veselin Topalov

In the other semifinal Alex Grischuk was outplayed by Vishy Anand

The two finalists at the start of a game

Let the game begin – but the first four all ended in hard-fought draws

There were 800 children from the Schools of Bastia in the hall during the final. The only adult in the picture is Silvio Danailov, the manager of Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov. In case you didn't know: Crosica has 4000 registered chess players in a population of of 250,000. In every school in Corsica the students receive a chess lesson each week, at least one hour.

© For all photographs: Jean-Michel Péchiné, Europe Echecs.

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