Waiting for Wijk

1/7/2006 – "I wish the tournament started tomorrow," wrote Dutch journalist Gert Ligterink, echoing the sentiments of chess fans all over the world. Well, it's just a week from today, and we bring you a preview with all the players (Mamedyarov replaces Kramnik). You can also take part in a special contest to guess the winners, and enjoy pictorial impressions by Fred Lucas.

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The Corus Chess Tournament 2006 will be held from 13-29 January 2006 in Wijk aan Zee, Holland. The tournament venue is the De Moriaan Community Centre (Dorpsduinen 4, 1949 EG Wijk aan Zee) and the nearby bar de Zon. Commentary will be available in the Corus Chess Pavilion, on the Village Green in Wijk aan Zee (one minute walking from De Moriaan).

The secret of the Corus tournament is that, unlike other Super-GM events, it is not restricted to a small number of very high-ranked players, who may raise the category but often dampen the chess. In Wijk there is a wider range of playing strengths, which on the one hand give new and exciting young talents a chance to battle it out with the world's best players. On the other hand this mixture is a fair guarantee for exciting, slug-it-out chess.


Veselin Topalov, top seed at the Corus tournament

The tournament is played in three groups. Naturally the GM Group A will command the greatest attention, especially since it is the first time that freshly-crowned world champion Veselin Topalov will be taking on his colleagues since his remarkable victory in San Luis.


Vishy Anand, who will be going for gold in Wijk

Indian superstar and former FIDE world champion Vishy Anand will be out to prove that he can stand up to Topalov, who beat him by a point and a half in San Luis. Anand will also be looking to pick up the few rating points he needs to cross 2800.


Peter Leko, the winner of Wijk aan Zee 2005

Hungarian GM Peter Leko is the defending champion in Wijk. He dropped a fair number of rating points in San Luis and will be eager to get them back in this event. He also has some open accounts to settle with some of his GM colleagues in Wijk.


Junior world champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Originally Vladimir Kramnik was scheduled to play in the A-Group. However, this week he had to cancel his appearance due to a chronic illness that has plagued him for a while now. As a replacement the organisers have invited the freshly crowned world junior champion, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. At 20 and with a rating of 2709 (number 15 in the world) "Shak" is one of the hottest commodities around today.

So who will win?

Once again we are going to test the precognitive powers of our readers. We are asking you to guess who the top three at Corus 2006 in Group A are going to be. Send us your predictions before the start of the event on January 13, and you can win a valuable prize – most likely a copy of Fritz signed by the three winners you have predicted.

Use the feedback form given below. Since we expect a very large number of replies we will be reading the feedback automatically, with a utility that also does a statistical evaluation. But for this to succeed we need you to adhere to certain conventions: use only the last name of the players, spell the names correctly, and give the score separated by a blank from the name. You can add remarks at the end, but keep these relatively brief.

The competition has now closed


Participants

Grandmaster Group A
No. Name Title
Country
Rating
Rank
 01 Veselin Topalov  GM
BUL
 2801
2
 02 Viswanathan Anand  GM
IND
 2792
3
 03 Levon Aronian  GM
ARM
 2752
5
 04 Peter Leko  GM
HUN
 2740
7
 05 Vassily Ivanchuk  GM
UKR
 2729
8
 06 Boris Gelfand  GM
ISR
 2723
9
 07 Etienne Bacrot  GM
FRA
 2717
12
 08 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov  GM
AZE
 2709
15
 09 Michael Adams  GM
ENG
 2707
17
 10 Ivan Sokolov  GM
NED
 2689
24
 11 Gata Kamsky  GM
USA
 2686
25
 12 Sergey Tiviakov  GM
NED
 2669
33
 13 Sergey Karjakin  GM
UKR
 2660
42
 14 Loek van Wely  GM
NED
 2647
59
 Average rating: 2716 – Category: 19

Grandmaster Group B
No. Name Title
Country
Rating
Rank
 01 David Navara  GM
CZE
 2660
42
 02 Arkadij Naiditsch  GM
GER
 2657
46
 03 Zoltan Almasi  GM
HUN
 2646
60
 04 Alexander Motylev  GM
RUS
 2638
69
 05 Giovanni Vescovi  GM
BRA
 2633
77
 06 Alexander Beliavsky  GM
SLO
 2626
89
 07 Magnus Carlsen  GM
NOR
 2625
90
 08 Ivan Cheparinov  GM
BUL
 2625
90
 09 Baadur Jobava  GM
GEO
 2614
108
 10 Daniel Stellwagen  GM
NED
 2573
211
 11 Erwin L’Ami  IM
NED
 2550
301
 12 Jan Smeets  GM
NED
 2550
301
 13 Koneru Humpy  GM
IND
 2537
363
 14 Kateryna Lahno  IM
UKR
 2500
653
 Average rating: 2602 – Category: 15

Grandmaster Group C
No. Name Title
Country
Rating
Rank
 01 Suat Atalik  GM
TUR
 2618
101
 02 Klaus Bischoff  GM
GER
 2560
250
 03 Li Shilong  IM
CHN
 2543
322
 04 Jan Werle  GM
NED
 2514
528
 05 John van der Wiel  GM
NED
 2505
606
 06 Yge Visser  IM
NED
 2485
806
 07 Ahmed Adly  GM
EGY
 2473
907
 08 Harmen Jonkman  GM
NED
 2470
939
 09 Karel van der Weide  GM
NED
 2466
988
 10 Cyril Marcelin  GM
FRA
 2441
1303
 11 Kateryna Atalik  WGM
TUR
 2399
2210
 12 Yochanan Afek  GM
ISR
 2370
3013
 13 Pieter Hopman  -
NED
 2332
4323
 14 Marlies Bensdorp  WIM
NED
 2230
10826
 Average rating: 2458 – Category: 9

Visions of Wijk

By Fred Lucas


The industrial seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee


Actually Wijk is a small quiet village


The erection of the "tent" foir the opening ceremony and commentary


Hotel Zeeduin, where most of the players stay


The rooms of the Zeeduin, where the players sleep and prepare


Even in Winter there are people who go for a swim


Topalov in front of the Moriaan playing hall


Inside the Moriaan, which is currently being used for other sports


The playing hall when the Corus tournament is under way


Levon Aronian, the surprise winner of Khanty-Mansiysk


Magnificent Magnus Carlsen, just 15 and well over 2600


Vassily Ivanchuk, the veteran chess genius


Loek van Wely, the local boy Dutch hero


At 14 Sergey Karjakin won the B-Group and is now playing in with the A's


Young Dutch hopeful Daniel Stellwagen (18, GM, 2573)


A bowl of the trademark Wijk peasoup

All pictures copyright Fred Lucas of Momentoo Photography


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