Wijk 2007: A <i>zwischenbilanz</i>

1/17/2007 – That means to take stock in the middle of an event – another German word that should enter the English language, together with zugzwang and zeitnot. After the first four of 13 rounds we bring you a summary of the games of round four, by Steve Giddins, as well as all necessary tables, schedules and statistics.

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Round 4 – the Calm before the Calm

It is a strange phenomenon that the day before a rest day often seems to produce quieter chess than normal. One might expect the opposite, and that the impending day’s rest would encourage players to give 100%, knowing they will have a day off to recover afterwards. In practice, though, the fear of losing seems to be enhanced if there is a rest day to follow – I guess nobody wants to spend the next 24 hours reflecting on a defeat. This phenomenon seemed to evidence in today’s fourth round at Corus, with five draws out of seven.


The industrial sea-side resort of Wijk aan Zee in Holland

Magnus Carlsen vs Viswanathan Anand: ½-½
After two consecutive losses, Carlsen was in no mood to take risks, and chose the quiet line 5.Be3 e5 6 Nf3 against Anand’s Najdorf. Carlsen recently used this line to beat John Nunn in the Youth v Experience match in Amsterdam over the summer, but here he deviated from that game with 11.Bg5, instead of the 11.Qe2 he had chosen against Nunn. The players then followed Anand-Leko from last year’s Corus tournament, until Carlsen deviated with 15.Bc2. But he obtained no real advantage and the draw was agreed five moves later.


The youngest vs the oldest: Magnus Carlsen vs Viswanathan Anand

Alexander Motylev vs Levon Aronian: ½-½
Motylev is another who has had a rocky start to the event, and he too displayed little ambition today. Aronian avoided the customary Marshall/Anti-Marshall variations, with the relatively unusual 6…d6. The game transposed into the Old Steinitz Defence, with the sole difference that Black’s pawn was on a6, rather than a7. This line has a reputation as being solid, but rather passive. No sooner had both sides developed their pieces, than the players seized the first opportunity to repeat moves. The game lasted 22 moves.


Armenian Super-GM Levon Aronian


Alexander Motylev

Peter Svidler vs Ruslan Ponomariev: ½-½
Svidler’s English Attack with f4, rather than the customary f3, did not pose any great problems for Black, who soon looked to stand somewhat better, thanks to the superb knight on e5. Black passed up several promising alternatives, such as 21…Na3+, and 26…Rf5, both of which Fritz 10 is very keen on, and look to give Black a clear initiative. Even in the final position of the game, Black appears to stand somewhat better, so the draw agreement at move 30 is a little hard to understand.


Peter Svidler, Super-GM and cricket fan from St Petersburg


Ruslan Ponomariov and Peter Svidler analysing

Loek van Wely vs Sergey Kariakin: ½-½
4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 against the Nimzoindian has been quite popular over the past year, and here too, White secured a small, but definite edge, with his bishop pair. Van Wely later won a pawn, but Black always had counterplay against the white king, which is frequently the single most important factor in heavy piece endings. Kariakin refused to panic in the face of White’s advancing passed a-pawn, and a typical rook sacrifice forced perpetual check. 36 moves.


Dutch star Loek van Wely


Sergey Karjakin, super-GM at 17

Veselin Topalov vs Alexei Shirov: 1-0
The game of the day, without any doubt, and probably also the game of the tournament so far. Topalov’s incredibly deep opening preparation was again to the fore, as he marched down the deeply-analysed exchange sacrifice line of the Exchange Grunfeld, producing the novelty 25.Qd4 (25.Nf4 was unsuccessful in Naer-Krasenkov, St Vincent 2005). After this, the obvious 25…Rf7 fails to 26.Rxf7 Qxf7 27.Bd2!, followed by Bc3. After 29.Ng3, Black already looks to be in big trouble, as he has no way to stop Ne4-f6 (29…Re8 30.Qd4 does not help). With his weak king and offside knight, Shirov was unable to contain White’s tremendously active pieces and passed d-pawn. 37.Qf2 instead of the much simpler 37.Nf6 was a courageous decision and shows Topalov's great confidence in his calculating skills. In general I think we now know what the tournament’s Grunfeld players, such as Svidler, will be analysing on today’s rest day – the ball is firmly back in Black’s court in this variation.


Veselin Topalov (right) preparing to mow down Alexei Shirov's Grunfeld...


...and talking to Russian journalist Yuriy Vasiliev afterwards in the press room

Teimour Radjabov vs Sergey Tiviakov: 1-0
The tournament leader continued his march with an impressive display of determination in grinding down Tiviakov, in the latter’s favourite Dragon Sicilian. As every Dragon player knows, Black’s biggest weakness in this opening is the d5-square, and Radjabov exploited this early on with the nice move 15.Nd5 – Black cannot take three times on d5, because of 18.Bb6! at the end winning the exchange. After being induced to play 17…e6 to expel the knight, Black always had problems with his d6-pawn, and was gradually sat upon. 33…gxf5?! probably did not help matters, and Radjabov finally broke Black’s resistance with the nice idea 60.c5!, a typical transformation of advantage – White allows Black to get rid of his d6-weakness, but opens the d-file and creates a new weakness on e5. The game lasted 75 moves.


Radjabov and Tiviakov at the start of the longest game of the day


Teimour Radjabov, with a remarkable 3.5/4 start in Wijk

Vladimir Kramnik vs David Navara: ½-½
As is his wont, the world champion chose an early queen exchange line, in this case one with which he has scored well in the past, eg. Kramnik-Timman, Wijk aan Zee 1999, Kramnik-Hjartarson, Clichy 1995, and Kramnik-Polgar, Tilburg 1997. Navara chose the currently recommended defensive set-up, with Kramnik’s 17 Bf3 being the first new move. White retained a slight edge throughout, but Navara defended with great tenacity, and despite considerable determination by Kramnik, he was never very close to winning.


Another tough battle, Navara vs Vladimir Kramnik


Vladimir Kramnik pushed hard and long but only got a draw

Standings after four rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 16th
D. Jakovenko - D. Stellwagen
½-½
E. L’Ami - V. Bologan
½-½
J. Smeets - J. Werle
1-0
M. Vachier-Lagrav - S. Atalik
1-0
P. Eljanov - B. Xiangzhi
1-0
T. Kosintseva - G. Sargissian
1-0
V. Georgiev - F. Nijboer
½-½
Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 16th
T. Willemze - E. van Haastert
0-1
Z. Peng - H. Jonkman
1-0
I. Nepomniachtchi - M. Bosboom
1-0
H. Yifan - E. Berg
½-½
W. Spoelman - J. van der Wiel
½-½
S. Brynell - M. Krasenkow
½-½
P. Negi - N. Kosintseva
0-1

Group B Standings after four rounds

Group C Standings after four rounds

Statistics

In round four there were two decisive games in Group A and four each in Groups B (with four white wins) and C (two white and two black wins). Overall the least number of draws is, expectedly, in the C Group (only 32%) and the highest in the A Group (61%).

 
Group A
Group B
Group C
White wins
25%
32%
36%
Draws
61%
50%
32%
Black wins
14%
18%
32%

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Schedule and pairings

Grandmaster Group A

Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 13th
V. Topalov - A. Motylev ½-½
L. van Wely - T. Radjabov
0-1
S. Karjakin - V. Kramnik ½-½
A. Shirov - P. Svidler ½-½
S. Tiviakov - M. Carlsen ½-½
D. Navara - L. Aronian ½-½
R. Ponomariov - V. Anand ½-½
Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
A. Motylev - V. Anand
0-1
L. Aronian - R. Ponomariov
1-0
M. Carlsen - D. Navara
0-1
P. Svidler - S. Tiviakov
1-0
V. Kramnik - A. Shirov
1-0
T. Radjabov - S. Karjakin
½-½
V. Topalov - L. van Wely
1-0
Round 3: Mon. Jan. 15th
L. van Wely - A. Motylev ½-½
S. Karjakin - V. Topalov ½-½
A. Shirov - T. Radjabov
0-1
S. Tiviakov - V. Kramnik ½-½
D. Navara - P. Svidler ½-½
R. Ponomariov - M. Carlsen
1-0
V. Anand - L. Aronian ½-½
Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 16th
A. Motylev - L. Aronian ½-½
M. Carlsen - V. Anand ½-½
P. Svidler - R. Ponomariov ½-½
V. Kramnik - D. Navara ½-½
T. Radjabov - S. Tiviakov
1-0
V. Topalov - A. Shirov
1-0
L. van Wely - S. Karjakin ½-½
Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
S. Karjakin - A. Motylev  
A. Shirov - L. van Wely  
S. Tiviakov - V. Topalov  
D. Navara - T. Radjabov  
R. Ponomariov - V. Kramnik  
V. Anand - P. Svidler  
L. Aronian - M. Carlsen  
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
A. Motylev - M. Carlsen  
P. Svidler - L. Aronian  
V. Kramnik - V. Anand  
T. Radjabov - R. Ponomariov  
V. Topalov - D. Navara  
L. van Wely - S. Tiviakov  
S. Karjakin - A. Shirov  
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
A. Shirov - A. Motylev  
S. Tiviakov - S. Karjakin  
D. Navara - L. van Wely  
R. Ponomariov - V. Topalov  
V. Anand - T. Radjabov  
L. Aronian - V. Kramnik  
M. Carlsen - P. Svidler  
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
A. Motylev - P. Svidler  
V. Kramnik - M. Carlsen  
T. Radjabov - L. Aronian  
V. Topalov - V. Anand  
L. van Wely - R. Ponomariov  
S. Karjakin - D. Navara  
A. Shirov - S. Tiviakov  
Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 23th
S. Tiviakov - A. Motylev  
D. Navara - A. Shirov  
R. Ponomariov - S. Karjakin  
V. Anand - L. van Wely  
L. Aronian - V. Topalov  
M. Carlsen - T. Radjabov  
P. Svidler - V. Kramnik  
Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 24th
A. Motylev - V. Kramnik  
T. Radjabov - P. Svidler  
V. Topalov - M. Carlsen  
L. van Wely - L. Aronian  
S. Karjakin - V. Anand  
A. Shirov - R. Ponomariov  
S. Tiviakov - D. Navara  
Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 26th
D. Navara - A. Motylev  
R. Ponomariov - S. Tiviakov  
V. Anand - A. Shirov  
L. Aronian - S. Karjakin  
M. Carlsen - L. van Wely  
P. Svidler - V. Topalov  
V. Kramnik - T. Radjabov  
Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 27th
A. Motylev - T. Radjabov  
V. Topalov - V. Kramnik  
L. van Wely - P. Svidler  
S. Karjakin - M. Carlsen  
A. Shirov - L. Aronian  
S. Tiviakov - V. Anand  
D. Navara - R. Ponomariov  
Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 28th
R. Ponomariov - A. Motylev  
V. Anand - D. Navara  
L. Aronian - S. Tiviakov  
M. Carlsen - A. Shirov  
P. Svidler - S. Karjakin  
V. Kramnik - L. van Wely  
T. Radjabov - V. Topalov  
 

Schedule and pairings of Grandmaster Group B

Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 13th
T. Kosintseva - D. Jakovenko
½-½
V. Georgiev - P. Eljanov
0-1
F. Nijboer - M. Vachier-Lagrav
½-½
G. Sargissian - J. Smeets
0-1
B. Xiangzhi - E. L’Ami
1-0
S. Atalik - D. Stellwagen
½-½
J. Werle - V. Bologan
0-1
Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
D. Jakovenko - V. Bologan ½-½
D. Stellwagen - J. Werle ½-½
E. L’Ami - S. Atalik ½-½
J. Smeets - B. Xiangzhi ½-½
M. Vachier-Lagrav - G. Sargissian ½-½
P. Eljanov - F. Nijboer ½-½
T. Kosintseva - V. Georgiev ½-½
Round 3 - Mon. Jan. 15th
V. Georgiev - D. Jakovenko
0-1
F. Nijboer - T. Kosintseva
1-0
G. Sargissian - P. Eljanov
1-0
B. Xiangzhi - M. Vachier-Lagrav
1-0
S. Atalik - J. Smeets
0-1
J. Werle - E. L’Ami
1-0
V. Bologan - D. Stellwagen ½-½
Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 16th
D. Jakovenko - D. Stellwagen
½-½
E. L’Ami - V. Bologan
½-½
J. Smeets - J. Werle
1-0
M. Vachier-Lagrav - S. Atalik
1-0
P. Eljanov - B. Xiangzhi
1-0
T. Kosintseva - G. Sargissian
1-0
V. Georgiev - F. Nijboer
½-½
Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
F. Nijboer - D. Jakovenko  
G. Sargissian - V. Georgiev  
B. Xiangzhi - T. Kosintseva  
S. Atalik - P. Eljanov  
J. Werle - M. Vachier-Lagrav  
V. Bologan - J. Smeets  
D. Stellwagen - E. L’Ami  
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
D. Jakovenko - E. L’Ami  
J. Smeets - D. Stellwagen  
M. Vachier-Lagrav - V. Bologan  
P. Eljanov - J. Werle  
T. Kosintseva - S. Atalik  
V. Georgiev - B. Xiangzhi  
F. Nijboer - G. Sargissian  
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
G. Sargissian - D. Jakovenko  
B. Xiangzhi - F. Nijboer  
S. Atalik - V. Georgiev  
J. Werle - T. Kosintseva  
V. Bologan - P. Eljanov  
D. Stellwagen - M. Vachier-Lagrav  
E. L’Ami - J. Smeets  
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
D. Jakovenko - J. Smeets  
M. Vachier-Lagrav - E. L’Ami  
P. Eljanov - D. Stellwagen  
T. Kosintseva - V. Bologan  
V. Georgiev - J. Werle  
F. Nijboer - S. Atalik  
G. Sargissian - B. Xiangzhi  
Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 23th
B. Xiangzhi - D. Jakovenko  
S. Atalik - G. Sargissian  
J. Werle - F. Nijboer  
V. Bologan - V. Georgiev  
D. Stellwagen - T. Kosintseva  
E. L’Ami - P. Eljanov  
J. Smeets - M. Vachier-Lagrav  
Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 24th
D. Jakovenko - M. Vachier-Lagrav  
P. Eljanov - J. Smeets  
T. Kosintseva - E. L’Ami  
V. Georgiev - D. Stellwagen  
F. Nijboer - V. Bologan  
G. Sargissian - J. Werle  
B. Xiangzhi - S. Atalik  
Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 26th
S. Atalik - D. Jakovenko  
J. Werle - B. Xiangzhi  
V. Bologan - G. Sargissian  
D. Stellwagen - F. Nijboer  
E. L’Ami - V. Georgiev  
J. Smeets - T. Kosintseva  
M. Vachier-Lagrav - P. Eljanov  
Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 27th
D. Jakovenko - P. Eljanov  
T. Kosintseva - M. Vachier-Lagrav  
V. Georgiev - J. Smeets  
F. Nijboer - E. L’Ami  
G. Sargissian - D. Stellwagen  
B. Xiangzhi - V. Bologan  
S. Atalik - J. Werle  
Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 28th
J. Werle - D. Jakovenko  
V. Bologan - S. Atalik  
D. Stellwagen - B. Xiangzhi  
E. L’Ami - G. Sargissian  
J. Smeets - F. Nijboer  
M. Vachier-Lagrav - V. Georgiev  
P. Eljanov - T. Kosintseva  
 

Schedule and pairings of Grandmaster Group C

Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 13th
S. Brynell - T. Willemze
½-½
P. Negi - W. Spoelman
1-0
N. Kosintseva - H. Yifan
0-1
M. Krasenkow - I. Nepomniachtchi
0-1
J. van der Wiel - Z. Peng
½-½
E. Berg - E. van Haastert
1-0
M. Bosboom - H. Jonkman
½-½
Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 14th
T. Willemze - H. Jonkman
0-1
E. van Haastert - M. Bosboom
0-1
Z. Peng - E. Berg
½-½
I. Nepomniachtchi - J. van der Wiel
1-0
H. Yifan - M. Krasenkow
0-1
W. Spoelman - N. Kosintseva
1-0
S. Brynell - P. Negi
½-½
Round 3 - Mon. Jan. 15th
P. Negi - T. Willemze
1-0
N. Kosintseva - S. Brynell
1-0
M. Krasenkow - W. Spoelman
1-0
J. van der Wiel - H. Yifan
0-1
E. Berg - I. Nepomniachtchi
½-½
M. Bosboom - Z. Peng
1-0
H. Jonkman - E. van Haastert
0-1
Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 16th
T. Willemze - E. van Haastert
0-1
Z. Peng - H. Jonkman
1-0
I. Nepomniachtchi - M. Bosboom
1-0
H. Yifan - E. Berg
½-½
W. Spoelman - J. van der Wiel
½-½
S. Brynell - M. Krasenkow
½-½
P. Negi - N. Kosintseva
0-1
Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 18th
N. Kosintseva - T. Willemze  
M. Krasenkow - P. Negi  
J. van der Wiel - S. Brynell  
E. Berg - W. Spoelman  
M. Bosboom - H. Yifan  
H. Jonkman - I. Nepomniachtchi  
E. van Haastert - Z. Peng  
Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 19th
T. Willemze - Z. Peng  
I. Nepomniachtchi - E. van Haastert  
H. Yifan - H. Jonkman  
W. Spoelman - M. Bosboom  
S. Brynell - E. Berg  
P. Negi - J. van der Wiel  
N. Kosintseva - M. Krasenkow  
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
M. Krasenkow - T. Willemze  
J. van der Wiel - N. Kosintseva  
E. Berg - P. Negi  
M. Bosboom - S. Brynell  
H. Jonkman - W. Spoelman  
E. van Haastert - H. Yifan  
Z. Peng - I. Nepomniachtchi  
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
T. Willemze - I. Nepomniachtchi  
H. Yifan - Z. Peng  
W. Spoelman - E. van Haastert  
S. Brynell - H. Jonkman  
P. Negi - M. Bosboom  
N. Kosintseva - E. Berg  
M. Krasenkow - J. van der Wiel  
Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 23th
J. van der Wiel - T. Willemze  
E. Berg - M. Krasenkow  
M. Bosboom - N. Kosintseva  
H. Jonkman - P. Negi  
E. van Haastert - S. Brynell  
Z. Peng - W. Spoelman  
I. Nepomniachtchi - H. Yifan  
Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 24th
T. Willemze - H. Yifan  
W. Spoelman - I. Nepomniachtchi  
S. Brynell - Z. Peng  
P. Negi - E. van Haastert  
N. Kosintseva - H. Jonkman  
M. Krasenkow - M. Bosboom  
J. van der Wiel - E. Berg  
Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 26th
E. Berg - T. Willemze  
M. Bosboom - J. van der Wiel  
H. Jonkman - M. Krasenkow  
E. van Haastert - N. Kosintseva  
Z. Peng - P. Negi  
I. Nepomniachtchi - S. Brynell  
H. Yifan - W. Spoelman  
Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 27th
T. Willemze - W. Spoelman  
S. Brynell - H. Yifan  
P. Negi - I. Nepomniachtchi  
N. Kosintseva - Z. Peng  
M. Krasenkow - E. van Haastert  
J. van der Wiel - H. Jonkman  
E. Berg - M. Bosboom  
Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 28th
M. Bosboom - T. Willemze  
H. Jonkman - E. Berg  
E. van Haastert - J. van der Wiel  
Z. Peng - M. Krasenkow  
I. Nepomniachtchi - N. Kosintseva  
H. Yifan - P. Negi  
W. Spoelman - S. Brynell  
 

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