Wijk aan Zee Group B – Faces and Personalities

by ChessBase
1/26/2010 – We have been following the first Super-GM event of the new decade very closely, but our attention and photographic efforts have been mainly concentrated on the A-Group. We should remember: Group B is a category 16 event with a rating average of 2629 – a top tournament anywhere else. To make amends Dutch photographer Frits Agterdenbos has sent us splendid close-up gallery.

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Wijk aan Zee 2010 – Grandmaster Group B

Photos by Frits Agterdenbos

In the very strong Group B – Category 16, rating average 2629 – one player is dominating completely: Anish Giri, who has scored 6.5/8 with a rating performance of 2892, higher than Alexei Shirov (2889), Hikaru Nakamura (2882) or Magnus Carlsen (2840) in the A-Group. Anish is, at 15, the youngest player in the B-Group, and it is interesting to note that the youngest player in the C-Group is also leading: Ray Robson, who is also 15.

Standings in Group B after round eight

GM Anish Giri, NED, 2588, 6.5/8, performance 2892 (!)

Anish Giri, born 28 June 1994, is a chess prodigy and was the world's youngest Grandmaster as of February 2009, the youngest ever of the Soviet Union/Russia or the Netherlands (when he achieved his third GM norm, he was affiliated with the Russian Chess Federation; currently he is living in and playing for Holland). Son of a Nepalese father (Dr. Sanjay Giri, hydrologist) and a Russian mother (Olga Giri, hydrologist), Anish was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and speaks Russian as his first language. In 2002 the family moved to Japan, returned to St. Petersburg in 2007, and since February 2008 the family have been residing in Netherlands, where his father is working in a research and consulting foundation (Deltares). Anish has two sisters, Natasha and Ayusha.

GM Emil Sutovsky, ISR, 2657, 3.5/8, performance 2566

Emil Sutovsky was born in 1977 in in Baku, Azerbaijan (just like Garry Kasparov, Teimour Radjabov, Vugar Gashimov and Vladimir Akopian). He learned to play chess at the age of four and won the World Junior Chess Championship in Medellín in 1996, won Hastings in 2000, and won the 2001 European Chess Championship in Ohrid, where 143 GMs participated, including Ruslan Ponomariov, Judit Polgar and Nigel Short. Sutovsky lives in and plays for Israel.

GM Pentala Harikrishna, India, 2672, performance 2660

Pendyala Harikrishna, or పెండ్యాల హరికృష్ణ in his native Telugu, was born on May 10, 1986 in Andhra Pradesh, India. Harikrishna became the youngest grandmaster from India in 2001 and won the World Junior Chess Championship in November 2004.

GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, ROM, 2681, 3.0/8, performance 2531

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, 33, is a Romanian grandmaster. His peak FIDE rating was 2707, in October 2005, when he was ranked fifteenth in the world, and the highest ranked Romanian player ever. Noted for his risky, almost paradoxical play, he is frequently called a student of Mikhail Tal. In 1999, as a clear outsider, he made it to the semifinals of the FIDE World Championship by beating Vasily Ivanchuk in round four and Alexei Shirov in the quarterfinals, only to succumb to the eventual champion Alexander Khalifman. Nisipeanu won the European Individual Championship 2005 with 10 points out of 13 games, half a point ahead of runner-up Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan.

GM Erwin l'Ami, NED, 2615, 5.0/8, performance 2728

Erwin l'Ami, born April 5, 1985 in Woerden, Holland, has emerged, along with Jan Smeets, Daniel Stellwagen and Jan Werle, as one of a new generation of talented young players from the Netherlands. In 2008 he began working as a second to Ivan Cheparinov and was engaged to assist him at the Sofia M-Tel Masters event. Along with Cheparinov and Francisco Vallejo Pons, he served as a second for Veselin Topalov in the February 2009 Challengers Match against Gata Kamsky.

GM Hua Ni, China, 2657, 5.0/8, performance 2710

Ni Hua, born 31 May 1983 in Shanghai, is one of China's top grandmasters and is the national team captain. In 2003, he became China's 15th GM at the age of 19; on April 2008, Ni Hua and Bu Xiangzhi became the second and third Chinese players to pass the 2700 Elo rating mark, after Wang Yue.

GM Wesley So, PHI, 2656, 5.0/8, performance 2710

Wesley So, born 9 October 1993, in the Philippines, is a chess prodigy who achieved the GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the seventh youngest grandmaster title in chess history. Before that he was the youngest ever Filipino International Master, at the age of 12 years and 10 months. He was last year's winner of the Grandmaster Group C in Wijk aan Zee.

GM Arkadij Naiditsch, GER, 2687, 4.5/8, performance 2687

Arkadij Naiditsch, born 25 October 1985 in Latvia, is the top seed in Group B. He was the clear winner of the Dortmund Sparkassen 2005 Tournament, ahead of higher-rated and well-known players such as Veselin Topalov, Peter Svidler, Vladimir Kramnik, Michael Adams, Peter Leko and Loek Van Wely. In 2007 he won the German national championship.

GM Tomi Nyback of Finnland, 2643, 3.0/8 points, 2524 performance

Tomi Nybäck, 24, is Finland's strongest player. In this year's European Championship he shared first place with nine other players, but lost in the first round of the play-offs. At the Chess Olympiad in Dresden last year he scored a solid 5.5/8 on board one, the highlight being his win against Magnus Carlsen.

GM David Howell, ENG, 2606, 4.5/8, performance 2680

David Wei Liang Howell, 19, is currently the youngest chess grandmaster in the United Kingdom, a title he earned at the age of 16. He was born in Eastbourne to Angeline (originally from Singapore) and Martin Howell. David has a beautiful younger sister, Julia, and lives with his family in Seaford, East Sussex.

GM Parimarjan Negi, IND, 2621, 4.0/8, performance 2633

Parimarjan Negi, 16, became a grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 4 months, and 22 days, the second youngest in chess history. He studies in the Amity International School and has won various tournaments there.

IM Anna Muzychuk, SLO, 2523,

Anna Muzychuk, 19, was born in Lviv, Ukraine, but became a citizen of Slovenia in 2004, where she is the strongest female chess player. Anna earned the title of Woman Grandmaster in 2004 and International Master in 2007, and is currently ranked second in the world in the list of girls up to 20 years old. Over all she is the number seven amongst all female players in the world. Her younger sister Mariya (1992) is also an International master.

GM Dimitri Reinderman, NED, 2573, 2.5/8, performance 2487

Dimitri Reinderman, 37, is a vegetarian, who says that chess, magic, cats, movies and music are the main elements of his life. He is ranked number ten in the Netherlands.

GM Varuzhan Akobian, USA, 2628, 2.0/8, performance 2438

Varuzhan Akobian, 27, is originally from Armenia but now resides in Los Angeles. He became an IM at age 16 and a GM at 20. He won the World Open tournament in Philadelphia on three separate occasions. In 2006 he tied for first in the San Marino tournament with a performance rating of 2796. He qualified for the Chess World Cup 2007, but was eliminated in the first round. Currently he is the fifth highest rated player in the USA. In 2007 Akobian was featured on MTV's True Life documentary series, in an episode titled "I'm a Genius". His name was used in a publicity stunt involving a six million dollar "world championship" match in Las Vegas.

All photos and information by courtesy of ChessVista – Frits Agterdenbos.
Many more pictures are available on this web site.

Frits Agterdenbos, b. 1960, lives in Heemstede, not far from Amsterdam, and was one of the leading chess photographers in the eighties. From 1979–1991 his pictures appeared in several magazins, including New in Chess, Schakend Nederland, Inside Chess, BCM, Chess, Europe Echecs and Schach. In 1984 his Dutch book “64 Schaakportretten” (in English “64 Chess Portraits”) was published. In 1991 he “retired” as a chess photographer to finish his studies and in 1997 he received a diploma as an insurance mathematician (actuary). Since 1998 he has been a self-employed, working under the company name “Acturix”, which is his actuarial consultancy firm.

Now Frits is back as a chess photographer! In January 2005 he picked up his old passion, and publications show he still knows how to handle his camera. He combines his insurance job and chess photography with being a husband and a father of the beautiful Elena (seven years old). You will find his photos on Chessbase.com, Schaakbond.nl, Schaaklog.nl and Schakers.info, and many more websites and magazines. You can contact him under f.agterdenbos (at) acturix.com.

Portraits of the Group C players coming soon...


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