Wijk aan Zee Group C – Faces and Personalities

by ChessBase
1/28/2010 – Ten rounds have been played, three to go, with Thursday the rest day. That give us a chance to catch up on the somewhat neglected lower groups. After our recent Group B pictorial we turn our attention to Group C, where six players are 20 years old, five younger and three older. Dutch photographer Frits Agterdenbos has sent us information and pictures for another lovely close-up gallery.

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Wijk aan Zee 2010 – Group C wrap-up

By Frits Agterdenbos

The C-Group in Wijk aan Zee is for young and upcoming stars, and a number of today's A and B players can be found in the C Group tables of past years. Six players in the current tournament are 20 years old, five are younger and the rest older. The first half was dominated by the second-youngest player, Ray Robson, 15, who led the field for most of the first eight rounds, but is now in 3-5th place.

Participants of Grandmaster Group C

Title Player
GM Li Chao
GM Abhijeet Gupta
GM Ray Robson
GM Kjetil Lie
IM Nils Grandelius
GM Robin Swinkels
GM Daniele Vocaturo
IM Robin van Kampen
WGM Marya Muzychuk
GM Zhaoqin Peng
FM Stefan Kuipers
WGM Soumya Swaminathan
FM Benjamin Bok
  Sjoerd Plukkel
Average rating: 2455 – Category: 11

Standings after ten rounds

Players' portraits

GM Li Chao, CHN, 2604, 7.5/10, performance 2648

Li Chao, 20, born in Taiyuan, Shanxi, became China's 23rd Grandmaster in 2007 at the age of 18. He has been a second and assistant to Wang Yue on several occasions, and both are good friends having known each other since kids.

GM Daniele Vocaturo, ITA, 2495, 6.0/10, performance 2553

Daniele Vocaturo, 20, was invited to the event as a young Italian GM. He recently made his three GM norms within six months, the last one in Reykjavik with a wonderful game beating GM Hillarp Persson. He is in Wijk aan Zee together with his trainer GM Mihail Marin and manager Y. Garrett.

IM Robin van Kampen, NED, 2456, 6.0/10, performance 2533

IM Robin van Kampen, 15, is like his friend Anish Giri, a young Dutch talent. He made his first IM norm by winning the Batavia Amsterdam Chess Tournament 2009, and in the same year was Dutch Junior Champion (U20). In Groningen 2009 he played a match versus Jan Timman (lost 2.5-1.5). Robin has his own blog, in Dutch, but hasn't updated it since last September.

GM Ray Robson, USA, 2570, 6.0/10, performance 2487

Ray Robson, born on October 25, 1994 in Guam, attracted international attention when he became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years 11 months and 16 days, the youngest GM ever in the United States and the 16th youngest in chess history (see list of chess prodigies). Ray's father is Gary Robson, a professor of applied linguistics at St. Petersburg College, and Yee-chen, a kindergarten teacher at Country Day School. The family later moved to Largo, Florida where they live today. An only child he learnt chess from his father at age three. Ray was leading the C-Group in Wijk aan Zee for the first half of the event, but dropped to equal 3-5th place when he lost three of his last four games.

GM Robin Swinkels, NED, 2495, 6.0/10, performance 2606

Robin Swinkels, 20, has represented the Netherlands in the World and European Junior Championships in different age groups on a number of occasions. His highest ever rating was in July 2009, where he appeared at 2516 and was the 15th highest ranked Dutch player.

In 2008 Robin Swinkels played a very unusual game against IM Hans Bohm

IM Nils Grandelius, SWE, 2515, 5.5/10, performance 2457

Nils Grandelius, 16, is Sweden's most promising young player. The last three years have seen his rating climb by 400 points. So far, his best achievements have been winning the Swedish Junior Championship in 2007 and winning a grandmaster tournament in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, where he also secured his first grandmaster norm. His playing style is very aggressive and creative, making him difficult to play, something that a number of grandmasters have already experienced. In ten games so far he has made a single draw, winning five and losing four. In round ten he got mated by WGM Soumya Swaminathan (her first win in this event).

GM Abhijeet Gupta, IND, 2577, 5.5/10, performance 2475

Abhijeet Gupta, 20, hails from Bhilwara in Rajasthan. He entered the Limca Book of Records by becoming the youngest National junior (under-19) champion at the age of 13 years and 10 days. He received the IM title in 2005 and his GM title in 2008. Abhijeet has won 14 international medals, including six gold medals from the Asian, Commonwealth and British Championship age-group categories.

GM Peng Zhaoqin, NED, 2402, 5.0/10, performance 2459

Peng Zhaoqin (彭肇勤), 41, was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, but has lived in the Netherlands since 1996. She has the full ("male") grandmaster title, which was awarded in October 2004. Peng, as she is called, has won the Dutch Women's Championship eleven (in words: eleven!) times in and is currently the Netherland's number one female player.

GM Kjetil Lie, NOR, 2547, 5.0/10, performance 2432

Kjetil Aleksander Lie, 29, was Norway's eighth grandmaster (the first who is not from the Oslo vicinity) and currently the national champion, having won the 2009 Norwegian championship. His playing style is aggressive and sacrificial, and he is known as a dangerous tactician. During the 2007 candidates matches in Elista, Lie served as Magnus Carlsen's second, helping with analysis and preparations. He was praised by Magnus's father for his efforts and humor. In Wijk aan Zee this year he mainly assists Magnus by playing squash with him in the evenings.

FM Benjamin Bok, NED, 2322, 4.5/10, performance 2460

Benjamin Bok, 14, is the youngest player of all groups in Wijk aan Zee. He was Dutch Junior Champion U12 in 2008, and last year (2009) he played in the Gibtelecom tournament, facing the likes of Nakamura and Berczes, and in the Groningen Festival, where he beat GMs Alon Greenfeld and Sipke Ernst.

FM Stefan Kuipers, NED, 2340, 4.5/10, performance 2436

Stefan Kuipers, 20, received the ‘Ymouth Versatility’ award of 100 Euros for his win over Mariya Muzychuk in round six of the current tournament. The game went as follows:

Muzychuk,M (2447) - Kuipers,S (2340) [B23]
Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 22.01.2010
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nf3 a6 5.Bd3 g6 6.Nxd4 cxd4 7.Ne2 Bg7 8.0-0 d5 9.exd5 Qxd5 10.c3 Bd7 11.c4 Qd6 12.Be4 f5 13.Bxb7 Rb8 14.Bf3 d3 15.Nc3 e5 16.Bd5 Nf6 17.f3 Nxd5 18.cxd5 0-0 19.b3 e4 20.Bb2 Be5 21.h3 Rbe8 22.Qc1 Rc8 23.Kh1 e3 24.f4 Bxc3 25.Bxc3 e2 26.Rf3 Rfe8 27.Qe1 Qxd5 28.Rc1 Bc6 29.Be5 Qd7 30.Re3 Be4 31.Rxc8 Rxc8 32.Qh4 Qd8 33.Qh6 Qe7 34.Kh2 Rc1 35.Rg3 Qxe5 36.Rxg6+ hxg6 37.fxe5 e1Q 38.Qxg6+ Kf8 39.Qf6+ Ke8 40.Qe6+ Kd8 41.Qd6+ Kc8 42.Qxa6+ Bb7 43.Qe6+ Kb8 44.Qd6+ Rc7 45.e6 Qe4 46.Qf8+ Ka7 47.Qa3+ Kb6 0-1. [Click to replay]

IM Mariya Muzychuk, UKR, 2447, 4.0/10, performance 2362

Mariya Muzychuk, 17, Ukraine, was number seven in the FIDE Girls list in January 2010. She is the younger sister of Anna Muzychuk – there was an awwwww report on the two sisters in ChessBase in 2004.

WGM Soumya Swaminathan, India, 2323, 3.0/10, performance 2319

Soumya Swaminathan, 20, is a Women Grandmaster, her country's eleventh, from Pune, India. She won the World Junior Girls Championship at Puerto Madryn in Argentina on November 3, 2009. "Soumya has been training at the Kunte Academy for the past three years and has sacrificed a lot for chess. She is a hard-worker, a talented player and has a bright future” (GM Abhijeet Kunte). She is also a final year B.Com student in BMCC, with a scholarship from Indian Oil Corporation.

Sjoerd Plukkel, NED, 2279, 1.5/10, performance 2202

Sjoerd Plukkel, 26, Holland, is the only player in this year's tournaments without a FIDE title. He played in the Cultural Village Chess Tournament 2009, scoring 5.0/9 with a performance of 2392.

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


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