Wijk aan Zee rest day – we went slumming again

1/27/2009 – On the second free day in Wijk we again take a look at the "lower" groups – each of which itself could be an attractive main tournament. Nigel Short leads alone in the B-Group, with 5.5/8 and a 2774 performance – but it was David Navara who won an Expert's Prize for his fine sixth-round win against Vallejo. In the C-Group Tiger Hillarp Persson is a full point ahead. Pictures by Fred Lucas.

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Slumming it - part two

Rest day summary by Steve Giddins

As on the first rest day, we will use the opportunity afforded by today's 24-hour sabbatical in Wijk aan Zee to catch up on recent events in the B and C groups.


Preparing for action in Wijk: Nigel Short

When we last looked at the B Group, after round four, it was Nigel Short who shared the lead, with Caruana and Kazimdzhanov. Round five saw the Englishman have a bad time, as he went down with White against Sasikiran, but he bounced back the following day, with a highly creative effort.

Reinderman,D (2549) - Short,N (2663) [C69]
Corus B Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 23.01.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0–0 f6 6.d4 Bg4 7.c3 Bd6 8.Be3 Ne7 9.dxe5 fxe5 10.c4 c5 11.b4 b6 12.bxc5 bxc5 13.Nbd2 0–0 14.Qa4. Technically a novelty. In the game Shaw-Ashton, Gibraltar 2006, White first interpolated 14.h3 Bh5 and only then proceeded with 15.Qa4 In either case, one feels that Black should have good chances, with his kingside prospects at least balancing his queenside pawn weaknesses. Like many classical players, Short always likes such situations, pointing out the unarguable fact that if things go well for White, he will win a pawn or two on the queenside, and may or may not win the game. On the other hand, if Black manages to cash his trumps, he will deliver mate. 14...Ng6 15.Kh1 Qe7 16.Ne1 Nf4 17.f3 Bd7 18.Qa5 Rf6 19.Rf2 Rh6 20.Nf1 g5 21.g4!? A radical response.

21...Rh3!? And an equally radical reply! The rook move looks odd at first sight, but is perfectly logical – Black wants to play h7-h5, and in the meantime, his rook takes aim at the freshly-created weakness on f3. 22.Ng3 h5 23.gxh5 Rf8 24.Qd2 Qf7 25.Rc1 Be6 26.Bxf4?! After this, White's position soon crumbles, but it is extremely hard to suggest a constructive move for White. The best that Fritz can come up is 26.Rb1 or 26.Rd1, and it is probably significant that it evaluates both moves equally, as both look equally useless. Possibly 26.Kg1 is the best try, but White is clearly in the toils. 26...exf4 27.Nf5 Bxf5 28.exf5 Qxf5 29.Nd3. This makes things even worse, by allowing Black's next, but I am really not very motivated to try to defend the white position. 29...g4 30.Qe2 g3 31.Rg2 Qxh5 32.Qe6+ Kg7 33.Rcc2 Re8 34.Qd5 Qxd5 35.cxd5 Re3

Simple and totally decisive. Reinderman sportingly allows Short to administer mate, a gesture that was appreciated by the English GM after the game. 36.Nf2 Re1+ 37.Rg1 Rxh2# 0–1. [Click to replay]


Dimitri Reinderman

Name: Dimitri Reinderman
Date of birth: 12-08-1972
Country: the Netherlands
Rating: 2549

A look at Dimitri’s Elo rating chart might make one raise one’s eyebrows: a relatively consistent rise for a long while, then a significant decline till mid-decade, and then a nice escalation. Perhaps the reason (or one of them) for that is that for many years the Dutch Grandmaster was gainfully employed in a ‘non-chessic' job, and only relatively recently returned to full time play and coaching. He served as a coach for the Dutch youth team in world events, such as the world youth championships, and recently captained the South African women’s team for the Dresden Olympiad. In 2008 Reinderman played in several European leagues with decent results, and his best event was the Dutch closed championship where he scored a very good 7/11, to share second place. He had two disappointing results: in Groningen where he had 5/9 against a low average of opposition, and the Limburg open.

Dimitri returns to Corus after his strong showing in the C group last year, tying for second place (and top Dutchman – his ticket into GM B) with 8/13. He is possibly the most colorful (literally) player in the GM B group: his hairdos have range from mainstream colors to blonde, orange, green, blue, if I haven’t missed more! Can this vegetarian ‘go for the flesh’ in January 2009?

The following day, Short scored a less spectacular, but also very classy win over key rival Kazimdhzhanov, and he went into the second rest day in clear first place. I am sure he must be delighted with his form so far, although I also wonder whether he has mixed feelings about the prospect of winning the event, and thus qualifying for the A Group! When a similar prospect was mooted last year, Nigel expressed his attitude in rather graphic fashion to the denizens of the Press Room, suggesting that he would rather subject himself to physical dismemberment than play in the A Group!


Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Each day at Wijk aan Zee, a prize of Euro 250 is awarded to the best game played in the three Grandmaster sections. Until a few years ago, this was decided by a vote of the commentary room audience, but after several well-publicised rants by Garry Kasparov, who was frequently incensed by the public's choice of what he considered objectively inferior games, the so-called Public Prize was replaced by the Expert's Prize, judged by Ivan Sokolov. On most days, it tends to go to a game from the A Group, but the award for round six went to the highly popular David Navara, for his fine win as Black against Vallejo Pons.


Pacing the hall – David Navara

Name: David Navara
Date of birth: 27-03-1985
Country: Czech Republic
Rating: 2638

David started playing chess at age six, and was practically self-taught from a book he got from his grandma, since no one in his family really played. In no time he shows his gift for the game, when he won several national titles for boys, starting at age 8. He represented his country multiple times in world events, such as the world youth and the European youth, often finishing in the top five places. Navara was already an IM at age 14, and three years later already obtained his Grandmaster title. He played many times in his country’s national championship, winning it several times, and is a regular member and first board for his Olympic team.

The Grandmaster from Parague is making his third trip to Wijk aan Zee after a one-year break. He scored solidly in the GM B group in 2006 with 7.5/13, but his crossing over the 2700 mark got him invited to the top tournament where he ended with a respectable even score. He is down nearly 100 points from his all time high, and is a bit in a slump. His latest results in the several leagues he plays at were sub par, and he had a rather forgettable experience at the two world cup events he took part in: 5.5/13 in Baku, and only 4/13 in Sochi. Perhaps the sympathetic Navara could spring back to form in January!

Vallejo Pons,F (2702) - Navara,D (2638) [D70]
Corus B Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 23.01.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0–0–0 f5 10.h4 fxe4 11.h5 gxh5 12.Rxh5 Bf5 13.Rg5 Bg6

14.Nxe4. The first novelty. Theory concentrates on the move 14.Be2 but the Czech GM Laznicka, who is the main expert on this variation, lost with this move against, last time out: 14...e5 15.d5 Nd4 16.fxe4 c6 17.dxc6 Nxc6 18.Qe1 Qf6 19.Qg3 Rad8 20.Nf3 Nd4 and Black was fine, and went on to win (Laznicka-Krasenkov, Ostrava 2007). 14...e5 15.d5 Nd4 16.Nc3 c6 17.dxc6 Qc7! Despite being caught in his opponent's preparation, Navara does not hesitate to sacrifice material, to open lines against the white king. Of course, in such a position, tactical specifics predominate over positional generalities, but even so, just looking at the position (especially the black bishop on g6), I am irresistibly reminded of the famous Keres-Botvinnik minitiature, from the 1941 Absolute Championship of the USSR. And we all know what happened to the white king in that game! 18.cxb7 Rab8 19.f4 Rfd8 20.fxe5 Ne6. 20...Nb3+ 21.axb3 Rxd2 22.Rxd2 is less clear. 21.Qe2 Rxd1+ 22.Qxd1 Nxg5 23.Bxg5 Bxe5. Materially, White is not so badly off, but his king is fatally exposed. 24.Ba6 Bxc3 25.Qb3+ Nd5

26.Qxd5+?! 26.bxc3 is a better try, although Black remains clearly better in the ending after 26...Bf7 27.Ne2 Qc6 28.Qb5 Qxb5 29.Bxb5 Rxb7. 26...Bf7 27.Qf5 Bf6+ 28.Kd1 Qd6+ 29.Kc1 Bxb2+ 30.Kxb2 Qxa6 31.Kc1 Qc6+ 32.Kd2 Qxg2+ 33.Ne2 Qd5+ 34.Qxd5 Bxd5 and Navara mopped up the ending. 35.a4 Rxb7 36.a5 Kf7 37.Be3 Rb2+ 38.Ke1 a6 39.Bb6 h5 40.Nf4 Bf3 41.Nd3 Re2+ 42.Kf1 h4 43.Bd4 Bh5 44.Bf2 h3 45.Nf4 h2 0–1. [Click to replay]


Francisco Vallejo Pons

Name: Francisco Vallejo Pons
Date of birth: 21-08-1982
Country: Spain
Rating: 2702

Spain’s second highest rated player (and top native born), Paco is his country’s current champion – an event he also won in 2006. He is a former world youth champion under age 18 (won in 2000). His first performance under the limelight was his participation at the 2002 edition of the Linares tournament, where he scored a very respectable 5/12 points – a score he repeated the following two years as well. Vallejo qualified to the 2004 FIDE world championships, but was knocked out in round one, but later that year had a strong showing on second board for his country at the Olympiad.

At the 2005 world cup in Russia, Paco finished around the middle with 7/14, and in the elimination version of the same event at the same venue, he made it to the second round, where he got knocked out. He is an active league and open tournaments player, with varying results, and although he may be 20 points off his all time high, he is expected to cross the 2700 milestone number after all recent events are calculated. His main success in 2008 has to be his outstanding 9/11 result on second board for his country, at the Olympiad. In addition to being a top class player, Valleo has been dabbling as a second to Veselin Topalov. This is his first playing visit to Wijk aan Zee.

Second and third places in Group B are shared by Alexander Motylev of Russia, and Andrey Volokitin of The Ukraine. The former won the B Group three years ago, just edging out a 15-year old Magnus Carlsen, and after a slow start, three straight wins in rounds 5-7 have propelled him into a share of the lead again this year.

Standings after eight rounds in the GM Group B



On his way to the GM title – Manuel Bosboom

In Group C, the early leader Manuel Bosboom has fallen back a little, but remains in equal 3rd-6th places. He is also closing fast on a GM norm, and can in fact clinch a nine-round norm tomorrow, should be manage to beat Holzke with black.


Tiger Hillarp Persson

The tournament leader, by a full point, is Tiger Hillarp Persson, who has won three of his last four games, including the following effort against the young Nepalese/Russian Dutchman.

Giri,A (2469) - Hillarp Persson,T (2586) [D12]
Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (5), 22.01.2009

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Qb3 b5?! An extremely daring choice. Does Black really have enough after the capture on b5? Giri decides to believe his opponent and play things positionally. 8...Qb6 would be the normal move. 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.Bd2 a5 12.0–0–0? Really a case of castling into it. 12.Bd3 looks much safer. 12...Be7 13.g4 Na6 14.Qc2 a4 15.h4 Nb4 16.Qb1 a3 17.b3 Qd6 18.Be2 Rc8 19.h5 gxh5 20.gxh5 Qe6

21.f4? The only way to stay in the game was 21.e4 (or first 21.h6 and then e4), when the position would remain unclear. After the text, Black breaks through decisively on the c-file. 21...c5! 22.h6 Rxh6 23.Rxh6 gxh6 24.Bxb5+ Kd8. An original position. The black king turns out to be as safe as houses on d8, whereas the white monarch is facing extinction. 25.Bd3 cxd4 26.exd4 Qh3 27.Bc4. Desperation, as he cannot save material. If 27.Be1 Qe3+ mates. 27...dxc4 28.bxc4 Rxc4 29.Qb3 Rc8 30.Be1 Nfd5 31.Qa4 Rxc3+ 0–1. [Click to replay]


Just 14 and already giving strong simuls – Anish Giri

Anish Giri was born on June 28 1994 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His mother is Russian, his father from Nepal. He started to play chess on the age of 7, was Russian champion and acquired 3-4 place in European Youth Chess Championship under 12 in 2006. The famils lived in Japan for five years, where Anish became Hokkaido champion among older players, whild also participating in many chess tournaments. In February 2008 the family moved to The Netherlands.

Standings after eight rounds in the GM Group C

On Tuesday the players return to action in earnest, in all three groups. Top pairings in the A Group include Kariakin-Movsesian, whilst in the B Group, Short faces bottom marker Mecking.

All photographs by Fred Lucas, biographies from the official web site.


Fred Lucas is specialised in business photography. He also runs a small portrait studio in the center part of Utrecht. In addition he occasionally photographs the mind sport chess. He is a member of BFN, the Dutch Association of Professional photographers. His photos have been published in industrial books and magazines, Dutch newspapers, magazines like Nieuwe Revu, international magazines and newspapers like Aftenposten, Le Monde and the New York Times.

Fred Lucas links

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