Wijk free day: Statistics and Slumming (part three)

1/30/2009 – There are three rounds left in Wijk aan Zee, and in each of the three groups there is a sole leader by half a point. The shortest game so far was a 12-move draw, the longest a 99-move win by the youngest player (with black) against the oldest. The best performance so far is 2826 (by Aronian), and the most points above the nominal rating was +138 (by Bosboom). Free day report.

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Statistics after ten rounds

Before we get to the slumming here are some interesting statistics compiled with the help of ChessBase 10.

Draw average

The graphical presentation of draws, wins and losses shows quite vividly the difference between the three groups. Apparently the stronger the event the more draws we are likely to encounter. And the smallest number of black wins. In weaker groups there are considerably more decided games, and more end in a victory for Black.

GM Group A
GM Group B
GM Group C

1-0: 17 games = 24%
1/2: 47 games = 67%
0-1: 06 games = 09%

1-0: 21 games = 30%
1/2: 35games = 50%
0-1: 14 games = 20%
1-0: 30 games = 43%
1/2: 21games = 30%
0-1: 19 games = 27%

Group A: The draw average in the top group is rather high, with 14 games drawn in 24 moves or less. The shortest draws were Radjabov-Dominguez in 14, Radjabov-Aronian in 15 and Adams-Radjabov in 15. There ere only six black wins, with Ivanchuk losing three and Wang Yue two with the white pieces. Karjakin scored the greatest number of white wins, three, followed by Aronian, Dominguez, Morozevich and Movsesian with two white wins each.

Group B: There were only three games in less than 25 moves, one of them a win by Short aganist l'Ami in 19 moves. Reinderman, Sasikiran, Vallejo and Werle lost two games each with the white pieces. Caruana won four white games, which was more than Hou Yifan, l'Ami, Navara, Short, Vallejo and Volokitin, who won two white games each.

Group C: The shortest draw in this tournament was a 12-mover between Holzke and Bitalzadeh in round seven. There were only two more games drawn in less than 25 moves. Oleg Romanishin lost three white games, Gupta, Howell, Iturrizaga, Nijboer and Pruijssers lost two white games each. Hillarp Persson won four white games, followed by Leon Hoyos, Iturriziga, Howell, Gupta and Bosboom with three white wins each.

Length of games

In the above graphs, generated by ChessBase 10, you can see the number of games (y-axis, 0-5) that were played in 12-99 moves. The longest game in Wijk aan Zee so far was played in Group C: Anish Giri, the youngest player overall, defeated Oleg Romanishin, the oldest player, with the black pieces in a bishop and pawn ending in 99 moves.

Top Performance, wins and losses of rating points (after ten rounds)

The performance takes into account the average rating of the opponents and the score of the player. Levon Aronian's 2826 means that against the opposition he has faced so far one would expect a player with that rating to score as well as he did.

GM Group A Elo Perf.
Levon Aronian 2750 2826
Sergey Karjakin 2706 2786
Teimour Radjabov 2761 2752
Sergei Movsesian 2751 2751
Magnus Carlsen 2776 2749
GM Group B Elo Perf
Nigel Short 2663 2741
R. Kasimdzhinov 2687 2715
David Navara 2638 2714
Fabiano Caruana 2646 2711
Alexander Motylev 2676 2708
GM Group C Elo Perf
Tiger Hillarp 2586 2717
Wesley So 2627 2651
Anish Giri 2469 2598
Harika Dronavalli 2473 2560
Frank Holzke 2524 2540
Performance above nominal rating
Manuel Bosboom +138
Jan Smeets +127
Tiger Hillarp +131
Anish Giri +129
Loek van Wely +96
Harika Dronavalli +87
Sergey Karjakin +80
Nigel Short +78
Levon Aronian +76
David Navara +76
Performance below nominal rating
Jan Werle –100
Vassily Ivanchuk –109
Friso Nijboer –133
Olek Romanishin –157
Alexander Morozevich –183
Krishnan Sasikiran –226

Standings after ten rounds

GM Group A

GM Group B

GM Group C

Slumming it (part three)

Round nine report by Steve Giddins

With the Wijk aan Zee tournament having its final rest day today, we once again turn our attention to the B and C Groups. Only two rounds have been played since our last report, and the leading situation in the B Group has not changed that much. Draws with Mecking and Motylev have left Nigel Short half a point clear, with a group of five players now hard on his heels: Caruana, Kazimdzhanov, Motylev, Navara and Volokitin. As reported two days ago, David Navara had already won one of the daily Ivan Sokolov Expert's prizes, for the best game played in each round. In the ninth round, he added another, with a very nice demolition of a sadly out of form Sasikiran.

Navara,D (2638) - Sasikiran,K (2711) [B25]
Corus B Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 27.01.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.f4 Rb8 7.Nf3 b5 8.a3 e6 9.Be3 Nge7. 9...Nd4 is more usual in such positions, preventing the advance d3-d4. 10.d4 b4 11.axb4 Rxb4 12.dxc5 d5?! 12...Rxb2 looks a better try, with a murky position after 13.e5. 13.exd5 exd5

14.Ne5! Nxe5 15.fxe5 d4. If he does not take the piece, Black is clearly worse, so Sasikiran decides that he may as well have some material to suffer for. However, the position after taking the piece proves to be hopeless. 16.Bg5! dxc3 17.Qxd8+ Kxd8 18.bxc3 Rg4 19.0–0–0+ Ke8 20.Bf6! Bxf6. The text loses simply, but after 20...Rg8 21.Rd6 Black is tied hand and foot. Against the threat of Rhd1, the only attempt to defend is 21...Ra4 22.Kb2 Ra6 but then simply 23.Rxa6 Bxa6 24.Ra1 is overwhelming. 21.exf6 Ra4 22.c6! Better than taking back the piece on e7, since the latter is not going anywhere. 22...Bg4 22...Nf5 23.Rhe1+ Be6 24.c7 mates. 23.Rd2 h5 24.c7 Bd7

25.Bc6! A most elegant final blow. 1–0. 25...Nxc6 26.Re1+ Kf8 27.Rxd7 forces mate in 15 (!), as Fritz 11 politely points out. [Click to replay]

For Sasikiran, the top seed on rating, the tournament has turned into an absolute nightmare. After losing to Efimenko with white the following day, he is now rooted to the bottom of the table, with just 3/10, and is losing Elo by the hatful. The other 2700-rated player in the group, Vallejo, is also failing to shine, having just +1 at this stage. In round ten he was instructively outplayed by Kazimdzhanov, who gave a textbook lesson on the subject of weak pawns.

Kasimdzhanov,R (2687) - Vallejo Pons,F (2702) [D80]
Corus B Wijk aan Zee NED (10), 28.01.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 Be6 8.Rb1 b6 9.Nf3 c6 10.a4 Bg7 11.Nd2 0–0 12.Be2 a6 13.Nxc4 Nd7 14.Nd2 b5 15.c4 bxc4 16.Bxc4 Bxc4 17.Nxc4 Bf6 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.0–0 Qc7 20.Ne5 Nd7 21.Nxd7 Qxd7 22.Qc2 Rab8 23.Qc4 a5 24.Qc5 Qc7

25.Rb5 Ra8 26.Qc3 Rfc8 27.Rc5 e6 28.Rc1 Ra6 29.h4 h5 30.Rb1 Raa8 31.g3 Ra6 32.Kg2 Qa7

33.Rbb5! Kh7 34.Rxa5 Rxa5 35.Rxa5 Qb7 36.Rc5 Qb1 37.Qc2 Qxc2 38.Rxc2 Ra8 39.Ra2 Kg7 40.a5 Ra6 41.Kf3 Kf6 42.Kf4 Ke7 43.Kg5 e5 44.dxe5 c5 45.Kf4 c4 46.Ke4 1–0. [Click to replay]

The final three rounds of the tournament should be great, thanks to the luck of the draw. In tomorrow's 11th round, Short faces Navara with black, and he has black against Caruana in the final round on Sunday. Other key match-ups in the final few rounds include Motylev-Volokitin tomorrow, Volokitin-Navara on Saturday, and Motylev-Kazimdzhanov on Sunday!

In Group C, the lead remains in the hands of Tiger Hillarp Persson, who is half a point ahead of the young Filipino, Wesley So. The latter's challenge has been strengthened by back-to-back wins with the black pieces, in rounds nine and ten. At the other end of the table, it is very sad to see veteran Oleg Romanishin propping up the field, with just 3/10. Despite falling back after his good start, Manuel Bosboom remains the source of much of the most entertaining chess played in the event. Sadly, he lost the ninth round game against Holzke, which he needed to win for a GM norm, but he bounced back in typical fashion the next day, to smash Bitalzadeh.

Bosboom,M (2418) - Bitalzadeh,A (2400) [B57]
Corus C Wijk aan Zee NED (10), 28.01.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Bd7 7.Bb3 g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.h3 0–0 10.0–0 b5 11.Re1 b4 12.Nd5 a5 13.a4 Rc8 14.Bg5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Ne5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5

17.Rxe5! dxe5 18.d6 Re8 19.Qf3 Bf5 20.g4 Qxd6? 21.gxf5 gxf5 22.Kh1 h6

23.Qh5! hxg5 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Qh5+ Kg7 26.Rg1 g4 27.Qxf5 Qf6 28.Rxg4+ Kh6 29.Qe4 e6 30.Qe3+ Kh7 31.Qg3 1–0. [Click to replay]

The draw for this group has also thrown up a potentially decisive clash in the closing rounds, as Hillarp Persson and So meet in the penultimate round, on Saturday. Today being my birthday, I am now off to celebrate – if that is the word – the expiry of yet another of the Biblical threescore and ten, but I will be back again tomorrow evening, with a report on round 11 of the A Group.


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