Wijk R01: More pictorial impressions from day one

by ChessBase
1/18/2009 – There are three "GM tournaments" in Wijk aan Zee, with a total of 37 grandmasters, two IMs, one WGM and two FMs. Two of the 42 players are female, two are just 14 years old. Naturally the top section attracts the greatest attention, but we don't want to ignore totally the other interesting participants. For starters we bring you players, biographies and a video report.

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Impressions from round one

Photo report from Wijk aan Zee by Jeroen van den Belt

The focus of attention: Magnus Carlsen, second seed of the A Group

Chess is tough, but sometimes you find a diamond: Karjakin in his game against Morozevich

Name: Sergei Karjakin
Date of birth: 12-01-1990
Country: Ukraine
World ranking: 27
Rating: 2706

The Ukrainian prodigy is another player who is making a return to Corus after a break (skipped last year’s event). Still the holder of ‘youngest ever to achieve the GM title’, Karjakin is another Corus A player to have crossed the magical 2700 milestone this year. Looking at his Elo rating graph never ceases to amaze: from year 2000 till now there is an exponential rise of well more than 500 rating points! Unfortunately for him, he finished the year on a weak note with poor performances at the European club championships and the Spanish league, which will take a small bite from his near-peak high.

Sergey’s name became known when in 2002, before he was twelve years old, and before he made his GM title, when Ponomariov appointed him as his second for the FIDE world championships match with Ivanchuk. His biggest ‘big league’ success was making it all the way to the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup, where Shirov eliminated him. Among his most noted result for 2008 was tying for third in Aerosvit (6/11). He also took part at both the FIDE Grand Prix events, scoring +1 in one, and –1 in the other.

Suffering is part of the game: India's second strongest GM Krishnan Sasikiran

Name: Krishnan Sasikiran
Date of birth: 07-01-1981
Country: India
Rating: 2711

Top seed in the ultra-strong GM B group is India’s second highest ranked player. A Grandmaster since 2000, Krishnan is a former Asian champion, who climbed through the ranks by placing high in strong events all over the world around the start of the Millennium. Recently the Grandmaster from Chennai played on board one for his country – substituting for his city-mate world champion Anand – and scoring a very respectable 6/10. ‘Sasi’ is a very solid player, and is well prepared in the openings. He learned how to play chess at the relatively late age of 9, and was initially coached by his dad. His quick progress brought him wins at the under age 18 championships of both India and the British Commonwealth. In 2002 he beat Anand at the World cup, in a strong showing. His most noted results this year were first place at the top group of the Mazovian tournament in Poland with 6.5/9, a tie for first at the strong Kolkata open with 8.5/10. Sasikiran is making his first appearance in Wijk aan Zee, and is surely one of the favorites to win his group.

Loek van Wely (left) missed good winning chances against Leinier Dominguez

Specators in the De Moriaan playing hall in Wijk aan Zee

Fabiano Caruana from Italy/US/Hungary, 2646, vs Andrei Volokitin, Ukraine, 2671

The friend: GM Erwin l'Ami, Dutchman with a French name

Name: Erwin l'Ami
Date of birth: 05-04-1985
Country: the Netherlands
Rating: 2603

Erwin’s ‘connection to chess’ started at age five, with the encouragement of his father. He took to the game pretty quickly, and became a part of a talented group of youngsters who took part at national, and later world events. His first significant breakthrough was in 2004 when he achieved the IM title, following it quickly in 2005 when he fulfilled the requirements for Grandmaster. L’Ami’s rating rise was very impressive, climbing from the 2200’s to cross the 2600 mark in just a few years. The Dutchman is a very active player, averaging 30 rated ELO games per rating period. He mostly plays in Western European open and closed events, and in several leagues as well. In 2008 some of his noted results were a solid performance on board four for his national team at the Olympiad, scoring 6/9, and a tie for second place with a fantastic 8/11 finish at the European championships in Plovdiv. Erwin also scored a very respectable 7/11 in the next such event in Liverpool, and aside from a few mediocre results his only poor showing was 2.5/8 at the Bundesliga. At the M-Tel tournament earlier this year, L’Ami had his first experience as a second (to Bulgarian GM Cheparinov), a experience that was demanding and tiring, but also enriching and ‘inspiring’ for him. A regular at Corus, Erwi scored –1 in last year’s Corus B.

IM Manuel Bosboom, NED, shocked England by beating super-talent David Howell, 2622

Harika! The Junior World Champion (girls's section) from India, rated 2473, beat...

Junior World Champion (open section) GM Abhijeet Gupta, India, 2569

FM Anish Giri, of Nepalese origin, Russian nationality, living in Holland

The board as seen by 14-year-old Hou Yifan, China, 2571

All pictures by Jeroen van den Belt, biographies from the official web site

Video by Europe Echecs

GM Robert Fontaine wraps up round one for the French Chess magazine and portal Europe Echecs


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