Wijk R7: Topalov wins, moves to second place

1/21/2007 – Former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov beat former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov to jump to second place, half a point behind Teimour Radjabov and half a point ahead of Vladimir Kramnik. David Navara was victorious over Loek van Wely while Peter Svidler beat Magnus Carlsen with the black pieces. Big pictorial report.

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Radjabov leads, Topalov in hot pursuit

Round 7 summary by Steve Giddins

The King’s Indian seems to be the new WMD of the Corus tournament. After seeing tournament leader Teimour Radjabov score 2/2 with it, Topalov himself used it today, to beat Ponomariev, and join Radjabov in the lead. The latter survived a dubious position to draw against Anand, whilst there were wins for Svidler and Navara.

Sergey Karjakin at the start of his round seven quickie

Sergei Tiviakov vs Sergey Karjakin: ½-½
The shortest game of the day. Tiviakov has been getting nowhere with the White pieces in this tournament, and today’s game was another example. His 2.c3 Sicilian led to a typical IQP structure, in which Black had no problems. Simplification produced a draw on move 21.

Levon Aronian vs Vladimir Kramnik: ½-½
Another unambitious, but rock-solid performance with the Black pieces by the world champion. Aronian’s 14.h4 was his attempted improvement on the 14.Ke2 chosen by Topalov in game six of the Elista match. White looked to have achieved some advantage by move 20, but Kramnik’s ability to take an inferior position, and simply prevent it getting any worse, has been matched by very few players in chess history. As so often before, he gradually unravelled and equalized, and the draw was agreed on move 28.

Vladimir Kramnik and Levon Aronian analysing after their game

... with journalists and photographers following their every move

Come on, Vlady, I don't buy that! – Aronian in the analysis

Mag vs Pete – a generation battle in chess

Carlsen,M (2690) - Svidler,P (2728) [C88]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (7), 20.01.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0o0 8.a3 Bc5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Be3. By a strange transposition, we have gone from an anti-Marshall into a Neo-Archangel, with White having the extra tempo a3. Given that his plans usually include playing a4, it is not clear that the extra move is of much use. 11…h6 12.h3 Re8 13.Nbd2 Bb7 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Bxb6 cxb6 16.Nh2 Qe7 17.Ng4 Rad8 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qe2 Na5 20.Ba2 Bc8 21.Nf1 Qg6 22.Kh2 Be6 23.Bxe6 Rxe6.


 24.a4? Presumably based on a miscalculation. 24.Rad1 was about equal, whereas now Black seizes the advantage. 24…Nb3 25.Rad1 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 bxa4 27.Qxa6 Qxe4 28.Qc8+ Kh7 29.Rd8 Qf4+ 30.Ng3 Nd2! Avoiding the trap 30...Qxf2?? 31.Rh8+ Kg6 32.Rxh6+!, when Black loses the queen. After the text, Black is virtually winning. 31.h4. “Box”, as Yasser Seirawan would say, a small square box after the move being the Informant symbol for a forced move. 31…Qxh4+ 32.Kg1 e4! The most energetic way to finish the game. The best White can manage now is to escape into a lost queen ending a pawn down, where only due care is required of Black. 33.Rxd2 e3 34.Rd3 Qf4 35.Rxe3 Rxe3 36.fxe3 Qxg3 37.Qf5+ Qg6 38.Qd5 Qe6 39.Qd4 g6 40.Qxa4 Qxe3+ 41.Kh2 h5 42.Qd1 Kg7 43.Qd6 f6 44.Qc7+ Kh6 45.b4 Kg5 46.Qc6 Qe5+ 47.Kg1 b5 0-1.

Using tricks against tricks: young Magnus facing Peter Svidler

Peter Svidler now on plus one

Vishy Anand before the start of round seven

How come I can't win this? Contemplative Anand

Viswanathan Anand vs Teimour Radjabov:  ½-½
After his loss yesterday, Anand needed to beat the leader to re-energise his quest for an unprecedented 6th Corus victory. He seemed to be well on the way to achieving this, as he outplayed Radjabov in the latter’s favourite Sveshnikov Sicilian. By move 30, he had a classic good knight v bad bishop position, and Radjabov’s obituaries were being written all over the world. However, in the face of tenacious defence, Anand was unable to convert his superiority. He turned down the chance to reach a 4 v 3 rook ending by 34.Nf7+, followed by 35.Nxe5, presumably feeling that Black would have good drawing chances, even though the pawn structure, with the passed pawn on e4, is more favourable for White than the typical 4 v 3 case. Instead, his chosen method should probably have won, had he followed up with 36.Nc4. One move later, 37.Ra1 Ra2 38.Ne8 might have posed slightly more problems, but as played, Radjabov was able to hold. A big disappointment for Anand, but an important test passed for his opponent.

Anand vs Radjabov framed by Bologan vs Eljanov (Group B)

Unable to catch the leader in spite of a promising position: Anand vs Radjabov

Great spirits: Ruslan Ponomariov before the arrival of Topalov at the board

The start of another key game in this event

Ponomariov,R (2723) - Topalov,V (2783) [A65]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (7), 20.01.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7. The King’s Indian has become a rare guest in super-tournaments in recent years, but perhaps Radjabov’s success with it in this tournament will start a new upward trend for the opening’s popularity. 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0–0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Bd3 exd5 9.cxd5 Re8 10.Nge2 Nbd7 11.0-0 h6. A novelty in this exact position. Black usually prefers to flick in 11…a6 12 a4 first. 12.Be3!? This leads to the loss of the bishop pair. 12.Bh4 was the alternative, although Black was very active after 12…a6 13.a4 g5 14.Bg3 c4 15.Bc2 Nc5 and went on to win in Atalik-Velimirovic, Yugoslav Cup 1998. 12…Ne5 13.a4 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 b6 15.Ng3 Nh7 16.f4.


16…h5?! Dynamic, but positionally rather risky. White was probably threatening the thematic pawn sacrifice 17 e5 dxe5 18 f5, but 16…Qh4 was a safer way to meet this. 17.f5! Trading the e5 square for the f-file and the weakening of Black’s king. 17…h4 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Nge2 g5 20.Rf2 a6 21.Raf1 Ra7 22.Nb1!? A rather strange-looking move, but an interesting one. 22 Bc1, planning Nd1-e3, looks more natural, but the text tempts Black with a pawn on b2. 22…g4 23.hxg4 Bxg4 24.Nd2 Bxb2. Like Oscar Wilde, it seems that Topalov can resist anything except temptation. 25.Nc3 Rg7 26.Nc4 Bxc3 27.Qxc3 Bh5.


28.Bf4? After this, Black takes a second pawn and White’s position never recovers. 28.Rf5! was stronger, with the nasty point that both 28…Bg6 and 28...Bg4 are strongly met by 29.Bh6. 28...Be2 is therefore forced, when 29.Bh6? loses to 29…Rg3. Instead, 29.R1f2 Bxc4 probably leaves Black somewhat better, but White has some compensation for his pawn. 28...Rxe4 29.Ne3 Qf6 30.Qc2 Bg6 31.Ng4 Qd4. Black’s advantage is now decisive, and Topalov gradually reels in the full point. 32.Nh6+ Kh8 33.Bc1 Re1 34.Qd2 Rxf1+ 35.Kxf1 Bd3+ 36.Kg1 Ng5 37.Kh2 Ne4 38.Rf8+ Kh7 39.Qf4 Nc3 40.Qxd4 cxd4 41.Nf7 Ne4 42.Bb2 Bf1 43.Rh8+ Kg6 44.Rxh4 Kxf7 45.Rf4+ Kg8 46.Rxf1 Rh7+ 47.Kg1 d3 48.Rd1 Rh1+! A nice echo of Carlsen’s missed opportunity 35…Re1+ against Motylev yesterday. 49.Kxh1 Nf2+ 50.Kg1 Nxd1 51.Bc1 Nb2 52.Kf2 Nxa4 53.Bf4 Nc3 54.Kf3 a5 55.Bd2 Nb1 56.Bf4 a4 57.Bxd6 d2 58.Ke2 Nc3+ 0-1.

Outwitting his former training mate: Veselin Topalov in deep thought

Ivan Cheparinov and Silvio Danailov watch their charge win

Towering above his colleagues: Veselin Topalov

Alexei Shirov vs Alexander Motylev: ½-½
After five straight losses, nobody could have blamed Shirov for playing 5.Qe2 against Motylev’s Petroff, and settling for an early draw, but he resisted the temptation to do so. Even so, he never seemed to have more than the tiniest of edges, and a draw was always by far the most likely result. Shirov pressed for some time in the rook ending, but to no effect, and the draw was agreed on move 41.

Yes, very, very hard, Alexei. The Latvian got a second draw in this tournament

David Navara, an extraordinary talent from the Czech Republic

Navara,D (2719) - Van Wely,L (2683) [B90]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (7), 20.01.2007
Navara scored his first win, at the expense of the Dutch favourite. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3. Fischer’s old favourite, a rare sight at GM level nowadays. Van Wely does not react too well. 6…g6 7.g4 Bg7 8.Bg2 h5?! 9.g5 Nfd7 10.Be3 Nc6 11.Qd2 0–0 12.0–0–0 Nde5 13.b3 Qa5 14.f4 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Nc6 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Kb2 Be6.

The opening has clearly gone badly for Black. Indeed, commentating on Playchess.com, Yasser Seirawan described the ending after 18 Nd5 Qxd2 19 Rxd2 as “strategically winning” for White. Navara preferred a different approach, but White retains a clear advantage. 18.Rhf1 Rac8 19.Qe3 Nb4. Fighting fire with fire. White’s last set the cheap trap 20.f5 gxf5 21.exf5 Bxf5 22.Rd5, to which van Wely responds by setting an equally cheap one of his own: 20.a3?? Qxa3+.

20.Rf2 Qc5 21.Qxc5 Rxc5 22.Na4 Rc7 23.f5 b5 24.Nc3. 24.a3 may have been better still, but the text leads to a clearly favourable rook ending for White. 24…Rfc8 25.fxe6 Rxc3 26.Rdd2 R3c7 27.e5?! 27 Rxf7+ is simpler. 27…fxe6 28.exd6 exd6 29.a3 Nd5 30.Bxd5 exd5 31.Rxd5 Rc6 32.Rfd2. This rook ending looks like something of an under-achievement for White, given the size of his earlier advantage, but Navara proceeds to grind out the win in good style. 32…Rd8 33.h4 Rd7 34.R5d3 a5 35.Rd5 Rb6 36.R2d4 a4 37.Rb4 Rdb7 38.Rbd4 Re7 39.Rxd6 Rxd6 40.Rxd6 Re4 41.Rb6 Rxh4 42.Rxb5 Rg4 43.bxa4 h4 44.a5 h3 45.Rb7+ Kg8 46.Rb3 Rxg5 47.Rxh3 Rxa5 48.c4 Kf7 49.Kb3 g5 50.Kb4 g4 51.Rg3 Rg5 52.c5 Ke6 53.Kb5 Ke5 54.Kb6 Kf4 55.Rg1 Rg8 56.c6 Rb8+ 57.Kc5 Rb3 58.a4 Rc3+ 59.Kb5 g3 60.a5 Rc2 61.a6 Rb2+ 62.Kc5 Rc2+ 63.Kb6 Rb2+ 64.Kc7 Ra2 65.Kb7 Rb2+ 66.Kc8 Ra2 67.c7 Ke4 1–0

Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
A. Shirov - A. Motylev
S. Tiviakov - S. Karjakin
D. Navara - L. van Wely
R. Ponomariov - V. Topalov
V. Anand - T. Radjabov
L. Aronian - V. Kramnik
M. Carlsen - P. Svidler
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
A. Motylev - P. Svidler  
V. Kramnik - M. Carlsen  
T. Radjabov - L. Aronian  
V. Topalov - V. Anand  
L. van Wely - R. Ponomariov  
S. Karjakin - D. Navara  
A. Shirov - S. Tiviakov  

Standings after seven rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
G. Sargissian - D. Jakovenko
B. Xiangzhi - F. Nijboer
S. Atalik - V. Georgiev
J. Werle - T. Kosintseva
V. Bologan - P. Eljanov
D. Stellwagen - M. Vachier-Lagrav
E. L’Ami - J. Smeets
Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 20st
M. Krasenkow - T. Willemze
J. van der Wiel - N. Kosintseva
E. Berg - P. Negi
M. Bosboom - S. Brynell
H. Jonkman - W. Spoelman
E. van Haastert - H. Yifan
Z. Peng - I. Nepomniachtchi

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