Wijk R8: Topalov beats Anand, takes lead in Wijk

by ChessBase
1/22/2007 – Veselin Topalov is now at the top in Wijk aan Zee, having beaten Vishy Anand fairly convincingly, while Teimour Radjabov, the previous leader, lost to Levon Aronian. Topalov is now at 6.0/8 points with a 2892 performance, and five rounds to go. After returning from Wijk to Hamburg we bring you an extended report with pictures, portraits and videos.

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Round 8 pictorial report

By Frederic Friedel

On Monday the ChessBase team is once again switching reporters in Wijk, so that this report will only be completed on Monday evening, when we are safely back in Hamburg (incidentally there is another storm brewing). For now here are the results, games and standings. We promise you a lot of new pictures.

Yes, thank you, we got back to Hamburg safely, sans storm or other inclemencies of weather. The last 24 hours in Wijk had been very full – the games, dinner with The Vish, long midnight debate with Silvio Danailov, breakfast discussions (on Monday) with Peter Svidler, on cricket and religious faith. Then the 500 km drive back home, with a stop in the beautifully quaint city of Haarlem, with its churches, markets and cheese shops.

We start our picture report with a shot of a player who is rapidly becoming one of our favourites.

David Navara, who lost his game in round eight to Sergey Karjakin

The visiting chess legend Vlasimil Hort told us that David was destined for greatness (both he and Vlastimil come from the Czech Republic). As we mentioned in an earlier report, David is painfully modest, he enters a room apologetically and tries to avoid doing anything that might conceivably disturb anybody in any way. But if you corner him and talk for a protracted period he normalises and turns out to be a very intelligent young man (just 22 years old, incidentally). He is studying logic and is lucid in his discourse. "I do not agree with you, but I appreciate the argument you propose," is a typical remark, which he can make in excellent English or German.

David's vanquisher in round eight: the amazing Sergey Karjakin

Serge, as he is often called, turned 17 two weeks ago. He is one of the most spectacular talents in contemporary chess – together with Magnus Carlsen. And Parimarjan Negi. And Hou Yifan. To name just those present in Wijk. Sergey is rapidly approaching 2700 and his first shave. His performance in Wijk so far is 2802, i.e. so far he has been scoring in the manner you would expect from a player rated that high. Serge is blessed with a rapidly developing sense of humour, which makes him always great fun to have around.

Parimarjan Negi, India's brightest new talent

Pari grew up – well, he is 13 – in New Delhi, but his parents hail from a place call Kumaon, close to Nainital at the foothills of the Himalayas. These words will send a shiver down the backs of some of our readers, who have read the books of Jim Corbett (the hunter and naturalist, not the pugilist). Parimarjan's father is buying a house at the edge of the Corbett National Park. Guess who'll be going there to do a report on "The Chess Players of Kumaon" in the near future.

Hou Yifan, the 12-year-old girl rated over 2500 and giving a 2571 performance in Wijk

Hou Yifan is another one of our all-time favourites (yes, we have a big heart). She is bright, cheerful and vivacious, and would be great fun to have around if she only spoke English. We beseeched her to devote ten percent of her time to learning the language (and just 90% to chess). She promised to do so, but of course we cannot be sure she knew what she was agreeing to. Incidentally Hou Yifan got a Fritz 10 after we promised her a copy, when we arrived, as soon as she won a game. We handed it over three hours later. In return we got a beautiful silk shawl from China from her when we left. Lovely girl – but learn English, Hou Yifan!

A sixteen-year-old boy confidently taking on the world champion

Magnificent Magnus Carlsen – the young Norwegian is struggling in this tournament

Magnus must certainly also be mentioned when we are listing the greatest talents in contemporary chess. There is reason to suspect that he may be the greatest of them all. He is not playing well in Wijk, but we tend to attribute that to the fact that he has comparatively little experience in losing chess games. Wijk is teaching him how to take body shots, recuperate and come back fighting. Here are some videos of the postmortem session between Kramnik and Carlsen provided by ChessVibes.

Peter Svidler, suffering the agony of an upcoming black win against Alexander Motylev

Peter is an ex-prodigy, a statement that in his darker moments he will interpret in the Pythonesque sense ("'E's bleedin' demised! 'E's passed on! 'E's is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'E rests in peace! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'E's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile! This is an ex-parrot!!"). Our friend, who appropriately hails from St. Petersburg, always claims that he is fighting just to achieve mediocrity, while at the same time climbing into the top ten bracket; or that he knows nothing about a certain variation, absolutely zilch, while creating a sinking feeling in the hearts of his colleagues by casually mentioning lines that none of them had imagined existed. Peter is also obsessed by the game of cricket, something that nobody has been able to understand or explain. He is over-educated and speaks an elegant, rich and eloquent English, having read all the important books in that language (he is the only person we know who can recite the Hunting of the Snark). Peter faces the daunting task of facing Topalov, Radjabov, Karjakin, Kramnik and Ponomariov – that's three world champions and the two hottest wonderkids – in the last five rounds of this tournament.

Vishy Anand (right) about to go down to Veselin top-of-the-rating-list Topalov

Anand is one of the most talented players in the history of the game. He has been one of the top three grandmasters in the world for more than a decade, he has played Kasparov in a world championship match and won a FIDE 128-player world championship. Just four points separate him from the current world's number one in the FIDE rankings, Veselin Topalov. In round eight he lost mysteriously to his ratings rival. Later we went to dinner (Thai, with a coconutty soup and seafood dishes), but discretely avoided the ch-word during our meal. Instead we discussed cosmological questions (the Fermi paradox and how long it would take to colonize a medium-sized galaxy); US politics (should Barack run as Hillary's vice); Seinfeld (the episode where George comes up with the idea of a show about nothing); 120 GB USB-2 hard drives; and other matters that distracted him from the not-so-cheerful turn of events in Wijk.

Veselin Topalov analysing his win against Anand in the press room

After the game Veselin spent some time in the press center, and I dutifully congratulated him on his win against Anand. He answered this and the next questions monosyllabically, so that I asked: "What's the matter, are you not talking to me?" "No," he said, monosyllabically. "But Silvio is," I insisted. "Well then you can be satisfied," he answered, this time wasting a number of syllables on his castigation. I left it at that, knowing that he and his team believe that www.chessbase.com had been siding with Kramnik during the Elista scandals. After ten minutes, however, Veselin, whom I have known since he was 17, could not resist. "Frederic," he called from a computer where he was analysing a game,"Fritz 10 is not stronger than Fritz 9. It's suggesting exactly the same moves. Did you guys just change the number for the new version?" We exchanged some banter, much to the amusement of the press corps (it involved challenging Veselin to play Fritz and receiving information on exactly how much a match would cost). Good old Veselin, can't maintain a grudge rigorously for more than a few minutes.

"Come on, Fritz 10 is not stronger than Fritz 9" – Topalov trying to provoke your ChessBase editor in Wijk. On the right manager Silvio Danailov watches games on a computer with Fritz 10.

Chess power: Veselin Topalov, Silvio Danailov and Ivan Cheparinov

On our final evening in Wijk we had a long midnight conversation (debate? argument? well, it did not come to blows) with Silvio Danailov on the events in Elista, accusations of cheating in chess, pictures of wires dangling from ceilings, world championship challenges, million-dollar bank guarantees, Deep Fritz on Core 2 duo processors and other gripping subjects. More about this later, if and when opportunity arises. Silvio, we discover – actually rediscover, since we have known him for a long time – is a very frank, insistant and persuasive speaker. We must watch out for his rhetoric in future, not just his actions around chess matches.

Veselin Topalov analysing his win over Anand – 9:59 min

Part two – 9:59 min [Videos provided by ChessVibes]


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
Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 23th
S. Tiviakov - A. Motylev  
D. Navara - A. Shirov  
R. Ponomariov - S. Karjakin  
V. Anand - L. van Wely  
L. Aronian - V. Topalov  
M. Carlsen - T. Radjabov  
P. Svidler - V. Kramnik  

Standings after eight rounds

Other sections

Group B Group C
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
D. Jakovenko - J. Smeets
M. Vachier-Lagrav - E. L’Ami
P. Eljanov - D. Stellwagen
T. Kosintseva - V. Bologan
V. Georgiev - J. Werle
F. Nijboer - S. Atalik
G. Sargissian - B. Xiangzhi
Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 21nd
T. Willemze - I. Nepomniachtchi
H. Yifan - Z. Peng
W. Spoelman - E. van Haastert
S. Brynell - H. Jonkman
P. Negi - M. Bosboom
N. Kosintseva - E. Berg
M. Krasenkow - J. van der Wiel

Live audio commentary by Yasser Seirawan

For those of you who were not able to catch it live on the server, you can listen to Yasser's broadcasts at any time on a pay-per-view basis (two ducats or about 30 cents per session).

The files are to be found on the Playchess server in the room Chess Media System – Events and Reports. If you do not have them already you can purchase ducats here. They can be used to follow GM Seirawan's live broadcasts and cost ten ducats (= €1 or $1.30) per round – a very reasonable rate for hours of excitement and pleasure.


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