Friday, January 20, 2006

The Super Grandmasters in Corus

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

The first mega tournament this year is being staged at the North Sea resort of Wijk Aan Zee,Holland, from Jan.13 - 29. It is now known as the Corus Chess tournament after its sponsor, which is a major steel manufacturing company in Holland accounting for 10 percent of EU production.

It is divided into three groups. The first group is mostly 2700s players and also features the most promising players. The second group are super grandmasters or those over 2600 and the third section is dominated by Dutch players.

Defending 2005 champion is Peter Leko of Holland in Group A while Group B was won by Boy Wonder, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was only 15-years-old that time. Now he is playing in Group A, the youngest to play in that group.

After four rounds, Anand and Veselin Topalov are leading with three points each. Ivanchuk and Gelfand are joint second with 2.5 points, Michael Adams, Levon Aronian, Peter Leko,Karjakin and Mamedyarov are all tied at two points each .Sokolov, Tiviakov, Bacrot and Van Wely have 1.5 points and the tailender is Gata Kamsky,who is playing after a long lay-off.

Significant results so far are Adams‘ win over World champion Veselin Topalov, Aronian’s loss to Ivanchuk, Karjakin’s win over Kamsky and the no-loss records of Mamedyarov, Leko and Anand.

I would not be surprised if either Anand or Topalov will win the tournament although Leko is always dangerous and Ivanchuk if “on” can compete with the very best.

Prior to the tournament, a survey was conducted by the website ,Chessbase, as to who would be the probable winner of Wijk Aan Zee. Here are the results from more than 2,500 respondents.

It is a tribute to Karjakin that there are some chess enthusiasts who pick him as a probable winner and no one expects Adams to win.

In Group B, Dortmund winner Arkadi Naiditsch is leading with 3.5 points after four rounds, followed by Vescovi ,Navara and Carlsen with 3 points each.

Motylev ,Kuneru and Almasi are at 2.5 and Jobava solo at two points.

Tailenders are European Women champion Katyrena Lahnowith with only a single draw, Smeets and Stellwagen.

I would not be surprised if 15-year-old Magnus Carlsen will win this group and cement his position as the heir apparent of Garry Kasparov. Kuneru Humpy is also in top form and is special as she is a girl from India and only 16.

It is apparent that the players are getting younger through the years and they are already competing with the best of them.

CEPCA. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association will hold its first “members only” tournament this year at the Stella Maris Seaman Center on Sunday, at 2 p.m.

Format for this year’s monthly tournaments have been revised. Instead of being barred from future tournaments, monthly winners can continue participating in subsequent monthly tournaments. As usual all the monthly winners will compete in the Grand Finals in December.

In the event that a member will win two or more monthly tournaments the second placers will qualify for the Grand Finals.

Also, a scoring system will be in place and the top 15 players will receive special prizes at year end. The scores will be based on their monthly results.

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