Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tatasteel review

THE original Koninklijke Hoogovens company was a Dutch steel producer founded in 1918.
In 1999, the company merged with British Steel to form the Corus Group .

The Corus Group, in turn, was purchased by India-based Tata Steel in 2007 (for $7.6 billion) and now, almost four years later, its chess tournament is named after the mother company.

This tournament has been held since 1938 in Wijk aan Zee, a small resort on the coast of the North Sea in the province of North Holland of the Netherlands.

To be invited to Wijk Aan Zee is like getting invited to the White house. An invitation is much sought after by chess players, not only because of the prizes but mainly because of the prestige and history behind the annual event.

It is therefore a distinct honor, and a recognition of his talents, that our Wesley So is playing in Tatasteel chess for the third time. He won the C group the first time and is now playing in the B group, which is considered to be the strongest ever.

The round robin tournament is currently started last Jan. 15 and will end on Jan. 30 and the fourth round has been played.

The A group is 21 points higher than that in the previous year, and the category has
improved from 19 to 20. The world’s top four players are present: world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2814), who is last year’s winner, world champion Viswanathan Anand (India, 2810), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2805) and Anand’s predecessor, Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2784). Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2686) debuts in Group A after winning the 2010 B tournament.

The other players in the A group are (all GMs): Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 2773), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2751), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2744), Wang Hao (China, 2731), Alexey Shirov (Spain, 2722), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2721), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia, 2715) , Jan Smeets (Netherlands, 2662), Erwin l’Ami (Netherlands 2628).

The complete line-up of the B group (all GMs) are Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland, 2726) ,David Navara (Czech Republic, 2708) Laurent Fressinet (France, 2707), Zahar Efimenko (Ukraine, 2701) Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia, 2667), Le Quang Liem (Vietnam, 2664),Wesley So (Philippines, 2673), Luke McShane (England, 2664), Surya Ganguly (India, 2651), Li Chao (China, 2649), Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway, 2647), Vladislav Tkachiev (France, 2636),Friso Nijboer (Netherlands, 2584) and Wouter Spoelman (Netherlands, 2547).

The B group is led by Wojtaszek, who had a series of strong tournaments including the last Chess Olympiad .

Navara also passed through the eye of the needle in Reggio Emilia last month with a good performance and is ready for strong competition.

Fressinet and Efimenko complete the 2700 club favorites for top places in the group.

However, the B group has players who have the potential to grab the limelight--Wesley, Le, and McShane, who made headlines by downing Carlsen in the 2010 London Class Classic and Anand’s second Ganguly in the world championship 2010.

I am wondering what is happening to Le of Vietnam who lost 25 Elo points in the last
quarter last year and has an unexpected dismal performance.

The highlights so far are the defeat of world no.1 Carlsen to Giri in the third round
and the rocket start of McShane, who has three straight wins in Group B.

Standings of Group A after the 4th round: Anand 3, Nakamura 3, Aronian 2.5, Giri 2.5,Vachier-Lagrave 2.5, l’ Ami 2, Kramnik 2 ,Ponomariov 2 ,Nepomniachtchi 2, Smeets 2,Grischuk 1.5, Carlsen 1.5,Wang Hao 1, Shirov 0.5.

Standings of Group B after the 4th round: McShane 3.5, Sargissian 2.5, Fressinet 2.5 Navara 2.5 ,Efimenko 2.5, Nijboer 2,Wesley 2, Spoelman 2, Wojtaszek 2, Tkachiev 1.5, Ganguly 1.5 ,Li Chao 1.5, Liem 1, Hammer 1.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2011.

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