Sunday, January 24, 2010

Corus Chess in Wijk Aan Zee, Denmark

  The Corus Chess tournament in Holland annually invites the top chess players in the world to play in a 14 player all-play-all tournament. Since the tournament is in Denmark, some of the top Danish players are also invited to get valuable experience against top-notch competition. This year’s field includes current World Champion Viswasnathan Anand, former World Champion Vladimir Krammnik, the world’s number one ranked player Magnus Carlsen, former world champion finalists Nigel Short, Alexei Shirov, and Peter Leko, as well as the national champions of the USA (Hikaru Nakamura), Ukraine(Sergey Karjakin), Cuba (Leinier Dominguez), and Italy (Fabiano Caruana).

  After 6 rounds of the tournament, 6th seed Shirov has played 5 of the bottom 6 seeded players and has a record of 5 wins and 1 draw. Only Ivanchuk has played so many of the bottom feeders and he has 2 wins and 4 draws. None of the other players has more than 2 wins. I expect there to be a lot of catch-up from the top seeds as they also get to play the lower rated players and also try to gain a full point against Shirov when they meet. Shirov could try to make draws with the top seeds, but in an invitational tournament, he would run the risk of not being invited back if he doesn’t exhibit fighting chess. You can see live games here.

  Weekend Update: After losing to Nakamura on Saturday, Shirov drew Carlsen and now stands at 5 wins and 1 loss (+4). Carlsen and Krammnik are 1 win behind at 3 wins and no losses so it looks as if Krammnik's games between Carlsen and Shirov should decide the tournament.