Carlsen in sole lead as Kramnik loses to Anand

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CorusA quick draw with Peter Leko was enough for Magnus Carlsen to grab sole lead in Wijk aan Zee today, as Vladimir Kramnik went down against Viswanathan Anand. "Here I'm basically spoiling other people's tournaments," the Indian said after the game in which he had managed to win against the Petroff Defence.

The Corus Chess Tournament takes place January 16-31 in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Next to hundreds of amateurs, three Grandmaster Groups (A, B and C) with 14 players each play a closed round-robin. The rate of play is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, and 30 seconds increment starting from move 1.

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Games round 12

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Round 12

15:09 CET We have a winner already! The leader of the C grop, Li Chao, offered a draw to Stefan Kuipers after 9 moves in a Petroff, and the young Dutchman, who already scored an IM norm yesterday, had no reason to decline. The Chinese grandmaster has thus qualified for the B group next year as he's on 9 points out of 12 games, and Robson, Vocaturo and Van Kampen have 7 points while still playing.

Leko and Carlsen (whose sister Ingrid, by the way, is currently playing in the amateur tournament in Gibraltar) repeated their game of the 2009 Tal Memorial until 12.0-0-0; today the Norwegian castled first before playing ...Nc6. After one and a half hours of play they've reached a rook ending that looks very drawish.


Yet again Van Wely, who remains faithful to his Najdorf, seems to have fallen into some nasty 6.Bg5 preparation, this time by compatriot Jan Smeets. Against Dominguez, Ivanchuk copied Kramnik's set-up during the World Blitz in Moscow last year: the Scandinavian with ...g6. Kramnik himself uses the Petroff against Anand; not much has happened there yet.

Shirov is in another theoretical Archangelsk Ruy Lopez against Karjakin; the two reached an ending in no time where White's extra pawn doesn't seem to be very relevant. Caruana-Nakamura is a Rauzer Sicilian that has some French tendencies while Short went for the rare 4...Nf6 Caro-Kann against Tiviakov.

16:17 CET Two, not very surprsing draws: Leko-Carlsen - the rook ending was a draw indeed, and Karjakin-Shirov, which also remained equal. Also on the other boards it's rather quiet so far, except for Smeets-Van Wely where White's atack has already decided the game on move 23. "I like my Najdorf, but I don't like my results. Apparently I mixed up something in the opening again," Van Wely said after the game. We'll have him and Jan in tonight's Corus News video.


O, and strictly speaking we've been cheering too early for Li Chao, who can still be caught of course if he loses tomorrow. Sorry about that.

22:18 CET Well, after all Li Chao did win the C group today as he's going into the final round with a 1.5 point lead as his closest rivals didn't manage to win today. Tailender Sjoerd Plukkel won his first game as Zhaoqin Peng avoided the draw for too long.

In B, Giri maintained his one-point lead. The Dutch champion tried hard to beat Akobian in a rook ending, but the American defended well. Nyback beat Negi and Naiditsch defeated Muzychuk, but the other games ended in a draw as well.

But the game of the day was of course Anand versus Kramnik, in which the World Champion defeated his opponent of the last World Championship match one more time, but now in the Petroff, the opening that never came on the board in Bonn in 2008. Anand's 17.Qc1 was new compared to yesterday's Shirov-Kramnik game, and a few moves later he more or less proved that White can actually get something out of this opening as long as one manoeuvres strongly.


After a very nice combination that started on move 28, for the first time in his career Anand repeated moves to gain time on the clock. Both online commentator Ian Rogers and Vladimir Kramnik himself thought for a moment that it was a three-fold repetition and Kramnik even said "draw?" to Vishy, who pointed out that because White took a pawn on f7 at the start, there was in fact no position that appeared three times. (We have this moment on video in the Corus News!)

Carlsen now leads by half a point while Shirov and Kramnik are shared second. The Norwegian has White against Caruana tomorrow so the world's number one seems pretty safe.

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    Corus 2010 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group A

    Corus 2010 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group B

    Corus 2010 | Schedule & results Grandmaster Group C

    Corus 2010 | Round 12 Standings Grandmaster Group A

    Corus 2010 | Round 12 Standings Grandmaster Group B

    Corus 2010 | Round 12 Standings Grandmaster Group C


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