Corus 2009: Grandmaster Group B

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Corus Grandmaster Group CIn four days, the 71st Corus Chess Tournament takes off with the first round of the Grandmaster Groups, A, B and C. Naturally, ChessVibes will be present, during the whole tournament, to provide as much (video) coverage as possible. (And yes, that includes our famous press conferences videos!) Today we look at Grandmaster Group B - who's your favorite?

Grandmastergroup B is stronger than ever, with an average rating of 2641. Remarkable names in this group include former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan) and former World Championship Candidate Henrique Mecking (Brazil). Fabiano Caruana (Italy) won the C group convincingly last year, and will certainly have the ambition to at least join the fight for first.

Personally I'm happy that we'll be seeing Nigel Short in B again - I still like his style a lot, especially with the white pieces. And he's a nice daily guest in the press room too. (Unfortunately we have to do without Ljubojevic this year!) The Englishman will be warned for his game against Hou Yifan!

It's not so easy to determine who's the favorite here. Sasikiran and Vallejo are the only 2700s, and they will certainly see this tournament as that one big chance to squeeze themselves into the absolute elite, at least for one tournament (in 2010), by winning B. On the other hand they wouldn't want to drop under 2700 again, which might lead to some caution. Perhaps we should put our money on Efimenko and Motylev.

Two of the current four young Dutch GMs must be feeling very happy to have an excellent reason not to be in B this year: Jan Smeets and Daniel Stellwagen. Their colleagues and friends Erwin L'Ami and European Union Champion Jan Werle (now also a 2600-player) can't complain too much; this B group is another fantastic tournament to play in and if they do OK, they might be the lucky ones next year.

Also good to have David Navara back, and Henrique Mecking, well, he's the big question mark of course - will his talent compensate for his age? He'll certainly be another very interesting personage!

Dimitri Reinderman, the grandmaster from my home town, ends the list. In 1998 he won the B group of what was still called Hoogovens Tournament, with 9/11, ahead of Kasimdzhanov, whom he beat in the last round. In what color will dIMITRI dye his hair this year - that's the question!




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