Corus 2009 Preview

Corus 2009 Preview

SonofPearl
SonofPearl
Jan 13, 2009, 12:31 PM |
16 | Chess Event Coverage

January + Chess = Corus in Wijk Aan Zee.  Where better for the world's best Grandmasters to gather than a freezing cold seaside town in the Netherlands in the middle of winter?

The temperature in Wijk may be cold, but the welcome will be warm as this faithful annual event comes around once again, serving up a feast of chess in not one, not two, but three major tournaments.

The elite 'A' group is unfortunately missing Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov, but the line-up is so stuffed full of ultra-strong crowd-pleasing GMs that their absence is no more than a minor inconvenience.

Kramnik has the best excuse for his absence, having very recently become a father for the first time.  Topalov is busy preparing for his match with Kamsky (although Kamsky seems to have decided that playing is the best preparation).  As for the new World Champion, Vishy Anand, he has decided to skip Corus for the first time in many years, but will be re-entering the fray at Linares next month.

The 'A' Group is headed by chessaholic Ukrainian genius Vassily Ivanchuk (pictured).  Ivanchuk is due to meet with FIDE representatives during the tournament to discuss the missed drugs test at the Dresden Olympiad which could result in a 2-year ban.  Hopefully, that sanction won't be necessary, but Chucky may be distracted from his play by having this issue hanging over him.  Magnus Carlsen is the next highest ranked entrant and will be keen to start the new year on a high after withdrawing from the chaotic Grand Prix at the end of 2008.

Alexander Morozevich was the top rated player in the 'A' Group when the line-up was originally confirmed, but he has slipped back slightly in the January ratings, leaving him the third highest ranked player.

The full line-up of the 'A' Group:

Vassily Ivanchuk

 UKR

2779 

Magnus Carlsen

 NOR

2776 

Alexander Morozevich

 RUS

2771 

Teimour Radjabov

 AZE

2761 

Sergei Movsesian

 SVK

2751 

Levon Aronian

 ARM

2750 

Wang Yue

 CHN

2739 

Gata Kamsky

 USA

2725 

Leinier Dominguez

 CUB

2717 

Michael Adams

 ENG

2712 

Sergei Karjakin

 UKR

2706 

Loek van Wely

 NED

2625 

Daniel Stellwagen

 NED

2612 

Jan Smeets

 NED

2601 


The 'B' Group is a significant competition in it's own right and will also attract a lot of interest.  Krishnan Sasikiran is flying the flag for India as the top seed, but former FIDE World Champion Kasimdzhanov, who helped Vishy Anand in his recent match with Kramnik, will be hoping to put some of that excellent opening preparation to use in his own games here.  Former challenger for Kasparov's crown, Nigel Short is also playing, as is the 16-year old Italian Champion, Fabiano Caruana.  An even younger entrant is the 14-year old Hou Yifan, who narrowly missed becoming Women's World Champion last year.  At the other end of the age spectrum, it is an enormous pleasure to see the legendary 56-year-old Brazilian GM Henrique Mecking competing once again in Wijk.

The full line-up of the 'B' Group:

Krishnan Sasikiran

 IND

 2711

Francisco Vallejo Pons

 ESP

 2702

Zahar Efimenko

 UKR

 2688

Rustam Kasimdzhanov

 UZB

 2687

Alexander Motylev

 RUS

 2676

Andrei Volokitin

 UKR

 2671

Nigel Short

 ENG

 2663

Fabiano Caruana

 ITA

 2646

David Navara

 CZE

 2638

Jan Werle

 NED

 2607

Erwin l'Ami

 NED

 2603

Hou Yifan

 CHN

 2571

Henrique Mecking

 BRA

 2567

Dimitri Reinderman

 NED

 2549


The 'C' Group is headed by yet another promising young player - Wesley So of the Philippines (2627 Elo), closely followed by England's David Howell (2622 Elo).  The full list of players in the 'C' group can be found here.

A feast of chess entertainment is guaranteed!  The first round is on 17th January and the official website is here. Look out for coverage at Chess.com!

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