Corus 2009 Preview

Corus 2009 Preview

| 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



Magnus Carlsen



Alexander Morozevich



Teimour Radjabov



Sergei Movsesian



Levon Aronian



Wang Yue



Gata Kamsky



Leinier Dominguez



Michael Adams



Sergei Karjakin



Loek van Wely



Daniel Stellwagen



Jan Smeets



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



Francisco Vallejo Pons



Zahar Efimenko



Rustam Kasimdzhanov



Alexander Motylev



Andrei Volokitin



Nigel Short



Fabiano Caruana



David Navara



Jan Werle



Erwin l'Ami



Hou Yifan



Henrique Mecking



Dimitri Reinderman



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!

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