Big Lead for Karpov at "Trophée Karpov" in Cap d'Agde
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Last year he won the tournament named after himself, and he's doing well again this year: Anatoly Karpov! The 12th World Champion tops the leaderboard after eight rounds at the Karpov Trophy rapid tournament in Cap d'Agde, France. The other players are Vassily Ivanchuk, Etienne Bacrot, Yannick Pelletier, Mariya Muzychuk, Nino Maisuradze, Zhao Xue and Marie Sebag.
Anatoly Karpov | Photo courtesy of the organizers
At 62, Karpov is mostly involved in business and politics these days. Sometimes he shows up at an opening ceremony of some chess event, but he's hardly moving the pieces himself. Still, when he's playing, he attracts all the attention. As one of the true chess legends. Since last year's "Trophée Anatoly Karpov", won by Karpov, the 12th World Champion only played some rapid games in Moscow and Kiev and two classical games: draws with Evgeny Alekseev and Peter Svidler in the Bundesliga.
Like last year, the "Trophée Anatoly Karpov" starts with a preliminary event, which is an 8-player, double round robin. After 14 rounds, 4 players advance to a knockout phase. The time control is 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move.
The players are Vassily Ivanchuk (2733), Etienne Bacrot (2730), Anatoly Karpov (2619), Yannick Pelletier (2578, Switzerland), Mariya Muzychuk (2491, Ukraine), Nino Maisuradze (2302, France), Zhao Xue (2579, China) and Marie Sebag (2510, France). It's nice to have a group that's "gender balanced", but in fact it's also a kind of "youth" and "experience" tournament: the average age of the ladies is 26.5 while the average age of the men is 43!
The tournament runs from Friday, October 25th till Saturday, November 2nd in Cap d'Agde, the seaside resort of the town of Agde, France, on the Mediterranean sea, southwest of Montpellier.
Karpov didn't get time to acclimatize and immediately faced the top seed. This way, the first round immediately saw the two finalists of last year paired against each other.
For some reason, Ivanchuk would continue to draw all of his games in rounds 2-7. It's not that he didn't try, but somehow the result was always the same. His games with Pelletier and Bacrot were quite interesting:
Unlike Ivanchuk, Karpov would play just one more draw (with Sebag) — he won all the other games! Here's a nice win against Pelletier in a Nimzo-Indian. It's just a slight edge in the ending, but the way Karpov finished it off was still nice. Pelletier must have resigned that one with a smile.
A black win against Bacrot, one of the world's top grandmasters, was even more impressive. Don't miss Black's 39th, great stuff.
In the eighth and last round played so far, Karpov was lucky. His 3...Qd6 Scandinavian didn't go well, but in a better position Ivanchuk blundered a full piece.
Six more rounds will be played, and then the knockout phase starts. One name will surely reach the semi-finals!
Below is a video of the first two rounds created by Europe-Echecs. You can find more on their YouTube channel.
2nd Karpov Trophy 2013 | Round 8 standings