Performance by Radjabov!
Teimour steals the spotlight from
Kramnik, Anand and Leko
the Corus Super GM Tournament!
|13-year-old Teimour recorded
most number of victories
2001 Corus Super Chess
Radjabov probably didn't realize he wasn't playing at the juniors!
He simply stole the spotlight from the likes of super GM's Kasparov, Anand,
Kramnik, and Peter Leko who played in a different tournament but in the
same arena. In a stunning performance before a worldwide audience,
Radjabov picked-up what he left out at the juniors and crushed his much
older opponents one after the other to emerge as the winningest player
at the 2001 Corus Wijk aan Zee Super Chess Tournament. With 6 victories
to his credit at the Grand Master B Tournament, he in effect, bested both
GM Mikhail Gurevich (Group B first placer) and now former World Champion
Garry Kasparov (Group A first placer) who managed to register only 5 victories
each. So incredible was Teimour's feat that he had already bagged
his 2nd Grand Master norm with still two rounds left in the star-studded
it is not the GM result that he gained in this tournament that may count
for him in the long run. Neither is it the prestige nor the prize
money. This seems to be a tournament that showed more of his tremendous
composure than his immense talent. Despite his lofty finish, the
youngster faced an uphill battle and needed to a lot of the courage that
would have been expected more from a seasoned veteran. Stung by back
to back loses in the early rounds, 13-year-old Teimour was almost at the
bottom of the standings after four rounds. Then in an unimaginable
turn of events, like a wounded tiger he roared back in the next four rounds
ripping the flesh out of his opponents! He finished off he tournament
with a very strong finishing kick, scoring six points in the last seven
rounds for an overall of 7.5/11 and a performance rating of a super Grand
The Corus Group A with more participants, started 3 days earlier, and was
well on it's 3rd round when Corus Group B started.]
|Radjabov and Leko in
the same chess arena for the first time.
the Corus Group A as the greatest tournament ever. Since it shared
the same arena with Corus Group B, Teimour found himself not just with
players taller than himself but for the first time, he was in the same
stage with the real titans of the game. Naturally as anyone who enjoyed
the same privilege would, he went around and closely watched the Leko-Piket,
Kasparov-Anand and Adams-Kramnik Group A games. Nevertheless, he
certainly was not awed by their presence as he handily won his own game
against local bet Erik Hoeksema. Kasparov meanwhile, had already
won 2 games with the black pieces. He really had come here armed
to the teeth, poised to win this tournament to prove he's definitely not
yet over the hill.
|Radjabov looking over
at the Kasparov-Ivanchuk table
while playing the legendary
veteran GM Boris Gulko.
found himself face to face with wily veteran GM Boris Gulko in round 2.
If Teimour is said to be following the footsteps of Kasparov, it may be
an ominous omen for this particular encounter since Gulko is famous for
having Kasparov's number. This may have sounded silly for most people
specially when their position had reached a drawn endgame-- until Teimour
blundered with 47. … b6, that gave away his good pawn in the h-file and
thus handed Gulko a sudden victory. Over at Group A, Dutch No. 1
Jan Timman got away with a draw against Leko while Shirov and Kramnik joined
Kasparov at the helm with the lead.
|Kramnik-Kasparov on the
Gurevich (standing at
the center) looks at
his game with Radjabov
disappointed he had already lost a game (he shouldn't have) this early
in the tournament, Teimour was just out of focus against the top-seeded
Gurevich. Teimour overlooked a combination and Gurevich exploited
this advantage with a swift attack on the kingside. Gurevich, surely
doesn't want this tournament, where almost everyone expects him to win,
to slip from his hands like the famous Manila Interzonal in 1990 where
he led most of the way, only to miss the bus going to the candidates matches
in the end. And he's definitely not going to allow a 13-year-old
to steal this tournament away from him.
main priority in coming here is not so much in winning the tournament as
getting his GM norm. With his second loss, his chances have lost
a great deal. Perhaps, Peter Leko might have offered a little comfort to
Teimour here. He was in the same predicament a few years back in
this same tournament. Knowing his chances for a GM norm in that tournament
had lessened after an early loss to Tiviakov, Peter said he played more
relaxed afterwards. And it did turn out a blessing in disguise for
at the end of that tournament, the then 14-year-old Leko had surpassed
Bobby Fischer's feat of becoming a GM at 15. Perhaps Leko's loss
to Loek Van Wely in this round was in a way, a solace. The loss could
be the biggest upset in this tournament since it is now very rare for Leko
to lose under the standard time control.
|Taking a stroll along
the tables, Radjabov looks
at Alexei Shirov who
is in a very deep thought.
got a one pawn advantage with the black pieces against Karel Van der Weide
but the position was even and both players agreed to a draw after 41 moves.
Shirov meanwhile, has pulled away with a full point lead in Grand Master
a saying that the greatest glory is not in never falling (or losing),
but in rising everytime one falls. Teimour is certainly a player
who is not used to losing so some people doubt his ability to recover from
a fall. Such was the case a few months ago, when he played a rapid
exhibition match with Bu, where he let one lost game he should have won
affect him for the rest of the match. In this round however, Teimour
may have permanently shut down all the doubts about his ability to bounce
back in a tournament after scoring a crushing victory against Yge Visser.
Teimour played very aggressively, sacrificing a few pieces that allowed
his opponent to take control of the center but dealt a fatal blow to Visser's
|Perhaps if Garry just
looked sideways here, he could've
whispered, "Hey, Chucky!
It's your turn to move,"
and he wouldn't have
to be fuming mad about the
audience's decision on
the brilliancy prize later!
an exciting day for both groups. Over at Group A, Kasparov played
his best game of the tournament, showing no mercy to a hapless Bulgarian
no. 1 Topalov. While Braingames World Champion Vladimir Kramnik found
himself leaning on the ropes as he was being pounded by Vassily Ivanchuk.
Lucky for him though, Chucky only had one minute left to make his
next 15 moves. (Talk about serious time trouble! Ivanchuk
probably hasn't heard about FIDE's announcement of the new faster time
controls.) To Chucky's credit, his flag fell down on move
38-- he was only 2 moves short. Later, Kasparov nearly blew his top
when he heard that the audience voted for Kramnik to receive the day's
brilliancy award. Garry certainly had a point! What was the
brilliant thing Kramnik did anyway?
on the comeback trail wasn't only sharp, he was vicious! The audience
could only feel sorry for his victim Dennis De Vreugt. Radjabov couldn't
care any less despite having the black pieces as he executed the Dutch
Grand Master in only 26 moves. The euphoria that exploded from
a thousand miles at The Realm after every Teimour victory could
almost be heard inside the playing arena. Not to mention the pandemonium
created by his followers in his hometown in Baku.
|Kasparov ponders his
next move as Leko,
and Radjabov who is standing
beside him, wait patiently.
the reason he rushed his game was because he didn't want to miss the Leko-Kasparov
encounter. He must have felt disappointed like the rest of the audience
worldwide when both players suddenly agreed to spilt the point just when
things were starting to get rough. With no pawns on both of their
kingsides, the game could have gone either way. There was a report
that they continued the game privately at the analysis room. Surely,
a lot of people were willing to pay just watch the continuance of that
|Kasparov brings down
tournament leader Shirov.
found Teimour too hot to handle.
just would't let up! He accomplishes a hattrick by routing Manuel
Bosboom in only 30 moves. His incredible run here justifies his decision
to skip last year's world youth events and concentrate more on the pro
tour where he appropriately belongs despite his age. Over at Group
A, Kasparov shot down leader Shirov to gain a share of the lead while Kramnik
was humiliated by Morozevich with the black pieces. Also for the
time, FIDE World Champion Anand again escaped Leko with a draw.
When the smoked cleared, Peter just had his King and a Bishop left but
Anand only had his King. Although it's just another draw for Leko,
the audience appreciated his effort to play till the end this time.
|Part of the huge crowd
that stayed-on in the arena
to watch Teimour take
his 4th straight victory.
Radjabov recorded his biggest win in this tournament in this round, shattering
GM Frisco Nijboer in a marathon 69 moves! It is said that what separates
a true champion from the rest is that champion has a heart of a champion.
With his 4th straight win after those loses in the opening rounds, young
Teimour proved he not only does he have a heart of champion, he
has a huge heart of a true champion. Now, he's only half a
breath away from the GM norm. Absolutely astounding!
|Radjabov and Harikrishna:
both got their 2nd
GM norms at the same
time with their 10-move draw.
10 moves, Teimour generously shared the point with fellow IM Pentyala Harikrishna
of India as they both achieved their 2nd GM norms. The organizers
presented them with a token as a souvenir for their accomplishment in this
truly memorable tournament.
story of the day was Peter Leko’s illness. During the FIDE World
Championship in New Delhi he was caught by a devious virus. A two-week
Mediterranean absence of chess, didn’t kill the disease. He was still
very ill when he played Kramnik in a rapid 12 game match, an exhibition
match previous to this tournament. Last week the virus returned in
full swing and this morning it turned out playing this round was all but
possible. Kramnik, Leko's opponent for the day, acted like a true
champ and said he had no desire to beat someone who was in no state to
play. At first, the game was postponed for an hour and once it started
a draw was soon agreed.
|Radjabov takes a glimpse
of the Timman-Kasparov
match the Dutch have
all been waiting for.
meanwhile chalked up another win against his long time rival, Jan Timman
to secure the lead. It seemed that Timman had indeed stopped playing
chess in the second part of the tournament as claimed by some local newspapers.
|Kasparov-VanWely on the
Radjabov witnesses Gurevich
win his 10th
round game to virtually
take first in Group B.
goal of a GM norm achieved, Radjabov allowed himself to relax for the day
with a quick draw with German GM Thomas Luther. Gurevich had afterall,
virtually won their Group B tournament. Teimour stayed on the arena
however to enjoy watching the other games. And what a treat it must
have been for him! Today Peter Leko ignored suggestions that he should
withdraw from the tournament for his health's sake and played on-- to win
the brilliancy prize of the round! His opponent, Weird Al
Morozevich, as usual, followed his own original ideas in the opening.
This time he decided to leave his king at the center. Despite his
viral problems, Leko was not impressed and he quickly killed the black
Leko, Michael Adams seemed to have recovered a little. Not from a
virus, but from yesterday’s painful loss to Alexei Fedorov. In an
irregular Sicilian opening, Sergey Tiviakov’s two back ranks were forcefully
sweeped by a white queen and rook. Black lost all piece coordination
and it was telling that his king was the most active piece of all, until
it died anyway. Once again it turned out that it’s wiser to have
the king direct the soldiers, than the soldiers the king.
|Adams nearly ruined Kasparov's
victory party with this game.
crushed Vink with black in the final round.
At the start
of final round and it was still possible for Teimour to tie Gurevich for
first, but Van der Weide didn't offer any resistance against Gurevich at
all and quickly accepted Gurevich's draw offer after only 11 moves.
Like a real professional however, Radjabov went to work on the final round
and gave the audience their money's worth. Opening with the Modern
Defence for black, he opened up the his kingside in the middlegame then
hunted Nico Vink's king no end until Vink surrendered on the 49th move.
Young Teimour's solo 2nd finish is stunning as evident by the audience
shaking their heads in awe. Seriously, looking back in those early
rounds, specially his game with Gulko, Radjabov could have easily won this
drew against Adams with white and, thus, got to the 1st place in Group
A. Although Mikey had a promising position in sharp variation of
the Catalan System, he didn’t have any pretensions, and on the 27th move
the opponents shook hands. Again Garry proved his ambitions as the
strongest chess player in the world. He as fearsome even with his
unusual prefix ex, and, perhaps, the chess world understood what
a champion it lost…
As a result
of his final dash, FIDE World Champion Anand got 2nd place while his Braingames
counterpart, Kramnik shared 3rd place with the highly touted Ivanchuk.
As for Leko, he became the sole participant of the Wijk aan Zee tournament
to break even. Obviously, his illness didn’t prevent him from achieving
such a worthy result.
|Peter Leko and Teimour
two youngsters whose
are out of this world.
youngest in their groups, Peter and Teimour had once again presented an
endearing example to the youths of the world, this time exemplified by
their fighting spirits against overwhelming odds.
At the conclusion
of his victory speech, Kasparov remarked that he was happy that Teimour
had done so well in the Grandmaster B Tournament: "I’m glad to see that
once again the boy from Baku came ahead of the boy from India!"
is an excerpt of the funny story behind Kasparov's remark written by John
Henderson of The Week in Chess just before the start of the first round
of the Corus Grand Master B Tournament:
my tired eyes, I began to think I was dreaming as I could see Garry Kasparov’s
eyes staring at me from the bottom of the bed. My first reaction
was to swear there and then that I’d never sneak into the player’s room
at Wijk aan Zee to steal the tea and sandwiches.
then I realized I had fallen asleep (again!) with the TV on. Roughly
translated, I had a rude awakening to the Dutch version of Breakfast Time,
with the lead item in the news being today’s events at Wijk aan Zee.
My goodness, the Dutch do take chess seriously!
all looked highly efficient and serious stuff, but unfortunately it was
all Double Dutch to me – I couldn’t for the life of me understand what
they were saying. Perhaps it could have been because they were speaking
in Dutch? I remember once having a dinner conversation in Linares
with the editor-in-chief of New In Chess magazine, Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam,
who kindly explained to me the finer points of his mother tongue: “Dutch
don’t so much have a language; it’s more of a throat infection!”
I diverge from the main reason for this lengthy TV report on the morning
news. Basically, it was to build-up the first of the big showdowns
at Wijk – Kasparov vs. Anand! It was truly hyped up by the media.
Arriving in to the press centre earlier than usual, I was shocked to discover
that most of the Dutch media outlets had also decided to follow this encounter.
of them, who knew absolutely zippo about chess and had been sent to cover
the big story of the day, had the misfortune to ask me in my sleep-deprived
state if I knew where the “Russian from Baku and the Indian genius who
would be playing for the world championship would be sitting?” With
that same devil-may-care-attitude and sarcasm that saw me being thrown
out of Raymundo Keene’s shindig in London, I politely pointed him in the
general direction of the Grandmaster “B” tournament, stopping only to add:
“But I think you're 10 years too early for Radjabov vs. Harikrishna!”
Grand Master A Final
Grand Master B Final
all the games of the
aan Zee Corus
A and B Tournaments
ziped file is in .pgn format. Open the file in
programs like Chessmaster.]