2009 Corus in full gear!


The 2009 edition of Corus is underway as three high-powered sections have assembled in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. Group “A” is headlined by world’s #3 Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine. China’s Wang Yue and Cuba’s Lenier Dominguez are two newer faces in the elite. Dominguez is making his first appearance in Corus “A”.

Corus, one of the world’s premier tournaments, is not as strong as last year’s tournament. The field does contain five top ten players and 11/14 players over 2700. The bottom feeders are all from the Netherlands and the trio bring the average down considerably, but the Dutchman will be ready to defend home turf!

GM Krishnan Sasikiran

GM Krishnan Sasikiran heads Group “B”.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

The other two sections are just as interesting. Group “B” is led by Indian Krishnan Sasikiran who has been spending a lot of time in Europe. He is joined by former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimjanov and former world contender, Nigel Short. The field adds intrigue with Italian champion Fabiano Caruana and Hou Yifan of China.

Group “C” is led by the immensely-talented Wesley So of the Philippines. One of the world’s youngest Grandmasters at the moment, he is another one of the players from Asia making an impact on the world scene. He is followed by David Howell of England and both junior champions, Abhijeet Gupta (boy’s) and Dronavali Harika (girl’s).

There is another young lad in Wijk aan Zee by the name of FM Anish Giri. According to a report written by Jeroen van den Belt, Giri is a player of Nepal ancestry has Russian citizenship, but lives in the Netherlands! GM Manuel Leon Hoyos of Mexico and GM Eduardo Iturrizaga of Venezuela are welcome sights from Latin America.

Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/


  1. Several upsets in round #1… Vassily Ivanchuk lost to young upstart Jan Smeets while Alexander Morozevich lost to Sergei Karjakin in a lesser-upset. In Group “C” Dronavali Harika beat Abhijeet Gupta in a battle of the junior champions. David Howell was shocked by International Master Manuel Bosboom.

    Round One

    Video by Europe-Echecs.

  2. Round Two

    Interesting games in Corus. Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Morozevich got back to their winning ways. Ivanchuk took advantage of a rare oversight by China’s #1 Wang Yue. Morozevich beat Loek van Wely who gets a spot in the Corus tournament every year, but fairs poorly every year (in general).

    Another interesting result was Hou Yifan’s win over #1-seed Krishnan Sasikiran of India. China cracked the whip with 21.Bxc6! and in a flurry of exchanges had two bishops versus a helpless rook. Francisco Vallejo Pons went down against Nigel Short, who is experiencing a bit of a resurgence in the last year.

    In Group “C” Manuel Bosboom upset yet another Grandmaster in defeating Friso Nijboer. Ranked #13 from 14 players, he now has an improbable 2-0 score.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/
    ChessBase: https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5160

  3. Round Three

    Corus “A” is noted to be a tournament of stability, but two of the leading players are having trouble getting on track. Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexander Morozevich lost again to Teimour Radjabov and Gata Kamsky respectively. There is speculation that Ivanchuk is thinking about his hearing in “dopegate.” He refused to submit a sample after the Dresden Olympiad and faces up to two years of suspension.

    In other action, Krishnan Sasikiran lost again and now the #1 seed hold the last position on the cross table… surely a frustrating start. Nigel Short won again and is on 2.5/3 and shares top position with Navara and Kasimjanov. Short brutally crushed Erwin L’Ami in 19 moves.’

    In the “C” Group, David Howell got on the board with a win over the tournament’s third lowest-seed in Roeland Pruijssers. The Latin American duo Eduardo Iturrizaga and Manuel Leon Hoyos won today. Iturrizaga, Venezuela’s only Grandmaster, is on 2.5/3 and is tied with the surpising Manuel Bosboom who held veteran Oleg Romanishin.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/
    ChessBase: https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5161

    Video by Europe-Echecs.

  4. Round Four

    Corus “A” saw all the games being drawn today, but had one very interesting game. The analysis is be GM Sergei Shipov. Here it is…

    In Group “B” Fabiano Caruana beat frontrunner David Navara to supplant him and get a share of the lead with Rustam Kasimjanov and Nigel Short. In Group “C” Manuel Bosboom continued to hold his lead, but has to now share it with Tiger Hillarp-Persson who Howell, got his second win.

  5. Round Five

    Play resumed at Corus after the first rest day and the game of the round had to be Lenier Dominguez’s win over Alexander Morozevich. Rustam Kasimjanov and Tiger Hillarp Persson hold the slimmest of leads over Group B and Group C.

    Here is the gem by Dominguez.

    GM Lenier Dominguez

    GM Lenier Dominguez
    Photo by Fred Lucas.

  6. Rounds 6-8 have seen a shift in leadership in Corus “A”. Sergei Movsesian is now in sole first after Sergei Karjakin dropped his game to Vassily Ivanchuk, who has struggled. There are a quartet of young players in joint 2nd… Karjakin, Teimour Radjabov, Levon Aronian and Lenier Dominguez on 4.5/8.

    Nigel Short has broken into sole possession of 1st place. The former World Challenger has found his stride and now hopes to move up to Corus “A” with a tournament win.

    Group “C” had lots of fireworks with six games from the seven being decisive. Wesley So has fallen a point off the pace after losing to Frank Holze. Sweden’s Tiger Hillarp-Persson is out front with 6/8 and five wins!

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/
    ChessBase (Round#8): https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5175
    ChessBase (Round #7): https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5173
    ChessBase (Round #6): https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5172

    Loek van Wely analyzing game vs. Levon Aronian
    Video by Europe-Echecs.com

  7. Round Nine

    Levon Aronian, Sergei Karjakin and Lenier Dominguez hold 1st-3rd positions with wins in round #9. Aronian played a powerful game which saw three exchange sacrifices. Karjakin played a masterful queen ending versus Movsesian while Dominguez got the better of Daniel Stellwagen in the Poisoned Pawn French. The Cuban sacrificed the exchange and used a strong pawn majority to score the point.

    Nigel Short continues to hold a slim lead in Group B, but Francisco Vallejo Pons closed the gap with a win over Jan Werle. Group C saw 6/7 decisive games and with four rounds remaining, it is not clear who will emerge the winner. Given that so many of the games are decisive, it is plausible that one player may string together a couple of wins to win the tournament.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/
    ChessBase: https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5178

    Video by Europe-Echecs.com.

  8. Round Ten

    Levon Aronian breaks out into sole possession of first place with a win over Michael Adams. The two-time gold medallist continues his consistent play by grinding down the Englishman. Sergei Karjakin is still in striking distance, but time is running out. Magnus Carlsen closed the gap with a win over Lenier Dominguez… he remains a point back of the field.

    Group “B” is perhaps the closest field with Nigel Short holding a half-point lead over five pursurers. Number-one seed Krishnan Sasikiran is having a bad tournament, but he can very well be the spoiler. Group “C” remains as the “Lion’s Den” with all seven games being decisive. Tiger Hillarp-Persson maintains the lead but still has to face Wesley So (Round #12) who is hot on his heels. Below are all the games from Group “C”.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/
    ChessBase: https://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5182

    Video by Europe-Echecs.com.

  9. In round #10, there was a controversy during the time scramble in the game between Teimour Radjabov and Jan Smeets. Radjabov had apparently knocked over a piece and when Smeets pressed the clock and told him to adjust the piece, Radjabov’s flag fell.

    FIDE Rule 7.3 – If a player displaces one or more pieces, he shall re-establish the correct position on his own time. If necessary, either the player or his opponent shall stop the clocks and ask for the arbiter’s assistance. The arbiter may penalise the player who displaced the pieces.

    The Azerbaijani apparently had a winning position and when the arbiter intervened, he discovered both had committed an infraction: Radjabov had indeed knocked over the piece and Smeets spoke to his opponent and pressed his opponent’s clock without moving.

    The correct procedure is to stop the clock and summon the arbiter. However, it is inconceivable for this to happen in time pressure. Players generally will keep playing for several moves. The players decided to call the game a draw in what the arbiters called a “moral decision.”

    A couple of recent cases have occurred on similar issues… Irina Krush vs. Anna Zatonskih (U.S. Championship) and Monika Socko vs. Sabina-Francesca Foisor (Women’s Championship).

    Chess.FM: https://webcast.chessclub.com/blog/2009/01/29/the-upset-bishop/
    Chessvibes: https://www.chessvibes.com/reports/radjabov-smeets-what-really-happened/#more-7633

    Daily Dirt (blog): https://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2009/01/corus-09-r10-aronian-leads-alone.htm


    Just for interest sake Daaim do you know what happened to Stuart Rachels ,who was outstanding around 1989 and Tal Shaked who grew to prominence in 1997?

  11. Stuart Rachels got a Ph.D. and like many other strong juniors in that era, the chose a career over chess. Michael Wilder, Patrick Wolff are a couple of other prominent players.

  12. The race in Corus “A” is getting tighter with Aronian dropping a decision to Lenier Dominguez. The Cuban is playing very provactively and came up with another novelty. Levon Aronian now shares 1st with Dominguez, Teimour Radjabov and Sergei Movsesian.

    Nigel Short continues to hold the lead in Corus “B” but Fabiano Caruana and Rustam Kasimjanov are now only a half-point back with two rounds remaining. Wesley So of the Philippines leads Corus “C” on 8/11. Great result! Hillarp Persson lost his long-held lead after losing to Ali Bitalzadeh.

    Six out of seven games were decisive. Fourteen-year old FM Anish Giri “normed” with a win over Krishnan Sasikiran who is on -5! The GM norm is Giri’s third and final. The Nepalese-Russian-Dutch player appears to have a bright future. Father is from Nepal and mother is Russian.

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

    FM Anish Giri

    GM-elect Anish Giri
    Photo by John Nunn.

  13. Round Twelve

    Unprecedented!! A six-way tie for first going into the last round at Corus… Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov, Levon Aronian, Lenier Dominguez, Sergei Movsesian and Sergei Karjakin are on 7/12. Rustam Kasimjanov has broken into a tie with Nigel Short for the lead in Corus “B” on 8/12. Hou Yifan beat Francisco Vallejo Pons in her second win over 2700-rated player.

    Wesley So has clinched a tie for first in Corus “C” after beating Tiger Hillarp-Persson. The Swede has fallen off the pace after holding the tournament lead for most of the tournament. Again every game was decisive. Mexican Grandmaster Manuel Leon Hoyos has not drawn a game yet (+5 -7).

    Official Site: https://www.coruschess.com/

    GM Wesley So

    GM Wesley So
    Photo by Frederic Friedel.

  14. Round Thirteen

    Sergei Karjakin beat Lenier Dominguez in a thrilling ending to the Corus “A” International. Magnus Carlsen blundered against Wang Yue while all other contenders drew. Speaking of blunders, Nigel Short collapsed against Fabiano Caruana despite holding the lead the entire tournament. Great result! Short had to settle for joint second in Corus “B” with Rustam Kasimjanov and Alexander Motylev on 8/13. Wesley So clinched Corus “C” with a quick draw and a 9.5/13 score. The young Filipino continues to soar.

    Videos by Europe-Echecs.com.

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