October 15, 2009 18:07

Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik in Corus A

Corus 2010 A & BViswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen will play in Grandmaster group A of the 2010 Corus Chess Tournament. Just like Fabiano Caruana and... Nigel Short. Ni Hua and Arkadij Naiditsch are the top seeds in group B. The organizers sent us the list of participants of both groups.

The organizing committee of the Corus Chess Tournament managed to contract World Champion Viswanathan Anand as one of the 14 participants of the annual chess festival in Wijk aan Zee. Anand, who won the tournament already five times, was absent during this year's Corus Chess Tournament due to a rest period after his victory in the World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, 2008. The Russian will also return to Wijk aan Zee this year.

The two will obviously encounter strong competition from Magnus Carlsen. The Norwegian, who started working with Garry Kasparov earlier this year, is still climbing in the world rankings. After his devastating victory in Nanjing (China) Carlsen is currently the world's number 2 on the live rankings with a virtual rating over 2800.

Peter Leko and Vassily Ivanchuk are two more familiar names in Wijk aan Zee but reigning U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura makes his debut in the top group (the American played in B in 2004). So does Fabiano Caruana, who promoted from Grandmaster group B.

Former World Championship contender Nigel Short missed promotion last year in a nail-biting last-round game against Caruana, in which the Englishman threw away a winning position and even lost. However, Short can look back at an excellent year in which he brought his rating over 2700 again, and so the Corus organizers invited him to the A group anyway.

Of course we'll see the glorious winner of 2009, Sergey Karjakin, back in Wijk aan Zee (now under the Russian flag) and this counts for Cuba's number one Leinier Dominguez as well, who also did very well this year. Besides another public favourite, Alexei Shirov, three Dutch players complete the field: Jan Smeets, Sergey Tiviakov and Loek van Wely.

In the B group Arkadij Naiditsch, Emil Sutovsky, Ni Hua, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and Pentala Harikrishna are the biggest favourites. Rising star Wesley So promoted from the C group and former world's youngest grandmaster Anish Giri plays as well.

The 72nd Corus Chess Tournament takes places Jarnuary 15-31 2010 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. The participants of Grandmaster group C will be announced later this year. Due to the financial crisis its existence was in doubt, but a few weeks ago it was given the green light. Some local newspapers even questioned the continuation of the amateur groups, but the organizers confirmed that for the chess fans everything will stay the same.

Corus Chess Tournament 2010 | Participants Grandmaster Group A

Corus A

Corus Chess Tournament 2010 | Participants Grandmaster Group B

Corus A

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


gg's picture

Carlsen will win. Anand has the match against Topalov to think about but will end up close to the top, Shirov has only won one top tournament in his life and Sofia 2009 won't be repeated soon. In Wijk he was last in his latest start and 9-11th in the one before that.

Ivanchuk is unpredictable and could be the biggest threat against Carlsen. Kramnik never does well in Wijk, his last top three finish was in 2001 as shared third. Karjakin won't repeat last year's result but have a score that is more normal for him (or maybe slightly better than his Grand Prix results):

1. Carlsen
2. Ivanchuk
3. Anand
4. Kramnik
5. Leko
6. Karjakin
7. Domniguez
8. Shirov
9. Nakamura
10. Short
11. Caruana
12. Tiviakov
13. van Wely
14. Smeets

MvE's picture

@didrik: what does AZE have to do with this? Forgot about Radjabov?

Thomas's picture

990% should of course be 90% :)

Thomas's picture

@Labelled: I agree with you regarding Nakamura. But as far as Shirov is concerned (who was/is also on my list of outsiders): Earlier this year, he won MTel ahead of, among others, Topalov and Carlsen - beating the latter in the decisive final round. What would be better proof for the suggestion that he CAN pull such an upset, form permitting? I repeat that, form lacking, he might also end up on the bottom end of the table.

I agree with most people regarding Aronian, and also with several ones regarding Gashimov. However, @Dikke Deur: What makes you think, what gives you the right to claim that you speak "for most others"? How large would your claimed majority be - 60%, 75%, 990% or 99%?

Peter Doggers's picture

thx, corrected

sergio's picture

I am curious how Giri will do in the B-group. The groups are nice, but i miss Aronian. Someone know why he isn't there?

gashimov's picture

why is anna muzychuk's federation Russia?

Arne Moll's picture

Great field, and good to see Shirov back!

Chiko Mwale's picture

I'm looking forward to see van Wely play. I enjoyed his games during Experience v. Rising Stars.

Thomas's picture

Not surprising (and justified) that Short was invited, maybe a bit surprising that he accepted the invitation. In the past, he kept saying that he wasn't even interested in playing in the A group ... . This even lead to - ill-founded or absurd - speculations that he lost his decisive game against Caruana on purpose. And back then, I commented that maybe the organizers would annoy him and invite him anyway.
Well, it seems that he changed his mind - he also plays in London, but that tournament on home ground could still have been considered as an honor he couldn't decline.
The other news: no Topalov. Either the organizers couldn't afford him in addition to the other top5 players, or - more likely IMO - Anand and Topalov continue to avoid each other before their WCh match.

MvE's picture

Where are Morozevich, Topalov and Aronian?

jmws's picture


Indeed, where are they? instead the organisers invited Leko for the umpteenth time....

jmd85146's picture

Looking forward to this tournament a lot. Always lots of great games and excellent coverage of the tournament.

gg's picture

Corus is always fun but the field isn't strong for the event, 2008 had Aronian, Topalov, Radjabov, Polgar, Gelfand, Mamedyarov, Adams apart from this year's top players, and no participant below #35. Now it's four players below #55 and some that are weaker than their rating on the list above (Nakamura is down to 2715).

Thomas's picture

As I wrote before, I think Topalov is absent for a reason. Otherwise, there are always some names missing if you want to have established players, rising stars (Nakamura, Short :) *) and some local names. Like it or not, Leko has a high rating - and several players will "test" his positional, arguably boring style. Maybe Shirov-Leko will turn into an interesting "fire against water" clash? Dortmund may have suffered from the fact that they had too many solid players in the field, not the case for Corus.

If I were to question or criticize one name, it's Tiviakov. When he played Corus in the past he merely tried to draw all of his games, even his white ones. I guess this time he will at least attend the closing ceremony?

* I didn't mention Caruana here because his invitation was obvious (qualifying from this year's B group)

gg's picture

This is how my field would look (if all players were forced to participate):


PP (NL)'s picture

Strange that Aronian will not be present. Lat january he told me, in person, that Corus is his favourite tournament! I'll miss him...

For the rest, like always it looks like a great tournament again. Even the B group is strong, as always. A lot of countries in this world never had a tournament that strong.... ever.

JustBe's picture

I prefer 14 Shirovs :-)

Carlsen is there too ;-) He might be no.1 of the world then!

Thomas's picture

@gg: Where would "your" tournament take place? I do not see Corus without a single Dutch player in the A group - even though they are on the bottom of the field ELO-wise.
Partly related, referring to your previous comment: Corus 2008 had a stronger field for three reasons, two largely beyond the organizers' control:

1) Van Wely was, and probably still is, the most "logical" wildcard. He was #35 (2681) at the time, and went down to #86 (2650) - whether 31 ELO points is such a HUGE difference is another story.
BTW, I dare to predict that he will eventually be "dropped", just like Timman was dropped some years ago - and I think both players wouldn't be interested or willing to play in the B group. When might this happen? Maybe when/if Giri overtakes him ELO-wise.

2) The qualifier from the 2007 B group was Eljanov (#27) vs. this time Caruana (#71).

3) Apparently the organizers liked last year's experiment with three Dutch players in the top group, creating additional local media attention. And I think this matters to sponsors more than how the event is received in other countries.

Hortensius's picture

WOW! Many very attractive chess players in the A group: Carlsen, Nakamura, Ivanchuk, Caruana...

Michel83's picture

Hm, anybody knows why Hou Yifan isn't playing in Corus B this year? My guess would be that orginally she got invited instead of Anny Muzychuk but declined...she's been playing a lot (and not very well) lately, maybe she needed a break.
Anybody knows?

Pity, I was looking forward to see her playing. :(

Chucky, Shirov and Nakamura in one group looks like entertaining chess though.

gg's picture

@Thomas: My tournament would take place in Shangri-La... I understand the three Dutch players thing but wasn't too excited by Smeets last year (or Tiviakov before that). He went for the draw as soon as possible with white and hoped to hang on with black, was never better in any game even if he won one "by accident" when Ivanchuk flagged on move 40, so I'd rather see Aronian or Radjabov in his place.

Aronian won in 2007 and 2008 and was 0.5 from winning in 2009, Radjabov has won or been 0.5 from first place three years in a row, both of them after playing lots of highly entertaining games every year. With all respect for players like Tiviakov, Short or Smeets I would have found it more fun to see Aronian and Radjabov (or Morozevich or Grischuk). But it's definitely up to the organisers to invite what players they want without asking for my preferences :-)

Jarvis's picture

I'd like very much to see this year's Chinese champion, the young Ding Liren in the B-group, or at least in the C-group. Would be very interesting to see how he'd perform in an international setting of this caliber. (Anyone hasn't yet seen his win against Wang Hao from the Chinese championship, pls check it out, pretty impressive: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1546339)

didrik's picture

What about Gashimov?
.How high rating does a AZE guy have to have to get invited to european tournaments. I remember I read an intrview with him where he basicly cried out I want to play chess please invite me.When did he play a regular round robin tournament in Europe? poor guy. I mean he is 7th on the live list. How high does he have to get?

Lu Lin's picture

I'd like to see Karjakin can have his best form and catch up Carlsen.

Michel83's picture

@ Jarvis

Funny, I was thinking the same thing- I hope for Ding Liren too!
His ELO is probably too low for the B-Group, but I hope he will play in the C-Group- with his potential he'd have a good chance to win it.

Talking about chinese players I would have liked to see Wang Hao in the B-Group too, but I'm afraid Bu, Wang Yue and this time Ni get most of the invitations...

CAL|Daniel's picture

A fantastic list for A&B! Even B has my mouth watering. The only disappointment is the lack of Aronian in the A group.

guitarspider's picture

In my opinion having local players and not-quite-elite players makes for a much more interesting tournament. Who needs to see the top 8 playing themselves for the 1000000th time? Much more interesting to give others a chance to play them and maybe break through to their level, which will only happen if these others get the chance to play the elite players regularly.

Labelled's picture

Can anyone except Carlsen, Anand or Kramnik win this tournament??? Personally I doubt that very much......

It will be interesting to see wether Carlsen can obtain his good form or not. Maybe he is playing too much..... His head must be pretty close to exploding after all those important games his playing combined with his "resting" periods with Kasparov breathing down his neck.

To me it seems like a constant headache....

nick burrows's picture

The proof will be in the pudding. The first bowlful was delicious.

CAL|Daniel's picture


LOL? You're joking right? With players like Ivanchuk, Shirov, Short, Nakamura in the field... you're already writing them off?

CAL|Daniel's picture

Don't forget Karjakin won last year... and Leko is still a tough cookie.

Thomas's picture

@Labelled: I would give Shirov and Ivanchuk outsider chances for first place. But, given their past results, I also wouldn't be very surprised if one of them finished in last place .... .
@JustBe: With 14 Shirovs, you would get both of it and everything in between :)

PP (NL)'s picture


Quote: "I understand the three Dutch players thing but wasn’t too excited by Smeets last year (or Tiviakov before that). He went for the draw as soon as possible with white and hoped to hang on with black, was never better in any game even if he won one “by accident” when Ivanchuk flagged on move 40, so I’d rather see Aronian or Radjabov in his place."

This is simply not true. Smeets has been fighting for a win on many occasions. But it kind of hard if almost all players have more than 100 ELO points more than he had. Tiviakov is more a player likely to only score draws.

And of course it is nice to have some of our local hero's there. It's a Dutch tournament. A shame that van Wely never did perform like he can (could) in Wijk aan Zee. The last Dutch born player really performing the was Jeroen Piket. Shame he decided to pursue another career.

@Thomas: Van Wely has been a 2700+ player for a short while, number 10 in the world. He never reached that level since.

PP (NL)'s picture

@CAL|Daniel: Nakamura? He doesn't have a change to win it. At least not the coming 2 or 3 years. Probably never. You're American I guess? ;-)

Short is to old. The tournament is too long for him to win it. He had his time. But he is always a dangerous opponent for every player.

CAL|Daniel's picture

of course Nakamura has a chance but my point was merely to point out how crazy Labelled is.

Ianis's picture

Aside from Topalov , Aronian and Morozevich shining by their absence , it's really a pity there is no Svidler and Grischuk either , both are very interesting to watch and extremely strong , likely to give the favourites a good run for their money .

i 'd have liked to see the young Vachier-Lagrave there .. it was a very important chance for him to get valuable experience .. Also i'd have prefered to see the likesof Gelfand , Gashimov , Ponomariov or even Naiditsch who won Montreat recently instead of some selected ..

well , i'm pretty disappointed by the selection overall tbh .. although i'm happy to see that Carlsen , Kramnik , Anand , Ivanchuk and Shirov will be there

Ianis's picture

hmm yea , Naiditsch wiull be there but in B group sorry

unknown's picture


Coco Loco's picture

Corus is just a chance for these guys to play some coffee shop chess and see their favorite girls in the soft red light of the old town.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

I am glad Anand decided to play both the Tal memorial and Corus considering that his match against Topalov will be early 2010. Ofcourse, considering the state of affairs, nothing is certain about the match.

But what is obvious is the playing of one has prompted the other (Topalov) to not play in both these tournaments. The same reason why Topalov and not Anand played in Nanjing.

Curious what will happen for Linares 2010.

bendrik's picture


Why is dominguez playing here. Dont like him at all. With Aronian it would be much better. I also dont understand what Tiviakov is doing in this field. He is not dutch but former Russian and not that strong player. Smeets and Van wely Rule!

Karjakin is good to c. I think i will visit Wijk aan Zee this year after a few years again.

ceann's picture

ANY tournament with KING CHUCKY in it is a good one.....he will show fishy, the runt and others whose boss.

bendrik's picture

Oh by the way. Lets not discuss who will winn.

Lets talk about who has a chance to get second place as obvious Carlsen will take it .... can truly someone still doubt that???

ChessFan's picture

That's an awesome field. BTW, this is a great site. Enjoyed your timely and in depth coverage of Nanjing.

unknown's picture

Kramnik will win Corus 2010!

redpawn's picture

#1 Don't mean much....
Carlsparov should instead focus on getting prepared for a match with Anand or Topalov. for the world championship.
Carlsen would get the # 1 rank because of his talent.

If FIDE decides to set a Mexico style championhip tournament than Carlsen stand a great chance of gaining the world championship (he proved he can win in china...) but he's not been tested in match play yet....

Kudos to Kasparov for pulling him out of the European team championship nad getting ready fro the Tal memeorial - that's smart planning!

Thomas's picture

@PP (NL): Yes I know - those were the days when up to three Dutch players (Timman, Piket, van Wely) could play Corus A without really requiring a wildcard [read: at least one of them may also have been invited if he wasn't Dutch, and they were invited to other supertournaments].

I think that was rather unique in the history of supertournament outside of Russia/Soviet Union. Germany (Dortmund) had Huebner, but only Huebner - maybe now Naiditsch at least knocking at the 2700 door. Spain (Linares, others such as Dos Hermanas) had and has "import" Shirov - other players (Illescas, Vallejo Pons) were "reasonable wildcards. England had many top players through time (Nunn, Miles, Speelman, Short, Adams) but for many years didn't have a supertournament ... .

As far as van Wely is concerned, at least he has a spectacular style: even when he is losing a lot he plays interesting games and is always capable of one or two upsets. I remember one Corus tournament when he kept losing with the Najdorf, but remained faithful to this line - must have been a few years ago, one of his losses was against Kasparov.

jon's picture

Great to see GM Nyback in group B.

Patrick's picture

I think the B-group is where the disappointment comes in. Last year we had Kasimdzhanov, Motylev, Vallejo! And what about Rublevsky, Vitiugov and all the other promising Russians?

As far as the A-group goes, I also miss Aronian!


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