Times, February 4, 2001
By all normal measures, the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the
Netherlands, was a major success.
At the conclusion of the final round last Sunday, Garry Kasparov had topped
an elite field which included the nine highest ranked players in the world.
Thousands of spectators had travelled to the Dutch seaside village to watch
the world's best in action and many more had followed the games on the
internet. Publicity had been enormous, especially the clashes between
Kasparov and the two new World Champions, Anand and Kramnik.
Kasparov ultimately finished half a point ahead of Anand after the early
leader Alexey Shirov had collapsed in the closing rounds.
However tournament sponsor Corus, the steel giant formed in 1999 by the
merger of British Steel and Dutch firm Hoogovens, seems likely to terminate
the series, which has run with the same sponsor since 1939, after next
At the opening of the tournament, a Corus representative spoke of the hard
times which Corus was enduring and said that the company might have to
"sacrifice" a few pieces for the good of their overall position. A few
after the tournament, Corus announced that it was closing or scaling down
many of its factories in Britain, with the loss of 6,050 jobs.
At the closing ceremony Kasparov spoke on behalf of the players about the
reasons why Corus should continue their chess connection - in essence, "We
need to preserve one of the world's top tournaments."
However whether Kasparov's words have managed to help convince the
hard-nosed Corus executives that continuing the Wijk aan Zee tradition will
help restore Corus' fortunes is a moot point.
Wijk aan Zee Corus 2001
Opening: Sicilian Dragon
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0
9.0-0-0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Qxd5 Qc7 14.Qc5 Qb8!?
Fedorov, a Dragon expert, twice took a beating with 14...Qb7 last year. Now
he is ready with an underrated side-line.
15.Qa3 Be6 16.Ba6 Qe5 17.g3 Rad8! 18.Bf4 Qf6 19.Rhe1 Bf5!
Now White's position is quite unstable, with the White queen tied to b2 and
a6 and 20...Qc6 21.c3 Qxf3 a threat.
20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.c3?!
Adams overlooked Black's next. 21.Bc4 leaves White well in the game.
21...Qb6 22.Be3 Bh6! 23.f4 Qc6! 24.Bd2
24.Qxe7 loses to 24...Re8 25.Qa3 Re6!.
24...Rd6! 25.Bf1 Qd5 would have decided the game at once because now 26.Re2
can be answered by 26...Qd3.
25.Re2 e5! 26.Qa4 exf4 27.gxf4? (Diagram)
Allowing a vicious blow. White could hang on with 27.Re8+ Rxe8 28.Qxe8+ Kg7
29.b3!? when no knock-out is apparent.
Hopeless, but so are 28.Qxf4 Qxa2 and 28.Bxf4 Qh1+.
28...Kg7 29.Qxf4 Rxe8 30.Bc4 Qh1+ 31.Bf1 Kg8 0-1
Wijk aan Zee 2001
Leading final scores:
1.Kasparov(Rus) 9/13; 2.Anand(Ind) 8.5; =3.Kramnik(Rus), Ivanchuk(Ukr) 8;
=5.Shirov(Spa), Morozevich(Rus), Adams(Eng) 7.5; 8.Leko(Hun) 6.5.