GM Weskey So slated to play in Corus B

Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik in Corus A
By Peter Doggers

Viswanathan 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.

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