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Leko leads elite Wijk aan Zee torunament

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:21 AM
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Leko leads elite Wijk aan Zee torunament
Hungarian chess master Peter Leko, who came within a whisker of wresting the world championship from Vladimir Kramnik last Autumn, is leading a strong 14-player field in the annual Corus chess tournament held in the Dutch seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee with only two rounds left to play.

Leko has scored 7 points in the first eleven rounds; tied for second are Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, Indian Viswanathan Anand and Michael Adams of Great Britain with 6 points each. Players earn a full point for each victory and point for each draw.

Today's schedule pits Leko with the Black pieces against Topalov and Anand with White against Adams. The games are in progress at this moment (7:20 am PST).

Topalov, the world's third ranked player, was leading the tournament until Wednesday, when he blundered away a superior position and lost to Judit Polgar of Hungary, the strongest woman player in the world, who is ranked ninth overall. Meanwhile, Leko has picked up 2 points since Tuesday, scoring victories against Nigel Short of Britain and Cuba's Lazaro Bruzon.

Even without the participation of former world champion Garry Kasparov, who remains the world's highest-rated player, the average rating of the participants at Wijk aan Zee is 2721, making the event a very elite tournament.

Kasparov gave up his invitation to Wijk aan Zee to play a match sponsored by FIDE, the world chess federation, against Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan aimed at reunifying the world title. However, FIDE was unable to arrange for financial backing for the match, reviving an old feud between the former world champion and the world governing body. As the tournament opened in Wijk aan Zee, Kasparov announced he would no longer be available for a FIDE-sponsored match.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 11:35 AM
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1. Leko, Topalov draw; Anand defeats Adams
Tournament leader Peter Leko, who challenged for the world championship last year, and Bulgarian chess master Veselin Topalov agreed minutes ago to a draw in their 12th round game at the annual Corus chess tournament in the Dutch resort of Wijk aan Zee.

Meanwhile, Viswanathan Anand of India, another former world championship contender, defeated Micheal Adams of Great Britain to take over sole possession of second place with only one round left to play.

In another game of interest but with no effect on the front of the pack, Judit Polgar of Hungary, the world's strongest woman player and the overall ninth-ranked player in the world, defeated Ivan Sokolov, a Russian now living in the Netherlands. Ms. Polgar is playing in her first tournament since taking a year off to have a baby. She is in the middle of the 14-player pack with 6 points, tied with Adams, Alexander Grischuk of Russia and current world champion Vladimir Kramnik, also of Russia.

Leko, from Hungary, leads the tournament with 8 points out of 12. Anand is second with 7 after his win today and Topalov is third with 7 points. Players earn a full point for each victory and point for each draw.

Leko need only avoid loss tomorrow to assure himself of a share of first prize. He will have the White pieces against Ms. Polgar, always a tough opponent, while Anand, the only other player with a shot at a clear first-place finish, will have Black against Sokolov, who has struggled badly during the event with only 3 points. Topalov, who would tie Leko with a win in the event Leko loses to Ms. Polgar, will have Black against Russia's Peter Svidler, who needs a victory to even his score.
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BBradley Donating Member (645 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:17 PM
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2. The chess world is a joke without Kasparov.
No one can beat him when he's at the top of his game. The only real competition is the race for second place. Kasparov is the best player ever to have lived, without him these tournaments are pointless.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Absolutely true
However, he's not always at the top of his game. If he were, he'd still be world champion, not Kramnik.

Kasparov seems to be in good form as of late. He won the Russian National Championship in December in a cakewalk against stiff competition.

It is regrettable that he has bowed out of the reunification process. I believe that had he gone forward, he would have regained the title. That would have been good for chess.
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