zondag, november 21, 2004

57TH Russian Chess Championship Superfinal

Here we are at an another exciting chess championship series. No, this one is not exciting because of all the outside antics going on, but rather just because the players are putting on a hard fought contest. Six days and five games remain 'til the end of the Moscow based Russian Chess Championship tournament, with Grischuk leading the pack, 4 points to 3.5 for Kasparov and Dreev. Epishin, Timofeev, and Grischuk are all undefeated through six games. Kasparov has played just five games, but is also undefeated. He has a game in hand on the leader. Kasparov has defeated Dreev in their match up, but has yet to face Grischuk.

This tournament is the highest rated tournament to be held in quite awhile, but could have been even higher had Kramnik and Karpov not backed out at the last minute. Kramnik had a doctor's note saying he was still too stressed after his world title defense against Leko, but Karpov didn't really give any excuse. Don't look for Kramnik to play much before his next title defense. He was fortunate to keep his title and probably wants to savor it for a couple years before he has to put it on the line again. In addition, look for his rating to drop considerably if he plays in many tournaments before his next title defense.

After having had the European Club Cup and the Olympiad, this tournament is one of the more visible events until the Corus Chess Tournament when many of the top players will meet again. Then the FIDE World Chess Tournament is scheduled to be played with Kasparov going right down to the wire with his chances to prepare for it. Kasparov doesn't appear too worried, however, since his opponent, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, does not appear to want to commit to playing (shades of Polomerov and the last showdown planned for Kasparov). Meanwhile, second highest ranked player Vishy Anand has been busy fattening his rating in a non-discript GM tournament (Corsica Masters) in Bastia, France.

The Corus Tournament should be a good one with many of the world's best players coming together again; Judit Polger, Peter Leko, Vishy Anand Topolov, Morozevich and Kramnik, to name a few. American Gata Kamsky likely will not be there, but is staging a comeback to the chess scene with an appearance at the US Championship in San Diego shortly. We'll have a chance to see just how rusty he has gotten over the last few years.

I must get back to attending to business now as the next round in Moscow is about to get underway with Morozevich and Grischuk facing each other. I'm looking for Morozevich to start back on his winning ways after a slow start. Kasparov should be able to put his much lower rated opponent, Vitaly Tseshkovsky, away fairly easily.


Shelby Long (21.11.2004)

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