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Radjabov Off to Early Lead in Wijk Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
January 16, 2007
Photo Courtesy chessvibes.com

by Jennifer Shahade
20-year-old Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan is off to a running start in Corus 2007 (January12-28, Wijk Aan Zee, Holland). Back to back wins in Round 3 and 4 against Shirov and Tiviakov place Radjabov in clear first after four rounds. Topalov also busted Shirov today, with a hyper-aggressive anti-Grunfeld line.

Radjabov's charge

In Round 3, Shirov's creative tactical queen sacrifice was no match for Radjabov's precise defensive calculations. Shirov had some troubles anyway when he played 31.Rxe6, because 31...Qh3 is a strong threat.


In Round 4, Radjabov faced Tiviakov's famous Dragon Defense. He played a positional game, eschewing the chance for a Yugoslav Attack melee. He then earned control of key squares and managed to blast open Tiviakov's kingside without allowing any counterplay.


Surprise Grunfeld weapon

In Round 4, Topalov played an old but still very scary line against Shirov's Grunfeld. The exchange sacrifice 14.d5!? was thought to be theoretically fine for Black, so many White players switched to the mere pawn sacrifice14.Rc1 or the normal looking 14.Qa4. Even more looked to lines with 7.Nf3 and 8.Rb1, which became the main variation. The practical value of 7.Bc4 and 14.d5, as today's Topalov game demonstrates, is still formidable.


Did Topalov play the line partly in memory of David Bronstein? Chess Life Online could not resist including Bronstein's 1950 gem in the same line:


Wijk Aan Zee Standings after Four Rounds

1. T. Radjabov- 3.5
2.   V. Topalov- 3
3-7. D. Navara,V. Anand, L. Aronian, P. Svidler and V. Kramnik 2.5/4
8-9 S. Karjakin, R. Ponomariov- 2
10. A. Motylev -1.5
11. L. van Wely, S. Tiviakov and M. Carlsen- 1
14. A. Shirov- .5

Tomorrow, Wednesday Jan.17, is a rest day at Wijk Aan Zee. On Thursday, we'll see if Radjabov and Topalov can maintain their strong form. Both will play with Black, Radjabov against Navara and Topalov against Tiviakov. Stay tuned for GM Ian Rogers on-site halfway mark update!