Monday, February 9, 2009


The Corus tournament ended dramatically Sunday in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. In the tightest finish in memory, six players began the last round tied for the lead. Only Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine managed to win and achieve a score of 8-5. Levon Aronian (Armenia), Sergey Movsesian (Slovakia) and Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) tied for second at 7 1/2 -5 1/2 , while unlucky losers Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and Leinier Dominguez (Cuba) fell to 7-6.

Former U.S. champion Gata Kamsky finished seventh at 6 1/2 -6 1/2 , a fair performance. Co-favorites Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) and Alexander Morozevich (Russia), ranked third and fifth in the world, tied for last place at 5 1/2 -7 1/2 .

This is Karjakin's first victory in an elite tournament but hardly a shock. He had shown great potential even before he became a grandmaster at age 12 years, 7 months, the youngest ever. Now he's 19 and a full-time chess professional.

Prodigies starred in the accompanying tournaments too. Fabiano Caruana, 16, of Italy defeated the leader, Nigel Short of England, in the last round to take first prize in the all-grandmaster Corus B tournament. Caruana won the C tournament in 2008.

Wesley So, 15, of the Philippines dominated the C tournament with an excellent score of 9 1/2 -3 1/2 . He earned the GM title last year, but he is no longer the world's youngest. Anish Giri of Russia tied for second place at 8 1/2 -4 1/2 and fulfilled the requirements for the GM title at age 14 years, 7 months.

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