Wijk aan Zee

January 12-28, 2001

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2001 starts with a chess odyssey, as a veritable galaxy of stars are lined-up to take part in the first major event of the New Year, the Corus Chess Tournament, to be held 12-28 January in the Dutch seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee.
With an average rating of 2713, making the tournament a category 19, the top-class field of 14 includes no less than nine of the world's top nine players.
The full line-up is Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand, Alexander Morozevich, Michael Adams, Alexei Shirov, Peter Leko, Vassily Ivanchuk, Veselin Topalov, Jeroen Piket, Alexei Fedorov, Loek van Wely, Jan Timman and Sergei Tiviakov.
This will be Kasparov's third appearance at the tournament, and such was his domination of the first two in 1999 and 2000, the event was nicknamed "Kasparov aan Zee".
However, the former world champion hasn't exactly had it all his own way after he sensationally lost his world crown to Vladimir Kramnik.
The tournament could prove to be make-or-break time for Kasparov following the strong showing in the second half of last year of not only his nemesis, Kramnik, but also the Indian ace Vishy Anand, fresh from his superb performance to win the recent Fide World Championship.
With both now making serious inroads in an attempt to become the second player to breach the 2800 barrier, both stand a good chance of stripping Kasparov of the only title he can now lay claim to: world number one.
Then again, this could be just the spur that an angry Kasparov needs to once again dominate Wijk aan Zee.
(Article and Photos: JBH)