sponsorship belongs to the Dutch steel and aluminium company Hoogovens, which has supported a continuous series of tournaments since 1938, broken only in 1945. For many years now, their tournaments have been in the small Dutch seaside town of Wijk aan Zee, with the 61st starting today. As always, there are many different groups of various strengths but attention will focus mainly on the top grandmaster tournament, which this year is particularly strong.
When Nigel Short discovered that his wife was expecting a baby at about the time of the tournament he dropped out, leaving Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Topalov, Timman, Van Wely, Yermolinsky, Ivan Sokolov, Piket, Kasimdzhanov and Reinderman. Not a bad bunch - and strengthened still further when the gap was filled by one Gary Kimovich Kasparov.
This is Kasparov's first tournament outing since his relatively indifferent performance in the seven- player super-tournament in Linares last March (they finished, in order: Anand, Shirov, Kasparov and Kramnik, Svidler, Ivanchuk, Topalov). Subsequently Anand has won two serious tournaments outright, in Madrid in June and Tilburg in November; while Kasparov's output at "classical chess", as he calls it, has been confined to just the single 4-2 match victory against Jan Timman in Prague in September (his impressive 4-0 victory against Topalov in May was at quickplay).
Without sticking my neck out, I expect the fight for first place to be between Kasparov (who now has something to prove), Anand and Kramnik, with Ivanchuk, Shirov and Svidler having some chances if they have a really good tournament. The one thing Anand will be most anxious to avoid - and Kasparov to repeat - is a reprise of his distressingly clean loss to Kasparov as Black in Linares. I gave that just a month ago so here, in the interests of balance, is Anand's quickplay victory against Kasparov at Frankfurt in June. 15 b3! was an improvement over 15 0-0 which Anand played twice against Kasparov in the Geneva Quickplay 1996 and Anand annotates 18 Nd1!! en route to e3. Anand got complete control and after 34 f5, dynamiting the d5 square for his knight, it was all over. At the end 39 ...exf5 40 Nd5 fxe4 41 Rxe4! Bc6 42 Rxe7+! Rxe7 43 Nxf6+ Kd8 44 Rxd6+ Kc7 45 Qf4! wins.
White: Viswanathan Anand
Black: Gary Kasparov
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