Mr. Explosive: Alexei Shirov

The leader by a full point: Alexei Shirov with 4.0/4 and a performance so far of 3483 (photo by: Fred Lucas)

There’s no stopping Alexei Shirov in the 2010 edition of the annual Corus Chess Tournament. So far, he crushed every opponent he came across on his way to the top of the standings in the FIDE-category-XIX main event at the “De Moriaan” community centre in this wind- and rain-swept resort village on the Dutch North Sea coast. His latest victim was Holland’s Jan Smeets, who went down in 37 moves with black from what started as a rather boring Petroff in Tuesday’s fourth round.

“Somehow, I usually lose when I play the Petroff,” Shirov told a packed news conference after picking up yet another full point, “regardless of whether I’m black or white.” This Petroff went the way of most Petroffs, remaining well or almost balanced -even after Shirov sacrificed a bishop for two pawns- until he decided “to kind of bluff.”
Smeets said he felt “bamboozled.” After being “quite satisfied with myself as late as six moves before the end. One move on, I messed up things and after one more I guess I’d blotted my book beyond repair.”

GM Ivan Sokolov declared Shirov’s performance “the best game of the day,” awarding the naturalized Spaniard from Latvia his third ‘IJmond Veelzijdig’ (‘Ymouth Versatile’) prize of € 500.

See full article