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Groningen 1996
Compiled by Phony Benoni
--*--

So what does a International Grandmaster do to get into shape for New Year's Eve? These guys chose to spend a couple of weeks at Groningen in the Netherlands trying to score points in a little Category 16 tournament (average rating 2634):

Vladimir Akopian, Boris Gelfand, Julian Michael Hodgson, Viktor Korchnoi, Peter Leko, Alexander Onischuk, Alexey Shirov, Nigel Short, Ivan Sokolov, Peter Svidler, Jan Timman, Loek van Wely

And after 11 rounds of that, a New Year's Day hangover is a relief.

Timman jumped out in front by winning his first four games, but a round 6 loss to Hodgson brought him back to the pack. Van Wely kept close, and was even tied for first with Timman after eight rounds. But Van Wely followed with two losses in a row, as Short won the biggest game of the tournament over Timman to take a half-point lead. A couple of quiet rounds kept it that way while Gelfand, who was undefeated but never quite came out of hiding, tied Timman for second place.

And a word needs to be said about Viktor Korchnoi. After eight rounds he had scored only three draws, and was in last place by two points. Saddened whispers were surely circulating that the 65-year-old couldn't keep up any more.

So Korchnoi proceeded to win his last three games. You may not love the guy, but sometimes you can't help but admire him.

Crosstable

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 1 Short * 1 0 1 1 1 7.0 2 Timman 0 * 1 1 1 0 1 6.5 3 Gelfand * 1 1 6.5 4 Leko 0 * 1 1 6.0 5 Shirov 1 0 * 0 1 1 6.0 6 Van Wely 0 0 1 * 1 0 1 1 6.0 7 Svidler 0 * 1 0 1 5.5 8 Onischuk 0 * 1 0 0 4.5 9 Hodgson 0 1 0 1 0 0 * 1 0 4.5 10 Akopian 0 0 1 * 0 4.5 11 Sokolov 0 0 0 1 0 * 1 4.5 12 Korchnoi 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 * 4.5

<Round-by-round summary>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 Short 1.0 1.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.5 5.0 5.0 6.0 6.5 7.0 2 Timman 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 4.5 4.5 5.0 5.5 5.5 6.0 6.5 3 Gelfand 0.5 1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 6.0 6.5 4 Leko 0.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.5 6.0 5 Shirov 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 4.0 4.5 5.5 6.0 6 Van Wely 1.0 2.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 6.0 7 Svidler 0.5 1.5 1.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 8 Onischuk 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.5 9 Hodgson 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 3.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 10 Akopian 0.5 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 3.5 4.0 4.5 11 Sokolov 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.5 12 Korchnoi 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
Timman vs Leko, 1996
(B17) Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation, 34 moves, 1-0

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
Gelfand vs Korchnoi, 1996
(A28) English, 31 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
Shirov vs Van Wely, 1996 
(B81) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack, 40 moves, 0-1

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
Onischuk vs Svidler, 1996
(B57) Sicilian, 75 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
J M Hodgson vs Short, 1996 
(C02) French, Advance, 48 moves, 0-1

Round 1 (Thursday, December 19)
V Akopian vs I Sokolov, 1996
(A22) English, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
Short vs Gelfand, 1996
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
Leko vs V Akopian, 1996
(C10) French, 84 moves, 1-0

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
Shirov vs Timman, 1996 
(C16) French, Winawer, 40 moves, 0-1

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
Van Wely vs Korchnoi, 1996
(E17) Queen's Indian, 63 moves, 1-0

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
Svidler vs J M Hodgson, 1996
(B74) Sicilian, Dragon, Classical, 34 moves, 1-0

Round 2 (Friday, December 20)
I Sokolov vs Onischuk, 1996
(A81) Dutch, 49 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
Timman vs Van Wely, 1996
(A48) King's Indian, 68 moves, 1-0

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
Gelfand vs Svidler, 1996 
(E73) King's Indian, 24 moves, 1-0

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
Onischuk vs Leko, 1996
(A37) English, Symmetrical, 26 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
J M Hodgson vs I Sokolov, 1996 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 39 moves, 1-0

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
V Akopian vs Shirov, 1996
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 12 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3 (Saturday, December 21)
Korchnoi vs Short, 1996 
(A13) English, 38 moves, 0-1

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
Timman vs V Akopian, 1996
(C42) Petrov Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
Leko vs J M Hodgson, 1996
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
Shirov vs Onischuk, 1996
(C78) Ruy Lopez, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
Van Wely vs Short, 1996
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 46 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
Svidler vs Korchnoi, 1996 
(C08) French, Tarrasch, Open, 4.ed ed, 39 moves, 1-0

Round 4 (Sunday, December 22)
I Sokolov vs Gelfand, 1996
(E97) King's Indian, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
Short vs Svidler, 1996
(B62) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
Gelfand vs Leko, 1996
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
Onischuk vs Timman, 1996
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 68 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
J M Hodgson vs Shirov, 1996
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
V Akopian vs Van Wely, 1996
(A10) English, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5 (Monday, December 23)
Korchnoi vs I Sokolov, 1996
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 35 moves, 0-1

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
Timman vs J M Hodgson, 1996
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 29 moves, 0-1

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
Leko vs Korchnoi, 1996
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 54 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
Shirov vs Gelfand, 1996
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
Van Wely vs Svidler, 1996
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
V Akopian vs Onischuk, 1996
(A04) Reti Opening, 34 moves, 1-0

Round 6 (Tuesday, December 24)
I Sokolov vs Short, 1996 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 32 moves, 0-1

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
Short vs Leko, 1996
(B47) Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation, 43 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
Gelfand vs Timman, 1996
(E12) Queen's Indian, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
Svidler vs I Sokolov, 1996 
(C89) Ruy Lopez, Marshall, 32 moves, 0-1

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
Onischuk vs Van Wely, 1996
(B93) Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4, 28 moves, 0-1

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
J M Hodgson vs V Akopian, 1996
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7 (Thursday, December 26)
Korchnoi vs Shirov, 1996 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 42 moves, 0-1

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
Timman vs Korchnoi, 1996
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
Leko vs Svidler, 1996
(B07) Pirc, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
Shirov vs Short, 1996 
(C69) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 42 moves, 1-0

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
Van Wely vs I Sokolov, 1996
(A28) English, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
Onischuk vs J M Hodgson, 1996
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 45 moves, 1-0

Round 8 (Friday, December 27)
V Akopian vs Gelfand, 1996
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
Short vs Timman, 1996 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 44 moves, 1-0

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
Gelfand vs Onischuk, 1996
(C55) Two Knights Defense, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
Svidler vs Shirov, 1996
(C78) Ruy Lopez, 16 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
J M Hodgson vs Van Wely, 1996
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 50 moves, 1-0

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
I Sokolov vs Leko, 1996
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 46 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9 (Saturday, December 28)
Korchnoi vs V Akopian, 1996 
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 64 moves, 1-0

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
Timman vs Svidler, 1996
(B62) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
Shirov vs I Sokolov, 1996 
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 113 moves, 1-0

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
Van Wely vs Leko, 1996
(A57) Benko Gambit, 60 moves, 0-1

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
Onischuk vs Korchnoi, 1996
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 41 moves, 0-1

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
J M Hodgson vs Gelfand, 1996
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 89 moves, 0-1

Round 10 (Sunday, December 29)
V Akopian vs Short, 1996
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
Short vs Onischuk, 1996
(C28) Vienna Game, 12 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
Gelfand vs Van Wely, 1996
(E73) King's Indian, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
Leko vs Shirov, 1996
(C78) Ruy Lopez, 17 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
Svidler vs V Akopian, 1996
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
I Sokolov vs Timman, 1996
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 17 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Monday, December 30)
Korchnoi vs J M Hodgson, 1996
(A21) English, 50 moves, 1-0

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