2017 Tata Rd10: Aronian brilliant, So clear leader

by Alejandro Ramirez
1/26/2017 – Three decisive games, all white victories, make Wesley So's lead in Tata Steel quite comfortable. He is now a point ahead of a large pack as the American dispatched Poland's Radoslaw Wojtaszek in a very nice technical game. Levon Aronian took some vengeance from his recent loss against Richard Rapport, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Alexander Yermolinsky analyzes the fireworks!

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The elite Tata Steel tournaments in Wijk aan Zee are underway and take place from January 13-29, with two main tournaments, the Masters with both Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin as headliners, as well as Wesley So, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Baskaran Adhiban, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Richard Rapport, Dmitri Andreikin, Wei Yi, Pavel Eljanov, and Loek van Wely. All rounds in Wijk aan Zee begin at 1.30pm, except for the last round on 29 January 2017, which begins at 12.00pm. Both rounds on the Chess On Tour days start at 2.00pm.

All photos by Alina L'Ami for the official site

Masters tournament

Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Aronian, L.
1-0
Rapport, R.
Van Wely, L.
½-½
Giri, A.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Carlsen, M.
Adhiban, B.
½-½
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Eljanov, P.
½-½
Wei, Y.
Karjakin, S.
1-0
Andreikin, D.
So, W.
1-0
Wojtaszek, R.

Daniel King's Quick review of round 10

 

Daniel King's Game of the Day

 

Game of the Day

The tournament today was on tour, as the players visited the city of Haarlem. The grandmasters of the Tata Steel Masters played the tenth round of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in De Philharmonie in Haarlem. The sports alderman, Merijn Snoek of the Municipality of Haarlem had the following to say: "We are very pleased to be able to welcome the Tata Steel Chess Tournament to our city for a playing round, in cooperation with De Philharmonie. Chess is a very successful sport in Haarlem, with the Kennemer Combinatie taking a very active role. But such an event is fun for everyone who, just like me, enjoys playing chess with a friend or child. We will be hosting the world’s very best chess players. The arrival of Tata Steel Chess On Tour will help us promote chess among young people as well as adults”. 

The players posing in front of The Officers of the St George Militia Company in 1639 by Frans Hals, one of the main attractions of the Frans Hals Museum and a largely studied masterpiece.

The cold is no excuse not to pose! Here in front of the Frans Hals Museum.

Impressions from Haarlem

Another day with thrilling battles! Three decisive games, and the most important for the leaderboard is definitely Wesley So's triumph over Radoslaw Wojtaszek. This puts the American at a full point lead over a large group of players, and with the impeccable form he is showing, including a 53-lossless game streak, all against elite opposition, it is hard to imagine him not bagging another title.

One point lead, three rounds to go: American Wesley So. Also, 18 points behind Carlsen,
and only 4 behind Caruana in the live ratings.

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Haarlem"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "10"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E06"] [WhiteElo "2808"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. d4 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Qc2 c5 7. O-O Nc6 8. dxc5 d4 9. a3 a5 10. Rd1 e5 11. Nc3 Bxc5 12. Nd5 h6 13. Bd2 {My database shows this move as a novelty, but it seems the players were prepared well beyond this.} a4 14. Bb4 Nxb4 15. axb4 Nxd5 16. bxc5 Nb4 17. Qd2 Nc6 18. b4 {a sequence of relatively forced moves following Bb4 has led us to this position. It seems that Wesley, according to the post-mortem interview, considers 18...Be6 as equalizing, but the move played in the game gives White chances.} Qe7 (18... Be6 19. b5 Na5 20. Nxe5 $5 Nb3 21. Qf4 Nxc5 $1 22. Rxd4 Qa5 {leaves Black down a pawn, but between the powerful a-pawn and the nice knight on c5, it should be sufficient compensation.}) (18... Qc7 {is Stockfish 8's suggestion after a long think, as you can check yourself on the livebook.}) 19. Qb2 $1 {Black's main issue will be the powerful passed pawns on the queenside. He would like to simply block them, but that isn't easy to do, and pushing his own pawns in the center is also very difficult as they are rather weak.} Bg4 20. Re1 $1 { A beautiful, machine-like move. The mysterious rook move discourages Black from taking the knight as White would recapture with the e-pawn, putting pressure on the center.} Rfd8 $6 (20... f5 21. Nh4 $1 (21. Nd2 e4 $13) 21... Kh7 $14 {keeps the game going, but White is to be slightly preferred.}) 21. Nd2 {With the activation of the light squared bishop, things go south for Wojtaszek really quickly.} Be6 22. b5 Nb8 23. Qb4 $1 f5 24. Nb3 {Using the pin to activate the knight, which was the last remaining problem in White's position.} Nd7 25. Bxb7 {Simple tactics give Wesley a winning advantage, the rest requires no commentary.} Rab8 26. Rxa4 Rxb7 27. c6 Qxb4 28. Rxb4 Rc7 29. cxd7 Rxc4 30. Rxc4 Bxc4 31. Rc1 Be6 32. Rc8 Rxc8 33. dxc8=Q+ Bxc8 34. b6 1-0

Wesley So on his victory

The brilliancy of the day was definitely by Levon Aronian. Grandmaster Alexander Yermolinsky annotates the game in full:

Sometimes you have to tell your pieces to behave. Sometimes they actually do!

[Event "79th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2017.01.25"] [Round "10.3"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E18"] [WhiteElo "2780"] [BlackElo "2702"] [Annotator "Alex Yermolinsky"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "2017.01.14"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 {Aside of the first round game against Eljanov Rapport has been very solid with his opening choices for Black in this tournament.} 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 ({In the previous game Richard went for} 5... Bb4+ {and held Anish Giri to a draw!}) 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Bf6 9. Be1 $5 {A very interesting choice. Aronian decides to avoid closed formations characteristic for this line, and, instead, invites a more typical QID play even gifting Black a tempo in some lines.} ({Obviously Levon studied So-Rapport from Round 3, the game that could have been Richard's great victory if it wasn't for a few errors toward the end. It went} 9. Rc1 Nxd2 10. Qxd2 d6 11. d5 e5 {In the resulting closed position Wesley claimed his spatial advantage, but, remarkably, Rapport didn't seem to mind his "bad" DSB. In fact he used it to invade the c1-square not once but twice!}) 9... Re8 $6 {The purpose of this move remains unclear to me.} ({Since White doesn't have his rook to support c3 the most logical reply appears to be} 9... c5 {Indeed, it was played in Sokolov-Salov, 1996 and even earlier in Timoschenko-Naumkin, 1988. Neither game showed White getting anything out of the opening. I wonder if Levon in that case planned to take a strategic risk and continue} 10. d5 $5 Bxc3 11. Bxc3 exd5 12. cxd5) ({Another type of play may arise after} 9... d5 10. Qc2 c5 {which is similar to the game continuation, but offers Black a tempo for counterplay.}) 10. Qc2 d5 $2 {Black practically begs White to play the most natural moves and take over the game.} (10... Nxc3 11. Bxc3 d6 12. e4 e5 13. d5 {Is Rapport's favorite formation, so why didn't he go for it?}) 11. Nxe4 $1 dxe4 12. Nd2 Bxd4 ({Understandably Rapport didn't trust} 12... Qxd4 { because after} 13. Nxe4 {he'd have to play the unsightly move} Bc6 {Indeed, White gets big play with simple means:} 14. Bc3 ({Also possible is} 14. Rb1 a5 15. b3 {preparing Bc3.}) 14... Qxc4 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. b3 Qc5 17. e4 Nd7 18. Rfc1) 13. Rd1 Qc8 ({Let's see if Black could keep his queen a little closer to the K-side.} 13... Qe7 14. Nxe4 Nc6 15. e3 Bf6 (15... Be5 16. f4 Bd6 {is very awkward for Black, and White would go on with} 17. Ng5) 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Bc3 Qg6 18. Qa4 Na5 {This means giving up a pawn for no compensation at all, just some practical chances to escape to a draw in some rook endgame. Computers don't like this strategy, but best human players relied on it for for decades and it worked in some percentage of cases. Today it's called "suffering", but the only alternative to it is to lose the game quickly, which is pretty much what happened in this game. From a certain philisophical point cutting one's losses and hitting the restart button tomorrow is the right approach, but there are others who take the path of maximum resistance however hopeless it seems.}) 14. Nxe4 Bc5 15. Ng5 $5 {Every good player welcomes a chance to attack the king rather than deal with a routine technical task. OK, maybe Magnus is an exception, but he's rumored to be from another planet anyway.} ({ It is remarkable how Aronian rejects a safe advantage promised by} 15. Nxc5 bxc5 16. Be4 h6 17. f3 {etc.}) 15... f5 16. Bxb7 Qxb7 17. Bc3 Bf8 (17... h6 18. Nxe6 Rxe6 19. Rd8+ Bf8 20. Qxf5 {is not so difficult to see.}) 18. e4 $1 h6 19. exf5 $1 {This one is quite a bit harder, as White wopuild need to bring up to speed the rest of his pieces. Levon correctly judged he'd have the time for it. } hxg5 (19... exf5 20. Rfe1 $1 {Every move just brings another white piece into action, and Black is always on his back foot.} Rxe1+ (20... Na6 21. Ne6 { requires no calculation.}) 21. Rxe1 hxg5 22. Qxf5 c6 (22... c5 23. Re8 Qf7 24. Qe4 {is easier.}) 23. Re8 Qf7 24. Qc8 {The back rank pin will keep Black paralyzed until White is ready with the mop-up plan of Bd2xg5-e7 etc.}) 20. f6 c5 ({In this case as well as in the previous note} 20... c6 {appears slightly more resilient. Still,} 21. f4 g4 22. fxg7 Bc5+ (22... Bxg7 23. Qg6 Qf7 24. Qxg4) 23. Kh1 Bb4 24. f5 {should bring the point home.}) 21. f4 $1 g4 22. f5 { Blowing it wide open. The game is truly over.} gxf6 23. fxe6 Qh7 24. Qg2 Na6 25. Rd7 Qh5 26. Rxf6 Rad8 27. Rxf8+ Kxf8 28. Qf1+ {One of those game the young player has to lose once and only once and never again!} 1-0

The most technical win of the day came in the hands of Sergey Karjakin. His opponent might have gotten a good position from the opening, but was soundly outplayed, and White's positional pressure was uncomfortable. Andreikin sacrificed a pawn to create his own passer, but White's pieces were sufficiently well placed to always deal with the incoming threats. At the end, it wasn't just White's strong supported pawn on b4 that gave him the victory, it was the combination of that and the passive position of Black's king.

Adhiban Baskaran obtained a good advantage from the opening, both in time and position, against Ian Nepomniachtchi after a thrilling preparation in the Najdorf. The game would have been a masterpiece, but when the technical task came to be, the Indian player was unable to push the win through and had to settle for a draw.

The opening did not go well for this man: Ian Nepomniachtchi

The World Champion tried his best to outplay Pentala Harirkishna with Black, and even though he was pressing through most of the game, his opponent's defenses were good enough and Magnus Carlsen had to settle for a draw.

Can't win all your blacks, even when you are Magnus

Almost! Wei Yi had his chances today.

Missing this idea, Eljanov was able to come back into the game and draw, keeping his own distance to Wesley So at only one point.

Many spectators showed up to watch the game live, some here are watching Yasser Seirawan do live commentary

With the solid draw between Van Wely and Giri, that only leaves us one game, one game that could have seriously rocked the standings. Wei Yi, with black, was winning against Eljanov, maybe you can spot the wining plan in the following position?

Pavel Eljanov - Wei Yi

 
37... f5! 38. Be5 f4! and the point is that after 39. gxf4 Qg4+ 40. Kh2 Rd7! Black mates on the h-file!

 

Current Masters standings

Challengers tournament

Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Grandelius, N.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
Lu, S.
0-1
Hansen, E.
Jones, G.
½-½
Tingjie, L.
Guramishvili, S.
0-1
Xiong, J.
Smirin, I
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Tari, A.
½-½
van Foreest, J.
Bok, B.
½-½
Ragger, M.

It was a big day for the standings in the Challengers. With the draws by the leaders, Smirin and Ragger a gainst l'Ami and Bok respectively, the opportunity was opened for young Xiong to catch them with a victory against the lowest seed, Guramashvili. The game was truly a lesson on why rooks don't coordinate as well with knights as queens do.

The other decisive games came in as Grandelius used a very wonky white side of the Najdorf to annihilate Dobrov, while Lu Shanglei played a very bad game and gave Hansen a relatively easy victory. The Canadian continues his surge, and is only half a point behind the leaders. The race is packed tight at the top with three rounds to go!

The Challengers did not travel to Haarlem, so there is not as much media of them for this round!

Current Challengers standings

Schedule, pairings, and results

Tata Steel Masters 2017

Round 1 - Saturday, January 14
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
 Aronian, L.
Adhiban, B.
½-½
 Van Wely, L.
Eljanov, P.
1-0
 Rapport, R.
Karjakin, S.
½-½
 Giri, A.
So, W.
½-½
 Carlsen, M.
Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
 Nepomniachtchi, I.
Andreikin, D.
½-½
 Wei, Y.
Round 2 - Sunday, January 15
Aronian, L.
½-½
Wei, Y.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
½-½
Andreikin, D.
Carlsen, M.
1-0
Wojtaszek, R.
Giri, A.
½-½
So, W.
Rapport, R.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Van Wely, L.
0-1
Eljanov, P.
Harikrishna, P.
1-0
Adhiban, B.
Round 3 - Monday, January 16
Adhiban, B.
½-½
Aronian, L.
Eljanov, P.
½-½
Harikrishna, P.
Karjakin, S.
1-0
Van Wely, L.
So, W.
1-0
Rapport, R.
Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Giri, A..
Andreikin, D.
½-½
Carlsen, M.
Wei, Y.
1-0
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Round 4 - Tuesday, January 17
Aronian, L.
½-½
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Carlsen, M.
1-0
Wei, Y.
Giri, A.
½-½
Andreikin, D.
Rapport, R.
½-½
Wojtaszek, R.
Van Wely, L.
0-1
So, W.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Adhiban, B.
0-1
Eljanov, P.
Round 5 - Thursday, January 19
Eljanov, P.
0-1
Aronian, L.
Karjakin, S.
0-1
Adhiban, B.
So, W.
1-0
Harikrishna, P.
Wojtaszek, R.
1-0
Van Wely, L.
Andreikin, D.
½-½
Rapport, R.
Wei, Y.
½-½
Giri, A.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
½-½
Carlsen, M.
Round 6 - Friday, January 20
Aronian, L.
½-½
Carlsen, M.
Giri, A.
1-0
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Rapport, R.
0-1
Wei, Y.
Van Wely, L.
½-½
Andreikin, D.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Wojtaszek, R.
Adhiban, B.
½-½
So, W.
Eljanov, P.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Round 7 - Saturday, January 21
Karjakin, S.
1-0
Aronian, L.
So, W.
½-½
Eljanov, P.
Wojtaszek, R.
0-1
Adhiban, B.
Andreikin, D.
½-½
Harikrishna, P.
Wei, Y.
1-0
Van Wely, L.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
½-½
Rapport, R.
Carlsen, M.
1-0
Giri, A.
Round 8 - Sunday, January 22
Aronian, L.
1-0
Giri, A.
Rapport, R.
1-0
Carlsen, M.
Van Wely, L.
½-½
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Wei, Y.
Adhiban, B.
1-0
Andreikin, D.
Eljanov, P.
½-½
Wojtaszek, R.
Karjakin, S.
½-½
So, W.
Round 9 - Tuesday, January 24
So, W.
½-½
Aronian, L.
Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Andreikin, D.
½-½
Eljanov, P.
Wei, Y.
½-½
Adhiban, B.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
½-½
Harikrishna, P.
Carlsen, M.
1-0
Van Wely, L.
Giri, A.
½-½
Rapport, R.
Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Aronian, L.
1-0
Rapport, R.
Van Wely, L.
½-½
Giri, A.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Carlsen, M.
Adhiban, B.
½-½
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Eljanov, P.
½-½
Wei, Y.
Karjakin, S.
1-0
Andreikin, D.
So, W.
1-0
Wojtaszek, R.
Round 11 - Friday, January 27
Wojtaszek, R.
 
Aronian, L.
Andreikin, D.
 
So, W.
Wei, Y.
 
Karjakin, S.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
 
Eljanov, P.
Carlsen, M.
 
Adhiban, B.
Giri, A.
 
Harikrishna, P.
Rapport, R.
 
Van Wely, L.
Round 12 - Saturday, January 28
Aronian, L.
 
Van Wely, L.
Harikrishna, P.
 
Rapport, R.
Adhiban, B.
 
Giri, A.
Eljanov, P.
 
Carlsen, M.
Karjakin, S.
 
Nepomniachtchi, I.
So, W.
 
Wei, Y.
Wojtaszek, R.
 
Andreikin, D.
Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
Andreikin, D.
 
Aronian, L.
Wei, Y.
 
Wojtaszek, R.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
 
So, W.
Carlsen, M.
 
Karjakin, S.
Giri, A.
 
Eljanov, P.
Rapport, R.
 
Adhiban, B.
Van Wely, L.
 
Harikrishna, P.
 

Tata Steel Challengers 2017

Round 1 - Saturday, January 14
Jones, G.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
Guramishvili, S.
½-½
Lu, S.
Smirin, I
½-½
Dobrov, V.
Tari, A.
½-½
Hansen, E.
Bok, B.
1-0
Tingjie, L.
Ragger, M.
1-0
Xiong, J.
van Foreest, J.
1-0
l'Ami, E.
Round 2 - Sunday, January 15
Grandelius, N.
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Xiong, J.
1-0
van Foreest, J.
Tingjie, L.
0-1
Ragger, M.
Hansen, E.
½-½
Bok, B.
Dobrov, V.
½-½
Tari, A.
Lu, S.
½-½
Smirin, I
Jones, G.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Round 3 - Monday, January 16
Guramishvili, S.
0-1
Grandelius, N.
Smirin, I
1-0
Jones, G.
Tari, A.
0-1
Lu, S.
Bok, B.
0-1
Dobrov, V.
Ragger, M.
1-0
Hansen, E..
van Foreest, J.
0-1
Tingjie, L.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Xiong, J.
Round 4 - Tuesday, January 17
Grandelius, N.
0-1
Xiong, J.
Tingjie, L.
0-1
l'Ami, E.
Hansen, E.
1-0
van Foreest, J.
Dobrov, V.
0-1
Ragger, M.
Lu, S.
1-0
Bok, B.
Jones, G.
1-0
Tari, A.
Guramishvili, S.
0-1
Smirin, I
Round 5 - Thursday, January 19
Smirin, I
½-½
Grandelius, N.
Tari, A.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Bok, B.
0-1
Jones, G.
Ragger, M.
½-½
Lu, S.
van Foreest, J.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Hansen, E.
Xiong, J.
1-0
Tingjie, L.
Round 6 - Friday, January 20
Grandelius, N.
1-0
Tingjie, L.
Hansen, E.
1-0
Xiong, J.
Dobrov, V.
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Lu, S.
1-0
van Foreest, J.
Jones, G.
1-0
Ragger, M.
Guramishvili, S.
0-1
Bok, B.
Smirin, I
0-1
Tari, A.
Round 7 - Saturday, January 21
Tari, A.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
Bok, B.
0-1
Smirin, I
Ragger, M.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
van Foreest, J.
0-1
Jones, G.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Lu, S.
Xiong, J.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
Tingjie, L.
½-½
Hansen, E.
Round 8 - Sunday, January 22
Grandelius, N.
½-½
Hansen, E.
Dobrov, V.
1-0
Tingjie, L.
Lu, S.
½-½
Xiong, J.
Jones, G.
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Guramishvili, S.
½-½
van Foreest, J.
Smirin, I
½-½
Ragger, M.
Tari, A.
½-½
Bok, B.
Round 9 - Tuesday, January 24
Bok, B.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
Ragger, M.
½-½
Tari, A.
van Foreest, J.
0-1
Smirin, I
l'Ami, E.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Xiong, J.
1-0
Jones, G.
Tingjie, L.
½-½
Lu, S.
Hansen, E.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Grandelius, N.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
Lu, S.
0-1
Hansen, E.
Jones, G.
½-½
Tingjie, L.
Guramishvili, S.
0-1
Xiong, J.
Smirin, I
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Tari, A.
½-½
van Foreest, J.
Bok, B.
½-½
Ragger, M.
Round 11 - Friday, January 27
Ragger, M.
 
Grandelius, N.
van Foreest, J.
 
Bok, B.
l'Ami, E.
 
Tari, A.
Xiong, J.
 
Smirin, I
Tingjie, L.
 
Guramishvili, S.
Hansen, E.
 
Jones, G.
Dobrov, V.
 
Lu, S.
Round 12 - Saturday, January 28
Grandelius, N.
 
Lu, S.
Jones, G.
 
Dobrov, V.
Guramishvili, S.
 
Hansen, E.
Smirin, I
 
Tingjie, L.
Tari, A.
 
Xiong, J.
Bok, B.
 
l'Ami, E.
Ragger, M.
 
van Foreest, J.
Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
van Foreest, J.
 
Grandelius, N.
l'Ami, E.
 
Ragger, M.
Xiong, J.
 
Bok, B.
Tingjie, L.
 
Tari, A.
Hansen, E.
 
Smirin, I
Dobrov, V.
 
Guramishvili, S.
Lu, S.
 
Jones, G.
 

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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LetsReason LetsReason 1/26/2017 02:12
The world seems a little better when Aronian is on his game. Thanks Levon!
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