2017 Tata Rd13: Deserved Winner

by Alejandro Ramirez
1/29/2017 – It is a 56 non-losing streak. It is his second super-tournament victory in two months. He is the new #2 player in the World. Wesley So has rocked the chess world, and he finished Tata Steel on a brilliant note. His rival, Ian Nepomniachtchi, threw the kitchen sink against him, but the American crushed his opponent and won the tournament. In the Challengers Gawain Jones emerges winner.

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 from the official website. Games annotated by GM Georg Meier and Alejandro Ramirez.

Masters tournament

Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
Andreikin, D.
1-0
Aronian, L.
Wei, Y.
0-1
Wojtaszek, R.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
0-1
So, W.
Carlsen, M.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Giri, A.
½-½
Eljanov, P.
Rapport, R.
0-1
Adhiban, B.
Van Wely, L.
1-0
Harikrishna, P.

What an exciting conclusion to Wijk aan Zee! The traditional Tata Steel tournament has a certain magic to it, in all the years I've had the pleasure of covering this event, or playing in it once, it simply does not seem that there was a single dull edition! Even today, the last day of the event, was marked with fighting and aggressive chess.

Quick review of round 13

Quick impressions of the last round

A legend stopped by today, Anatoly Karpov not only visited,
but joined Yasser Seirawan in the commentary booth!

We start the day with the quickest game, and quite honestly, a bit of a letdown as it determined the winner of the 2017 Tata Steel too early. Ian Nepomniachtchi went all-in, but Wesley So just tore him to pieces, as Georg Meier shows us:

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2017.01.29"] [Round "13"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "So, Wesley"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D00"] [WhiteElo "2767"] [BlackElo "2808"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "NED"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] {After such a long event, I believe that the last round can be fraught with emotions, especially for the players who feel like they suffered through their tournament. I suspect that Nepo brought quite a bit of frustration to the board and desperately wanted to redeem himself.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. e4 h6 6. Bh4 dxe4 7. Qe2 Qa5 8. O-O-O $6 {19th-century-style} ({ After} 8. c3 Nbd7 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Qxc5 11. Nf3 Be7 {it is about to look like a Rubinstein-French - my pet opening. Black would be close to equality and certainly Ian was in no mood for this.}) 8... Qxa2 9. Qb5+ $4 {The queen goes to no-man´s-land, and I just can´t see any point to it. I guess Ian gave in to another impulse.} ({Of course White should eliminate the knight and recapture on e4, but after} 9. Bxf6 Qa1+ 10. Nb1 gxf6 11. Qxe4 a6 $1 {stopping Bb5, Black has no reason to worry - the bishop pair is an asset and White has no initiative.} 12. Nf3 Nd7) 9... Nbd7 10. c6 (10. Bxf6 a6 $1 {just kills White´s clumsy coordination}) 10... bxc6 11. Qxc6 Bb7 $1 12. Qxb7 Qa1+ 13. Nb1 Rb8 {And that´s it - game over!} 14. Qxb8+ Nxb8 15. Bb5+ Nfd7 16. Ne2 Be7 17. Bxe7 Kxe7 18. Nd4 Nc5 19. h4 Rd8 20. Rh3 Nd3+ 21. Bxd3 Rxd4 22. Be2 Rxd1+ 23. Bxd1 Qa5 24. Nd2 f5 25. Rg3 Qe5 26. Ra3 Nc6 27. g3 Qd4 28. Re3 Nb4 0-1

Danny King analyzes the game of the day

Nepo wielded his Rapier without any Aegis, and his king was the one that was demolished

Wesley So, as gracious a winner as one can imagine

Georg Meier with the full insight:

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2017.01.29"] [Round "13"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2840"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "NED"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. Bg5 {Magnus is exploring these positions from all possible angles. In the recent match against Sergey he tried this line with the B on b5.} d6 (6... h6 7. Bh4 Be7 {is a frequent reaction, defusing any worries about the pin and anticipating a welcome exchange of dark-squared bishops.}) 7. Nbd2 h6 8. Bh4 g5 $2 {According to Karjakin´s tweet "Loran" Fressinet told him Nxg5 never works in the Italian. I am quite sure that Magnus´s on- and off-second informed his boss about the exceptions!} 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Kg7 11. Qf3 Be6 {Armed with engines, many wrote Karjakin off already. But in the meantime, Wesley So was running away with tournament victory as Nepomniachtchi had already(!) self-destructed. I am sure this unsettled Magnus...} 12. b4 $2 (12. Bd5 $1 {This creates a terrible bind, since Black is at pains to defuse the pin. Nb8-d7 is the only maneover left to do so, but drops the exchange.} Nb8 (12... a5 13. O-O-O Nb8 14. Qg3 Nbd7 15. d4 exd4 16. cxd4 Bxd4 17. Nf3 Bc5 18. Bxf6+ Kxf6 19. Qg5#) 13. Qxf6+ Qxf6 14. Bxf6+ Kxf6 15. Bxb7 Nd7 16. Bxa8 Rxa8 17. b4 Bb6 18. Ke2 {With 3 pawns and a rook for 2 pieces, White of course has a significant edge, but some difficulties remain, as the White rooks won´t be active for a long time.} ) (12. O-O-O $2 {Allows a main defensive idea:} Bxc4 13. Nxc4 Qe7 {And the queen gets to e6 - consolidating.}) 12... Bb6 13. Bd5 a5 $1 {Given a second lease on life Karjakin is going to play very well from here on. A main reason for him being dubbed "World Defense Champion" by colleague Giri and others must be that he seems so unaffected by his mistakes. He can commit the most despicable errors and then show world-class toughness from the next second!} 14. b5 Nb8 {Not only will the rook not drop, but Black has secured squares on the queenside forever. Stable squares are very significant in all types of positions with light against heavy pieces.} 15. Bxb7 Ra7 (15... Nbd7 16. Bc6 Rb8 17. Nc4) 16. Bd5 $2 {Allowing Black to overprotect f6.} (16. Bc6 $1 { Was definitely stronger, and may give great winning chances, but Black´s position is still full of eye-popping resources.} Nxc6 17. bxc6 Ra8 18. h4 Rh8 19. d4 $1 (19. Nc4 {Slow play is not enough, after} Bc5 20. h5 Rh6 21. Ne3 Bxe3 22. Qxe3 Qh8 23. Bxh6+ Qxh6 24. Qxh6+ Kxh6 {Black is very well coordinated.}) 19... exd4 $1 (19... Rh6 20. d5 Bc8 21. Nc4 Bc5 22. Bxh6+ Kxh6 23. Ne3 { looks hopeless for Black.}) 20. e5 dxe5 21. Ne4 Nxe4 22. Bxd8 f5 {Here we have a complete mess and direct attempts appear to run into powerful counterplay.} 23. Be7 $1 {The sane approach, just sticking to the material.} (23. g4 { Opening literally all the gates, but Black can respond in kind!} d3 $1 24. Bxc7 d2+ 25. Kd1 Bxc7 26. gxf5 Bd5 27. Rg1+ Kf7 28. Rg6 {Looks like Black ran out of steam?} Rab8 {Reinforcements!} 29. c4 (29. Kc2 Rb5 {calmly doubling on the b-file!}) 29... Rb2 30. cxd5 Rxh4 31. Rh6 $1 Rg4 $1 (31... Rxh6 $4 32. Qxe4 $18 ) 32. Rh7+ Kf6 33. Rh1 Rf4 34. Rh6+ Kg7 35. Rh7+ Kxh7 36. Qh5+ $11) (23. Bg5 Nxg5 24. Qg3 $1 {Neat, but not quite enough.} Kf7 25. Qxg5 Rag8 26. Qd2 dxc3 27. Qe2 {Black only has 2 bishops for the queen, but wonderful coordination after} Rg4 $1 28. O-O-O Re4 {and White is obliged to part with an important pawn or go:} 29. Qc2 (29. Qb5 Bxf2) 29... Bc5 30. Rd7+ Kf6 31. h5 Ba3+ 32. Kd1 Bb4 33. a3 Bxd7 34. cxd7 Rd4+ 35. Ke1 Rd2 36. Qc1 c2 37. axb4 Rd1+ 38. Qxd1 cxd1=Q+ 39. Kxd1 axb4 $11) 23... Kf7 24. Ba3 d3 25. O-O-O $1 (25. Rf1 d2+ 26. Kd1 Rad8) 25... Nxf2 26. g4 $1 Nxg4 (26... Rad8 27. c4 $1) 27. Qxd3 Kf6 28. h5 {sees White consolidating without having to give up much material yet. Whenever neccesary, an exchange will be sacrificed to extinguish the counterplay.}) 16... Nbd7 17. Nc4 Bxd5 18. exd5 Qe8 {Black has consolidated and will be able to untangle gradually.} 19. Ne3 Rg8 20. O-O Nh7 21. Nf5+ Kh8 { Relative safety, finally.} 22. Bh4 Ra8 23. Rae1 f6 {It´s hard to formulate a plan for White here, while Black will just keep on improving his position, until opportunities come up.} 24. Re4 Nc5 {Karjakin felt its time to invite a repetition.} (24... Qf7 $5 25. Nh6 Qg6 26. Nxg8 Rxg8 {and again, Black´s position seems easier to play, at the very least.}) 25. Re3 Nd7 26. d4 $5 { I don´t think White holds an advantage at this point, but as everybody knows, Magnus wants to fight it out!} Qg6 $1 {I like the concept of giving up a rook for the very strong Nf5. After that Black´s position becomes very solid.} 27. Ne7 Qg4 28. Nxg8 Rxg8 29. Qxg4 Rxg4 30. g3 exd4 $2 {Opening files should be done with great care only, when opposing the rooks. And here Black could just regroup to go after the stranded - but nagging - Bh4 first.} (30... Nhf8 31. h3 (31. Rd1 exd4 32. cxd4 Ng6) 31... exd4 32. Re8 Rg8 33. cxd4 Ng6) 31. cxd4 Bxd4 32. Re8+ {Of course White infiltrates immediately} Rg8 33. Re7 {Mysterious - Exchanging Black´s rook would greatly weaken the defense.} (33. Rxg8+ $142 Kxg8 34. Kg2 Nhf8 35. g4 Ng6 36. Bg3 $14) 33... Rg7 34. Re4 Ne5 35. Kg2 Bb6 36. f4 Ng6 37. Kh3 $2 {Here Carlsen passed up on his last chance to force the favourable rook-exchange.} (37. Re8+ Rg8 38. Rxg8+ Kxg8 39. f5 (39. Kh3) 39... Ne7 40. g4 Nxd5 41. Bf2 Bxf2 42. Kxf2 Ng5 43. Re1 Kf8 44. h4 Nf7 {Black may hold, but he has to suffer without counterplay.}) 37... Kg8 38. Rfe1 Kf7 { It´s hard to play constructively as White here, which usually means that the opponent will in a practical game make progress one way or another.} 39. Re6 Rg8 40. R1e4 f5 41. Re2 Rh8 {Black is step by step improving his position and would eventually shatter White´s pawn structure and try to go after the weak pawns one by one.} 42. a4 Kg7 43. Rxg6+ $1 {A very very important decision! Carlsen used his last chance to disturb Black´s regroupment, and secures activity for his remaining pieces.} (43. Re7+ $1 Nxe7 44. Rxe7+ {is the same}) ({while} 43. Re8 $2 Nhf8 {would leave White helpless already.}) 43... Kxg6 44. Re6+ Kf7 45. Re7+ Kg8 (45... Kg6 $5 46. Re6+ Kh5 {looks awkward, as the Black king is not that far from a mating net, but some calculation shows that Black is in time to regroup after} 47. Be7 Bd4 48. Kg2 Re8 49. Kf3 {(h3-g4 would be a big threat...)} Nf6 50. Bxf6 Rxe6 51. dxe6 Bxf6 {and clearly only Black would have winning chances.} {Still, White survives with perfect play:} 52. h3 Kg6 53. Ke3 Bb2 54. g4 fxg4 55. hxg4 Kf6 56. f5 d5 57. g5+ Ke7 58. g6 $11) 46. Kg2 Nf8 47. Bg5 Rh7 48. Re8 Kf7 49. Rd8 {Black has no space to regroup now.} Kg8 50. Re8 Rf7 51. Bh6 Rf6 52. Bg5 ({Even} 52. Rxf8+ Rxf8 53. Bxf8 Kxf8 { is a fortress for White.}) 52... Rf7 53. Bh6 {What a full-blooded struggle, after the game seemed to be almost over early on! Karjakin´s self-composure is admirable time and again.} 1/2-1/2

This left other important games in the mix fighting for second place. The most highly anticipated game before the tournament was likely the Carlsen-Karjakin rematch from the World Championship, and it was quite a sharp affair. The World Champion essayed an early piece sacrifice, and through the material imbalance chaos was created on the board. White pushed a bit too hard, turning a slightly better position into clearly worse, and Sergey Karjakin found himself with some winning chances, but was unable to convert.

These guys used to play each other back in the 80s!
Now they are enjoying some top level chess by the new generation.

This game got a bit more attention than the other boards. Even Jeffery is watching!

Down the list on the people fighting for second, Levon Aronian suffered a very big setback as he was soundly outplayed by Dmitri Andreikin. I especially enjoyed the final winning maneuver:

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2017.01.29"] [Round "13"] [White "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D11"] [WhiteElo "2736"] [BlackElo "2780"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/2R5/1n2r1pk/4Pp2/1P1P3p/n7/5PK1/2R5 w - - 0 42"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {[#]} 42. R7c5 $1 {A brilliant waiting move! It also heavily restricts the a3 knight.} (42. R7c6 Rxc6 43. Rxc6 Nd5 44. Rc5 Nxb4 45. e6 Kg7 {is extremely murky, and it's likely White isn't even better any more.}) 42... Kh5 43. Rc6 $1 {This is the point! The endgame is now winning easily.} Rxc6 44. Rxc6 Nd5 45. Rc5 Nf4+ (45... Nxb4 46. e6 {and no one is catching the e-pawn.}) 46. Kh1 g5 47. b5 {The knights are powerless against the pawns.} Nxb5 48. Rxb5 g4 49. d5 h3 50. e6 1-0

Every player here is dangerous!

Meanwhile Wei Yi committed total suicide against Radoslaw Wojtaszek. The young Chinese refused a three-fold repetition when he had the chance, trying to play for the win. Then it was the Polish player's turn to refuse another three-fold some moves later, and this chaotic position arose:

A grueling fight to the bitter end

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2017.01.29"] [Round "13"] [White "Wei, Yi"] [Black "Wojtaszek, Radoslaw"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2706"] [BlackElo "2750"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5k2/5qp1/p4pRp/P3pP2/3rP3/3pB2P/1P2nQPK/8 w - - 0 60"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {[#]} 60. Qe1 $2 (60. Bxd4 exd4 61. e5 Qc7 (61... fxe5 62. Rxa6 $5 (62. Qf3 { gives White at least enough counterplay here.})) 62. Qf3 $1 Qxe5+ 63. g3 { and the threat of the perpetual cannot be avoided.}) 60... Rxe4 61. Qd2 Rxe3 ( 61... Qd5 {was cleaner, but who is counting?}) 62. Qxe3 Qd7 {Now White has no perpetual possibilities and the pawn on d3 is a monster. The rook on g6, without the possibilities of breaks on f6, seems completely stuck and out of place.} 63. Qb6 Nf4 64. Rg3 d2 65. Qb8+ Kf7 66. Qb3+ Qd5 67. Qd1 e4 68. Qg4 g5 69. fxg6+ Kg7 70. Rc3 Qd6 {Black queens next move.} 0-1

With just these results, Carlsen secured second place in the tournament, a full point behind So. Tied for third were Aronian and Wei Yi, also joined by another winner today, Adhiban Baskaran. To put that game in a nutshell, Rapport played a Rapport opening, got a horrible position, and lost with little fight.

Adhiban Baskaran won 29 points and shared third in Wijk aan Zee. Not bad for a qualifier from the Challengers!

The game between Anish Giri and Pavel Eljanov was relatively balanced all throughout. True, Giri enjoyed a small advantage the entire game, but it's hard to say he had a clear winning idea at any point. Last, but not least, Loek Van Wely scored his first win of the tournament by completely blowing Pentala Harikrishna off the board. A bad opening by the Indian player landed him in hot water very quickly, and the Dutch player mopped up with good technique.

Anna Rudolf, the press officer, with her good friend Sopiko Guramashvili

Welsey So's family has been a huge influence in his meteoric recent rise

Some young ones snuck in to catch a glimpse! Or to attract the camera's attention...

There is no doubt that Wesley So has exhibited the best chess out of anyone in the World the past couple of months. His clean victories in London and Wijk aan Zee have catapulted his rating to new heights. He won another 14 rating points in Tata Steel, which would still put him behind Fabiano Caruana, but since his compatriot is having a terrible Gibraltar Open (losing to Nigel Short today and dropping 10 rating points) it is now the Filipino-American that sits as the number two player in the World in the live rating list.

Current Masters standings

Challengers tournament

Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
van Foreest, J.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Ragger, M.
Xiong, J.
½-½
Bok, B.
Tingjie, L.
0-1
Tari, A.
Hansen, E.
1-0
Smirin, I
Dobrov, V.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Lu, S.
½-½
Jones, G.

The Challengers had a thrilling end. With several players still trying to win the tournament and qualifying for next year's Masters (be next year's Adhiban!), the pressure was on. It truly came down to a bit of luck for everyone, especially considering the strange tiebreak situations that could arise.

Lu Shanglei was winning against Gawain Jones. He wasn't winning once or twice, but basically most of the game, and it was out of some combination of sheer luck and magic that Jones was able to save the game. With this result, Jones moved to 9.0/13.

A bit of luck never hurt anyone. Gawain had very bad luck losing to Swiercz at the end of the 2016 Millionaire.
Some kind of chess Karma?!

Ragger had a solid draw against l'Ami, a game in which nothing much happened except massive trades. With this result, Ragger also moved to 9.0/13. Now for the interesting part.

This kid's live rating is 2673. He is 16 years old.

Ragger needed Smirin or Xiong to win to shake up the tiebreaks

If Jeffery Xiong or Ilia Smirin won their games, they also would have reached 9.0/13. Smirin was simply annihilated by Canada's Eric Hansen, and there was never a question that Smirin was going down. That left the complicated game between Jeffery Xiong and Benjamin Bok. The players fought it out, but White was simply never better, and the game ended in a draw. Had Jeffery won, we would've had a mess in our hands, but with these results, the tiebreak was clear: direct encounter. Jones defeated Ragger in the tournament and he qualifies for the 2018 Masters!

l'Ami was solid with 7.0/13

Sopiko Guramashvili went 13 games without winning one. The author of this article also knows exactly how that feels like (2005 Wijk aan Zee) and thus, sympathizes heavily.

And, the qualifier to the Challengers is van Foreest. No, not Jorden, but his brother, Lucas!

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.
½-½
Aronian, L.
Andreikin, D.
½-½
So, W.
Wei, Y.
1-0
Karjakin, S.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
½-½
Eljanov, P.
Carlsen, M.
½-½
Adhiban, B.
Giri, A.
½-½
Harikrishna, P.
Rapport, R.
½-½
Van Wely, L.
Round 12 - Saturday, January 28
Aronian, L.
1-0
Van Wely, L.
Harikrishna, P.
½-½
Rapport, R.
Adhiban, B.
½-½
Giri, A.
Eljanov, P.
0-1
Carlsen, M.
Karjakin, S.
½-½
Nepomniachtchi, I.
So, W.
½-½
Wei, Y.
Wojtaszek, R.
½-½
Andreikin, D.
Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
Andreikin, D.
1-0
Aronian, L.
Wei, Y.
0-1
Wojtaszek, R.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
0-1
So, W.
Carlsen, M.
½-½
Karjakin, S.
Giri, A.
½-½
Eljanov, P.
Rapport, R.
0-1
Adhiban, B.
Van Wely, L.
1-0
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.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
van Foreest, J.
½-½
Bok, B.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Tari, A.
Xiong, J.
1-0
Smirin, I
Tingjie, L.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Hansen, E.
0-1
Jones, G.
Dobrov, V.
0-1
Lu, S.
Round 12 - Saturday, January 28
Grandelius, N.
0-1
Lu, S.
Jones, G.
1-0
Dobrov, V.
Guramishvili, S.
½-½
Hansen, E.
Smirin, I
1-0
Tingjie, L.
Tari, A.
1-0
Xiong, J.
Bok, B.
½-½
l'Ami, E.
Ragger, M.
1-0
van Foreest, J.
Round 13 - Sunday, January 29
van Foreest, J.
½-½
Grandelius, N.
l'Ami, E.
½-½
Ragger, M.
Xiong, J.
½-½
Bok, B.
Tingjie, L.
0-1
Tari, A.
Hansen, E.
1-0
Smirin, I
Dobrov, V.
1-0
Guramishvili, S.
Lu, S.
½-½
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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Pakultog_1914 Pakultog_1914 1/30/2017 12:04
Congratulations Wesley! way to go.
tom_70 tom_70 1/30/2017 12:11
The era of Carlsen is over. The reign of So, has begun.
Aighearach Aighearach 1/30/2017 01:14
Wow, what a performance! Not only winning clear first ahead of the world champion, but the only player in the tournament without a loss! Also, the only one with 5 wins. Often when the winner has no losses, he has lots of draws and somebody else has more wins. But here, he's clear first in every measurement!

Well done!
benedictralph benedictralph 1/30/2017 01:14
I don't see how Carlsen could ever surpass his 2882 classical rating now. It appears he is past his peak. We may, in fact, never see a 2900+ human player for the next 100 years... to say nothing of a 3000+ human player. I guess we more or less know the limits of the human brain now (and yes, there *are* limits to it, in case anyone was confused about that).
Oscar Lito M Pablo Oscar Lito M Pablo 1/30/2017 01:21
Congratulations to GM Wesley So for the excellent, well-deserved victory, and to Lotis Key and her family for guiding Wesley and helping him focus on the game he was born to play. Also, the timely addition of a good coach is a great step in the right direction toward achieving the ultimate goal of winning the World Chess Championships... Some people may have criticized Wesley for dropping out of school and concentrating on chess. I believed then, as many people do now, that he made the right decision back then. Wesley was born with a unique gift that literally millions of chess players wish they have. It would have been a waste had this gift not been nurtured, and continue to be developed and nurtured, as it is now. I think it's providential that Lotis Key and her family came to Wesley's life at just the right moment and recognized the unique gift Wesley was born with. We know, of course, where the gift came from. And we also know that Wesley, with Lotis' and her family's guidance and help, will succeed.
planner99 planner99 1/30/2017 01:39
"I don't see how Carlsen could ever surpass his 2882 classical rating now. It appears he is past his peak. We may, in fact, never see a 2900+ human player for the next 100 years... to say nothing of a 3000+ human player. I guess we more or less know the limits of the human brain now (and yes, there *are* limits to it, in case anyone was confused about that).
Oscar Lito M PabloOscar Lito M Pablo 13 minutes ago"

Why? Because he is approaching 50 lol? Carlsen has the rest of his career to surpass that mark.
raldovet raldovet 1/30/2017 01:43
Very nice insight, Oscar Lito M Pablo.
Very rare to see humble people on the top.
Very difficult to remain humble when you are at the top.
More prayers for this young man to maintain his humility.
benedictralph benedictralph 1/30/2017 01:44
@planner99:

No, rather because he is/was rated so much higher than everybody else even gaining a few Elo points is very difficult. And to an extent... yes, he *is* getting older. Aside from fatigue, there is also the issue of boredom with the game.
MIT 90 MIT 90 1/30/2017 02:11
Congrats Wesley! Mabuhay ka! Mabuhay ang Pinoy!
hpaul hpaul 1/30/2017 02:14
Inviting a player who is rated 200-300 points below almost everyone else is not doing her any favors.
Aighearach Aighearach 1/30/2017 03:13
Chess players typically peak in their late 30s, and continue at near full strength until their mid-40s. If some other players like So get their ratings up, then Carlsen will have others to gain points from. It is very hard to gain points past the level of all others. If others join him, then they'll all be more likely to form a stable rating group in the high 2800s.

That said, all the top players typically have about 50 points of rating swing; 2810 now, 2760 later, then 2810 again. There is no reason to be worried if Carlsen's rating is only 2838 on a particular rating update. It could easily be 2890 later.
kyi kyi 1/30/2017 03:38
Make America great again. I would like to say that So is our unofficial US world chess champion because he beat everybody and his rating now is even higher than world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. Remember the heydays of US world chess champion Bobby Fischer when he demolished the Soviet chess hegemony. Wesley So is originally from Philippines but it does not matter. He represents USA which is a land of immigrants. Even the native Indians emigrated from Central Asia over 10.000 years ago during ice age. We hope that So consistently play well into next world championship cycle and becomes the USA first in the world chess.
benedictralph benedictralph 1/30/2017 04:28
@Aighearach

I don't really understand what Carlsen's goals now may be. He already lost the chance to be the youngest world champion ever (what a shame as he was so close). He's already become world champion so perhaps he wants to be the longest reigning champion (unlikely in today's playing climate, even though he has a shot at that record). Perhaps the only thing that motivates him is to make as much money as possible and retire early, which he is in a very good position to do.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 1/30/2017 05:09
"kyi 1 hour ago
Make America great again. I would like to say that So is our unofficial US world chess champion because he beat everybody and his rating now is even higher than world chess champion Magnus Carlsen."

That sounds like a Trump tweet.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/30/2017 05:26
Many congratulations to :

Wesley So : Quite simply : superior play - One point more than the n° 2 (none other than the World Champion and World n° 1 Magnus Carlsen), this while being the only undefeated player in the tournament. And, furthermore, he finishes with a flourish, winning his last game with Black, against a 2750+ player (Nepomniachtchi). Quite impressive, in fact !

Baskaran Adhiban : N° 3 in the final standings followed by 11 players having a better Elo is really impressive ! This with a victory (with Black, furthermore...) against the super-solid Karjakin, and a 2800+ (2812) performance in this tournament. And he didn't "only" play very well ; he also played quite original chess, so he really gives something new to Chess !

Wei Yi : a 2800+ (2808) performance for a 17 years old player, in a tournament where 9 players out of 14 (clearly more than half of the participants) are at least at 2750 Elo, with 2 of them being 2800+ players, is quite outstanding, in my opinion... This while beating the very strong and super-solid Karjakin, in their game, AND in the final standings (and not by the virtue of a tiebreak) !...
NikhilJoshi2 NikhilJoshi2 1/30/2017 05:59
Wesley So, such a great talent, silent and calm but deliver the seriously strongest moves!
digupagal digupagal 1/30/2017 07:14
When he was penalised a game, few years back for writing on a scoresheet.....i was very sad. But look at how he fought back , he taught me a gr8 lesson. There would be bad times, but u just have to hang on

Just a look at him, and you would say....he is a very good human being without any bad intentions.

I cant say that about Carlsen and his behaviour. You don't always have to be like Kasparov to suceed at this game.

I am alreay waiting for Wesley to become the next WC, he has the game to do it
fightingchess fightingchess 1/30/2017 08:45
lol. look at these noobs blowing things out of proportion, making predictions and making up theories based on recent results. wesley has so much more to prove. for starters he must win a game against carlsen instead of playing timidly with white against him.
digupagal digupagal 1/30/2017 09:17
@fightingchess...u should seriously lookup ppl on fide websites before calling them noobs
e.g.look up for the poster before me nd u will understand abt his rating

Dont assume things, just because u r a carlsen fan.
I am also a fan of his chess, but not his attitude
GregEs GregEs 1/30/2017 11:17
you are funny fightingchess. The same should be proved by the current World Champ Magnus by winning at least a single game against Nepomniachtchi. Nepo has a plus score against World Champ.
MintCondition MintCondition 1/30/2017 02:13
Dota!
xrook xrook 1/30/2017 02:43
yeah .... So on the rampage!!!
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/30/2017 02:48
I wonder what would had happened if Rapport saw the winning combination against So. Anyway, congrats to So for an amazing achievement.
WinXP2002 WinXP2002 1/30/2017 08:25
When I invited Wesley to visit Minnesota for the first time in 2013, he gifted us a unique opportunity of knowing him well as a person. He showed remarkable humility unseen even from non-prodigies. He seemed unimpressed of his own talent possibly still not grasping its reality. He politely corrected me (somewhat embarrassed by it) when I introduced him to family and friends as a super-grandmaster.
I told Wesley a number of things during his stay at my house which will remain private until he chooses to disclose them at an opportune time. It was at this private dinner mentioned in many media stories where Wesley for the first time met the Kabigtings (Renato, Lotis and Abbey). The meeting was not accidental. It was by design and providential. And the rest as we know it is history which is yet unfolding. There are other “hunches” I have of Wesley that only a handful of souls know about.
Meanwhile, I cannot wait to see other events reach their happy conclusions.
You might think that I have anything to do with his incredible run as many people including the locals here think. Not a bit. Frankly, though not quite sure about the timeline — I have not seen Wesley in person or spoken to him for almost two years now, not even email. Still, it hasn’t stopped me a bit from following his successes and celebrating his triumphs. There’s enough joy knowing that there’s another “pinoy” who calls himself every cold winter day a Minnesotan. Congratulations, Wesley! And thank you for the masterpieces you keep on creating for us. Alina sends her regards though she was momentarily “unhappy” that you have surpassed her favorite “Fabi” in the live ratings.
PEB216 PEB216 1/31/2017 02:39
I admire Wesley So (he is a great chess player and a true gentleman), but I disagree with those who believe Carlsen's "reign is over." Carlsen is still in a league of his own. He had a win against Giri (how he missed that win is inexplicable), and he played too incautiously against Rapport (who should have defeated So). In short, Carlsen could very easily have tied for first in this tournament.
johnmk johnmk 1/31/2017 03:24
Agree with fightingchess. Let's not write Carlsen epitaph just yet. And please no more "make America great" tweets. Thank you.
doutorwu doutorwu 1/31/2017 04:28
His interview shows how real professional player he is, just like tennis players. He did not forget any person who was responsable and helped this tournament turned so perfect. Congratulation to Wesley So, a big example for youngers and other chess players
doutorwu doutorwu 1/31/2017 04:31
Go Wesley.
WaltHeisenberg WaltHeisenberg 1/31/2017 12:55
The rise of US chess out of nowhere? I have some doubts.

Today everything is politics.
Show the Europeans (especially the Russians!) who is the new boss in the world!

Caruana`s impossible winning streak in St. Louis 2015. Now So, who was bought by the US, a player who is far from brilliant. Any average IM could have beaten Nepomniatchi after commiting suicide in the opening.

I can`t trust this "miracle". We know what can be achieved with computer assitance. Here on Chessbase we had an article about cognitive enhancement drugs.

Excellence usually does not arise out of mediocrity. There might be something foul in the state of Denmark.
Balthus Balthus 1/31/2017 01:07
Abominable by Rapport. He has to pull himself together, the talent that he is. A bit like Kyrgios at the Australian Open.
Balthus Balthus 1/31/2017 01:10
@benedictralph, multiply fallacious argument as regards Elo points. These are, after all, not objective, scientific facts as height or length, for instance. Elo scores always depend on the number and Elo point of other players at the top level. There is also what you call Elo inflation. There is no point in talking about hitting the ceiling, especially not if your vision goes out to the next 100 years, when Elo scores have not been counted so long so far.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 1/31/2017 01:25
adhiban the great!
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 1/31/2017 06:52
@ WaltHeisenberg :

You say, about Wesley So :

- "Show the Europeans (especially the Russians!) who is the new boss in the world!"

- "Now So, who was bought by the US, a player who is far from brilliant."

- "Excellence usually does not arise out of mediocrity."


In an article on the London Chess Classic 2016 by IM Marco Baldauf, there where the following passages, about Kramnik's opinion on Wesley So :

- « Royal praise by Vladimir Kramnik, "This year, Wesley So is playing the best chess - actually in the world." »

- « In the post-game interview with Maurice Ashley, Kramnik praised So as the one who played the best chess in 2016, even better than Carlsen. For the former World Champion from Russia, So "is a very very serious challenger for Magnus in the years to come". »


Kramnik is Russian, so he has every reason not to give excessive praise to So, who is playing for the USA (cf. your one quote : "Show the Europeans (especially the Russians!) who is the new boss in the world!"). Furthermore, So is one of Kramnik's most direct rivals.

As Kramnik is himself a 2800+ player, he is clearly in a position to know fully So's real value as a player (much, much, more than the average commentator under a ChessBase article).

And I don't think that anyone would say that Kramnik is a naive person...

So I think Kramnik's opinion has an enormous weight. As for me, I consider it is sufficient to consider that So is really one of the very best players of the moment.

As an aside, I am neither American, Russian, or Filipino, so I haven't any reason to be biased about So...
benedictralph benedictralph 2/1/2017 07:34
@Balthus:

The Elo rating is the very life and blood of a professional chess player. It's even more important to others than his name or nationality. To suggest it's not a viable measure is to be deluded, sorry to say.
islaw islaw 2/1/2017 10:58
WaltHeisenberg

"Any average IM could have beaten Nepomniatchi after commiting suicide in the opening."

Yeah, they've all had it easy and the moves that we see are the only calculations that are going on in their brains.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 2/3/2017 08:50
@WaltHeisenberg

If So is not brilliant then why would the U.S. buy him? If they spend some money anyway, why would they not choose a brilliant player?

@Balthus

I share your concern about Rapport, I do not understand what is happening with him. Among many losses he has won a single game.

@benedictralph

ELO points are actually not objective scientific facts. That does not make them unimportant, however, I would be very surprised if everyone would play always only slightly better or worse than their current ELO. When you see huge risings or fallings in the ELO list, they are actually corrections to invalid values due to recent results. Why would we see auto-corrections at all in the ELO scale if ELO points would be scientific facts?
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