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Tata R11: Leko, Karjakin, Aronian, Giri win

1/25/2013 – Four decisive games, just three draws – quite typical of this hard-fought event. Levon Aronian's win over Hikaru Nakamura pushed the Armenian into second place. The Chinese GM Wang Hao held Magnus Carlsen to a 31-move draw, while the 18-year-old Chinese GM Hou Yifan survived all winning attempts by World Champion Vishy Anand in a knight and pawn ending. Round eleven report.
 

January 2013
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75. Tata Steel Chess Tournament

This event is taking place from January 12-27. The venue is as usual the traditional De Moriaan Center in the Dutch sea resort of Wijk aan Zee. The tournament has three Grandmaster Groups, which have 14 players and are held as full round robins (each competitor plays against every other). The rate of play for all three groups is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds/move increment starting with the first move of the game.

Round eleven report

By GM Alejandro Ramirez

This interesting round provided yet again more decisive results than draws, and some of these wins were swift and bloody.

Group A: Round 11 - Friday January 25
Peter Leko - Loek van Wely
1-0
Sergey Karjakin - Ivan Sokolov
1-0
Hou Yifan - Vishy Anand
½-½
Erwin L'Ami - Pentala Harikrishna
½-½
Wang Hao - Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Levon Aronian
0-1
Anish Giri - Fabiano Caruana
1-0

L’Ami-Harikrishna showed how important it is to know many different structures: the game started out as a Queen’s Indian Defense, but by move 20 it resembled a Gruenfeld more than anything else. Harikrishna held the upper hand for most of the game, but his technique was not accurate enough in the endgame to convert the full point. Erwin should consider himself lucky with this draw.

The Ruy Lopez makes yet another appearance in one of Karjakin’s games, this time with white against Sokolov. Both players’ handling of the position was precise, but Sokolov’s time management betrayed him. When complications arose he had no way of calculating accurately through the variations, and a series of mistakes landed him in a very difficult position.

Karjakin’s crushing move, 32.Bc2, just emphasized how badly placed Black’s pieces were.

The 5... a6 Semi-Slav has become very popular in the past year. Black has had a lot of success holding draws and even winning some games here and there in this ultra-solid variation. Of course, this popularity was increased when Anand used it in the World Championship match against Gelfand.

Levon Aronian (above right) employed it this time against Hikaru Nakamura (left), who, instead of going for the traditional 6.b3 system, tried to clamp down the queenside with 6.c5. This gave White no advantage and after 18...c4 it was clear that only White was thinking of equalizing, the passed c4 pawn being a huge problem for him. 29.Re2? was a mistake, and it was punished with the very strong and unexpected move 29...e5! The two passed pawns on the center were too much for Nakamura, who had to give up material. Aronian is now securely in second place.

Wang Hao (above) had some pressure out of the opening against Magnus Carlsen, but after too many trades the position simplified swiftly into a draw.

Much more interesting was yet another Dragon in this top level tournament, this time in the game Leko-van Wely. Black must have been pleased with the opening result as his position was solid and saying that it was equal is not far from the truth.

Unfortunately for Loek (above), after the queen trade he started losing the thread of the position slightly, and his rook play was not as efficient as Leko’s, who quickly seized control over the weak c5 square. The pressure continued from that point until the end of the game, and the Hungarian player won a very instructive endgame.

Lastly we had a battle between a current World Champion (Vishy Anand, above) and an ex-World Champion, Hou Yifan, who In 2010 became the youngest Women's World Chess Champion in history by winning the Women's World Championship in Hatay, Turkey, at the age of 16. Today she got slowly outplayed out of the opening, which was a very unique Najdorf. Black’s strong pawn phalanx in the center with e5, f5 and f6 must have guaranteed him a clear advantage. This quickly turned into White being down a pawn as there was no way to defend d5. It’s possible a lot of people saw the end of the game in sight, as Anand is much higher rated and had all the pluses in the position, but the Chinese girl showed just how resourceful she is.

The knight endgame must be lost for White, especially if Black plays the move 42...h5! which secures the weakness on g3. Instead, Vishy went directly into the pawn endgame with 42...Nf5? and Hou Yifan accurately calculated that despite being down a pawn, the king endgame was a draw! The endgame is a draw by one tempo, but that’s all it takes in the game of chess. Anand gives up a chance to shorten the gap between him and Carlsen, while Hou Yifan saves a very valuable half point. You should listen to her brief interview in the video clips at the bottom of this page.

Giri-Caruana was an instructive demolition. The Dutch player quickly sacrificed a pawn for superior development. Caruana may have thought his position was solid, but the crushing rook lifts in the fifth and fourth ranks exposed how undefended Black’s king was. The sacrifice threats on g6, and then the pressure on f7, were too much to handle and Caruana had to resign. Here's Anish's take on the game:

Replay all the games of the round on our JavaScript player

Current standings

GM Danny King Play of the Day – Hikaru Nakamura vs Levon Aronian

Results of the B and C Groups

Group B: Round 11 - Friday January 25
Maxim Turov - Robin van Kampen
½-½
Daniil Dubov - Sergey Tiviakov
1-0
Jan Smeets - Sergei Movsesian
½-½
Nils Grandelius - Sipke Ernst
0-1
Alexander Ipatov - Romain Edouard
0-1
Arkadij Naiditsch - Richard Rapport
1-0
Jan Timman - Predrag Nikolic
1-0
Group C: Round 11 - Friday January 25
Krikor Mekhitarian - Alexandra Goryachkina
1-0
Hjorvar Gretarsson - Igor Bitensky
1-0
Mark van der Werf - Lisa Schut
0-1
Twan Burg - Sabino Brunello
½-½
Oleg Romanishin - Robin Swinkels
½-½
Miguoel Admiraal - Fernando Peralta
0-1
David Klein - Alexander Kovchan
½-½

Standings in the B Group

Standings in the C Group

Commentary schedule

There is full broadcast of all games on the official site and on the Playchess server, which will provide live audio commentary of the most interesting games (free for Premium members) starting at 14:30h for each round, 14:00h for the final round. Commentary begins at approx. 3 p.m. and lasts 2 to 2½ hours, with breaks in between. A round-up show is provided at 8 PM server time. Commentary is available, by the following experts:

26.01.2012 Round 12 Yasser Seirawan
27.01.2012 Round 13 Daniel King

Interviews with players after round eleven

Anish Giri
Peter Leko
Magnus Carlsen

Wang Hao
Yifan Hou
Levon Aronian
Sergey Karjakin
Tex de Wit & Robert Ris

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 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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