Tata Steel Rd.9: Will the real leader please stand up?

1/25/2011 – After a day of hard-fought chess, the leaderboard was never so unclear. With Anand and Nakamura drawing, and Kramnik and Aronian winning theirs, there are now four with 6.0/9. The tale is almost identical in "B", where So, Sargissian and McShane also share the lead with 6.0/9. Only in "C" was Vocaturo able to establish clear dominance with 7.5/9. Report with analysis by GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

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This event is taking place from January 14th to 30th, 2011 in the traditional De Moriaan Center in Wijk aan Zee. There are three Grandmaster Groups, with 14 players each and each competitor playing against every other. The rate of play 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. Games begin at 13:30h local time (CET), except for the last round on January 30th, which begins at 12:00h. There are three rest days, on January 19th, 24th, and 27th.

Results of round nine

Group A: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Hikaru Nakamura - Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Jan Smeets
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik - Erwin l'Ami
1-0
Wang Hao - Ruslan Ponomariov
1-0
Alexander Grischuk - Anish Giri
½-½
Levon Aronian - Alexei Shirov
1-0
Group B: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Le Quang Liem - Laurent Fressinet
1-0
Gabriel Sargissian - Radek Wojtaszek
1-0
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Luke McShane
½-½
Zahar Efimenko - Friso Nijboer
½-½
Surya Ganguly - Vlad Tkachiev
0-1
Wesley So - Li Chao
0-1
David Navara - Wouter Spoelman
1-0
Group C: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Dariusz Swiercz - Benjamin Bok
0-1
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Katherina Lahno
½-½
Robin van Kampen - Ivan Ivanisevic
½-½
Daniele Vocaturo - Sebastian Siebrecht
1-0
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Mark van der Werf
1-0
Jan Willem de Jong - Roeland Pruijssers
½-½
Mark Bluvshtein - Tania Sachdev
1-0


The playing hall. The seven screens at the end show the seven games from the "A" group

Who is leading? If you had asked that after four-five rounds, we had easy answers for you, but now only group C has a clear front-runner. The leaders of group A, Anand and Nakamura, played a much anticipated game, and though well fought, nothing earth-shattering took place. Anand gained the upper-hand, and maintained a very slight tug for most of the game, but Nakamura played energetically and was able to keep it close until a draw was finally agreed upon.

Nakamura,Hi (2751) - Anand,V (2810) [E21]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

The most important game of the round was undoubtedly the fight between the two leaders. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 The "Nimzo". The world champion employs it regularly with the black pieces, nevertheless he sometimes face it with White too. For instance, one may recall his beautiful victory over Wang Hao in this very event! 4.Nf3 b6 5.Bg5 The most classical. 5...h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Bg3 Ne4 8.Qc2 Bb7 9.e3 d6 10.Bd3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 f5 12.d5!?








Within decades, the evaluation of this pawn advance has been downgraded from "better for White" to merely "acceptable". 12...Na6 13.h4N To my surprise this is a novelty! However, even "this" move does not affect the recent evaluation of this line, and I am not even sure it is an improvement. White tries to take advantage of Black's "hindered" development, in the meantime the vulnerable position of the bishop on g3 offers Black good counterplay, which Vishy uses very well in this game. 13...Qf6 14.Bxe4 fxe4 15.Qxe4 Qxc3+ 16.Ke2 Nc5 17.Qg6+ Ke7 18.Rac1. 18.hxg5?! Qxc4+ 19.Kd1 Only move. 19...Qxd5+ 20.Ke1 Qf5 with advantage for Black. 18...Qf6 19.Qxf6+ Kxf6 20.Rhd1








Not only did 'Nak' get nothing out of opening, but he is now slightly worse. As usual in this event, he stays cool and manages to keep the balance.

20...exd5. 20...Raf8 could create more practical chances. 21.Nd4 exd5 22.cxd5 Rf7 and the d5 pawn is vulnerable. 23.Rh1 Re8 24.hxg5+ hxg5 25.Rh6+ Kg7 26.Rh5 Kg6 27.Rch1 Bxd5 28.f3 Bxa2 29.e4 Kf6 In spite of the fact that White has enabled all his forces, and will win the g5-pawn soon, Black has excellent chances thanks to his distant passed a-pawn. 21.cxd5 Ba6+ 22.Ke1 Rae8 23.Rc3 Re4 24.Rd4 Rhe8 25.Ra3! An accurate move which secures White's position. 25...Bc8?! Equivalent to a draw offer. 25...Kf5!? could build up some pressure which I do not consider harmful at all. 26.hxg5+ hxg5 27.Rxa7 R8e7 28.Kf1 Bg4 29.Nd2 Rxd4 30.exd4 Nd3 31.f3 Bf5 32.a3 Nf4 33.Bxf4 gxf4 34.Ne4+ Bxe4 35.fxe4 Rxe4 36.Rxc7 Rxd4 37.Rc6 Ke5 38.Rxb6 Rd1+ 39.Ke2 Ra1 40.Rb3 Kxd5 41.g3 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Right behind them were Kramnik and Aronian, and sure enough, both won their games. Kramnik applied pressure onto L'Ami, and when it came to defending he failed to counter the threats and a couple of mistakes ended it.


Erwin L'Ami

Kramnik,V (2784) - L'Ami,E (2628) [A15]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

The shortest decisive game of the A group comes in a black day for one of local heros. Kramnik joins the leaders with this win. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d3 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Qc2 0-0 8.g3 c5 9.Bg2 Nc6








10.h4!? This is a common pawn advance in such positions. 10...Nb4 11.Qd2. 11.cxb4 Bxa1 12.bxc5 Bg7 13.h5 might actually be playable. 11...Nd5 12.Bb2 Qa5 13.h5 Nb6. 13...Bxc3 14.Bxc3 Qxc3 15.Qxc3 Nxc3 16.hxg6 hxg6 17.Kd2 Nd5 18.Ng5 Nf6 19.Rac1 and White retains his pawn in a better position. 14.hxg6 hxg6 15.a4 Bd7 16.Kf1!? Prophylactic! 16...Nxa4 17.Qg5 Qb6? The first blunder. 17...Rfe8 was better, though after 18.Ne5 Qc7 19.Nxd7 Qxd7 20.Bc1 Nxc3 21.Qh4 Kf8 22.Bh6 Qd4 23.Bxg7+ Qxg7 24.Ra5 leads to complicated play, which objectively, should favor White. 18.Qh4 Rfe8?








The second and final losing error. With two seemingly "normal" moves, Black is totally lost. 19.Bc1. 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.Bc1 was even more "forced". 19...e5 20.Qh7+ Kf8 21.Bh6 Bxh6 22.Qxh6+ Ke7 23.Nxe5 A painful defeat for L'Ami. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Smeets, his compatriot, had a very successful day after Nepomniachtchi decided to experiment with 1.d4 for the first time and then embark on a bold new strategy of self-destruction. Despite repeated attempts, he almost failed in his plans, but his persistence was eventually rewarded.


Nepomniachtchi: e4, e4, e4, ... boooooring. Let's try 1.d4!

Nepomniachtchi,I (2733) - Smeets,J (2662) [D45]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

Contrary to his countryman, Smeets scored a win, in order to excite the local fans! 1.d4








Eh? Isn't "Nepo" an 1.e4 player? A strange time to decide to experiment with 1.d4 1...d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Slav...Though just a "semi" 6...Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 a6 10.Rd1 b5 11.e4?N Well...A Novelty! 11...bxc4 12.e5 Qc7 13.exd6 Qxd6 14.Bg5 a5 15.Bxf6 Nxf6 16.Na4 Ba6 17.Nc5 Rfb8 18.Rac1 h6








Black is not fully a pawn up, nevertheless, the White's self-destruction plan is starting to bear fruits! 19.a3 Nd7 20.Ne4 Qd5 21.Nc3 Qf5 22.Qe2 Qf4 23.Rc2 Rd8 24.Rcd2 Rab8 25.g3 Qc7 26.Qe3 Bb7 27.Ne5 Nxe5 28.Qxe5 Qxe5 29.dxe5 Rxd2 30.Rxd2 c5 31.f4 White has maintained equality in spite of the pawn he lost... Sorry.... "sacrificed" on move 13. 31...g5 32.Kf2 gxf4 33.gxf4 Bc6 34.Ke3 Kf8 35.Rd6 Be8 36.Rd2 Bc6 37.h4 Ke7 38.Rd6 Bh1 39.Na4?! 39.Ra6 would have been enough for a draw! 39...Rb3+ 40.Kd2 Rf3. Black rooks invade White's territory, and Black is clearly better now. 41.Nxc5 Rxf4 42.Ra6 Rxh4 43.Rxa5 h5 44.Ke3 Rh2 45.Ra7+ Kf8 46.Rc7 Rxb2 47.Nd7+ Kg7 48.Rxc4 Rb3+ 49.Kf2 Rxa3 50.Rh4 Bc6 51.Nf6 Rf3+ 52.Ke2 Rf5 53.Nxh5+ Kg6 54.Ng3 Rxe5+ 55.Kf2 Ra5 56.Rg4+ Kf6 57.Rg8 Ra2+ 58.Ke3 Ke5 59.Rc8 Ra3+ 60.Kf2 Bd5 61.Nf1 Ra2+ 62.Ke3 f5 63.Nd2 f4+ 64.Ke2 Kd4 65.Rf8 e5 66.Ke1 e4 0-1. [Click to replay]

Aronian's game against Shirov was different, and there was a long and tense struggle as he tried his best to make something from nothing. Shirov played very creatively and an imbalanced ending ensued in which his material disadvanateg was balanced by his activity. Just when it seemed he had done all that needed doing, he cracked.

Aronian,L (2805) - Shirov,A (2722) [D52]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

A fight between two creative players. One at the bottom of the crosstable and one at the top. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7








Shirov is a believer in the "Cambridge System". 6.e3 Qa5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qd2 Bb4 9.Rc1 h6 10.Bh4 c5 11.Bc4 A rare choice, nevertheless understandable. White completes his development. 11.Bd3 b6 12.0-0 Ba6 13.Bxa6 Bxc3 14.Qe2 Bxb2 15.Rc2 Nb4 16.Bb5 Nxc2 17.Bxd7+ Kxd7 18.Ne5+ Kc7 19.Qf3 Qa4 20.Qxf7+ Kc8 21.Qxe6+? 0-1 Korobov,A (2684)-Shirov,A (2735)/Warsaw 2010/CB00_2011 (39) 11...cxd4 12.Qxd4!? This move will create more practical difficulties for Shirov. 12...Bxc3+ 13.bxc3 0-0 14.0-0 N5b6 15.Bb3 Re8 16.Rfd1 Qh5








17.Bg3. 17.Bc2! e5 18.Qe4 Nf8 19.Bg3 and now 19...f5? doesn't work because after 20.Bb3+ Kh8 21.Qb4 White's pieces take over. For example 21...e4 22.Ne5 17...e5 18.Qb4 e4. Shirov takes advantage of the Armenian's inaccuracy but the position remains in White's favor. 19.Ne1 a5 20.Qd4 Nc5. Shirov defends creatively, and has dynamically equalized, however, there are still several things he has to overcome. 21.Rb1 Nxb3 22.Qxb6 Nc5 23.c4 Be6 24.Rd5 Bxd5 25.Qxc5 Red8








Shirov may have foreseen this moment. In spite of the material disadvantage, Black has adequate play in order to keep the balance, thanks to his majority on the queenside and White's awkard knight on e1. 26.cxd5 Qxd5 27.Qc2 b5 28.Qb2 b4 29.Be5 Qd2 30.Qa1 Qe2 31.Bd4 Rab8 32.h3 f6 33.Rb2 Qb5 34.Qb1 Qd5 35.Qd1 Rbc8 36.Rd2 Qe6 37.Kh2 Rd7 38.g3 Rdc7 39.Bb2 Qxa2 40.Be5








40...Qxd2?! I do not know how to comment this move. Though the position remains equal, what was wrong with 40...Rc1! 41.Qxc1 Rxc1 42.Rxa2 fxe5 43.Rxa5 (43.Ng2 b3-+) 43...Rxe1 44.Rb5 and a primitive draw! 41.Qxd2 fxe5 42.Qd5+ Rf7 43.Kg2 Rcf8 44.h4 Kh8 45.Qxe4 Rxf2+ 46.Kh3 b3 47.Nd3 b2 48.Qb7 R8f7?? loses instantly! 48...a4 49.Nxb2 (49.Nxf2 Rxf2 50.h5 a3 51.Qa8+ Kh7 52.Qe4+ draw) 49...a3 50.Nd3 a2 51.Qa6 Rd2 52.Nxe5 Kh7! and neither side can improve their position. Isn't this a far more difficult draw in comparison to 40....Rc1? 49.Qb5 a4 50.Nxb2 a3 51.Nd3 Rf1 52.Qa4 Rh1+ 53.Kg4 An undeserved loss for Shirov. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Carlsen also tried his best to break Vachier-Lagrave with his Berlin, but Maxime was never led astray and they eventually shook hands.

Vachier Lagrave,M (2715) - Carlsen,M (2814) [C67]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

A nice game by both parties in which once again the world number one proved the "Berlin Wall" continues to stand strong! 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Bd7








This move has become popular over the last year. 10.h3 b6 11.Bf4 Kc8 12.Rad1 h6








By a curious transposition, we have reached a famous typical position, which has been examined several times before, even by Carlsen! 13.Bh2 White's bishop clears the way for the pawn's majority march! 13.Rd3 Be6 14.Rfd1 Kb7 15.b3 g5 16.Bc1 c5 17.Nd5 Ne7 18.Nxe7 Bxe7 19.c4 Rag8 20.Nd2 g4 21.hxg4 Rxg4 22.Nf1 Rhg8 23.Rg3 h5 24.Re1 a6 25.Rxg4 hxg4 26.Rd1 Kc6 27.Bf4 Rd8 28.Rxd8 Bxd8 29.Ne3 b5 30.Kf1 bxc4 31.bxc4 Kb6 32.Ke2 Ka5 33.Kd3 c6 34.f3 gxf3 35.gxf3 Ka4 36.Bh6 Ka3 37.f4 Kxa2 38.Kc2 f5 39.Bf8 Bb6 40.Be7 a5 41.Bh4 a4 42.Be1 Bd8 43.Nd1 Ka3 44.Nb2 Be7 45.Bc3 Bf8 46.Nd3 1-0 Anand,V (2786)-Topalov,V (2757)/Monte Carlo 2005/CBM 105 ext; 13.a3 Be6 14.g4 Ne7 15.Nd4 Bc4 16.Rfe1 c5 17.Nf5 Nc6 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 g6 20.e6 gxf5 21.exf7 Bd6 22.Bxh6 Kb7 23.Bg7 Rh7 24.Rxd6 Rxg7 25.Rxc6 fxg4 26.Rxb6+ cxb6 27.Re7+ Kc6 28.f8Q Rxf8 29.Rxg7 gxh3 30.Rh7 Rd8 31.Rxh3 Rd1+ 32.Kg2 Rc1 33.Rc3 1-0 Carlsen,M (2548)-Nielsen,P (2653)/Warsaw 2005/CBM 108 (49) 13...a5 14.g4 Ne7 15.Nd4 h5 16.e6!? A typical temporary pawn sacrifice which seems just sufficient for "compensation" in this particular position, however one should not forget about the practical difficulties Black has to face. 16...fxe6 17.Rfe1 hxg4 18.hxg4 Rh6 19.g5 Rh5 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Rxe6 Rxg5+ Black is totally safe now. 22.Kf1 Rf5 23.a4 Rb8 24.Rd3 Rf7 25.Kg2 b5 26.axb5 cxb5 27.Ra6 b4 28.Nd5 Nxd5 29.Rxd5 b3 30.c3 Ba3 31.Re6 Re7 32.Rxe7 Bxe7 33.Rxa5 Kd7 34.Be5 Bd6 35.Bd4 Bf4 36.Kf3 Bc1 37.c4 g5 38.Ke4 Rf8 39.Rd5+ Kc6 40.Rc5+ Kd7 41.Rd5+ Kc6 42.Rc5+ Kd7 A neat draw! 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]


Though one of the few draws of the day, what a draw it was!

One of the most exciting games of the round was in fact the draw between Grischuk and Giri in which the only sedate aspect about it was the result. Breathtaking!

Grischuk,A (2773) - Giri,A (2686) [E60]
73rd Tata Steel GMA Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 25.01.2011 [Elshan Moradiabadi]

1.d4 A very dynamic game with a dramatic final phase! 1...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 Nc6!?








The best continuation in my humble opinion! Though one should have ideas on how to play it. With "simple" moves one can get a bad position here. 4.d5 Ne5 5.e4 d6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.f4 Ned7 8.Nh3 Grischuk's "pet line". The line is quite fresh and will be seen more often at the top, due to the fact that the "f3 Gruenfeld" has not served Black well enough. 8.Nf3 0-0 9.Bd3 e6 10.0-0 exd5 11.exd5 c6 12.dxc6 bxc6 13.Kh1 Nc5 14.Be3 Ng4 15.Bg1 Rb8 16.Na4 Re8 17.Nxc5 dxc5 18.Bxc5 Rxb2 19.Ne5 Bxe5 20.fxe5 Nxe5 21.Bc2 Qxd1 22.Bxd1 Nd3 23.Bd4 Rd2 24.Bxa7 c5 25.Bf3 Be6 26.a4 Bxc4 27.Rfb1 Ne5 28.Re1 f6 29.Bxc5 Rc8 30.Be3 Nxf3 31.gxf3 Rc2 32.Kg1 Bd5 33.Rf1 Re2 34.Rae1 Ra2 35.Ra1 Rcc2 36.Rxa2 Rxa2 37.Bb6 Rxa4 38.Kg2 Ra3 39.h4 Kf7 40.Bc7 Ke6 41.Kg3 Kf5 42.Bd6 Rb3 43.Bc5 h5 44.Kf2 g5 45.hxg5 fxg5 46.Be3 Rb2+ 47.Kg3 h4+ 48.Kh3 Rb3 49.Bd2 Bxf3 50.Be1 Kg6 51.Kh2 Rb2+ 52.Rf2 Rb1 53.Rf1 Kh5 54.Rxf3 Rxe1 0-1 Nikolov,M (2549)-Wang Yue (2732)/Zuerich 2010/CBM 138 Extra

8...0-0 9.Be2 Nc5 10.Nf2 e6. Giri deviates from 10...Re8 11.0-0 e5 12.dxe6 Bxe6 13.Qc2 Bd7 14.Bf3 Bc6 15.Bd2 a5 16.Rfe1 Nfd7 17.Rad1 Qe7 18.b3 Qf8 19.Nb5 Bxb5 20.cxb5 Qe7 21.Be3 Rac8 22.a3 Ne6 23.b4 axb4 24.axb4 Nb6 25.Qb3 Ra8 26.g3 Qf6 27.Rd3 Qb2 28.Qxb2 Bxb2 29.f5 gxf5 30.Bxb6 fxe4 31.Nxe4 cxb6 32.Nxd6 Red8 33.Red1 Ra3 34.Rxa3 Bxa3 35.Nf5 Rxd1+ 36.Bxd1 Bxb4 37.Kg2 Bc5 38.Bb3 Nd4 39.Nxd4 Bxd4 40.Bd5 Kg7 41.Bxb7 1/2-1/2 Grischuk,A (2771)-Kurnosov,I (2676)/Moscow 2010/CB00_2011 11.0-0 exd5 12.cxd5 c6! A radical treatment. The knight on c5 has to leave her post soon. Giri truly understood that he has to take drastic measures, otherwise White's pawn structure superiority will push him "off the board". 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.Bf3 Qe7 15.Be3








15...d5! Home preparation? Or genuine inspiration/calculation? Either way Giri is playing well and energetic. 16.e5 Nfd7 17.b4 Grischuk still thinks that he is much better but... 17.Rc1 Ne6 18.Ne2 Bb7 19.Re1 f6 20.Qb3 Rfb8 and both parties have their bare razors in hand, for a bloody fight! 17...Ne6 18.b5








18...Nb6! A cold shower for Grischuk! At this point White is not worse, however I suspect that the hidden tactics Grischuk had missed to this point, rattled him and affected his play, and he just managed to 'hold' it! 19.f5. 19.bxc6 d4 20.Bxd4 Rd8 21.Nb5 Ba6 22.Nd6 Bxf1 23.Kxf1 Nc8 24.Nfe4 Nxd6 25.exd6 Rxd6 26.Nxd6 Bxd4 27.f5 Bxa1 28.fxe6 Be5 29.exf7+ Kg7 30.c7 Bxd6 31.Bxa8 Qxf7+ 32.Bf3 Qc4+ 33.Qe2 would be a draw. Though it is not a forced line, I have a feeling that after Nb6 the position is dynamically equal. 19...gxf5 20.Bxb6 axb6 21.bxc6 Bxe5 22.Nxd5 Qh4?! A loss of time. Qg5 straightaway was much better. 23.g3 Qg5 24.Bg2! Good prophylaxy! 24...Ba6 Giri does not even think about Ba1? 25.Re1 Bd4 26.Rc1 Bb5?! too optimisitc! 27.c7 Rxa2 28.c8Q Bxf2+ 29.Kh1 Rxc8 30.Rxc8+ Kg7 31.Rxe6. 31.Qb1 Ra5 32.Rd1 would have put a big question mark on Giri's overactive play. 31...fxe6 32.Nf4 Kh6! May have been overlooked by Grischuk. 33.Qb1 Ra5








34.Nxe6?? What?? 34...Qf6 White is losing a piece! 35.Qc1+ f4 36.Rc3 Be3?? Returning the favor! 36...Qxe6! would have created a new "Gloomy" day for Grischuk 37.Qxf4+








37...Kg6! The idea of this provocative move is to bring White's Bishop to e4 in order to make it impossible for him to capture the undefended Bishop on f2. 38.Be4+ Kg7 39.Rc7+ Bd7 40.Kg2 Bd4] 37.Qe1 Bf2 38.Qc1 Be3?? Giri may have been in time trouble...Caissa in on Grischuk's side this time. 39.Qe1 Qxe6 40.gxf4 Qf6 41.Qxe3 Ra1+ 42.Rc1 Bd7 43.h3 Rxc1+ 44.Qxc1 Qd4 45.Qc7 Bf5 46.Qe7 Qxf4 47.Qf6+ Kh5 48.Qxb6 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Entering the tenth round will be no fewer than four players with 6.0/9: Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, and Nakamura, followed by Carlsen and Vachier-Lagrave with 5.5/9.

The B group once more showed itself hard to take alone, and So's sole leadership was short-lived as he lost to Li Chao. McShane had a golden opportunity to the reins once more, and had a winning advantage against Hammer for the longest time, however consistent errors in the endgame let Jon crawl back in, and eventually he pulled off an eleventh hour save. In the pack just behind, Armenian GM Sargissian overcame Wojtaszek and joined the lead, making them three with 6.0/9: McShane, So, and Sargissian.

Finally, only "C" has been able to produce a clear man to beat, and that is once more Daniele Vocaturo. The Italian ran over Siebrecht this time, taking his total to an impressive 7.5/9, while Lahno, who had a very strong advantage against Nyzhnyk, was unable to convert it, and both are now at 6.0/9 (a score that seems to have won a popularity contest), 1.5 points behind.


All photos © Frits Agterdenbos of ChessVista

Current standings after nine rounds

Grandmaster "A" tournament

Grandmaster "B" tournament

Grandmaster "C" tournament

Watching the games

It goes without saying that the options to watch the games live are wide and varied. You can watch them at no cost on Playchess, enjoying the software's new options to display multiple boards at the same time, and if you are a Premium member, live grandmaster commentary will be provided on Playchess for every round by GM Daniel King, author of the best-selling Power Play series, and GM Lubomir Ftacnik.

If you miss the live games, you can always watch the commentary after the fact, or get an abridged tale via the Daily Roundup show also hosted on Playchess. Again, if you miss the show, it remains available on the server at your disposal.


Schedule of Grandmaster Group A

Group A: Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 15th
Ruslan Ponomariov - Viswanathan Anand
0-1
Erwin l'Ami - Anish Giri
½-½
Jan Smeets - Alexei Shirov
1-0
Magnus Carlsen - Levon Aronian
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Alexander Grischuk
1-0
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Wang Hao
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Group A: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 16th
Viswanathan Anand - Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Wang Hao - Ian Nepomniachtchi
0-1
Alexander Grischuk - Max. Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Levon Aronian - Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Alexei Shirov - Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Anish Giri - Jan Smeets
½-½
Ruslan Ponomariov - Erwin l'Ami
½-½
Group A: Round 3 - Mon. Jan. 17th
Erwin l'Ami - Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Jan Smeets - Ruslan Ponomariov
0-1
Magnus Carlsen - Anish Giri
0-1
Hikaru Nakamura - Alexei Shirov
1-0
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Levon Aronian
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik - Wang Hao
½-½
Group A: Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 18th
Viswanathan Anand - Wang Hao
1-0
Alexander Grischuk - Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Levon Aronian - Ian Nepomniachtchi
1-0
Alexei Shirov - Max. Vachier-Lagrave
0-1
Anish Giri - Hikaru Nakamura
½-½
Ruslan Ponomariov - Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Erwin l'Ami - Jan Smeets
½-½
Wednesday, January 19th – Free day
Group A: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 20th
Jan Smeets - Viswanathan Anand
0-1
Magnus Carlsen - Erwin l'Ami
1-0
Hikaru Nakamura - Ruslan Ponomariov
½-½
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Anish Giri
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Alexei Shirov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik - Levon Aronian
½-½
Wang Hao - Alexander Grischuk
1-0
Group A: Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 21st
Viswanathan Anand - Alexander Grischuk
½-½
Levon Aronian - Wang Hao
½-½
Alexei Shirov - Vladimir Kramnik
0-1
Anish Giri - Ian Nepomniachtchi
0-1
Ruslan Ponomariov - Max. Vachier-Lagrave
½-½
Erwin l'Ami - Hikaru Nakamura
0-1
Jan Smeets - Magnus Carlsen
0-1
Group A: Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 22nd
Magnus Carlsen - Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Hikaru Nakamura - Jan Smeets
1-0
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Erwin l'Ami
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Ruslan Ponomariov
½-½
Vladimir Kramnik - Anish Giri
1-0
Wang Hao - Alexei Shirov
½-½
Alexander Grischuk - Levon Aronian
0-1
Group A: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 23rd
Viswanathan Anand - Levon Aronian
½-½
Alexei Shirov - Alexander Grischuk
1-0
Anish Giri - Wang Hao
1-0
Ruslan Ponomariov - Vladimir Kramnik
½-½
Erwin l'Ami - Ian Nepomniachtchi
½-½
Jan Smeets - Max. Vachier-Lagrave
0-1
Magnus Carlsen - Hikaru Nakamura
1-0
Monday, January 24th – Free day
Group A: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Hikaru Nakamura - Viswanathan Anand
½-½
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Magnus Carlsen
½-½
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Jan Smeets
0-1
Vladimir Kramnik - Erwin l'Ami
1-0
Wang Hao - Ruslan Ponomariov
1-0
Alexander Grischuk - Anish Giri
½-½
Levon Aronian - Alexei Shirov
1-0
Group A: Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 26th
Viswanathan Anand - Alexei Shirov  
Anish Giri - Levon Aronian  
Ruslan Ponomariov - Alexander Grischuk  
Erwin l'Ami - Wang Hao  
Jan Smeets - Vladimir Kramnik  
Magnus Carlsen - Ian Nepomniachtchi  
Hikaru Nakamura - Max. Vachier-Lagrave  
Thursday, January 27th – Free day
Group A: Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 28th
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Viswanathan Anand  
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Hikaru Nakamura  
Vladimir Kramnik - Magnus Carlsen  
Wang Hao - Jan Smeets  
Alexander Grischuk - Erwin l'Ami  
Levon Aronian - Ruslan Ponomariov  
Alexei Shirov - Anish Giri  
Group A: Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 29th
Viswanathan Anand - Anish Giri  
Ruslan Ponomariov - Alexei Shirov  
Erwin l'Ami - Levon Aronian  
Jan Smeets - Alexander Grischuk  
Magnus Carlsen - Wang Hao  
Hikaru Nakamura - Vladimir Kramnik  
Max. Vachier-Lagrave - Ian Nepomniachtchi  
Group A: Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 30st
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Viswanathan Anand  
Vladimir Kramnik - Max. Vachier-Lagrave  
Wang Hao - Hikaru Nakamura  
Alexander Grischuk - Magnus Carlsen  
Levon Aronian - Jan Smeets  
Alexei Shirov - Erwin l'Ami  
Anish Giri - Ruslan Ponomariov  

Schedule of Grandmaster Group B

Group B: Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 15th
Vlad Tkachiev - Laurant Fressinet
½-½
Friso Nijboer - Li Chao
½-½
Luke McShane - Wouter Spoelman
1-0
Radek Wojtaszek - David Navara
0-1
Le Quang Liem - Wesley So
½-½
Gabriel Sargissian - Surya Ganguly
1-0
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Zahar Efimenko
0-1
Group B: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 16th
Laurant Fressinet - Zahar Efimenko
½-½
Surya Ganguly - Jon Ludvig Hammer
1-0
Wesley So - Gabriel Sargissian
½-½
David Navara - Le Quang Liem
½-½
Wouter Spoelman - Radek Wojtaszek
½-½
Li Chao - Luke McShane
0-1
Vlad Tkachiev - Friso Nijboer
½-½
Group B: Round 3 - Mon. Jan. 17th
Friso Nijboer - Laurent Fressinet
½-½
Luke McShane - Vlad Tkachiev
1-0
Radek Wojtaszek - Li Chao
1-0
Le Quang Liem - Wouter Spoelman
0-1
Gabriel Sargissian - David Navara
½-½
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Wesley So
½-½
Zahar Efimenko - Surya Ganguly
½-½
Group B: Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 18th
Laurent Fressinet - Surya Ganguly
1-0
Wesley So - Zahar Efimenko
½-½
David Navara - Jon Ludvig Hammer
½-½
Wouter Spoelman - Gabriel Sargissian
½-½
Li Chao - Le Quang Liem
1-0
Vlad Tkachiev - Radek Wojtaszek
½-½
Friso Nijboer - Luke McShane
½-½
Wednesday, January 19th – Free day
Group B: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 20th
Luke McShane - Laurent Fressinet
½-½
Radek Wojtaszek - Friso Nijboer
1-0
Le Quang Liem - Vlad Tkachiev
½-½
Gabriel Sargissian - Li Chao
½-½
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Wouter Spoelman
1-0
Zahar Efimenko - David Navara
1-0
Surya Ganguly - Wesley So
0-1
Group B: Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 21st
Laurant Fressinet - Wesley So
0-1
David Navara - Surya Ganguly
1-0
Wouter Spoelman - Zahar Efimenko
0-1
Li Chao - Jon Ludvig Hammer
1-0
Vlad Tkachiev - Gabriel Sargissian
½-½
Friso Nijboer - Le Quang Liem
0-1
Luke McShane - Radek Wojtaszek
1-0
Group B: Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 22nd
Radek Wojtaszek - Laurent Fressinet
1-0
Le Quang Liem - Luke McShane
1-0
Gabriel Sargissian - Friso Nijboer
1-0
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Vlad Tkachiev
0-1
Zahar Efimenko - Li Chao
½-½
Surya Ganguly - Wouter Spoelman
1-0
Wesley So - David Navara
1-0
Group B: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 23rd
Laurent Fressinet - David Navara
½-½
Wouter Spoelman - Wesley So
0-1
Li Chao - Surya Ganguly
½-½
Vlad Tkachiev - Zahar Efimenko
1-0
Friso Nijboer - Jon Ludvig Hammer
½-½
Luke McShane - Gabriel Sargissian
½-½
Radek Wojtaszek - Le Quang Liem
1-0
Monday, January 24th – Free day
Group B: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Le Quang Liem - Laurent Fressinet
1-0
Gabriel Sargissian - Radek Wojtaszek
1-0
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Luke McShane
½-½
Zahar Efimenko - Friso Nijboer
½-½
Surya Ganguly - Vlad Tkachiev
0-1
Wesley So - Li Chao
0-1
David Navara - Wouter Spoelman
1-0
Group B: Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 26th
Laurent Fressinet - Wouter Spoelman  
Li Chao - David Navara  
Vlad Tkachiev - Wesley So  
Friso Nijboer - Surya Ganguly  
Luke McShane - Zahar Efimenko  
Radek Wojtaszek - Jon Ludvig Hammer  
Le Quang Liem - Gabriel Sargissian  
Thursday, January 27th – Free day
Group B: Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 28th
Gabriel Sargissian - Laurent Fressinet  
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Le Quang Liem  
Zahar Efimenko - Radek Wojtaszek  
Surya Ganguly - Luke McShane  
Wesley So - Friso Nijboer  
David Navara - Vlad Tkachiev  
Wouter Spoelman - Li Chao  
Group B: Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 29th
Laurent Fressinet - Li Chao  
Vlad Tkachiev - Wouter Spoelman  
Friso Nijboer - David Navara  
Luke McShane - Wesley So  
Radek Wojtaszek - Surya Ganguly  
Le Quang Liem - Zahar Efimenko  
Gabriel Sargissian - Jon Ludvig Hammer  
Group B: Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 30th
Jon Ludvig Hammer - Laurent Fressinet  
Zahar Efimenko - Gabriel Sargissian  
Surya Ganguly - Le Quang Liem  
Wesley So - Radek Wojtaszek  
David Navara - Luke McShane  
Wouter Spoelman - Friso Nijboer  
Li Chao - Vlad Tkachiev  

Schedule of Grandmaster Group C

Group C: Round 1 - Sat. Jan. 15th
Mark van der Werf - Benjamin Bok
½-½
Sebastian Siebrecht - Roeland Pruijssers
½-½
Ivan Ivanisevic - Tania Sachdev
0-1
Katherina Lahno - Mark Bluvshtein
½-½
Dariusz Swiercz - Jan Willem de Jong
1-0
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Murtas Kazhgaleyev
1-0
Robin van Kampen - Daniele Vocaturo
0-1
Group C: Round 2 - Sun. Jan. 16th
Benjamin Bok - Daniele Vocaturo
½-½
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Robin van Kampen
1-0
Jan Willem de Jong - Ilya Nyzhnyk
½-½
Mark Bluvshtein - Dariusz Swiercz
1-0
Tania Sachdev - Katherina Lahno
0-1
Roeland Pruijssers - Ivan Ivanisevic
½-½
Mark van der Werf - Sebastian Siebrecht
0-1
Group C: Round 3 - Mon. Jan. 17th
Sebastian Siebrecht - Benjamin Bok
½-½
Ivan Ivanisevic - Mark van der Werf
½-½
Katherina Lahno - Roeland Pruijssers
1-0
Dariusz Swiercz - Tania Sachdev
0-1
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Mark Bluvshtein
½-½
Robin van Kampen - Jan Willem de Jong
1-0
Daniele Vocaturo - Murtas Kazhgaleyev
1-0
Group C: Round 4 - Tues. Jan. 18th
Benjamin Bok - Murtas Kazhgaleyev
1-0
Jan Willem de Jong - Daniele Vocaturo
0-1
Mark Bluvshtein - Robin van Kampen
1-0
Tania Sachdev - Ilya Nyzhnyk
0-1
Roeland Pruijssers - Dariusz Swiercz
0-1
Mark van der Werf - Katherina Lahno
1-0
Sebastian Siebrecht - Ivan Ivanisevic
½-½
Wednesday, January 19th – Free day
Group C: Round 5 - Thurs. Jan. 20th
Ivan Ivanisevic - Benjamin Bok
1-0
Katherina Lahno - Sebastian Siebrecht
1-0
Dariusz Swiercz - Mark van der Werf
0-1
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Roeland Pruijssers
1-0
Robin van Kampen - Tania Sachdev
½-½
Daniele Vocaturo - Mark Bluvshtein
1-0
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Jan Willem de Jong
1-0
Group C: Round 6 - Fri. Jan. 21sr
Benjamin Bok - Jan Willem de Jong
0-1
Mark Bluvshtein - Murtas Kazhgaleyev
0-1
Tania Sachdev - Daniele Vocaturo
1-0
Roeland Pruijssers - Robin van Kampen
½-½
Mark van der Werf - Ilya Nyzhnyk
½-½
Sebastian Siebrecht - Dariusz Swiercz
0-1
Ivan Ivanisevic - Katherina Lahno
½-½
Group C: Round 7 - Sat. Jan. 22nd
Katherina Lahno - Benjamin Bok
1-0
Dariusz Swiercz - Ivan Ivanisevic
½-½
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Sebastian Siebrecht
1-0
Robin van Kampen - Mark van der Werf
1-0
Daniele Vocaturo - Roeland Pruijssers
1-0
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Tania Sachdev
1-0
Jan Willem de Jong - Mark Bluvshtein
0-1
Group C: Round 8 - Sun. Jan. 23rd
Katherina Lahno - Dariusz Swiercz
½-½
Ivan Ivanisevic - Ilya Nyzhnyk
1-0
Tania Sachdev - Jan Willem de Jong
1-0
Mark van der Werf - Daniele Vocaturo
0-1
Benjamink Bok - Mark Bluvshtein
1-0
Sebastian Siebrecht - Robin van Kampen
1-0
Roeland Pruijssers - Murtas Kazhgaleyev
½-½
Monday, January 24th – Free day
Group C: Round 9 - Tues. Jan. 25th
Dariusz Swiercz - Benjamin Bok
0-1
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Katherina Lahno
½-½
Robin van Kampen - Ivan Ivanisevic
½-½
Daniele Vocaturo - Sebastian Siebrecht
1-0
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Mark van der Werf
1-0
Jan Willem de Jong - Roeland Pruijssers
½-½
Mark Bluvshtein - Tania Sachdev
1-0
Group C: Round 10 - Wed. Jan. 26th
Benjamin Bok - Tania Sachdev  
Roeland Pruijssers - Mark Bluvshtein  
Mark van der Werf - Jan Willem de Jong  
Sebastian Siebrecht - Murtas Kazhgaleyev  
Ivan Ivanisevic - Daniele Vocaturo  
Katherina Lahno - Robin van Kampen  
Dariusz Swiercz - Ilya Nyzhnyk  
Thursday, January 27th – Free day
Group C: Round 11 - Fri. Jan. 28th
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Benjamin Bok  
Robin van Kampen - Dariusz Swiercz  
Daniele Vocaturo - Katherina Lahno  
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Ivan Ivanisevic  
Jan Willem de Jong - Sebastian Siebrecht  
Mark Bluvshtein - Mark van der Werf  
Tania Sachdev - Roeland Pruijssers  
Group C: Round 12 - Sat. Jan. 29th
Benjamin Bok - Roeland Pruijssers  
Mark van der Werf - Tania Sachdev  
Sebastian Siebrecht - Mark Bluvshtein  
Ivan Ivanisevic - Jan Willem de Jong  
Katherina Lahno - Murtas Kazhgaleyev  
Dariusz Swiercz - Daniele Vocaturo  
Ilya Nyzhnyk - Robin van Kampen  
Group C: Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 30th
Robin van Kampen - Benjamin Bok  
Daniele Vocaturo - Ilya Nyzhnyk  
Murtas Kazhgaleyev - Dariusz Swiercz  
Jan Willem de Jong - Katherina Lahno  
Mark Bluvshtein - Ivan Ivanisevic  
Tania Sachdev - Sebastian Siebrecht  
Roeland Pruijssers - Mark van der Werf  

Links

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