2017 Tata R8 Express: Carlsen commits seppuku

1/22/2017 – It is hard to explain what happened in round eight, and to speculate seems an exercise in futility. The game between Richard Rapport and Magnus Carlsen had been quite balanced, with no real edge going to either, yet in the space of five moves, the world no.1 made one error after another, losing a piece at the end. And that was all she wrote. Aronian defeated Giri in record time, while Adhiban beat Andreikin. The Challengers saw a surprising six draws. What a day. Express report.

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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.

Full report with grandmaster annotations to follow...

Masters tournament

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.

The game of the day, or result of the day, however you look at it, it was astonishing. Speculating on how or why suggest mind-reading abilities we do not profess to have, but the fact is the game was not decided by a single blunder. It was not a simple, involuntary act of seppuku.

Instead it looked more like a lemmings rush towards a cliff as he flung himself... in chess terms of course

Consider the engine evaluation graph. Notice how it gradually climbs in the space of five moves from move 22 to 27, from equal, to dead lost.

This opened the way for his rivals, and one nearly took advantage of it: Pavel Eljanov. Once again he was presented with a chance to win outright and missed it, allowing a counter tactic by the Polish GM. To be fair the position was a mess, with three connected passed pawns far advaced on the queenside, and distractions were all over the board.

The quickest win of the day, Levon Aronian swept past Anish Giri as if he were barely an afterthought

Adhiban has certainly been a newfound terror for openings, with choices that promise anything but the usual elite GM fare. It started with 1.e4 e5 2. Nc3, almost daring Black to enter a Vienna, but Andreikin declined, and a Closed Sicilian was the result. It didn't help and the Indian notched another win.

Current Masters standings

Challengers tournament

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.

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.
 
Aronian, L.
Wojtaszek, R.
 
Karjakin, S.
Andreikin, D.
 
Eljanov, P.
Wei, Y.
 
Adhiban, B.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
 
Harikrishna, P.
Carlsen, M.
 
Van Wely, L.
Giri, A.
 
Rapport, R.
Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Aronian, L.
 
Rapport, R.
Van Wely, L.
 
Giri, A.
Harikrishna, P.
 
Carlsen, M.
Adhiban, B.
 
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Eljanov, P.
 
Wei, Y.
Karjakin, S.
 
Andreikin, D.
So, W.
 
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.
 
Grandelius, N.
Ragger, M.
 
Tari, A.
van Foreest, J.
 
Smirin, I
l'Ami, E.
 
Guramishvili, S.
Xiong, J.
 
Jones, G.
Tingjie, L.
 
Lu, S.
Hansen, E.
 
Dobrov, V.
Round 10 - Wednesday, January 25
Grandelius, N.
 
Dobrov, V.
Lu, S.
 
Hansen, E.
Jones, G.
 
Tingjie, L.
Guramishvili, S.
 
Xiong, J.
Smirin, I
 
l'Ami, E.
Tari, A.
 
van Foreest, J.
Bok, B.
 
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.
 

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Jacob woge Jacob woge 1/23/2017 06:12
It's Kasparov style. Always was his chess finger. Probably still is.
hserusk hserusk 1/23/2017 04:07
@GregEs, Indeed -perhaps clearing off a spec of dust from the board without touching a piece or a pawn.
GregEs GregEs 1/23/2017 05:38
On the first photo above of Carlsen-Rapport, why is Rapport stretching his middle finger? Really? A middle finger ?
GregEs GregEs 1/23/2017 05:27
On the Live Rating rankings, So is #3 and Karjakin is #7. I think it is understandable why So respected his opponent considering they are almost of the same calibre.
Could be also a deep strategy of So to conserve energy for the next rounds too. Just look at what happened to Carlsen and Giri after a 122 mover game, they were drained and Giri quickly lost on this round (Rd. 8) too.
turok turok 1/23/2017 05:08
This is a tournament So is NOT suppose to worry about what the onlookers want him to do. He is trying to win this tourney and thus he has to play with strategy. What we think should not matter. He has far more at stake than trying just for us and losing points and then the tourney and ratings. This is his profession.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 1/23/2017 04:18
I'm about 99% sure that Carlsen lost this round b/c he's still tilting from yesterday's oversight of the mate-in-3 that he missed against Giri. There is no doubt in my mind. Well, only about a 1% doubt.
sicilian_D sicilian_D 1/23/2017 01:23
carlsen is probably just bored
ArisR ArisR 1/23/2017 12:33
Giri is an afterthought.
Bright Knight Bright Knight 1/23/2017 12:00
So is a pragmatic player. He knows when to jump into the fire and when not to. He's leading so why should he push hard? Let his pursuers take risks, like what Carlsen did.
excalibur2 excalibur2 1/22/2017 11:57
@plotinoab Wasn't So playing with black today against Karjakin? The onus is not on him to play for a win in a drawish position. Your hero Carlsen was very happy to take a draw against Andreikin in a slightly better position in round 3 of this same tournament.
plotinoab plotinoab 1/22/2017 11:37
What a difference between Carlsen and So attitude. The last two loss of Carlsen (here and in the Championship match) are from draw/equal position, where he tried too hard to push. The quick draw of So today, from the tournament leader, in a better position, after all the praises... Really disappointing. It is not the first time, like the first game against Carlsen with unpretentious opening, like the last few games in London classic. Even Giri tries a bit to play for a win, before drawing!
MIT 90 MIT 90 1/22/2017 11:36
Go Wesley!
Johanath Johanath 1/22/2017 10:14
Interestingly, it might just take +2 by Caruana at Gibraltar for Carlsen to be overtaken.

@Aighearach: Carlsen has actually announced on more than one occasion that he prides himself as being number one, as opposed to holding the title. This might very well be the time he loses this achievement in years.
excalibur2 excalibur2 1/22/2017 10:12
@Logos Couldn't agree more!
Aighearach Aighearach 1/22/2017 08:33
It is easy to understand what happened in Carlsen's game. He had an even position and tried to rating-slap his opponent, and his opponent kept his cool and so it didn't work. Carlsen wins more of those than he loses. At some point in a tournament like this, he can take that sort of risk and maybe win the tournament, or just allow draws and almost certainly be fighting for second place. He might care more about winning tournaments than rating points or individual games. Carlsen already played most of the lower rated players, so he really needed a win here to fight for first, because So is leading and still has some lower rated opponents waiting!
Logos Logos 1/22/2017 08:20
The best tournament of the year, for the combination of players invited, the atmosphere and chess culture.
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