2017 Tata Rd4: Taking no prisoners

by Albert Silver
1/18/2017 – If the third round was deserving of the title “bloody round” then the fourth was even more so. Not only were there three high quality wins in the Masters by Eljanov, Carlsen, and So, but there might have been four had Giri not slipped at the last moment. The Challengers saw all seven games end in decisive results. It wasn’t all smooth sailing as will seen, while some, like Ragger continued his steamrolling ways with a fourth straight win. Full report with annotations by GM Georg Meier.

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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 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.

Quick Recap round four

 

Quick video impressions of round four

Once more all eyes turned to table one with Magnus Carlsen, as he faced the Chinese prodigy Wei Yi. The young Chinese player has long been pointed to as the possible future contender for the title, and while his talent cannot be questioned, he still shows genuine vulnerabilities in slow maneuvering games. These showed up once more, and none is more punishing than the World Champion when it comes to stirring trouble in a quiet position.

Wei Yi faced the ultimate challenge in chess, but was unable to make a dent in the world no. 1

GM Georg Meier annotates Magnus Carlsen vs Wei Yi

[Event "79th Tata Steel Chess 2017-Masters"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "2017.01.17"] [Round "4"] [White "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "2840"] [BlackElo "2706"] [Annotator "Georg Meier"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventCountry "NED"] [SourceTitle "playchess.com"] [Source "ChessBase"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 {The bishops´s opening or Italian game reminds me of the London system (1.d4 followed by Bf4 on move 2 or 3) that also had a resurgence of late, not least due to Magnus´s efforts. You can of course find fresh ideas everywhere, but the main point of these openings - at least to me - is to keep a lot of pieces on the board and beat your opponent by a better understanding of positional play and pawn structures.} c6 4. Nf3 d6 {A bit tame. But it was played after almost 6 minutes of contemplation, indicating that Yi has not made up his mind about this opening beforehand.} (4... d5 5. Bb3 Bb4+ {sophisticated!} (5... Bd6 6. Nc3 {would force Black to eventually release the tension in the center.}) 6. c3 Bd6 {is a popular line for Black}) 5. O-O Be7 6. Bb3 (6. Re1 O-O 7. a4 {would be the modern way to play.}) 6... O-O {Both sides are free to further development, so we get an impression of where both players feel their pieces belong.} 7. c3 Nbd7 8. Re1 Nc5 9. Bc2 Bg4 10. Nbd2 Ne6 11. h3 Bh5 12. Nf1 Nd7 $1 {This is important in connection with Bg4: Black must be ready to take on f3 and then he should soon halve White´s bishop pair with Bg5.} 13. g4 $5 ({Normal would be} 13. Ng3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 g6 { keeping the Ng3 at bay and with Bg5 soon following.}) 13... Bg6 14. Ng3 { The bishop on g6 will be passive for a long time, but White also created a hole on f4.} Ng5 {Being a bit cramped, Black wants to exchange pieces.} 15. Bxg5 {After 20 minutes thought! I don´t think Magnus was too thrilled with his position at this point.} (15. Kg2 Nxf3 16. Qxf3 Re8 $1 {A smart waiting move, opening the d7-f8-e6 route for the N.} 17. Be3 Bg5 18. Bxg5 Qxg5 19. Rad1 Rad8 {is completely satisfactory for Black.}) (15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. gxf5 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bg5 {with a good position for Black was mentioned by Carlsen.}) 15... Bxg5 16. d4 Bf4 {From here on it looks very much like Black was looking for direct ideas, when all he had to do is patiently improve his position.} (16... Re8 { getting the rook into play and vacating f8 for the N; good value for a tempo.}) 17. Ne2 Qf6 18. Kg2 exd4 $2 {"An absolute gift"(Carlsen). Black is giving up the center for no reason.} (18... Rad8 19. Nxf4 Qxf4 20. Qc1 Qxc1 21. Raxc1 f6 $11) 19. Nfxd4 Rfe8 20. Nxf4 Qxf4 21. f3 {Now White has a straightforward plan: Get rid of the queen on f4 and push his kingside pawns. At this point Black had to look for ways to limit the damage, and quickly.} (21. Qc1 Bxe4+ 22. Bxe4 Rxe4 23. Qxf4 Rxf4 24. Re7 {looks tempting, but Black still holds on with} Nc5 25. Rae1 Kf8 26. Kg3 g5) 21... Nb6 $6 {Further drifting...} (21... d5 {would guarantee that Black does not run out of space. The isolated pawn would remain his only worry after} 22. exd5 Bxc2 (22... cxd5 23. Rxe8+ Rxe8 24. Ba4 $1 { leaves White with the superior minor piece forever.}) 23. Qxc2 cxd5) 22. Qc1 Qxc1 23. Raxc1 d5 24. e5 Nd7 25. f4 Bxc2 26. Rxc2 {Black must have underestimated the dangers of this endgame. Clearly, digging in and holding the fort does not come easy to the Chinese prodigy. He proceeds to lose in no time.} Nc5 ({To put up a line of defense black should take f5 under control, grab space with a5 to somewhat secure c5 for his N and then centralize his king. A reasonable sequence would be:} 26... g6 27. Kf3 a5 28. h4 Nc5 29. Re3 ( 29. g5 Kf8 30. h5 Ke7) 29... Kf8) 27. Re3 Rad8 28. Kf3 Ne4 29. b4 $16 {The black N has no way back, and White is ready to settle Black with a weakness by c3-c4xd5 and decisively open the c-file.} g5 $2 {Only creating more weaknesses. } (29... f6 $1 30. exf6 (30. e6 Nd6 {looks like a decent blockade still}) 30... Nxf6 31. Ne6 Rc8 32. Rce2 Kf7 33. Ng5+ Kf8 34. f5 {with a large advantage, but exchanges will ease some of the pressure.}) 30. c4 c5 (30... gxf4 31. Kxf4 f6 32. e6 $18) 31. Nb5 gxf4 32. Kxf4 cxb4 33. cxd5 {This game clearly showed Wei not being comfortable with a quiet manoeuvering struggle. And obviously Carlsen is aware of this shortcoming. Given a strategically superior position out of nowhere he converted with ease.} 1-0

 

After his excellent win, Magnus Carlsen shares his thoughts on his game

Daniel King shows Magnus Carlsen vs Wei Yi in his game of the day

Levon Aronian has yet to win a game, though nor has he lost any. He faced some tough opening preparation by his opponent Ian Nepomniachtchi, got the edge, but squandered it and drew. In his post-game conference he promised to study it in detail.

Aronian - Nepomniachtchi

 

Tournament leader Pavel Eljanov also emerged victorious after outplaying his opponent Baskaran Adhiban and converting beautifully his advantage in a bishop endgame.

Adhiban - Eljanov

 

 

Levon Aronian and Ian Nepomniachtchi on their game

Wesley So has every reason to smile: not only did he beat Loek Van Wely in a great showing, but he is now tied with Magnus for second-third, and is world no.3 in the Live Ratings with 2815.

Richard Rapport, always a highly entertaining player to watch, drew his game and showed restraint after his disappointment in round three

Jovana Rapport can be seen praying for her husband. Is it tougher on the player, or their loved ones there to support them?

These are the statistics for the Masters section, with 64.3% draws and about a third of the games ending in decisive results

Current Masters standings

Challengers tournament

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

Hard to argue with 100%. Markus Ragger won his fourth straight game and leads (of course).

 

Markus Ragger on his victory against Vladimir Dobrov, making it his fourth victory in a row

Right behind him is Ilia Smirin, who defeated Sopiko Guramishvili, and is at 3.5/4

Nils Grandelius seemed headed for a nice victory, but lost the thread and ended up losing to...

... US Junior Jeffery Xiong.

A scene after hours at the pub (click for high-res version)

The Challengers stats are impressive to say the least. With 7 wins in 7 games in round four, the total number of decisive games so far has been 71.4%

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.
 
Aronian, L.
Karjakin, S.
 
Adhiban, B.
So, W.
 
Harikrishna, P.
Wojtaszek, R.
 
Van Wely, L.
Andreikin, D.
 
Rapport, R.
Wei, Y.
 
Giri, A.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
 
Carlsen, M.
Round 6 - Friday, January 20
Aronian, L.
 
Carlsen, M.
Giri, A.
 
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Rapport, R.
 
Wei, Y.
Van Wely, L.
 
Andreikin, D.
Harikrishna, P.
 
Wojtaszek, R.
Adhiban, B.
 
So, W.
Eljanov, P.
 
Karjakin, S.
Round 7 - Saturday, January 21
Karjakin, S.
 
Aronian, L.
So, W.
 
Eljanov, P.
Wojtaszek, R.
 
Adhiban, B.
Andreikin, D.
 
Harikrishna, P.
Wei, Y.
 
Van Wely, L.
Nepomniachtchi, I.
 
Rapport, R.
Carlsen, M.
 
Giri, A.
Round 8 - Sunday, January 22
Aronian, L.
 
Giri, A.
Rapport, R.
 
Carlsen, M.
Van Wely, L.
 
Nepomniachtchi, I.
Harikrishna, P.
 
Wei, Y.
Adhiban, B.
 
Andreikin, D.
Eljanov, P.
 
Wojtaszek, R.
Karjakin, S.
 
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
 
Grandelius, N.
Tari, A.
 
Guramishvili, S.
Bok, B.
 
Jones, G.
Ragger, M.
 
Lu, S.
van Foreest, J.
 
Dobrov, V.
l'Ami, E.
 
Hansen, E.
Xiong, J.
 
Tingjie, L.
Round 6 - Friday, January 20
Grandelius, N.
 
Tingjie, L.
Hansen, E.
 
Xiong, J.
Dobrov, V.
 
l'Ami, E.
Lu, S.
 
van Foreest, J.
Jones, G.
 
Ragger, M.
Guramishvili, S.
 
Bok, B.
Smirin, I
 
Tari, A.
Round 7 - Saturday, January 21
Tari, A.
 
Grandelius, N.
Bok, B.
 
Smirin, I
Ragger, M.
 
Guramishvili, S.
van Foreest, J.
 
Jones, G.
l'Ami, E.
 
Lu, S.
Xiong, J.
 
Dobrov, V.
Tingjie, L.
 
Hansen, E.
Round 8 - Sunday, January 22
Grandelius, N.
 
Hansen, E.
Dobrov, V.
 
Tingjie, L.
Lu, S.
 
Xiong, J.
Jones, G.
 
l'Ami, E.
Guramishvili, S.
 
van Foreest, J.
Smirin, I
 
Ragger, M.
Tari, A.
 
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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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Rama Rama 1/19/2017 06:23
Giri is in the top 10 only because he consistently scores 50% against other top 10 players.
turok turok 1/19/2017 04:46
ragger should be 40 as he is the highest rated player maybe he shouldve played up just saying
vinniedepinnie vinniedepinnie 1/18/2017 04:14
@Daniel Miller He didnt play 37.e5 because it would decrease his changes of making a draw ofcourse.
Bertman Bertman 1/18/2017 03:54
@Daniel Miller - He had about 3-4 minutes left at that point, and certainly enough time since he wasn't in trouble in the position. It seems to have been just a 'normal' oversight, with no obvious circumstance to blame.
Daniel Miller Daniel Miller 1/18/2017 03:01
Was Giri in time pressure or something when he missed 37. e5? The move seems impossible to miss under normal circumstances for anyone legitimately near the top ten in the world. What was the story there?
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