Harikrishna to replace Mamedyarov at Tata Steel Masters

by ChessBase
12/17/2020 – The full lineup of the 2021 Tata Steel Chess Tournament was announced a week ago, with Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana heading the field. Today, almost exactly a month before the start of the event (it will run on January 15-31), the organizers have informed that Shakhriyar Mamedyarov will not be able to participate. His replacement will be Indian star Pentala Harikrishna. | Photo: Tata Steel Chess Tournament

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Press release

Pentala Harikrishna will replace Shakhryar Mamedyarov at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Mamedyarov has informed the tournament organization that he is unable to attend the 83rd edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in January. Harikrishna (34) is number 22 on the world ranking, with a rating of 2732. The last time Harikrishna participated in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament was in 2017, finishing 9th. The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021 will take place in De Moriaan in Wijk aan Zee on 15–31 January.

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg declared:

Harikrishna is a solid chess player. I am very happy that he will participate in our tournament. Pentala has repeatedly shown that he can take on the world’s very best chess players. His highest ranking on the world list was 10th place. I expect him to be a strong competitor in Wijk aan Zee. 

The full lineup:

Tata Steel Chess 2021

In the video below you see Jeroen van den Berg and Anish Giri announcing the field of participants.



Positive worldwide response

Tournament director Jeroen van den Berg: “the flood of congratulations and positive reactions I have received from people all over the world after the announcement is proof of how special it is that the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will really be played in Wijk aan Zee in these times. People show tremendous respect for the fact that Tata Steel, the municipality of Beverwijk and the other authorities have gone to such great lengths to make sure that the world’s most prominent chess tournament can go ahead. Chess aficionados have had to do without big international classical chess tournaments for almost a year. The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2021 is seen as a beacon of hope. People all over the world are craving for it.”

Tough job for grandmasters

Jeroen van den Berg: “The 83rd edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament will definitely see exciting games. One reason is that most of the grandmasters have hardly played classical chess since the outbreak of COVID-19. Participating in the world’s most challenging classical chess tournament (with 13 rounds) will thus prove to be very challenging and could lead to surprising outcomes. And favourites like Carlsen, Caruana, Nepomniachtchi, Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov and Giri will be facing the youngest generation of grandmasters, who will try to steal the limelight by beating them. That is what is so unique about our tournament: the mix of established players and up and coming talented players like Alireza Firouzja (Iran) and Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland).” The participation of Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi means that the leaders of the Candidates Tournament, broken off earlier this year, will be present. This tournament will be resumed in the spring, to determine who will become the next grandmaster to challenge world champion Carlsen. Caruana and Giri are also participating in the Candidates Tournament.

Steel and chess: creativity and innovation

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament has a long tradition. Starting as an employee tournament, it has grown into an international tournament of world class renown, for which grand masters and amateurs alike will clear their diaries. Tata Steel has chosen for chess, because chess entails strategic thinking and focuses on finding creative solutions for complex issues. Tata Steel has that very same focus. Steelmaking is a high-tech process with a crucial role for innovation. Tata Steel employees are continuously and relentlessly working on finding clever solutions to improve processes and products. Apart from that the sport of chess connects people from all over the world, which seems more important than ever before at the moment. Through #ChessConnects Tata Steel and its partners arrange ways to connect people through chess, with a special focus on young people.


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Burgershirt Burgershirt 12/19/2020 10:31
Too bad Mamedyarov and Ding won't be there, but the different list of players, even if they are not as strong, should result in some interesting games. Sometimes amazing games are played between players of different levels; even the massacres can be beautiful.
Logos Logos 12/19/2020 01:32
The best tournament of the year will soon begin; can't wait.
Scorpion29 Scorpion29 12/18/2020 03:07
Adbennet, look at the list carefully and you will see that all the participants are either Europeans or have European Passports. Hence it's not about excluding Chinese, it's just minimising risk. Else why will they invite a weak player like Aryan Tari? Even Shirov would have been a better choice. At least some entertainment would have been assured.
adbennet adbennet 12/18/2020 01:10
The absence of any Chinese competitors should have been noted in the article. I hope it is simple logistics rather than politics. It would have been nice if this had been explained.
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 12/17/2020 04:25
That's a Shak.
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